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Full text of "History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 1622-1918"

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CONTENTS       •  vii 


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FROM  OCTOBER  12,  I492,  TO  SEPTEMBER  I4,  I917  480 

History  of  Norfolk  G)unty 




Norfolk  County  is  situated  in  the  eastern  i>art  of  the  state.  Two  of  its  towns 
— Brookline  and  Cohasset — are  segregated,  the  former  being  entirely  surrounded 
hf  parts  of  Suffolk  County,  and  the  latter  by  parts  of  Plymouth  County  and 
Massachusetts  Bay.  With  these  exceptions  the  county  is  bounded,  generally,  on 
the  nortli  by  the  counties  of  Middlesex  and  Suffolk  and  the  Massachusetts  Bay; 
on  the  east  by  Massachusetts  Bay  and  the  County  of  Plymouth;  on  the  south  by 
Plymouth  and  Bristol  counties;  on  the  southwest  by  the  State  of  Rhode  Island, 
and  on  the  west  by  the  counties  of  Worcester  and  Middtesex.  The  county  is 
irregular  in  shape,  straight  lines  formhig  the  boundaries  between  Norfolk  and 
Plymouth,  Bristol  and  Worcester  counties  and  the  State  of  Rhode  Island,  while 
the  other  boundaries  are  represented  by  lines  that  do  not  follow  the  points  of  the 
compass,  among  them  being  the  curves  of  the  Charles  River  and  the  ragged 
coast  line  of  Uassaduisetts  Bay.  Its  greatest  extent— from  Cohasset  Harbor  to 
the  southwest  comer  of  the  county— is  about  thirty-six  miles,  and  from  the  most 
northern  point  of  tiie  Town  of  Wellesley  to  the  Bristol  County  line  the  distance  is 
seventeen  miles. 


While  much  of  the  surface  of  Norfolk  County  is  broken  and  uneven,  no  por- 
tion of  it  can  he  considered  mountainous.  The  most  noted  elevations  are  the 
Blue  Hills,  in  the  Town  of  Milton;  Great  Hill  and  King  Oak  Hill,  in  Weymouth; 
the  Brookline  Hills;  Wellesley  Hills,  in  the  northern  part  of  Wellesley;  Indian 
Rod^  in  Franklin;  Fe<teni  Hill,  in  Dedham;  and  the  ridge  in  the  central  part 
of  Westwood,  from  which  a  commanding  view  of  the  surrounding  country  may 
be  obtained.  As  a  rule,  the  soil  of  liilly  countries  is  not  noted  for  its  fertility, 
but  much  of  the  soil  of  N'orfolk  County  is  strong,  especially  the  lowlands  along 
the  Charles  and  Xeponset  rivers,  and  is  capable  of  producing  good  crops  of 
grains  and  vegetables  adapted  to  this  latitude.   The  following  description  of  the 

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land  along  these  rivers,  as  the  first  settlers  iound  it,  is  taken  from  Worthington's 
History  of  Dcdham. 

"The  meadows  on  Xeponset  River  were  so  far  cleared  ol  trees  and  under- 
wood that  they  produced  grass.  The  inhabitants  of  Dedham,  in  the  beginning 
of  Aeir  settlement,  hired  those  meadows  of  Israel  Stoughton  for  a  pasture  for 
their  young  cattle.  A  tradition  existed  at  an  early  period  that  the  gra^^,  called 
'fowl  meadow,'  which  is  superior  to  that  of  any  other  kind  in  the  fresh  water 
meadows,  was  tirst  brought  to  the  meadows  in  Dedham  by  a  iarge  riight  of  wild 
fowls,  and  that  from  thence  the  meadows  and  the  grass  received  their  names. 
...  It  is  supposed  that  the  Charles  River  meadows  have  gradually  arisen 
from  a  broken,  impenetrable  swamp,  covered  with  fallen  trees,  and  the  greatest 
part  of  the  time  covered  with  water,  to  their  present  state.  The  grass  in  many 
places  has  much  improved  in  quality  within  the  present  recollection.  A  coat  of 
peat,  from  three  to  four  feet  in  depth,  covers  these  meadows  and  may  have  been 
principally  formed  within  two  hundred  years.  The  deep  soil  of  the  upland  was 
covered  with  large  trees,  principally  oiak.  .  .  .  Wigwam  and  Purgatory 
swamps  were  dismal  places.  They  were  covered  with  a  thick  growth  of  cedars 
and  hemlock.  These,  with  much  underwood,  rendered  these  places  almost  im- 
penetrable. Wigwam  Swamp  became  tha  resort  of  wild  beasts.  It  being  near 
the  village,  the  wolf  bowl  was  heard  from  it  To  break  up  that  den,  it  was  made 
a  condition  of  every  grant  of  land,  that  the  grantee  should  dear  away  the  wood, 
standing  on  a  certain  quantity  of  land  in  the  swamp." 


The  Charles  River— ''The  Winding  Charles"— b  the  principal  stream  of  Nor- 
folk County.   It  crosses  the  western  boundary  near  the  northwest  comer  of  the 

Town  of  Bellingham,  and  from  that  point  follows  a  general  northeasterly  course 
until  it  emjnies  its  waters  into  Massachusetts  Bay  at  Boston.  From  the  northeast 
corner  of  Bellingham  to  the  Middlesex  County  line  it  separates  the  towns  of 
Medway  and  Minis  from  Franklin,  Norfolk  and  Medfield;  then  for  some  dis- 
tance it  marks  the  dividing  line  between  Norfolk  and  Middlesex  counties;  then, 
turning  eastward,  it  di\ifle";  the  towns  of  Wellesley  and  Xecdham  from  Dover 
and  Dedham.  Near  Dedham  it  makes  an  abrupt  bend  toward  the  northwest  and 
forms  part  of  the  county  boundary. 

The  Indians  called  this  stream  Quin-o-be-quin,  which  in  the  Massachusetts 
tongue  means  "Winding  Water."  The  manner  in  which  it  received  the  name 
of  "Charles  River"  is  thus  told  in  "A  Short  Histor>'  of  the  First  Settlement  of 
Dedham."  published  in  1818.  the  authorship  of  which  has  been  attributed  to  Rev. 
William  Montague,  rector  of  the  Episcopal  Church:  "Eleven  ships  left  England 
and  brought  into  this  then  howling  wilderness  2,200  emigrants,  many  of  whom 
were  of  the  best  families,  and  even  some  ircm  the  minor  branches  of  tfie  nobility, 
with  their  governor  and  lieutenant-governor,  and  landed  in  May,  1630,  on  a 
peninsula,  opposite  which  was  another,  a  river  emptying  into  the  head  of  the 
Massachusetts  Bay  running  tjctweeii  them;  which  in  honor  of  Charles  I  they 
called  Charles  River,  and  the  peninsula  on  which  they  landed  Charlestown." 

Next  in  importance  is  the  Neponset  River,  which  is  formed  by  the  junction 
of  several  nnall  streams  in  the  southern  part  of  the  county.  Like  the  Charles. 

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Its  genend  coarse  is  northeast.  It  forms  the  botudary  between  Canton  and 
Milton  on  the  east  and  Norwood,  Westwood  and  Dedham  on  the  west  In  its 

lower  reaches  it  marks  the  dividing  line  between  Norfolk  and  Suflfolk  counties. 
Through  East  Brook  and  an  artificial  channel  calkd  "Mother  Brook,"  part  of  the 
waters  of  the  CTiarles  River  are  drained  into  tht  NcjKjnset.  A  history  of  Mother 
Brook  is  given  in  the  chapter  on  Internal  Improvements. 

W^moiitfa  Fore  River  is  fonned  in  the  Town  of  Braintree  by  the  junction 
of  the  Monatiquot  and  Cochato  rivers.  It  flows  in  a  northeasterly  direction, 
separating  the  towns  of  Quincy  and  Weymouth,  and  empties  into  Massachusetts 

Weymouth  Back  River  drains  some  of  the  ponds  in  the  Town  ot  Weymouth. 
It  forms  part  of  the  boundary  line  between  the  towns  of  Weymouth  and  Hingfaam 
and  faUs  into  the  Massadiusetts  Bay  a  short  distance  east  of  the  Weymouth  Fore 
River.  Its  principal  tributary  is  the  Old  Swamp  River. 

In  the  southern  part  of  the  county  there  are  a  number  of  small  streams  that 
flow  in  a  southerly  direction,  their  waters  finally  reaching  the  Xarrajjansett  Bay. 
The  most  important  of  these  watercourses  are  the  Salisbury,  Billings  and  Fur- 
nace brooks  and  the  Peters  River.  In  the  southwestern  part  of  the  Town  of 
Randolph  is  the  summit  of  the  watershed  between  the  Massachusetts  and  Narra- 
gansett  bays,  on  an  elevation  about  one  hundred  and  thirty-five  feet  above  hi^ 
water  mark  at  Weymouth  Landing^. 

Tributary  to  the  Charles  River  are  a  number  of  streams,  Mill  River,  Stop 
River,  Buggastow,  Mine,  Noanets  and  Shepard's  brooks  being  the  most  im- 
portant. Every  part  of  the  county  is  well  watered  and  akmg  many  of  the  credcs 
and  rivers  are  beautiful  qmiigs  of  dear,  cold  water. 


Although  America  is  called  the  New  World,  geologists  believe  that  it  is 
really  older  than  most  parts  of  Europe.  Dana  divides  geologic  time  into  four 
great  ages — the  Azoic,  I'aleozoic,  Mesozoic  and  Cenozoic.  These  are  subdivided 
into  nine  periods,  and  these  into  a  number  of  eras.  The  oldest  known  rocks  are 
the  Huronian,  so-called  by  Sir  \\  illiam  Logan,  because  hrst  noticed  by  him  in 
the  vicinity  of  Lake  Huron,  thou^  the  Huronian  limestone,  the  best  example  of 
the  formation,  is  the  least  abundant  of  the  bed  rocks  of  New  Ei^;land.  At  the 
beginning  of  the  Cambrian  period,  the  oldest  of  the  Paleozoic  age,  mountain 
masses  of  granite  extended  across  Ma<saclnisetts  from  northeast  to  southwest. 
As  j,'ranite  is  {,'eneraily  cdiiceded  to  1k'  one  of  the  oUicst  of  the  igneous  rocks, 
i.  e.,  rocks  whose  constituent  parts  have  been  crystalUzed  from  a  highly  heated 
ccmdition,  Massadiusetts  was  no  doubt  "dry  land'*  at  a  time  when  many  parts  of 
the  Old  World  were  still  under  water.  Neither  the  Huronian  rocks  nor  granite 
contain  fossils,  indicating  that  they  formed  part  of  the  earth's  surface  before 
there  was  any  organic  life  on  this  planet. 

Granite  is  an  unstratitied  rock  composed  of  quartz,  feldspar  and  mica.  In 
the  Xwfoik  County  granite  the  feldspar  is  of  the  orthodase  variety,  a  silicate 
of  aluminum  and  potassium,  commonly  called  "potash  feldspar."  Gnnite  varies 
from  coarse  crystalline  masses,  in  which  the  crystals  are  sometimes  an  inch  or 
more  in  length,  to  a  fine  granular  rock  called  "felsite."  It  is  one  of  the  most 

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abundant  and  widespread  of  the  igneous  rocks.  In  the  United  States  it  is  quarried 
chiefly  in  Maine,  New  Hampshire,  VemuMlt,  Delaware  and  Georgia.    In  1913, 

the  last  year  for  which  reliable  figures  are  available,  the  State  of  Massachusetts 
produced  granite  valued  at  $4,0)6,372.  There  is  also  a  variety  of  granite  called 
"syenite,"  in  which  the  mica  is  replaced  by  hornblende.  It  is  so  named  from 
Syene  (now  Assuan)  on  the  River  Nile  in  Egypt,  where  it  was  first  discovered. 

Throughout  the  worid,  in  ahnost  every  granite  producing  section,  there  are 
found  also  rocks  to  which  geologists  have  given  the  names  of  amygdaloid, 
diorite  and  diabase,  all  of  which  are  to  be  found  in  Norfolk  County.  Amygda- 
loid is  an  igneous  rock  containing  numerous  oval  or  spherical  indosures,  ditierent 
in  texture  from  the  body  of  the  rock  itself.  Lava  thrown  out  by  volcanoes  is 
one  of  the  best  examples  of  amygdaloid.  Diorite  and  diabase  are  plutonic  rocks 
usually  composed  mainly  of  hornblende  and  a  species  of  feldspar.  '  Amygdalcnd, 
diorite  and  diabase  are  often  included  in  the  tjeneral  term  of  "trap  rock."  heavy, 
comjiact  in  structure,  and  used  in  tiiaeadamizing  roads  or  for  railroad  ballast. 
Diorite  is  sometimes  called  "greenstone." 

In  1875  William  O.  Crosby  bq^n  a  study  of  the  rocks  in  the  vicinity  of 
Boston,  including  Norfolk  County,  and  the  result  of  his  investigations  was  pub> 
lished  by  the  Boston  Society  of  Natural  History  in  1880.  The  granite  area  he 
describes  as  consisting  of  about  two  hundred  square  miles  in  the  southern  part 
of  Norfolk  and  the  northern  part  of  Plymouth  County.  The  best  known  quarry 
in  this  field  is  the  one  at  Quincy,  which  was  opened  in  1825  by  Gridley  Bryant, 
of  Sdtuate,  at  the  instigation  of  the  Bunker  Hill  Monument  Association.  It 
afterward  became  known  as  the  "Bunker  Hill  Quarry."  Now  the  value  of 
Quincy  granite  is  well  known  all  Over  the  United  States,  and  some  of  it  has 
been  shipped  to  other  countries. 

In  the  towns  of  Dover  and  -Mcdtielil  Mr.  Crosby  found  small  patches  of 
Faleoaoic  rocks  "exhibiting  local  transitions  toward  granite  and  diorite."  .These 
ro:ks,  greenish  or  grayish  in  hue.  compact  in  texture  and  very  hard,  are  a  species 
of  felsite  which  Mr.  Crosby  classified  as  petrosilex.  Farther  southeast  he  noted 
a  lai^r  area,  extending  into  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Westwood,  in  which 
the  rock  was  more  perfectly  crystallized.  In  this  field  is  the  quarry  from  which 
was  taken  the  stone  for  the  Norfolk  County  court-house,  St.  Paul's  Episcopal 
Qiurdi  and  the  Memorial  Hall  at  Dedham. 

Mr,  Crosby  also  found  a  considerable  area  of  this  petrosile.x  in  the  central 
and  southem  parts  of  the  Town  of  Needham,  where  the  color  was  gray  or 
greenish  white,  with  numerous  small  crystals  or  grains  of  transparent  quartz, 
giving  the  stone  the  appearance  of  porphyry.  In  the  northern  part  of  Needham 
he  noticed  a  reddish  brown,  compact  stone  resembling  qttartz  in  its  texture. 
Only  a  few  outcrops  of  this  stone  were  observed  in  Needham,  but  just  south 
of  the  Boston  &  Albany  Railroad,  near  the  village  of  Wellesley.  the  deposits 
were  larger  and  the  character  of  the  rocks  better  defined.  Similar  deposits  were 
seen  in  the  Blue  Hill  region  in  the  Town  of  Milton.. 

Upon  the  devatwn  known  as  "Rattlesnake  Hill,"  in  the  southeastern  part  of 
the  Town  of  Sharai,  and  on  Moose  Hill  in  the  western  part  of  the  same  town, 
the  rodcs  are  chiefly  of  syenite.  In  the  eastern  part,  near  the  Randolph  Town 
line,  there  are  some  beds  of  granite  of  excellent  quality  that  have  been  quarried 

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to  some  extent.  In  early  days  a  considerable  quantity  of  bog  iron  ore  was  mined 
in  this  town.* 


The  Devonian  rocks  of  the  Paleozoic  age  rest  upon  the  Silurian  fonnations 
and  are  among  the  oldest  of  the  fossil  bearing  rocks.  Mr.  Crosby,  in  speaking 

of  the  rocks  of  this  period,  says  they  "occur  only  in  limited  basins  or  depres- 
sions excavated  in  the  ancient  crj-stallinc  formations."  One  of  these  basins, 
which  he  calls  the  "Xairagansett,"  extends  from  Newport,  Rhode  Island, 
through  Bristol  and  Plymouth  counties  in  Massachusetts.  Near  the  line  between 
the  two  states  this  basin  divides,  a  narrow  branch  of  it  running  northeast  into 
the  Town  of  Braintree,  where  it  terminates  in  a  bed  of  Paradoxides,  a  stone 
resembling  the  UpjK^r  Cambrian  formation,  from  which  it  can  be  best  distin- 
guished by  the  large  fossils  of  the  trilobitc  variety. 

Some  years  before  Mr.  Crosby  made  his  study  of  the  rocks  about  lioston, 
W.  W.  Dodge,  of  the  Boston  Society  of  Natural  History,  made  a  geologic 
reconnaissance  in  the  eastern  part  of  Norfolk  County.  He  noticed  the  Para- 
doxides bed  above  mentioned,  particularly  the  slate  deposits  connected  with  it. 
Says  he:  "The  slate  along  the  Monatiquot  River  in  l?raintree  is  like  that  of  the 
Paradoxides  bed  and  similarly  related  to  granite,  and  these  tw<j  areas  are  con- 
tinuous under  the  bed  of  the  Weymouth  i'ore  River.  On  the  west  side  of  that 
river,  at  the  first  bend  north  of  Weymouth  Landing,  the  slate  is  greenish  gray 
or  brown,  tinged  with  purple.  West  of  the  railroad  the  slate  is  exposed  imme- 
diately north  of  the  granite,  and  is  almost  identical  with  that  along  the  Monati- 
quot River  and  at  Hayward's  Creek.  The  ^late  at  Mill  Cove  is  continuous  across 
the  Weymouth  Back  River  with  that  in  the  northern  part  of  Hingham." 

Mr.  Crosby  mentions  what  he  calls  an  ''island  of  slate"  in  the  Blue  Hill 
granite  deposits  in  the  Town  of  Milton,  near  the  boundary  between  Milton  and 
Qnincy.  The  slate  formation  extends  to  the  Randolph  turnpike,  where  it  eixls 
in  several  ledges  of  a  gray  argillaocons  nx-k.  similar  to  the  Parado\i(li>  bed 
in  Braintree,  but  containing  more  iron  |i\rites.  just  how  these  slate  beds  became 
intermingled  with  the  Devonian  rocks  furnishes  food  for  theory  and  specula- 
tion on  the  part  of  the  geolc^sts. 

The  bed  rocks  in  the  Town  of  Wqrmoudi  are  very  old,  ranging  from  the 
Cambrian  to  the  Devonian  periods  of  the  Paleozoic  age.  The  rocks  underlying 
a  large  portion  of  the  town  are  closely  allied  to  the  granite  bed<  iti  Ouincy, 
though  less  perfectly  crystallized  and  broken  here  and  there  by  wide  >eams  of 
amygdaloid  and  the  slate  formations  referred  to  above.  Some  of  the  veins  of 
slate  here  are  rich  in  iron  pyrites  and  contain  fine  crystals  of  quartz. 


According  to  Crosby,  the  i^rmcijKil  constituents  of  what  he  calls  the  Shawmut 
Group  are  breccia  and  amygdalmd.  The  breccia  of  this  group  is  a  congfcmierate 
composed  of  angular  fragments  of  the  older  rodts.  Mr.  Crosby  noticed  out- 
crops of  this  group  in  Dedham  and  Milton,  the  breccia  appearing  on  the  west 
side  of  the  New  York,  New  Haven  and  Hartford  Railroad,  and  the  amygdaloid 

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on  the  east  side.    He  also  observed  outcrops  along  the  nnd  east  and  west  of 

Charles  River  Village  in  the  Town  of  Ncedhatn. 

In  the  Town  of  Brooklinc  the  Shawniut  amygdaloid  resembles  felsite,  though 
it  is  not  so  hard  and  contains  more  or  less  quartz  and  crystals  of  feldspar. 
Some  geologists  have  given  this  stone  the  name  of  "graywacke,"  commonly 
called  "i^um-padding  stone,'*  on  account  of  the  numerous  oval  or  rounded 
nodules  of  some  other  mineral  found  in  it.  Both  the  breccia  and  the  amygdaloid 
of  the  Shawmut  (jroup  belong  to  the  trap  rock  species.  The  Shawmut  basin 
extends  irregularly  from  the  IJlue  lliil  region  on  the  south  to  the  porphyry  hills 
in  the  vicinity  of  Lynn  and  Maiden  on  the  north. 


About  the  close  of  the  Tertiary  period  of  Cenozoic  time  came  the  Pleistocene 
or  "Ice  Age,  '  when  practically  all  of  British  North  America,  New  England,  the 
Central  States  as  far  west  as  the  Missouri  Valley  and  south  to  the  vicinity  of 
St.  Louis,  Missouri,  were  covered  by  a  vast  mass  of  ice  called  a  glacier.  This 
sheet  of  ice  was  formed  by  successive  falls  of  snow,  each  adding  its  mreight  to  the 
mass  until  the  whole  w^as  compressed  into  a  solid  body.  How  long  ago  the  Ice 
Age  began,  or  how  long  the  great  ice  sheet  remained  uj>on  the  surface  of  tiie 
country,  can  only  be  conjectured.  Then  came  a  geologic  change.  The  tcmi)era- 
ture  rose,  the  glacier  began  to  melt  and  the  huge  body  of  ice  moved  slowly  south- 
ward, carrying  with  it  soil,  rocks,  etc.,  and  depositing  them  in  the  form  of 
"^dal  drift"  upon  the  bed  rocks  of  more  southern  latitudes.  The  hard  sub- 
stances that  gradually  settled  to  the  bottom  of  the  glacier  left  scratches,  called 
"striae,"  upon  the  bed  rocks,  and  from  these  geologists  have  been  able  to  determine 
with  tolerable  accuracy  the  course  taken  by  the  glacier. 

Many  of  the  bed  rocks  of  Norfolk  County  are  striated,  thus  bearing  evidence 
that  they  were  once  iK'neath  the  great  glacier.  This  is  especially  true  of  the 
Town  of  Weymouth,  where  the  exposed  ledges  show  the  stria?  plainly,  and  along 
the  W  eymouth  Back  River  the  sharp  linear  hills,  called  "horsebacks"  or  "kames." 
mark  the  terminal  moraine  or  ridge  where  the  last  of  the  ice  melted.  The  debris 
carried  by  the  glacier  was  deposited  upon  the  bed  rocks  in  the  form  of  drift,  as 
above  stated.  The  constant  grinding  reduced  many  of  the  rocks  to  a  fine 
powder,  and  these  disintegrated  rocks  form  the  soil  of  a  large  part  of  the  New 
England  States.  Many  of  the  jxnids  and  lakes  are  of  glacial  origin,  the  water 
from  the  melting  ice  settling  into  the  depressions  in  the  drift. 

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October  12,  1492,  martced  the  beginning  of  an  epoch  in  the  world's  history, 
for  on  that  day  Christopher  Columbus  discovered  the  New  World.  Previous  to 
that  time  the  Atlantic  Ocean  had  been  a  lnii,^l)ear  to  sailors,  but  when  the  news 
of  Columbus'  successful  voyage  was  carried  to  the  courts  of  Europe,  monarchs 
were  seized  with  a  desire  to  send  exjxditions  to  the  new  continent.  Although  to 
Spain  was  conceded  the  honor  of  leading  the  way,  it  was.  not  long  until  other 
nations  were  competiog  with  Spain  for  the  profits  of  her  discovery. 


Henry  VII,  then  King  of  England,  was  not  noted  for  his  lilK-ral  policies,  but 
he  was  sagacious  enough  to  see  that  some  advantage  might  bo  gained  for  his 
country,  and  showed  a  willingness  to  encourage  exi^rations— provided  the 
royal  treasury  was  not  called  ui>on  to  bear  the  expense.  To  that  end,  on  March, 
5.  I4r/i,  he  granted  to  John  Cabot  and  his  three  sons — Lewis.  Sancius  and  Sebas- 
tian— a  commission  authorizing  them  "to  sail  to  all  parts,  countries  and  seas  of  the 
East,  of  the  West  and  of  the  North,  under  our  banners  and  ensigns,  with  five 
dupB  of  what  burden  or  quantity  soever  they  be,  and  as  many  mariners  or  men  as 
they  will  have  with  them  in  the  said  ships,  upon  their  own  proper  costs  and 
charges,  to  seek  out.  discover  and  find  whatsoever  isles,  countries,  regions  or 
provinces  of  the  heathen  and  the  infidels  whatsoever  they  be  which  before  this 
time  have  been  unknown  to  all  Christians." 

The  patent  also  gave  the  Cabots  power  to  set  up  the  royal  banner  of  England 
in  eveiy  "village,  town,  castle,  isle  or  mainland  by  them  newly  found,  and  to 
subdue,  occupy  and  possess  the  same  as  vassals  of  the  English  crown."  For 
this  service  the  Cabots  were  given  the  exclusive  privilege  of  trading  with  the 
natives  of  the  country  or  countries  they  might  discover  and  claim  in  the  name  of 
the  crown.  This  privil^e  was  granted  to  them,  their  successors  or  assigns, 
without  limit  or  condition,  further  than  that  upon  their  return  to  England  they 
were  refjuired  to  land  at  the  port  of  Bristol  and  pay  one-fifth  of  die  profit  of 
their  enterprise  to  the  King. 

About  the  middle  of  May,  1497,  J^^"  Cabot  and  his  son  Sebastian  set  sail 


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fiom  Bristol  in  a  vessel  called  the  "Matthew"  and  on  June  24th  they  landed 
either  upon  the  Island  of  Newfoundland  or  Cape  l^reton  Island,  at  the  mouth  of 
the  St.  Lawrence  River.  They  returned  to  England  and  on  l*ebruary  3,  I4y8, 
the  King  issued  to  them  a  new  patent,  which  is  said  to  have  been  "less  ample 
than  the  first  and  worded  more  cautiously,"  though  it  granted  the  patentees  six 
English  ships  and  the  exclusive  right  to  trade  with  the  people  of  the  lands  they 
might  visit  on  their  voyages. 

John  Cabot  died  soon  after  the  second  patent  was  granted,  but  Sebastian, 
witii  a  fleet  of  live  vessels,  sailed  frotn  Bristol  in  May,  1498,  on  his  second 
voyage.  At  that  time  the  extent  of  the  Uuids  discovered  by  Columbus  was  not 
known,  and  it  was  believed  that  somewhere  there  was  a  passage  by  water  to  the 
"South  Sea,"  as  the  Pacific  Ocean  was  then  called.  To  find  this  passage  was  one 
of  the  objects  of  Sebastian  Cabot,  and  it  is  asserted  by  some  writers  that  in  his 
voyage  of  1498  he  passed  into  Hudson's  Bay.  He  then  examined  the  coast  as 
far  sotttimrard  as  the  thirty-eighth  parallel  of  north  latitude  and  is  credited  witfi 
being  the  first  explorer  to  discover  the  mainland  of  North  America.  Upon  the 
voyages  and  discoveries  of  the  Cabots  England  laid  daim  to  a  large  part  of 
North  America. 

Nearly  a  century  later  (1583)  came  Sir  Francis  Drake,  Sir  Humphrey  Gil- 
bert and  his  half  brother,  Sir  Walter  Raleigh,  and  some  others,  but  their  e.xplo- 
rations  have  no  bearing  upon  New  England  history.  Colonization  did  not  follow 
upon  the  heels  of  the  explorer  and  a  century  after  Cabots'  first  voyage  "in  all 
New  England  and  the  \  nst  tract  north  towards  the  pole,  not  a  white  family  was 
settled,  not  a  white  child  had  been  bom."  * 

gosmold's  expedition 

Early  in  the  spring  of  1602,  a  company  of  thirty-two  men,  under  the  com- 
mand of  Capt.  Bartholomew  Gosnold,  sailed  from  Falmouth,  England,  in  a  small 
vessel  called  the  "Concord."  The  expedition  was  fitted  out  under  the  direction 
of  the  Earl  of  Southampton,  who  bore  the  greater  share  of  the  expense.  On 
May  14.  1602,  the  expedition  came  in  sight  of  land  about  43'  50'  north  totitude, 
somewhere  on  the  coast  of  New  Hampshire  or  Maine.  Turning  southward, 
they  followed  the  coast  until  the  afternoon  of  the  15th,  when  they  discovered  "a 
mighty  headland,  which,  from  the  great  number  of  cod  fish  caught  in  the  vicin- 
ity, was  named  Cape  Cod."  Here  they  landed  and  were  no  doubt  the  first  white 
men  to  set  foot  upon  the  soil  of  Massachusetts.  The  next  day  Gosnold  made 
another  landing,  at  what  later  became  known  as  "Sandy  Point,"  in  the  extreme 
southern  part  of  Barnstable  County.  During  the  next  two  weeks  he  explored 
the  coast,  naming  Martha's  Mneyard,  Dover  Qiff,  Gosnold's  Hope  (now  Buz- 
zard's Bay),  the  Elizabeth  Islands  and  some  other  places. 

On  die  aSth  he  fi^d  upon  a  site  for  his  plantation^  "near  a  small  lake  of 
fresh  water,  about  two  miles  in  circumference,*'  on  the  Island  of  Cuttyhunk,  at 
the  entrance  to  Buzzard's  Bay.  It  was  arranged  for  eleven  of  the  men  to  remain 
with  him  upon  the  plantation,  the  Concord  to  return  to  England  under  command 
of  Captain  Gilbert.  Three  weeks  were  spent  in  building  a  fort  and  storehouse, 
and  in  lading  the  vessel  with  sassafras,  "a  goodly  quantity  of  which  grew  near 
by."  During  this  time  several  esKursions  were  made  to  the  mainland's  ''fertile 

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meadows,  stately  groves,  pleasant  brooks  and  beauteous  rivers."    By  the  time 

the  fort  and  storehouse  were  completed  it  was  noticed  that  the  stock  of  pro- 
visions was  running  low  and  the  project  of  establishing  a  plantation  was  aban- 
doned. All  went  on  board  and  on  July  23,  1602,  the  Concord  dropped  anchor  in 
the  harbor  of  Eicmoath,  Eng^d. 


Gosnold's  description  of  the  country  stimulated  interest  in  the  new  continent 
and  encouraged  farther  explorations.  The  Virginia  patent,  granted  to  Sir 
Walter  Raleigh  in  1585,  included  the  present  Stele  of  Massadnisetts,  hut  Richard 
Hakluyt,  an  earnest  advocate  of  colonizing  the  New  World,  and  Robert  Aids- 
worth  obtained  permission  from  Raleigh  to  send  a  vessel  to  that  part  of  the  coast 
that  had  been  visited  by  Gosnold.  They  enlisted  the  cooperation  of  the  mayor, 
aldermen  and  a  number  of  the  wealthy  merchants  of  Bristol,  and  raised  by  sub- 
scription a  fund  of  one  thousand  pounds  to  defray  die  expenses  of  an  esqiedition. 
On  April  10,  1603.  two  vessels — the  "Speedwell"  of  fifty  tons  and  fhc  "Dis- 
coverer" of  twenty-six — left  Bristol.  The  former  had  a  crew  of  thirty  men  and 
was  commanded  by  Martin  f'ring,  and  the  latter,  with  a  crew  of  thirteen  men, 
was  commanded  by  Capt.  William  Browne.  The  two  ships  were  provisioned  for 
eight  months  and  carried  a  lai:ge  stodc  of  cloth,  hatchets,  trinkets,  etc.,  for  the 
Indian  trade. 

The  expedition  struck  the  coast  near  the  entrance  to  Penobscot  Bay,  and  then 
cruised  southward  to  the  Vineyard  Islands.  There  the  Discoverer  was  laden 
with  sassafras,  which  was  then  considered  a  panacea  for  "all  the  ills  that  flesh  is 
heir  to,"  and  returned  to  England  in  July,  leaving  Pring  with  the  Speedwdl  to 
make  further  explorations.  In  August  the  Indians  in  die  vicinity  bqjan  to  show 
signs  of  hostility  and  Pring  also  returned  to  England,  arriving  at  Bristol  early  in 
the  year  1604. 


To  frflow  up  the  discoveries  of  Cabot,  Gosnold  and  Pring,  the  Earl  of  South- 
hampton and  his  brother-in-law,  T.ord  Arnndfl,  fitted  out  a  vessel  called  the 
".Archangel"  with  a  crew  of  twenty-eight  men  an<l  placed  Ca])t.  Cieorge  Wey- 
mouth in  command.  The  Archangel  left  the  port  of  Dartmouth  on  the  last  day 
of  March,  1605,  ostensibly  to  discover  the  long  sought  "Nordiwest  Flassage,"  but 
really  to  strengdien  England's  daim  to  the  territory  about  Massachusetts  Bay. 
About  the  middle  of  May  Weymouth  reached  the  shore  near  Cape  Cod.  From 
that  point  he  proceeded  northward,  ascended  the  Kennebec  River  some  distance 
and  traded  with  the  natives. 

Captain  Weymouth  did  one  thing  that  was  a  stroke  of  bad  policy,  to  say  the 
least  He  lured  five  Indians  on  board  the  Archangel  and  then  set  sail  for  Eng- 
land. The  Indian  capdves  were  sold  into  bondage.  This  act  engendered  a  feel- 
ing of  hatred  and  distrust  amonp  the  natives  that  p^rew  as  colonies  were  estab- 
lished in  New  England,  until  the  Indians  sought  vengeance  in  the  Pequot  and 
King  Philip  wars. 

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Sir  Walter  Raleigh's  failure  to  colonize  Virginia  within  the  time  specified 
caused  h>s  patent  to  revert  to  the  crown.  Early  in  the  Seventeenth  Coitury 
applicatioas  were  made  by  two  companies  for  grants  of  land  for  plantations  on 
the  Atlantic  coast,  between  the  thirty-fourth  and  forty-fifth  degrees  of  north 
latitude.  Patents  were  issued  to  those  companies  on  April  lo.  1606,  the  southern 
grant  to  the  London  Company,  called  the  "First  Colony,  '  and  the  northern  to 
the  Plymouth  Company,  or  the  "Second  Colony."  The  London  Company  was 
authorized  to  establiah  a  plantation  at  any  point  below  4>^  north  latitude,  and 
die  Plymouth  Company  to  open  a  jdantation  any  where  above  3$**,  though  it  was 
stipulated  tliat  the  second  plantation  should  be  located  not  less  than  one  hundred  • 
miles  from  the  first. 

The  patent  of  the  Plymouth  Company  was  granted  to  "Thomas  Hanham, 
Raleigh  Gilbert  (^a  nephew  of  Sir  Walter  Raleigh),  William  Parker,  George 
Popham,  and  their  associates,  knights,  goitlemen  and  merchants,  or  Exeter, 
Plymouth  and  other  towns  of  the  West  of  England."  On  the  last  day  of  May, 
1607,  this  company  started  two  ships — the  "Gift  of  God"  and  the  "Mary  and 
John" — with  about  one  hundred  men,  under  Raleigh  Gilbert  and  George  Popham. 
txi  open  a  plantation.  They  failed  to  establish  a  permanent  colony  and  it  seems 
that  no  second  effort  was  made  under  the  patent  of  1606. 

smith's  bxploratioks 

Capt.  John  Smith,  who  had  been  an  active  factor  in  the  establishment  of  the 
London  Company's  colony  at  Jamestown,  Virginia,  in  1607,  sailed  from  London 
early  in  Mardi,  1614,  with  two  vessels  and  forty-nine  men  to  look  for  mines  of 
gold  or  copper  along  the  coast  of  New  England.  In  the  event  he  failed  to  find 
the  mines,  it  was  his  intention  to  trade  with  the  natives  and  carry  back  to  Eng- 
land cargoes  of  fish  and  furs.  He  explored  the  coast  from  the  mouth  of  the 
Penobscot  (Kennebec)  River  to  Cape  Cod,  crossed  from  Cape  Ann  to  Cohasset, 
and  some  writers  claim  that  he  entered  Boston  Bay  and  to  some  extent  explored 
its  coast  line.  He  prepared  a  map  of  the  coast,  upon  which  Quincy  and  Wey> 
mouth  bays  are  shown  with  a  fair  degree  of  accuracy. 

That  Smith  was  an  enthusiast  regarding  the  beauties  and  possible  advantages 
of  the  Massachusetts  coast,  may  be  seen  from  his  report  of  the  voyage,  in  winch 
he  says:  "We  saw  forty  several  habitations  (that  is  places  where  habitations 
might  be  successfully  established)  along  the  coast,  sounded  about  twenty-five 
excdlent  harbours,  in  many  whereof  there  is'  anchorage  for  500  sails  of  ships  of 
any  burden,  in  some  of  them  1,000,  and  more  than  two  hundred  isles,  overgrown 
with  good  timl>er  of  divers  sorts  of  woods.  *  •  *  Of  all  the  four  parts  of 
the  world  that  I  have  yet  seen,  not  inhabited,  could  I  but  have  the  means  to 
transport  a  colony,  I  would  rather  live  here  than  anywhere.  And  if  it  did  not 
maintain  itself,  wete  we  but  once  indifferently  well  fitted,  kt  us  starve." 

Associated  with  Smith  on  this  expedition  was  an  Englishman  named  Thomas 
Hunt,  who  carried  about  twenty  Indians  into  ■;LiverT,' — an  act  that  was  inexcu- 
sable and  which  l>orc  fruit  in  after  years  Mather  says  it  "was  the  unhappy 
occasion  of  the  loss  of  many  a  man's  estate  and  life,  which  the  barbarians  did 

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from  thence  seek  to  destroy;  and  the  English,  in  consequence  of  this  treachery, 
were  constrained  for  a  time  to  suspend  their  trade  and  abandon  their  project  of 
a  settlement  in  New  England.*' 


Smith's  voyage  seems  to  have  been  a  prosperous  one,  from  a  pecuniary  point 
of  view,  and  this  created  in  his  min<l  an  earnest  desire  to  make  a  second  visit  to 
the  Xew  World.  His  own  capital  l>einj^  insufficit'nt  in  outfit  an  exi>cdition,  he 
imparted  his  views  to  Sir  Ferdinando  Gorges,  "  a  man  of  kindred  enthusiasm," 
and  to  Doctor  SutcUffe,  Dean  of  Exeter,  who  agreed  to  assist  him.  After  some 
delay  two  ships — one  of  aoo  and  the  other  of  50  tons  burthen—were  furnished 
him  for  a  second  voyage.  Before  going  two  hundred  leagues,  the  larger  vessel, 
wliii  h  was  commande<l  by  Captain  Smith,  sprang  a  leak  and  was  forced  to  return, 
but  the  smaller,  commanded  Ijy  Capt.  Thomas  Dernier,  kept  on,  returning  to 
England  after  an  absence  of  about  five  months. 

Captain  Dermer  made  another  voyage  in  1619,  and  this  time  carried  bade  to 
America  the  Indian  Tisqnantum  (or  Squanto),  who  had  been  carried  into  cap- 
tivity by  Hunt  five  years  before.  This  Squanto  afterward  became  the  firm  friend 
and  interpreter  of  the  Pilgrims.  Bradford  (  History  of  Ma>sachuNelts.  p.  14) 
thinks  it  probable  that  on  this  second  voyage  Uerma"  visited  the  harbors  of 
Boston  and  Plymouth.  While  the  primary  object  of  these  voyages  was  the 
acquisition  of  wealth,  Captain  Dermer  was  instructed  to  find  a  place  in  which  to 
establish  a  colony  "for  the  propagation  of  the  gospel  among  the  ignorant  and 
debased  aboriginal  inhabitants." 

Harry,  in  his  History  of  Massachusetts,  says:  "This  journey  of  lOiy,  as  pre- 
ceding by  a  year  the  settlement  of  Plymouth,  and  as  taken  in  the  territory  so 
often  alluded  to  by  the  Pilgrims,  is  exceedingly  interesting.  It  was  an  impor- 
tant addition  to  the  knowledge  of  the  country  and  prepared  the  way.  by  its 
friendly  termination,  for  the  bootable  reception  by  the  generous  Massasoit  and 
his  brother  Quadequina." 

In  the  fall  of  1619  Captain  Dcnner  sailed  southward  and  passed  the  winter 
with  tiie  coUmy  of  the  London  Company  at  Jamestown.  The  following  spring 
he  returned  to  Cape  Cod,  where  he  encountered  a  party  of  hostile  Indians  and 
received  several  severe  wounds,  of  which  he  afterward  died. 



Before  the  middle  of  the  Sixteenth  Century,  France  had  laid  claim  to  the 
valley  of  the  St.  Lawrence  River  and  the  country  about  the  Great  Lakes,  basing 

her  claim  u\>nn  the  exj)eflitions  of  Jacque.s  Cartier  in  the  early  part  of  that 
century.  In  1603  Henry  the  (Ireat,  then  King  of  I'rance.  gave  a  patent  to  one 
of  his  friends  named  Dc  Monts,  covering  the  Atlantic  coast  from  the  fortieth  to 
the  forty-sixth  parallels  of  north  latitude.  De  Monts  led  an  expedition  to  ^nerica 
and  it  is  said  he  entered  what  is  now  Boston  Harbor,  in  search  of  a  place  to  plant 
a  colony,  but  was  discouraged  by  the  hostile  attitude  of  the  Indians  he  found  in 
that  locality.  He  then  explored  the  coast  to  the  northward  and  finally  located 
his  settlement  at  Monts'  desert  (now  Mount  Desert),  on  the  coast  of  Maine. 

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The  greater  portion  of  the  grant  made  by  King  Henry  to  De  Monts  was 

included  three  years  later  in  the  grant  made  by  the  English  crown  to  the 
Plymouth  Company.  This  was  the  bcginninpf  of  a  conflict  of  French  and  EngHsh 
claims  to  territory  in  America — a  conflict  which  was  intensified  when  La  Salle, 
in  1682,  discovered  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi  River  and  laid  claim  to  all  the 
territory  drained  by  that  stream  and  its  tributaries,  and  which  finally  culminated 
in  the  French  and  Indian  war. 

l^'ollowini,'^  the  usage  of  nations  to  claim  territory  "hy  right  of  discovery," 
England  had  the  oldest  tenure  to  a  large  part  of  the  continent  of  North  America, 
on  account  of  the  discoveries  made  by  the  Cabots  in  the  closing  years  of  the 
Fifteenth  Century.  Subsequent  expeditions  seat  out  from  England  strengthened 
the  claim,  whidi  the  other  nations  of  Europe  ultimately  recognized,  and  in  time 
English  settlements  were  planted  aloi^  the  coast  from  Maine  to  Geoigia. 

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Note — Indian  names  are  spelled  in  various  ways,  every  writer  on  the  subject 
adopting  the  fonn  best  suited  to  his  ideas.  In  this  ehapter  the  fonn  used  is  that 
sanctioned  by  tfie  United  States  Goverament  and  employed  in  the  reports  of  the 
Bureau  of  Ethnology. 


When  the  first  European  explorers  came  to  America  they  found  here  a  race 
of  copper-colored  people.   Believing  that  Cblumbus  had  opened  the  way  to  the 

eastern  coast  of  Asia,  and  that  the  country  was  India,  they  gave  these  people 
the  name  of  '"Indians."  Their  error  regarding  tlx-  geography  of  the  earth  has 
long  since  been  corrected,  but  the  name  they  conferred  upon  the  natives  still 

At  the  close  of  the  Fifteenth  Century,  when  the  first  explorations  were  made 
along  the  Atlantic  Coast,  this  race  wras  divided  into  groups  br  families,  each  of 
which  was  distinguished  by  certain  physical  and  linguistic  characteristics.  The 
groups  were  subdivided  into  tribes,  each  of  which  was  ruled  by  a  chief.  New 
England  was  in  the  territory  occupied  by  the  Algonquian  family,  the  most  nu- 
merous and  powerful  of  all  the  groups,  and  numbered  almost  as  many  tribes  as 
all  the  others  combined.  The  Algonquian  country  may  be  dcsc;,ribed  as  a  great 
triangle,  roughly  bounrled  l)y  the  Atlantic  Ocean  on  the  east,  and  by  lines  drawn 
from  the  most  northern  pdint  of  Newfoundland  and  Cape  Hatteras  to  the  west- 
em  end  of  Lake  Superior.  The  tribes  with  which  the  early  settlers  of  the 
Plymouth  and  Massachusetts  Bay  colonies  came  chiefly  in  contact,  and  whidi 
figured  most  conspicuously  in  New  England  history,  were  the  Massachusetts 
Narragansett,  NifMnuck,  Pequot  and  Wampanoag,  all  of  Algonquian  origin. 


According  to  J.  Itanunond  Trumbull,  of  the  American  Antiquarian  Society, 

the  name  Massachusett  is  derived  from  three  Indian  words.  "Massa"  (great), 
"wadchu"  (hill  or  mountain),  and  "eset"  fplacc").  The  Indians  bearing  this  name 
were  known  as  "The  people  of  the  great  hill,"  the  eastern  slope  of  the  Blue  Hills, 


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in  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Milton,  having  been  "the  cradle,  the  home  and  the 
grave  of  the  race."  They  claimed  the  country  along  the  Atlantic  Coast  from 
Plymouth  to  Salem  and,  aooording  to  their  traditions,  at  tiie  beginning  of  the 
Seventeenth  Century  they  were  a  powerful  tribe,  numbering  about  three  thou> 
sand  warriors,  under  the  great  sachem,  Nanepashemet. 

Capt.  John  Smith,  in  his  account  of  his  voyape  in  1614.  describes  the  Massa- 
chusctt  Indians  as  "tall  and  strong-limbed  i>eople,  very  kind,  but  in  their  fury 
no  less  valiant ;  possessors  of  large  cornfields  and  dwelling  in  plantations  which 
covered  the  islands  in  the  bay."  At  that  time  titey  had  about  twenty  villages, 
eleven  of  which  Smith  mentioned  by  name  in  his  report.  Among  them  were 
Conohassct,  Neponset,  Wessagusset,  and  Passonagessit,  all  names  familiar  to 
the  student  of  Norfolk  County  history. 

In  161 5,  the  year  following  Smith's  voyage,  Nanepashemet  made  war  upon 
the  Tarratine  or  Penobscot  Indians  and  the  tribe  suffered  heavy  losses  through 
repeated  defeats.  Thb  war  lasted  about  four  years,  or  until  1619,  when  Nan- 
epashemet was  killed  at  his  village  near  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Medford  by 
a  war  party  of  the  Tarratine.  He  was  the  last  great  sachem  of  the  Massachusett. 
While  the  war  with  the  Tarratine  was  going  on,  a  number  of  the  Massachu- 
sett villages  were  depopulated  in  1616-17  by  a  pestilence,  whidi  some  writer* 
state  was  nothing  more  or  less  than  an  epidemic  of  smallpox,  but  that  is  net 

When  the  first  white  men  came  to  Plymouth  and  Wessagusset,  they  found 
a  remnant  of  the  tril)c  living;  about  Passonagessit  (now  Mount  Wollaston  1  under 
the  chief  Chickatabot  i^liouse  Afire),  North  of  the  Neponset  River  was  another 
band  under  the  sachem  Obbatinewat,  and  south  of  the  Monatiquot,  in  what  is 
new  the  Town  of  Weymouth,  dwelt  a  few  under  the  chief  Aberdecest.  Prof.  A. 
F.  Chamberlain,  of  Gark  University,  in  the  Handbook  of  the  United  States 
Bureau  of  Ethnolog)',  says  that  in  1621  Chickatal)Ot,  who  was  then  the  ruling 
sachem  of  the  tribe,  submitted  to  English  authority  and  entered  into  a  treaty 
of  .  peace  which  was  kept  sacredly  as  long  as  he  lived.  Ten  years  .later  he  vis- 
ited Governor  Winthrop  at  Boston,  "behaving  like  an  Englishman."  The  tribe 
then  numbered  about  five  himdred.  all  that  was  left  of  what  had  but  a  few  years 
before  been  one  of  the  most  powerful  Indian  trilies  in  New  Knpland.  Oiickatabot 
was  a  man  of  note  and  influence  among  his  jK-ople  and  a  tirm  friend  of  the  white 
man.  He  died  of  smallpox  in  1633.  A  few  years  after  his  death  most  of  the 
surviving  members  of  his  band  joined  the  "Praying  Indians,"  as  the  converts 
of  the  misionary  John  Eliot  were  called,  and  lived  with  them  in  the  villages  of 
Natick,  Nonantum  and  Ponkapog. 


The  Narragansett  (People  of  the  small  point)  lived  west  of  the  Namgansett 

Bay.  in  what  is  now  the  State  of  Rhode  Island,  and  extending  northwest  to  the 
countn,'  occupied  by  the  Nipmuck.  They  had  a  number  of  deities,  siuh  as  the 
sun.  moon,  water,  fire,  and  certain  animals,  and  celebrated  numerous  feasts.  As 
they  did  not  live  in  Massachusetts,  the  early  settlers  of  Norfolk  County  did  not 
come  in  ctose  touch  with  them  except  at  rare  intervals.  They  joined  the  Wam- 
panoag  in  the  conflict  known  as  Kii^  Philip's  war,  and  in  the  swamp  fight  near 

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Kingston,  Rhode  Island.  December  19,  if»75.  lost  nearly  one  thousand  men  in 
killed,  wounded  and  prisoners.  After  this  war  the  members  of  the  tribe  became 
exiles  among  the  other  tribes  in  the  vicinity. 


The  name  Xipmuck,  or  Xipamaug,  means  "Fresh  water  fishing  place,"  and 
was  applied  to  these  Indians  on  account  of  the  location  of  their  habitat,  which  / 
was  in  the  southcni  part  of  what  is  now  Worcester  County,  Massachusetts.  Some 
edinologists  have  classified  tfiem  as  one  of  the  Massachusett  subtribes,  but  James 
Moon^,  of  the  United  States  Bureau  of  Ethnology,  says:  "Their  villages  had 
no  apparent  political  connection,  and  the  different  parts  of  their  territory  were 
subject  to  their  more  powerful  neighbors,  the  Massachusett,  Wampanoag,  Nar- 
ragansett  and  Moh^n." 

From  this  it  would  appear  that,  even  if  they  had  at  some  time  been  related 
to  the  Massachusett  Indians,  they  afterward  became  an  independent  tribe,  though 
small  in  numbers.  In  1674  the  missionaries  had  seven  villages  in  the  Xipmuck 
COnntr\'  nnd  felt  encouraged  over  the  progress  the  Indians  were  making  toward 
Christianity  and  civilization.  But  the  next  year  nearly  all  the  able-bodied  Nip- 
nntck  braves  joined  the  hostile  tribes  in  King  Philip's  war.  After  the  war  those 
who  had  taken  part  against  the  whites  fled  to  Canada  or  New  York. 


In  the  native  language  of  this  tribe  they  were  called  the  Paquatong,  which 
meant  "Destroyers,"  a  name  that  well  describes  their  duiracter  and  warlike  dis- 
positiMi.  Before  they  were  conquered  by  the  English  in  1637,  they  were  the 
most  quarrelsome  and  dreaded  of  all  the  southern  Xew  England  tribes.  Tradi- 
tion says  they  were  originally  one  people  with  the  Mohet^nn,  from  whom  they 
separated  and  came  to  the  country  of  the  Xiantic,  where  they  drove  out  the 
natives  and  took  possession.  At  one  time  the  Pequot  tribe  numbered  over  three 
thousand,  but  war  and  pestilence  had  done  their  work,  so  that  when  the  first 
white  men  came  to  Rhode  Island  the  tribe  did  not  count  more  than  half  that 

Their  principal  sachem  at  the  time  the  first  English  settlements  were  made 
in  Xew  England,  and  for  several  years  thereafter,  was  named  Sassacus.  Xearly 
every  schoolboy  has  heard  the  stoiy  of  how  this  Sassacus  sent  to  tiie  Plymouth 
cok»y  a  bundle  of  arrows  wrapped  in  a  snake  skin ;  how  Squanto,  or  Tisquantum, 
the  friendly  Indian,  explained  that  this  was  equivalent  to  a  declaration  of  war; 
and  how  Capt.  Miles  Standish  fdled  the  snake  skin  with  gunpowder  and  bullets 
and  sent  it  back  to  the  Pequot  sachem.  ^ 


Thi>  answer  to  the  challenge,  as  bold  as  it  n  ns  unexpected,  had  the  tendency 
to  dampen  the  warlike  ardor  of  Sassacus  for  a  time.  P.iit  the  vindictive  nature 
of  the  Pequot  could  not  long  be  restrained.  In  1636  some  members  of  the  tribe 
killed  a  trader  who  they  thought  had  not  treated  them  right,  and  early  the  next 

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year  they  began  committing  depredations  upon  the  infant  settlements  of  Rhode 
Island  and  Connecticut.  The  white  settlers  of  New  England  made  common  causo 
against  the  Pequot.  Roger  Williams  enlisted  the  cooperation  of.  the  Moh^;an 
chief  Uncas,  with  seventy  of  his  warriors;  Capt  John  Mason  of  Hartford  raised 
a  force  of  ninety  men;  Captain  Patridc  of  Plymouth  recruited  a  company  of 
forty  volunteers  in  that  colony;  and  Captain  Underbill  took  twenty  men  from  the 
Massachusetts  Bay  settlements,  about  one-half  of  whom  went  from  Norfolk 

These  combined  forces  marched  against  the  Peqtiot  fort  on  the  Mystic  River, 
whidi  was  defended  by  practically  all  the  fighting  men  of  the  tribe.  The  fort 
was  surrounded  and  set  on  fire  and  about  six  hundred  Indians  perished  in  the 

flames  or  were  shot  down  while  tn,'ing  to  escape.  A  number  of  captives  were 
taken,  some  of  whom  were  sold  into  slavery  in  the  West  Indies,  small  parties  of 
those  who  escaped  joined  other  tribes  and  the  name  of  the  Pequot  became  extinct. 
Says  Barber,  in  his  "Historical  Collections  of  Massachusetts":  "This  first  war 
with  the  Indians  struck  such  terror  into  the  surrounding  tribes,  that  for  forty 
years  afterwards  they  never  openly  commenced  hostilities  with  the  English." 


During  the  greater  part  of  the  Seventeentii  Cortury  diis  was  one  of  tiie  lead* 

tng  tribes  of  New  England.  Their  habitat  was  along  the  eastern  shore  of  Nar- 
ragansett  Bay.  the  name  Wampanoag  meaning  "People  of  the  east."  From  the 
Narragansett  Bay  they  claimed  the  territory  northward  to  the  country  occupied 
by  the  Massachusett  confederacy.  The  Nauset  Indians,  a  subtribe  of  the  Wam- 
panoag, were  found  on  Cape  Cbd  in  1602  by  Gosnold,  who  traded  with  them, 
but  a  few  years  later  the  French  explorer  Chamj^in  found  them  inclined  to  be* 

Massasoit,  the  principal  sachem  of  the  Wampanoag,  was  the  first  Indian  chief-- 
tain  to  enter  into  a  treaty  of  peace  with  the  early  colonists,  which  treaty  he  kept 
in  good  faith  as  locig  as  he  Uwd.  He  lived  in  a  village  called  Pokanoket,  a  name 
which  has  sometimes  been  incorrectly  applied  to  the  Indians  of  this  tribe.  Massa- 
soit  had  two  sons — Wamsutta  and  Metacom — and  on  the  occasion  of  one  of  his 
visits  to  the  white  men,  he  requested  that  his  sons  be  given  English  names.  The- 
result  was  that  Wamsutta*  was  called  Alexander,  and  Metacom  took  the  name 


Upon  the  death  of  Massasoit,  almut  1659  or  1660,  Alexander  became  sachem 
of  the  Wampanoag.  He  lived  but  a  short  time  and  in  1662  the  scepter  passed  to 
the  younger  son,  who  is  known  in  history  as  King  Philip,  or  Philip  of  Pokanoket, 
and  who  has  been  called  "the  most  remarkable  of  all  the  Indians  of  New  England." 

Philip  was  quite  unlike  his  father.  He  was  cunning,  ambitious,  and  filled 
with  an  unalterable  hatred  of  the  white  people,  who  he  Relieved  were  robbing 
the  Indians  of  their  hunting  ground^.  Sf)on  after  becoming  sachem,  he  renewed 
the  treaty  of  peace  made  by  his  father  some  fifty  years  before,  but  about  1670 
the  settfers  reached  the  condusion  that  he  was  engaged  m  some  work  of  treacheiy. 

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So  grave  did  this  suspicion  become  that  in  1673  some  of  the  towns  of  Norfolk 
County  were  ordered  by  the  General  Court  to  place  themselves  in  a  state  of 


In  Dedham  a  barrel  of  gunpowder  and  other  ammunition  were  procured; 
the  small  cannon  whidi  had  been  given  to  tfie  town  by  the  General  Cburt  in  1650 
was  mounted  on  wheels;  a  garrison  was  oiganised,  a  watch  set,  and  the  meet- 
ing house  was  designated  as  a  depository  for  supplies  in  case  of  an  attack  or 

siege.  Through  these  preparations  Dedham  was  spared  the  fate  of  some  of  her 
sister  towns  three  years  later.  Similar  preparations  were  made  in  a  few  of  the 
other  towns,  and  they  likewise  escaped  an  Indian  attack. 

All  doubts  as  to  Philip's  bad  faith  and  hostile  intentions  were  removed  in 
the  winter  of  1674-75,  when  John  Sausamun,  a  Praying  Indian,  informed  the 
governor  of  the  Plymouth  colony  that  the  wily  sachem  was  engaged  in  an  effort 
to  unite  all  the  Indian  tribes  in  a  general  uprising  against  the  whites,  hoping 
thereby  to  exterminate  them  or  drive  them  back  across  the  sea,  and  thus  regain 
full  possession  of  their  hunting  grounds.  Not  Umg  after  this  Sausamun*s  body 
was  found  under  the  ice  in  Assawomaet  Pond,  near  Middleboro,  in  the  western 
jait  of  what  is  now  Plymouth  County. 

Three  Indians  were  arrested,  charged  with  the  murder,  and  one  of  them 
confessed  that  they  had  been  incited  to  the  act  by  Philip.  The  three  were  hanged 
at  Plymouth  on  June  8,  1675.  The  hanging  of  these  men  told  Philip  that  his 
conspiracy  was  fully  known  to  the  hated  palefaces,  and  he  hastened  forward 
his  movements.  He  was  then  living  at  Mount  Hope,  Rhode  Island,  and  from 
there  sent  out  the  order  to  his  warriors  to  be  ready  to  move  against  the  white 
settlements.  The  Indians  had  a  superstition  lliat  the  party  which  struck  the  first 
blow  in  a  fray  would  be  vanquished  in  the  end,  and  the  plan  was  to  provoke  the 
settlers  to  ah  assault  killing  their  cattle  while  Uney  were  attending  church  on 
Sunday.  The  first  hostile  demonstration  was  made  against  the  Town  of  Swan- 
«y,  Bristol  County,  at  the  head  of  Narragansctt  Bay,  on  Sunday,  June  24,  1675. 
Nine  men  were  killed  and  several  wounded  before  the  white  people  had  time 
to  organize  for  resistance.  Brookfield,  Worcester  County,  was  tlie  next  point 
of  attack,  and  every  house  in  the  town  but  one  was  burned.  Before  the  close 
of  the  summer  Hadley,  Deerfield  and  Northfield  in  the  Connecticut  Valley  were 
attacked,  a  number  of  white  people  killed  and  many  buildings  bumed. 

In  the  fall  the  commissioners  of  the  United  Colonics  called  for  one  thousand 
men  to  suppress  the  insurrection  and  apix)inted  Governor  \\'inslo\v  of  Massa- 
chusetts commander-in-chief,  Massachusetts  furnished  six  companies  of  infantry 
and  a  troop  of  hont,  under  command  of  Blajor  Appleton;  five  companies  under 
Major  Treat  came  from  Connecticttt;  and  Major  Bradford  recruited  two  com- 
panies in  Plymouth. 

Mention  has  already  been  made  of  the  overwhelming  defeat  of  the  Narra- 
gansett  Indians  in  the  winter  of  1675-76.  Among  the  chiefs  of  that  tribe  was 
Pumoham  (commonly  written  Pumham),  sachem  of  Shaomet,  "one  of  the  stout- 
est and  most  valiant  sachems  that  bdonged  to  the  Narragansett"  Some  years 
prior  to  the  breaking  out  of  the  war  he  had  quarreled  with  Miantonwno,  diief 
sachem  of  the  tribe,  to  whom  he  was  subordinate,  and  placed  himself  under  ttie 
colonial  government  for  protection.  Upon  the  death  of  Miantonomo,  his  son 
Canonchet  became  the  chief  sachem,  Pumoham  returned  to  his  allegiance  and 

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the  two  chieftains  joined  Philip  in  1675  with  about  one  thousand  Xarragansett 
warriors.  Next  to  Philip,  Pumoham  "was  the  most  dreaded  of  the  Indian  leaders." 

It  was  against  the  Narragansett  ItxiHaiis  that  the  expedition  raised  in  ttie 
fall  of  1675  was  sent  Pumoham  and  Canonchet,  when  they  learned  that  a  laige 
force  was  marching  against  them,  took  up  a  strong  position  in  a  swamp  in  the 
northern  part  of  Rhode  Island  and  awaited  its  approach.  After  a  toilsome  march 
over  ruuf,di  roads,  in  severe  winter  weather,  the  white  men  surrounded  the 
swamp  and  the  assault  was  made  on  December  ly,  1675.  What  followed  is  thus 
told  by  John  Davis  in  the  "New  England  MemoriaL" 

"The  attack  on  the  enemy's  fort  was  cmnpletely  successful  It  was  a  counter- 
part to  the  memorable  exploit  against  the  Pequots,  forty  years  before,  by  the 
men  of  Connecticut.  A  day  of  horrible  conflagration  and  slaughter  indicted  a 
blow,  from  which  the  Narragansett  nation  never  recovered.  Seven  hundred  of 
their  fighting  men  fell  in  the  acticm,  and  it  was  computed  that  at  least  three 
hundred  more  died  of  their  wounds  and  from  the  hardships  which  ensued.  Sudi 
are  the  numbers  given  by  Hubbard  in  his  Narrntive,  derived  from  the  confession 
of  rotock.  one  of  the  Indian  chiefs,  afterward  taken  at  Rhode  Island  and  put 
to  death  in  lioston.  It  was  a  dear-bought  victory  to  the  assailants.  ]-"ive  brave 
captains  were  slain  in  the  action:  Davenport  of  Boston,  son  of  Capt.  Richard 
Davenport,  distinguished  in  the  Pequot  war,  Johnson  of  Roxbury,  Gardner  of 
Salem,  Gallop  of  New  London,  and  Marshall  of  Windsor.  Captain  Seeley  of 
Stratford  was  mortally  wounded  and  lived  but  a  few  days.  The  whole  loss 
sustained  by  the  assailants  was  eighty-five  killed  and  about  one  hundred  and  fifty 
wounded,  .'\mong  the  wounded  were  Major  Bradford  and  Captain  Church,  of 
Plymouth  Colony,  and  Lieutenant  Upham  of  Massachusetts.  The  latter  died 
of  his  wounds  some  months  later/' 

Up  to  this  time  the  war  had  not  seriously  affected  Norfolk  County.  Her 
trials  were  yet  to  come.  On  Februar\'  12.  1676,  a  pnrty  of  Indians  made  a  sudden 
descent  upon  the  Town  of  Weymouth  and  burned  several  houses.  Hurd's 
History  of  Norfolk  County  gives  the  date  of  this  attack  on  W'eymoulh  as  Feb- 
ruafy  12,  1675,  but  all  the  histories  of  tiie  war  consulted  by  the  writer,  except 
one,  agree  that  the  hostilities  began  with  the  attack  on  Swanzey,  June  24,  1675, 
more  than  four  months  after  the  date  mentioned  by  Kurd.  The  exception  is  the 
account  given  by  Niles,  who  fixes  each  of  the  events  connected  with  the  war 
one  year  earlier  than  their  actual  occurrence.  It  is  possible  that  this  may 
account  for  the  statonent  made  by  Hurd. 

Early  in  February,  1676,  the  main  body  of  the  Indians  assembled  at  Wachu- 
sett  Mountain,  in  the  Town  of  Princeton,  Worcester  County.  Here  they  divided, 
one  party  moving  northward  toward  Concord  and  Haverhill,  and  the  othef 
against  Lancaster,  Marlboro  and  Medfield.  The  latter  was  commanded  by  the 
chief  called  Monaco.  Lancaster  was  burned  and  pillaged  on  the  loth,  and  late 
on  the  20th  the  citizens  of  Medfield  observed  signs  of  the  enemy's  approadi.  A 
strong  watch  was  set  during  the  night,  but  the  Indians,  under  cover  of  darkness, 
managed  to  elude  the  pickets  and  the  next  morning  found  a  considerable  number 
of  them  secreted  in  the  outbuildings  and  even  under  some  of  the  dwelling  houses. 
As  soon  as  the  watch  was  removed,  these  skulkers  came  forth  from  their  hiding 
places  and  appfied  tfie  torch.  Altc^edier  about  fifty  buildings  were  ccmsumed. 
The  records  of  the  town  contain  the  names  of  seventeen  residents  who  were 

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kiUed  and  a  number  received  dangerous  wounds,  from  the  effects  of  which  a  few 
afterward  died. 

In  anticipation  of  an  attack,  the  minister.  Mr.  W  ilson,  had  sent  a  letter  to  the 
governor  and  the  council  asking  for  soldiers  to  defend  the  -town.  About  a 
hundred  men  were  sent  there,  but  they  were  distributed  around  at  the  houses 
of  the  citizens  and  could  not  assemble  in  time  to  drive  off  the  enemy  until  the 
damage  was  done.  The  cannon  was  fired,  hn])in<;  that  the  reports  could  be 
heard  at  Dedham  and  bring  reinforcements.  The  Indians  were  afraid  of 
artillery,  and  at  the  first  discharge  retreated  across  the  river,  setting  tire  to  the 
bridge  as  they  departed.  Then  across  the  river,  in  full  view  of  the  burning  town, 
they  Indulged  in  a  grand  feast.  The  number  of  savages  engaged  in  this  nefarious 
work  was  estimated  at  five  hundred. 

Shortly  after  the  destruction  <  f  M  dfield,  Indians  were  seen  prowling  about 
in  the  woods  near  W'rentham  and  ihc  General  Court,  "in  consideration  that 
many  Inrlians  were  skulking  about  our  i)lantati(>ns.  doing  much  mischief  and 
damage,  '  offered  a  bounty  of  three  pounds  per  head  "to  every  person  who  should 
surprise,  slay,  or  bring  in  prisoner  any  such  Indians."  In  March,  1676.  the  in- 
habitants  of  Wrentham  left  their  homes  and  went  to  Dedham  for  protection, 
remaining^  there  until  the  spring  of  i^>77. 

In  April.  John  Jacobs  was  killed  by  the  Indians  while  working  in  his 

field  in  the  Town  of  Cohasset,  then  a  part  of  Hingham,  and  four  or  five  dwelling 
houses  were  burned.  On  the  19th  of  the  same  month  Thomas  Pratt  was  killed 
at  Weymouth.  These  outrages  were  the  work  of  a  small  marauding  party  and 
not  that  of  the  main  body  of  Philip's  army.  It  was  probably  the  same  party 
that  went  into  Rraintree.  where  they  killed  three  men  and  a  woman.  The  ac- 
count of  this  raid  says  they  carried  the  woman  "about  six  or  seven  miles,  and  then 
killed  her  and  hung  her  up  in  an  unseemly  and  barbarous  manner  by  the  wayside 
leading  from  Braintree  to  Bridgewater." 

Pumoham,  who  had  managed  to  escape  at  the  time  of  the  *'Swam[>  Fight"* 
in  December.  i^>75,  gathered  a  handful  of  warriors  and  commenced  preying  upon 
the  unguarded  settlements.  AIkuU  the  middle  of  July.  1676,  it  was  learned  that 
this  predatory  band  was  in  Dedham  woods,  waiting  for  such  time  as  they  could 
catch  the  people  unawares  to  commit  further  depredations.  Captain  Hunting 
quietly  organized  a  small  company  of  Dedham  and  Medfield  men,  with  a  few 
friendly  Indians,  and  went  in  pursuit.  Thirty-five  of  the  Indians  were  captured 
without  resistance,  but  Pumoham  refused  to  surrender.  .After  being  fatally 
wounded  he  seriously  injured  one  of  Hunting's  men  with  his  tomahawk,  and 
Fiarber  says  "he  was  slain  raging  like  a  wild  beast."  Fifteen  Indians  were  killed 
in  this  action,  which  took  place  on  July  25.  1676. 

Sometime  in  the  summer  of  1676,  the  exact  date  is  uncertain,  a  man  named 
Rocket,  while  looking  for  a  stray  horse,  came  upon  an  Indian  trail  near  the 
present  line  between  Franklin  and  Wrentham.  Suspecting  that  it  was  the  trail  of 
a  war  party,  he  followed  it  with  great  caution  until  almost  sun.set,  when  he  dis- 
covered the  Indians  preparing  to  go  into  camp  at  the  foot  of  a  rocky  eminence 
near  the  Mill  River.  He  hurried  back  to  the  settlements  and  reported  what  he 
had  seen.  .\  company  of  thirteen  men  was  collected  and.  under  command  of 
Capt.  Robert  Ware,  was  guided  to  the  encampment  by  Mr.  Rocket.  Captain 
Ware  stationed  his  men  in  the  thickets  about  the  camp,  with  instructions  not 



to  fire  until  it  was  light  enough  to  aim  witii  certainty.  About  sunrise  the  Indians 
arose  and  began  their  preparations  for  resuming  their  march.  Instantly  thirteen 
muskets  were  discharged  and  as  many  savages  fell  killed  or  wounded.  The 
sudden  and  unexpected  attack  threw  the  others  into  consternation  and  they  sought 
safety  in  flight.  They  were  pursued  and  several  of  them  kiUed.  The  rock  where 
this  encounter  took  place  is  still  known  as  "Indian  Rock." 

From  the  time  of  the  tirst  attack  on  Swanzey  to  August  i,  1676,  fifty-two 
towns  were  attacked  and  twelve  of  them  almost  or  quite  totally  destroyed.  I  hen, 
seeing  that  the  colonists  were  thoroughly  aroused,  Philip  retired  to  a  wild  tract 
of  country,  known  as  the  Pocasset  Cedar  Swamp,  in  the  northern  part  of  Rhode 
Iskuid.  Capt.  Benjamin  Church  of  Plymouth,  with  a  force  of  white  men  and 
friendly  Indians,  made  the  last  march  of  the  war  and  reached  the  swamp  on 
the  afternoon  of  August  12,  1676.  In  drawing  a  cordon  about  the  swamp  the 
men  were  placed  in  pairs — white  man  and  an  Indian  together.  It  was  dark, 
before  Captain  Church  could  perfect  his  arrangements,  and  a  night  attack  was 
made  upon  Philip's  swamp  fortress.  Many  of  the  Indians  fell  at  the  first  volley 
and  others  were  killed  while  trying  to  escape.  Philip  made  a  bold  dash  for  liberty 
and  succeeded  in  getting  through  the  first  line,  when  he  encountered  nnc  of  the 
pairs  mentioned.  The  white  man's  gun  niis-sed  fire,  when  the  Indian  fired  and 
the  bullet  sped  true  to  its  mark.  Thus  ended  the  career  of  Phihp  of  Pokanokei. 
whose  war  of  fourteen  months  cost  the  colonies  six  htmdred  brave  men,  the 
destruction  of  a  dozen  towns,  several  hundred  dwellings  scattered  through  the 
rural  districts,  and  about  half  a  million  dollars  in  money.  Philip's  wife  and  son 
were  captured  and  sold  into  slavery.  The  defeat  of  the  Indians  was  complete, 
and  never  again  did  any  of  the  tribes  make  open  war  upon  the  New  England 



Tn  October,  1646.  John  Eliot,  the  "Indian  Apostle."  preached  his  first  sermon 
to  the  natives  at  what  afterward  became  known  as  Newton  Comer.  The  Indian 
village  that  subsequently  grew  up  there  was  called  Nonantum,  or  "Place  of  re- 
joicing." In  1650  Mr.  Eliot  founded  the  village  of  Natick,  where  the  "Praying 
Indians,*'  as  his  converts  were  called,  were  given  a  reservation  of  six  thousand 
acres.  A  few  years  later  Natick  had  a  population  of  over  two  hundred,  and  until 
the  time  of  King  Philip's  war,  it  was  probably  the  most  important  Indian  village 
in  New  England.  In  1663  there  were  fourteen  praying  villages. 

Mr.  Eliot  translated  the  BiUe  and  some  other  works  into  the  Indian  language, 
established  schoob  among  the  children  of  the  forest,  and  taught  them  many  of 
the  customs  of  the  white  man's  civilization,  .\ftcr  his  death  the  Praying  Indians 
gradually  dccrea.sed  in  numl)ers.  .Some  of  them  took  part  in  the  French  and 
Indian  war  and  at  its  close  the  population  of  Natick  was  only  thirty-seven. 


It  was  the  policy  of  the  Ma-^sachusetts  colony,  in  granting  tracts  of  land  to 
companies  of  persons  for  the  purpose  of  founding  towns,  to  make  such  grants 
subject  to  the  Indian  title.  The  Cotmcil  of  New  England  advised  the  grantees 

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to  purchase  the  titk  of  any  Indians  who  might  claim  rights  of  inheritance  to 
any  of  the  hmds  included  in  the  grant,  thereby  maintaining  friendly  relations 

with  the  natives  and  refuting  all  charges  of  confiscating  their  hunting  grounds. 

The  first  purchase  of  Norfolk  County  land  was  made  soon  after  the  Town  of 
Dedham  was  incorporated  (possibly  before  the  act  of  incorporation  was  passed), 
from  the  sachems  who  claimed  the  country  west  of  the  Neponset  River  and 
south  and  east  of  the  Charles  River.  The  tract  included  the  present  Town  of 
Dedham  and  some  of  the  adjacent  towns,  though  it  does  not  appear  that  any 
deed  or  treaty  relating  to  this  purchase  was  ever  made  a  matter  of  record.  The 
Indian  title  to  Medfield  and  some  of  the  adjacent  territory  was  purchased  of 
Chickatabot.  , 

Says  Worthington :  ''In  1660  two  agents  are  appointed  to  treat  witii  the  saga- 
mores who  owned  Wollomonopoag,  now  Wrenthaun.  In  1662  Ridiard  Ellis  and 
Timothy  Dwight,  the  agents  appointed  for  that  purpose,  made  a  report  that  they 
had  made  a  treaty  with  Philip  the  saf^^aniore,  for  lands  six  miles  square,  or  as 
much  as  six  miles  square,  at  Wollomonopoag,  and  exhibited  his  deed  thereof, 
under  hand  and  seal.  Six  days  after  tiiis  report  is  made,  the  town  ratify  tfie 
treaty  and  assess  their  common  rights  to  tiie  amount  of  twenty-four  pouncb  ten 
shilUngs,  for  the  purpose  of  paying  King  Philip  the  stipulated  price  for  his  deed." 

In  the  fall  of  1669  Philip  notified  the  Dedham  autliorities  that  he  still  owned 
certain  lands  in  the  vicinity  of  Wollomonopoag,  and  otTercd  to  sell  them  to  the 
white  people.  The  Dedham  selectmen  appointed  a  commission  of  five  persons, 
at  the  head  of  whidi  was  Timothy  Dw^ht,  to  treat  with  htm  for  tiie  lands, 
"provided  he  can  show  that  he  has  any  rights  to  the  same,  and  provided  he  will 
«;ecxire  the  town  against  future  claims  of  other  sachems  "  It  is  extremely  douht- 
ful  whether  Philip  really  had  any  more  rifjht  to  the  lands  in  that  section  of  the 
county  than  any  other  Indian.  But  his  experience  of  nine  years  before  taught 
him  that  the  white  inhabitants  were  willing  to  pay,  and,  realizing  that  it  was 
cmly  a  question  of  time  when  they  would  come  into  possession  at  any  rate,  he 
took  advantage  of  the  situation  to  get  as  much  money  as  he  could.  On  November 
15.  i6r<).  the  town  ordered  an  assessment  of  seventeen  pounds  eight  shillings 
to  pay  for  this  second  purchase  of  Philip. 

In  the  meantime,  July  4, 1665.  the  Indians  Wampatuck,  Ahahden  and  Squmudc, 
sons  of  Chickatabot,  deeded  certain  lands  in  what  are  now  the  towns  of  Cohasset 
and  Hingham  to  Capt.  Joshua  Hubbard  and  Ensign  John  Thaxter,  for  the  white  • 
inhabitants,  thus  confirming  the  act  of  their  father  in  permitting^  the  white  people 
to  occupy  the  land,  though  it  is  not  certain  that  Chickatabot  sold  the  land  outright. 

On  August  5,  1665,  Wampatuck,  alias  Josias,  sagamore  of  Massachusetts, 
son  of  Chickatabot,  with  the  consent  of  his  wise  men,  viz. :  "Squamog,  his  brother 
Daniel,  old  Nahatun,  William  Mananiomott,  Job  Nassott,  Manuntago  and  William 
Nahatun."  sold  to  the  white  settlers  "nil  of  t!ie  east  of  the  lands  within  the  bounds 
of  Braintrey  .  being  bounded  on  the  sea  side  with  the  northeast,  and 
with  the  Dorchester  line  on  the  northwest,  and  by  the  Waymouth  line  on  the 
southeast  and  with  the  Dorchester  line  on  the  soutiiwest" 

The  white  men  who  n^otiated  diis  purchase  were  Samuel  Basse,  Thomas 
Faxon,  Francis  Eliot,  William  Needham,  William  Savill,  Henry  Neale,  Richard 
Thayer  and  Christof^er  Webb.  The  consideration  was  twenty-one  pounds  and 

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ten  shillings.  For  many  years  this  deed,  properly  framed,  hung  in  the  town 
house  of  old  Braintree. 

On  April  14,  1680,  a  deed  was  executed  by  William  Xahaton,  alias  Quaanan, 
and  his  brothers  Peter  Xatoogus  and  r.etijaniin  Xahaton,  and  their  sisters  Tah- 
keesuisk  Nahaton  and  Hannah  Nahaton,  alias  janimewwosli,  '  living  in  Punka- 
pogg,  near  Blue  Hill  in  the  bounds  of  Dorchester,  to  any  lands  lying  in  the  Town 
of  Dedham."  This  deed  especially  describes  a  "parcel  or  tract  of  land  as  it  lieth 
towards  the  northerly  side  of  Dedham,  by  the  Great  Falls  of  the  Charles  River, 
to  the  Xatick  saw  mill  brook,"  etc.,  to  which  land  the  Indians  relinquished  '"all 
n'glit.  title  ami  whole  interest."  This  purchase  was  brought  about  by  Timothy 
Dwighi,  Ricliard  Ellice  and  Thomas  Baticlle,  commissioners  appointed  to  nego- 
tiate the  treaty  and  receive  the  title  to  the  land. 

John  Magus,  a  minor  sachem  living  at  Natick  Village,  and  his  wife,  Sara 
Magus,  executed  a  deed  on  April  18,  1681,  to  Daniel  Fisher,  Thomas  Fuller, 
Richard  Ellice  and  X'^athanicl  lUillard,  commissioners  appointed  by  the  Dedham 
authorities,  embracing  "the  wiiole  parcel  or  tract  of  land  as  it  lieth  in  Dedham 
bounds/*  etc.  The  tract  thus  conveyed  was  known  as  Magus  Hill  and  included 
the  present  town#  of  Natick  and  Needham  and  that  part  of  Dedham  known  as 
Dedham  Island.  The  ccmsideration  was  five  pounds  in  money  and  Indian  com 
to  the  value  of  three  pounds. 

The  territory  now  included  in  the  Town  of  Rrookline  was  first  obtained  of 
Chickatabot  in  1630.  On  March  19,  1685,  his  grandson,  Charles  Josias,  alias 
Josias  Wampatuck,  and  his  councilors,  by  and  widi  the  advice  and  consent  of  his 
guardians,  William  Stoughton  and  Joseph  Dudley,  made  a  deed  to  Elisha  Cooke, 
Elisha  Hutchinson,  Samuel  Shrimpton,  John  Joyliffe,  Simon  Lynde,  John  Saf?in, 
Edward  Wyllys,  Daniel  Turel.  Sr,,  Henry  Allen.  John  Faireweather.  Timothy 
Prout,  Sr.,  and  Theophilus  Ffrary,  "in  behalf  of  the  rest  of  the  Proprietated 
Inhabitants  of  the  Town  of  Boston  and  Precincts  thereof,"  confirming  the  act  of 
his  grandfather  fifty-five  years  before.  The  consideration  mentioned  in  the  deed 
was  a  "Valuable  Summe  of  Money."  payment  of  which  is  acknowledlged. 

On  April  18,  if^^.  this  same  "Josias.  alias  Josias  Wampatuck.  son  and  heir 
of  the  late  sachem  of  the  Indians  inhabiting  the  Massachusetts,  in  Xew  England, 
and  grandson  of  Chickatabot,  the  former  grand  sachem,"  made  a  deed  contimiing 
the  sale  of  land  included  in  the  town  of  Dedham  by  his  grandfather  fifty  years 
before.  The  deed  was  approved  by  William  Stoughton  and  Joseph  Dudley, 
guardians  for  Josias,  who  received  four  pounds  and  ten  shillings  as  a  considera- 
tion. Some  of  these  ancient  deeds  are  now  in  the  collections  of  the  Dedham 
Historical  Society. 




Upon  the  death  of  Queen  ElizRbeth,  James  I  ascended  the  English  throne. 
At  that  time  there  were  four  religious  otganizations  in  existence  in  England. 
First,  the  Church  of  England,  which  had  the  sanction  and  support  of  the  British 

Government  and  its  Kinp::  Second,  the  Separatists  (later  known  as  the  Piljjrims), 
who  r<M'ii -od  to  affihate  in  any  way  with  the  Church  of  England,  or  to  acknowl- 
edge the  authority  ot  the  state  church;  Third,  the  Puritans,  or  Nonconformists, 
who  differed  from  the  Anglican  Church  only  in  their  disregard  of  certain  ritual- 
istic rites  and  observances ;  and  Fourth,  the  Roman  Cadiolics,  who  in  some  parts 
of  the  countr)'  formed  the  prevailing  religious  power.  The  religious  situation 
in  England  at  the  close  of  the  Sixteenth  Century  wielded  an  important  influence 
upon  the  early  settlement  of  Xorth  America. 

Twice  before  becoming  king— in  1581  and  again  in  159a— James  I  had 
openly  professed  a  sincere  belief  in  the  teachings  of  John  Knox  and  the  Puri- 
tans. On  April  3,  1603,  when  about  to  leave  Scotland  for  his  oormiation,  he 
pave  thanks  publicly  in  the  kirk,  declaring  that  "As  God  has  promoted  me  to 
greater  power,  it  is  my  duty  to  establish  religion  and  take  away  corruption  in 
both  England  and  Scotland."  This  public  and  apparently  fearless  public  utterance 
gave  great  encouragement  to  the  Puritans.  But  they  soon  learned  that  James 
was  not  sincere.  In  his  address  to  Parliament  in  1604,  he  pronounced  the  Puritans 
to  be  "a  sect  insufferable  in  a  well  governed  commonwealth."  Three-fourths 
of  the  members  of  the  House  of  Commons  sympathized  with  the  Puritans,  and 
they  were  not  slow  in  showing  by  their  actions  that  the  insolence  of  the  king 
had  awakened  the  indignation  of  iht  NonconfOTinists.  The  attttude  of  the  House 
of  Commons  led  James  to  say  in  a  letter  written  about  this  time:  "I  would 
rather  live  like  a  hermit  than  be  a  king  over  such  a  people  as  the  pack  of  Puritans 
arc  that  overrule  the  lower  house."  !  H<  motto  seemed  to  be  "N'o  bishop,  no 
kins:  "  In  July.  i'V)4.  he  i'^sucd  a  procl.imation  in  wliich  he  declared  that  he  wanted 
only  '  one  doctrine,  one  discipline,  one  religion,  in  substance  and  in  ceremony," 
and  ordered  "all  curates  and  lecturers  to  conform  strictly  to  the  rubrics  of  die 
prayer  book,  on  pain  of  deprivation." 

N'ot  long  after  this  proclamation  was  promulgated,  James  confidently  asserted 
that  he  would  make  all  dissenters  conform  to  the  ceremonies  of  the  Church  of 


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England,  or  he  would  liany  tiion  out  of  the  country.  And  that  was  exactly 
what  happened.  Large  numbers  of  the  Separatists  refused  to  conform  and  left 
their  native  land  to  find  refuge  in  Holland.  It  was  at  this  time  that  they  took  the 
name  of  Pilgrims.  For  several  years  a  congregation  of  the  Pilgrims  was  located 
at  Leyden,  under  the  pastoral  guidance  of  Rev.  John  Robmson,  who  has  been 
spoken  of  as  "the  most  learned*  polished  and 'modest  spirit  that  ever  separated 
from  the  Church  of  England." 


Jn  February,  1619,  the  Pilgrims  in  Holland  sent  agents  to  Ei^land  to  obtain 
a  patent  to  land  in  America.  After  considerable  delay  a  patent  was  issued  in  the 
name  of  John  \Mncob.  The  original  document  has  been  lost  and,  so  far  as 
known,  there  are  no  copies  in  existence.  It  is  believed  that  it  covered  certain  terri- 
tory that  now  lies  within  the  State  of  New  York.  As  soon  as  the  patent  had  been 
obtained,  ^e  Pilgrims  began  making  tiidr  preparations  for  emigrating,  but  more 
than  a  year  elapsed  bef<M«  the  fint  company  was  ready.  The  delay  in  completing 
their  preparations  caused  radical  dianges  in  their  original  plans  for  planting  a 
colony  in  the  New  World.  Another  agency  in  altering  their  plans  was  the 


On  July  23,  1620,  Sir  Thomas  Coventry  was  ordered  to  prepare  a  new  patent 
for  the  Plymouth  Company  for  the  king's  royal  signature.  The  result  was  the 
"Great  Patent  for  New  England,"  signed  by  King  James  and  conveying  to  forty 
of  his  subjects  "all  that  part  of  North  America  extending  from  the  fortieth  to 
the  forty-eigth  degree  of  north  latitude,  and  between  diese  parallds  from  the 
Atlantic  to  the  Pacific." 

The  company  of  forty,  which  included  some  of  the  most  wealthy  and  power- 
ful of  England's  nobility,  was  known  as  '"The  Council  established  at  Plymouth, 
in  the  County  of  Devon,  for  the  Planting,  Ruling,  Ordering  and  Governing  New 
En^^d  in  America.**  The  Great  Patent  did  not  pa«  the  seals  until  Novem- 
ber 3,  162a 


While  the  Great  Patent  was  pending,  those  of  tiie  Pilgrims  who  had  decided 
to  try  their  fortunes  in  America  made  everything  ready  for  their  departure. 
The  "Speedwell"  of  60  tons  was  chartered  in  Holland,  and  the  "Mayflower"  of 

180  tons  was  chartered  in  England  for  the  voyage.  The  two  vessels  started  on 
.August  13,  1620,  but  the  .Speedwell  sprang  a  leak  and  was  forced  to  put  in  at 
Dartmouth  for  repairs,  the  Mayflower  waiting  until  her  sister  ship  could  be  put 
in  condition.  After  a  few  days  another  start  was  made,  but  ^in  the  Speedwell 
began  to  leak  and  the  two  ships  put  in  at  Plymouth,  where  on  August  21st  the 
Speedwell  was  condemned  as  unseaworthy.  On  September  6.  1620,  the  May- 
flower, with  lor  persons  on  ixiard,  left  Plymouth  and  on  November  9th  the 
immigrants  sighted  the  cliffs  of  Cape  Cod. 

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Before  effecting  a  landing  and  choosing  a  site  for  their  settlement,  the  men 
on  board  as?tnililed  in  the  cabin  of  the  Mayflower  and  drew  up  the  following 
agreement  or  compact: 

"In  the  name  of  God,  Amen.  We  whose  names  are  under  written,  the  loyal 
subjects  of  our  dread  sovereign,  King  James,  by  the  Grace  of  God,  of  Great 
Britain  and  Ireland,  King,  Defender  of  the  Faith,  &c,,  having  undertaken,  for 
the  plory  of  God  and  the  advancement  of  the  Christian  faith,  and  the  honor  of 
our  King  and  country,  a  voyage  to  plant  the  first  colony  in  the  nonhem 
parts  of  Virginia,  do,  by  these  presents,  solemnly  and  mutually,  in  the  presence 
of  God  and  one  another,  covenant  and  combine  ourselves  together  unto  a  civil 
body  politic,  for  our  better  ordering  and  preservation  and  furtherance  of  the 
ends  aforesaid ;  and  by  virtue  hereof  to  enact,  constitute  and  frame  such 
just  and  e<jual  laws,  ordinances,  acts,  constitutions  and  offices,  from  time  to  time, 
as  shall  be  thought  most  meet  and  convenient  tor  the  general  good  of  the  colony ; 
onto  which  we  pmnise  all  due  submission  and  obedience. 

"In  witness  whereof  we  have  hereunto  subscribed  our  names,  at  Cape  Cod, 
the  iith  of  November,  in  the  year  of  the  reign  of  our  sovereign  lord.  King 
James,  of  England,  France  and  Ireland,  the  i8di,  and  of  Scotland  the  54th, 
A.  D.  i6ao." 

This  compact  was  signed  by  every  man  on  board  and  for  ten  years  it  was 
the  only  constitution  or  oiganic  law  of  the  Plymoudi  colony.  On  the  day  that 
it  was  signed  a  party  of  fifteen  men,  well  armed,  was  set  ashore  at  Long  Point 

to  explore  the  coast  and  select  a  location  for  the  proposed  plantation.  This  was 
followed  by  several  similar  cxplorii.p  parties  until  Decenilier  11,  1620,  when  they 
bnded  at  Plymouth.  A  fort  and  storehouse  were  built  and  land  was  allotted 
to  the  several  families.  The  white  man  had  at  last  gained  a  permanent  footing  in 
New  Ei^land. 


In  July,  1622,  Thomas  Weston,  a  merchant  of  London,  sent  out  two  ships — 
the  "Charity"  of  too  tons  and  the  "Swan"  of  50  tons,  with  fifty  or  sixty  meil, 
to  establish  a  colony.  The  follow  ing  mcmth  the  ships  arrived  at  Plymouth,  where 

a  majority  of  the  men  lived  at  the  expense  of  the  Pilj^^rims  while  the  Swan  went 
along  the  coast  to  seek  a  suitable  location  for  a  settlement.  The  men  were  not  of 
a  type  to  win  the  confidence  and  respect  of  the  Pilgrims.  A  few  of  them  were 
honest,  but  most  of  them  were  "rude  and  profane  fellows,"  and  none  was  fitted 
by  training  or  experience^  to  develop  a  new  country. 

After  a  few  weeks  the  Swan  returned  to  Plymouth  and  reported  in  favor  of 
a  place  called  Wessagusset  (  also  written  W'essagiiscus),  about  twenty-five  miles 
north  of  Plymouth,  in  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Weymouth,  Norfolk  County. 
In  October,  after  buildings  had  been  erected  for  the  use  of  those  who  remained 
as  colonists,  the  Charity  returned  to  England,  leaving  a  supply  of  provisions 
sufficient  to  last  the  colony  through  the  winter.  But  tiiqr  were  widiout  a  com- 
petent leader,  inexperienced  in  the  work  of  building  up  a  settlement  in  a  wilder- 
ness, with*  no  settled  habits  of  industry,  and  the  supply  of  provisions  was  soon 

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exhausted,  after  which  they  applied  to  their  neighbors  at  Plymouth  for  assistance. 

Finding  the  people  of  Plymouth  ahnost  a?;  destitute  as  they  were  themselves, 
they  pro])Osed  to  the  Pilf^^rims  to  furnish  the  Swan  to  visit  some  of  the  Indian 
villages  along  the  coast  and  procure  a  supply  of  corn.  Governor  Bradford,  with 
a  few  men  and  the  friendly  Indian.  Squanto,  took  the  vessel  and  went  to  a  place 
called  Monamoydce  (now  Chatham),  where  he  obtained  eight  hogsheads  of  com 
and  some  beans. 

Past  experience  had  taught  the  men  of  Wessagusset  nothing,  it  seems,  for 
they  soon  wasted  their  share  of  the  corn  and  beans.  Some  of  them  worked  for 
the  Indians  to  get  food,  some  stole  from  the  natives,  and  a  few  actually  died  of 
starvation.  In  their  idleness  they  incurred  the  displeasure  of  Wituwamat,  a 
mim>r  chief  of  the  Massachusett  Indians,  who  thrratuned  to  destroy  the  colony. 
They  appealed  to  the  Pilgrims  for  protection  and  Miles  Standish — the  only  man 
in  Xcw  England  with  previous  military  cxperit  ncc — was  sent  on  March  23.  1623, 
with  a  few  men,  to  settle  the  difticulty.  The  Indians  also  flocked  to  Wessagusset 
and  for  a  little  while  trouble  seemed  imminent  Inviting  Wituwamat,  Pecksuot 
and  two  other  Indian  leaders  into  a  room,  ostensibly  for  a  parley,  the  door  was 
closed  upon  a  signal  from  Standish  and  the  Indians  were  assaulted.  Three  of 
them  were  killed  in  the  room  and  the  other  one  wa§  taken  out  and  hanged.  The 
death  of  their  leaders  demoralized  the  Indians,  who  fled,  and  Standish  returned  to 
Plymouth.  A  few  of  Weston's  men  went  with  him  and  the  otiiers  wait  on  board 
the  Swan  and  sailed  away. 


In  December,  1622.  Robert  Gorges  received  from  the  Plymouth  Council  a 
grant  of  land  in  Massachusetts,  with  '*all  shores  and  coasts  for  ten  English  miles 
in  a  straight  line  toward  the  northeast."  In  other  words,  his  grant  lay  north  of 
the  Pilgrims'  colony  and  extended  along  the  coast  for  ten  miles.  Robert  was 
the  youngest  son  of  Sir  Ferdinando  Gorges,  and  soon  after  receiving  the  above 
mentioned  grant  he  was  appointed  lieutenant-general  of  the  countrj'. 

In  the  latter  part  of  August,  or  early  in  September,  1623,  Robert  Gorges, 
accompanwd  by  Rev.  William  M orrell  and  a  number  of  colonist,  aomt  of  whom 
brought  their  families,  arrived  in  Massachusetts  Bay.  After  selecting  his  ten 
miles  of  coast  line,  to  which  his  grant  gave  him  title,  he  established  his  colony 
at  Wessagusset,  where  Weston  had  attempted  to  plant  a  settlement  the  year 
before.  This  was  the  second  permanent  colony  to  be  established  in  Massadm- 
setts.  It  was  located  within  the  present  limits  of  Norfolk  County,  and  a  more 
detailed  history  of  it  is  given  in  the  chapter  on  the  Town  of  Weymouth. 


Early  in  1623  a  patent  was  obtained  by  Robert  Cushman  and  Edward  Wins- 
low,  "for  themselves  and  associates,"  to  a  tract  of  land  on  Cape  Ann  where  a 
fishing  station  was  e'^t.iblished.  A  little  later  the  Dorchester  Company  was 
organized  and  a  plantation  opened,  which  for  the  first  year  was  under  the  man- 
agement of  John  Tilly  and  Thomas  Gardner.  They  were  succeeded  by  Robert 
Conant,  who  in  1626  removed  the  plantation  to  Naumkeag  (now  Salem),  hoping 

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"that  in  following  times  it  might  prove  a  receptacle  for  such  as,  upon  account 
of  rei^^s  views,  would  be  willing  to  begin  a  foreign  plantation  in  this  part ' 
of  the  world." 

After  the  removal  of  the  colony  to  Xaunikt-ag.  the  Dorchester  Company  was 
dissolved,  and  Rev.  John  White,  who  has  been  called  "the  father  of  the  colony 
at  Cape  Ann,"  undertook  to  get  a  new  patent  to  lands  bordcritig  upon  Massachu- 
setts Bay.  In  the  meantime  King  James  had  died  and  was  succeeded  in  March, 
1625,  by  his  son,  Charles  I,  who  followed  his  royal  father  in  political  and  re- 
ligious matters.  Through  Mr.  White's  influence,  a  number  of  London  merchants 
subscribed  for  stock  in  the  enterprise,  and,  when  a  sufficient  amount  of  stock 
had  been  subscribed  to  make  a  good  showing,  application  was  made  for  a  patent. 


On  March  19.  162?^,  a  patent  was  granted  to  Sir  Henry-  Rosewdl,  Sir  John 
Young,  Thomas  Southcote.  John  Iluniphrcv,  John  Endicott  and  Simon  Whet- 
comb  as  the  Massachusetts  Company,  embracing  "that  part  of  Xcw  England 
lying  between  three  miles  to  the  north  of  the  Merrimac  and  three  miles  to  the 
south  of  the  Charles  River,  and  of  every  part  thereof  in  tiie  Massachusetts  Bay ; 
and  in  the  lengdi  between  the  described  breadth,  from  the  Atlantic  Ocean  to  the 
South  Sea." 

One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  new  company  was  to  select  John  Endicott,  "a 
Puritan  of  the  sternest  mould,"  to  conduct  a  party  of  emigrants  to  the  Conant 
settlement  at  Naumkeag  "to  carry  on  the  plantation  of  the  Dorchester  agents 
and  to  make  way  for  the  settlement  of  another  colony  in  the  Massachusetts." 
Endicott  and  his  family,  with  alx)Ut  forty  or  fifty  colonists,  embarked  at  Wey- 
mouth. England,  on  the  good  ship  "Abigail"  in  the  latter  part  of  June,  1628,  and 
on  the  6th  of  September  arrived  safely  at  Xaumkeag. 

In  May,  1629.  they  sent  three  ships—the  "Talbot,"  300  tons.  Capt  Thomas 
Beecher;  die  "George  Bonaventure,"  500  tons,  Capt.  Thomas  Coxe;  and  the 
"Lion's  Whelp,"  120  tons,  master  not  known,  with  about  two  hundred  planters 
to  join  the  colony  under  Endicott.  They  arrived  at  Xaumkeag  late  in  June, 
bringing  the  news  that  they  were  soon  to  be  folhnvcd  by  three  other  ships  bring- 
ing additional  colonists.  John  Endicott  was  elected  governor,  and  a  council  of 
tiiirteen,  of  wludi  the  governor  was  one,  was  chosen  to  control  the  afEatrs  of 
the  colony.  In  Jtme,  1629,  a  second  colony  was  established  under  the  auspices 
of  the  Massachusetts  Company  at  Charlestown. 


Up  to  this  time  the  company  and  the  colony  had  been  separate,  the  former  in 

England  making  rules  and  regulation^  for  the  latter  in  America.  Among  the 
Puritan?  was  a  deep-seated  idea  that  tfiose  who  left  England  and  came  to  Amer- 
ica should  be  given  the  privilege  to  establish  such  government  as  they  desired — 
"to  form  a  new  state,  as  fully  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  as  if  they  had  been 
in  a  state  of  nature  and  were  making  their  first  entrance  into  cizilized  society." 

They  therefore  sought  to  have  the  charter  transferred  to  America  and  finally 
succeeded,  the  transfer  being  made  on  August  28,  1629.   Prior  to  the  transfer, 

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Matthew  Ciadodc  had  heen  governor  of  th«  company  and  John  Endioott  of  the 

colony.  By  the  transfer  of  \hc  charter  the  company  and  the  aAoay  were  blended 

under  one  governor.  John  Winthrop  was  the  "first  governor  chosen  by  the 
freemen  of  the  colony  within  its  limits  under  the  charter  after  its  transfer." 


During  the  year  1630  seventeen  ships,  carrying  about  fifteen  hundred  persons, 
arrived  from  the  mother  country.  By  the  close  of  that  year,  just  a  decade  after 
the  Pilgrims  landed  at  Plymouth^  at  least  a  dozen  settlements  had  been  estab- 
lished in  Massaduiaetta,  to  wit:  Plymouth,  Wessagusset  (now  W^month), 
Watertown,  Moont  WoUaston,  Mattapan  (now  Dorchester),  Salem,  Lynn,  New 
Town  (now  Cambridge),  Charlestown,  Noddle's  Island  (now  East  Boston), 
Roxbury  and  Shawmut  Cnow  Boston).  Some  of  these  settlements  were  situated 
within  the  j)resent  borders  of  .\orfolk  County,  and  their  history  is  given  in  con- 
nection with  that  of  the  town  in  which  they  are  located. 

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In  these  earty  years  of  the  Twentieth  Century  the  dtizen  of  Norfollc  is  in  the 
fun  enjoyment  of  the  fruits  of  modem  invention  and  progress.  If  he  desires 

to  visit  another  part  of  the  county  he  can  step  into  his  automobile  and  gUde 
along  over  an  improved  highway  almost  with  the  speed  of  the  wind.  Should  he 
not  be  the  fortunate  possessor  of  an  automobile,  the  network  of  electric  railways 
is  at  his  service,  and  for  a  trifUng  sum  die  trolley  car  wOl  cany  him  to  Boston 
or  any  of  the  subuihan  towns.  In  the  .  event  a  longer  journey  is  contemplated* 
he  can  take  a  seat  in  a  railway  coach,  palatial  in  its  appointments,  and  be  whirled 
across  the  continent  behind  a  powerful  steam  locomotive,  eating  his  meals  and 
sleeping  comfortably  at  night  on  the  train.  He  enters  his  house  after  dark,  turns 
a  switch,  and  the  whole  place  is  flooded  with  electric  light.  The  telephone 
enables  him  to  converse  with  his  friends  or  transact  his  business  without  leaving 
his  office  or  his  residence.  He  turns  a  faucet  and  receives  a  supply  of  pure,  whole- 
some water  in  any  quantity  desired.  A  boy  brings  the  daily  newspajier  to  his 
door.  His  children  attend  school  in  a  stately  edifice,  heated  by  steam  during  the 
winter  seasons  and  equipped  with  all  the  modem  apparatus  for  imparting  in- 
straction.  On  Sunday  he  worships  in  a  church  witfi  cushioned  pews  and  Gar> 
peted  floor,  and  listens  to  ^  jubilant  tones  of  a  pipe  organ  that  m  many  instances 
cost  thousands  of  dollars. 

But  does  he  ever  pause  to  think  of  the  slow  and  tedious  process  by  which  all 
these  comforts  were  developed  for  him  to  enjoy?  The  Puritan  forefathers, 
when  they  first  came  to  this  region,  found  none  of  these  things.  Instead  they 
found  a  wilderness,  inhabited  only  by  wild  beasts  and  savage  Indians— the 
primeval  forest  untoudied  by  the  ax,  the  soil  unbroken  by  the  plowshare.  Into 
thi«  wild  and  desolate  country  they  came  as  exiles,  with  little  capital  besides 
their  industry  and  determination,  and  began  the  work  of  Iniilding  up  a  community 
whose  foundations  should  be  laid  deep  and  secure  in  the  jirinciples  of  everlasting 


The  first  problem  that  confronted  the  pioneers  was  to  provide  shelter  for 
fhemsetves  and  tfieir  fanrilin.  The  first  dwelfii^gs  were  log  cabins,  sudi  as  tfie 
settlers  themselves  could  construct  without  the  aid  of  the  trained  carpenter, 


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brickla\Tr  or  plasterer.  The  roofs  of  these  cabins  were  covered  with  tliatch, 
and  in  many  instances  the  only  floor  was  "mother  earth."  In  some  of  the  better 
cabins  there  was  a  floor  of  puncheons— that  is,  slabs  of  timber  split  as  nearly 
the  same  thickness  as  possible,  the  upper  surface  being  smoothed  with  an  ade 
after  the  floor  was  laid. 

A  little  later  came  the  frame  house.  Saw  mills  were  not  introduced  for 
several  years  and  the  first  boards  were  made  with  the  whip-saw.  A  "saw-pit" 
was  excavated  somewhere  in  a  convenient  hillside,  the  log  to  be  sawed  into 
boards  was  usually  hewn  on  two  sides,  so  that  it  would  rest  firmly  upon  the 
timbers  over  the  pit,  and  on  the  upper  !u  wn  surface  lines  were  struck  to  show  the 
thickness  of  the  boards  required.  The  whip-saw  was  operated  by  two  men — one 
standing  on  the  top  of  the  log  to  guide  the  saw  by  the  lines,  and  the  other  below 
in  the  pit  to  pull  the  saw  downward.  It  was  a  slow  method  of  making  lumber, 
but  many  of  the  first  houses  in  the  county  were  constructed  of  boards  thus 
manufactured.  Another  improvement  that  came  with  the  frame  house  was  the 
sliin-jle  roof,  'j  hi.'  first  shinjjles  were  rived  or  cloven  with  an  implement  called 
a  frow.  and  then  shaved  thin  at  the  upper  end  with  a  draw-knife.  Nails  and 
glass  were  the  most  difficult  materials  to  obtain  and  in  some  of  the  houses  light 
was  admitted  through  oiled  paper  or  a  piece  of  white  muslin  stretched  over  a 
framework  of  light  sticks.  IBrick  or  stone  fotmdatkitis  were  rare.  The  house 
was  usually  set  on  posts  or  piles  and  in  the  fall  of  the  m  ar  earth  was  banked 
up  around  it  to  form  an  "underpinning"  to  keep  out  the  cold.  Sometimes  the 
upper  story  of  a  house  would  project  beyond  the  walls  of  the  first  story.  This 
gave  rise  to  the  theory  that  they  were  so  constructed  that  the  settler  might  fire 
down  upon  Indians  trying  to  break  in  at  the  door,  but  this  is  hardly  true,  when 
one  considers  that  houses  of  that  type  had  been  constructed  in  England  for  years 
before  the  Puritans  came  to  America. 


In  the  first  cabins  «n  opening  was  left  at  one  end  for  the  great  fireplace, 
capable  of  taking  in  logs  or  sticks  of  wood  four  or  five  feet  long.  The  chimney 
was  built  outside  the  cabin.  It  was  generally  of  stone,  though,  where  stone  was 
not  convenient,  it  was  sometimes  built  of  sticks  and  plastered  with  clay  to  keep 
it  from  catching  fire.  When  people  began  to  build  frame  houses,  the  chimney 
was  placed  in  the  partition  wall,  in  order  that  there  might  be  a 'fireplace  in  each 
of  the  two  principal  rooms  on  the  lower  fioor.  In  front  of  the  fireplace  was  a 
hearth  of  stone  or  baked  clay  (bricks  were  used  later),  and  upon  this  hearth, 
extending  well  back  into  the  fireplace,  was  a  pair  of  great  andirons  to  support 
the  blazing  logs.  Some  of  these  andirons  were  "curiously  wrought  and  highly 
ornamental.**  Here  and  there  a  pair  has  been  preserved  by  some  historical  society 
or  collector  of  curios,  but  many  people  of  the  present  gefieration  probably  never 
saw  an  andiron  and  know  nothing  of  the  pleasure*;  nf  an  open  fire. 

For  light  of  evenings  the  first  settlers  depended  upon  pine  knots.  Then  came 
the  "betty  lamp,"  a  round,  shallow  metal  dish  with  a  nose  or  spout  about  an  inch 
long  on  one  side.  The  dish  was  partially  filled  with  oil  or  grease  of  some  kmd, 
into  which  was  placed  a  loosely  twisted  strip  of  cotton  cloth,  one  end  of  which 
projected  through  the  spout.  The  projecting  end  was  then  lighted,  and  although 

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such  a  lamp  emitted  both  smoke  and  odor,  it  gave  sufficient  light  to  enable  the 
housewife  to  attend  to  her  duties.  Over  the  hreplace  and  the  table  were  hooks, 
from  which  the  lamp  could  be  su^ended. 

Another  lamp,  called  the  "phebe/'  differed  from  the  betty  lamp  only  in  that 
it  was  made  with  two  dishes,  the  larger  one  being  placed  underneath  to  catch  the 
ashes  from  the  burning  wick  aiifl  tlic  (!rii)])in<;?  of  grease.  Lamps  of  this  char- 
acter required  a  great  deal  of  attt  ntmn,  as  the  wick  had  to  be  pushed  forward  as 
often  as  it  burned  down  to  the  edge  of  the  spout. 

A  little  later  came  the  sperm  oil  lamp.  It  was  made  of  tin  and  burned  a  round 
wick,  which  passed  through  a  small  tube  to  the  oil.  In  one  side  of  the  tube  was 
a  narrow  slot,  in  which  could  be  inserted  a  pin,  needle  or  small  wire  to  pull  up 
the  wick  when  the  flame  began  to  bum  low.  This  lamp  was  regarded  as  a  great 
improvement  over  the  betty  and  phebe  lamps. 

Next  came  the  talbw  dip,  which  was  made  as  follows:  Several  soft  cotton 
wicks,  about  six  inches  long,  were  fastened  at  one  end  to  a  slender  wand,  then 
dipped  into  a  kettle  of  molten  tallow  and  hung  up  over  a  pan  until  the  tallow 
adhering  to  the  wick  became  hardened.  Again  and  again  the  "dips"  were  im- 
m(  r-(  <1  in  hot  tallow,  a  little  more  of  which  was  added  each  time,  until  enough 
had  accumulated  to  form  a  fair  sized  candle. 

Then  some  genius  invented  the  candle-moulds — a  group  of  four,  six,  or  even 
more,  tin  tubes,  one  end  of  which  was  slightly  smaller  than  the  other,  soldered 
together  in  a  frame.  A  wick  was  drawn  through  the  center  of  each  tube  and 
the  moulds  were  then  filled  with  molten  t^low.  When  the  tallow  hardened  the 
candles  were  withdrawn.  Often  there  was  but  one  set  of  candle-moulds  in  a 
neighborhood,  but  the  owner  was  nearly  always  generous  enough  to  lend  them, 
and  they  passed  from  house  to  house  until  alll  had  a  supply  of  candles  laid  away 
in  a  cool,  dry  place  for  future  use. 

Lanterns  were  sometimes  made  of  horn,  scraped  thin  enough  to  emit  a  faint 
light  from  the  candle  that  was  In-ing  placed  inside.  Others  were  made  of  per- 
forated tin,  the  holes  being  small  enough  to  prevent  the  wind  from  blowing  out 
the  candle,  yet  laige  enough  to  throw  out  a  tiny  ray  of  light.  Such  a  lantern 
made  everytfiing  look  '*as  spotted  as  a  leopard." 

Matches  were  unknown  in  those  days  and  every  family  kept  a  "tinder  box" 
filled  with  .scorched  cotton  raps.  Into  this  "tinder"  a  spark  was  struck  with  flint 
and  steel.  The  dry  tinder  was  easily  ignited  and  with  a  little  care  and  skill  could 
be  coaxed  into  a  Same.  Then  a  betty  lamp  or  a  candle  was  lighted,  when  the 
box  was  closed  and  the  tinder  smothered  until  it  was  again  needed. 


Bcd.steads  brought  from  England,  or  made  by  the  first  cabinet  makers  in  this 
country,  contained  three  or  four  times  as  much  timber  as  the  factory  made  bed- 
steads of  more  modem  times.  The  posts  were  often  four  or  even  six  inches 
square,  turned  in  ornamental  designs,  and  reached  almost  to  the  ceiling.  There 
were  neither  slats,  springs  nor  mattresses,  such  as  are  in  use  today.  Cords  were 
drawn  tightly  around  small  pins  or  through  holes  in  the  rails,  which  were  almost 
as  large  as  the  posts.  Upm  this  network  of  cords  was  placed  the  "straw-tick," 
on  the  top  of  which  was  the  feather  bed.  Between  the  posts  at  either  end  were 

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the  head  and  foot  boards,  frequently  oniately  carved  or  scrolled  along  the  upper 
edge.  In  the  better  class  of  homes  a  canopy  was  fastened  to  the  tops  of  the 
posts,  and  from  the  edge  of  this  canopy  curtains  extended  ahnost  to  the  floor. 

Then  there  was  the  "trundle  bed,"  a  miniature  of  the  great  "four  poster" 
as  to  the  manner  of  construction,  thnugli  nnuh  smaller  in  its  dimensions.  It  was 
occupied  by  the  children  at  night  and  during  the  day  was  pushed  back  under 
the  larger  bed  lo  econumize  space. 

Tables  and  diairs  were  as  massive  in  proportion  as  the  bedsteads.  Some  of 
the  chairs  of  colonial  days,  notably  those  of  Governor  Carver  and  John  Eliot,  the  • 
Indian  apostte*  have  become  historic.  In  the  rooms  of  the  Dedham  Historical 
Society  is  preser\'cd  a  chair  once  owned  by  Michael  Metcalf,  also  Mr.  Metcalf's 
chest,  which  he  brought  with  him  to  Dedham  in  1637.  Both  chair  and  chest 
are  richly  carved  and  so  solidly  put  together  that  they  have  withstood  the 
ravages  of  three  centuries. 

The  more  opulent  of  the  pioneers  ascertained  the  time  by  a  ''grandfather's" 
or  ''wall-swcepcr"  clock.  These  clocks  were  about  six  feet  tall,  with  wooden 
whcel.s,  and  the  cases  were  many  times  works  of  art.  The  weights  of  the 
clock  were  cylinders  ot  tin  tilled  with  fine  sand.  If  the  clock  ran  too  slow  more 
sand  was  added  to  give  greater  impetus  to  the  movement,  and  if  it  ran  too  fast 
some  of  the  sand  was  taken  oat  Those  who  were  not  able  to  afford  a  dock 
depended  upon  a  sun  dial,  or  at  least  a  *'noon  mark*'  on  the  sill  of  one  of  the 
south  windows  of  the  house. 

Cooking  stoves  and  ranges  had  not  then  made  their  appearance  and  the  meals 
were  all  prepared  at  the  fireplace.  The  principal  cooking  utensils  were  an  iron 
tea-kettle,  a  long-handled  skillet  (sometimes  called  a  spider),  and  a  large  iron 
pot  Fastened  to  one  of  the  walls  of  the  fireplace  was  a  crane,  upon  which  the 
pot  could  be  suspended  over  the  fire.  Excellent  bread  was  often  baked  in  the 
spider,  by  placing  it  over  a  bed  of  hot  coals  and  then  heaping  more  coals  on  the 
iron  lid,  so  that  the  bread  would  bake  at  both  top  and  bottom.  The  large  pot 
was  used  in  the  preparation  of  the  "New  England  boiled  dinner,'*  whidi  con- 
sisted of  meat  and  several  kinds  of  vc^ietables  cooked  together. 

Many  of  the  vessek  and  dishes — ^bowls,  plates  and  spoons— were  made  of 
wood.   \\'hcn  porcelain  or  earthenware  dishes  first  came  into  use,  manv  objected  . 
to  them  because  they  dulled  the  knives.    There  were  also  pewter  porringers, 
teapots,  etc. 

Farm  implements  were  of  the  most  primitive  type.  Pkws  with  wooden  mold* 
boards,  harrows  wtih  wooden  teeth,  rakes  and  pitchforks  made  of  wood  were 

in  common  use  throui^hout  the  colony.  Wheat  was  harvested  with  the  old  sickle, 
or  "reapinf:  hook,"  and  threshed  with  the  flail.  Corn  and  wheat  were  ground  in 
hand  mills  brought  from  England  until  some  one  with  a  little  capital  and  enter- 
prise built  a  dam  and  mill  on  one  of  the  streams.  Setters  often  went  thirty 
or  forty  miles  to  such  a  mill  radier  than  operate  tiie  old  hand  mill 


Not  many  dainties  could  have  been  found  upon  the  tables  of  the  early  set- 
tlers. Their  food  was  plain  but  wholesome — ^beef,,pork,  combread  and  beans. 
The  eaily  mills  did  not  bolt  the  meal  and  it  was  run  through  a  sieve  to  separate 

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the  bran  from  the  part  intended  for  use.  Game  was  plentiful  and  the  family  fre- 
quently enjoyed  a  feast  of  wild  turkey  or  venison.  Potatoes  were  not  introduced 
until  Uie  early  part  of  the  Eighteenth  Century.  When  they  began  to  come  into 
use  many  peo|^  thought  they  were  poisonous.  If  any  were  left  at  the  dose 
of  the  winter  they  were  carefully  buried  for  fear  some  horse  or  cow  mj^t 
eat  them  and  be  killed.  A  story  has  been  told  of  one  man,  who,  when  he  saw 
the  I'lrst  potato,  bit  into  it  raw  and  then  remarked  that  it  "might  be  all  right 
if  allowed  to  stay  in  the  ground  until  ripened  by  tlic  frost.  '  in  some  of  the  towns 
there  was  a  by-law  that  no  cakes,  buns,  or  similar  pastries  should  be  served 
except  at  funerab  and  weddings. 

The  first  orchards  were  planted  with  seeds  brought  from  the  mother  country. 
\\Tien  they  were  old  enough  to  bear  fruit  a  stock  of  apple  butter  was  prepared 
in  tlie  fall  for  use  during  the  winter.  Cider  filtered  through  line  sand  was  also 
put  in  jugs  and  stored  until  audi  time  as  it  m^ht  be  nnded. 

Everybody  wore  homespun  dothing— woolen  goods  in  the  winter  and  linen 
in  the  summer.  Each  family  had  its  flax-brake  and  hackle,  and  in  the  long  winter 
evening^s  the  housewife,  after  her  regular  day's  work  was  done,  would  get  out 
her  s})inning  wheel  and  spin  flax  until  time  to  retire.  Woolen  yam  was  spun 
on  a  larger  wheel,  the  operator  walking  back  and  forth  as  the  thread  was  drawn 
out  and  then  wound  up  on  the  spmdle.  Qotih  was  woven  on  the  old  hand  loom, 
garments  were  cut  and  sewed  by  hand  with  the  needle,  and  there  was  probably 
not  a  lass  sixteen  years  of  age  in  the  Massachusetts  Bay  colony  who  was  not  able 
to  make  her  own  dresses,  or  to  operate  a  spinning  wheel.  How  man\  of  the 
young  ladies  who  graduated  in  the  Norfolk  County  high  schools  m  1917  can 
make  their  own  gowns? 

In  every  settlement  there  was  a  tanyard,  to  which  the  farmer  took  his  hides 
to  be  converted  into  leather.  The  shoemaker,  or  "cordwainer,"  did  not  have  a 
fixed  place  of  business.  Each  year  he  made  his  itineran,',  stopping  with  each 
of  his  customers  and  boarding  with  the  family  while  he  made  up  a  supj)ly  of 
shoes  for  the  several  members  of  the  household.  For  his  services  he  received 
about  sixty  cents  a  pair. 


One  of  the  first  things  to  be  done  in  a  new  settlement  was  to  erect  a  stockade 
for  protection  in  case  of  an  Indian  outbreak.  For  many  years  a  sentinel  was 
kq>t  constantly  on  guard  against  the  Indians.  The  signal  was  the  beating  of  a 

drum,  three  shots  fired  from  a  musket,  a  beacon  fire  at  night,  or  the  firing  of  a 
cannon,  if  the  town  possessed  one.  Any  one  of  these  signals  would  cause  mes- 
sengers to  hurry  to  the  outlying  houses  and  warn  the  inmates. 

Nearly  every  house  was  Sttrrounded  by  old-fashioned  flowers,  such  as  holly- 
hocks, mar^ds,  larkspur,  bouncing  betty,  sun  flowers  and  honeysuckle,  and 
in  the  gardens  were  cultivated  a  variety  of  plants  "for  physick."  Tl^e,  sage, 
wormwood,  spearmint,  pennyroyal,  tansy  and  various  other  herbs  were  carefully 
garnered  against  a  day  of  sickness,  for  the  nearest  physician  was  often  miles  away. 

Books  were  scarce  and  the  few  that  found  their  way  into  a  new  colony  were 

read  and  reread  tmtil  their  contents  were  almost  known  by  heart.  Every  family 

had  the  Bible,  the  Catechism,  Watts'  Hymns  and  an  Almanack,  whidi  amstt- 
Toi.  t-a 

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toted  the  principal  portion  of  the  librafy.  As  hite  as  the  middle  of  the  Etgfateenth 
Century  there  was  but  one  newspaper  in  all  New  England,  and  it  had  only  a 
small  circulation.  Pamjjhlets  by  such  men  as  Franklin,  Adams,  Jefferson  and 
Paine,  treating  on  the  political  situation,  wtrc  printed  and  circulated  among  the 
people,  which  helped  the  cause  of  independence. 

Late  in  tiie  fall  of  the  year  the  Indians  burned  the  grass  and  tmdeibrush  in 
certain  tracts  of  woodland  to  drive  out  the  game.  After  the  white  men  came 
the  cattle  belon^jing  to  them  would  be  gathered  into  a  common  herd  and  pas^ 
tured  in  these  burnt  woods,  or  wherever  there  was  a  sufficient  quantity  of  grass. 
These  places  were  called  "herd  walks,"  and  the  common  herd  was  in  charge  of 
a  "herdsman." 

Although  the  forefathers  were  believers  in  temperance,  West  India  *or  Ja- 
maica rum  was  used  freely  on  all  occasions,  such  as  the  dedication  of  meeting 
houses,  funerals,  in  harvest  time,  or  when  the  pastor  visited  the  family,  and 
instances  are  recorded  where  parish  meetings  "adjoumcd  to  the  nearest  inn," 
where  liquors  were  served.    Yet  an  intoxicated  person  was  rarely  seen. 

Travel  in  early  days  was  chiefly  cn  horsebadc,  as  no  highways  were  opened 
for  the  accommodation  of  vehicles.  In  front  of  nearly  every  house,  at  the  church, 
and  before  the  stores  in  the  villages  were  "horse-blocks,"  from  which  one  could 
easily  monnt  to  the  saddle. 

A  popular  superstition  was  that  if  one  ate  of  pancakes  made  of  rye  flour 
cm  Candlemas  Day  he  would  not  want  for  mon^  during  the  year.  Consequently 
on  that  day  rye  pancakes  were  served  at  least  at  one  meal  in  nearly  every 

Wolves  and  wildcats  infested  the  woods  and  annoyed  the  settlers  at  night 
with  their  howls  and  cries.  The  story  of  Little  Red  Riding  Hood  had  never  been 
told  to  the  children  of  that  period,  but  many  a  night  the  little  ones  cuddled  more 
closely  together  in  their  trundle  bed  and  shuddered  with  fear  as  tiie  howl  of  a 

wolf  was  heard  near  the  frontier  dwelling.   But  worse  than  the  annoyance  of 

their  howls  were  the  depredations  of  these  prowling  beasts  upon  the  pig-st)'  and 
the  sheep-fold.  Bounties  for  wolf  scalps  in  Norfolk  County  ran  as  high  at  one 
time  as  two  pounds. 

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In  the  settlement  of  Xcw  England,  especially  in  Massachusetts,  townships  or 
towns  were  established  before  the  counties,  and  for  a  score  of  years  the  town- 
ship formed  the  unit  of  political  actkm  on  alt  questions  of  puUic  policy.  In 
1642  the  people  of  New  Hampshire  voluntarily  united  with  Massachusetts*  and  on 
•  May  10,  1643,  whole  territory  was  divided  into  four  counties — Essex,  Middle- 
sex, Norfolk  and  Suffolk.  These  were  the  first  New  England  counties. 


The  County  of  Norfolk  es(alilisln<l  in  Kq.v  and  which  has  since  become  known 
as  "r)l{l  Norfolk  County,"  enibracrd  the  towns  of  iXncr.  Exeter,  Hampton, 
Haverhill,  Salisbury  anil  Strawberry  Bank  (now  I'ortsniouth),  all  lying  north 
of  the  Merrimac  River.  The  Town  of  Amesbury  was  afterward  erected  and 
added  to  the  county.  In  1679  New  Hampshire  was  made  a  royal  province,  talcing 
four  of  the  towns  from  Norfolk  County,  and  on  February  4,  1^0,  the  General 
Court  of  Massachusetts  issued  the  following  order: 

"This  Court  being  sensible  of  the  great  inconvenience  and  charge  that  it  will 
be  to  Salisbury,  Haverhill  and  Amesbury  to  continue  their  County  Court,  now 
some  of  the  towns  of  Norfolk  County  are  taken  off,  and  considering  ^t  these 
towns  did  formerly  belong  to  Essex  County,  and  attended  at  Essex  courts,  do 
order  that  these  towns  that  are  left  be  again  joined  to  Essex  and  attend  public 
business  at  the  Essex  courts,  there  to  implead  and  he  impleaded,  as  occasion 
shall  be;  their  records  of  lands  being  still  to  be  kept  in  some  one  of  their  own 
towns  on  the  north  of  the  Merrimack,  and  all  persons  acowding  to  course  of  law 
are  to  attend  in  Essex  County." 

By  this  order  "Old  Norfdk  County,"  established  in  1643,  passed  out  of 
existence,  and  the  name  was  not  revived  until  more  than  a  century  later,  when 
the  present  Norfolk  County  was  erected.  The  territory  comprising  the  Norfolk 
County  of  the  present  day  was  included  in  the  County  of  Suffolk  in  1643,  and 
renained  a  part  of  that  county  for  one  hundred  and  fifty  years. 


The  first  movement  for  a  division  of  Sufftrik  County  was  made  eariy  in 
May,  1726,  when  "A  merocmal  of  divers  persons,  representatives  of  ye  country 




towns  within  the  County  of  Suffolk,  praying  that  said  towns  be  set  apart  by 
themselves  and  made  a  disttiKt  cotuitf,  was  read  in  the  House  of  Repiesetitativcs 
of  the  Province  "  etc.  (See  State  Archives,  Court  Recwds,  vol.  13,  p.  225.) 

The  memorial  at  that  time  presented,  and  in  whidi  seven  towns  joined,  set 
forth  the  following;'  reasons  for  the  establishment  of  a  new  county: 

"First— The  hardships  on  the  country  jurymen  attending  a  week  or  a  fort- 
night together  to  causes  they  know  little  of  by  reasons  of  their  ignorance  of 
affairs  of  trade  and  merchandise.  The  allowance  for  the  actions  they  try  does 
not  defray  the  charge  of  their  attendance.  The  hardship  to  the  parties  wlu>  have 
actions- in  the  courts  that  they  are  obliged  to  attend  until  the  Boston  cases  are 

"Second — The  vast  business  of  the  Sessions  and  Common  Pleas  coming 
together  prolongs  the  court,  and  not  about  eight  country  causes  in  one  hundred 

"Third — li  the  countn,'  towns  were  a  distinct  county,  it  is  probable  that  four 
days  in  the  year  would  be  sufficient  tor  the  dispatch  of  their  bttSineSS,  and  the 
juries  would  he  concerned  only  in  titles  of  land. 

"i  ourth — The  country  towns  are  at  great  charge  in  maintaining  the  Boston 

"Fifth— The  greater  nunil)er  of  justices  of  the  county  Kve  in  Boston,  and  so 
cannot  be  presumed  to  be  knowing  in  country  affairs. 

'"Sixth — It  is  observable  that  the  country  people  are  at  great  charge  in  trav- 
elling to  Boston  for  probate  of  wills,  etc." 

After  tiiis  memorial  was  read  in  the  house,  it  was  ordered  that  the  Town  of 
Boston  be  served  with  a  co|qr  thereof.  That  they  may  show  cause  (if  any  tiiey 
have),  on  or  before  Thursday,  the  ninth  day  of  June  next,  why  tfw  Prayer  of 
the  petitioners  shall  not  be  granted." 

On  May  25,  1726,  the  selectmen  of  Boston — ^John  Baker,  Nathaniel  Green, 
Henry  Bering  and  Timothy  Prout — sent  in  a  partial  reply  and  asked  for  further 
time  in  which  to  prepare  a  full  answer.  They  were  graiited  until  the  following 
November.  On  November  26,  1726.  the  reply  of  the  town,  which  had  been  pre- 
pared by  the  selectmen  "with  much  skill  and  dexterity."  was  read  in  the  House 
of  Representatives.  On  the  30th  the  House  voted  in  favor  of  granting  the  petf- 
tion,  but  the  next  day  the  Council  refused  to  concur.  Thus  the  project  to  establish 
a  new  county  was  defeated. 



Another  petition  asking  for  a  division  of  Suffolk  County  came  before  the 
House  of  Representatives  on  June  19,  1727.  It  was  signed  by  W.  Dudley.  John 
Chandler,  Joseph  Write,  Thomas  TileMon,  Jonathan  Ware,  Joseph  Ellis.  Sunud 
White,  John  NIorse  and' John  Brown,  "in  behalfe  of  ye  Inhabitants."  They  also 
asked,  in  the  event  a  new  county  was  impracticaMe.  "That  the  Inferior  Court 
of  Common  Pleas  and  the  Court  of  General  Sc.-^sions  of  the  Peace  may  be 
removed  into  the  country  part  of  Suffolk  County,  one  to  Braintree  and  the  other 
to  Mediield  or  Dedham." 

Xo  action  was  taken  upon  this  petition  by  the  General  Court  until  the  26th 
of  the  following  December,  when  the  House  of  Rq>resentatives  granted  the 

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petitioners  power  and  instructed  them  "to  bring  in  a  bill  for  constituting  the 
coimtfy  towns  into  a  separate  county/'  but  the  Council  refused  to  concur.  The 
following  month  the  House  of  Representatives  voted  "That  two  of  the  Courts 

of  General  Sessions  of  the  Peace  and  Superior  Court  of  Common  Pleas  be  kept 
as  follows,  viz.,  one  at  llraintrec  and  the  other  at  Dedham."  Once  more  the 
Council  nonconcurred,  thereby  manifesting  a  disposition  to  grant  no  favors 
wliate%«r  to  the  countiy  towns. 

In  this  connection  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  offer  a  word  of  explanation  regard- 
ing the  attitude  of  the  C  ui  il  on  the  question  of  establishing  a  new  county. 
Under  the  charter  of  the  I'rovincc  of  Massachusetts  I'ay,  the  General  Court 
was  composed  of  the  Governor,  appointed  by  the  King,  the  Council  and  the  House 
of  Representatives.  The  Council  was  at  first  appointed  by  tlie  King,  but  the 
members  of  the  House  of  Representatives  were  elected  by  the  qualified  voters 
in  the  respective  towns.  After  the  Court  was  established,  the  members  of  the 
Council  were  elected  annually  by  joint  ballot  of  the  two  branches  of  the  Court. 
The  councihncn,  twenty-eight  in  number,  were  generally  able  to  secure  their 
reelection,  and  having  first  been  placed  in  office  by  royal  favor,  they  did  not  recog- 
nize any  obligations  to  the  people.  Their  refusal  to  recognize  such  obligations, 
or  to  show  the  common  people  any  favors,  added  to  the  general  discontent  that 
cuhntnated  in  the  Revolution  some  years  later. 


On  October  2,  1750,  the  towns  of  Abington,  Biaintree^  Hanover,  Hingham, 
HnU,  Sdtuate  and  Weymouth  presented  a  petition  asking  that  they  be  organized 

into  a  separate  county  Evidently  this  movement  was  not  regarded  with  favor 
by  either  branch  of  the  (ieneral  Court.  It  was  laid  over  until  the  next  session 
and  on  April  7,  1731,  was  dismissed  without  further  consideration  or  ceremony. 


The  next  request  for  the  establishment  of  a  new  county  came  from  the  towns 
of  Bellingham.  Dedham,  Framingham,  Holliston,  Medfield,  Medway,  Sherbom, 
Walpole  and  Wrenfham  in  the  form  of  a  petition  which  was  presented  to  the 
General  Court  on  Jime  8, 1733.  The  petition  respectfully  asked  ''That  said  towns, 
and  any  other  town  adjacent,  which  the  General  Court  shall  think  fit  to  join 
within  the  counties  of  Suffolk  and  Middlesex,  may  be  erected  into  a  separate 
county."  The  petition  was  referred  to  the  next  sitting  of  the  Court,  and  there 
the  matter  appears  to  have  ended,  as  no  further  record  can  be  found. 


In  the  House  of  Representatives,  on  June  19.  1735.  was  presented  anotlier 
petition  "of  divers  towns  in  the  County  of  Suffolk,  praJ^ng  that  the  county  towns 
be  set  off  f  rcrni  Boston."  This  petition  was  received  and  referred  to  the  next 
sitting  of  the 'General  Court,  when  Boston  offered  a  lengthy  argument,  giving 
various  rea.son.s  why  the  Ctmnty  of  Suffolk  should  not  be  divided.  One  of  these 
reasons  was  as  follows: 

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"The  more  we  are  united,  the  more  our  judges,  by  the  recompense  now  allowed 
them,  will  be  able  to  study  the  law  and  furnish  themselves  still  further  with 
power  agreeable  to  their  place  and  duty.  .  .  .  The  bigger  our  counties  are, 
the  more  contracted  will  the  business  be»  the  fees  and  profits  of  the  judges  shared 
amonjj^  the  fewer,  and  the  more  business  despatched  iti  less  time,  and  that  con- 
tinued without  interruption  and  wasteful  vacancies  inteqjosed." 

The  House  of  Representatives  refused  to  be  converted  by  this  argument 
and  on  January  2,  1736,  passed  a  l)ill  granting  the  prayer  of  the  petitioners 
and  authorizing  the  establishment  of  a  new  county.  Again  the  Council  noncon- 
curred  and  the  question  lay  dormant  for  about  two  years.  On  Taiuiary  10.  17.^^. 
a  bill  providing  for  the  formation  of  a  new  county  by  the  division  of  Suffolk 
reached  the  third  reading  in  the  House  of  Representatives  and  was  ordered  to 
be  engrossed.  It  was  tfien  sent  to  the  Coundl»  where  it  was  "iiulefinitely  post- 


On  December  30.  1740.  a  petition  signed  by  a  large  number  of  the  citizens 

of  P.raintree,  Dedham.  Dorchester,  Hingham.  Medfield,  Milton,  Needham,  Rox- 
bury.  Stoughton  and  Wrentham  came  before  the  General  Court,  asking  for  a 
division  of  Suffolk  County ;  that  the  towns  above  named  be  erected  into  a  new 
county;  and  that  Boston  and  Chelsea  be  made  a  separate  County.  The  House 
of  Representatives  voted  in  favor  of  granting  the  petition,  and,  to  the  great 
astonishment  of  the  petitioners,  this  time  the  Council  concurred. 

At  last  it  looked  as  though  the  country  towns  were  to  l)e  successful  in  their 
efforts  to  secure  a  division  of  Suffolk  County.  But  the  truth  of  the  old  adage. 
"There's  many  a  slip  'twixt  the  cup  and  the  lip,  '  was  never  better  verified  than 
in  the  fate  of  the  petition.  On  January  9.  1 741,  a  bill  carrying  out  the  intent  of 
the  petition  was  passed  by  the  House  of  Representatives  and  sent  to  the  Council. 
There  it  was  read  once,  when  further  action  was  "indefinitely  postponed,"  and 
again  the  movement  to  establish  a  new  county  met  defeat. 


Discouraged  by  repeated  rebuffs,  the  peo|)le  of  the  countr>'  towms  allowed 
several  years  to  pass  before  making  another  effort  to  secure  the  division  of 
Suffolk  County.  In  1760  a  petition  was  circulated  in  some  of  the  towns,  but  it 
did  not  meet  with  a  hearty  support  and  the  attempt  was  abandoned. 

Again  in  1775  was  voted  in  some  of  the  towns  to  present  another  petition 
to  the  General  Court  asking  for  a  division  of  Suffolk  County.  Efforts  were  made 
to  secure  signers  to  such  a  petition,  which  was  drawn  in  the  names  of  all  the 
towns  in  the  county,  except  Boston  and  Chelsea,  praying  for  the  establishment 
of  a  new  county  to  be  called  Hancock.  A  number  of  s^;ners  had  been  obtained 
when  the  battle  of  Lexington  occurred,  the  war  overshadowed  everjrthing  else,  and 
all  thoughts  of  the  new  county  were  postponed  until  the  restoration  of  peace. 


Nothing  further  in  the  matter  of  the  division  of  Suffolk  County  was  under- 
taken until  after  the  adoption  of  the  Massachusetts  State  Constitution  on  June 



15.  1780.  Under  that  constitution  the  first  Cicncral  Court  was  convened  in  I5oston 
on  October  25,  1780.  A  short  time  before  the  meeting  of  the  Court,  a  number 
of  towns  in  the  county  dected  delegates  to  a  convention  to  decide  upon  some 
policy  relative  to  the  divisicHi  of  the  county.  The  convention  met  at  Timothy 
Gay's  tavern  in  Dedham,  December  12,  1780,  and  adopted  a  resolution  to  the 
effect- ■'Thnt  the  towns  of  BelUngham,  Dedham.  Foxborough.  Franklin,  Medfield. 
Medway,  Xeedham,  Stoughton,  Stoughtonliam,  VValpole  and  Wrcntham,  with 
Holliston,  Hopkinton,  Xatick  and  Sherbom,  in  the  County  of  Middlesex,  ought 
to  be  fomwd  into  a  new  county,  with  Medfield  as  the  Aire  town." 

A  petition  in  harmony  with  the  spirit  of  this  resolution  was  circulated  and 
was  signed  by  a  large  number  of  the  citizens  in  the  various  towns.  It  was 
presented  to  the  House  of  Representatives  on  April  28.  1781.  where  it  was  read 
and  referred  to  a  committee.  W  hen  the  bill  passed  by  the  house  came  before 
the  senate  it  was  amended,  and  in  the  amended  form  failed  to  become  a  law. 

On  September  2^  1783,  a  petition  from  Dedham  and  other  towns  was  read 
for  the  first  time  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  Just  how  this  petition  was 
finally  disposed  of  is  not  clear.  It  was  referred  to  a  committee  in  the  house 
and  sent  to  the  senate  for  concurrence.  On  October  20,  1783.  the  senate  voted 
to  concur  in  the  action  of  the  house,  but  no  new  county  was  established. 

The  next  move  for  the  division  of  Suffolk  County  came  on  January  31,  1784, 
when  a  petition  s^ed  by  Daniel  Gay  and  others  came  before  the  senate.  This 
petition  was  presented  "in  behalf  of  Dedham  and  certain  other  towns  in  the 
counties  of  Suffolk  and  Middlesex,"  asking  for  the  erection  of  a  new  county. 
The  senate  ordered  that  notice  of  said  petition  be  given  to  all  the  towns  in  said 
counties,  and  die  house  concurred  with  an  amendment,  whidi  the  senate  ac^ited. 

In  May,  1784,  a  town  meeting  was  held  in  Dedham,  at  which  it  was  voted 
to  appoint  a  committee  to  confer  with  the  other  towns  in  the  County  of  Suffolk 
as  to  the  expediency  of  dividiiinf  the  county.  The  meeting  also  decided  "That  our 
representative  be  instructed  to  use  his  influence  to  secure  delay  on  the  petition 
for  dividing  the  county  until  the  sentiment  of  said  towns  can  be  known."  Later 
in  the  month,  at  another  meeting,  it  was  voted  to  instruct  die  representative  "to 
use  his  influence  to  oppose  the  granting  of  the  prayer  of  the  petition  now  before 
the  General  Court  for  dividing  the  County  of  SufTolk." 

The  action  of  the  Dedham  town  meetings  seems  to  have  been  effective  in 
defeating  the  purpose  of  the  Gay  petition  and  preventing  a  division  of  the  county 
for  the  time  being.  But  in  1786  Dedham  instructed  its  representative  "to  endeavor 
a  division  of  the  coimty  whereby  we  may  be  separate  from  Boston,  and  in  support 
of  the  motion  you  are  to  offer  the  following  arguments,  and  such  otiiers  as  your 

ingenriitv  may  suggest." 

Then  frillows  in  detail  a  series  of  reasons  for  the  division  of  the  county,  one 
of  which  was:  "Should  courts  of  justice  be  erected  in  some  country  town  within 
die  county,  we  expect  (at  least  for  awhile)  that  the  wheels  of  law  and  justice 
would  move  on  wiAout  the  clogs  and  embarrassments  of  a  numerous  train  of 
lawyers.  The  scenes  of  gaiety  and  amusements  which  are  more  prevalent  at 
Boston  we  expect  would  so  allure  them,  as  that  we  should  be  rid  of  their  perplex- 
ing  ofiFiciousness." 

Apparently  the  people  of  that  period  believed  the  average  lawyer  to  be  a 
pleasure-loving  individual  who  cared  more  for  ''gaiety  and  amusement"  than  for 

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the  serious  business  of  his  profession.  Although  the  instructions  to  the  Dedham 
rqtresentative  were  full  and  complete,  he  failed  at  this  time  to  secure  the  denred 
division  of  Sufiblk  County,  and  the  subject  was  permitted  to  rest  for  another  five 


On  February  25,  1791,  the  petition  of  Moses  Fuller  and  others,  asking  for  the 
division  of  Suffolk  County,  was  read  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  A  few 
days  later  it  was  referred  to  a  joint  committee  and  notices  sent  to  all  the  towns 

of  the  county.  Remonstrances  came  in  from  Boston,  Brookline,  Hingham  and 
Roxbury,  but  the  joint  committee  recommended  a  bill  for  the  establishment  of 
the  new  county  asked  for  by  the  petitioners.  The  report  of  the  committee  was 
accepted  by  the  house  on  February  24,  ij^2,  by  a  vote  of  72  to  40,  but  on  ^larcli 
8th  the  senate  voted  not  to  concur. 


Encouraged  by  the  action  of  the  General  Court  on  the  Fuller  petition,  the 
advocates  of  county  division  girded  on  their  armor  tor  the  final  fray.  As  the 
project  was  defeated  in  the  senate,  an  anonymous  letter  was  sent  to  all  the  towns 
suggesting  that  a  contest  be  made  for  the  election  of  senators  who  would  iwor 
the  establishment  of  a  new  county.  Suffolk  County  at  that  time  had  six  senators. 
The  election  was  to  be  held  on  the  first  Monday  in  April,  1792.  Less  than  a 
month  remained  in  which  to  make  a  campaign,  but  a  man  from  each  of  the  thir- 
teen towns  that  had  been  advocating  division  (except  Bellingham,  Braintree  and 
Medway)  met  at  the  house  of  John  Ellis,  in  Dedham,' and  assumed  authority  to 
nominate  a  senatorial  ticket. 

Prior  to  this  meeting,  however,  what  was  known  as  the  "Boston  Ticket"  had 
already  been  named.  Jhe  candidates  on  this  ticket  were:  Thomas  Dawes, 
Benjamin  Austin.  Oliver  Wendell  and  James  Bowdoin,  of  Boston;  William  Heath, 
of  Roxbur) ;  and  Stephen  Metcalf,  of  BeOingham,  all  of  whom  were  supposed  to 
be  opposed  to  the  division  of  Suifolk  County. 

The  meeting  at  Ellis'  nominated  Stephen  Metcalf,  Lemuel  KoUock,  John 
F-verett.  Scth  Dullard,  Elijah  Dunbar  and  Gen.  Ebenezer  Thayer,  Jr.  Dr. 
Nathaniel  Ames,  in  an  account  of  the  affair,  says:  "But  their  meeting  was  so 
public,  made  such  a  bustle,  and  was  so  indiscreetly  managed,  that  the  idlers  about 
the  house  talked  openly  of  their  business  of  choosing  senators,  so  ^t  it  will  be 
in  the  newspapers  and  the  whole  design  defeated,  as  secrecy  was  the  only  founda- 
tion to  build  on." 

Stephen  Metcalf,  being  on  both  tickets,  was  elected  without  question.  .\t  the 
Opening  of  the  General  Court  the  senate  and  house,  in  joint  convention,  elected 
all  the  remahunif  can^ates  on  the  "Boston  Tidcet"  except  James  Bowdoin,  for 
whom  General  Thayer  was  substituted. 

But  die  "tempest  in  a  teapot*  over  the  dection  of  senators  had  its  effect  On 
June  12,  1792,  the  House  of  Representatives  took  up  the  Moses  Fuller  petition 
and  referred  it  to  a  committee,  with  instructions  to  report  as  to  the  advisability 
of  dividing  Suffolk  County.  Nothing  further  was  done  until  February  8,  1793, 
when  a  joint  committee  recommended  die  passage  of  a  bill  in  accordance  witfi 
the  prayer  of  the  petitioners.  The  bill  was  accordingly  introduced,  passed  both 
house  and  senate  on  March  22,  1793,  and  was.  approved  by  Gov.  John  Hancodc 

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on  the  26th.  It  provided  that  "All  the  territory  of  the  County  of  Suflfolk,  not 
comprehended  within  the  towns  of  Boston  and  Chelsea,  from  and  after  the  20th 
day  of  June  next,  be  and  hereby  is  formed  and  erected  into  a  distinct  county,  by 
the  name  of  Norfolk,  and  Dedham  shall  be  the  shire  town  till  otherwise  ordered 
by  the  General  Court." 

Before  the  day  came  for  the  act  to  take  eflFect,  the  towns  of  Hingham  and 
Hull  sent  petitions  to  the  General  Court  asking  to  be  allowed  to  remain  a  part  of 
Suffolk  County,  and  on  June  20,  1793,  an  act  was  passed  repealing  that  part  of 
the  act  of  March  26th  relating  to  those  two  towns. 

As  originally  erected,  the  County  of  Norfolk  consisted  of  twenty-one  towns,  to 
wit:  r.ellinghnm,  Hraintrcc,  Brookline,  Cohasset,  Dedham,  Dorchester,  District 
of  Dover,  Foxborough,  Franklin,  Medfield,  Medway,  Milton,  Xeedham,  Quincy, 
Randolph,  Roxbury,  Sharon,  Stoughton,  Walpole,  Weymouth  and  Wrentham. 

It  is  not  certain  who  is  responsible  for  the  county's  name.  In  the  bill  a  space 
tras  left  and  the  name  "Norfolk"  was  inserted  just  before  the  final  passage  of 
the  measure.  Geographically,  the  name  is  inappropriate.  As  the  first  settlers  of 
Massachusetts  were  Fnglish  people,  it  was  natural  that  they  should  adopt  many 
of  the  names  of  their  native  land.  In  the  eastern  part  of  England,  on  the  shores 
of  the  North  Sea,  there  are  two  counties  called  Norfolk  and  Suffolk.  The  inhabi- 
tants of  the  northern  county  were  originally  known  as  the  "North  Folk,"  and 
those  of  the  southern  were  called  the  "South  Folk."  In  time  the  names  were 
shortened  to  Nor*  Folk  and  Sou'  Folk,  and  the  counties  became  known  as  Nor- 
folkshire  and  Suffolkshire.  It  is  related  that  not  long  after  Norfolk  County, 
Massachusetts,  was  organized,  John  Randolph  of  Virginia  walked  up  to  John 
Quincy  Adams  in  the  national  House  of  Representatives,  of  whidi  both  were  then 
members,  and  said:  "Look  here,  Quincy,  how  is  this?  You  live  in  Norfolk 
County  :  now  what  the  devil  do  you  people  in  Massachusetts  mean  by  setting  off. 
Norfolk  County  and  putting  it  south  of  Suffolk  County  ?" 


When  it  came  to  locating  the  county  seat,  or  shire  town,  opinion  was  divided. 
Braintree.  Dedham,  Medfield,  Milton  and  Roxbury  were  all  mentioned  for  the 
honor,  but  none  of  them  was  satisfactory  in  every  respect.  The  people  of  Medfield 
destroyed  the  aspiiatkms  of  that  town  by  declaring  that  "The  practice  of  visiting 
the  court  room  during  the  trial  of  cases  would  be  prejudicial  to  habits  of  industiy 
in  the  citizens." 

C)-n  February  8,  1776.  seventeen  years  before  Norfolk  County  was  estal)li'ihed, 
the  <;cneral  Court  passed  the  following  act:  "Whereas.  Boston  is  now  made  a 
garrison  for  the  ministerial  army  and  become  a  common  receptacle  for  the  enemies 
of  America,  it  is  enacted  ffiat  Dedham  shall  be  made  the  shire  town  of  the  County 
of  Suffolk  for  the  future." 

Dedham  remained  the  shire  town  of  Suffolk  until  after  the  evacuation  of 
Boston  by  the  British  army,  when  the  seat  of  justice  was  taken  back  to  Boston. 
But  the  town  having  once  been  thus  honored  by  the  General  Count  seems  to  have 
given  it  some  advantage  in  the  contest,  and  it  was  declared  to  be  the  shire  town 
'*til]  otherwise  ordered  by  die  General  Court"  As  that  body  has  never  seen,  fit 
to  order  otherwise,  Dedham  remains  the  shire  town  to  the  present  day. 

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One  of  the  first  necessities  of  a  new  county  is  a  suitable  I)uilding  in  which  to 
hold  the  sessions  of  the  courts  and  transact  tlxe  county  business.  The  first  step 
toward  the  erection  of  a  court-house  in  Norfolk  CotinQr  was  taken  on  January  7, 
1794,  when  the  Court  of  General  Sessions  of  the  Peace,  then  in  session  ^'in  the 
meeting  house  at  Dedham,"  on  account  of  cold  weather  "to  adjourn  to  the  Sign  of 
the  Law  r>o<:)k"  (the  Ames  Tavern).  This  brought  up  the  subject  of  the  court- 
house, and  Thomas  Crane,  of  Canton;  Steplien  Penniman,of  liraintrec ;  and  Joseph 
Guild,  of  Dedham,  were  appointed  a  committee  "to  look  for  a  proper  spot  of 
ground  and  report  on  what  terms  the  County  of  Norfolk  can  be  accommodated 
for  their  puUic  buildings." 

.\{  a  subsequent  meeting  of  the  court,  the  committee  reported  that  the  Episco- 
pal Churcli  in  Dedham  otTered  tlie  house  of  worship  "and  the  land  lying  common 
adjoining,"  but  reserved  the  right  "to  worship  therein  on  the  Sabbath  until  such 
time  as  they  can  build  another  diurch."  This  resulted  in  the  appointmeitt  of 
another  committee,  consisting  of  Joseph  Guild,  Dr.  Natiuniel  Ames  and  Elijah 
Adams,  to  solicit  funds  to  provide  the  county  with  a  public  building.  Anticipating 
that  some  of  the  citi/en^  mis^'ht  jirefer  a  new  court-house  to  the  old  church,  the 
committee  was  given  a  twotold  authority:  First,  to  raise  funds  to  repair  and 
remodel  the  church  building,  and  second,  to  raise  funds  to  build  a  court-house  on 
the  First  Qiurch  land,  near  the  Episcopal  Church. 

On  June  30,  1794.  the  First  Church  of  Christ  in  Dedham  made  a  voluntary 
grant  to  the  County  of  Norfolk  of  "tlie  northeast  corner  of  their  lot.  near  the 
meeting  house  of  the  I^'irst  Parish  of  said  nedhani.  for  the  situation  of  their 
court-house,  together  with  as  many  suitable  trees  to  be  marked  by  the  trustees 
of  said  church,  as  will  be  sufficient  for  making  all  the  joists  for  the  proposed 
court-house  on  said  comer,  as  a  gift  to  tiie  county,*'  etc. 

At  the  same  session  of  the  court  the  committee  appMnted  to  solicit  subscrip- 
tions for  repairing  the  Episcopal  Church  or  building  a  court-house  reported  that 
it  had  been  unable  to  raise  funds  for  either  project.  The  court  then  ordered  that 
the  ofTer  of  the  First  Church  be  accepted  and  that  the  court-house  be  built  upon 
the  grouml  tiius  donated.  In  the  estimates  of  public  expenditures  for  the  year 
was  included  the  item  of  six  hundred  pounds  for  a  court-house.  Joseph  Guild, 


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Thomas  Crane.  Stephen  Badlam,  James  Endicott  and  Stephen  Penniman  were 
appointed  a  committee  to  receive  conveyance  of  the  land,  and  "proceed  to  con- 
tract for  and  make  provision  of  necessary  materials  for  said  court-house,  as  soon 
as  may  be;  that  they  contract  for  the  frame  of  said  court-house  on  the  most 
pnident  terms  for  said  county,  of  gCMjd  timber,  well  wrougiit  in  a  workmanlike 
manner — sills  about  35  by  45  (or  50)  feet,  more  or  less,  as  near  consistent  with 
due  proportion,  accordmg  to  a  i)lan  to  be  obtained  from  Mr.  Bultinch,  of  Boston, 
and  other  good  architects,  and  approved  by  the  court  at  their  adjournment ;  and 
that  they  proceed  to  contract  by  the  job  with  such  persons  as  they,  after  they 
have  advertised  and  received  proposals  of  as  great  a  number  as  will  oflFer  in 
reasonable  time  prefixed,  shall  judge  and  select  as  for  the  l)est  interest  of  -^aid 
county  at  large,  to  perform  each  a  different  part  of  said  court-house  in  a  work- 
manlike manner,  according  to  a  plan  approved  as  aforesaid,  and  that  said  con- 
tracts be  made  in  writing  sufficiently  secured." 

On  August  17,  1794.  the  Court  of  General  Sessions  voted  to  accept  a  plan — 
or  rather  a  woo<len  model — of  a  court-house  submitted  by  Isaac  and  Samuel 
Do^gett.  contractors  of  Dedhani.  which  was  presented  by  the  committee.  The 
contract  for  the  erection  of  the  building  was  awarded  to  Isaac  and  Samuel 
Doggett,  and  on  October  28,  1794.  the  court,  then  in  session  in  Gay's  Hall, 
ordered:  "That  the  court-house  be  erected  with  one  end  north,  fronting  the 
meeting  house,  the  other  end  south,  and  that  the  committee  on  buildings  so  far 
deviate  irom  the  plan  of  the  court-house  first  adopted  as  to  make  it  nearly  con- 
foriiKiiile  with  the  plan  of  the  Salem  Court-House  within,  with  a  door  at  each 
end  without." 

The  following  spring  the  court  made  another  addition  to  the  original  plan. 
On  May  14,  1795.  it  was  ordered:  '*That  Thomas  Crane,  Hon.  James  Endicott 

and  Stephen  Penniman,  Esq.,  be  a  committee  to  proceed  with  as  great  economy 
as  may  he  for  the  county,  and.  by  complete  workmen,  so  far  finish  the  court 
chamber  that  the  Supreme  Court  may  hold  its  next  session  for  this  county  therein 
by  the  15th  of  August  next;  and  that  they  apply  to  .Mr.  Dulfinch,  architect  in 
Boston,  far  a  plan  of  a  decent  cupola,  or  turret,  to  such  court-house,  agreeable 
to  the  rules  of  architecture  for  a  buildir.-  m'  ^iu  li  Mte.  use  and  uKi^^iiitude.  and 
proceed  in  stoning.  clapbo:irding  and  paintin^^  tlu-  outside,  with  --uch  cupola  com- 
plete, and  that  said  committee  shall  be  held  responsible  for  the  goodness  of  work- 
manship and  materials  aforesaid." 

Another  order  of  the  same  date  was  to  the  defk  "to  draw  orders  on  the 
treasufy  in  favor  of  said  committee  for  stuns  not  exceeding  the  amount  of  diree 
hundred  potmds,  to  be  advanced  to  them  as  they  have  occasi<m  to  purchase  for 
executing  the  trust  in  them." 

Ju«t  when  the  "last  nail  was  driven"  is  not  certain,  but  on  April  26.  i/c/),  the 
Court  of  General  Sessions  allotted  the  rooms  in  the  court-house  to  the  several 
county  officers  and  courts.  The  building  was  two  stories  high,  36  by  50  feet,  with 
a  hall  eight  feet  wide  running  through  the  center.  The  exterior  was  colonial  in 
style,  the  comers  ornamented  with  quoins  and  the  roof  surmounted  by  a  cupola. 
The  interior  was  finished  with  paneled  wainscoting.  The  cost  of  the  building 
cannot  be  ascertained.  It  served  Norfolk  County  for  about  thirty  years,  when 
it  was  replaced  by  the 

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About  1820  some  of  the  lawyers  practicii^  in  the  Norfolk  County  courts,  and 

others,  realized  that  the  county  had  outgrown  its  court-house  and  began  an  agita- 
tion for  a  new  one.  It  was  urged  that  the  old  house  was  too  small  for  the  proper 
transaction  of  public  business;  that,  being  entirely  of  wood,  it  was  not  a  safe 
place  for  the  public  records,  and  that  it  was  an  "undesirable  incumbrance  upon 
the  church  green."  Parties  interested  in  litigation  soon  saw  that  courts  were 
handicapped  by  the  antiquated  appointments  of  the  old  bouse,  and  the  movement 
in  favor  of  a  new  court-house  gathered  momentum  as  it  went  along. 

On  December  26.  iSji,  the  Court  uf  Ckneral  Sessions  api)ointed  as  a  com- 
mittee Edward  H.  Robbins,  of  .Milton;  Elijah  Crane,  of  Canton;  Ebenezcr  beaver, 
of  Roxbuiy;  Thomas  Greenleaf,  of  Quincy;  and  Jchn  Bates,  of  Bellingham, 
"to  take  into  consideration,  among  other  things,  the  subject  of  erecting  a  fire- 
proof building  for  the  safe  keeping  of  the  records  of  the  county."  The  committee 
reported  on  July  2,  1822,  that  the  members  thereof  were  "unanimously  nt  the 
opinion  that  the  duty  of  erecting  a  Hre-proof  building  for  the  safe  keeping  of  the 
records  of  the  county,  pursuant  to  law,  is  imperious,  and  that  the  same  should 
be  made  of  convenient  size  and  construction  as  soon  as  practieaUe." 

The  committee  also  reported  that  two  sites  had  been  oiTered  as  a  site  for  the 
new  'Structure,  and  recommended  that  one  of  them  be  selected.  One  was  an  acre 
of  L;rf)nii(l  adjciining  the  jail  lot,  which  was  offered  by  John  Bullard,  ami  the 
other  was  a  tract  of  land  belonging  to  the  heirs  of  Fisher  Ames  "enibracuig  the 
whole  northeast  end  of  their  lot,  from  Hartford  Road  to  Cross  Street,  so  far  as 
the  extreme  southeast  side  of  die  Mansion  House."  The  Hartford  Road  is  now 
High  Street  and  the  name  of  Cross  Street  has  been  changed  to  Norfolk.  Mr. 
Bullard  asked  S800  for  his  lot  and  the  Ames  heirs  wanted  $i,2(xi  for  theirs.  The 
latter  was  selected  by  the  Court  of  Sessions  and  on  May  4,  1624,  Mrs.  Frances 
Ames  executed  a  deed  ccmveying  to  Norfolk  County  "a  parcel  of  land  containii^ 
about  one  acre  and  a  half,  lying  in  f nmt  of  her  dwelling-house  in  Dedham,  on  the 
opposite  side  of  the  road,  as  a  site  on  which  it  is  contemplated  to  erect  a  court- 

I'hc  land  thus  conveyed  to  the  county  is  the  site  of  the  pre.sent  court-house,  and 
the  Court  of  Sessions  agreed  that  no  buildings  should  ever  be  erected  upon  the 
same  except  those  for  county  purposes.  On  the  day  the  deed  was  executed,  the 
Court  of  Sessions  ordered  John  Bullard,  then  treasurer  of  Norfolk  County,  to 
give  a  note,  as  treasurer  of  the  county,  to  Mrs.  Ames  for  $1,000,  payable  in  five 
.annual  instalments  of  $200  each,  with  interest,  "said  note  being  the  consideration 
for  a  parcel  of  land  conveyed  by  her  to  said  county,"  etc. 

Solomon  Wtllard,  tiien  a  resident  of  Quincy,  was  conuiiissk»ied  to  i^cpire 
plans  for  a  new  court-house,  and  on  November  4,  1824,  the  Court  of  Sessions 
ordered  Treasurer  BuUard  to  sign  and  execute  contracts  with  the  firm  of  Damon 
&  Hates  fnr  flic  erection  of  the  building,  which  was  to  be  48  by  feet,  two 
stories  in  hcij^ht,  modeled  in  the  form  of  "an  ancient  Grecian  temple,  with  columns 
at  both  ends."  The  cost  of  the  court-house  and  the  ground  upon  which  it  was  to 
be  built  was  provided  for  by  a  levy  of  about  three  thousand  dollars  a  year  tmtil 
the  whole  expense  of  about  thirty  thousand  dollars  was  paid. 

On  M(mday,  Jtdy  4, 1825,  the  comer-stone  was  laid  according  to  the  ceremony 

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of  the  Masonic  fraternity.  The  day  being  the  anniversary  of  the  signing  of  the 
Declaration  of  Independence,  a  nimiber  ol  nufitia  oon^nMS  participated  in  the 
ceremonies  by  forming  at  tiie  Maaonic  Hall  and  escorting  Ae  Grand  Lodge 
"through  a  triumphal  arch  to  the  site  of  the  new  court-house."  Under  the  corner- 
stone was  placed  a  silver  plate,  bearing  the  following  inscription,  engraved  by 
Hazen  Morse: 

"The  comer-stone  of  this  court-house  was  laid  with  Masonic  ceremonies 
bjr  R.  W.  Thomas  Tofanan,  Esq.,  acting  as  grand  master,  assisted  by  Constella- 
tion Lodge  at  Dedham,  and  other  lodges  of  Free  and  Accepted  Masons  in  the 
County  of  Xorfolk.  July  4,  Anno  Lucis  5825,  and  49  years  since  the  Declaration 
of  American  Indc;>en(lf nee.  Norfolk  County  established  June  20th,  A.  D.  1793. 
Building  Committee :  Hon.  Jairus  Ware,  Daniel  Adams,  Samuel  P.  Loud,  Judges 
of  the  Court  of  Sessions;  Elijah  Crane,  sheriff;  Jchn  B.  Bates,  master  mason; 
Isaac  Damon,  master  carpenter;  M.  W.  and  Hon.  John  Abbot,  grand  master; 
M.  E.  and  Rev.  Paul  Deane,  grand  high  priest;  John  Quincy  Adains,  President 
of  the  United  States;  Levi  Lincoln,  Governor  of  Massachusetts." 

Deposited  with  this  plate  were,  among  other  things,  a  small  beaver  hat  of 
the  then  prevailing  fashion,  made  by  Timothy  Phelps  of  Dedham,  the  newspapers 
of  the  day,  Daniel  Webster's  address,  wttii  an  account  of  the  battle  of  Bunker 
Hill,  and  Specimens  of  marbled  paper  manufactured  by  Herman  Mann  &  Sons 
of  Dedham. 

This  second  court-house  in  Norfolk  County  was  4S  by  98  feet,  two  stories 
in  height,  with  a  projection  of  ten  feet  at  each  end  resting  upon  four  Doric 
pillars,  three  feet  and  ten.  inches  in  diameter  at  the  base  and  nearly  twenty-one 
feet  high.  The  granite  in  the  walls  came  from  a  quarry  about  eight  miles  west 
of  Dedham.  It  was  dedicated  on  February  20,  1827,  by  Chief  Justice  Isaac 
Parker,  of  the  Supreme  Judicial  Court.  Tn  his  address  Judge  Parker  gave  it  as 
his  opinion  that  the  new  court-house  "excelled  the  Worcester  court-house  in  its 
material,  and  tiie  Sufiblk  cottrt4ioiiw  in  its  atchiteetttnl  beauty." 


On  October  19.  1827,  the  old  court-house  was  sold  at  public  auction  by  order 
of  the  Court  of  General  Sessions.  It  was  purchased  by  Harris  Munroe  and 
Erastus  Worthington  and  removed  to  the  easterly  side  of  Court  Street,  a  short 
distance  south  of  its  original  location.  The  purchasers  had  a  hopt  Aat  the 
building  would  l)e  bought  by  the  Town  of  Dedham.  but  in  1828  the  people  of 
the  town  voted  to  erect  a  town  hall  and  the  old  court  -house  was  used  as  a  millinery 
shop  and  dwelling.  In  1845  Munroe  and  Worthington  sold  it  to  the  Temperance 
Han  Association,  which  converted  the  upper  story  into  a  hall  for  public  meetings. 
Among  the  noted  men  who  spoke  in  Temperance  Hall  were:  Dr.  Oliver  Wen- 
dell Holmes,  Horace  Mann,  Abraham  Lincoln,  ^^'illiam  R.  Alger,  Bishop  Hunt- 
ington and  John  Boyle  O'Reilly.  On  April  28,  1891,  the  old  court-house  and 
some  of  the  adjoining  buildings  were  destroyed  by  fire.  All  that  is  left  of  Norfolk 
County's  first  temple  of  justice  is'  the  old  bell,  which  is  now  among  the  relics 
preserved  by  the  Dedham  Historical  Society.  It  bears  the  inscription :  "Revere, 
Boston,  1790."  The  bell  was  cast  by  Paul  Revere,  whose  famous  ride  on  the 

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n^ht  of  April  i8k  177$,  "Throu^  every  Middles^  village  and  farm,'*  will 
never  fade  fnmi  the  pages  of  American  histoiy. 


In  i860  it  became  apparent  thalT  Norfolk  County  was  in  need  of  more  room 
in  which  to  transact  properly  the  puUic  tmsiness.  The  board  of  county  com- 
missioners was  then  composed  nf  Nathaniel  F.  Safford»  of  Milton;  Lucas  P<md» 

of  W'rentham ;  and  Charles  Endicott,  of  Canton.  These  commissioners  first 
considered  the  erection  of  a  separate  Iniilding.  to  l)e  used  by  the  register  of 
deeds  and  the  register  of  probate  and  insolvency,  and  a  tract  of  land  across 
Hig^  Street  from  the  court-house,  including  the  site  of  the  old  Ames  Tavern, 
was  purchased  by  John  Gardner  as  a  location  for  the  new  building.  At  a  later 
meeting  of  the  board  it  was  decided  that  it  would  be  more  convenient  to  have 
all  the  county  business  under  one  roof,  which  could  be  accomplished  by  extend- 
ing the  north  front  and  adding  wings  to  the  court-house. 

This  proix>sitiQn  met  with  some  opi)osition.  A  remonstrance,  signed  by  about 
forty  representative  citizens  of  the  county,  was  sent  in  to  the  oommissimers 
and  published  in  the  Dedham  Gazette,  but  it  was  ^ored  by  the  commissioners, 
who  on  April  26.  \S(io,  voted  "to  erect  a  fire-proof  structure  for  the  custody 
of  the  public  records,  and  additional  apartments  for  the  accommodation  of 
citizens  in  attendance  upon  the  business  of  the  court,  by  extending  this  building 
to  meet  the  existing  wants  of  the  county." 

The  contract  for  the  alterations  and  additions  was  awarded  to  Nelson  Curtis 
and  William  Huston,  who  began  on  June  12.  i860.  The  corner-stone  was  relaid 
on  September  13,  i860,  without  disturbing  in  any  way  tlie  (Icimsit  ])laccd  in  the 
comer-stone  laid  on  July  4,  1825.  By  the  side  of  the  former  deposit  were  placed 
the  following  artides:  A  photograph  of  the  court-house  of  1825;  a  drawing 
of  the  court-house  showing  the  alterations  of  i860;  a  list  of  the  officers  of  the 
Court  of  Probate  and  Insolvency;  a  list  of  the  county  officers:  the  Boston 
Almanac,  all  of  i860;  copies  of  the  county  newspapers;  a  copy  of  the  annual 
report  of  the  Town  of  Dedham  for  i860;  newspapers  containing  the  historj-  of 
the  previous  court-houses;  a  document  containing  the  names  of  the  architects, 
contractors  and  others  concerned  in  the  alterations  then  being  made,  and  a  steel 
pen.  The  first  session  of  the  Probate  Court  in  the  new  office  in  the  north  wing 
was  hold  on  N'oveml)er  4,  1861.  but  the  building  was  not  fully  completed  until 
the  following  year.  The  cost  of  the  alterations  was  about  seventy-five  thousand 


During  the  year  1890  the  board  of  county  commissioners  authorized  the 
expenditure  of  over  five  thousand  dollars  in  making  repairs  upon  the  court- 
house. The  board  was  then  com|X)s€d  of  George  W.  Wiggin,  of  Franklin;  John 
Q.  A.  Lothrop,  of  Cohasset;  and  Melville  P.  MorreU,  of  Hyde  Park,  whidi  was 
then  one  of  tlie  towns  of  Norfolk  County.  Mr.  Morrell  advocated  another  addi- 
tion to  the  building,  rather  than  spend  any  more  of  the  county's  money  in  what 
he  considered  "temporary  makoshifts."  Tn  the  fall  of  1891  the  question  of 
another  addition  to  the  court-house  became,  in  a  way,  a  political  issue.  Mr.  Mor- 

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T'-»  riV/  YCTK 

R  4. 

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rdl,  whose  attitude  on  the  subject  was  well  known,  was  reelected  by  a  large 
majority,  indkating  that  his  views  had  the  approtation  of  the  citixens. 

Shortly  after  ^  election,  the  commissioners  employed  the  firm  of  Wait  & 
Cutter,  architects  of  Boston,  to  make  plans  for  the  proposed  addition.  On  Ajjril 
2i},  1892,  a  contract  was  made  with  Lyman  I).  \\  illcutt,  of  Dedhani.  for  the 
first  stone  work,  and  on  the  25ih  of  the  following  July  Mr.  \V  illcuit  was  awarded 
the  contract  *'for  the  superstractnre  of  the  addition  on  the  rear  of  the  old  court- 
house and  changes  of  the  fourt-room  portions.'*  The  next  day  a  contract  was 
entered  into  with  P>.  D.  Whitcomb  &  Omipany,  carpenters  and  tmiklers,  of 
Boston,  to  do  the  finishing  on  the  new  addition.  Later  contracts  were  made 
with  Keeler  &  Company,  of  Boston,  for  new  furniture,  and  with  Shillings  &  Com- 
pany, of  Boston,  for  the  gas  and  electric  fixtures.  On  February  6,  1894,  another 
contract  "was  made  with  Lyman  D.  Willcutt  &  Son  "for  the  complete  alteration 
of  the  front  portion  of  the  old  cotut-hotise  and  the  dome." 

The  walls  of  the  new  addition  were  constniotod  of  granite  from  the  same 
quarry  as  that  used  in  the  former  building  and  addition,  that  no  lack  of  uni- 
formity might  appear.  1  he  halls,  corridors  and  lavatories  are  wainscoted  with 
marble  from  Tennessee  and  Italy,  and  the  same  kind  of  marble  is  used  in  the 
stairways.  The  mam  floor  in  the  corridors  is  also  of  Tennessee  marble.  Through- 
out the  woodwork,  door  and  window  casings,  etc.,  is  of  ixilished  quartered  oak, 
and  the  furniture  is  of  the  s.ime  material.  The  roof  of  the  building  is  of  slate 
and  that  of  the  dome  is  of  copper.  In  i8«)4  the  Legislature  authorized  the 
comity  to  borrow  $125,000,  which  sum  represents  approximately  the  cost  of  the 
new  addition  and  Utt  alterations  in  the  old  part  of  the  court-house. 


0.1  June  20,  1895,  just  one  hundred  and  two  years  after  Norfolk  County  was 
first  organised,  die  remodeled  court-house  was  dedicated  with  appropriate  <cere- 
monies.   The  first  exercises  were  conducted  in  the  court-room,  beginning  at 

10:30  A.  M.  Mellville  P.  Morrcll,  chairman  of  the  board  of  county  commis- 
sioners, called  the  meeting  to  order  and.  after  prayer  by  Rev.  Mark  B.  Taylor 
of  Canton,  made  a  short  introductory  address.  He  was  followed  by  Hon.  Fred- 
eridc  D.  Ely,  who  delivered  the  historical  address,  in  which  he  reviewed  the 
progress  of  Norfolk  County  for  one  hundred  and  two  years  and  gave  a  brief 
history  of  each  of  its  court-houses.  Judge  Ely  was  followed  by  Chief  Justice 
Albert  Mason,  of  the  Superior  Court  of  the  Commonwealth,  who  delivered  the 
dedicatory  addre-s  The  exercises  at  the  court-house  were  followed  by  a  banc|uet 
in  Memorial  Hall,  which  was  attended  by  some  four  hundred  persons.  Thomas 
E.  Grover  acted  as  toastmaster,  and  among  the  responses  were  the  followii^: 

"The  County  of  Norfolk,"  Hon.  Roger  Wolcott,  Lieutenant-Gavemor  of 

"Our  Revolutionary  Patriots."  Charles  Francis  Adams. 

"Political  History  of  Norfolk  County,"  Alfred  D.  Chandler. 

''The  Norfolk  Bar,  Past  and  Present,"  Edward  Avery. 

The  Superior  Court,"  Hon.  James  R.  Dunbar. 

'•\orfolk  County  in  the  Civil  War."  John  D.  Billings. 

"Manufacturing  Industries  of  Norfolk  County,"  Elijah  A.  Morse. 


"The  Clefigy,  in  Their  Relation  to  Civil  Goverament,"  Rev.  Reuben  Thomas 
of  Brookline. 


Chapter  477  of  the  Acts  of  1910  conferred  upon  the  commissioners  of  Norfolk 
County  the  necessary  authority  "to  purchase  land  in  Quincy  and  construct  a 
huilding  for  the  District  Court  of  East  Norfolk."  .The  site  for  the  building 
was  purchased  at  a  cost  of  S19.000,  and  the  Lep^islature  of  1911  passed  an  act 
"to  provide  for  completing  and  furnishing  the  building,"  etc. 

William  Chapman,  an  architect  of  Boston,  was  employed  to  make  plans,  and 
on  July  8,  191 1,  the  contract  for  the  erection  of  the  court-house.  %ras  awarded  to 
William  Crane  of  Cambridge,  the  contractor  who  built  the  new  win^  of  the 
state  Iiou^e  His  hid  was  $59,471.  but  these  figures  did  not  include  the  heating 
plant,  itlunibmg,  electric  wiring  and  some  minor  features.  (")n  January  10,  191 2. 
the  conunissioners  reported  that  the  cost  of  the  building  up  to  that  time  was 
$71,797.07.  The  grounds  were  graded  and  a  few  "finislUng  touches"  were 
added  after  that  report,  so  that  the  total  cost  of  court-house  and  furnishings 
was  a1)out  seventy-five  thousand  dollars. 

The  Ouincy  court-house  has  a  granite  foundation  and  the  walls  of  the  super- 
Structure  are  of  light-colored  brick.  At  the  main  entrance  are  two  large  granite 
columns  that  reach  nearly  to  the  top  of  the  second  story  windows,  supporting 
a  pediment  of  simple  yet  graceful  design.  The  construction  of  the  buildmg  is 
fireproof  throughout  and  its  capacity  is  an^le  for  the  needs  of  the  District  Court 
of  East  Norfolk  for  years  to  come. 


On  August  25, 1794,  the  Court  of  General  Sessions,  at  a  session  hdd  at  Gay's 
Tavern  in  Dedham,  ordered :  "That  the  committee  on  buildings  proceed  as  soon 

as  may  be  in  collecting  materials  for  building  the  jail,  with  the  necessary  irons 
for  plating  one  room  of  the  same  for  the  security  of  prisoners,  without  being 
restricted  to  contract  by  the  job,  as  for  the  court-house,  but  according  to  their 
best  discretion  for  the  benefit  of  the  county." 

On  the  last  day  of  September  following  this  order,  the  court  accepted  from 
Timothy  Gay  the  gift  of  a  lot  "Bounding  southerly  on  the  Post  Road  from 
Boston  to  Providence,  beginning  ten  feet  west  of  the  southwest  comer  of  said 
Gay's  garden  near  his  dwelling  house,  thence  measuring  fifty-four  feet  south- 
•  westerly,  on  said  Gay's  land  96  feet,  two  sides  in  said  Gay's  land  similar,  so  as 
to  main  a  parallelogram." 

In  other  words,  the  jail  lot  thus  donated  was  situated  on  what  is  now  High- 
land Street,  not  far  from  the  Episcopal  Church.  The  jail  erected  on  lot  was 
a  frame  building  and  the  first  prisoner  was  incarcerated  within  its  walls  in  hel)- 
ruary,  1795.  It  served  the  county  as  a  jail  until  1817,  when  a  stone  jail  thirty- 
tfiree  feet  square  and  two  stories  in  height  was  erected  upon  the  lot  occupied  by 
the  present  jaiL  The  old  wooden  jail  was  then  used  until  1833  *  house  of 
correction.  It  was  torn  down  in  18.^3.  the  year  after  a  brick  house  of  correction 
was  completed  on  the  jail  lot  on  Village  Avenue. 

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The  jail  built  in  1817  was  of  hammered  stone,  with  walls  so  massive  that, 
after  deducting  the  space  for  the  rooms  assigned  to  the  jailer,  there  was  but 
little  space  left  for  cells  and  stairways.  The  cost  of  this  jail  was  $15,000—1101 
a  profitable  mvestment  for  the  county,  owing  to  the  defects  in  arrangement 
mentioned  above.  In  1851  part  of  the  jail  and  the  brick  house  of  correction 
were  torn  down  to  make  way  for  the  main  portion  of  the  present  structure,  which 
includes  the  octagon  central  portion  and  the  east  and  west  wings,  in  which  cells 
were  constructed.  The  workshop  was  added  to  the  west  wing  in  1875,  and  the 
sheriff's  residence,  on  the  south  side  of  the  central  portion,  facing  V  illage  Avenue, 
was  built  in  1880. 

Ground  the  walls  of  the  octagonal  central  portion  are  iron  galleries  level 
with  the  floor  of  each  tier  of  cells  in  the  wings.  The  total  number  of  cells  is 
108.  By  this  arrangement  the  turnkey,  from  his  desk  in  the  center,  commands 
a  view  of  all  the  corridors  and  can  detect  any  mutiny  or  insubordination  on  the 
part  of  tile  prisoners.  In  this  high  central  part  two  men  have  been  executed 
George  C.  Hersey  was  hanged  here  on  August  8,  1862,  and  James  H.  Costley 
on  June  25,  1875.  An  account  of  the  crimes  for  which  these  men  suffered  capital 
punishment  is  given  in  another  chapter.  In  scraping  off  the  old  paint  on  the 
interior  of  the  central  jM^rtion  in  May,  1917,  preparatory  to  repainting,  the  date 
"iSja"  was  exposed  on  the  wall  of  the  north  wing,  showing  it  to  be  a  part  of 
Norfolk  Cocuity's  second  jail 

The  jail  Idtdien  in  the  basement  is  equipped  with  modern  cooking  and 
bread-making  apparatus,  the  oven  having ^a  capacity  of  500  pounds  of  bread  at 
one  baking.  In  the  basement  are  also  the  store  room  and  a  large  Ixithroom 
provided  with  a  dozen  porcelain  lined  bathtubs.  Every  prisoner  is  required  to  take 
a  bath  upon  entering  and  at  regular  stated  mtervals  during  his  imprisonment 
The  entire  building  is  heated  by  steam  and  special>-attention  is  given  to  the 
sanitary  conditions.  In  the  county  treasurer's  report  for  the  year  1916  the  value 
of  the  jail  building  and  lot  is  given  at  $^,500. 


Opposite  the  court-house  on  High  Street  stands  the  Registry  Building,  which 
was  erected  under  the  provisions  of  the  act  of  May  12,  1903.  authorizing  the 
county  commissioners  to  expend  the  sum  of  $28(:>.ooo  for  that  puqiose.  A 
previous  act  had  authorized  the  expenditure  of  $200,000.  After  the  passage 
of  the  supplementary  act.  adding  $80,000  to  the  building  fund,  the  firm  of  Pm- 
body  ft  Steams,  ardiitects  of  Boston,  were  employed  to  make  plans  and  sped- 
ficatkms.  Three  bids  were  opened  on  July  7,  1903,  and  on  the  14th  the  contract 
was  awarded  to  McXeil  Brothers  of  Boston,  their  bid  l)eing  $256,506. 

The  main  section  of  the  building  is  52  by  186  feet,  two  stories  high,  and  in 
the  rear  there  is  a  one-story  projection  68  by  80  feet.  There  is  a  basement 
tmder  the  entire  building,  in  whidi  is  located  the  heating  plant,  etc.  The  front 
and  end  walls  of  the  main  ])ortion  are  faced  with  Deer  Isle  granite,  and  the  rear 
part  i-  of  gray  Pompeian  brick.  The  main  entrance  is  marked  by  two  granite 
columns  of  the  Corinthian  order,  extending  to  the  top  of  the  second  story 
windows,  surmounted  by  a  pediment  of  classic  proportions.  The  floors  are 
mosaic,  the  roof  of  copper,  and  the  furniture  of  sted,  so  that  the  entire  structure 

T«|.  1—4 



is  as  nearly  tireproot  as  human  ingenuity  can  devise.  The  building  was  completed 
and  occupied  on  Sqytember  i,  1905.   Its  total  cost  was  $.278,197.97. 


On  page  .^4  of  the  county  commi?«ioneri?'  report  for  the  year  1916,  the  value 
oi  the  public  buildings  of  .Norfolk  County,  including  the  grounds  is  given  as 


Court-Hottse   $  402,000 

Jail    333.500 

Registry  Building    298,000 

District  Court-iiouse  at  Qtiincy   100,000 

Trainiiig  Sdmol  at  Wal^le.   2x^500 

Agricultitral  School    7Sfioo 

Total  $1,230^1000 

In  this  table  there  is  a  small  cash  balance  included  in  the  value  of  the  Agri- 
cultural School.  That  institution  and  the  Training  School  at  Walpole  are  educa* 
tional  in  their  nature  and  their  history  is  tiierefore  given  m  die  chapter  on 


li    ■»  '  — — — 

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Townships  in  the  United  States  are  of  two  kinds— civil  and  congressionaL 

The  congressional  township  did  not  come  into  existence  until  after  the  passage 
of  the  "land  ordinance"  by  Congress  in  17S5,  and  is  therefore  unknown  in  Xew 
England.  It  is  always  six  miles  square,  bounUeU  by  township  and  range  lines,  and 
is  divided  into  thiity-Nx  sectiom,  eadi  oqe  mOe  square,  for  convenience  in 
mezsariag,  describing  and  conveying  land.  In  the  western  states,  where  the 
public  domain  was  surveyed  under  the  new  system,  the  civil  and  congressional 
township  are  often  identical.  In  the  older  states  the  civil  townships  vary  in  size 
and  shajx?,  their  boundaries  in  many  instances  beitig  formed  by  natural  features, 
such  as  streams,  ranges  of  hills,  etc.,  or  by  "direct  lines  '  between  two  given 
points.  The  civil  township  als6  differs'  from  the  otti^^ssional  in  that  it  is  a  politi- 
cal subdivision,  possessing  officers  and  powers  for  local  government. 

In  England,  during  the  reign  of  King  Alfred,  a  minor  political  division  called  ' 
the  "tunscipc"  was  established.  It  equaled  as  an  ecclesiastical  unit  the  parish, 
and  as  a  political  unit  was  governed  by  a  popular  assembly  called  the  "tun  moot," 
a  term  which  in  later  English  was  developed  into  "town  meeting,"  the  oldest  form 
of  government  known  to  man.  Far  back  in  the  history  of  the  hmnan  race,  a 
few  families,  usually  related  to  each  other,  would  form  a  "clan"  and  in  a  mass 
meeting  make  rules  for  the  regulation  of  their  afTairs,  The  princii)le  was  carried 
down  to  Rome  in  the  meetings  held  in  the  fonun,  and  in  ( Ireece  the  asseml)lages 
of  the  populace  in  the  agora  lor  the  discussion  and  settlement  of  questions  per- 
taining to  the  genera]  wdfare.  Among  the  Germans  and  Scandinavians,  the  same 
principle  is  seen  in  the  government  of  the  minor  political  division  called  the 

Under  the  Great  Patent  to  the  Plymouth  Comi^any.  November  3.  if*20,  pro- 
vision was  made  for  issuing  two  kinds  of  patents  to  occupants  of  lands.  First, 
for  private  proprietors  of  small  plantations,  who  were  to  have  certain  lands  at  a 
specified  annual  rental,  which  lands  they  were  not  to  abandon  widiont  permis- 
sion, and  who  obligated  themselves  to  settle  a  given  number  of  persons  within  a 
stipulated  time.  Second,  for  "'such  parties  as  proposed  to  build  towns,  with  large 
numbers  of  people,  having  a  government  of  their  own,  with  magistrates  who 




were  to  have  power  to  frame  such  laws  and  constitutions  as  the  majority  should 
ttiink  fit,  subordinate  to  the  state  which  was  to  be  estabhshed,  until  other  order 
shall  be  taken." 

The  first  settlers  of  Massachusetts  were  dissenters  f  torn  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land, whose  greatest  desire  was  to  bring  about  a  reform  in  church  a^rs  so  that 

the  congregation  should  have  more  [wwer  in  church  government,  and  the  minister 
should  be  more  independent  than  formerly  of  the  bishoj).  It  was  therefore 
natural  that  they  should  come  in  congregations,  led  or  accompanied  by  their 
pastors,  and  that  they  should  settle  in  a  body.  These  church  congregations 
obtained  grants  or  patents,  according  to  the  second  plan  above  mentioned,  and 
set  up  a  local  government  similar  to  that  of  the  *'tunscipe'*  of  King  Alfred's  tune, 
with  the  "town"  and  the  "parish"  practically  the  same.  Says  Forman:  "Their 
town  meetings  were  at  first  religious  asseml)lages  acting  as  pure  democracies, 
except  in  Rhode  Island,  where  the  civil  authority  did  not  interfere  in  matters 
of  conscience.  The  meetings  in  the  colonies  where  the  theocratic  principle  pre- 
vailed were  usually  held  in  a  church,  and  aU  the  male  church  members  of  the 
town  who  \\  ere  of  age  could  attend,  take  part  in  the  discussions,  and  vote  upon 
any  question  that  might  arise." 

Thus  the  early  settlers  of  New  I'.ngland  came  to  live  in  compact  communities, 
which  later  took  the  name  of  townships  or  towns.  They  were  generally  people 
of  a  high  degree  of  intelligence,  ahnost  equal  in  social  rank  and  worldly  goods, 
hence  they  were  democratic  in  their  ideas  of  government  and  unanimous  in  the 
belief  that  "authority  ui  spiritual  and  temporal  matters  should  flow  from  the 
same  source  " 

For  some  time  after  the  first  settlements  were  established  town  meetings  were 
held  frequently.  The  records  show  that  the  Town  of  Boston  held  ten  town  meet- 
ings in  the  year  1635.  As  the  number  of  farms  increased  and  the  settlement 
spread  over  a  wider  territory,  officers  were  elected  to  manage  the  town's  business 
between  meetings,  until  many  of  the  townships  came  to  hold  meetings  but  once 
a  year,  unless  some  unexpected  occasion  arose  which  might  require  a  special 
meetii^.  The  principal  officers  are  the  board  of  selectmen,  clerk,  treasurer  and 
board  of  assessors.  In  early  days  there  was  a  tithing-man,  a  sort  of  "Sunday  con- 
stable," whose  business  it  was  to  see  that  evetybody  attended  diurch,  and  to  keep 
them  awake  during  the  serx  ices ;  a  hog  reeve,  who  was  required  to  see  that  all 
hogs  running  at  large  had  rings  in  their  noses;  a  field  driver,  who  impounded 
stray  animals;  and  overseers  of  the  |KX)r.  Some  of  these  offices  are  still  in  exist- 
ence, but  the  duties  of  their  incumbents  are  not  so  arduous  as  in  the  old  colonial 
days.  The  early  town  meeting  overlooked  nothing.  It  prescribed  how  the  school- 
master should  use  the  rod  upon  unruly  pupils,  fixed  the  rate  of  taxation,  desig- 
nated the  hours  that  men  should  labor,  appropriated  funds  for  schools  and  high- 
ways, etc.    Most  of  this  business  is  now  transacted  by  the  board  of  selectmen. 

Beginning  with  the  first  settlements,  the  town  system  grew  with  New  England 
and  the  town  meeting  soon  became  deeply  rooted  in  the  minds  of  tiie  citizens. 
During  the  Revolution  and  the  years  immediately  preceding  it,  the  town  meeting 
was  the  distinguishing  feature  of  New  England  life.  When  the  war  began  these 
little  democratic  communities  proved  to  be  the  most  powerful  aids  to  the  cause 
of  liberty.  In  the  town  meeting  it  was  easy  to  determine  who  was  the  patriot  and 
v/ho  was  the  tory.   Through  their  work  mihtary  stores  were  provided,  the  cele- 

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bntcd  "inimite  men"  were  oiganized,  and  the  resolutions  of  many  of  the  town 
meetings  expressed  in  no  uncertain  language  the  sentiment  of  the  peOfde  that 
afterward  found  utterance  in  the  Declaration  of  Independence. 

And  their  influence  did  not  end  with  the  Revolution.  Un  December  22,  1S07, 
Congress  passed  what  was  known  as  the  "i:n)bargo  Act,"  to  prohibit  trade  with 
England.  Town  meeting  after  town  meeting  in  New  England  passed  rescdutions 
denouncing  the  act,  which  led  President  Jefferson  to  say  afterward:  "How 
powerfully  did  we  feel  the  energy  of  this  oiganization  (the  town)  in  the  case 
of  the  Embargo.  I  felt  the  foundations  of  government  shaken  under  my  feet  by 
the  New  England  townships.  There  was  not  an  individual  in  their  states,  whose 
body  was  not  thrown  with  all  its  momentum  into  action,  and  although  the  whole 
of  tile  other  states  was  known  to  be  in  favor  of  the  measure,  yet  the  oiganization 
of  this  selfish  community  enabled  it  to  overrule  the  Union." 

While  this  may  sound  like  a  crititi^^ni  of  the  town  meeting  and  the  manner 
in  which  Xew  England  defeated  the  purposes  of  the  Embargo  Act,  it  do<^s  not 
express  Mr.  Jefferson's  real  sentiments  as  to  the  value  and  importance  of  the  New 
England  form  of  government.  When  his  own  Stale  of  \'irginia  adopted  the 
county  as  the  diief  political  unit,  Mr.  Jefferson  advocated  the  division  of  the 
cotmtiea  into  townships,  and  in  referring  to  the  New  England  system  said: 
"Those  wards,  called  townships  in  New  England,  are  the  vital  principle  of  their 
governments  and  have  proved  themselves  the  wisest  invention  ever  devised  by  the 
wit  of  man  for  the  perfect  exercise  of  self-government  and  for  its  preservation." 

Most  of  the  southern  states  followed  the  example  of  Virginia  and  adopted  the 
county  system,  with  the  result  that  in  those  states  the  civil  township  is  little  more 
than  a  name.  In  the  West  the  two  systems  are  combined.  Michigan,  Wisconsin 
and  Minnesota,  and  those  counties  in  Nebraska  and  Illinois  that  have  adopted 
township  organization,  hold  town  meetings  very  similar  to  those  of  New  England. 
In  other  states  of  the  Middle  West  questions  of  incurring  indebtedness  for  public 
improvements  are  submitted  to  the  voters  of  tiie  township  at  a  general  election 
instead  of  at  a  town  meeting,  though  the  principle  is  the  same  in  general  effect 

When  the  first  grants  were  made  to  churcli  congregations  or  companies  of 
immigrants,  the  thickly  settled  portion  of  the  grant  was  known  as  the  "town" 
and  the  outlying,  uninhabited  portion  as  the  "township."  In  time,  as  settlement 
was  extendi  to  these  outlying  lands,  the  last  syllable  was  dropped  and  tiie  name 
"town"  was  adopted  for  the  entire  district.  The  towns  were  incorporated  by  the 
colonial  legislature,  which  was  the  only  authority  with  power  to  create  new  towns» 
and  this  system  has  l>een  in  operation  in  Massachusetts  for  nearly  three  centuries. 
As  a  matter  of  experience,  local  government  in  New  England  has  undergone 
some  changes  with  the  fonstantly  dianging  conditions.  Thickly  settled  parts 
of  the  towns  in  some  of  the  New  England  states  have  in  many  cases  been  incor- 
porated as  \  Mlages  or  boroughs,  the  people  surrendering  a  portion  of  the  business 
to  municipal  authorities  or  agents,  though  in  Massachusetts  the  town  meeting  is 
still  the  chief  source  of  power  in  the  adjustment  of  local  public  affairs. 

Not  only  has  the  township  been  the  dominant  force  in  local  government,  but 
it  has  also  been  an  important  factor  in  shaping  the  destinies  of  the  state  and 
•  nation.  In  the  old  Anglo-Saxon  "tunsdpe"  tiie  principal  officer— the  "tun  reeve*'  \ 
—the  parish  priest  and  "four  discreet  laymen"  were  delegates  to  the  "shire  moot^ 
or  county  meeting,  at  which  the  views  of  the  people  regarding  county  affairs  were 



ascertained  through  their  chosen  representatives.  This  system  was  extended  by 
the  Parh'aments  of  1265  and  1295.  concerning  which  Fiske  says:  "These  dates 
have  as  much  interest  for  Americans  as  for  Englishmen,  because  they  mark  the 
first  delinitive  establishment  of  that  grand  system  of  representative  government 
wiiicli  we  are  still  caiTyui|r  on  at  otir  various  state  capitab  and  at  Washii^ton. 
For  its  humble  beginnings  we  have  to  look  back  to  tiie  'reeve  and  foar*  of  the 
ancient  townships  to  the  county  meetings." 

In  the  early  history  of  New  England  the  township  was  not  only  the  dominant 
force  in  questions  of  a  local  nature,  as  a  self-governing  body  politic,  but  it  was 
also  the  unit  of  representation  in  the  colonial  legislature  or  General  Court  In 
modem  times  the  unit  of  representation  has  been  modified  to  some  extent,  but  in 
many  localities  the  township  forms  the  basis  of  representation  in  the  conventions 
of  political  parties,  thus  the  township,  besides  managing  its  own  affairs,  wields 
an  influence  upon  state  and  national  pohtics. 

In  Norfolk  County  there  are  twenty-et^t  towns,  td  wit:  Avon,  Bdlingham, 
Braintree,  Brookline,  Canton,  Cohasset,  Dedham,  Dover,  Foxborougfa,  Franklin, 
Holbrook,  Medfield.  Medway,  Millis,  Milton,  Needham,  Norfolk,  Norwood, 
Plainville,  Quincy,  Randolph,  Sharon,  Stoughton,  Walpole,  W'ellesley.  Westwood, 
Weymouth  and  Wrenthani.  A  history  of  each  of  these  towns  is  given  in  the  suc- 
ceeding chapters. 


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The  territory  comprising  the  Town  of  Avon  was  originally  included  in  that 
part  of  Dorchester  known  as  the  "New  Grant."  When  Stoughton  was  incor- 
porated on  December  32,  1726,  it  embraced  the  present  Town  of  Avon  and  exer- 
cised jurisdictioa  over  it  for  nearly  one  htmdred  and  stxty>two  years,  hence  the 

early  history  of  Avon  is  given  in  the  chapter  on  Stoughton.  The  town  is  located 

in  the  southern  part  of  the  county,  Ijcing  bounded  on  the  north  and  west  by 
Stoughton ;  on  the  east  by  Randolph  and  Holbrook,  and  on  the  south  by  Plymouth 


On  December  2,  1887,  the  following  petition  was  published  in  the  Stoughton 
Record,  the  result  of  a  movement  started  some  months  prior  to  that  time  for 
the  establishment  of  a  new  town: 

'To  the  HononUe  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  Common- 
wealth  of  Massachusetts,  in  General  Court  assembled: 

"The  undersigned  petitioners,  citizens  of  Stoughton,  Norfolk  County,  respect- 
fully represent  that  we  desire  all  that  part  of  Stoughton  east  of  the  following 
described  lines  to  be  incorporated  into  a  town  separate  from  Stoughton,  to  be 

called  .  Said  lines  to  be  the  Old  Colony  Railroad  commencing  at  tiie 

SOoAerly  line  of  the  Town  of  Randolph  and  runntug  southwesterly  to  a  point 
where  the  Boston  &  Taunton  Turnpike,  so  called,  crosses  said  Old  Colony  Rail- 
road, and  from  thence  the  Boston  &  Taunton  Turnpike  to  be  the  line  to  the 
Cit>'  of  Brockton." 

This  petition  was  signed  by  D.  H.  Blandiard,  Hiram  Blandiard,  Alva  M. 

Butler,  Charles  H.  Felker.  D.  C.  G.  Field.  S.  S.  GifFord,  James  Keith,  G.  F.  Little- 
f^cld.  L  G  IJttleiield,  Gilbert  Littlefield,  George  W.  Robbins,  Geoige  J;  Smith 
and  H.  H.  Tucker. 


Thfa  petition  came  before  the  House  of  Representatives  on  February  i,  1888, 
and  was  referred  to  the  committee  on  towns,  which  reported  favorably,  and  a* 
bill  granting  the  prayer  of  the  petitioners  was  passed  and  sent  to  the  senate. 


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It  passed  that  body  and  was  approved  on  Pebmaiy  21,  1888.  Section  x  of  tbe 
bill  reads  as  follows: 

"All  that  territory  now  the  Town  of  Stoughton,  in  the  County  of  Norfolk, 
comprised  within  the  following  limits,  that  is  to  say:  Beginning  at  a  point 
on  tlie  easterly  line  of  Stoughton,  where  the  Old  G>lony  Railroad  crosses  said 
easterly  line;  thence  southwesterly  along  the  westerly  side  of  the  Old  Colony 
Railroad  about  four  hundred  and  sixty  toAt  tO  a  point  on  the  westerly  side  of 
the  culvert  where  SauHsbury  Brook  passes  under  said  railroad  ;  thence  in  a  straight 
line  south  about  five  hundred  and  thirty-two  rods  to  the  westerly  side  of  Oak 
Street,  where  it  intersects  South  Street ;  thence  southerly  again  along  the  westerly 
.  -^side  of  Oak  Street  about  seventy-five  rods  to  tfie  Brockton  line;  thence  along 
said  Brockton  line  about  six  hundred  and  eighty-seven  and  one-half  rods  to 
the  Holhrook  line:  thence  in  a  straight  line  northerly  alwut  eight  hundred  and 
ninety-four  rods  along  the  Holhrook  line  and  the  Randolph  line  to  the  point  of 
beginning,  is  hereby  incorporated  as  a  town  by  the  name  of  Avon,  and  said  Town 
of  Avon  is  hereby  invested  with  all  the  powers,  privileges,  rights  and  immuni- 
ties, and  made  subject  to  all  the  duties,  liabilities  and  requisitions  to  which  other 
towns  are  entitled  or  subjected  by  the  constitution  and  laws  of  this  Common- 

Sections  2  to  6  inclusive  refer  to  the  division  of  the  town  property,  appor- 
tioning the  town  debt,  relief  of  paupers,  etc.  Section  7  places  the  new  town 
in  the  %cond  Dmgressional  District,  the  Second  Councillor  District,  the  Second 
Norfolk  Senatorial  District  and  the  Seventh  Norfolk  Representative  District. 

Section  8  provides  that  "any  justice  of  the  peace  in  the  County  of  Norfolk 
may  issue  his  warrant  directed  to  any  inhabitant  of  the  Town  of  Avon  requiring 
him  to  notify  and  warn  the  inhabitants  thereof  qualified  to  vote  in  town  affairs 
to  meet  at  the 'time  and  place  therein  apfx^ted  for  the  purpose  of  choosing  all 
such  town  officers  as  towns  are  by  law  authorised  and  required  to  choose  at  their 
annual  meetings,"  etc. 


Soon  after  the  town  was  oiganised  under  the  provisions  of  the  above  act, 

an  agitation  was  commenced  for  the  acquisition  of  certain  tracts  of  land  in  the 
towns  of  Randolph  and  Tlolbrook.  A  petition  asking  for  the  annexation  of  these 
lands  to  Avon  was  presented  to  the  next  session  of  the  Legislature,  with  the  result 
that  the  following  act  was  passed  and  approved  on  April  16,  1889: 

"So  much  of  the  towns  of  Randolfrfi  and  Holbrook,  in  the  County  of  Nor- 
folk, widi  an  the  inhabitants  and  estates  thereon,  as  is  thus  bounded  and  desctflwd, 
to  wit:  Beginning  at  a  stone  bound  on  the  westerly  side  of  Main  Street  in  the 
boundary  line  between  said  towns  of  Randoljih  and  Avon  (formerly  Stoughton) 
marked  'R'  on  one  side  and  'S'  on  the  opix)site  side,  and  thence  running  in  a 
straight  line  over  territorial  land  of  said  Randolph  and  of  said  Holbrook  midway 
between  the  two  main  tracks  of  the  Old  Colony  Railroad  as  now  existing  and 
distant  north,  sixteen  degrees  and  fifteen  minutes  east,  six  hundred  and  ninety- 
four  and  eight-tenths  feet  from  the  soutbcrly  side  line  of  High  Street  in  said 
Holhrook;  thence  ninning  south,  sixteen  rief:;rces  and  fifteen  minutes  west,  mid- 
way between  said  tracks,  one  thousand  five  hundred  and  sixteen  and  four-tenths 

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feet  to  a  point  of  curvature  in  said  Holbrook-  and  intersecting  said  southerly 
line  of  H^h  Street  at  a  point  distant  soutti»  fifty-six  degrees  and  thirteen  minutes 
east,  one  hundred  and  sixty-seven  and  seventy-two  hundredths  feet  from  a  stone 

bound  set  in  the  southerly  Hne  of  High  Street ;  thence  running  by  a  curve  to  the  left 
of  five  thousand  seven  hundred  and  thirty  feet  radius,  one  thousand  three  hundred 
and  twenty-three  and  forty-five  hundredths  feet  to  a  point  of  tangcncy  in  Hol- 
brook; thoice  running  midway  between  said  trades  south,  three  degrees  and  one 
minute  west,  five  himdred  and  thirty-five  and  for^-five  hundredths  feet  to  the 
boundary  line  between  said  towns  of  Holbrook  and  Avon;  thence  running  north- 
westerly by  said  boundary  line  iK-tween  the  towns  of  Randolph,  Holbrook  and 
Avon  to  the  point  of  beginning,  containing  an  area  of  about  fourteen  acres  of 
the  territory  of  the  said  Town  of  Randolph  and  about  one  hundred  and  thirty 
acres  of  the  territory  of  the  said  Town  of  Holbrodc,  is  hereby  set  off  and  sepa- 
rated  from  the  said  towns  of  Randolph  and  Holbrook  and  annexed  to  the  said 

Town  of  Avon.'' 

The  reason  for  this  enlargement  of  the  town  was  to  give  it  access  to  railway 
facilities.  The  Old  Colony  Railroad  mentioned  in  the  above  act  is  now  the 
Boston  &  Middlefaoro  division  of  the  New  Yoik,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  rail- 
way qrstem,  which  covers  a  large  part  of  New  Enghuid.  Avon  station  was 
estaUnhed  soon  after  the  boundary  of  the  town  was  extended  to  the  railroad. 


Soon  after  the  town  was  incorporated  a  movement  was  inaugurated  to  estab- 
lish a  system  of  waterworks.   A  f)ctition  was  presented  to  the  Legislature  asking 

for  authority  to  issue  bonds  for  that  purpose  and  on  April  9,  1889,  the  governor 
approved  an  act  emjxjwering  the  Town  of  Avon  "to  supply  itself  and  its  inhabi- 
tants with  water  for  the  extinguishment  of  fires  and  for  domestic  and  other  pur- 
poses," etc.,  and  to  take  ''by  purchase  or  otherwise  and  hold  the  waters  of  Poiter** 
Brook  or  spring  in  said  town."  The  act  also  authorised  the  town  to  borrow  not 
more  than  thirty  thousand  dollars,  issue  bonds  therefore  and  provide  a  sinking 
fund  for  their  redemption  when  due,  said  act  to  take  effect  upon  its  acceptance 
"by  a  two-thirds  vote  of  the  voters  of  said  Town  of  Avon  at  a  legal  town  meeting 
within  three  years  after  its  passage." 

The  conditions  imposed  by  the  act  were  accepted  fay  the  require  two-thirds 
vote,  Lewis  Hawes  of  Boston  was  employed  as  chief  engineer,  and  the  water- 
works were  constructed  in  1889-90.  Wells  were  sunk  to  ol)taiti  a  •;ui>[>1y  of  water 
and  a  pumping  station  was  installed.  The  standpiix.*.  twenty  feet  in  diameter 
and  ninety  feet  high,  was  built  by  E.  Hodge  &  Company  of  Boston.  It  has  a 
capacity  of  212,670  gallons  and  the  average  pressure  of  the  system  u  sixty-five 
pounds  to  the  square  inch.  Up  to  December  31,  1912,  the  total  cost  of  the  plant 
was  $83,324.09  and  the  aggregate  amount  of  bonds  issued  was  $69,500.  There 
were  then  eight  miles  of  mains.  Since  that  time  some  extensions  have  been  made 
and  the  bonds  have  nearly  all  been  paid.   The  works  are  owned  by  the  town. 


On  October  18.  if)! 2,  the  town  hall  was  damaged  l)y  fire  to  the  amount  of 
$1,500  and  the...contents  to  the  amount  of  $1,500.  The  building  was  erected  a  few 

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yesas  after  the  incorporation  of  tfie  town  at  a  cost  of  about  three  thousand  dollars. 

It  contains  a  hall  for  h<Ming  town  meetings,  offices  for  the  town  officials  and 
quarters  for  the  fire  company.  At  the  time  of  the  fire  the  town  carried  $2,000  in- 
surance on  the  building  and  $I,20O  on  the  contents.  The  damage  to  the  building 
was  quickly  repaired,  but  the  loss  of  records  renders  it  impossible  to  ascertain  the 
original  cost  or  just  when  the  structure  was  completed. 


Avon  is  the  smallest  town  in  Norfolk  County.  It  is  an  agricultural  community 
and  has  no  manufacturing  establishments  of  importance.  In  addition  to  the  tians^ 
pmtattm  f acifitks  furnished  hy  tiie  New  York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  Rail> 

road,  the  Milton  &  Brockton  division  of  the  Bay  State  Street  Railway  Company 
traverses  the  town,  connecting  it  with  practically  all  the  principal  places  in  Norfolk 
County.   Cars  run  on  this  line  every  thirty  minutes. 

The  first  board  of  selectmen  was  composed  of  Hiram  Blanchard,  George  W. 
Robbins  and  Bartlett  Collins,  who  also  served  as  the  first  town  assessors.  Geoi|re 
J.  Smith  was  the  first  town  clerk,  and  James  Keith  the  first  treasurer.  In  1917  the 
town  officers  were  as  follows:  John  F.  Gear}',  hrederick  F.  P>0(iwel!  and  Fred- 
erick A.  ranncnler,  ^elL•cttllen  ;  John  J.  t'ollins,  clerk;  William  W.  Littlefield, 
treasurer;  John  F.  Geary,  Frederick  A.  i'armenter  and  Fred  P.  Whitten,  asse^urs. 

In  the  principal  square  stands  a  neat  monument  of  fianite  bearing  the  in- 
scription : 

In  Grateful  Remembrance 
of  the  men 
of  Avon 
Who  fought  to 
Save  the  Union 

Above  the  inscription  are  two  crossed  swords  carved  in  bas  relief,  and  on  the 
top  of  the  monument  is  the  figure  of  an  infantry  soldier.  Avon  was  a  part  of 
StOUghton  at  the  time  of  the  Civil  War,  but  tiie  monument  commemorates  the 
gallant  deeds  of  those  who  went  from  that  part  of  Stou^ton  now  comprising; 
Avon.  On  the  die  of  the  monument  is  the  following: 

Presented  by 
Oriando  Leadi 

To  the  Town  of  Avon 

In  the  sottdieastem  part  of  the  town  is  Highland  Paric,  one  of  die  beauty  spots 
of  Norfolk  Gmnty.  It  is  on  the  electric  railway  line  running  from  Avon  to  Brock- 
ton and  is  a  favorite  resort  for  persons  who  desire  a  day's  outing  amid  peaceful 

On  the  covers  of  the  annual  town  rejwrts  is  a  small  portrait  of  William  Shake- 
speare, indicating  that  the  town  derives  its  name  from  the  birthplace  of  the  im- 


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mortal  bard — ^Stratford-<m>Avoa''  in  Eng^land.   The  Avmi  of  today  has  two 

modem  public  school  buildings,  a  well  drilled  and  equipped  Are  company,  a  pobltc 
library,  Baptist  and  Catholic  churches,  and  a  numl)er  of  cozy  homes.  The  popu- 
lation in  1910  was  2,013  and  in  1915,  according  to  the  state  census,  it  was  2.164, 
an  increase  of  15 1  in  five  years.  The  assessed  valuation  of  property  in  19 15  was 

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Bellingham  is  the  most  we^ern  town  of  Norfc^  County.  It  is  bounded  on 
the  north  by  the  Town  of  Medway;  on  the  east  by  Franklin  and  Wrentham;  on 
the  south  by  the  State  of  Rhode  IsUmd ;  and  on  the  west  by  Worcester  County. 

The  surface  is  generally  uneven,  thougVi  there  are  no  large  elevations  in  the  town. 
The  Charles  River  flows  across  the  northern  part,  the  Peters  River  rises  near  the 
center  and  flows  in  a  southerly  direction  into  Rhode  island.  Its  principal  trib- 
tttaiy  is  the  Bungay  Brook,  which  rises  in  Wrentham.  North  of  the  Charies  River 
and  connected  witii  it  by  a  small  stream  is  Beaver  Fond»  and  in  the  southern  part 
is  another  pond  of  considerable  size  called  Jenks'  Reservoir.  There  aitt  also  a 
few  smaller  ponds  drained  by  the  Peters  River. 


From  the  hest  authority  at  hand,  it  is  believed  thattfie  first  white  man  to  locate 
within  the  limits  of  the  present  Town  of  Bellingham  was  Jacob  Bartlett.  Follow- 
ing the  custom  of  the  time,  Mr.  Bartlett  selected  a  tract  of  land  some  time  in  the 
summer  of  1713  and  erected  a  cabin,  to  which  he  moved  his  family.  Land  was 
then  plentiful  and  such  a  thing  as  acquiring  it  by  purchase  was  almost  unknown. 
On  October  27,  1713,  tiie  proprietors  of  the  Town  of  Dedham,  of  which  the 
territory  was  then  a  part,  granted  thirty-fn  e  acres  to  Jacob  Bartlett.  This  grant 
is  the  first  official  mention  in  the  records  of  the  region  now  included  within  the 
town  limits  of  P>ellingham. 

During  the  fall  of  17 13  and  the  followii^  winter,  several  families  settled  near 
the  Charles  River.  That  no  confusion  should  arise  regarding  the  possession  of 
tiie  land,  a  crown  warrant  was  issued  early  in  February,  1714,  the  return  upon 
which  was  as  follows: 

■'In  pursuance  of  a  warrant  to  me  directed  by  John  Chandler,  Esq.,  one  of 
her  Majesty's  Justices  of  the  Peace  for  the  County  of  Suflfolk,  these  are  to  give 
public  notice  that  a  meeting  of  the  proprietors  of  that  tract  of  land  bdonging  to 
Dedham  lying  between  Wrentham,  Mendon  and  Providence  is  appointed  to  be 
held  and  kept  at  the  house  of  Deacon  Thomas  Sanford.  in  Mendon,  on  the 
eleventh  day  of  March  next  ensuing,  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  then  and 


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then  to  agree  upon  a  division  of  land  and  what  relates  thereant<^  of  which  all 
persons  concerned  are  to  take  notice  and  give  attendance  accordit^y.  Dated  tiiis 
twenty-iifth  day  of  February,  A.D.,  1714. 

"Jonathan  Wight,  Constable." 

Between  the  time  the  warrant  was  issued  and  the  day  of  the  meeting,  the 

land  was  divided  into  lots  or  parcels  containing  from  twenty  to  sixty  acres  each. 
On  the  apj>ointed  day  the  residents  in  that  part  of  the  present  County  of  Xorfnlk 
a'ijembied  at  Mr.  Sanford's  house  and  the  meeting  was  organized  by  the  election 
of  John  Ware  of  Wrentham,  moderator,  and  Thomas  Sanford,  clerk.  Slips  of 
paper  were  prepared,  each  bearing  the  number  of  a  certain  lot  of-  land,  and  the 
slips  were  tiien  placed  in  a  box  and  thoroughly  mixed.  Eadi  settled  then  drew 
a  slip,  which  entitled  him  to  the  tract  of  land  bearing  the  same  number.  The 
highest  number  was  121,  indicating  that  there  were  then  that  number  of  actual 
or  prospeaive  settlers  in  the  district. 


The  five  years  immediately  following  iIr'  distribution  of  land  witnessed  the 
influx  of  quite  a  number  of  new  settlers.  In  the  summer  of  171*),  owing  to  the 
great  distance  from  Dedham,  where  the  inhabitants  had  to  go  to  attend  church 
and  transact  Hmr  bi»iness  willi  die  town  ai^rities,  a  movem^  was  started 
for  the  establishment  of  a  new  town.  A  petition  was  accordingly  prepared,  ad- 
dressed to  "His  Excellency  Samuel  Shute,  Esq.,  Captain-General  and  Governor 
in  Chief  in  and  over  his  Majesty's  I'rovince  of  the  Massachusetts  Ray.  in  Xew 
England,  and  to  the  Honourable  Council  and  House  of  Representatives  in  General 
Court  convened  at  Boston." 

After  setting  forth  in  detail  the  reasons  for  askii^  that  a  new  town  be  created, 
the  inconveniences  to  which  the  inhabitants  of  the  territory  was  subjected,  etc,  the 
petition  closed  as  follows : 

"Our  Prayer  Therefore  is  that  your  Honours  would  Graciously  plese  to  con- 
sider our  Difficulty  Circumstances  and  grant  us  our  petition,  which  is  That  ye 
above  mentioned  Tracts  of  Land  (as  by  one  Piatt  heretofore  affixed  &  Dncribed) 
may  be  incorporated  together  &  made  a  Town  &  Invested  with  Town  Preveliges. 
That  we  may  be  Inabled  in  0>nveniant  Time  to  obtain  ye  Gospel  &  Public  Worship 
of  God  settled,  &  our  Inconveniances  by  Reason  of  our  Remoateness  be  Re- 
moved:  granting  us  such  Time  of  Dispcnce  from  Public  Taxes  as  in  wisdom  you 
shall  think  Conveniant,  &  in  your  so  doing  you  will  greatly  oblige  us  who  am  your 
Humble  petitioners:  and  for  your  Honours,  as  in  Ccmsciance  we  are  Bound, 
Shall  ever  pray. 

"Dated  ye  17th  Day  of  November,  1719." 

The  petition  was  signed  by  Richard  Rlood,  Thomas  Rurch,  Nicholas  Cook, 
Nicholas  Cook,  Jr.,  Seth  Cook,  Daniel  Corbet,  John  Corbet,  Cornelius  Darling, 
John  Darling,  Samuel  Darling,  Zuriel  Hall,  Jonathan  Hayward,  Oliver  Hayward, 
Samuel  Hayward,  William  Hayward,  Eliphalet  Holbrook  John  Holbrook,  Joseph 

Holbrook.  Peter  Holbrook.  Inheritaiu  e  of  Mendoli,  John  March,  Samuel  Rich, 

Tame-  .'^mith.  Pelafiah  Smith.  Samuel  Smith,  Ebenezer  Thaver,  Isaac  Thaver. 
Eiienezer  Thompson,  John  Thompson.  John  Thompson,  Jr.,  Joseph  Thompson, 
Samuel  Thompson  and  Nathaniel  Weatherby. 



The  plat  submitted  with  the  petition  showed  "a  Tract  of  Land  belonging  to 
Dedham,  westward  of  W'rentham,  and  a  small  Corner  of  Mendon  adjacent 
Thereto."  On  November  26,  1719,  the  petition  was  read  in  the  lower  house  of 
the  General  Court  and  that  body  "Ordered  that  the  prayer  of  the  petitioners  be 
granted,  and  that  a  township  be  erected  and  constituted  according  thereunto  and 
the  plat  above:  Provided  they  procure  and  settled  a  learned  ordiodox  minister 
within  the  space  of  three  years  now  comiiif^  " 

It  was  further  enacted  that  "John  Darling,  John  Thompson  and  John  Marsh 
be  Impowercd  to  call  a  Town  Meetmg  any  time  in  March  next  to  choose  Town 
Officers  &  manage  ye  other  prudentisdl  affairs  of  ye  Town.  The  name  of  the 
Town  to  be  called  Bellingfaam."  The  upper  house  concurred  in  this  action-the 
next  day,  so  that  the  Town  of  Bellingham  dates  its  corporate  existence  from 
November  27,  1719.  The  name  was  no  doubt  chosen  as  a  mark  of  respect  for 
Sir  Richard  Bellingham,  who  was  one  of  the  early  colonial  governors  of  Massa- 


The  commissioners  named  in  the  act  of  incorjx)ration — Darling,  Thompson 
and  Marsh — issued  a  call  for  a  town  meeting  to  be  held  at  the  house  of  John 
Thompson  on  March  2,  1720.  I'elatiah  Smith  was  chosen  moderator,  and  the 
f otlowing  town  officers  were  dected :  Selectmen,  John  Darling,  PeUttiab  &iiith, 
John  Thompson,  John  Corbett  and  Nathaniel  Jilson;  Qerk,  Pelatiah  Smith; 
Treasurer,  John  Holbrook  ;  Tithingmen,  John  Marsh  and  Nicholas  Cook  ;  Con- 
stables, Nicholas  Cook  and  William  Ilayward  :  Hog  reeves,  '*for  the  due  observ- 
ance of  swine,"  Oliver  Ilayward  and  Sainucl  Darling. 

Bellingham  did  not  actually  obtaui  a  corporate  charter  by  the  act  of  November 
27,  1719,  but  the  people  were  authorized  to  form  a  town  government  which 
should  become  fully  operative  if  they  estaUished  a  church  and  installed  a  min- 
ister within  three  years.  This  provision  came  before  the  first  town  meeting. 
John  Darling,  NichoIa>  t  00k,  Sr.,  John  Corbet  and  John  Holbrook  were  ai>- 
pointed  a  committee  to  select  a  location  for  the  meeting  house,  and  another  com- 
mittee, consisting  of  Nathaniel  Jilson,  Nicholas  Cook,  John  Corbet  and  Pelatiah 
Smith  was  ap^xjinted  to  build  the  house,  ''so  far  as  the  covering  and  inclosing  are 

On  November  14,  1720,  the  committee  on  location  reported  at  a  town  meeting 
held  at  the  house  of  John  Thompson — "That  the  meeting  house  shoiiM  \>c  sett 
whare  thare  is  a  Stake  standing  near  Wcatherly's  corner,  with  a  heap  ot  stones 
Laid  about  said  Stake  and  a  pine  tree  marked;  said  Stake  Standing  in  an  old 
Road  that  goes  from  Mendon  to  Wrentiiam,  the  Demension  of  the  meeting  house 
to  be:  fourty  foott  long  thirty  foott  wide,  Eighteen  foott  Between  Joynts.  The 
Stated  priix  for  Laborers  for  a  Narrow  axx  man  finding  himself  tow  shillings  and 
a  sixpence  per  day.  Broad  axx  man  three  shillings  pr  day,  finding  themselves." 

The  location  thus  selected  for  the  meeting  huu^c  is  a  short  distance  north  of 
the  Charles  River,  near  the  site  of  the  village  oi  Crimpville,  which  afterward 
grew  up  there.  The  building  was  evidently  inclosed  some  time  in  the  summer  or 
early  fall  of  172 1,  for  on  November,  23,  172 1,  a  town  meeting  voted  that  Uie 
meeting  house  should  be  lathed  and  pkstered  with  white  Ume  and  that  an  aisle 

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four  feet  wide  should  be  left  through  the  center  and  aisles  four  feet  wide  between 
the  ends  of  the  scats  and  the  sides  of  the  huilduig.  In  January,  1723,  the  town 
voted  to  give  fifty  acres  of  land  to  the  tirst  minister  who  would  settle  in  the 
town  and  not  long  afterward  Rev.  Thomas  Smith  accepted  the  offer  and  entered 
iqxm  his  duties  as  pastor  of  the  church.  Belting  ham  then  became  fully  incorpo- 
rated according  to  the  provision  of  the  act,  though  a  little  more  than  three  years 
elapsed  before  a  r^Iar  minister  was  settled. 


In  1723  a  difference  of  opinion  arose  between  the  people  of  Bellingham  and 
those  of  W'rentham  as  to  the  actual  location  of  the  boundary  line  dividing  the  two 
towns,  and  sonic  ill  feeling  was  developed  before  the  question  was  finally  settled. 
Bellingham  appointed  a  committee  to  carry  the  matter  before  the  court,  and  a  tax 
was  levied  upon  the  cattle  of  the  town  to  defray  the  expenses.  A  little  later  the 
town  sold  one  hundred  and  fifty  acres  of  common  land»  for  which  the  sum  of  one 
hundred  and  forty  pounds  was  obtained,  practically  all  of  which  was  expended 
in  making  a  survey  and  security  the  establishment  of  the  line  as  it  stands  at  the 
present  time. 


So  far  as  can  be  gleaned  from  the  records,  tlie  first  call  for  a  member  of  the 
General  Court  was  made  on  l!el!ingham  in  1755,  but  the  town  meeting  voted  not 
to  send  a  representative,  on  the  grounds  that  the  jKople  could  not  afford  the 
expense.  The  General  Court  appears  to  have  been  incensed  at  the  action  of  the 
meeting  and  fined  file  town  for  its  disobedience  of  orders.  When  the  people  of 
Bellii^^m  learned  of  the  fine  another  town  meetuig  was  called,  but  the  <»ily 
action  taken  was  to  petition  the  General  Court  for  an  abatement  of  the  fine  and 
voted  the  sum  of  two  pounds  and  ten  shillings  to  defray  the  expense  of  carrying 
the  petition  to  the  Court.  At  die  same  meeting  it  was  decided  to  assess  the  sol- 
diers who  enlisted  in  the  King's  service  and  the  people  pledged  themselves  to  stand 
by  the  assessors  in  levying  a  tax  on  said  soldiers.  It  is  not  shown  by  the  records 
that  the  tax  was  ever  collected  and  the  assessment  probably  was  a  "dead  tetter." 

Early  in  the  year  1757  the  General  Court  again  made  a  demand  on  Belling- 
ham for  a  representative,  but  at  the  May  meetinj:^  the  town  again  "voted  in  the 
negative"  and  no  representative.  No  fine  was  imposed  upon  the  town  in  this  in- 
stance, but  when  in  April,  1761,  Bellingham  again  voted  not  to  send  a  represent- 
ative a  small  fine  was  levied  against  the  town.  A  year  later  another  demand  was 
made  for  a  ddegate,  but  the  town  meeting  declined  "by  a  large  vote." 

Although  refusing  to  send  a  representative  to  the  General  Court,  the  people 
of  Dellingham  recognized  the  authority  of  that  body  and  cheerfully  endeavored  to 
observe  the  laws.  At  least  in  one  instance  they  called  upon  the  Court  to  settle 
a  local  dispute.  At  a  town  meeting  held  on  March  6,  1764,  officers  for  the  en- 
suing year  were  elected.  Nine  days  later  another  meeting  (or  an  adjourned 
meeting)  undertook  to  annul  the  action  of  the  former  one  and  elected  another 
set  of  officers.  Nineteen  citizens  signed  a  protest  against  this  second  election 
and  sent  it  up  to  the  General  Court,  with  their  reasons  therefor.  The  L^slature 

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decided  that  the  election  of  March  6th  was  legal  and  the  subsequent  action  of  the 
adjourned  meeting  null  and  void,  "much  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  ofiicers  firht 

At  March  meeting  in  1773,  **the  condition  of  the  country  being  in  an  un- 
settled state,  and  the  town  being  greatly  inconvenienced  by  the  excessive  taxation, 

a  committee  consisting  of  John  Metcalf,  John  Corbett,  Samuel  Scott,  William 
liolbrook  and  Benjamin  Partridge  was  chosen  to  look  into  the  condition  of  affairs 
and  report  at  the  next  meeting."  If  the  committee  ever  reported  it  was  not  made 
a  matter  of  record 

About  this  time,  the  town  being  so  negligent  about  sending  a  representative 
to  the  General  Court,  another  fine  was  imposed  and  a  petition  of  abatement  was 
sent  as  payment.  It  seems  that  none  of  the  fines  had  ever  been  paid  and  the  town 
had  been  at  some  expense  in  the  matter  of  {Xftitioning  for  their  remission.  In  the 
case  just  mentioned,  the  Legislature  gave  no  immediate  attention  to  the  petition 
and  the  town  records  that  on  Octaber  22,  1773,  when  the  questiim  came  be- 
fore a  town  meeting  it  was  "Put  to  vote  tt>  see  if  the  town  will  send  to  Court  any 
more  to  get  the  fines  ofT  that  we  are  fined  for  not  sending  a  Representative  in 
years  passed.  Decided  in  the  negative." 

.\t  the  beginning  of  the  year  1774  the  colonies  were  almost  in  a  state  of 
revolution  against  the  excessive  ta.xation  levied  by  the  mother  coimtry.  In  May 
of  that  year  the  j^eople  of  Bellingham  voted  to  send  a  committee  to  the  General 
Court  to  explain  their  poverty  and  ask  that  the  town  be  anessed  for  a  less  amount, 
as  well  as  that  the  fines  imposed  upon  them  for  their  failure  to  send  a  represent- 
ative be  remitted.  This  committee  met  with  Ijctter  success  than  its  predecessors 
and  the  fines  were  abated,  rcstorinj,'  j^ood  feeling  between  the  Bellingham  people 
and  the  colonial  authorities.  On  September  2,  1774,  a  town  meeting  voted  "the 
sum  of  nineteen  shillings  to  the  General  Court,  to  assist  in  carrying  on  expenses." 
At  the  same  meeting  it  was  agreed  that  tfaer  citizens  of  the  town  would  purchase 
no  goods  imported  from  Engkmd,  and  the  sum  of  five  pounds  was  voted  for 

f)n  .^epteml)er  30,  1774.  Luke  Holbrook  was  elected  as  Bellingham's  "first 
delegate"  to  attend  the  i'rovincial  Congress  at  Concord  on  the  second  Tuesday  of 
the  foUowing  month.  Seven  pounds  additional  were  voted  on  December  19, 
1774,  "for  the  purchase  of  powder  and  bullets."  The  action  of  the  people  of 

Bellingham  for  the  purchase  of  ammunition  and  the  boycott  of  English  goods 

shows  clearly  where  their  sympathies  lay  in  the  difference  of  opinion  between 
the  -American  colonies  and  the  mother  country,  and  from  this  time  forward  there 
was  no  controversy  with  the  Massachusetts  General  Court. 


On  July  4,  1776.  a  town  meetint^  was  held  in  Bellingham  for  the  purpose  of 
discussing  general  conditions  and  determining  upon  a  definite  course  to  be  followed 
in  case  of  a  rupture  between  the  British  Government  and  the  English  col(»iies  in 
America.  Alniost  at  the  same  hour  ^t  tfie  Dechration  of  Independence  was 
adopted  by  the  Continental  Congress  at  Philadelphia,  the  Bellii^;ham  town  meeting 
declared :  "That  in  case  the  Honorable  Continental  Conp^rcss  shall  think  it  neces- 
sary for  the  safe^  of  the  United  Colonies  to  declare  them  independent  of  Great 

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Britain,  the  inhabitants  of  this  town,  with  their  lives  and  fortunes,  will  cheerfully 

support  them  in  the  measure." 

And  the  declaration  was  no  idle  boast.  When  the  news  of  Lexington  and 
Concord  reached  the  little  town  in  the  southwest  corner  of  what  is  now  Norfolk 
County  (then  a  part  of  Suffolk),  the  people  of  Bellingham  were  ready.  Out  of 
her  meager  population  oitaety-three  men  served  in  the  Continental  araqr  during 
the  Revolution  and  fought  to  achieve  their  independence. 


On  September  17,  1776,  the  General  Court  fitnt  to  the  several  towns  in  the 
state  a  communication  askii^  opinions  regarding  the  fonnation  of  a  new  state 
government,  with  such  suggestions  as  the  people  felt  inclined  to  submit.  Belling- 
ham was  not  at  all  backward  about  expressing  her  ideas  on  the  subject.  At  a 
town  meeting  held  on  (  Ktohcr  20,  1776,  Dr.  John  Corl>ett,  Coroner  John  Mctcalt, 
Elder  Xoah  Alden,  Deacon  Samuel  Darling  and  Lieut,  beth  Hall  were  appouaied 
a  committee  to  prepare  the  town's  reply  and  report  at  an  adjourned  meeting  on 
Uie  first  Monday  in  December.  The  report,  whidi  was  adopted  at  the  adjourned 
meeting,  was  as  follows: 

*'\\'e  are  of  the  opinion  that  the  settling  a  form  of  {government  for  this  State 
is  a  matter  of  the  greatest  importance  of  a  civil  nature  that  we  were  ever  con- 
cerned in,  and  ought  to  be  proceeded  in  with  the  greatest  caution  and  deliberation. 
It  appears  to  us  that  the  late  General  Assembly  of  this  State,  in  their  proclamation 
dated  January  23,  1776,  ha\  e  well  expressed  that  'power  always  resides  in  the 
body  of  the  people.'  We  understand  that  all  males  above  twenty-one  years  of 
age,  meeting  in  each  sejxirate  town  and  acting  the  same  thing  and  all  their 
acts  united  together  make  an  act  of  the  body  of  the  people.  W  e  apprehend  it 
would  be  proper  that  the  form  of  govmmient  for  this  State  to  originate  in  eadi 
town,  and  by  Uiat  means  we  may  have  the  ingenuity  of  all  the  State,  and  it  may 
qualify  men  for  public  station,  which  might  be  effected  if  the  present  Honorable 
House  of  Representatives  would  divide  this  State  into  districts  of  ai)out  thirty 
miles  in  diameter,  or  less  if  it  api)car  most  convenient,  so  that  none  be  more  than 
fifteen  miles  from  the  center  of  the  district,  that  there  may  be  an  easy  com- 
munication between  each  town  and  the  center  of  its  district,  that  no  town  be  di- 
vided,  and  that  each  town  choose  oat  man  out  of  each  thirty  inhabitants  to  be  a 
committee  to  meet  as  near  the  center  of  the  district  as  may  be ;  to  meet  about  six 
weeks  after  the  House  of  Representatives  have  issued  their  order  for  the  towns 
to  meet  and  draw  a  form  of  government,  and  the  same  committee  to  carry  with 
them  the  form  of  government  their  town  has  drawn  at  the  district  meeting  and 
compare  them  tt^pether,  and  propose  to  their  towns  what  alteration  their  town  in 
their  opinion  ought  to  make,  and  said  committee  in  eadi  district  adjourn  to  carry 
to  their  several  towns  and  lay  Itefore  them  in  town  meeting  for  that  end,  the 
form  of  government  said  district  lias  agreed  to.  and  the  town  agrees  to  or  alters 
as  they  see  meet ;  after  which  each  district  committee  to  choose  a  man  as  a  com- 
mittee to  meet  afl  as  one  committee  at  Watertown  at  twelve  weeks  after  the  or^ 
of  the  House  of  Representatives  for  the  town  first  meeting  to  draw  a  form  of 
government,  which  committee  of  the  whole  State  may  be  empowered  to  send 
precepts  to  the  several  towns  in  this  State  to  choose  one  man  out  of  sixty  to 

Vol.  I— S 

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meet  in  convention  at  Watertown,  or  such  other  town  as  each  committee  shall 
judge  best.  Six  weeks  from  the  time  of  said  district's  last  sitting  the  said  one 
man  out  of  sixty  to  meet  in  convention  to  draw  from  the  forms  of  government 
drawn  by  each  district  committee  one  form  of  government  for  the  whole  State; 
after  which  said  convention  to  send  to  each  town  the  form  of  government 
they  have  drawn  for  the  town's  confirmation  or  alteration,  then  adjourn,  notify- 
ing each  town  to  make  return  to  them  of  their  doings  at  said  convention,  and  at 
said  adjournment  said  convention  draw  a  general  plan  or  form  of  government 
for  this  State,  so  that  they  add  nothing  nor  diminish  nothing  from  tiic  general 
sense  of  each  town,  and  that  each  town  be  at  the  charge  of  all  they  employ  in  the 

Although  the  language  used  in  this  rejwrt  might  be  improved  on.  its  purport 
is  clear  and  shows  how  zealously  the  early  colonists  guarded  the  right  of  local  self- 
government  as  the  very  comer-stone  of  their  political  liberty.  Rev.  Xoah  Alden, 
pastor  of  the  Baptist  Church,  was  dected  a  ddegate  from  Bdlingfaam  to  the 
constitutional  convention  whidi  met  at  Cambridge  on  September  i,  1779,  and  part 
of  his  instructions  was  to  see  "that  each  part  of  the  State  have  properly  delegated 
their  power  for  such  a  purpose,  and  that  a  bill  of  rights  be  framed  wherein  the 
natural  rights  of  individuals  be  clearly  ascertained — that  is,  all  such  rights  as  the 
supreme  power  of  the  State  shall  liavc  no  authority  to  control — to  be  a  part 
of^the  Constitution,** 

The  idea  carried  by  these  instructions  was  not  peculiar  to  BcUini^iam.  It 
pervaded  all  the  colonies.  In  a  modified  form  it  was  applied  in  the  adoption  of  the 
Federal  Constitution,  which  was  submitted  to  the  several  states  for  ratification, 
and  in  every  one  of  the  forty-eight  states  of  the  American  Union  the  State  consti- 
tution was  submitted  to  the  people  for  their  approval  or  rejection  before  it  became 


Owing  to  the  inconvenience  in  attending  the  town  meetings  at  Jjellmghani 
Centre,  s(une  of  the  dtixens  living  in  the  nortfian  portion  of  the  town  started 
a  movement  in  1807  to  form  a  new  town  by  taking  parts  of  Bellingham,  Franklin, 
Medway  and  Holliston,  the  last  named  in  Midlesex  County.  A  petition  to  that 

elTect  was  sent  to  the  Legi>!aturc,  which  apj)ointed  a  committee  to  view  the  tern- 
tory.  The  committee  reported  adversely  and  the  matter  was  dropped  for  the 

In  1816  the  question  again  came  before  the  L^slature  and  the  standing  com- 
mittee on  towns  in  the  House  of  Representatives  reported  favorably,  providing 

the  boundaries  asked  for  in  the  petition  were  changed  SO  as  to  take  a  smaller 
portion  of  Bellingham.  To  this  proposition  the  petitioners  would  not  assent  and 
the  petition  was  then  denied  by  the  Legislature. 

Eight  years  later  the  subject  was  again  agitated  and  several  hearings  were 
granted  by  tiie  General  Court,  but  nothing  definite  was  accomplished.  In  May, 
1S24,  another  petition  came  before  the  L^slature  asking  for  the  erection  of  a  new 
town  with  the  following  boundaries:  "Beginning  at  the  Milford  line  on  the 
northerly  side  of  Xahum  Clark's  farm,  and  running  easterly,  including  said  farm 
and  across  the  land  of  Henry  Adams,  to  a  stake  and  stones  on  the  northerly  side 

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of  a  town  road ;  thence  across  said  road  to  the  northest  corner  of  the  Adams  farm ; 

thence  to  a  white  oak  tree  standing  on  the  east  side  of  the  road,  about  twenty 
rods  north  of  Capt.  Jonathan  Harding's  barn ;  thence  to  the  south  side  of  the 
farm  belonging  to  the  estate  of  A.  Morse,  opposite  his  dwelhng  house ;  thence  to 
continue  in  a  straight  line  on  tlie  southerly  side  of  Morse's  farm  to  the  Pond  road, 
so  called;  thence  running  southerly  on  said  road  about  twenty-five  rods;  thence 
easterly  in  a  straight  line  along  the  south  side  of  Capt  M.  Rockwood's  home  farm 
to  the  old  grant  line  (so  called)  ;  thence  southerly  on  said  line  and  Candlewood 
Island  road  (so  called)  to  the  old  county  road;  thence  running  southerly  across 
said  road  and  Charles  River  to  the  end  of  a  road  near  Amos  Fisher's  house  in 
Franklin;  thence  soothwesterty  on  said  road  to  a  town  road  leading  from  the 
factoiy  village  in  M edway  to  FrankUn  meeting  house ;  thence  to  the  comer  of  the 
road  near  the  house  of  Joseph  Bacon ;  thence,  following  said  road  by  Luther  Ellis' 
house,  to  the  southeasterly  comer  of  Leonard  I^wrcnce's  land  on  the  westerly  side 
of  said  road;  thence  to  the  southeast  corner  of  Stephen  Allen's  meadow  land; 
thence  westerly  across  Mine  Brook  to  a  white  oak  tree  on  the  hne  between 
Bellin^am  and  Franklin ;  thence  westerly  on  a  division  line  of  lands  of  Stephen 
Metcalf  and  Jesse  Gwmbs  to  a  town  road  in  Bdlingham;  thence  westerly  across 
Charles  River  to  a  Stake  and  stones  beside  the  turnpike  road  west  of  Elijah  Dew- 
ini^^  barn  ;  thence  crossing  said  road  and  running  northwesterly  to  a  town  road  on 
the  division  line  of  Nathan  Allen  and  Benjamin  R.  Partridge,  easterly  from  said 
Allen's  house;  thence  northerly  on  said  division  hne  to  the  HoUiston  town  line; 
thence  running  westerly  on  HolUstoa's  line  to  farm  comer  (so  called) ;  thence 
northerly  on  the  town  line  of  Milf ord  to  tfie  comer  first  mentioned** 

Doubtless  many  of  the  land  marks  mentioned  have  disappeared  and  the  owner- 
ship of  farms  changed  until  it  would  be  extremely  difficult,  if  not  utterly  im- 
possible, to  trace  the  boundaries  of  this  proposed  town.  The  prayer  of  the 
petitioners  was  refused  by  the  Legislature  and  no  further  efforts  were  made  to 
divide  the  Town  of  Bellingfaam,  consequemly  its  boundaries  remain  as  they  were 
established  when  the  dispute  with  Wrentham  was  settled  in  1724. 


In  1800,  the  town  experiencing  some  difficulty  in  obtaining  the  use  of  the 
meeting  house  for  puUic  meetings,  appdnted  Ezekid  Bates*  Eltab  Wight,  Jcha 
Scammell  and  Laban  Bates  a  committee  "to  examine  into  and  report  upon  the 
feasibility  of  constructing  a  new  building  and  finding  a  suitable  location  tiiere- 
for."   The  committee  reported  as  follows: 

"We  are  of  the  opinion  that  the  most  central  and  convenient  spot  for  erecting 
said  building  is  on  the  land  occupied  by  David  Jones,  situated  at  the  end  of  the 
road  leadii^  from  Ezekiel  Bates'  dwelling  house  to  the  road  known  as  the 
Tawiton  Road»  and  is  bounded  partly  on  the  west  by  the  said  Taunton  Road. 
The  said  Jones  proposes  giving  the  town  one  acre  of  land  for  the  purpose  of 
setting  said  house  and  other  buildinq^s  upon,  provided  said  town  will  agree  to 
erect  such  a  building  as  will  best  accommodate  the  religious  society  in  said  town 
for  a  house  of  public  wcnrdiip." 

About  the  time  this  report  was  submitted  Joseph  Fairbanks,  who  had  pre- 
ii-iousIy  set  up  a  saw  and  ^rist  mill  on  the  Charles  River,  associated  with  him 
several  of  his  neighbors  and  made  the  f  olkiwing  offer  to  the  town : 

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"Bellingham,  March  15,  A.  D.  1800. 
"We,  the  undersigned,  do  hereby  propose  to  the  inhabitants  of  said  Belling- 
ham that  we  will  undertake  the  building  of  a  public  house  in  said  town  for  the 
purpose  of  better  accommodating  said  inhabitants  to  transact  their  public  con- 
ttms  in.  We  propose  said  house  to  be  forty-five  by  fifty  feet  on  the  ground, 
twenty-five  feet  posts,  and  one  porch  fourteen  feet  square,  which  shall  be  built 
of  good  materials  and  be  well  wrought;  providing  said  town  will  grant  the  sum  of 
one  thousand  dollars,  five  hundred  to  be  assessed  and  paid  into  the  treasury  for 
the  above  purpose  by  the  first  day  of  April,  1801,  and  the  other  five  hundred 
to  be  paid  by  April  i,  1802,  and  also  to  grant  us  the  privilege  of  building  pews  in 
said  house  for  the  acconunodation  of  the  rdigious  society  in  said  town,  and 
giving  us  the  benefit  of  the  sale  of  said  pews  to  defray  in  part  the  expense  of 
said  building;  and  if  the  above  proposal  sliall  be  accepted  by  a  vote  of  said  town, 
we  do  hereby  jointly  and  severally  agree  and  engage  completely  to  finish  said 
house  without  any  other  expense  to  said  town,  and  we  will  give  bonds  to  indem- 
nify for  the  above  purpose. 

*'In  testimony  whereof  we  have  hereto  set  our  hands. 

''Joseph  Fairbanks         "Samubl  Dasung«  Js. 
"Laban  Bates  "John*  Scammell 

"Eliab  Wight  "John  CHiLst)N 

"Simeon  Holbkook  "Elisha  Bukr 

"Sbth  Holbrook  "Stephen  Mbtcalp,  Jr." 

At  a  meeting  held  in  the  following  September,  the  proposition  of  these  ten 
public-spirited  men  was  accepted  and  work  commenced  ufxjn  the  building. 
It  was  completed  in  1802  and  was  dedicated  in  December  of  that  year,  Rev. 
Thomas  Baldwin  of  Boston  preaching  the  dedicatory  sermon.  That  the  builders 
did  their  work  well  nuiy  be  seen  from  die  fact  that  the  biulding»  although  more 
than  a  century  old,  is  still  used  as  the  town  hall  and  is  well  preserved. 


From  tiie  fint  settlement  of  die  town,  the  people  have  depended  upon  wells 
for  their  supply  of  water  for  domestic  purposes.  At  the  town  meeting  of  March 

6,  1916,  it  was  unanimodsly  voted  "That  the  town  do  establish  a  system  for 
supplying  the  inhabitants  of  the  town  residing  in  the  villages  of  North  Bellinj^- 
ham,  Caryville  and  South  Bellingham  with  water,  and  that  Addison  E.  Bulla nl, 
Cornelius  W.  l''itzpatrick,  Timothy  E.  Foley,  Hadley  D.  Perkins  and  Er\m 
E.  Biglow  be  appointed  a  ccmmtittee  with  authority  to  construct  such  qrstem  and 
lay  pipes,  and  to  make  contracts  in  relation  to  the  same  in  the  name  and  behalf 
of  the  town." 

The  sum  of  $150  was  appropriated  for  the  use  of  the  committee  in  securing 
expert  advice,  etc.  Plans  were  drawn  and  specifications  prepared  for  two  water 
systems— one  in  the  north  end  and  the  other  in  the  south  end — the  former  to  be 
connected  with  the  Medway  water  system  and  the  latter  with  that  of  Woonsocket, 
Rhode  Island.  Owing  to  the  prevailing  high  prices  of  niaterials  nothing  further 
was  done  by  the  committee,  though  the  people  in  the  two  districts  are  still  hope- 
ful that  the  near  future  will  find  them  provided  with  waterworks. 

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Early  in  the  year  1837  the  j>cop!e  of  the  town  sent  a  petition  to  the  Post  Office 
Depanment  asking  that  an  otVice  be  estabhshed  at  BelHngham  Centre,  and  recom- 
mended Rev.  Joseph  T.  Massey  for  the  position  of  postmaster.  Later  in  the  year 
die  office  was  established  under  the  name  of  "Bellii^faam"  and  Mr.  Massey  was 
apfxnnted.  For  numy  years  this  office  had  but  one  mail  a  day  from  Boston. 

In  the  extreme  northeast  comer  of  the  town  is  the  village  of  Caryville,  named 
after  William  H.  Car>'  who  was  at  one  time  n  resident  of  that  locality.  .'\  post- 
office  was  established  here  a  few  years  after  the  one  at  the  "Centre,"  with  two  daily 
mails  from  Boston,  one  from  Milford  and  one  from  Medway.  At  the  beginning 
of  the  year  19 17  the  postoffices  of  the  town  were  those  at  Bellingbam,  Caryville 
and  North  BeUiqgfaam.  Many  of  the  inhabitants  receive  mail  daily  by  rural 


The  earliest  birth  noted  in  the  vital  records  of  Bellingham  is  that  of  "Eleze- 
bath,  daughter  of  Zuriell  and  Susanah  Hall/'  who  was  bom  on  June  8,  1688^ 

while  the  town  was  still  a  part  of  Dedham  and  Nfendon.  The  earliest  recorded 
marriage  is  that  of  Pliny  Holbrook  and  Martha  Perkins,  which  was  solemnized 
on  May  7,  1726.  Walter  Cook  and  .Margery  Corbet  were  married  on  the  17th  of 
October  in  the  same  year.  The  date  of  the  earliest  death  given  in  the  vital 
records  is  March  26,  1720,  when  Efizabedi,  daughter  of  Peter  and  Hannah 
Holbrook,  died.  In  the  old  cemetery  stands  the  gravestone  of  Josiah  Corbet, 
the  inscription  showing  that  he  died  in  1705,  but  his  name  does  not  appear  in  the 
records.  Near  by  is  the  gravestone  of  John  Corbet  [Corbett],  who  died  in  1706. 



Exercising  the  privilege  of  the  New  England  township  conferred  by  the 
General  Court,  Bellinpham  frequently  issued  orders  or  edicts  havinpf  all  the 
force  of  local  laws,  ami  [irovided  i>enalties  for  their  violation.  In  April,  1777. 
Silas  Penniman  fell  ill  and  it  was  reported  he  had  the  smallpox.  A  town  meeting 
was  hurriedly  called  and  it  was  voted  to  establish  a  hospital  **in  the  woods." 
The  records  of  that  meeting  also  show  that  it  was  "Voted  that  the  town  forbid 
aiqr  person  from  having  the  smallpox  in  the  house  of  Daniel  or  Silas  Penniman, 
except  said  Silas,  now  sick,  and  if  any  person  or  persons  be  so  presumptuous  as 
to  have  the  smallpox  in  either  of  them  two  houses  they  shall  forfeit  to  the  town 
ten  pounds,  to  be  recovered  by  the  treasurer." 

In  the  spring  of  1791  the  smallpox  again  made  its  appearance  and  the  question 
came  up  in  the  town  meeting  **to  see  if  the  town  will  provide  a  house  for  the 
inoculation  of  the  smallpox,  and  voted  no."  The  people  of  that  day  had  little 
faith  in  the  efficacy  of  vaccination,  but  the  meeting  voted  "that  the  town  disap- 
prove of  the  Smallpox  coming  into  the  town  Contrary  to  Law." 

During  Ae  next  forty-five  years  public  opinion  underwent  a  chai^,  for  when 
another  epidemic  of  smallpox  came  in  1836  an  approi»riation  was  made  for  a  hos- 

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{Htal  on  the  town  farm  and  one  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  were  expended  for 


On  November  27,  1919,  BelKngham  can  celebrate  its  two  hundredth  anni* 

vcrsary  as  a  town.  During  these  two  centuries  great  changes  have  come.  The 
will!  beast  and  the  savage  Indian  have  disappeared  and  in  their  places  have  come 
the  hum  of  civihzed  industry.  The  chief  (X-cuj)ati()n  of  the  [)e()ple  of  P.ellingham 
is  agriculture.  Fifty  years  ago  shoes,  farm  tools,  cotton  and  woolen  goods  and 
some  other  commodities  were  manufactured  in  considerable  quantities.  A  few  of 
these  factories  are  still  running,  but  most  of  them  have  been  discontinued  or 
removed  to  more  favorable  localities.  Their  hi.<lor)  is  given  in  the  diapter  on 
"Manufacturing."  P.ellingham  has  three  public  schools  and  in  the  year  19 1') 
expended  $10,702. S4  for  educational  purjxjses.  The  public  library,  though  small, 
is  well  selected  and  well  patronized  by  the  people.  Two  Unes  of  the  New  York, 
New  Haven  and  Hartford  railway  system  and  tiiroe  dectric  Unes  afford  ample 
transportation  facilities  to  all  parts  of  the  town.  In  1910  the  population  was 
1,696  and  in  1915  the  state  census  reix>rted  it  to  be  1,953,  ^  S^*^  of  257  in  five 
years.   In  1916  the  projierty  was  valued  for  taxation  at  $1,107,960. 

The  town  officers  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  were  as  follows:  Selectmen. 
Michael  J.  Kennedy,  Harold  M.  BuUard  and  liadley  D.  Perkins;  Clerk,  Percy 
C.  Burr;  Treasurer  and  Tax  Collector,  Walter  H.  Thayer;  Auditor,  Harold 
G.  Sackett;  Assessors,  Orville  C.  Rhodes.  Timothy  £.  Foley  and  Carroll  E. 
White;  Overseers  of  the  Poor.  F-mery  B.  Whiting,  Otto  L.  Bullard  and  Percy 
C.  Burr;  School  Committee,  Henry  McCarthy,  Chester  H.  Richards  and  Richard 
B.  Sill. 

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The  Town  of  Braintree,  situated  in  the  eastern  part  of  .Norfolk  County,  was 
incorporated  by  act  of  the  General  Court  on  May  13,  1640.  As  originally  estab- 
li^d,  it  embraced  the  present  towns  of  Braintree,  Quincy,  Randolfrfi  and  Hol- 

brook.  Quincy  was  set  off  on  February  22.  1792,  and  Randolph  (which  included 

Holbrook)  on  March  9,  1793,  reducing  Braintree  to  its  present  dimensions.  On 
the  north  it  is  bouii<!c<l  hv  the  Town  of  Ouincv :  on  the  east  by  W'evmouth ;  on 
the  south  by  Randolph  and  Holbrook,  and  on  the  west  by  Quincy  and  Randolph. 


In  common  with  other  portions  of  Xorfolk  County.  Braintree  has  a  generally 
rolling  surface,  though  the  elevations  here  are  not  so  large  as  those  in  some  of 
the  adjacent  towns.  The  north  fork  of  the  Monatiquot  River  crosses  the 
western  boundary  at  the  northeast  comer  of  Randolph  and  flows  in  a  south- 
easterly directicm.  The  south  fork  forms  part  of  tTie  dividing  line  between 
Braintree  and  Randolph.  A  short  distance  south  of  South  Braintree  the  two 
unite  and  from  that  point  the  main  stream  follows  a  northeasterly  course  to  the 
Weymouth  Fore  River.  Great  Pond  is  situated  between  the  forks  of  the 
Monatiquot,  on  the  line  between  Braintree  and  Randolph ;  Little  Pond  is  near  the 
center  of  the  town,  and  in  the  southern  part  is  a  small  body  of  water  called 
Cranberr>^  Pond.  The  waters  of  all  these  ponds  finally  readi  the  Monatiquot 
through  small  streams. 


In  September,  1621,  an  expedition  of  thirteen  men,  under  command  of  Capt 

Miles  Standish,  came  up  the  coast  from  Plymouth  in  a  large  sailboat,  entered 
Boston  Harbor  and  landed  on  .'^(|imntum  Head,  in  what  is  now  the  Town  of 
Quincy.  These  were  the  first  I-^nglisbmcn  to  set  foot  upon  the  soil  of  this  part 
of  Norfolk  County.  They  made  no  attempt  to  found  a  settlement  but  "returned 
to  safely  to  PlymSttth,  full  of  admiration  of  die  noble  harbor  and  the  fair 
country  surrounding  it,  which  they  had  then  for  the  first  time  seen,  and  wishing 
they  had  been  there  seated.*^ 



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Thomas  Morton,  with  a  company  of  about  thirty  men,  came  to  Mount  Wol- 
laston  in  June,  J()_'2,  and  made  a  feeble  effort  to  establish  a  plantation.  He 
soon  afterward  returned  to  England,  but  came  back  to  Ainerica  as  a  member  of 
Captatn  Wollaston's  company  of* adventurers  in  June,  1625.  This  company  es> 
tablished  a  settlement  at  Mount  Wollaston  (then  so  named  after  the  leader  of 
the  expedition),  building  several  houses  and  Uying  out  a  plantation.  The  severe 
winter  that  followed  seems  to  have  been  enough  for  Captain  Wollaston,  who 
left  there  early  in  1626  and  went  to  V  irginia.  Those  who  remained  came  under 
the  leadership  of  Morton,  who  was  afterward  arrested  and  sent  to  England, 
charged  with  selling  liquors  and  fire-arms  to  the  Indians  in  viohitton  of  the  royal 
proclamation.  (See  the  chapter  on  Qutncy  for  a  further  account  of  Morton's 

After  the  expulsion  of  Morton,  the  Xeponset  River  was  for  several  years  the 
southern  border  of  the  settlements  about  Boston,  Rut  in  May,  1634,  the  (ieneral 
Court  ordered  "that  Boston  shall  have  convenient  enlargement  at  Mount  W  ollas- 
ton,  to  be  set  out  by  four  different  men,  who  shall  draw  a  plot  thereof  and  present 
it  to  the  General  Court,  when  it  shall  be  confirmed."  The  report  of  the  **four 
•  different  men"  was  confirmed  by  the  General  Court  the  following;  September.  By 
this  arrangement  large  tracts  of  land  were  given  to  certain  people  of  Roston.  most 
of  whom  held  their  lands  for  speculation,  but  a  few  came  and  established  their 
homes  south  of  the  Xeponset,  and  from  1634  dates  the  first  pennanent  settle- 
ment of  Braintree.  Some  five  years  kter  considerable  dissatisfaction  arose  oa 
account  of  the  non-resident  land  owners,  and  the  following  covenant  was  agreed 
upon  as  a  settlement  of  the  question: 

"It  is  agreed  with  our  neighbors  of  Mount  Wollaston,  viz.:  William  Qveese- 
brooke,  Alexander  V\  inchester,  Rich :  \\  right,  James  Penniman,  i.  e.  in  the  name 
of  the  rest  (for  whom  they  undertooke)  that  they  should  give  to  Boston  4  shs 
the  acre  for  2  acr  of  the  7  ac  formerly  granted  to  divers  men  of  Boston  upon 
expectation  that  they  should  have  continued  still  with  us ;  and  3s  the  ac  for  every 
acre  which  h;;'h  bene  or  shallbee  granted  to  any  other  who  are  not  inhabitants 
of  Boston,  and  that,  in  consideration  hereof  and  after  the  said  potions  of  money 
shallbee  paid  to  the  towne  treasurer,  all  ye  said  lands  shallbee  free  from  any 
towne  rates  or  charges  to  Boston:  &  upon  the  tearms  and  alsoe  from  aU  county 
rates  assessed  with  Boston,  but  to  bee  rated  by  the  Court  by  its  selfe:  Provided 
that  this  order  shall  not  extend  to  any  more  or  other  lands  than  such  as  shall 
make  payment  of  the  said  rates  so  afrreed  upon  of  the  4s  and  3s  the  ac:  &  upon 
the  former  consideration  there  is  granted  to  the  Mount  all  that  Rockye  Ground 
lying  between  the  Fresh  Brook  &  Mr.  Coddington  brooke  adjoyning  to  Mr. 
Hough's  farme  ft  from  the  West  Comer  of  that  farme  to  the  south  west  comer 
of  Mr.  Hutchhison's  farme  to  be  reserved  ft  used  in  common  for  ever  by  the 
Inhabitants  &  landholers  there :  together  with  an  other  parcell  of  Rodde  ground 
near  Knights  Xeek  which  was  left  out  of  the  third  company  of  lots  excepting^ 
all  such  ground  lying  among  or  near  these  said  Rockye  grounds  formerly  granted 
in  lots  to  particular  Persons." 


Soon  after  this  covenant  was  made  a  petition  of  the  residents  was  presented  to 
the  General  Court  asking  that  they  might  be  incorporated  into  a  separate  town. 

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and  on  May  13,  1640,  the  Court  enacted  the  following:  "The  petition  of  die 

inhnhitant>  of  Mount  \\"olla.ston  was  voted  &:  granted  them  to  bee  a  town  accord- 
ing to  the  agreement  with  Boston:  i'rovidcd,  that  if  they  fulrtll  not  the  covenant 
made  with  Boston  &  hearto  athxed,  it  shabee  in  the  power  of  Boston  to  recover 
their  due  by  action  against  the  said  inhabitants,  or  any  of  them,  and  the  town  is 
to  be  called  Braintree." 

The  town  was  named  after  Braintree,  in  the  County  of  Essex,  England.  At  the 
time  it  was  incorjxirated  in  1^)40  the  resident  land  owners,  most  of  whom  signed 
the  petition,  were  as  follows:  Henry  Adams,  ( icorge  Aldrich,  Samuel  Allen, 
Benjamin  .\lbye,  John  Arnold.  Cjregory  Belcher,  Peter  Brackett,  James  Clark, 
John  Clark,  Thomas  Clark,  John  Dassett,  William  Davis,  Francis  Eliot,  Jt^n 
French,  Richard  Hayward,  Thomas  Jewell,  Benjamin  Keayne,  Stephen  Kingsl^, 
Henry  Maudsley,  John  Merchant,  Thomas  Meakins,  John  Miles,  Henr>'  Ncale, 
William  Needham.  John  Pafflyn.  Alexander  Plumley,  George  Puflfer.  Abel  Porter, 
\V  illiam  Potter.  Roljert  Scott.  George  Sheppard,,  Thomas  Thayer,  Edward  Tinge, 
Heniy  Webb,  George  Wright  and  Richard  Wright, 

Samuel  A.  Bates  says:  "Previous  to  its  incorporation  Quincy  was  called 
Mount  W  ollaston  and  Braintree.  Monoticut.  Tt  took  its  name  from  the  river 
which  flows  through  it,  and  which  is  spelled  in  so  many  different  ways  in  the 
ancient  records  that  it  is  uncertain  which  is  the  correct  one.  It  is  now  written 
'Monatiquot.'  Holbrook  and  a  part  of  Randolph  (perhaps  the  whole)  were 
called  Codiato,  sometiroes  Codieco.  In  one  instance  Codiato  was  called  Beer^ 
sheba.  Tradition  says  that  Randolph  was  at  one  time  called  *Scadding,'  but  I 
have  never  seen  the  name  on  the  records." 


A  little  while  before  Braintree  was  incorporated,  Samuel  Gorton  came  with 
a  small  company  from  England  and  founded  a  settlement  in  what  is  now  Plymoulli 

County.  Gorton's  religious  teachings  soon  broug^  him  into  conflict  with  the 
colonial  authorities.  On  Xovember  3,  \<^4^.  it  was  ordered  by  the  General  Court 
"That  Samuel  Gorton  shall  bee  confined  to  Charlestowne  there  to  be  set  on  worke 
and  to  weare  such  boults  or  irons  as  may  hind'r  his  escape  and  to  continue  dure- 
ing  the  pleasure  of  the  Co'rt:  Provided  that  if  hee  sludl  breake  his  said  con- 
finem't  or  shall  in  the  meane  time  either  by  speach  or  writeing  publish  declare 
or  maintaine  any  of  the  blasphemos  or  abominable  heresys  wherew'th  hee  hath 
bene  charged  by  the  Generall  Co'rt  contained  in  either  of  the  two  bookes  sent 
unto  us  by  him  or  Randle  Holden  or  shall  reproach  (or)  repr've  the  churches 
of  o'r  Lord  Jesus  Christ  in  tiiese  United  Colodes  or  the  civill  goveram't  or  die 
poblick  ordinances  of  God  therein  (unless  it  bee  by  answer  to  some  question 
ppounded  to  him  in  cimference  w'th  any  elder  or  with  any  other  licensed  to 
qjeake  with  him  privately  under  the  hand  of  one  of  the  Assistants')  that  imme- 
diately upon  accusation  of  any  svuh  writeing  or  speach  hee  shall  by  such  Assist- 
ant to  whom  such  accusation  shallbee  brought  bee  committed  to  prison  till  the 
next  Co'rt  of  Assistants  then  and  diere  to  be  tryed  by  a  Jury  whether  hee  hath 
so  spoken  or  written  and  Upon  his  conviction  there  of  shallbee  Condemed  to 
death  and  Executed." 

This  was  rather  severe  upon  one  who  sought  to  exercise  that  religious  liberty 



for  which  the  Pilgrims  and  Puritans  exiled  themselves  from  their  native  land, 
but  it  had  the  etfcct  of  breaking  up  Gorton's  settlement.  Xot  long  after  Gorton 
was  confined  at  Charlesiown,  pursuant  to  the  above  order,  the  General  Court 
ordered  him  to  be  banished  from  Massachusetts  and  he  sought  a  refuge  in  Rhode 
Island,  some  of  those  who  came  with  him  from  England  accompanying  him  to 
that  colony  In  1645  a  i)etition  was  presented  to  the  authorities  by  some  of  the 
inhabitants  of  liraintree.  asking  for  i)ermission  to  begin  a  new  plantation  "where 
Gorton  and  his  companic  had  erected  two  or  more  houses." 

Those  who  signed  the  petition  were:  Christopher  Adams,  Henry  Adams, 
Sr.,  Henry  Adams,  Jr.,  John  Adams,  Sanrad  Adams,  Thomas  Adams,  Geoige 
Aldridge,  Thomas  Barrett,  Richard  Brackett,  Deodatus  Curtis,  Francis  Eliot, 
William  Ellice,  Thomas  Flatman,  John  French,  John  Caring.  Humfry  Grigs, 
John  Hastings,  Xathaniel  Ilcrman,  Stf])hcn  Kingsley.  Henry  Maudsloy,  Thomas 
Meakins.  Rolnrt  Ouelues,  John  Shepard.  Daniel  Shode.  Edward  Sparldcn. 
\\  lUiam  Vaysey,  Arthur  Waring,  Thomas  Waterman,  Christoplier  Webb,  John 
Wheateley,  Thomas  Wilmet  and  Nicholas  Woode,  ''They  bedng  about  twenty  of 
the  thirty-two  subscribers  freemen." 

The  petiticm  was  dated  October  7,  1645,  and  a  few  days  later  it  was  denied 
by  Mr.  Browne,  one  of  the  commissioners  of  the  United  Colonies,  who  gave 
as  his  reason  therefor  that  the  place  was  in  I'lymouth  and  that  the  Massachu- 
setts Bay  Colony  had  no  jurisdiction.  Thus  ended  the  tirst  effort  of  the  people 
of  Braintree  to  acquire  more  territory. 


By  1666  practically  all  of  the  land  in  the  town  available  for  cultivation  had 
been  allotted  to  settlers.  Early  in  October  of  that  year  the  inhabitants  presented 
to  the  General  Court  a  petition  "to  grant  unto  us  a  quantity  of  six  thousand  acres 
of  land  in  some  place  so  as  may  be  a  relief  to  the  inhabitants  of  this  Towne 
which  we  hope  will  be  according  to  God  &  no  detriment  to  any  other  Township." 

On  October  ii,  1666.  the  General  Court  voted  that  "In  answer  to  the  petition 
of  the  Inhabitants  of  Braintree,  the  Court  on  Consideration  of  the  reasons  therein 
expressed  judge  meet  to  grant  unto  them  six  thousand  acres  of  Land  in  some 
piaci,  limited  to  one  place,  not  prejudicing  any  plantation  or  particular  grant." 

A  committee  of  the  citizens  selected  a  tract  lying  between  Braintree  and 
Plymouth,  but  the  General  Court  refused  to  confirm  the  selection.  On  March 
31,  1670.  the  selectmen  of  the  town  appointed  a  deputy  to  bring  the  matter  before 
the  General  Court.  The  personnel  of  that  body  had  changed  materially  since 
tiie  petition  had  been  allowed  four  years  before,  and  the  Court  saw  "no  cause 
to  grant  the  petition."  There  the  matter  rested  for  more  than  forty  years. 
At  the  town  meeting  on  March  2.  1713,  Peter  Adams.  John  Cleverly,  Ndiemiah 
Haydcn.  Nathaniel  TTul)^ar<!  and  Josepii  Xeall  were  clecterl  selectmen.  These  men 
immediately  set  in  motion  the  machinery'  to  obtain  the  grant  of  6,000  acres  allowed 
by  the  General  Court  in  1666.  First  they  ascertained  that  the  claim  of  the  town 
was  still  valid,  and  then  the  question  was  submitted  to  a  town  meeting  on  June 
8,  1713.  At  that  meeting  the  action  of  the  selectmen  was  approved,  and  it  was 
voted  "That  Captain  Chapin,  Peter  Webb  and  Joseph  Crosby  be  a  committee  to 
find  &  lay  out  the  six  thousand  acres  of  land  formerly  granted  by  the  Honoured 

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Court  to  this  Town  &  to  do  what  is  needftd  to  be  done  about  the  same  in  ye 

space  of  one  year  &  shall  have  for  their  so  doing  Thirty  Pounds  if  the  thing  be 
efFectcd  otherwise  nothing.  And  if  Captain  Chapin  should  refuse  to  go  then  Cap- 
tain Mills  to  be  joyn'd  to  ye  other  two." 

The  committee  visited  several  localities  where  the  land  had  not  all  been  par-  ' 
cded  out  to  actual  settlers,  and  finally  selected  a  tract  in  the  western  part  of 
Worcester  County.  The  tract  soon  afterward  became  known  as  "Braintree 
Farms."  In  1751  it  was  included  in  and  gave  name  to  the  Town  of  New  Brain- 
tree.  It  was  so  far  away  that  only  a  few  of  the  inhabitants  of  Rraintree  went 
there  to  settle  and  the  land  was  divided  into  lots  and  sold,  the  proceeds  being 
divided  among  the  precincts — that  portion  of  the  town  now  comprising  Quincy 
being  known  as  the  North  Precinct,  Braintree  proper,  the  Middle  Precinct,  and 
Randolph  and  Holbrook,  the  South  Precinct  * 


It  may  be  of  interest  to  the  reader  to  know  something  of  the  manner  in  which 
the  town  was  divided  into  three  predncts.  The  original  Braintree  settlement 
was  along  the  shores  of  the  hay  and  on  the  upland  and  in  the  valleys  in  the 
immediate  vicinity.  In  February.  1^)40.  only  about  three  month.s  before  the  in- 
corporation of  lirainlrce  as  a  scj)arate  town,  a  trrant  of  land  on  the  Monatiquot 
River  was  made  to  John  Collins,  wbo  was  probably  the  first  actual  settler  in  that 
IocaIit>'.  By  slow  degrees  the  population  worked  its  way  back  from  the  shores 
of  the  bay  into  the  interior. 

On  January  19,  1643,  the  Town  of  Boston  granted  to  John  Wtnthrop  and 
his  associates  3.000  acres  of  land  on  the  Monatiquot,  "to  be  laid  out  next  adjoin- 
ing and  most  convenient  for  their  said  iron  works."  The  "said  iron  works"  thus 
referred  to  consisted  of  a  company  formed  about  that  time  under  the  name  of 
the  "Company  Undertalwrs  of  the  Iron  Works,**  for  the  purpose  of  establishing 
a  foundry  somewhere  in  the  colony  of  Massachusetts.  The  works  were  built  on 
the  Monatiquot  River  and  stimulated  immigration  to  that  part  of  the  Town  of 
Braintree,  though  as  early  as  165H  a  few  adventurous  settlers  had  established 
claims  as  far  west  and  south  as  the  present  Randolph  line,  on  the  old  road  to 
Taunton.  One  of  these  settlers  was  John  Moore,  who  located  upon  a  tract  of 
600  acres  between  the  Monatiquot  River  and  the  Great  Fond.  This  tract  was 
known  as  the  "Moorr  Farm"  for  more  than  two  centuries,  and  that  portion  of 
the  river  forming  part  of  its  houndar>'  was  called  "Moore's  Farm  River,"  in 
memory  of  the  first  settler  upon  its  banks. 

Xow,  it  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  during  the  early  settlement  of  Massa- 
drasetts,  the  church  and  the  town  government  were  inseparable,  remainiii^  so  in 
fact,  to  some  d^ree  at  least,  until  after  the  adoption  of  the  revised  constitution 
in  1820.  which  made  a  complete  separation  of  the  church  and  state.  About  tiiirty- 
five  years  after  John  Moorr  and  his  a'i^ociates  settled  in  the  southwestern  part 
of  the  town,  a  sentiment  j^rew  up  ainonp;  them  that  they  were  entitled  to  a  more 
convenient  place  for  holding  religious  services,  as  some  of  them  were  compelled 
to  go  several  miles  to  attend  poUic  woi^hip.  No  organized  effort  was  made, 
however,  to  establish  another  church  until  about  1690.  The  movement  was 
opposed  by  the  inhabitants  of  the  northern  portion  of  the  town  and  a  bitter  feud 

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grew  up  between  the  different  sections.  Little  can  be  learned  of  the  dispute  from 
the  records,  but  one  John  Marshall,  who  lived  in  the  north  end,  left  a  diary-  in 
whicli  were  some  caustic  criticisms  of  certain  persons  living  in  the  southern  part, 
"who  acted  in  a  disorderly  manner  and  withdrew  from  the  Lord's  table."  The 
auitention  went  on  until  1706,  when  the  members  of  the  congregation  living  in 
the  southern  part  built  a  new  meeting  house  at  the  comer  of  £bn  and  Washing- 
ton streets.  Concerning  this  meeting  house  Samuel  A.  Bates  says:  "That  it  was 
built  legally  no  one  claimed,  but  its  founders  did  claim  that  might  had  deprived 
them  of  their  just  rights,  the  opposcrs  of  the  new  movement  being  composed  of 
the  most  intluential  citizens  of  the  town,  at  the  head  of  whom  stood  the  Hon. 
Edmund  Qutncy,  one  of  the  leaders  of  government  hi  the  colony." 

Notwithstanding  the  influential  opposition,  the  builders  of  the  meeting  house 
went  ahead,  ^nd  on  September  10,  1707,  Rev.  Hugh  Adams  was  installed  as 
pastor.  The  north  end  continued  its  objections  and  the  members  of  the  new  con- 
gregation petitioned  the  legal  authorities  to  he  set  off  as  a  distinct  precinct,  or 
parish,  to  be  called  "the  South  Precinct  in  Braintree."  The  petition  was  granted 
on  condition  that  they  continued  to  pay  their  projx)rtion  of  the  expense  of  sup- 
porting the  old  society,  which  was  levied  upon  them  in  the  form  of  a  tax.  and 
also  to  pay  for  thdr  own  pastor,  the  mcmey  for  which  was  raised  by  5ubscri^>- 
tion.  On  Xovember  3.  1708,  a  town  meeting  was  held  "to  fix  upon  a  suitable  and 
reasonable  line  <jf  division,  and  that  said  line  be  lovingly  agreed  upon  and  settled, 
if  it  may  be. '  There  were  some  who  still  opposed  the  division  of  the  town,  but 
after  some  discussion  it  was  voted  that  Edmund  Quincy  ai^  Ndiemiah  Hayden 
be  appointed  a  committee  to  agree  upon  a  line  and  present  the  matter  to  the 
General  Court,  tiien  in  session,  asking  that  the  southern  part  of  the  town  be  set 
off  as  a  separate  precinct.  This  was  done  two  days  later,  hence  the  South  Pre- 
cinct came  legally  into  existence  on  November  5.  1708.  Among  those  who  were 
e>])ecially  active  in  bringing  about  the  caiablishment  of  the  new  precinct  were : 
Joseph  Allen,  Samud  Bass,  Samuel  French,  Nehemiah  Hayden,,  Caleb  Hobart» 
Samuel  Niles,  Jr.,  Ebenezer  Thayer  and  Sanrael  White. 

After  Uie  division  of  the  church  and  the  organization  of  the  South  Precinct, 
the  original  Braintree  settlement  appears  in  the  records  as  the  North  Precinct, 
which  was  set  off  as  the  Town  of  Quincy  in  1792.  The  records  of  a  town  meet- 
ing held  on  November  17,  1727,  show  clearly  that  there  were  then  but  the  two 
precincts.  The  first  mention  of  the  Middle  Precinct  is  in  the  minutes  of  the 
town  meeting  held  on  Mardi  4,  1728.  This  wo«i]d  indicate  that  the  precinct  was 
established  some  time  between  those  two  dates,  but  the  writer  has  been  unable  to 
find  any  account  of  the  manner  in  which  it  was  created. 


One  of  the  first  acts  of  a  town  meeting  was  to  grant  to  Richard  Wr^ht  the 

privilege  of  building  a  mill.  On  May  i.  1641,  it  was  ordered  by  a  town  meetings 
"That  their  shall  noe  other  mill  be  built  in  the  plantation  without  the  consent  of 
Ric  hard  Right  or  his  heires  so  long  as  the  mill  remains  in  ther  hands  which  was 
built  by  the  said  Richard  Right,  unless  it  evidently  appear  that  the  sd  mill  will 
not  serve  the  plantation  &  that  he  or  they  will  not  built  another  in  convenient 

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This  mill  figured  prominent^  in  the  town's  histoiy  for  more  than  a  quarter  of 
a  centuf}-.  On  April  30,  1662,  a  case  came  l)efore  a  Country  Court  held  in  Boston, 
in  which  the  jwrties  to  the  action  were  as  follows:  '  Thomas  fFaxon,  Sen''  Peter 
Brackit  &  Moses  i'aine  in  the  behalte  of  the  Towne  of  Brantrey  Plaintiff  vs 
Thomas  Gatliffe  of  the  s'  Towne  Defendant."  In  this  action  the  defendant  was 
chaiged  with  "Treaspasstng  vpon  the  Townes  right  in  lands  that  is  or  hath  bine 
flowed  by  the  miH  pond  by  mowing  grass  and  chakngiiy  it  as  his  owne  propriety; 
as  alsa  treaspasstng  vpon  the  Towne's  common  in  fencing  in  part  of  it  &  vpon 
the  townes  highway  by  his  building  fencing  &  digging  holes  according  to  attach- 
ment dat :  23  2d  mo  1662." 

It  seems  that  Gatliffe  showed  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  court  that  he  had 
acted  within  his  riglits  in  "treaspassing"  as  charged,  and  the  case  was  settled  by 
the  i^intiffs  and  defendant  entering  into  the  following  agreement : 

"Whereas  a  pVell  of  land  aboute  twenty  years  Sine  was  granted  vnto  Richard 
\\  right  by  ye  l  owne  of  boston  for  the  encorigement  and  furtheranc  of  a  water 
mill  at  Brantrey  wch  said  mill  &  pond  together  with  other  estate  hath  been  solde  by 
the  said  Wright  vnto  major  Gibbins  &  by  him  vnto  Symon  Ljmde  and  by  the  said 
Lynd  assigned  to  Th(»nas  Gatleiffe  who  now  dwdleth  (on)  &  posesseth  the  same 
&  Wheras  sundry  diflFerences  are  arisen  concerning  ye  mill  pond  &  flowing  therof 
by  reason  of  divers  apprehensions  how  &  for  what  end  ye  sd  pond  was  granted 
therfore  so  it  is  that  I  Thomas  GatlifTe-  of  Brantrey  miller  doe  herby  owne  & 
declare  that  I  doe  fully  apreehend  &  adjudge  that  ye  sayd  mill  and  pond  &  flowing 
thereof  was  at  first  granted  for  such  an  end  and  purpose  as  ^t  ye  Towne  of 
Brantrey  might  be  served  &  accommodated  thcrby  and  as  it  hath  ben  hitherto  so 
improved  &  at  this  time  it  is  so:  I  declare  and  promise  by  gods  assistance  that 
T  my  heires  &  assignes  shall  so  improved  the  said  pond  &  noc  waycs  seeke  to  cast 
downe  or  demolish  the  same  to  the  Frustrateing  of  ye  Townes  accomodations  as 
wel  as  my  owne  particuler  pn^t  by  grinding. 

"And  we  Thomas  ffaxon,  Sr.»  Peter  Brackitt  and  Moses  Paine,  part  of  the 
Selectmen  of  Brantrey  and  as  chosen  &  apointed  by  ye  Towne  of  Brantrqr  to  end 
and  settle  the  differences  about  ye  said  [>ond  doe  also  herby  in  o'r  owne  name  & 
and  in  the  name  of  ye  Towne  of  Hrantrey  declare  &  owne  that  we  also  aprehend 
&  Judge  that  the  formentioned  mill  pond  was  granted  as  aforsaid  for  &  to  such 
an  end  &  purpose  as  is  above  esqunest  and  doe  herby  for  us  and  o'r  successors  of 
ye  Towne  of  Brantr^  dedare  and  promise  that  neither  wee  nor  they  shall  or 
will  seeke  to  interrupt  hinder  or  molest  the  said  Thomas  Gatlieffe  his  heires  or 
assignes  for  or  touching  ye  s*^  mill  pond  or  ye  flowing  therof  or  any  waycs  seeke 
to  demolish  the  same  but  on  ye  contrary  gladly  cherrish  &  countt-nano  the  main- 
lening  &  upholding  the  same  for  the  ends  and  purposes  alormentioned  tor  wch 
it  was  giamed.*' 

The  agreement  was  signed  by  all  the  plaintiflFs  and  the  defendant,  and  was 
witnessed  by  Richard  Brackett  and  lUchaiid  Cook.   The  settlement  of  this  suit 

left  Thomas  GatlifTe  in  peaceable  possession  of  the  mill  property  and  for  a  num- 
ber of  years  thereafter  he  ground  the  town's  com.  Twelve  years  later  the  mill 
question  again  came  liefore  a  town  meeting.  The  records  for  January  20,  1674, 
contain  the  following  entry: 

/*Ther  being  a  legal  Towne  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  meet  to  ccmsider  of 
some  proposalls  made  to  the  Towne  by  Leut  John  Holbrook  &  Christopher  Webb 

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about  the  mill  being  wholly  demolished  by  fire  there  was  chosen  Capt  Rich  Brackil 
Deacon  Base  (Bass)  Fdm  Quinsey  Robert  Tweles  &  Joseph  Crosby  by  the  Towne 
for  a  committee  to  heare  and  consider  and  to  act  for  themselfes  &  the  Towne  of 
Brantrey's  behalfe." 

On  the  22aA  the  committee  reported  that  the  original  grant  to  Richard  Wright 
and  the  contract  with  Thomas  GatlifTe  had  been  duly  considered,  in  connection 
with  the  proposals  of  Lieutenant  Holbrook  and  Christopher  Webb,  and  closed 
the  report  with  this  statement:  "W'e  agree  that  the  custom  of  the  Towne  is 
ingagded  to  this  mill  while  wel  supplyed  &  vsed  Therefore  we  account  him  an 
offender  that  doe  make  vse  of  any  River  that  is  not  perticttler  propriety  to  gruid 
for  the  Inhabitants."  Thus  the  monopoly  granted  to  Richard  Wright  thirty>five 
years  before  was  maintained  and  this  mill  remained  for  some  years  loi^r  the 
only  one  authorized  by  the  town. 


From  the  incorporation  of  the  town  in  1640  to  1730  the  town  meetings  were 
held  in  the  North  Precinct  meeting  house.  For  the  following  twenty  years  they 
were  held  alternately  in  that  building  and  the  meeting  house  in  the  Middle  Pre- 
cinct, l-'rom  1750  to  the  building  of  the  town  hall  on  the  corner  of  Washington 
and  Union  streets  in  1830  they  were  iield  in  the  Middle  Precinct  meeting  house. 
The  first  meeting  in  the  town  hall  was  held  <»i  March  i,  1830.  That  hall  was 
sold  in  1858  to  private  parties,  who  removed  it  to  Taylor  Street  and  converted  it 
into  two  dwelling  houses. 

On  February  11,  1851,  was  probated  the  will  of  Josiah  French,  a  nati\e  of 
Braintree  and  a  man  who  had  been  active  in  promoting  the  interests  of  the  town. 
The  will  was  dated  March  19,  1845,  and  contained  the  following  provision:  "I 
give  and  devise  to  tiie  Town  of  Braintree,  in  the  County  of  Norfolk,  Common- 
wealth of  Massachusetts,  a  certain  piece  of  mowing  and  tillage  land  lying  situate 
in  said  Braintree,  containing  five  acres,  more  or  less,  and  bounded  as  follows: 
Easterly  on  Washington  Street,  northerly  on  land  of  Capt.  Ralph  Arnold, 
southerly  on  town  land,  and  westerly  on  land  of  Peter  Dyer.  To  have  and  to 
hold  the  same  to  the  said  Town  of  Braintree  forever,  to  be  used  and  occupied  by 
the  said  town  as  a  common  or  common  field  for  companies  and  buildings  for 
town  or  public  business,  but  no  private  dwelling  houses  or  buildings  whatever  to 
be  placed  on  said  premises,  but  to  be  forever  French's  commcm,  except  the  wood 
I  give  my  wife." 

Mr.  French  died  on  January  i,  1851,  and  after  his  will  was  probated  the  town 
had  to  defend  a  lawsuit  befcwe  it  obtiiined  pouessicm  of  the  property.  The  case 
was  finally  settled  in  favor  of  the  town  and  immediately  afterward  it  was  decided 
to  erect  a  new  town  hall  upon  the  tract,  which  is  situated  near  the  geographical 
center  of  the  town.  The  new  building  was  completed  in  1S58.  when  the  old  hall 
was  sold,  as  already  stated.  The  hall  erected  in  1858  was  used  for  town  meetings 
and  the  transaction  of  public  business  until  its  destruction  by  fire,  when  the 
present  handsome  and  commodious  structure  was  erected  upon  the  same  sate. 
Braintree  now  has  one  of  the  finest  and  best  appointed  town  halls  in  the  State  of 
Massachusetts.  It  is  of  brick,  stone  and  steel  and  is  as  nearly  fireproof  as  human 
ingenuity  can  devise.   On  the  main  floor  are  the  town  ofiices  and  a  large  hall, 

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capable  of  seating  about  one  diousand  people.  On  the  second  floor  is  a  hall  for 
the  Grand  Ani^  of  the  Republic  an  l  r(  otns  used  for  various  puiposes.  The  base- 
ment contains  the  heating  plant  and  »torage  vaults.  It  was  completed  in  1912 

and  cost  about  ninety  thousand  dollars. 

On  French's  Common  is  alscr  situated  the  public  library,  and  between  the 
library  building  and  the  town  hall  stands  the  soldiers'  monument,  which  was 
dedicated  on  June  tj,  1874. 


Early  in  the  year  1805  a  nitcinig  of  citizens  was  held  in  the  town  hall  to  con- 
sider the  subject  of  erecting  a  suitable  memorial  to  the  Braintree  soldiers  who 
sacrificed  their  lives  in  defense  of  the  Union.  As  a  means  of  raising  the  neces- 
sary funds  it  was  decided  to  hold  a  fair,  a  project  in  which  the  women  of  the 
town  joined  and  about  fourteen  hundred  dollars  were  thus  realized.  With  this 
fund  as  a  nucleus  a  canvass  for  subscriptions  was  commenced.  Harvey  White 
left  the  monimtent  fund  a  legacy  of  $500,  which  with  the  sum  raised  by  the  fair 
and  the  sttbscriptions  paid  in  was  placed  at  interest  until  such  time  as  the  money 
was  needed  to  pay  for  a  memorial. 

In  1867  another  meeting  was  held,  at  which  F.  A.  Hobart,  Asa  French,  Horace 
Abercrombie.  Levi  W.  Hobart,  li.  W.  Arnold,  Jason  (I.  Howard,  Edward  Avery, 
.\Jva  Morrison  and  Edward  i'otter  were  appointed  a  conunitiee  "to  procure  plans 
and  estnnatea  for  a  suitable  memoriaL**  Mr.  Howard  and  Mr.  Potter  removed 
from  the  town  before  anything  definite  was  done  by  the  conunittee,  and  their 
places  were  filled  by  James  T.  Stevens  and  William  M.  Richards.  Several 
designs  were  submitted  to  the  committee  and  on  June  27,  1873,  the  town  voted 
"That  the  soldiers"  monument  committee  be  instnu  ted  to  erect  upon  some  portion 
of  the  town  land,  near  the  town  house,  a  statue  cut  in  granite,  alter  a  model 
submitted  by  Messrs.  Batterson  &  Omfidd  of  Hartford,  Connecticut,  with  a 
pedestal  deseed  by  H.  &  J.  E.  Billings,  architects  of  Boston,  at  a  cost  not  exceed- 
ing five  thousand  dollars  above  the  foundation." 

On  the  front  of  the  pedestal  is  the  inscription:  "The  Town  of  T^raintree  builds 
this  monument  in  grateful  remembrance  of  the  brave  men  whose  names  it  bears." 
On  the  reverse  is  the  simple  inscription — ^"Dying  they  Triumphed,"  and  on  the 
north  and  south  sides  are  the  names  of  the  f orty-six  Braintree  soldiers  who  fell 
inaction  or  died  while  in  the  service  of  the  United  States.  The  pedestal  is  sur- 
mounted by  a  life-sized  statue  of  an  infantry  soldier,  standing  with  his  musket 
"at  rest,"  carved  in  W'esterly  granite.  The  t<jtal  cost  of  the  monvunent  was 
$6466.26  of  which  sum  the  town  appropriated  $3,628.07. 


The  fir'^t  move  toward  supplying  the  Town  of  I'raintrce  with  water  for  domes- 
tic purfKjses  and  for  extinguishing  tires  was  made  on  March  2C\  1S84,  when  the 
Legislature  passed  an  act  incorporating  the  Braintree  Water  Supply  Company, 
htbe  act  N.  £.  Hollis,  Benjamin  F.  Dyer,  Geofge  D.  Willts,  James  T.  Stevens, 
A.  S.  Morrison,  Samuel  W.  Hollis  and  Ebeneser  Denton  were  named  as  the 
incorporators  of  the  company,  and  they,  their  "associates,  successors  and  assigns,'* 

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were  authorized  to  make  a  contract  with  the  Quincy  Water  Company  for  a  supply 
of  water  for  the  Town  of  Braintree. 

This  act  was  repealed  by  the  act  of  June  3,  1886,  which  incorporated  a  new 
Water  Supply  Company  in  the  name  of  Francis  A.  Hobart,  WtUiam  Wheder, 
Joseph  £.  Manning,  E.  W.  Arnold,  Benjamin  F.  Dyer  and  Charles  F.  Parks, 
"their  associates  and  successors."  The  new  company  was  given  the  privilege  of 
taking  the  waters,  "or  so  much  thereof  as  may  l>e  necessary,"  of  Great  Pond, 
situated  in  the  towns  of  Braintree  and  Randolph,  "and  the  waters  of  any  sprmg 
or  artesian  or  driven  wcUs  withsn  the  Town  of  Braintree,  and  the  water  rights 
connected  therewith,,  except  the  property  known  as  the  Monatiquot  sfNring,  so 
called,  in  South  Braintree,"  etc. 

The  capital  stock  of  the  company,  as  authorized  by  the  act.  was  not  to  exceed 
$100,000,  and  Section  10  provided:  "That  the  said  Town  of  Braiiurce  shall  have 
the  right,  at  any  time  during  the  continuance  of  the  charter  hereby  granted,  to 
purchase  tiie  frandiise,  corporate  property  and  all  rights  and  privU^es  of  said 
corporation,  at  a  price  which  may  be  mutually  agreed  upon  between  said  corpo- 
ration and  the  said  town,"  etc.,  and  by  Section  11  the  town  was  authorized  to 
issue  bonds  to  an  amount  not  exceeding  $100,000  to  pay  for  the  same,  or  to  pro- 
vide for  annual  j>ayments  which  should  not  extend  beyond  the  life  of  the  charter. 

By  the  act  of  May  20,  1891,  the  town  was  authorized  to  issue  bonds  to  the 
amount  of  $50,000,  or  notes  or  scrip  to  that  amount,  "to  complete  the  purchase 
of  the  waterworks  of  the  Braintree  Water  Supply  Company."  The  act  also 
authorized  the  town  to  take  certain  lands  on  the  borders  of  Little  Pond,  in  order 
to  obtain  an  additional  water  supply.  Under  the  provisions  of  this  act,  the  Brain- 
tree Waterworks  became  the  property  of  the  town.  Since  that  time  additional 
bonds  and  notes  have  been  authorized  for  the  purpose  of  extending  the  mains, 
purchasing  new  pumping  machinery  and  otherwise  improving  the  plant.  At  the 
close  of  the  year  1916  the  total  amount  of  water  bonds  and  notes  outstandii^  was 
$276,000.  I'or  the  redemption  of  these  bonds  there  wa^  at  the  same  time  an 
accumulated  sinking  fund  of  $229,810.04,  leaving  a  net  indel)tedness  on  the  water- 
works of  $46,189.96.  According  to  the  report  of  VV.  E.  Maybury,  superintendent 
of  the  works,  there  wei«  a  little  over  £orty-nx  miles  of  mains,  and  the  income 
for  tfie  year  from  the  sale  of  water  and  making  connections  was  $32,34746. 


The  Braintree  municipal  lighting  plant  was  established  in  1893.  Of  the  bonds 
issued  on  April  5, 1893,  to  pay  for  construction,  die  amount  outs^uiding  on  Decem- 
ber, 31,  1916,  was  $16,500,  practically  offset  by  a  sinking  fund  of  Si  5.866.92.  At 
the  close  of  the  year  1916  the  ser\'icc  included  725  street  lights,  for  which  the  town 
paid  $6,282,  and  i  .600  private  customers.  According  to  the  report  of  the  town 
treasurer,  the  total  income  of  the  plant  was  $41,890.94.  During  the  year  nearly 
fifteen  thousand  dollars  were  expended  in  the  purchase  of  newmachinery,  makti^ 
the  estimated  value  of  die  equipment  at  the  close  of  the  year  over  one  hundred  thou- 
sand dollars.  Few  towns  in  the  state  have  a  better  lighting  system  than  Brain- 
tree, and  the  cost  of  light  to  the  consumer  is  mncli  Imver  than  in  many  ni  the 
large  cities,  F.  B.  Lawrence,  manager  of  the  municipal  lighting  department, 
closes  his  report  for  1916  by  saying:  "Prices  on  pole-line,  hardware,  poles,  wire 

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and  fuel  have  increased  considerably  over  1915,  yet  our  manufacturing  cost  has 
been  wdl  wkhin  our  income.  With  increased  business  and  greater  generating 
cffidency,  we  expect  to  make  an  even  better  showii^  for  the  conung  year." 


I'rotection  against  lire  was  a  subject  that  early  claimed  the  attention  of  the 
people  of  Braintree.  On  January  11,  1644,  a  town  meeting  "Ordered  that  evry 
(house)  holder  ini  tiiis  towne  dull  by  the  first  day  of  March  next  insutng  shall 
have  a  Ladder  of  his  to  stand  up  against  his  Chimney  to  secure  them  &  the  towne 
from  fire  or  else  shall  be  lyable  to  pay  «^t  penalty  the  towne's  men  shall  impose 
one  thein." 

That  was  the  beginning  of  Braintree  s  tire  protection  system.  The  ladders 
were  followed  by  the  old-time  "bucket  brigade/*  in  which  sJi  the  citizens  within 
call  formed  a  line  between  the  burning  building  and  the  nearest  available  water 

supply  and  passed  pails  of  water  from  hand  to  hand,  the  last  man  at  the  end  of 
the  line  dashing  the  water  u\wn  the  fire.  Then  the  hand  engine  and  the  company 
of  volunteer  firemen  came  into  use.  This  was  a  decided  improvement  ujKjn  the 
bucket  brigade,  but  it  was  far  short  of  the  present  modem  system  of  lighting  fires. 

The  Braintree  fire  department  now  consists  of  three  stations— one  in  each  pre- 
cinct— equipped  with  the  most  appro\ed  apparatus.  Each  station  is  provided 
with  a  hose  company  and  a  hook  and  ladder  company,  and  each  is  equipped  wtih 
a  combination  motor  truck.  The  total  amount  of  appropriation  for  the  support 
of  the  department  in  ujih  was  $12,711.73,  of  wliich  $3,529.75  was  for  the  pay 
of  firemen.  Araording  to  the  report  of  F.  A.  Tenney,  chief  of  the  department, 
aixty^diree  calk  were  answered  during  ^  year  1916.  The  total  value  of  prop- 
erty involved  was  $94^00  and  the  actual  loss  was  only  a  little  over  eleven  thou- 
sand dollars — a  recommendation  of  the  department's  efficiency. 



When  the  United  States  postoffice  department  was  established  under  the  law 

of  1792.  there  were  not  more  than  eight  or  ten  regular  postoffices  in  Massachu- 
setts. The  office  at  Braintree — the  first  in  the  town — was  established  in  Febru- 
ar)-,  1825,  with  Asa  French  as  postmaster.  He  kept  the  office  in  his  house  on 
Washington  Street.  The  South  Braintree  postoffice  was  established  on  March  13, 
1845,  Judson  Stoddard  as  postmaster,  and  was  at  first  located  on  the  comer 
of  Washington  and  Pearl  streets.  The  United  States  Pbstal  Guide  for  July,  1917, 
gives  both  of  these  offices  as  branches  of  the  Boston  postoffice. 


The  first  white  child  bom  in  the  town  was  Hannah  Niles,  a  daughter  of  John 
and  Jane  Niles.   She  was  born  on  February  12,  1636. 

The  first  marriage  was  that  of  Heniy  Adams  and  Elizabeth  Paine,  which  was 

solemnized  on  October  17,  1643. 

The  first  recorded  death  was  that  of  Mary  Paine,  whose  burial  occurred  on 
June  2,  1643. 

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The  first  case  of  insanity  was  reported  in  1651,  when  *'In  answer  to  the  peti- 
tion of  John  Heydon  of  Braintree,  for  relief  in  respect  of  his  distracted  childe.** 
he  was  allowed  five  pounds  per  annum  toward  the  charges  of  keeping  the  child,  etc. 

The  first  manilla  paper  c\xr  manufactured  was  made  at  the  HoUingsworth 
Paper  Mills  in  Braintree  in  1843. 

The  first  charch  was  otnanized  on  Sunday,  September  16,  1639. 

The  first  school  mentioned  in  the  records  was  taught  in  1648  by  Henry  Flint, 
teacher  of  the  First  Church. 

The  first  factory  was  the  iron  worics,  established  on  the  Monatiquot  River  in 

The  first  newspaper  was  published  on  June  5,  1875. 


According  to  the  L'nited  States  ccn>ii';.  tlu-  population  of  Braintree  in  1910  was 
8,o</>,  and  the  state  census  of  1915  reported  a  p<jpulation  of  9,343,  an  increase  of 
1,277  >o  ^ve  years.  The  assessed  valuation  of  property  in  1916  was  $9,780,179, 
an  increase  of  $1,158,127  over  the  assessment  of  the  preceding  year.  The  total 
appropriations  made  by  the  annual  town  meeting  of  1916  amounted  to  $i95,2r>8.73, 
of  which  $61,093  were  for  the  support  of  the  public  schools,  and  S;3:^,f)44  for 
the  maintenance  of  streets  and  highways.  I'rom  these  liberal  apjjrupriatioiis  it 
can  be  readily  seen  that  the  people  of  Urauurec  believe  in  education  and  good 
roads.  South  Braintree  has  a  bank,  there  are  two  weekly  newspapers  published 
UA  the  town,  excellent  transportation  facilities  are  afforded  by  the  New  York, 
New  Haven  &  Hartford  Railway  and  the  electric  lines  that  traverse  the  town, 
churches  of  various  denominations  are  open  to  worshipers  of  all  beliefs,  the 
Thayer  Academy,  one  of  the  leading  educational  institutions  of  Norfolk  County 
is  located  in  Braintree,  the  manufacturing  interests  are  both  varied  and  extensive, 
the  last  report  of  the  State  Bureau  of  Statistics  giving  reports  fnmi  eighteen 
Braintree  concerns  having  a  combined  capital  of  $3.3>j,047  and  employing  2,000 
j)eopIe,  and  the  mercantile  establishments  compare  favorably  with  those  in  towns 
of  similar  size  and  population. 

The  principal  town  officers  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  were  as  follows; 
George  H.  Holbrook,  Henry  M.  Storm  and  B.  H.  Woodsom,  sekcfxnen.  highway 
surveyors  and  overseers  of  the  poor;  Henry  A.  Monk,  derk;  (>tis  B.  Oakman, 
treasurer;  Albion  C.  Drinkwater,  Hcnr)'  \V.  Mansfield  and  Henry  M.  Storm, 
assessors;  Frank  W.  Couillard,  Paul  Monaghan  and  C.  F.  Tarbox.  auditors; 
William  C  Harrison.  John  Kelley  and  James  T.  Stevens,  water  commissioners 
and  commissioners  of  sinking  funds;  Alexander  T.  Carson,  Charles  T.  Crane  and 
Norton  W.  Potter,  municipal  light  board;  Ann  M.  Brooks,  Frederidc  C  Folsom, 
William  W.  Gallagher,  Benjamin  Hawes,  Carrie  F.  Loring  and  Fiank  A.  Reed, 
school  committee;  J.  F.  Kemp.  Ray  S.  Hubbard  and  James  H.  Stedman,  park 
commissioners;  Frank  A.  Smith,  tax  collector;  J.  S.  Hill.  Fred  A.  Tenney.  Frank 
O  Whitmarsh  and  the  selectmen,  engineers  of  the  fire  department;  Jeremiah  F. 
Gailuan,  chief  of  police. 

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Brookline  is  the  most  northeastern  town  of  Norfolk  County.  \\  hen  tlie  county 
was  established  in  1793,  its  territory  was  continuous  from  the  Charles  River  at 
Chariestown  to  the  Rhode  Island  line.  Since  then  the  towns  surrounding  Brook- 
line  have  all  been  annexed  to  the  city,  leaving  the  town  segregated  from  the  main 

body  of  Xorfolk  County  and  boundcil  on  all  si<lc>  liy  the-  City  of  Boston.  Its 
greatest  length  from  northeast  to  soiuhut  st  is  nearly  four  and  a  half  miles,  and 
its  average  width  from  southeast  to  northwest  is  a  little  less  than  two  miles. 


Like  most  of  the  country  near  the  sea  coast  in  Eastern  Massachusetts,  the 
surface  of  Brookline  rises  gradually  from  the  side  next  to  the  shore  line  toward 
the  interior.  On  some  maps  are  shown  a  line  of  elevations  marked  "Brookline 
Hills."  The  highest  of  these  is  Lyman's  (or  Cabot's)  Hill,  the  summit  of  which 
i>  336  feet  above  high-water  mark.  Next  comes  Hyde's  II  ill.  which  rises  to  a 
fit  if(ht  nf  309  feet  above  the  high-water  line.  Near  the  old  standpipe  of  the 
Brookline  Waterworks  is  another  elevation  30^)  feet  high,  and  Walnut  Hill  has 
an  altitude  of  283  feet.  Other  hills,  of  less  altitude,  but  equally  beautiful  and 
{Mduresque,  are  Goddard  Heights,  Aspinwall's,  Fisher's,  Corey's,  Bradley's,  Bab- 
cock  and  Chestnut  Hills,  all  except  the  last  mentioned  deriving  their  names  from 
early  owners.  From  the  top  of  these  hills  a  fine  view  of  the  surrounding  country 
may  be  obtained,  and  the  diversified  surface  of  Brookline,  its  location,  and  other 
attractions  have  made  the  town  a  favorite  resort  for  the  suburban  residents  of 

The  principal  stream  is  the  Charles  River,  which  now  merely  touches  the 
town  on  the  northeast.  When  the  Town  of  Brookline  was  first  incorporated  in 
1705,  the  Charles  River  formed  the  boundary  line  for  some  distance  on  the  north, 

but  that  [lortion  of  the  town  was  subsequently  annexed  to  I'.oston.  Muddy  River 
has  its  source  in  Jamaica  Pond  and  forms  a  portion  of  the  boundary  line  between 
Brookline  and  the  city.  The  early  settlement,  known  as  "Muddy  River  Hamlet," 
took  its  name  from  this  stream.  In  early  days  vessels  of  considerable  tonnage 
coald  ascend  the  Muddy  River  with  cargoes  of  goods  for  the  inhabitants,  deliver- 


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ii^  them  at  Aspinwall's  Dock  or  Cotton's  Landing.  There  are  also  several  small 
brooks  in  the  town,  hence  eveiy  part  of  it  is  well  watered. 


The  first  organized  eflFort  to  plant  a  settlement  ak)ng  the  shores  of  Muddy 
River  was  made  in  the  autumn  of  1634.  Two  years  prior  to  that  time  Rev.  Mr. 
Hooker  and  forty-six  members  of  his  congregation  at  Mount  WoUaston  were 
granted  permission  by  the  General  Court  to  remove  to  New  Town  (now  Cam- 
bridge). In  May,  1634,  these  same  people  complained  of  a  scarcity  of  land,  espe- 
cially meadow,  in  New  Town  and  requested  permission  to  look  for  and  remove 
to  a  new  location.  The  request  was  granted  and  messei^;ers  were  sent  out  in 
different  directions  to  seek  a  site  for  a  new  settlement.  Those  who  went  to 
Connecticut  brought  back  flattering  reports  of  the  conditions  there,  and  on  Septem- 
ber 4,  1634,  a  [>etition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court  praying  for  permission 
to  remov  e  lo  Connecticut.  Fifteen  of  the  deputies  expressed  themselves  in  favor 
of  granting  the  petition,  but  the  other  ten  were  opposed.  The  governor  and  two 
assistants  also  favored  the  proposition  to  allow  the  people  to  depart  from  New 
Town,  but  other  officials  took  the  opposite  view.  The  matter  was  finally  com- 
promised by  Mr.  Hooker's  company  accepting  the  enlargements  of  land  granted 
by  Boston  and  W  atcrtown,  \  iz:  "W  liat  are  now  tlie  towns  of  r.rookline,  I'.riglnon 
and  Newton,  excepting  that  portion  which  had  previously  been  assigned  to  indi- 
viduals. These  donations  of  land  to  New  Town  were  made  upon  condition  that 
Mr.  Hooker's  company  should  not  remove  from  the  colony,  as  is  shown  by  the 
record  of  September  25,  1634,  to  wit: 

".\]>o  it  is  ordered,  that  the  ground  aboute  Muddy  Ryver,  belonging  to  P.oston 
&  vsed  by  the  inhabitants  thereof,  shall  hereafter  l)elonge  to  Xewe  Towne,  the 
wood  &  Timber  thereof  groweinge  &  to  be  groweinge  to  be  reserved  to  the  inhab- 
itants of  Boston;  provided,  and  it  is  the  meaneii^  of  the  Court,  that  if  Mr. 
Hooker  and  the  congregacon  nowe  setted  here  shall  remove  hence,  that  then  the 
aforesaid  meadowe  ground  shall  retume  to  Waterton  &  the  ground  att  Muddy 
Ryver  to  IJoston." 

In  April,  1635,  the  (General  Court  appointed  Ensign  William  Jennison  to  run 
and  mark  the  line  between  New  Town  and  Roxbury.  His  report  was  as  follows : 
"The  line  between  Roxbury  and  New  Town  is  laid  to  run  southwest  from  Muddy 
River  near  the  place  called  'Nowell's  Bridge'  a  tree  marked  on  four  sides,  and 
from  the  mouth  of  the  River  to  that  place;  the  south  side  is  for  Roxbury  and  the 
north  for  Newtown." 

Ap]>arently  the  lands  at  Muddy  River  were  not  to  the  liking  of  Mr.  Hooker 
and  his  associates  and  the  records  do  not  show  that  they  made  any  serious  attempt 
to  found  a  settlement  at  that  i^ce.  Eariy  m  1636  the  entire  congrqration,  num- 
bering about  one  htmdred  people,  led  by  Mr.  Hooker  and  Mr.  Stone,  went  to 
Connecticut  and  laid  the  foundation  of  the  City  of  Hartford.  .After  their  depar- 
ture the  land  at  Muddy  River  reverted  to  Iloston.  in  accordnnif  w  ith  the  }>ro\i<o 
included  in  the  grant  of  September,  1634.  \\  illiam  Spencer,  Nicholas  Danforth 
and  William  Jennison  were  apix>inted  to  locate  the  boundary  lines  between  New 
Town  and  Boston  and  made  the  following  rqiort  in  April,  1636: 

"We  whose  names  are  underwritten,  being  ai^inted  by  the  Court  to  set  out 

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die  bounds  of  the  New  Town  upon  Quurles  River,  do  agree  that  the  bounds  of  the 
town  shall  run  from  the  mariced  tree,  by  Charles  River,  on  the  Northwest  side  of 

6ieRoxbury  bounds,  one  and  a  half  miles  North  east,  and  from  thence  three  miles 
northwest,  and  so  from  thence  five  miles  Southwest;  and  on  the  Southwest  side 
of  Charles  River,  from  the  Southeast  of  Koxbury  bounds,  to  run  four  miles  on 
a  Southwest  line,  reserving  the  proprieties  to  several  persons,  granted  by  special 
order  of  the  Court" 

This  report  was  signed  by  all  three  of  the  commissioners  and  their  intention 
was  to  restore  the  Muddy  River  territory,  or  so  much  of  it  as  had  not  been  granted 
to  individuals,  as  set  forth  in  the  last  clause.  The  lines  recommended  by  the  com- 
mittee were  not  accurately  established  and  when  tiie  name  of  New  Town  was 
changed  to  Cambridge  by  act  of  the  General  Court  on  March  2,  1638,  some  dissat- 
isfaction arose  over  the  vague  condition  of  the  boundary  dividing  the  towns  of 
Cambridge  and  Boston.  The  two  towns  were  therefore  authorized  to  apixiint 
inembers  of  a  joint  committee  to  settle  the  question.  Boston  appointed  Thomas 
Oliver  and  William  Collbron,  and  Cambridf^c  appointed  John  Bridge,  Richard 
Champney,  Gregory  Stone,  Joseph  Isaac  and  Thomas  Marett.  The  committee 
was  appointed  on  December  20,  1639,  but  did  not  do  its  work  until  the  following 
summer,  when  the  line  was  marked  and  established  as  follows: 

"We  whose  names  arc  underwritten  being  appointed  by  the  towns  to  which 
;ve  belong-,  to  settle  the  bounds  between  Boston  (  Muddy  River  )  and  Cambridge, 
have  agreed  that  the  partition  shall  run  from  Charles  River,  up  along  the  channel 
of  Smelt  Brook  to  a  marked  tree  upon  the  brmk  or  said  brook,  near  the  hrst  and 
lowest  reedy  meadow ;  and  from  that  tree,  in  a  straight  Kne,  to  the  great  red  oak, 
formerly  mariced  hy  agreement,  at  the  foot  of  die  great  hin,  on  the  northernmost 
end  thereof ;  and  from  the  said  great  red  oak  to  Dedham  Line,  hy  the  trees  marked 
bv  agreement  of  both  parties  this  August  2,  1640," 

The  establishment  of  this  line  restored  to  Boston  the  lands  along  Muddy  River 
almost  identically  as  they  had  been  claimed  by  the  town  before  the  grant  to  Rev. 
Mr.  Hooker's  congr^tion  in  1634.  The  condition  of  the  lands  was  then  about 
as  descnbed  in  Wood's  "New  Enghuid  Prospect"  in  1633,  the  year  before  the 
Hooker  grant  was  made,  viz : 

'"The  inhabitants  of  Boston,  for  their  enlargement,  have  taken  to  themselves 
farm  houses  in  a  place  called  Muddy  River,  two  miles  from  their  town,  where  is 
good  ground,  large  timber,  and  store  of  marsh  land  and  meadow.  In  this  place 
they  keep  theur  swine  and  other  cattle  in  the  summer,  whilst  com  is  on  the  ground 
at  Boston;  and  bring  them  to  town  in  winter." 


Among  ^  earty  settlers  of  Boston  the  custom  prevailed  of  parceling  out  the 
land  to  families  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  members  in  each  family.  This 
was  done  by  a  given  number  of  persons  selected  for  the  purpose— usually  five 

or  seven — who  were  known  as  "overseers  of  the  town's  occasions,"  or  sometimes 
"townsmen"  or  "allotters  "  P.etween  the  years  1634  and  1640,  on  different  occa- 
sions, the  lands  at  Muddy  River  were  thus  divided  and  allotted  to  the  citizens. 
Among  the  larger  grants  were  100  acres  of  upland  and  15  acres  of  marsh  to 
Thomas  Leveritt,  the  same  quantities  of  each  to  Thomas  Oliver,  150  acres  to 

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William  Coulbome,  lOo  acres  to  Went  worth  Day,  80  acres  of  upland  and  20  acres 
of  marsh  to  Captain  Underbill,  and  to  John  Cotton  "all  the  g-round  lying  betwcene 
the  twoe  brooks,  next  to  \\  illiani  Colbomc's  allotment  there  and  soe  to  the  other 
end  unto  the  shortest  overcut  beyond  the  hill  toward  die  northwest" 

Those  who  received  ''Create  Lotts"  were:  John  Kenricke,  Jc^  Leveritt, 
Richard  Holledgc,  Gryffcn  Bowen.  John  Smyth,  David  Offley,  Richard  Sherman, 
George  Curtys,  Henry  Messenger,  Thomas  Scottoe,  Joshua  Scottoe,  William  Ting, 
Thomas  Painter,  William  Clanlon  (carpenter),  Leonard  1  Unties  (bricklayer), 
Robert  Wing,  Jacob  Wilson,  Mawdii  Inge,  William  Hudson,  Jr.,  Natlianici 
Woodward,  John  Love,  William  Hibbins,  Edward  Grosse,  Theodor  Atkinsone, 
Edward  Fletcher,  Silvester  Saunders,  Ralph  Mason,  Thomas  Wheeler,  Thomas 
Alcock  and  Edmtuid  Oremsby. 

Isaac  Grosse  received  fifty  acres;  F.dward  iiendall,  thirty-fi\'e  acres;  IMiile- 
nion  I'orniont,  thirty  acres;  tjeurge  ('rig|,^s  and  Nathaniel  Woodward,  Sr.,  twenty- 
eight  acres  each;  William  Pell  and  Robert  Reynolds,  twenty-five  acres  each; 
Thomas  Flint,  William  Dynely,  Richard  Tappin  and  Francis  Bushnatl,  twenty- 
four  acres  eadi;  and  Richard  Fairbancke,  twenty-three  acres. 

Twenty-acre  lots  were  allotted  to  Nathaniel  Heaton,  Richard  Bulgar,  Robert 
Mear,  Thomas  Wardall,  Robert  Tytus  and  Alexander  Winchester. 

John  Gramme,  Robert  iloulton,  William  Beamsly,  Thomasyn  Scottna 
(widow),  James  and  Richard  Fitch  received  sixteen  acres  each. 

Those  who  received  fifteen  acres  each  in  the  general  allotment  were :  Geoiige 
Baytes*  William  Blackstone,  Henry  Burchall  and  William  Talmage. 

Descending  the  scale,  John  Mylam  and  Robert  Walker  each  received  allot- 
ments of  fourteen  acres,  though  the  latter  was  subsequently  granted  five  acres  of 
the  marsh  land. 

Benjamin  Ward,  Raphe  Route  and  William  Wilson  were  awarded  lots  of 
twelve  acres  each. 

Allotments  of  ten  acres  each  were  ma  le  to  Jann  >  Davisse,  John  Cranwell, 
William  Courser,  Rolx^rt  Turner,  William  Denning,  John  Arratt,  Thomas  Snow 
and  W  illiam  Coulbome,  the  last  named  having  previously  received  a  grant  of 
150  acres. 

Quite  a  ntnnber  received  allotments  of  eight  acres,  viz.:  Edward  Browne, 
James  Johnson,  Edmund  Jackson,  Elizabedi  Purton  (widow),  William  Salter, 

William  Townsend,  Henr>-  Elkyn,  Jarrat  Bourne,  John  Bigge,  Alexander  Becke, 
Robert  Reade.  Mathew  Ines,  Anthony  Hawker,  John  Pemmerton,  Anne  Oremsby 
(widow)  and  John  Odhne. 

Thomas  Savage  received  seven  acres,  Isaac  Periy  a  "houseplott,"  and  several 
grants  were  made  to  persons  if  there  was  sufficient  land  to  be  had.  Edward 
Grubb,  Benjamin  Gillum,  Job  Davis  and  a  few  others  purchased  their  lands  out- 
right, paying  therefor  ten  shillings  an  acre.  of  those  to  whom  lands  at  Muddy  River  were  allotted  were  residents  of 
Boston,  and  only  a  few  of  the  recipients  became  actual  settlers.  For  about 
seventy-five  years  after  the  settlement  of  Boston  the  territory  now  included  in 
the  Town  of  Brookline  was  known  as  "Muddy  River,"  '*Muddy  River  Hamlet,*' 
or  "Boston  Commons,"  the  last  name  having  probably  been  applied  l>ecause  of 
the  fact  that  on  December  30,  ]^\V).  it  was  apfreeti  that  there  should  l>e  set  apart 
"500  acres  at  Muddy  River  for  perpetuall  Commonage  to  the  Inhabitants  there 

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and  the  towne  of  Boston,  to  begin  at  the  outer  bounds  of  Mr.  Hibbin's  Lott,  and 
soc  to  ^oe  into  the  Country,  as  the  Land  will  afford,  before  any  other  aUotments 
are  laid  outt  hereafter." 

Dttringr  thU  period  the  inhabitants  of  Mnddy  River  remained  under  tlie  "care 
and  jurisdiction  of  the  Town  of  Boston,"  and  paid  taxes  to  the  Boston  authorities. 


The  first  move  on  the  part  of  the  people  of  Muddy  River  for  the  privilege  of 
acting  independently  of  Boston  m  any  way,  was  made  on  March  29,  1686,  when 
they  presented  a  petition  to  the  BosUmi  selectmen  for  permission  to  establish  a 
xhool   In  response  to  the  petition  "It  was  voted  that  the  selectmen  take  this 

tnatter  into  consideration  and  iiKjuire  into  the  reason  thereof  and  represent  it  tO 
the  next  ( ieneral  Towne  Mccting^  what  is  necessary  to  he  done  therein." 

No  report  was  made  by  the  selectmen  and  after  waitijig  for  several  months 
the  inhabitants  of  Muddy  River  grew  somewhat  impatient  A  petition  asking  for 
exemption  from  towm  rates  and  the  privilege  of  establishing  a  school  was  pre> 
sented  to  the  General  Court,  where  the  records  show  it  was  disposed  of  as  follows: 

"New  England : — By  the  President  and  Cbundll  of  his  Majesties  Territory 
and  Dominion.  Aforesaid  &c. 

■'Wednesday,  Dccemlx-r  8th  1686. 

"Present,  the  Honble  Joseph  Dudley,  1  s^i..  President;  William  Stoughton, 
Esq.  Deptttie  Prest.;  Edward  Randolph,  Wait  Wtnthrop^  Richard  Wharton,  John 
Usher,  Bartholomew  Gidney  &  Jonathan  Tyng,  Esqrs. 

"In  answer  to  the  petition  of  ye  inhabitants  of  Muddle  River,  prayinge  to 
have  ]il>ertie  to  erect  a  school  &c  uix>n  the  hearinge  thereof,  the  President  and 
Councill  doe  order,  That  henceforth  the  said  Hamlet  of  Muddie  River  be  free 
from  Towne  rates  to  ye  Towne  of  Bpstone,  they  maintaininge  theire  owne  high 
wayes  and  poore  and  other  publique  charges  ariseinge  amongst  themselves,  And 
that  within  one  yeare  next  comeinge  they  raise  a  school  house  in  such  place  as 
the  two  next  Justices  of  the  Countrie  fupon  a  publique  hearinge  of  the  Inhab- 
itants of  said  Hamlet)  shall  determine  as  also  maintaine  an  able  readinge  and 
writinge  Master  there,  from  and  after  that  day,  and  that  the  Inhabitants  annuaUie 
meete  to  choose  three  men  to  manage  theire  affaires.  * 

"Edward  Randolph,  Seer. 

"A  true  coppie  as  attests 
"Benjamin  Bl'llivant, 
"Late  Gierke  of  ye  Councill." 

At  a  fun  nweting  of  the  inhabitants  of  Muddy  River  on  January  19,  1687,  the 
above  order  was  accepted  by  a  unanimous  vote,  and  Andrew  Gardner.  Thomas 
Steadman  and  John  W  hite.  Jr.,  were  chosen  to  "manajje  theire  aftaires"  for  the 
enduing  year,  Provision  was  also  made  at  this  mcetinjr  for  the  maintenance  of 
a  schoolmaster.  The  minutes  of  this  meeting  constitute  the  first  entry  in  the 
Muddy  River  records.  For  about  two  years  die  people  of  Muddy  River  congratu- 
lated themselves  upon  the  acquisition  of  the  privily  to  control  their  own  affairs, 
^*r.*  at  a  town  meeting  in  Boston  on  March  16.  1689,  it  was  'A'oted,  that  Muddy 
River  Inhabitants  are  not  discharged  from  P.ostone  to  he  a  hamlet  by  themselves, 
bat  stand  related  to  Bostoije  as  they  were  before  the  yeare  1686." 

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This  action  on  the  part  of  Boston  was  a  direct  attempt  to  deprive  the  people 
of  Muddy  River  of  the  rights  and  privileges  granted  them  by  the  General  Court 
and  reopened  the  whole  question  of  town  rates,  etc.  During  the  next  few  years 
the  population  of  the  haznlet  increased  and  in  1698  the  foUowing  petition  was 
presented  to  the  General  Omit: 

'To  the  Hon.  William  Stoughton,  Lieatenant-<jOvemor  of  Massachusetts,  the 
Honorable  Council,  and  the  Representatives  in  General  Court  asseambted,  25th 
May,  1698) 

"The  humble  petition  of  the  inhabitants  of  Muddy-river  humbly  showeth — 
Whereas  in  the  year  1686,  the  Honorable  Joseph  Dudley,  President,  William 

Stoughton,  Deputy  President,  and  the  Council,  in  answer  to  the  petition  of  the 
inhabitants  of  Muddy-river,  praying  liberty  for  a  school  among  them,  &c.,  did 
order,  that  the  Hamlet  of  Muddy-river  be  free  from  Town  rates  to  the  Town 
of  Boston,  and  other  privileges,  as  in  said  grant,  on  the  other  side,  may  more  at 
large  appear;  ^ 

"We,  your  petitioners,  do  hnmbty  pray  that  the  said  granted  privileges  may 
be  confirmed  unto  said  Hamlet,  with  the  addition  that  the  inhabitants  may  dioose 
such  officers  amongst  themselves,  as  may  assess  the  inhabitants  their  due  propor- 
tion, as  may  be  thought  sufficient  and  expedient  for  defraying  such  necessary 
charges  to  said  school,  and  other  things;  and  that  one  constable  may  be  chosen, 
»who  may  be  sufficiently  impowered  to  collect  the  rates  for  the  County  and  the 
Hamlet;  and  your  petitioners,  as  in  duty  bound,  shall  every  pray. 

"Thomas  Gardner]  In  the  name 
"Benjamin-  W'hite  ^     of  the 
"Roger  Adams       J  Inhabitants." 

Upon  this  petition  the  General  Court  failed  to  take  any  action,  or  at  least 
no  record  of  any  action  can  be  found,  and  the  relations  between  the  Town  of 
Boston  and  the  settlement  at  Muddy  River  continued  without  change  for  about 
two  years  longer.  Then,  the  population  of  the  hamlet  having  increased  to  such 
an  extent  that  the  people  felt  able  to  support  a  town  government  of  their  own, 
decided  to  take  such  steps  as  might  be  necessary  for  their  separation  from  Boston. 


Accordingly,  on  March  1 1,  1700.  a  petition  signed  by  nearly  every  man  resident 
at  Muddy  River,  was  sent  to  the  parent  town  asking  that  they  be  set  off  as  a 
separate  district  or  hamlet  from  Boston.  The  petition  was  not  favoraUy  received 
by  the  peojde  of  Boston,  for  at  a  town  meeting  on  the  very  day  it  was  presented 
the  following  action  was  taken : 

"Upon  the  Petition  of  the  Inhabitants  of  Muddy  River  to  be  a  District  or 
Hamlet,  separate  from  tlic  Town  of  Boston  for  these  reasons,  following,  viz..  the 
remoteness  of  the  situation,  which  renders  them  incapable  of  enjoying  equal  bene- 
fit and  advantage  with  other  of  the  Inhabitants  of  Publidc  Schooles  for  the 
instruction  of  their  children,  relief  of  their  Poor,  and  Repairing  of  their 

"Their  petition  being  read  and  reasons  given  therein  debated.  It  was  voted  in 
the  negative,  and  that  though  they  had  not  for  some  years  been  rated  in  the  Town 

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nite,  yet  for  the  time  to  come,  the  Selectmen  should  vote  them  in  the  Town  Tax 
as  the  other  Inhabitants*  and  as  formerly  they  used  to  be,  and  for  their  encour- 
agement it  was  voted  that  the  Selectmen  should  provide  a  schoolmaster  for  them 
to  teach  their  children  to  read,  write  and  cypher,  and  order  him  his  payment  out 

of  the  Town  Treasury. 

"A  True  Coppie  as  entered  with  the  records  of  the  Town  of  Boston. 

"JofiSPH  PaooT,  Town  Clerk." 

That  the  people  of  Muddy  River  were  greatly  disappointed  at  this  reception 
of  their  petition  may  be  easily  imapincd,  and  doubtless  some  ill-feeling  was  de- 
veloped among  ihcm.  Matters  were  allowed  to  drift  along  without  change  for 
about  three  years,  when  the  inhabitants  of  the  hamlet  decided  to  appeal  to  a  higher 
IMiwer  for  relief.  Accordingly  the  following  petition  for  presentation  to  the 
General  Court  was  prepared  and  circulated  for  signatures: 

"To  His  Excellency  the  Governor,  Council  and  Assembly: 

"The  humble  petition  of  the  Inhabitants  of  Muddy  River,  Humbly  Shcwcth, 
That  they  are  a  tiamlet  belonging  to  lioston,  have  been  lately  settled  there  and 
sometime  since  in  the  year  1686  being  grown  to  a  good  number  of  inhabitants 
represented  to  the  Government  then  in  being,  praying  to  be  acquitted  from  paying 
duties  and  taxes  to  the  Town  of  Boston,  being  then  willing  to  bear  their  public 
chaises  of  Bridges,  T{ighwaies  and  Poor,  and  were  accordingly  then  released  and 
ordered  to  maintain  a  Reading  and  Writing  Schuole  as  the  order  annexed  will 
show,  which  accordingly  we  have  ever  since  done,  and  now  further  humbly  pray 
that  being  grown  to  a  greater  number  of  good  settled  inhabitants  we  may  be  al- 
lowed a  separate  right  to  have  Selectmen,  and  all  other  rights  belonging  to  a 
Township,  which  may  further  encourage  us  as  we  are  able  to  settle  a  minister  and 
other  benefits  amongst  us,  and  we  shall  ever  pray." 

The  petition  was  signed  by  Samuel  Aspinwall,  Thomas  Gardner,  Sr.,  Samuel 
Sewall,  Jr.,  Thomas  Sieadman,  Sr.,  Benjamin  White,  Joseph  White,  John  Win- 
chester, Sr.,  and  Josiah  Winchester.  It  came  before  the  General  Assembly  on 
June  17,  1704,  when  it  was  ordered  "That  the  Selectmen  of  Boston  have  a  copy 
of  this  petition  and  be  heard  thereon  at  ye  next  Session  of  this  Court."  On 
November  i.  1704,  the  Council  ordered  "That  the  Selectmen  of  Boston  bee  notified 
to  attend  on  Saturday  morning,  the  fourth,  current,  November  4,  1704-"  It  is 
not  certain  that  the  Boston  selectmen  obeyed  the  simunons,  probably  because  they 
were  not  ready  to  present  their  side  of  the  case,  and  tiie  petition  was  continued 
to  the  next  session. 

At  a  meeting  held  in  the  Boston  Town  Hall  on  March  12,  1705,  F.lisha  Cook, 
Joseph  Bridgham,  Ephraim  Savage.  Bezour  Allen  and  Oliver  Noyes  were  ap- 
pointed a  committee  "to  consider  and  draw  up  what  they  shall  think  proper  (on 
behalf  of  tiiis  Town)  to  lay  before  the  General  Court  at  their  next  session  rekting 
to  a  pedtion  of  sundry  of  the  Inhabitants  of  Muddy  River,  that  the  said  District  be 
*  dismist  from  die  Town  of  Boston  and  be  admitted  to  be  a  Town  of  themselves.'^ 

Following  is  the  report  of  that  committee: 

"Upon  perusal  of  the  said  i)elition  (we)  observed  that  several  sessions  of  the 
General  Court  have  passed  after  the  time  set  for  the  hearing  thereof,  and  that 
conseqnendy  the  matter  then  fell;  however,  if  it  be  again  revived  by  any  new 
petition  or  order,  we  think  it  proper  to  lay  before  the  Court  the  imreasonableness 

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of  their  (lemnnd.  thcv  having  bccti  liithcrto  supiwrtcd  by  the  Town  while  they 
were  not  able  themselves  to  defray  their  necessarv-  public  charges,  now  increasinjj- 
upon  us  and  the  body  of  ye  town  abounding  with  poor,  and  such  as  are  not  capable 
to  defray,  but  rather  greatly  increase  the  chaiiges  for  the  Inhabitants  of  Muddy 
River  at  such  a  time,  and  being  themselves  now  grown  more  oppulent  and  capable 
to  be  helpful  to  ye  town,  to  be  sent  from  us  seems  most  unreasonable,  and  in  them 
very  ungrateful  and  may  be  a  bad  example  to  others  to  endeavor  the  like,  and  to 
cutt  the  town  into  such  shreds,  as  will  best  suit  themselves  without  any  due 
regard  to  ye  public  Intrist,  the  charge  of  the  Road  upon  ye  neck  is  great  and  is 
Still  growing  and  ye  petitioners  and  Inhabitants  of  Muddy  River  have  had  more 
benefit  and  do  more  to  increase  the  charge  of  that  way  than  all  the  rest  of  the 
town.  Several  other  things  might  be  instanced  which  the  Selectmen  are  well 
acquainted  with  and  we  think  they  ought  (if  the  General  Court  see  cause  to 
proceed  on  the  petition )  to  pray  to  be  heard  therein." 

On  June  1 5,  1705,  the  petition  came  up  in  the  Cbondl  and  it  was  ordered  that 
,  the  selectmen  of  Boston  be  given  an  opportunity  to  be  heard  on  the  19th.  The 
House  concurred  in  this  action  and  the  next  mention  of  the  matter  is  found  in 
the  journal  of  the  House  for  June  20,  t/O;,  when  it  was  "Resolved  that  since  the 
time  of  hcarinpf  of  ye  premises  before  this  Court  is  Slipt,  there  should  !)c  a  hearing 
thereof  on  fryday  next  at  three  of  tlie  Clock  in  ye  afternoon,  and  that  ye  Select- 
men of  Boston  be  notified  thereof." 

The  Qyuncil  conoured  and  this  time  the  selectmen  of  Boston  appeared  and 
submitted  the  following  answer  to  the  |>etition : 

"To  his  Excellency,  Joseph  Dudley,  Esq..  Captain-General  and  Commander- 
in-chief,  and  to  ye  Honorable,  ye  Council  and  Assembly: 

"The  Answer  of  ye  Selectmen  and  ye  Committee  of  ye  Town  of  Boston,  to  ye 
Inhabitants  of  Muddy  River,  Humbly  Sheweth,  That  they  have  been  as  easy  in 
this  Town  as  they  could  in  reason  desire.  That  they  have  not  uiged  anything 
in  their  petitions  to  the  contrary.  This  Town  has  never  called  on  them  to  supjwrt 
the  ministry  of  tlie  town  as  is  usual  in  like  cases  in  ye  Country.  They  have  not 
been  enjoined  to  watchings  and  wardings,  either  stated  or  occasionally,  which 
has  layn  heavy  on  ye  body  of  die  Town.  That  they  have  constantly  had  ye  nomi> 
nations  of  their  own  officers  ye  towne  has  usually  confirmed.  Upon  ye  desire  and 
Regular  motion  for  a  Schoole  in  that  part  of  ye  Town,  it  has  bin  allowed  them. 
That  lately  there  has  not  been  more  levied  on  them  (and  not  always  so  much) 
as  would  defray  the  charges  incident  in  that  Part  of  ye  Town  and  wlien,  as  they 
mention  in  ye  petition,  it  would  in  them  in  time  to  support  the  charge  of  a  stated 
ministry  thereby  imp<»tii^  ye  present  inability,  which  seems  a  very  preposterous 

"Tlie  law  requiring  a  settled  ministry  thereby  as  one  qualification  for  n  Town- 
ship and  some  of  the  subscribers  since  ye  signing  have  declared  ye  contrary  Inten- 
tions. And  that  which  makes  this  desire  the  more  unreasonable  is  that  they  have 
hitherto  been  supported  by  ye  Town,  while  they  were  not  able  themselves  to 
defray  ye  public  charges  in  too  many  instances  to  be  enumerated.  That  it  may 
be  a  precident  of  ill  consequence-^  to  yc  public  to  divide  Townships  into  small 
slips  of  land  ret)dering  them  weak  and  even,'  charge  a  Harden,  tending  to  starve 
learning  and  religion  out  of  ye  countrey.  especially  when  no  reason  of  state 
requires.   Ye  consideration  of  which  we  submit  to  this  honorable  Court. 

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"We  humbly  offer  further  to  this  honorable  Court  that  such  a  sqnration  is 

contrary  to  ye  undoubted  right  and  interest  of  Boston,  there  being  500  acres  of 
land  common  in  that  part  of  the  Town,  which  is  the  Town's  right,  but  on  a  sepa- 
ration can  be  of  ni)  service  to  the  Town.  That  the  Town  is  very  much  straightened 
in  its  present  boundaries  by  our  former  too  easy  concessions  as  was  that  of  the 
Neck  to  Dorchester,  or  tlw  Lane  to  Newtown  and  Cambridge,  and  the  whole 
Townshipp  of  Braintree,  and  would  so  much  more  if  Muddy  River  so  near  us 
should  be  separated  from  the  Town.  Runuiey  Marsh,  &c.,  would  have  a  pred- 
dcnt  to  desire  the  same  so  that  Boston  would  only  be  confined  to  this  Isthmus 
of  a  mile  long  which  was  never  thought  sufficient  l>ounds  for  a  Townshipp,  esjK;- 
cially  at  this  time  when  Boston  is  daily  ye  centre  of  all  foreign  poor,  of  saylors 
widows,  and  the  refuge  of  our  distressed  neigiibors  from  ye  frontier  who  Insensi- 
bly grow  upon  us,  so  that  upon  the  whole  we  hope  your  Excellency's  honorable 
Cburt  win  not  grant  said  petition." 

This  answer  was  signed  by  three  members  of  the  committee  appointed  the 
preceding  March — Savage.  Allen  and  Noyes — and  "By  order  of  the  selectmen 
it  was  spread  upon  the  records  of  the  town  on  June  22,  1705.  It  is  interesting 
now,  in  that  it  shows  what  a  plea  of  poverty  and  hardship  Boston,  now  the 
wealthiest  and  most  populous  city  of  New  England,  could  make  two  hundred  and 
twelve  years  ago.  So  far  as  the  people  of  Muddy  River  were  concerned,  the  plea 
fell  on  deaf  ears,  as  they  redoubled  their  efforts  to  bring  about  a  separation.  At 
the  fall  session  of  the  General  Court  another  petition  was  presented,  to  wit : 

"To  his  Excellency,  the  Governor,  Council  and  Assembly  in  General  Omxt 

"The  humble  petition  of  the  Inhabitants  of  Mttddy  River  sheweth.  That  at 
a  session  of  this  honorable  Court,  held  at  Boston  on  13,  August.  1704.  the  said 
Inhabitants  exhibited  their  humple  jjetition  jjraying  that  the  said  Muddy  River 
might  be  allowed  a  separate  \'illage  or  Peculiar,  and  be  invested  with  such  rights 
and  powers  as  they  may  be  enabled  by  themselves  to  manage  the  general  affairs 
of  said  place.  Whidh  petition  has  been  transmitted  to  the  Selectmen  of  the  Town 
of  Boston,  that  they  may  consider  the  same;  since  which  your  humble  petitioners, 
not  ha\ing  been  informed  of  any  objection  made  by  the  Town  of  Boston,  afore- 
said, w  e  presume  that  there  is  no  obstruction  to  our  humble  request  made  in  that 

"Wherefore  we  humbly  beseech  your  Excellency,  that  dits  honorable  Court 
will  be  pleased  to  proceed  to  pass  an  Act  for  tiie  establishing  of  the  said  place 
a  separate  Village  or  Peculiar,  with  such  powers  as  aforesaid,  and  yotir  petitioners 

shall  ever  pray." 

The  petition  was  signed  by  John  .\ckers,  John  Ackers,  Jr.,  William  Ackers, 
Eleazer  Aspinwall,  Samuel  Aspinwall,  F'eter  Boylston,  Abram  Chamberlen, 
Edward  Devotion,  John  DeyotkMi,  John  Ellis,  Caleb  Gardner,  Joseph  Gardner, 
Thomas  Gardner,  Thomas  Ciardner.  Jr.,  John  Seaver.  Samuel  Sewall.  Jr..  William 
Sharp.  Ralph  Shepanl,  Joshuah  Stedman,  Thomas  Stedman.  Thomas  Stedman. 
Jr..  Benjamin  White.  ]'>enjaniin  White,  Jr.,  Joseph  White,  Henry  Winchester, 
John  Winchester,  John  Winchester,  Jr.,  Josiah  Winchester,  Josiah  Winchester, 
Jr..  Thomas  Woodward,  and  a  few  others  whose  names  cannot  be  deciphered. 

On  November  2, 1705,  this  petition  came  before  the  House  of  Representatives 
and  on  the  9th  that  body  ordered  that  the  prayer  of  the  petitioners  be  granted 

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On  the  loth  the  petition  atul  order  passed  hy  the  House  were  read  for  the  first 
time  in  the  Council,  where  the  action  was  concurred  in  on  tbe  13th.  FoUowiqg  is 

the  full  text  of  the  order : 

"Anno  R^ni,  Anna  Regina  yuarto. 

"At  a  Great  aad  General  Court  or  Assembly  for  her  Majesty's  Province  of  the 
Massachusetts  Bay  in  New  England  begun  and  hdd  at  Boston  upon  Wednesday 

the  Thirtieth  of  May,  1705,  and  continued  by  several  Prorogations  unto  Wednes- 
day the  Twenty- Fourth  of  October  following,  and  then  mett  Tuesday  November 
13,  1705,  In  Council : 

"The  Order  passed  by  the  Representatives  upon  the  Petition  of  the  inhabi- 
tants of  Muddy  River,  a  Hamlet  of  Boston  read  on  Saturday  last,  viz.: 

"Ordered,  That  the  Prayer  of  the  Petition  be  Granted  and  the  Powers  and 
Priviledges  of  a  l^ownship  be  given  to  the  Inhabitants  of  the  Land  commonly 
known  by  the  Name  of  Muddy  River,  The  Town  to  be  called  Brookline,  who  are 
hereby  enjoyned  to  build  a  Meeting  House  and  Obtain  an  Able  Orthodox  Minister 
according  to  the  Direction  of  the  Law,  to  be  Settled  amongst  them  within  the 
space  of  Three  Years  next  coming.  Provided,  That  all  Common  Lands  belonging 
to  the  Town  of  Boston  lying  within  the  bounds  of  the  said  Muddy  River  not  dis- 
posed of  or  allotted  out  shall  still  remain  to  the  proprietors  of  the  said  Lands. 

"Which  Order  being  again  read  was  concurred  And  is  consented  to. 

"Joseph  Dudley." 


The  first  town  meeting  in  Crookline  was  held  in  the  old  ^lIkxjI  house  on 
Monday.  March  4,  i/Of),  and  the  first  thing  to  come  before  the  mecting^  was  the 
election  of  town  officers.  Thomas  Gardner,  Samuel  Aspinwall,  John  \\  inchester, 
Josiah  Winchester  and  Samuel  Sewall  were  chosen  as  selectmen;  Jonah  Win- 
chester, Sr,  derk;  Samuel  Aspinwall,  Joseph  Gardner  and  R<^r  Adams,  asses- 
sors (Mr.  Adams  declined  to  senc  and  John  Windiester  was  chosen  in  his  place)  ; 
Daniel  Harris  ami  Samuel  Gark,  tithingmen:  Eleazer  Aspinwall,  Benjamin 
White.  Jr.,  and  Robert  Harris,  surveyors  of  the  highways;  John  Winchester.  Jr., 
and  Edward  Devotion,  fence  viewers;  Thomas  Stedman,  Jr.,  and  Daniel  Harris, 
overseers  of  the  c<»mnon  lands;  Nathaniel  Holland  and  William  Sharp,  field 

At  the  same  meeting  it  was  voted  that  a  burying  place  should  be  established 
in  the  town  and  that  it  should  be  "on  a  spot  of  land  on  the  south  side  of  the  Hill 
in  Mr.  Cotton's  farm  pointing  between  the  two  Roads  if  it  can  be  attaind."  The 
meeting  declined  to  take  any  action  toward  the  erection  of  a  meeting  house  and 
the  settling  of  a  mhrister  as  required  by  the  oiganic  act,  but  voted  that  twelve 
pounds  be  levied  by  tax  u]X)n  the  people  of  tfte  town  "for  repatrii^  the  school 
house  and  the  support  of  the  school  for  the  present  yeare." 


When  the  Town  of  Brodcline  was  established,  the  little  stream  known  as 
Smelt  Brook  formed  the  boundary  line  between  the  new  town  and  Brighton,  and 
it  is  said  that  from  this  fact  the  town  of  Brookline  derives  its  name.  Early  in  the 

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PUBLIC  L,\..;Ar<Y  ^ 

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year  1835,  Josiah  Quincy,  then  mayor  of  Boston,  and  John  Robinson,  diainnan 
of  the  board  of  sdectnen  of  Brooldine,  joined  in  a  petition  to  the  General  Court 
asking  that  the  boundary  line  between  Boston  and  Brookline  be  established  as 

follows : 

"beginning  at  a  point  (marked  'a'  on  the  annexed  plan)  1,123.  feet  distant 
westerly  from  the  westerly  side  of  the  filling  sluices  of  the  Boston  and  Roxbuiy 
miU«dani;  thence  ninniqg  northwesterly  ffom  said  point  'a'  at  an  angle  of  11$^ 
from  the  mill-dam  until  it  strikes  the  center  of  the  channel  of  Charles  River ;  and 
also  running  from  said  i>oint  'a'  southerly  at  an  angle  of  103°  40'  until  it  strikes 
the  center  of  the  channel  of  Muddy  River,  at  a  point  where  the  respective 
boundaries  of  ilosion,  Brookline  and  Ivuxlniry  meet  each  other." 

The  petition  was  granted  by  the  i>assage  of  a  bill  whidi  was  a|^»roved  on 
February  23, 1825.  Section  i  of  the  act  established  the  boundary  line  as  described 
in  the  petition,  and  Section  2  modified  the  boundary  lines  between  the  counties 
of  Norfolk  and  Suffolk  to  conform  to  the  new  line  as  given  in  the  preceding 

On  November  23,  1869,  James  Bartlett,  Thomas  I'arsons,  William  J.  Griggs, 
Edward  S.  Philbrick  and  Horace  James,  selectmen  of  Brookline,  and  James  F.  C. 
Hyde,  George  £.  Bridges,  D.  C  Sanger,  Willard  Marey,  Joseph  Walker  and 
Thomas  Rice,  Jr..  selectmen  of  Newton,  acting  under  authority  conferred  upon 
them  by  the  General  Court,  fixed  the  boundary  line  between  those  two  towns 
as  it  exists  at  the  present  time. 

The  boundary  line  between  Brookline  and  West  Roxbiu-y  was  established  on 
December  2,  iS6^  by  the  selectmen  of  the  two  towns,  viz.:  James  Bartlett, 
Thomas  Parsons,  William  J.  Griggs  and  Edward  Philbrick  on  behalf  of  Brook- 
line, and  Aristidcs  Talbot,  Charles  G.  Macintosh,  John  E.  Blackemore,  Nathan  B. 
Prescott  and  Jeremiah  E.  \\  iiliams  on  l)ehalf  of  West  Roxbun,-. 

On  the  same  day  the  above  named  selectmen  of  Brookline  and  B.  F.  Pierce 
and  H.  W.  Baxter  of  Brighton  fixed  the  fooundaiy  line  between  the  two  towns. 
The  line  as  established  by  the  selectmen  was  made  legal  by  an  act  approved  on. 
June  18, 1870. 


The  early  town  meetings  of  Brookline  were  held  in  the  old  school  house.  The 
first  mention  of  a  town  house  to  be  found  in  the  records  is  in  the  minutes  of  the 

meeting^  of  May  10.  iSji.  when  it  was  "\'oted,  that  the  Town  build  a  two-story 
building,  the  basement  to  be  entirely  above  ground,  that  the  building  be  of  wood 
48  by  28  feet,  and  that  the  town  treasurer  be  authorized  to  borrow  a  sum  of 
money  sufficient  to  complete  said  building." 

Some  delay  was  evidently  experienced  in  the  erection  of  the  buikling,  as  the 
records  show  that  "On  Saturday  cveninjj.  January  i,  1825,  the  New  Town  Hall 
was  dedicated  by  Prayer  and  Sacred  Musick."  On  that  occasion  John  Robinson 
presented  a  chandelier  for  lightinjj  the  hall.  On  Aue^xist  17.  1S43.  the  town  hall 
was  ordered  to  be  remodeled  for  a  high  school  building,  which  was  done  at  a 
cost  of  $381.67,  and  on  November  13, 1843,  following  was  adopted  by  a  town 

'*Whereas,  in  consequence  of  our  recent  appropriation  of  the  Town  Hall  to 

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the  use  of  the  public  high  school,  and  of  the  destruction  of  the  Engine  House  by 

fire  the  fiast  summer,  it  is  Inith  cxi>tdient  and  necessary  that  measures  bt?  taken 
at  this  timi-  for  provijhng  a  new  Town  Hall  and  store  house  for  the  Fire  Engine; 
and  that  a  coniniittee  of  tive  citizens,  selected  from  ditlerent  parts  of  the  Town, 
be  now  appointed  to  look  out  and  decide  upon  some  suitable  location*  ascertain 
lihe  price  for  which  it  can  be  obtained,  procan  from  an  architect  a  plan  of  build- 
ing suitable  for  the  accommodation  of  the  Town,  get  an  estimate  of  the  whole 
expense,  and  make  a  re|X)rt  of  their  proceedings  to  our  annual  meeting  in  March 
next,  and  that  Samuel  Philhrick,  Abijah  W.  (joddard,  Charles  Stearns,  jr., 
Daniel  Sanderson  and  Timothy  Corey  constituK;  said  committee." 

The  report  of  this  committee  is  dated  January  30,  1844,  and  states  that  the 
committee  had  obtained  the  refusal  of  three  sites.  The  town  voted  to  purchase 
the  lot  fronting  on  Washington  Street  205  feet  and  iJ^o  feet  deep  from  James 
I'.artlett,  for  the  sum  of  S<;35.82,  and  Samuel  i'hilbrick,  liela  Stotldard  and 
Charles  Stearns,  Jr.,  were  appointed  a  building  committee  to  superintend  the  " 
erection  of  the  new  hall.  The  building  was  dedicated  on  the  evening  of  October 
13, 1845,  with  music  and  a  historical  sketch  of  the  town  1>y  Rev.  John  Pierce.  The 
total  cost  of  lot  and  building  was  $6,285.32. 

Edw'ard  Atkinson,  Charles  D.  Head,  Charles  U.  Cotting,  Alfred  Kcnrick, 
William  SiK.ncer,  An)os  A.  Lawrence  and  Alnjali  W.  ( ioddard  were  apiM'intcd 
a  committee  on  .March  18,  1867,  "to  consider  the  expediency  of  adding  acconuuo- 
dations  to  the  present  Town  Hall  for  a  reading  room  and  library."  No  report 
from  this  committee  can  be  found,  but  the  members  apparently  did  not  r^rd 
the  project  with  favf>r,  for  on  March  28,  1870,  the  following  committee  was 
appointed  to  consider  the  suliject  of  a  new  town  hall :  W  illiam  A.  Welhrian, 
Charles  U.  Cotting,  John  C.  Abbott,  C"harles  W.  Scu(Mer,  Augustine  Shurlleti', 
William  Aspinwall,  \\  illiam  K.  Melcher,  William  Lincoln  and  M.  P.  Kennard. 
The  committee  reported  in  favor  of  the  new  building  and  the  town  voted  an 
appropriation  of  $ioo,ax>,  which  was  placed  at  the  disposal  of  the  committee. 
Fifty  thousand  dollars  were  subsequently  added  to  the  appropriation  and  bonds 
were  issued  for  the  whole  amount.  S.  f.  F.  Thayer's  plans  were  accepted  and 
bids  were  advertised  for,  which  resulted  in  the  contract  for  the  masonry  being 
awarded  to  Adams  &  Barstow  of  Boston,  and  for  the  carpenter  work  to  William 
K.  Melcher  of  Brookline.  The  comer-stone  was  laid  on  May  23,  1871,  and 
the  structure,  which  occupies  the  site  of  the  old  town  hall,  was  dedicated  on  Febru- 
ary 22.  1873,  with  appropriate  ceremonies.  Robert  C.  W  inthroj)  delivcrini^  the 
historical  address.  At  a  sjK'cial  meeting  held  on  the  27th,  William  .X^piinvall, 
Charles  D.  Head  and  W  illiam  A.  W  ellman  were  appointed  a  committee  "to  com- 
pile and  print  the  proceedings,  speeches,"  etc  of  the  dedication.  The  total  cost 
of  the  buildiqg  was  $150,010. 


At  the  annual  meeting  held  on  March  20,  1865,  it  was  voted  "That  the  repre- 
sentative from  this  town  in  the  General  Court  be  requested  and  instructed  to  use 

his  utmost  endeavors  to  have  inserted  in  the  'Bill  to  authorize  the  Gty  of  Boston 
to  build  an  additional  reservoir.'  now  before  the  House  of  Representatives,  a 
provision  that  the  city  may  distribute  the  waters  of  Lake  Cochituate  through  the 

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said  Town  of  Brookline,  and  shall  make  and  establish  hydnmts  therein  in  the 
same  manner  it  now  may  throughout  the  City  of  Boston  and  if  the  Legislature 

shall,  upon  a  resijectful  request  therefor  refuse  to  make  such  provision,  that 
our  representative  be  instructed  to  remonstrate  and  protest,  in  behalf  of  the 
inhabitants  of  Brookline,  against  so  much  of  the  bill  as  authorizes  the  City  of 
Boston  to  lay  pipes  through  the  streets  of  Broddine." 

This  was  the  first  move  on  the  part  of  the  people  of  Brookline  to  secure  a 
$vppiy  of  water  for  the  town.  The  Legislature  failed  to  grant  the  request  and 
the  next  mention  of  the  subject  in  the  town  records  is  in  the  minutes  of  the 
meeting  of  December  ~,  iSinj  wlien  Amos  A.  Laurence  offered  a  tiMihuion  "That 
George  M.  Dexter,  i-rancis  1'.  Denney  and  E.  C.  Cabot  be  a  commmec  to  ascer- 
tain whether  it  is  expedient  to  purchase  the  property  of  the  Jamaica  Pond 
Aqueduct  Company,  or  any  other  supply  of  water,  for  the  town,  and  to  report 
at  a  future  meeting  to  be  called  by  the  chairman  of  the  committee." 

The  resolution  failed  of  adoption  and  nothing  further  was  done  until  the 
meeting  of  May  2,  1871,  which  voted  that  the  mo<lerator  appoint  a  conmiittee  of 
five  to  take  into  consideration  the  subject  of  supplying  the  town  with  water  and 
report  at  a  future  meeting.  George  F.  Homer,  the  moderator,  appointed  John  W. 
Candler,  \\  illiani  Aspinwall,  Amos  A.  Lawrence,  Charles  D.  Head  and  Edward 
*  S.  Philbrick.  and  the  meeting  voted  to  add  Mr.  Homer  to  the  committee.  On 
January  23,  1872,  Edward  S.  Philbrick  reported  for  the  committee  three  plans 
that  had  been  considered:  1st,  to  obtain  a  supply  of  water  from  the  City  of 
Boston ;  2nd,  to  erect  waterworks  in  connection  with  the  Town  of  West  Roxbury ; 
3d,  to  construct  independent  works  on  the  part  of  Brookline.  The  first  proposed 
method  failed  because  the  water  board  of  Boston  reported  tli:it  tlic  city  had  no 
water  to  spare,  the  second  also  failed  because  it  was  learne(l  that  the  Charles 
Ki\er,  from  which  it  was  proposed  to  take  the  supply  for  Urooklme  and  West 
Roxbury,  was  claimed  by  the  City  of  Boston.  With  regard  to  the  third  method 
the  committee  recommended  the  purchase  of  the  springs  upon  the  land  of  the 
Brookline  Land  Company,  which  showed  an  average  daily  capacity  of  about 
three  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  gallons.  The  committee  reported  that  nine 
acres  of  the  land  could  be  bought  for  $50,000,  and  estimated  the  cost  of  the  works 
at  $165,908.  The  report  was  accepted,  the  committee  was  continued  with  instruc- 
tions to  confer  with  the  Jamaica  Pond  Aqueduct  Company. 

On  March  26, 1872,  the  committee  reported  that  the  City  of  Boston  was  apply- 
ing to  the  General  Court  for  permission  to  take  the  waters  of  the  Charles  and 
Sudbuf)-  rivers  and  recommended  that  the  selectmen  of  Ilrookline  l)e  instructed 
to  have  a  bill  introduced  allowing  BrcKikline  to  take  water  from  the  C  harles  River. 
Later  at  the  same  meeting  Mr.  Fhilbrick  reported  that  the  city  had  withdrawn 
its  application.  The  instructions  to  the  selectmen  were  then  changed  by  a  resolu- 
ion  setting  forth  that  as  Boston  had  for  twenty-live  years  used  the  streets  of 
Brookline  for  water  mains,  the  selectmen  ask  the  General  Court  to  order  Boston 
to  supyily  the  town  with  water,  otherwise  to  pass  a  bill  giving  the  town  permission 
to  use  the  waters  of  the  Charles  River.  On  the  loth  of  April  following  the 
selectmen  and  committee  presented  a  petition  to  the  General  Court  asking  that 
the  town  be  allowed  to  take  water  from  the  Charles  River.  A  bill  to  that  effect 
was  passed  and  was  accepted  by  a  town  meeting  on  May  7,  1^2,  by  a  vote  of 
185  to  9a 

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At  the  annual  meeting  on  March  31,  1873,  Diaries  K.  Kirby,  Charles  H.  Drew 

and  William  Aspinwall  were  elected  as  the  first  board  of  water  commissioners, 
and  on  Octol)er  28,  1H73,  the  town  passed  an  ordinance  appropriating  $400,000 
for  the  construction  of  the  works.  Under  this  ordinance  the  plant  was  com- 
menced. Subsequently,  "scrip"  to  the  amount  of  $75,000  was  issued  to  complete 
the  waterworks,  but  even  this  addition  was  insufficient,  and  on  April  21,  1876, 
it  was  voted  to  borrow  $25,000  in  addition  to  the  $475,000  previously  appropriated. 
By  the  act  of  November  8,  i8>\8.  the  town  was  authorized  "to  issue  notes,  scrip 
or  certificates  of  debt,  to  be  denominated  'llrookline  W  ater  Scrip,'  to  an  amount 
not  exceeding  $500,000,  in  addition  to  the  $700,000  which  said  town  has  been 
heretofore  authorized  to  issue.'*  With  the  funds  thus  provided  the  capacity  of 
the  plant  was  increased  to  $fiOOfico  gallons  daily,  giving  Brookline  one  of  the 
best  waterworks  systems  in  the  state. 


The  first  mention  of  anything  in  the  nature  of  protection  against  fire  to  be 
found  in  the  town  records  is  in  the  minutes  of  the  town  meeting  of  March  17. 
1788,  when  "Cbl.  Aspinwall  and  Lieut.  Croft  were  chosen  Firewards."  Some 

time  after  this  (the  records  are  not  plain  in  the  matter)  an  arrangement  was 
made  with  the  Town  of  Rox'burj'  to  establish  jointly  a  system  of  fire  protection- 
In  the  records  of  the  town  meeting  of  March  9,  1795,  is  the  entry:  "\'oted  to 
pay  one-half  the  expences  of  the  Repairs  of  the  Fire  Engine  in  futer."  Two 
years  later.  May  18,  1797,  it  was  "Voted  that  this  Town  will  beare  oiie4ialf  the 
expences  of  the  new  Waggon  for  conveying  the  Fire  Engine."  This  partnership 
arrangement  with  Roxbury  continued  for  a  number  of  years.  In  1828  a  new 
engine  called  the  "Norfolk"  was  j)urchased  lor  $475,  of  which  Brookline  paid 
$325  and  Roxbury  $150.  On  April  6,  1829,  it  was  "Voted,  That  a  committee  be 
diosen  to  see  what  amount  the  Town  of  Roxbury  have  allowed  for  the  pufdiase 
of  Hose  and  Buckets  for  the  New  Engine  Norfolk,  and  that  this  Town  meet  diem 
in  any  expense  not  exceeding  Fifty  Dollars." 

In  1842  the  "Norfolk"  was  sold  for  $297.40  and  the  money  was  divided 
between  the  two  towns  in  proportion  to  what  each  had  paid  fourteen  years  before. 
The  Town  of  Brocddine  then  establislied  a  department  of  its  own.  An  engine 
and  a  sup|dy  of  hose  were  purchased  and  on  May  23,  1855,  the  sum  of  $1,500 
was  appropriated  for  the  erection  of  a  hook  and  ladder  house.  In  the  spring 
of  i8/'.4  the  question  of  purchasing  n  steam  fire  engine  was  referred  to  the  select- 
men, who  reijorted  that  it  was  "inexpedient  to  {Hirchase  at  present,  owing  to  a 
scarcity  of  accommodations  for  obtaining  a  supply  of  water." 

In  1871  the  office  of  fireward  was  abolished  and  the  selectmen  authorized  to 
appoint  a  board  of  fire  engineers  "in  confomuty  with  the  General  Statutes."  The 
same  year  an  appropriation  of  $14,000  was  made  for  a  new  engine  house  on 
Washinj^ton  Street,  to  take  the  place  of  the  old  one,  and  the  jxiy  of  the  depart- 
ment members  was  increased.  Two  years  later  A.  Kenrick,  Jr.,  Charles  D.  Head 
and  J.  T.  Waterman  were  appointed  a  committee  "to  purchase  and  equip  three 
steam  fire  engines."  The  committee  reported  in  favor  of  purdiasing  but  one 
eogine.  which  was  obtained  and  placed  in  commission  at  a  cost  of  $6,950.  Three 
new  reservoirs,  in  addition  to  two  previously  constructed,  were  ordered  built 

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After  the  waterworks  were  finished,  Charles  K.  Kirby,  Horace  James.  A.  Kcnrick, 
Jr.,  J.  T.  Waierman  and  Marshall  Russell  were  appointed  a  coniimttec  "to  see 
if  the  steam  fire  engine  cotdd  be  dispensed  with,"  but  it  was  finally  decided  to 
keep  the  engine  ready  ior  use  in  emetgiettcies. 

"ti  the  last  day  of  April,  1877,  the  selectmen  were  instructed  to  "purchase 
and  place  a  hose  carriage  at  Longwood.  if  there  is  enough  left  of  the  appropria- 
tion for  the  Fire  Department  for  that  purpose."  Longwood  is  a  suburb  in  the 
northwesterly  part  of  the  town,  where  a  hose  company  had  been  organized  some 
time  before  the  above  action  was  taken  by  the  town  meeting.  On  March  20, 1882, 
an  appropriation  of  $10,500  was  made  to  purchase  *'a  horse  and  chemical  engine 
for  Longwood."  The  develoimient  of  the  tlei)artmcnt  since  that  time  has  been 
in  keeping  with  the  growth  of  the  town,  so  that  Lirooklinc  now  is  well  provided 
with  trained  men  and  modern  equipment  for  the  extinguishment  of  tires. 


In  the  fall  of  1640  a  bridge  was  ordered  to  be  built  at  Muildy  River  and  for 
many  years  after  that  time  the  present  \\  ashington  Street  was  one  of  the  priiiciiKd 
highways  leading  into  Boston.  A  great  many  teams  from  the  country  west  of  the 
city  passed  over  the  road  and  a  stopping  place  became  a  necessity.  To  supply  this 
demand  John  Ellis  built  the  "Punch  Bowl  Tavern."  The  original  building  was 
a  two  ston,"  frame,  with  hipped  roof,  to  which  additions  were  made  from  time  to 
time  by  purchasing  old  houses  in  Boston  and  removing  them  to  Rrooklinc  to  form 
portions  of  the  tavern.  Harriet  ¥.  W  oods,  in  ber  Historical  Sketches  of  Brook- 
line,  says  the  hotise  was  "a  curious  medley  of  old  rooms  of  all  sorts  and  sizes, 
connected  together  in  a  nondescript  manner  and  presenting  an  architectural  st]de» 
which,  if  we  might  apply  a  geological  term  to  it,  we  should  call  a  conglomerate." 

The  house  was  located  near  the  comer  of  Pearl  Street.  Its  sign — an  oval 
board  sus{)en(led  from  a  high  red  post — <lep!cted  a  large  l)owl  and  ladle  under  a 
lemon  tree  laden  with  fruit,  some  of  which  lay  around  the  bowl  as  though  fallen 
from  the  tree.  A  bench  ran  aloi^  the  front  under  a  porch,  where  the  "sages" 
of  Brookline  met  to  settle  tite  weighty  problems  of  the  day.  The  selectmen  of  the 
town  used  to  have  annual  sup]>ers  in  this  old  tavern.  About  1833  house 
was  purchased  by  Isaac  Thayer  and  torn  down. 

An  old  house  on  the  comer  of  Washington  Street  and  Brookline  Avenue, 
where  the  offices  of  the  Brookline  Gas  Company  were  afterward  located,  was 
then  opened  as  a  tavern  under  the  sign  of  the  "Punch  Bowl,"  but  it  had  none  of 
the  patronage  or  prestige  of  its  predecessor.  Its  patronage  was  local  and  inclined 
to  be  of  the  disreputable  class.  On  March  25,  1S44,  the  l>ro(^ne  Town  meeting* 
adopted  the  following  resolutions  regarding  thi^  taveni : 

"Whereas,  The  recent  painful  and  distressing  occurrence  in  the  death  of 
Robert  Noyes  from  Ardent  Spirits,  and  by  the  venJict  of  the  jury  his  death  was 
caused  'by  liquor  obtained  at  the  Punch  Bowl  and  elsewhere,'  and 

"WTiereas,  The  location  of  the  Punch  Bowl  Tavern  renders  it  identified  in 
the  weal  or  woe  of  the  Town  of  Brookline,  and  by  its  indiscriminate  sale  of  .\rdent 
Spirits  is  more  clearly  identified  as  injurious  to  the  town,  producing  consequences 
that  call  loudly  on  the  friends  of  good  order  and  sobriety,  therefore, 

"Resolved,  That  this  meeting  view  the  untimely  deatih  of  Robert  Noyes  from 




intoxication  with  pain  and  sorrow,  and  that  as  good  citizens  we  will  do  all  in  our 
power  to  prevent  a  like  disastrous  occurrence. 

"Resolved,  That  a  committee  of  twenty  be  appointed  to  repair  in  a  body  to  the 
Punch  Bowl  Tavern  and  under  sanction  and  au^ority  of  the  town  remonstrate 
with  Mr.  J.  Sprague,  or  whoever  may  have  dxsagt,  against  the  indiscriminate 
sale  of  intoxicating  liquors." 

The  committee  was  comi)osed  of  Samuel  A.  Walker,  A.  H.  Clapp,  Daniel 
Sanderson,  David  Coolidge,  Thomas  Griggs,  Otis  Withington,  Moses  Jones, 
Samuel  Goddard,  Hu|^  M.  Sanborn,  James  Bartlett,  Caleb  Craft,  Jr.,  Joshua  M. 
Blanchard,  William  Hardy,  Charles  Steams,  Jr.,  A.  W.  Goddard,  Timothy  Corey» 
James  Leeds,  Harrison  Fay,  Samuel  Craft  and  Thomas  Kendall.  The  crusade 
thus  commenced  resulted  in  the  closing  of  the  house  a  little  later. 


Brookline  is  the  wealthiest  town  in  Norfolk  County  and  second  in  population^ 
»being  exceeded  in  the  latter  respect  only  by  Quincy.  In  1915  the  assessed  valua- 
tion of  property  was  $158,297,618.  The  population  in  1910  was  2y,jg2,  and  by 
the  state  census  of  1915  it  was  33490,  a  gain  of  5,698  in  five  years.  The  town  has 
three  banks  wiA  aggregate  deposits  nearly  ten  millions  of  ddlars,  two  weekly 
newspapers,  gas  and  electric  Ught,  well  paved  streets,  electric  railway  lines  to 
Boston  and  the  neighboring  towns,  two  lines  of  steam  railway  (the  Boston  & 
Albany  and  the  New  York.  New  Haven  &  Hartford),  a  tine  public  library,  an 
excellent  public  school  system  an^  a  number  of  beautiful  church  edifices.  But  it 
IS  as  a  residential  town  that  Brookline  stands  preeminent.  It  is  related  that  many- 
years  ago  a  visiting  preadier,  in  die  course  of  his  sennon,  said :  **l  know  not,  my 
friends,  how  you  can  help  being  Christians,  for  you  already  live  in  paradise.** 
The  present  inhabitants  have  kept  up  the  reputation  established  by  their  ancestors. 
The  broad,  well  kept  lawns,  the  handsome  homes  and  shade  trees  all  combine  to 
make  Brookline  one  of  the  most  pleasant  towns  in  the  Old  Bay  State. 

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A  little  southeast  of  the  geographical  center  of  Norfolk  County  is  situated  the 
Town  of  Canton.  On  the  north  and  northwest  it  is  bounded  by  the  Neponset 
River,  which  separates  it  from  the  towns  of  Norwood,  W'cstwood  and  Dedham; 
on  the  northeast  by  Milton  and  Randolph;  soutlierly  !)>•  Stoughton ;  and  on  the 
southwest  by  Sharon.  The  surface  is  rolling  and  in  some  places  hilly,  and  evi- 
dences of  glacial  action  are  to  be  seen  in  the  ponds,  of  which  there  are  several  in 
the  town.  Reservoir  Pond  is  located  near  the  center  and  a  little  southeast  of  it 
is  a  smaller  body  of  water  called  Muddy  Pond.  Ponkapoag  Pond  is  on  the  line 
between  Canton  and  Randolph,  while  in  the  southern  part  are  Ice,  Ames,  I'orge, 
Factory  and  a  few  smaller  jwnds.  The  Pequin  River  flows  into  Reservoir  Pond, 
Mill  Brook  into  Ames  Pond,  and  there  arc  a  number  of  smaller  streams,  so  that 
all  parts  of  the  town  are  well  watered. 


The  territory  now  comprising  the  Town  of  Canton  was  originally  a  part  of 
Dorchester.  When  the  latter  town  (at  hrst  called  Mattapan)  was  created  in  1630 
it  embraced  only  the  little  distrkt  between  Boston  and  tlw  Neponset  River,  extend- 
ii^  to  the  Massachusetts  Bay  on  the  east.  In  1636  the  General  Court  granted  to 
the  Dorchester  Plantation  some  six  thousand  acres  south  of  the  Neponset.  This 
was  known  as  the  "Unquety  Grant"  and  is  now  included  in  the  Town  of  Milton. 
The  next  year  another  grant  was  made  to  the  town,  "being  all  the  territory  not 
before  granted  between  Dedham  and  the  Plymouth  Colony."  In  this  "New 
Grant'*  were  included  the  present  towns  of  Cantra,  Stoughton  and  Sharon,  and 
portions  of  Wrentham  and  Foxborough.  On  December  15,  171 5,  this  territory 
was  organized  as  Dorchester  South  Precinct  Its  dismemberment  began  in  1724, 
when  the  southwest  part  was  added  to  the  Town  of  Wrentham.  which  had  been 
incorporated  in  1673.  Stoughton  was  incorporated  on  December  22.  1726,  and 
included  what  are  now  Stoughton,  Canton,  Sharon  and  a  large  part  of  Fox- 
borough.  On  July  2,  1740,  the  Dorchester  Second  Precinct  was  estaUished, 
constituting  what  are  now  the  tow  ns  of  Sharon  and  Foxborough,  leaving  StOtlgh- 
ton  as  the  old  Dorchester  Sout)^  Precinct.  Canton  then  remained  a  part  of 
Stoughton  for  fifty-seven  years  longer. 

99  37434^5^ 

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On  March  9,  1795,  the  inhabitants  of  the  First  Parish  of  Stoug^n  held  a 
meeting  at  the  parish  church.  The  thirteenth  article  to  come  before  the  pieeting 

was  "to  see  if  the  parish  will  j)etition  the  General  Court  to  be  set  off  as  a  sepa- 
rate town."  The  vote  was  in  the  aftimiative  and  Elijah  Dunbar,  Nathan  Crane, 
Joseph  Bcmis,  Benjamin  Gill  and  Elijah  Crane  were  appointed  a  connnittee  to 
prepare  the  petition.  It  was  ftirther  voted  diat  CoIomI  Gill,  Capt.  Elijah  Crane 
and  CbL  Nathan  Crane  be  a  committee  to  prasent  the  petition  to  the  General 
Court  Following;  is  the  petition : 

"To  the  Honourable  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  Com'th  of 
Mass'tts,  in  General  Court  asenibled : 

"The  Petition  of  the  Subscribers,  inhabitants  of  the  first  Parish  in  the  Town 
of  Stoughton,  in  the  County  of  Norfolk  in  said  Com'th,  humbly  showeth  that  the 
local  situation  of  said  Town  of  Stoughton  is  very  singular,  being  near  deven  miles 
in  length  &  about  four  Miles  in  breadth,  as  may  appear  by  a  Plan  thereof,  and 
also  that  there  is  a  large  l)ody  of  land  laying  upon  and  conti^ous  to  the  line 
between  the  North  and  South  Parishes,  which  is  and  always  will  l)e  incajxible  of 
any  valuable  improvement,  which  throws  the  bulk  of  the  Inhabitants  of  said 
Parishes  at  a  great  distance  from  each  other,  which  peculiar  circumstance  makes 
it  always  inconvenient  &  sometimes  impracticable  for  the  Inhabitants  of  either 
of  said  Parishes  to  attend  Town  Meeting  as  they  have  been  usually  held  for  some 
years  past,  by  reason  of  the  great  distance  of  way  &  sometimes  impassable  roads. 

"Therefore  your  Petitioners  humbly  pray  that  the  lands  within  said  first 
Parish  &  the  Inhabitants  tiwreof  (except  those  persons  and  their  property  that 
wish  to  remain  with  the  Town  of  Stoughton)  may  be  incorporated  into  a  EHstinct 
and  separate  Town.   And  your  Petitioners,  as  in  duty  bound,  shall  ever  pray." 

The  petition  was  dated  April  17,  1795.  and  was  sig^ned  by  the  following  resi- 
dents of  the  first  parish :  Thomas  Allen.  Dudley  liailey.  Henr)'  Bailey.  Israel 
Bailey,  Moses  Baker,  Joseph,  Bemis,  \\  illiam  Bent,  Dan  Billing,  Isaac  Billing, 
John  Billing,  Jonathan  Billiug,  Nathan  Billing,  Nathaniel  Billing,  Peter  Billing, 
Samuel  Billing,  Jacob  Billings,  Joseph  Billings,  Stephen  Billings,  Adam  Blackman, 
Adam  Blackman,  Jr.,  George  Blackman,  John  Blackman,  Samuel  Blackman, 
Stephen  Blake,  Benjamin  Bussey,  Samuel  Canterbury,  John  Capen,  Samuel 
Capen,  Joseph  Chandler,  Calvin  Crane,  Elijah  Crane,  Elijah  Crane,  2nd,  Henry 
Crane,  Jarathiel  Crane,  Nathan  Crane,  Silas  Crane,  William  Crane,  George 
Grossman,  Lemuel  Davenport,  Enoch  Didwrman,  Edward  Downs,  Oliver 
Downs,  Elijah  Dunbar.  John  Dunlop,  Elijah  Endicott,  James  Endicott,  Jonathan 
Farrington,  Charles  Fenno,  Elijah  Fenno,  Abel  Fisher.  Ezekiel  Fisher.  Lemuel 
Fisher.  Nathaniel  Fisher,  Thomas  French,  Benjamin  (iill.  Elijah  Gill,  John  Gill, 
Samuel  Gooch,  Richard  Gridley,  David  Hartwell,  Elisha  Hawes,  Joseph  Henry, 
Judah  Henry,  Joses  Hill,  Nathaniel  Hill,  Ebenezer  Holmes,  Comfort  Hoyton, 
Ephraim  Hunt,  Esetdel  Johnson,  Ephraim  Jones,  George  Jordan,  Jdm  Kenney, 
John  Kenney.  Jr.,  Nathaniel  Kenney.  Fisher  Kingsbury,  Rodolpis  Kinsley,  Silas 
Kinsley,  Enoch  Leonard,  Uriah  Leonard,  Benjamin  Lewis,  James  H.  Lewis.  Laban 
Lewis,  Benjamin  Lyon,  Archibald  McKendry,  William  McKenilr\ .  John  Madden. 
Luther  May,  Henry  Morse,  Henry  Morse,  Jr.,  John  Morse,  Samuel  Morse,  Samuel 
Morse,  Jr.,  Nathaniel  Pitt,  Abel  Puffer,  Elijah  Puffer,  John  Puffer,  James  Reed, 

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PAI  L  RK\  KRK  HOl  SK.  l  AXTOX 

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Michael  Shaller»  Nathaniel  Shepard,  Oliver  Shepard,  Thomas  Shepard,  William 
Shepard,  Ephraim  Smith.  James  Smith,  Lemuel  Smith,  Redmon  Spurr,  Joseph 

Stearns.  George  Stone,  Seth  Strobridge,  Samuel  Strobridge,  Benjamin  Sylvester, 
David  Talbot.  John  Tant,  John  Tant,  Jr.,  Lemuel  Tant,  Peter  Thayer,  Jr..  Josiah 
Tilden,  Xahaniel  Tilden,  Benjamin  Tucker,  Daniel  Tucker,  James  Tucker,  John 
Tucker,  Samuel  Tucker,  Samuel  Tucker,  Jr.,  Simeon  Tucker,  Amos  Upham,  Sam- 
uel Wales,  Abel  Wentworth,  Arunah  Wentworth^  Benjamin  Wentworth,  Elijah 
Wcntworth,  Oliver  Wentworth,  Paul  Wentworth,  Seth  Wentworth,  John 
Wentworth,  Nathaniel  Wentworth,  Samuel  Wheeler,  William  Wheeler,  Lemuel 
Whitinfj.  Xathaniel  Whiting,  Philip  Whiting.  Richard  Wild,  Jonathan  Withington. 

The  petition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court  on  June  1 1,  1795,  by  lienjamm 
Gill,  Elijah  Crane  and  Nathan  Crane,  the  committee  appointed  for  that  purpose. 
Stoughton  appointed  a  committee,  consisting  of  James  Pope,  Samuel  Talbot, 
Josei^  Richards  and  Samuel  Shepard,  to  oppose  this  petition.  Among  the  atgu- 
r^ents  advanced  by  the  Stoughton  committee  was  tlie  fact  that  the  petition  was 
>igned  by  one  hundred  and  forty-three  persons,  when  there  were  but  one  hundred 
and  forty  legal  voters  in  the  parish.  The  whole  question  was  postponed  until 
the  next  sessicm  of  the  General  G)urt.  On  January  20,  1796,  Stoughton  pre- 
siented  a  remonstrance  signed  by  Lemuel  Drake  and  one  hundred  and  sixty-nme 
others.  This  gave  the  petitioners  a  chance  to  retaliate,  by  showing  that  the  remon- 
strance contained  fifteen  more  names  than  there  were  legal  voters  in  the  second 
])arish.  and  that  several  of  the  names  tlitTcon  were  those  of  residents  of  the  first 
parish,  who  had  previously  signed  the  petuion.  On  June  10,  1796,  the  committee 
of  the  first  parish  and  that  of  the  Town  of  Stous^ton  agreed  diat  the  matter 
should  be  referred  to  a  special  committee,  composed  of  Senator  Seth  Bullard, 
Representative  Joseph  Hewins  of  Sharon,  and  Judge  Bullock  of  Rehoboth,  Act- 
ing under  instructions  from  the  General  Court,  this  committee  visited  Stoughton 
and  spent  several  days  in  looking  over  the  town,  hearing  arguments  pro  and  con, 
and  on  September  3,  1796,  made  a  report  in  favor  of  granting  the  prayer  of  the 
petitioners.  The  report  was  accepted  and  on  February  23, 17^,  the  act  incorpo- 
ratii^  the  Town  of  Canton  was  aiq>roved. 



Thomas  Crane,  a  justice  of  the  peace,  issued  his  warrant  on  February  24, 
1797.  to  Laban  Lewb,  requirii^  him  to  warn  the  legal  voters  to  assemble  at  the 

meeting  house  in  Canton  on  the  C)th  of  March  "at  one  of  the  clock  P.  M.,  then 
and  there  to  choose  all  such  officers  as  towns  are  required  by  law  to  elect."  At 
the  meeting  held  in  pursuance  of  this  warrant,  Elijah  Dunbar  was  chosen  modera- 
tor; Elijah  Crane,  Benjamin  Tucker  and  Nathan  Crane  were  chosen  selectmen 
and  assessors;  Elijah  Crane,  clerk ;  Joseph  Bemis,  treasurer.  No  further  business 
was  transacted  at  this  meeting. 


For  many  years  after  the  town  was  incorjwrated  the  town  meetings  were  held 
in  the  First  Parish  meeting  house  and  the  different  officials  had  their  offices  at 
their  residences  or  pteces  of  budness.  Then  the  meeting  place  was  dianged  to 


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the  Baptist  Church  at  Canton  Center,  and  whoi  that  denomination  erected  a  new 

house  of  worship  at  South  Canton  in  1837  the  old  one  was  purchased  by  the 
town  for  $650,  It  was  a  small  building,  but  it  was  Canton's  first  town  hOUSe  and 
the  public  business  was  transacted  there  for  more  than  forty  years. 

At  the  annual  town  meeting  in  April,  1878,  a  committee,  consisting  of  one 
member  from  each  of  the  school  districts,  was  appointed  to  select  a  location 
and  procure  plans  for  the  erection  of  a  new  town  hall.  The  committee  was 
composed  of  William  Horton,  Elisha  Hortoii.  I'rank  M.  Ames,  Ellis  Tucker, 
George  E.  Downes,  Thomas  Lonergan  and  James  S.  Shcpard.  On  June  17, 
1878,  the  committee  reported  and  after  some  discussion  it  was  decided  to  locate 
the  new  hall  on  the  comer  of  Washington  and  Depot  streets,  where  Elijah 
A.  Morse  offered  to  donate  the  ground  for  a  site.  Frank  M.  Ames,  James  S. 
Shepard.  Elisha  Horton,  Edward  R.  Kat^cr  and  Joseph  W.  Wattles  were 
appointed  a  committee  to  take  a  deed  of  the  land  in  behalf  of  the  town,  and 
to  select  a  plan  from  some  of  those  sul)niittctl  to  that  meeting.  The  design 
submitted  by  Stephen  C.  Earle,  an  architect  of  Boston,  was  selected  and  the 
same  committee  was  continued  to  superintend  die  erection  of  tiie  building,  "to 
be  known  as  Memorial  Hall." 

The  structure  is  62  by  lOi  feet  in  dimensions,  two  stories  high,  with  base- 
ment under  the  entire  building.  The  foundation  walls  and  the  steps  at  the 
main  entrances  are  of  Concord  granite.  The  walls  of  the  superstructure  are 
of  brick,  laid  in  black  mortar,  and  the  trimmings  are  of  Longmeadow  freestone. 
On  the  first  floor  are  the  <^es  of  the  clerk,  treasurer,  selectmen,  etc.,  and  a 
large  fireproof  vault  for  the 'safekeeping  of  the  public  records.  For  about 
twenty  years  the  public  lil>rary  also  occupied  quarters  on  this  floor.  In  the  main 
corridor  arc  the  memorial  tablets,  bearing  the  natne.s  of  the  Canton  soldiers 
who  sacrificed  their  lives  upon  their  country's  altar  in  the  War  of  the  Rebel- 
lion. These  tablets  were  presented  to  the  town  by  Elijah  A.  Morse.  Over  the 
door  to  the  corridor  is  the  inscriptim:  "Erected  to  commemorate  the  patriotism 
of  the  soldiers  of  Canton,  who  fell  in  defence  of  the  Union  in  the  War  of  the 
Rebellion,"  and  over  the  tablets  is  a  transom  running  the  full  width,  in  the 
center  of  whjch  are  the  dates  " i8<»i-i}<<>5.'"  with  the  motto:  "It  is  sweet  and 
honorable  to  die  for  one's  country."  On  the  second  floor  is  a  public  hall  58  by 
67  feet,  with  a  laige  stage  at  one  end.  The  seating  capacity  of  this  hall — main 
floor  and  gallery-^s  about  eight  hundred,  thot^h  on  special  occasions  the  doors 
between  the  anterooms  and  the  stage  can  be  opened,  making  room  for  over 
one  thousand. 

At  the  time  it  was  voted  to  erect  a  new  hall,  an  appropriation  of  $3i,cxx) 
was  made  to  pay  for  tfie  erection  of  the  building  and  the  improvements  of  the 
grounds.  The  actual  cost,  including  the  expenses  of  the  dedicatory  ceremonies, 

was  $30,961.12,  leaving  a  balance  of  $38.88,  which  was  turned  back  int(T  the 
town  treasury.  On  October  30,  1879,  the  people  turned  out  in  large  numbers 
to  be  present  at  the  dedication  of  their  new  hall.  The  address  on  that  occasion 
was  delivered  by  Charles  Endicott  and  short  speeches  were  made  by  a  number 
of  prominent  men.  among  whom  were  Governor  Talbot,  Secretary  of  State 
Peirce,  Charles  Adams,  ex-treasurer,  of  state,  and  Elijah  A.  Morse,  who  donated 
the  ground  upon  which  the  building  is  situated.  In  191 6  the  selectmen  awarded 
a  contract  to  Ma/tin  F.  Burke  to  install  a  new  heating  plant  at  a  cost  of  $3,500. 

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The  Canton  Waterworks  were  established  in  i8^  and  were  paid  for  by 
a  bond  issue,  of  which  die  sum  of  $59,000  was  outstanding  on  January  i,  igty. 

In  their  twenty-ninth  annual  report,  for  the  year  ending  on  December  31, 
lOiT),  the  hoard  of  water  commissioners — Michael  F.  Ward,  James  A.  O'Leary 
and  \\  alter  S.  Draj>er — give  the  total  cost  of  the  works  up  to  that  time  as 
$335,258.37.  During  the  year  1916  a  new  standpipe  was  erected  at  Ponkapoag 
at  a  cost  of  $10,359,  and  $905.78  was  expended  in  repairing  and  painting  the 
old  one.  The  sources  of  supply  are  Henry's  Springs  at  Springdale,  and  the 
State  lioard  of  Health  has  pronounced  the  water  to  be  of  excellent  quality. 
During  the  twanty-nine  years  since  the  works  were  hrst  completed  the  mains 
have  been  extended,  until  at  the  close  of  1916  there  were  over  thirty  miles  in 
use.  The  number  of  gallons  pumped  in  1916  was  110,198,000.  The  report  for 
that  year  shows  351  hydrants  and  nearly  twelve  hundred  customers. 


In  the  beginning  Canton's  fire  department  differed  but  little  from  diat  of 
the  other  towns  of  Norfolk  County— a  volunteer  company  and  a  hand  fire 
engine  that  could  cope  with  fires  of  moderate  magnitttde,  but  were  powerless 
against  pfreat  conflagrations.  As  the  town  jrrcw  in  importance  and  the  property 
valuation  increased  proportionately,  the  people  were  not  slow  to  recognize  the 
necessity  of  hetter  means  of  extinguishing  fires.  After  the  waterworks  were 
built  in  1887,  regular  hose  companies  were  organised  and  a  number  of  men 
paid  by  the  town  were  kept  constantly  on  duty.  In  1895  ^  alarm  system 
was  installed.  .At  the  annual  meeting  in  191 5  it  was  voted  to  purchase  two 
auto  combination  trucks  and  the  selectmen  were  instructed  to  carry  out  the 
order.  Ten  companies  submitted  bids  on  the  apparatus,  but  the  board  accepted 
that  of  the  Kissel  Kar  Company,  which  offered  to  furnish  the  two  trucks  for 
$6,500.  One  of  these  trucks  was  installed  at  the  Central  Fire  Station  and  the 
other  at  Ponkapoag.   The  latter  answers  all  fire  alarms  at  Canton  Comer. 

At  the  close  of  the  year  1916  the  board  of  fire  engineers  was  composed  of 
Frederic  P.  Drake,  chief.  Ralph  C.  Crowell  and  Owen  Galligan.  In  their 
annual  report  they  give  the  equipment  as  one  steam  fire  engine,  two  motor  com- 
bination trudcs,  and  three  hose  companies,  each  stationed  in  a  house  of  its  own. 
An  members  of  the  department  were  placed  under  civil  service  by  a  vote  of 
the  annual  town  meeting  on  March  f>,  xr)\f^.  The  appropriation  for  that  year 
was  S4.800,  exclusive  of  the  amount  paid  for  the  two  new  tnicks  ordered  the 
preceding  year.  During  the  year  1916  the  department  answered  si.xteen  calls, 
in  which  the  value  of  property  involved  was  over  forty  thousand  dollars,  but 
tbte  loss  was  only  $5,280,  fulty  covered  1^  insurance.  No  better  evidence  is 
necessary  as  to  the  efficiency  of  tiie  department! 


Early  in  tiw  year  1916  a  public  meeting  was  held  in  Lower  Memorial  Hall 
to  consider  the  question  of  granting  a  franchise  to  the  Brockton  Gas  Light 

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Company  to  furnish  the  town  with  gas.  It  was  the  sense  of  the  meetiiig  that 

the  franchise  should  be  granted  and  the  board  of  selectmen  was  instructed 
accordingly.  The  board  then  awarded  the  franchise  on  a  basis  of  $1.40  per 
1,000  cubic  feet  of  gas  for  the  temi  of  four  years,  with  a  reduction  of  five  cents 
every  two  years  thereafter  until  a  minimum  price  of  $1.20  is  reached,  "or  fifteen 
cente  in  excess  of  the  then  prevailing  price  in  the  City  of  Brodctan." 

On  April  25,  1917,  ground  was  brc^en  at  the  junction  of  the  boundary 
lines  of  Canton,  Stoughton  and  Sharon.  The  board  of  selectmen — ^Joseph  A. 
Murphy.  Ernest  Guild  and  Thomas  D.  Mullin — the  members  of  the  Canton 
Board  of  Trade,  which  was  the  first  to  advocate  gas,  and  a  large  number  of  the 
town's  citizens  were  present.  J.  B.  Anderson  made  a  short  address,  in  which 
he  outlined  the  growtii  of  Doiton  and  declared  the  event  to  be  a  fittu^  one  m 
ccmunemoration  of  tiie  town's  120th  anniversary.  Chairman  Mur[^y,  of  the 
sdectmen.  Postmaster  John  I.  Maverty,  George  H.  Priest,  representii^  the  gas 
company,  and  others  made  short  talks. 


The  first  postoffice  in  Cantmi  was  established  in  the  northern  part  of  the 

town,  but  just  when,  or  who  was  the  first  postmaster  cannot  be  ascertained. 
The  records  of  the  office  date  back  only  to  the  close  of  the  Civil  war.  Rufus 
Wood  was  ai)pointcd  postmaster  in  1866.  He  was  succeeded  in  turn  by  Fred 
E.  Holmes,  Thomas  F.  Lyons,  Fred  E.  Hohnes,  BarAolomew  Doody,  Emery 
Britton,  Francis  D.  Dunbar  and  the  present  postmaster  (1917),  John  J.  Hav- 
erty.  The  office  now  employs  the  postmaster,  assistant  postmaster,  one  clerk, 
four  local  and  one  rural  carriers.  Tn  .April,  1916.  the  postoffice  at  Ponkajmag^ 
was  made  a  sub-station  of  the  Canton  office,  which  is  now  the  only  one  in  the 
town.  Formerly  there  were  two  rural  routes,  but  these  have  been  consolidated 
and  in  June,  1917,  Canton  enj<^ed  the  distinction  of  having  the  <mly  motor 
rural  route  in  the  State  of  Massadiusetts.  Free  ddivery  was  inat^rated  in 
191 1.  The  annual  receipts  of  the  office  amount  to  about  fourteen  thousand 
dollars,  and  the  postal  savings  department  carries  deposits  of  over  twen^-eight 
thousand  dollars. 


For  many  years  there  stood  a  little  south  of  the  base  of  the  Blue  Hill  a 
quaint  old  building,  two  stories  high,  with  a  large  attic  under  its  gambrel  roof 
and  two  large  stone  chimneys.  It  was  built  by  John  Shepard  early  in  the 
Eighteenth  Century  and  kept  by  him  as  a  tavern  in  1726.  At  the  tune  of  the 
Revolution  it  was  conducted  by  Col  Thomas  Doty,  better  known  as  Tom,*'  of 
whom  it  was  said  "He  kept  the  best  viands  and  could  mix  the  best  glass  of  grog 
of  any  landlord  in  all  the  countr}'  around."  Under  his  management  the  house 
became  widely  known  as  "Doty's  Tavern."  the  location  of  which  was  known  to 
every  stage  driver  in  Eastern  Massachusetts. 

When  the  various  towns  of  Suffolk  County  dwse  delegates  in  1774,  to  meet 
and  consider  the  general  cimditions  then  prevailing,  it  was  not  deemed  safe  to 
meet  m  Boston,  which  was. then  in  the  hands  of  the  British  soldiery,  and 

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(.  AXmS  Pl  HhlC  LIHRAKY 


Dr.  (afterward  Gen.)  Joseph  Warren  reconunended  Doty's  Tavern  as  a  quiet 
spot  where  the  convention  was  nOt  likdy  to  be  molested.  Warren  had  stopped 
at  the  tavern  and  was  acquainted  with  the  proprietor.  The  result  of  his  recom- 
mendations was  that  the  first  meeting  of  the  "Suffolk  Congress"  was  held  at 
ihiv  ta\ern  on  August  i(\  iJ/A-  Norfolk  County  had  not  yet  been  organized 
and  the  territory  now  comprising  it  was  then  all  in  the  County  of  Suffolk,  A 
second  meeting  of  the  congress  was  held  at  Dedham  on  September  6,  1774,  and 
three  days  later,  at  a  third  meeting  held  at  the  house  of  Daniel  Vose,  in  the 
Town  of  Milton,  was  adopted  the  famous  "SuflFolk  Resolves,"  which  paved 
the  way  for  the  Declaration  of  Independence  two  years  later.  The  Doty  Tavern*, 
was  destroyed  by  fire  on  December  19,  1888.  General  Lafayette  stopped  at 
this  house  while  on  his  way  from  Taunton'  to  Boston  during  the  Revolution, 
and  John  Adams  and  John  Hancock  were  guests  of  Col.  "Tom"  Doty  at  various 


Some  of  the  early  ordinances  or  orders  of  the  town  meetings  may  seem 
strange  to  the  people  of  the  present  generation.   Canton  was  incorporated  in 

Fd)ruary,  1797,  and  the  annual  town  meeting  of  the  following  year  appro- 
priated S^T.ofio  for  highways.  S500  for  the  maintenance  of  schools.  $600  for 
general  expenses,  and  $300  "to  clapboard  the  back  end  of  the  meeting  house, 
the  back  side  of  the  belfry,  also  to  paint  the  house."  In  the  warrant  for  the 
town  meeting  for  1799  an  article  was  inserted  "to  see  if  the  town  will  procure 
and  set  up  a  stove  in  the  meeting  house,  for  the  convenience  and  comfort  of 
those  who  attend  public  worshi]!  in  the  winter  season."  The  article  was  dis- 
missed, as  the  sentiiiicnt  that  church  congregations  should  defray  their  own 
expenses  was  already  finding  a  lodgment  in  the  minds  of  many  of  the  citizens. 

At  the  annual  meeting  on  March  7,  1808,  it  was  "Voted  that  a  bounty  of 
one  dollar  per  head  or  tail  for  every  RatUesnake  absolutely  taken  and  killed 
within  the  months  of  April,  May  &  October  the  present  year."  In  his  address 
on  July  4.  1876,  Charles  Endicott  referred  to  this  bounty  as  follows:  "Prac- 
tically this  was  very  much  like  offering  a  bounty  of  two  dollars  for  each  snake 
killed,  and  very  likely  it  was  found  to  be  so,  for  the  next  year  the  town  voted 
die  same  sum  for  rattlesnakes  tails  only,  and  cautioned  the  treasurer  'to  guard 
against  deception  when  he  is  applied  to  for  sudi  bounties.' " 


Early  in  the  history  of  the  town  Canton  came  into  prominence  as  a  manu- 
factttrii^  center,  and  it  is  still  one  of  the  active  manufacturing  towns  of  Norfolk 
County.  The  first  factory,  in  the  State  of  Massachusetts  for  .making  cotton 
goods  by  machinery  was  established  in  this  town  in  1803.  P''"'  Revere  &  Son 
had  established  a  copper-works  two  years  before,  where  bells  and  cannon  were 
cast.  Silks,  cordage  and  woolen  goods  were  among  the  early  manufactured 
products,  and  some  of  the  factories  established  a  century  or  more  ago  are  still 
in  operation,  though  m  some  cases  the  character  of  th«r  prodticts  has  been 
materially  altered.  A  more  detailed  account  of  these  establishments  will  be 
found  in  another  chapter. 

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In  1910  the  population  of  Canton  was  4,797,  and  in  1915  the  state  census 
reported  a  population  of  5,623.  a  gain  of  826  in  five  years.  On  April  i.  1916, 
the  board  of  assessors  reported  the  valuation  of  projx*rty  as  $7,038,466,  and 
the  estimated  value  of  the  town  property,  school  houses,  town  hall,  waterworks, 
etc,  as  $602,000.  CantNMi  has  two  banks,  a  weekly  newspaper  (the  Journal), 
churches  of  various  denominations,  a  fine  public  library,  seven  public  school 
buildings  valued  at  Si 40,000,  in  which  twenty-four  teachers  are  emploM  l;  a 
number  of  well-stocked  mercantile  establishments:  an  active  and  energetic  Ijoard 
of  trade,  steam  and  electric  railway  lines,  good  public  hi|^ways,  an  almshouse 
for  the  care  of  the  poor,  etc. 

At  the  bq[inning  of  the  year  191 7  the  principal  town  officers  were  as  follows: 
Selectmen  and  Overseers  of  the  Poor,  Etinest  A.  Guild,  Thomas  D.  Mullen  and 
Joseph  A.  Muq>hy:  Assessors,  Matthew  E.  Callahan,  Frederic  P.  Drake  and 
Ernest  A.  Guild ;  Clerk.  Walter  Ames ;  Treasurer  and  Tax  Collector,  Rol>crt 
Bird ;  Auditors,  Jaities  E.  Grimes,  H.  E.  Beal  and  Peter  Gallery ;  Water  Commis- 
sioners, Michael  F,  Ward,  Walter  S.  Draper  and  James  O'Leary;  School  Com- 
mittee, George  H.  Capen,  Augustus  Hemenway,  I.  C  Horton,  H.  L.  Fenno, 
Thomas  J.  Hill,  E.  L.  Underwood,  Charles  H.  French,  Francis  A.  Ryan  and 
Frederic  H.  Bisbee;  Constables,  John  H.  Flood  and  John  Boweiman;  Higfi> 
way  Surveyor,  John  Buckley,  Jr. 

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By  the  act  of  March  26.  1793,  establishing  the  County  of  Norfolk,  the  towns 
of  Hinfihani  and  Hull  were  included  in  the  new  county.  P.efore  the  act  went 
into  effect,  the  people  of  these  two  towns  presented  a  petition  to  the  General 
Court,  asking  that  they  be  peimitted  to  ranain  a  part  of  Plymoiitli  County. 
The  petition  was  granted  and  on  June  20,  1793,*  the  very  day  the  law  went  into 
effect,  that  portion  of  the  act  relating  to  Hingham  and  Hull  was  repealed.  This 
left  Cohasset  detached  from  the  main  body  of  Xorfolk  County.  On  the  north, 
south  and  west  it  is  bounded  by  parts  of  Plymouth  County,  and  on  the  east 
by  the  waters  of  Massachusetts  Hay.  Cohasset  is  noted  for  its  rocky  coast 
line,  and 'for  the  number  of  shipwrecks  that  occurred  there  during  the  days  of 
the  old  sailing  vessels.  The  Indian  name  of  this  part  of  the  coast  was  "Cono- 
hasset"  (sometimes  written  Quonahassit).  which  means  "long,  rocky  place." 
Along  the  sea  shore  the  scenery  is  rather  pictures(|ue,  the  rocky  bluffs  f>eing 
indented  by  numerous  bays  and  coves,  among  which  are  Cohasset  Harbor,  Sandy 
Cove,  Little  Harbor  and  "The  Gulf."  There  are  no  streams  of  consequence  in 
the  town,  though  in  the  southern  part  is  Lily  or  Great  Pond,  a  pretty  little 
body  of  fresh  water. 


Capt.  John  Smith,  who  visited  Cohasset  Harbor  on  his  voyage  of  1614,  was 
^  first  man  to  make  a  report  on  this  part  of  the  Massachusetts  coast.  He 
traded  with  the  Indians  of  Cohasset,  from  whom  he  purchased  '*neer  1,100  bever 

skins.  100  martins  and  neer  as  many  otters.'' 

Among  the  Indians  living  in  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Cohasset  there  was 
a  faint  tradition  that  white  men  had  been  there  prior  to  the  visit  of  Captain 
Smith.  In  1568  about  one  hundred  men  were  abandoned  on  the  coast  of  the 
Gulf  of  Mexico  by  Capt.  John  Hawkins.  David  Ingram  and  two  others  of 
the  marooned  men  started  northward  and  by  following  the  Indian  trails  reached 
the  Xew  England  coast  Subsequently  Inpram  was  rescued  by  the  crew  of  a 
French  vessel,  who  found  him  on  the  shore.s  of  New  Brunswick.  From  the 
Story  told  by  him  to  his  rescuers,  it  is  possible  that  he  and  his  two  associates 
were  the  white  men  of  the  Cohasset  Indian  tradition. 


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In  1633  Edmotid  Hobart»  with  his  wife,  his  son  Joshua  and  his  two  daugh- 
ters, Sarah  and  Rebekah.  came  from  Hinghani,  England,  and  landed  at  Charles- 
town.  Later  in  the  same  year  they  were  joined  by  Edniond  Hobart,  Jr..  his 
wife,  his  brother  Thomas,  with  his  wife  and  three  children,  Thomas  Lincoln 
and  Nicholas  Jacob,  all  from  Hingham,  England.  Most  of  the  available  land 
about  Charlestown  had  been  allotted  to  those  who  came  earlier,  and  the  new- 
comers he^n  looking  about  for  a  suitable  place  to  found  a  new  settlement.  They 
selected  the  place  called  Rare  Cove,  on  the  inside  of  the  Nantaskct  peninsula. 
L"fnder  the  order  of  1^)29.  any  man  who  would  cross  the  Atlantic  at  his  own 
expense  was  to  be  given  fifty  acres  of  land.  The  settlers  at  Bare  Cove  availed 
themselves  of  this  order  and  on  September  25,  1634,  the  little  colony  there  was 
taxed  four  pounds  as  a  plantation. 

On  June  8,  1635,  twenty-eight  more  persons  arrived  at  Charlestown.  ^mong 
them  was  Rev.  Peter  Hobart,  a  son  of  Edmoml  ilobart,  Sr.,  and  a  graduate  of 
Cambridge  College.  England.  This  comi)any  joined  the  colony  at  Bare  Cove, 
the  name  of  which  was  changed  to  Hingham  on  September  2,  1635.  Rev.  Peter 
Hobart  was  asked  to  become  the  pastor  of  several  of  the  early  churches,  but  <^ 
his  lot  with  the  settlement  at  Hingham,  where  he  was  the  first  minister. 

On  .\pril  19,  1637,  Thomas  Loring,  Dement  Bates,  Nicholas  Jacob  and 
Joscj^h  Andrews  were  granted  a  monopoly  of  the  herring  fisheries  of  the  river 
"over  towards  Cohasset."  called  "Lyford's  Liking."  Lyford  was  an  Irish 
preacher  who  came  to  Plymouth  in  1624,  but  was  dismissed  from  that  colony 
for  treachery.  In  1625  he  settled  near  the  mouth  of  this  stream,  which  doubt- 
less derived  its  name  on  account  of  his  "liking"  the  location.  After  Loring 
and  his  associates  built  their  fish  weir,  the  stream  took  the  name  of  Weir  River, 
which  it  still  bear«.  One  condition  of  their  monopoly  was  that  they  should 
"sell  fish  at  not  more  than  ten  shillings  and  si.xpence  per  thousand." 

Some  time  in  the  year  1637  the  settlement  at  Hingham  adopted  the  system 
of  having  nine  picked  men  to  manage  the  affairs  of  the  colony.  The  first 
men  sdected  for  this  purpose  were:  Edward  Hobart,  Sr.,  Nicholas  Jacob, 
Clement  Bates,  Henry  Tuttle,  Thomas  Hammond.  Anthony  Eames,  Henry  Rust. 
Samuel  Ward  and  Thomas  Underwood.  They  had  authority  "to  receive  any 
person  into  the  municipality;  to  give,  grant,  let  &  set,  all  for  the  good  of  the 
whole,'*  but  had  not  the  power  to  fix  the  rate  of  taxation.  A  rule  was  adopted 
tiiat  if  any  one  of  these  nine  men  should  fail  to  attend  a  meeting  he  should  be 
fined  "one  peck  of  Indian  ^m." 

The  nrnrr^t  place  where  the  settler?  of  Hingham  could  have  their  com 
ground  into  meal  was  the  little  com  mill  in  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Weymouth. 
A  bare  trail  was  the  only  road  to  the  mill  and  it  sometimes  happened  that  a 
settler  would  fall  a  tree  and  leave  its  trunk  lying  across  the  pathway.  On  April 
ii>  1637,  the  people  decreed  at  a  meeting  that  if  any  man  should  fall  a  tree 
across  the  road,  so  that  a  horse  and  cart  could  not  pass,  he  should  be  fined  twelve 

.At  the  beginning  of  the  year  i^^.^H  the  population  of  Hingham  was  forty-two. 
In  that  year  the  ship  "Diligent"  brought  over  133  immigrants  to  seek  homes. 
Several  of  them  were  mechanks,  who  brought  their  took  with  them,  and  quite 
a  number  of  the  newcomers  settled  in  Hingham,  the  mechanics  especially  proving 
a  welcome  addition  to  the  litUe  community. 

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As  early  as  1637  the  people  of  Hingham  went  to  the  Cohasset  marshes  to  har- 
vest hay  for  their  Hve  stock.  The  first  individual  ownership  of  land  within  the 
present  Town  of  Cohasset  were  the  grassy  plains  called  Turkey  Meadows,  at 
the  foot  of  Turkey  Hitf.  On  March  5,  1638,  these  meadows  were  paroded  out 
to  some  of  the  settlers  in  lots  of  about  fifteen  acres  each,  in  ordtt  that  they  might 
be  certain  of  a  su{)ply  of  hay  for  their  cattle.  During  the  next  two  years  there 
was  a  marked  increase  in  the  number  of  inhabitants,  and  on  July  6,  1640,  it  was 
"agreed  by  joint  consent  that  after  the  newcomers  and  others,  which  come  short, 
the  old  planters'  accommodations  be  made  up  by  equal  proportions,  according  to 
their  stocks  and  necessities— that  the  remainihg  part  of  Cbnyhasset  shall  be 
divided  by  equal  proportions  according  to  the  men's  heads  and  stodcs,  tvrenty-five 
pounds  in  stock  to  go  by  equal  proportion  to  a  head." 

Although  the  langmagc  used  in  framing  this  agreement  is  sottiewhat  ambigu- 
ous, the  settlers  seemed  to  understand  just  what  it  meant,  as  they  divided  the 
land  without  dispute  under  its  provisions,  a  man  who  possessed  live  stodc  worth 
twenty-five  pounds  receiving  twice  as  much  land  as  the  one  who  owned  no  live 
stock.  Nine  men  were  chosen  to  make  the  division,  viz. :  Joseph  Peck,  Nicholas 
Jacob,  Henry  Smith,  Edmond  Pitts,  John  Parker,  Henry  Tuttle,  Nicholas  Baker, 
Thomas  Hammond  and  Clement  Bates.  By  this  division  each  of  the  newcomers 
secured  a  small  tract  of  the  Cohasset  meadows.  Joseph  Peck  and  Nicholas  Jacob 
were  evidently  men  of  smne  prominence  among  the  pioneers.  The  meadow  lands 
drawn  by  Ihem  in  the  division  of  1640  still  bear  their  names.  Peck's  meadow  is 
situate  !  r  tlie  foot  of  the  Richardson  Hill  on  the  north  side,  along  the  Jerusalem 
Road,  and  Jacob's  meadow  crossed  by  South  Main  Street,  not  far  from  the 
Catholic  Church.  v 

On  February  28,  1648,  Thomas  Hammond,  Qement  Bates,  Joshua  Hobart, 
Nicholas  Jacob,  William  Hers^,  Anthony  Eames,  John  Otis,  Matthew  Gushing 
and  Joseph  Underwood  were  appointed  to  make  a  second  division  of  the  "Cohasset 
Meadows,"  or  that  portion  of  them  that  had  not  l)een  allotted  to  settlers  in  the 
division  of  i(>40.  Among  those  who  received  tracts  of  meadow  land  in  this  divi- 
sion were:  Thomas  Andrews,  Nathan  Baker,  Clement  Bates,  Thomas  Barnes, 
James  Buck,  William  Chapman,  llfoik  Eames,  Francis  James,  Philip  James, 
Andrew  Lane,  Matthew  Lane,  Thomas  Lincoln  (cooper),  Thomas  Lincoln  (car- 
penter), John  Morrick,  David  Phipi>eny.  ^^■^lliam  Ripley,  Thomas  Thaxter,  J<^n 
Tower,  Joseph  Underwood.  F^dward  Wilder  and  Ralph  Woodward. 

Surveyors  of  the  present  day  would  probably  look  with  disdain  upon  the 
methods  employed  by  the  nine  men  selected  to  divide  the  Cohasset  meadows  in 
1640  and  1648.  With  diain  and  wooden  stakes,  tlicy  measured  and  marked  off 
the  marshes  in  the  neighborhood  of  Little  Harbor,  and  in  the  case  of  some  irregu- 
larly  shaped  pieces  of  land  they  "guessed"  at  the  number  of  acres.  They  were 
g:uided  in  their  work,  however,  by  a  spirit  of  fairness  and  impartiality,  and  if  any 
dissatisfaction  arose  over  the  division  it  has  not  Ijeen  made  a  matter  of  record. 

There  still  remained  some  undivided  land  in  what  is  now  the  lown  of 
Cohasset  after  the  action  of  February,  1648.  On  July  4,  1665,  the  three  sons 
of  the  Indian  sachem,  Chickatabot,  deeded  the  lands  now  con^nisii^  Hingham 
and  Cohasset  to  Joshua  Hubbard  (or  Hobart)  and  John  Thaxter  for  the  inhabi- 

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tants.  The  consideration  named  in  that  deed  was  satisfied  by  granting  twelve 
acres  "on  Turkey  Hill,  on  the  north  side  of  a  way  leading  to  Scituate,  to  Lieut. 
John  Smith  and  Deacon  John  Leavitt,  on  condition  that  they  satisfy  all  the  charge 
about  the  purdiase  of  the  Town's  land,"  etc 

At  a  meeth^  held  on  January  17,  1670,  about  four  and  a  half  years  after  the 
Indian  title  was  extinguished,  the  settlers  "determined  to  throw  the  whole  of  their 
undivided  lands  into  seven  hundred  shares,  and  then  distribute  those  shares  by 
an  open  vote,  and  afterwards  to  survey  the  land,  giving  pieces  to  each  shareholder 
according  to  the  number  of  his  diares." 

Under  this  arrangement  there  were  about  fourteen  hundred  acres  of  land  to 
be  distributed,  hence  each  share  entitled  the  holder  to  approximately  two  acres. 
Daniel  Cushing,  then  the  town  clerk,  received  thirty-fivt-  shares,  the  largest  num- 
l)er  given  to  a  single  individual  by  the  "open  vote  "  I'cter  Hobart,  pastor  of  the 
church,  received  twcniy-hvc  shares;  Joshua  Hoban,  eighteen;  John  Thaxter, 
sixteen  and  a  half;  John  Smith  and  Nathan  Baker,  fifteen  shares  each;  John 
Leavitt,  fourteen  and  a  half;  John  Ripley  and  Jeremiah  Beal,  thirteen  each; 
Thomas  Hobart,  John  Beal,  Sr.,  Thomas  Lincoln  (husbandman),  Edmond 
Hobart,  John  Tucker.  Thomas  Lincoln  (car{>enter),  Edmond  Pitts,  Thomas 
Andrews  and  John  Otis,  ten  sliares  each ;  the  other  participants  being  awarded 
from  three  to  eight  shares  each,  except  Clement  Bates,  Jr.,  who  received  but  one 


In  1644,  several  years  prior  to  the  division  of  the  Cohasset  lands,  Anthony 
Eames,  lieutenant  of  the  militia,  became  so  disgusted  at  the  awkwardness  dis* 
played  by  the  local  company  that  he  used  some  sarcastic  language  and  refused  to 
drill  the  men.  Eames  had  been  elected  captain,  but  had  not  yet  been  confirmed. 
To  punish  him  the  members  of  the  company  held  a  meeting  and  elected  Bozoan 
Allen  in  his  place.  The  colonial  authorities  refused  to  concur  in  this  action, 
which  meant  that  Eames  must  remain  at  the  head  of  the  company  until  the  next 
session  of  the  General  Court.  Two-ihirds  of  the  company  refused  to  drill  under 
Eames  and  the  Boston  magistrates  issued  warrants  for  the  arrest  of  the  offenders. 
Five  men  were  arrested — three  of  them  members  of  the  Hobart  family — and  by 
order  of  Deputy-Governor  Winthrop  two  were  lodged  in  jail. 

When  the  General  Court  met  ninety  men  from  Hingham  and  Cohasset  ap- 
peared with  a  petition  askuig  that  Winthrop  be  tried  for  exceeding  his  authority  in 
committing  the  men  to  jail.  Rev.  Peter  Hobart,  pastor  of  the  church,  was  at 
the  head  of  this  movement,  and  Joshua  Hobart  was  also  quite  active.  The  latter 
was  fined  twenty-five  pounds.  A  smaller  fine  w.ts  imjwsed  upon  the  pastor,  on 
account  of  his  callinij,  but  he  rcfu^ed  to  ]);iy  anrl  his  tine  was  increased  to  twenty- 
five  pounds.  Altogether  the  penalties  levied  against  the  recalcitrants  amounted  to 
one  hunderd  and  twenty^five  pounds.  The  incident  disturbed  the  peace  of  Hingham 
for  several  years.  The  peopte  stood  by  tiieir  pastor,  paid  his  fines,  and  apparently 
r^rded  him  with  more  esteem  than  before  the  afTair.  Some  years  afterwards 
he  was  forbidden  to  preach  in  Boston,  the  magistrates  assigning  as  the  reason 
that  "He  is  a  bold  man  and  will  speak  his  mind."  Hon.  Thomas  Russell,  in  an 
address  delivered  at  the  centennial  anniversary  of  Cohasset,  May  7,  1870,  in  re- 
ferring to  this  controversy,  said: 

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"We  lose  patience  as  we  read  the  stofy  of  this  contest  We  smile  at  the 
snperstitioiis  bigotry  of  Wtnthrop,  who  finds  a  Providential  interposition  when 

some  Hinf^am  men  made  light  of  the  colony's  fast  and,  attempting  to  take  a  raft 
to  Boston,  were  delayed  a  month  by  bad  weather.  I'ut  while  we  criticise  and 
smile,  we  should  remember  that  Hobart  and  his  friends  were  believed  to  threaten 
the  powers  and  rulers  of  the  province,  and  that  such  threats  imperiled  the  right 
of  self<^[Ovemnient.  We  know,  also,  that  they  were  dreaded  because  they  troubled 
the  churches,  and  those  that  troubled  the  churches  were  believed  to  endanger 
souls.  On  both  sides  we  find  error,  on  both  sides  sincerity — the  great  manly 
virtue  from  which  all  virtue  sprin^js.  There  have  been  men  of  gentler  disposition 
than  Peter  Hobart,  of  more  enlightened  views  than  Governor  Winthrop,  of  more 
refined  taste,  of  more  graceful  speech  than  any  of  the  Pi^m  Fatiiers;  but  those 
men  have  no  New  England  for  their  monument." 

While  the  turmoil  was  at  its  height  a  few  Hingham  families  left  the  town 
to  find  peace  in  some  other  locality.  Lieutenant  Eames  was  ostracized  for  a  time 
by  a  majority  of  the  militia  company  and  their  intimate  friends,  but  it  seems  he 
was  restored  to  the  good  graces  of  the  community,  as  he  was  one  of  the  nine  men 
appointed  to  divide  the  lands  in  February,  1648.  And  after  all,  the  spirit  which 
moved  the  people  of  Hingham  and  Cohasset  to  protest  against  the  sarcasm  of 
their  military  commander  and  what  they  regarded  as  the  tyranny  of  Governor 
\\  inthrop.  was  the  same  spirit  of  independence  which  cemented  the  American 
colonies  together  more  than  a  century  later  in  their  resistance  to  British  oppres- 
sion, a  resistance  which  culminated  in  the  Revohition  and  resulted  in  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  republic. 


Early  m  the  Eighteenth  century  the  few  settlers  in  Cohasset  became  dissatis- 
fied because  of  the  great  distance  they  had  to  go  to  attend  church  or  to  send  their 
diildren  to  school.  In  171 1  the  Hingham  tax  list  showed  that  there  were  tiiirty- 
six  people  in  Cohasset  against  whom  poll  taxes  were  assessed.    The  taxable 

property  of  that  year  consisted  of  "22  dwelling  houses,  48  oxen,  78  cows.  31  horses» 
213  sheep  and  14  hoggs."  The  total  tax  was  about  fifty- four  jx)unds.  As  the 
residents  of  that  section  of  the  town  paid  a  considerable  portion  of  the  taxes,  they 
asked  to  be  relieved  of  part  of  the  burden  and  permitted  to  establish  a  church 
and  school  within  easy  distance.  In  response  to  this  request,  the  Hingham  town 
meeting  of  May  14,  1713,  voted  "That  the  Inhabitants  of  Connhasset  shall  have 
l-ibeny  to  get  up  and  erect  a  meeting  house  there  on  that  land  called  the  riain." 

While  the  citizens  of  the  Town  of  Hingham  were  willing  to  allow  the  peti- 
tioners the  privily  of  building  a  church,  they  failed  to  remit  any  part  of  the 
tax,  consequently  the  people  of  Cohasset  did  not  "get  up  and  erect  a  meeting 
house."  On  March  7,  17 15.  they  submitted  three  propositions  to  the  Hingham 
town  meeting,  to-wit :  Fif^t,  that  the  ea'^tcrn  i)ortion  of  the  town  he  made  a 
separate  precinct,  so  the  ptoplc  there  could  tax  themselves  for  the  support  of  a 
church  and  school ;  second,  that  they  be  allowed  something  out  of  the  town  treasury 
to  help  maintain  a  church;  third,  the  abatement  of  the  sum  paid  to  the  minister 
in  Hingham.  All  these  propositions  were  rejected  by  the  town  meeting. 

In  June,  1715,  a  committee  was  appointed  by  the  General  Court  "to  repair  to 

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Hingham  and  have  a  town  meeting  called  for  the  purpose  of  securiiy  satisfaction 
for  the  Conohasset  pioneers."  The  meeting  was  held  the  following  month,  at 
which  it  was  voted  "That  the  inhabitants  of  Conohasset,  that  is  to  say  the  in- 
habitants of  the  First  Division  and  Second  Division  &.  part  of  the  Third  Division 
of  Conohasset  upland  to  the  fif^-fourth  lot  of  the  Second  Part  of  the  Third 
Division,  be  freed  from  time  to  time  from  paying  toward  the  support  of  a  minister 
in  Hin^iam  during  the  time  that  they  provide  an  orthodox  minister  among  them- 
selves, provided  they  cheerfully  accept  of  the  same." 

But  the  inhabitants  of  Conohasset  did  not  "cheerfully  accept"  for  the  reason 
they  considered  the  burden  imposed  was  too  heavy  for  them  to  bear.   In  March, 

1716,  the  Town  of  Hingham  voted  "to  allow  £17. 19s.  6d.  out  oi  the  town  treasury 
towards  maintaining  the  worship  of  God  in  Conohasset."  That  sum  represented 
Cohasset's  share  of  the  church  and  school  taxes  for  the  preceding  year  and  the 
money  was  ordered  to  be  paid  to  John  Jacob.  It  apijears  that  Mr.  Jacob,  probably 
advised  by  some  of  his  neighbors,  refused  to  accept  the  money,  and  in  February, 

1 7 17,  the  town  was  again  asked  to  establish  a  precinct  In  Uie  summer  of  that 
year  a  committee  appointed  by  the  General  Court  again  visited  the  town  to  investi- 
gate the  conditions.  Cpon  the  rqmrt  of  this  committee  the  Court  passed  an  act 
on  November  21,  1717.  crcatint^  a  precinct  of  Cohasset,  "alias  Little  Hingham," 
and  setting  off  the  inhabitants  in  the  matter  of  church  and  school. 

The  first  meeting  in  the  new  precinct  or  parish  was  held  on  July  14,  17 18, 
Daniel  Lincoln  presiding  as  moderator  and  Thomas  James  acting  u  derk.  The 
prindpal  business  transacted  at  tiiis  meeting  was  that  of  accepting  die  act  estab- 
lishing the  precinct  At  a  subsequent  meeting  a  fast  was  appointed  for  the  third 
Thursday  in  .^pril,  1719,  in  order  to  call  a  minister  to  the  parish.  Mr.  Picrpont 
was  then  called  and  Mr.  Spear  in  the  spring  of  1721.  No  regular  minister  was 
settled,  however,  until  September,  1721,  when  Nehemiah  Hobart  was  installed 
as  pastor.  In  1727  the  precinct  petitioned  the  General  Court  for  liberty  to  apply 
taxes  to  the  support  of  schools,  which  was  granted,  and  the  first  school  was 
opened  in  the  fall  of  1728. 

During  the  next  quarter  of  a  century  the  population  grew  steadily  and  at 
a  meeting  held  on  February  11,  175 1,  "A  vote  was  trj'ed  whether  we  should 
Petetion  the  other  parte  of  ye  Town  that  we  might  be  Sett  off  a  distinct  District 
*  or  Township— Passed  in  ye  affirmative."  John  Stephenson,  Samuel  Gushing  and 
Isaac  Lincoln  were  appointed  a  committee  to  present  the  petition  at  the  Hingham 
town  meeting-  in  May,  where  it  was  "Passed  in  ye  negative."  Similar  action  was 
taken  by  a  ])recinct  meeting  on  March  4,  1752,  with  the  understanding  that  if 
Hingham  again  refused  consent  the  question  should  be  taken  to  the  General  Court. 
At  the  Hif^am  town  meeting  on  May  14,  1752,  the  petition  was  rejected,  but 
tiie  records  do  not  show  that  the  question  was  at  that  time  carried  to  the  General 
Court.  Another  efTort  was  made  in  March,  1753,  when  the  original  c(munittee  was 
reappointed  and  instructed  to  "get  the  matter  Iwfore  the  General  Court,"  but  in 
this  instance  the  records  are  also  silent  as  to  the  general  result. 

•  Repeated  rebutts  had  discouraged  some  of  the  people  of  little  Hingham  and 
diey  became  somewhat  indifferent  on  the  subject  Enough  maintained  their 
interest  however,  to  present  the  "double  barreled"  petition  again  in  March, 
1756,  one  to  the  Town  of  Hingham  and  the  other  to  the  General  Court. 
At  the  Hit^tma  town  meeting  on  May  19,  1756,  the  petition  was  again  rejected 

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and  the  question  then  lay  dmrmant  for  about  twdve  years.  Then  the  {ottowiog 
petition  was  prepared: 

"Hingham,  Jan.  ye  2th,  1768^ 

"To  Capt.  Daniel  Lincoln,  Mr.  Jazaniah  Nichols  and  Mr.  Thomas  Lothrop, 
Parish  Committee  for  calling  meetings,  &sf. 

'Gentlemen — W't  the  subscribers  appreliending  that  it  will  be  for  the  advant- 
^  of  the  Inhabitants  in  the  Second  Parish  of  Hingham  to  be  made  a  District  Do 
hereby  Apfrfy  to  yon  in  bdhalf  of  Our  Selves  and  others  Requesting  that  you 
would  forth  with  Call  a  Legal  Meeting  of  sd  Inhabitants  To  See  whether  they 
will  vote  to  apply  to  the  Town  at  theire  Annual  Meeting  next  March  to  bee  in- 
corporated or  Set  off  as  aforesaid. 

"There  to  chuse  a  Conimitttee  in  order  to  make  the  Application  to  the  Town 
and  also  to  transact  aiiy  other  matters  or  things  that  Shall  there  Bee  thought  Con- 
ducive to  Accomplish  this  Beneficial  End  wee  have  in  view,  as  Wittness  our  Hands. 

"Daniel  Tower,  John  Stephenson,  Isaac  Lincoln.  Solomon  Bates,  Amos  Joy, 
John  W'ilcott,  Israel  W'hitconi,  Samuel  Cushing.  Jonathan  Xcar,  John  Stcphen- 
sonTjr.,  Isaac  Lincoln,  Sr.,  Jonathan  Pratt,  James  Litchtield,  Mordecai  Lincoln, 
Obadiah  Linooto,  David  Marble,  Jr.,  Israel  Whitcmn,  Jr.,  Job  Whitcom,  Lot 
Whitcom,  John  Pratt,  Joshua  Bates,  Abel  Kent,  Thomas  Lincoln,  Price  Prichart, 
Micah  Nichols,  James  Hall,  Gushing  Kilby,  Uriah  (Jakes,  Charles  Ripley,  Morde- 
cai Bates,  Elisha  Bates,  Laz  Bcal,  Jr.,  Nehemiah  Batc^,  Wwcomb  Bourn.  Jonathan 
Beals,  Mijah  Clajjp,  Thomas  Pratt,  Solomon  dishing.  Benjamin  Stetson,  Heze- 
kiah  Lincoln,  Benjamin  Beals,  Richard  Tower,  Caleb  Joy,  Noah  Nichols,  Joseph 
Bates,  Isaac  Tower,  Enoch  Stodard,  James  Stodard,  Philip  James,  Abner  Bates, 
James  Bates,  Joshua  Burr,  John  Beal,  Isaac  Burr,  Thomas  Nichols.  Job  Tower, 
James  Stetson,  John  Tower.  Daiuel  Tower,  Jr." 

In  response  to  this  petition  a  meeting  was  called  for  January  25.  1768,  at 
which  it  was  voted  to  petition  Hingham  and  the  General  Court  for  a  charter  and 
"to be  invested  with  all  the  Liberty s  and  Privileges  of  a  Town,  that  of  sending  a 
Representative  to  the  General  Court  only  excepted,  and  that  they  have  the  Liberty 
of  joining  with  ye  Town  of  Hingham  in  the  choice  of  a  Representative  from  time 
to  time." 

Isaac  Lincoln,  Jr.,  John  Stephenson,  Jr..  and  Laz  Beal.  Jr.,  were  appointed  a 
committee  to  lay  the  matter  before  the  Hingham  town  meeting.  When  that  meet- 
ing assembled,  Hingham  refused  the  request  of  the  petitioners  and  appomted 
Joshua  Hersey,  Benjamin  Lincoln,  Jr.,  Joseph  Andrews,  Joseph  Thaxter  and 
Theophilus  Cushing  a  committee  to  prepare  and  present  a  remonstrance  to  the 
General  Court.  Nothing  definite  was  accomplished  until  March  28,  1770,  when 
the  General  Court  apf>ointed  Jonathan  Bradbury,  Colonel  ( lerrish  and  Major  Ban- 
croft as  a  special  cunmiittee  "to  repair  to  Hingham,  as  soon  as  may  be,  view  the 
said  Parish  and  report  to  the  Court  what  in  their  opinion  is  proper  to  be  done." 
The  committee  was  entertained  at  the  house  of  Lazarus  Beal  and  the  expense  of 
the  investigation  (£4.  17s.  lod.)  was  charged  to  the  Town  of  Hingham.  On  April 
25.  1770.  the  committee  reported  in  favor  of  the  petitioners  and  they  were  given 
libeny  to  frame  a  bill  for  the  establishing  of  a  district.  The  bill  had  evidently 
been  prepared  in  advance  of  the  committee's  report,  for  on  April  26,  1770,  "An 
Act  for  incorporating  the  Second  Precinct  in  Huigham  into  a  District  by  the  name 
of  Cohasset,"  became  a  law. 



Although  called  a  "district"  in  the  act  of  incorporation,  the  law  provided  "That 
the  inhabitants  thereof  be  and  hereby  arc  invested  with  all  the  powers,  privileges 
and  immunities  which  the  inhabitants  of  Towns  within  this  Province  do,  or  by  law 
ought  to  enjoy  (^that  of  sending  a  Representative  to  the  General  Assembly  only 
excepted)  and  that  the  inhabitants  of  said  District  shall  have  liberty,  from  time 
to  time^  to  join  with  the  Town  of  Hiqgham  in  the  choice  of  a  Representative  or 

Not  only  were  the  inhabitants  invested  with  the  jxiwers,  privileges  and  im- 
munities of  a  town,  but  they  were  also  required  to  perform  all  the  duties  required 
of  towns.  Benjamin  Lincoln  was  named  in  the  act  as  "empowered  to  issue  a  war- 
rant to  some  principal  inhabitant  of  said  District  of  Cohasset,  requlrifig  him  to 
call  a  meeting  of  said  inhabitants,  in  ordier  to  choose  such  officers  as  towns  are  by 
law  empowered  to  choose,"  etc. 


Benjamin  Lincoln  issued  a  caU  for  a  meeting  to  be  held  on  May  7,  1770,  "at 

Cohasset  meeting  house  on  the  Common."  Isaac  Lincoln  was  diosen  moilcrator 
and  the  following  town  officers  were  elected  :  Joseph  Souther,  Daniel  Lincoln 
and  Isaac  Lincoln,  selectmen,  assessors  and  overseers  of  the  jx)or;  Daniel  Lincoln, 
clerk;  Thontas  Bourne,  treasurer;  James  Litchfield,  Lphraim  Lincoln  and  Abel 
Kent,  school  committee.  The  act  of  April  26th,  incoiporatfaig  the  district,  was 
accepted  and  it  was  "\'oted  to  ask  that  the  style  of  'district'  be  changed  to 
'town.'  "  This  was  not  done,  however,  until  1786,  when  the  General  Court  passed 
an  act  that  all  districts  incorporated  prior  to  1777  should  be,  to  all  intents  and 
purposes,  tow  ns. 


The  town  meetings  were  held  in  the  Mrst  Parish  Church  until  1832.  In  1797 
a  cciiipany  of  persons  erected  a  building  for  a  private  school.  In  the  town 
authorities  obtained  the  use  of  this  building,  where  meetings  were  held  until  the 
erection  of  the  present  town  hall  in  1857.  It  is  a  sulbstantial  frame  building,  two 
storiet  in  heic^,  when  first  built  the  lower  floor  was  used  for  some  years  for 
the  high  school.  The  original  cost  of  the  hall  was  about  four  thousand  dollars, 
but  an  addition  was  made  to  it  some  years  later,  a  heating  plant  and  plumbing 
fixtures  installed,  giving  the  town  ample  accommodations  for  the  transaction  of 
public  business.  The  building  contains  offices  for  the  town  clerk,  assessors,  select- 
men, etc.,  and  a  huge  hall  for  holding  public  meetings.  It  is  well  preserved  and  the 
common  in  front  of  the  Cohasset  Town  Hall  is  one  of  the  prettiest  spots  in 
Norfolk  County. 


Prior  to  1887  the  Town  of  Cohasset  depended  upon  wells  for  its  water  supply. 
On  April  a6, 1886b  fourteen  men  met  and  organized  the  Cohasset  Water  Company, 
which  was  incorporated  a  few  days  later.  Several  plans  were  considered  for  ob- 

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taining  water  for  the  people  of  the  town,  but  the  one  finally  selected  was  that  of 
driving  a  number  of  deep  wells  in  the  meadow  called  '*The  Fide,*'  pumping  the 
water  to  a  reservoir  on  the  top  of  Bear  Hill,  from  which  it  could  be  forced  by 
fl^ravity  pressure  to  all  parts  of  the  town.  The  capital  stuck  of  the  company  was 
hxtd  at  $100,000  and  as  soon  as  a  sufficient  amount  had  l)ecn  paid  in  work  on 
the  plant  was  commenced.  The  reservoir  on  liear  Hill,  with  a  capacity  of 
1,500,000,  was  constructed  and  connected  by  pipes  with  fifty-four  wdls  in  "The 
I^Ie.*'  Mains  were  laid  on  the  principal  streets  and  the  first  water  was  supplied 
in  the  early  autumn  of  1887.  Within  recent  years  there  have  been  some  com- 
plaints about  the  quality  of  the  water  and  the  rates  charged  by  the  company,  and 
there  have  been  numerous  expressions  in  favor  of  the  purchase  of  the  plant  by  the 
town,  but  nothing  definite  had  been  done  up  to  July  i,  1917. 


The  Cohasset  Fire  Department  dates  back  to  April  30,  1807,  when  the  fol- 
lowing petition  was  presented  to  the  board  of  selectmen: 
"To  the  Selectmen  of  the  Town  of  Cohassett : 

"Gcntlenien— Yon  are  requested  to  insert  the  following  article  in  the  warrant 

for  the  May  meeting,  viz  : 

"To  see  if  the  Town  will  .\ccept  of  a  Fire  Fnf^ine  with  Bucketts  &c  Compleat 
.According  to  Law,  to  be  procured  and  paid  for  by  Mr.  Elisha  Doane,  Jr.,  Mr. 
Nichols  Tower,  Mr.  John  Nichols,  Mr.  Joseph  Lincoln,  Mr.  Wni.  Whittington  and 
such  others  as  may  Joyn  them  to  the  nundier  the  Law  allowes  and  to  be  Com- 
pleat cd  aggreeable  to  Law  in  the  course  of  Nine  Months — with  the  proviso*  that 
if  the  Selectmen  should  at  any  time  hereafter  appoint  Engine  men  to  the  exclusion 
of  the  present  applicants,  or  any  of  their  Associates  or  Assigns,  then  the  Town 
shall  reimburse  to  those  who  they  may  exclude  all  cxpcnccs  they  may  have  been 

The  petition  was  signed  by  Laban  Bates,  Elisha  Doane,  Abel  Kent,  Jr.,  Thad- 
deus  Lawrence,  Israel  Nichols,  James  Stoddard,  William  Stutson  and  Joel  WiU- 

CUtl.  At  the  May  meeting  the  proposition  was  accciitcd  and  a  few  month<  later 
the  engine  was  {jlaced  in  commission.  It  was  soon  di>covercd  that  the  engine 
was  not  a  paying  investment,  on  account  of  a  scarcity  of  water,  the  only  source 
of  supply  being  the  wells  and  some  small  ponds,  and  several  years  passed  before 
the  department  was  placed  upon  an  efficient  basis. 

In  1905  a  fire  alarm  system  was  installed  and  at  the  annual  town  meeting  on 
March  6,  1916,  it  was  "Voted  that  the  sum  of  $4,820  be  raised  and  appropriated, 
and  that  $1,000  of  this  amount  be  expended  under  the  Board  of  Engineers  for 
the  purpose  of  repairs  to  the  fire  house  at  the  cove,  said  repairs  to  consist  of  in- 
stallii^  a  new  heating  plant  and  such  other  repairs  as  in  their  judgment  are  most 
necessar)'."  The  board  of  engineers  at  that  time  was  comjwsed  of  Henry  E. 
Brennock,  chief;  George  Jason,  assistant  chief;  George  F.  Sargent  and  Sidney 
I-.  Meal,  district  chiefs.  In  their  report  at  the  close  of  the  year  they  announced 
that  the  repairs  had  been  made.  The  department  then  consisted  of  two  combina- 
tion engine  and  hook  and  ladder  conqnniesr-oiM  ?t  Cohasset  and  one  at  Beech- 
wood— and  a  hose  company  at  North  Cohasset. 

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On  July  28,  1890,  a  company  was  formed  for  the  purpose  of  lighting  the  towns 
of  Cohasset  and  Scituate  by  electricity.  It  was  incorporated  on  the  I2th  oC 
August  the  same  year  under  the  name  of  the  ''Electric  Li{^  and  Power  Com* 
pany  of  Abington  and  Rockland."  Work  on  construction  was  pushed  forward 
with  commendable  energ}'  and  on  September  14,  1890,  the  streets  of  Cohasset  were 
lighted  for  the  rirst  time  by  electricity.  The  Hingham  Municipal  Electric  Plant 
also  furnishes  a  number  of  lights,  especially  in  the  vicinity  of  North  Cohasset. 


One  of  the  early  settlers  in  Cohasset  was  Mordecai  Lincoln,  the  ancestor  of 
Abraham  Lincoln,  the  sixteenth  IVesident  of  the  United  States.  Mordecai  Lin- 
coln received  a  grant  of  land  on  Bound  Brook  and  built  a  nnil  on  that  btream. 
Prior  to  that  time  the  nearest  mill  was  at  Straits  Pond,  but  it  could  run  only  when 
the  tide  was  out  of  the  Weir  River.  The  volume  of  water  in  Bound  Brook  was 
not  sufficient  to  run  a  mill  constantly,  but  Mr.  Lincoln's  ingenuity  was  able  to 
overcome  this  ditticulty.  He  built  three  mills — one  at  Turtle  Island,  one  at  Beech- 
wood  and  the  third  at  Bound  Rock.  On  Monday  and  Tuesday  there  was  a  suf- 
ficient head  of  water  to  run  the  mill  at  Turtle  Island;  Wednesday  and  Thursday 
he  could  operate  the  mill  at  Beechwood ;  and  on  Friday  and  Saturday  the  one  at 
Bound  Rock  was  kept  busy.  There  is  an  old  song  entitled  "The  mill  will  never 
«  grind  with  the  water  that  has  passed,"  but  the  composer  was  evidently  not  ac- 

quainted with  the  method  employed  by  Mordecai  Lincoln,  who  used  the  same 
water  three  times.  Mr.  Lincoln  also  operated  an  iron  smelter  and  forge,  hauling 
his  bog  iron  ore  from  Pend>roke,  a  distance  of  ten  miles,  widi  <«  teams. 

During  the  first  half  of  the  Nineteenth  Century  shipbuilding  was  carried  on 
at  Cohasset  and  between  the  years  1820  and  1845  >t  was  an  important  industry. 
Among  the  vessels  that  went  out  from  the  Cohasset  yards  were  the  brigs  Eolus 
and  Talisman,  the  liarquc  Hobart.  the  schooners  .\iisurla.  Tower,  Alhicore,  Myra, 
Convert,  Talisman,  W  illiani  Bates,  Bela  I'.ates  and  Fleetwind.  A  number  of  the 
schooners  were  employed  in  the  fishing  industry,  whidi  is  still  a  prominent  feature 
of  Cohasset's  business  enterprises. 

The  location  of  Cohasset  makes  it  a  desirable  place  for  summer  residence  and 
many  wealthy  citizens  of  Boston  own  cottages  along  the  coast,  where  they  spend 
a  large  part  of  their  time  during  the  hot  weather  of  July  and  August.  The  Boston 
&  Plymouth  division  of  the  New  York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  railway  system 
passes  through  the  town,  with  frequent  trains,  which  enables  these  summer  resi> 
dents  to  make  the  short  journey  to  the  city  whenever  it  becomes  necessary.  In 
1910  the  population  of  Cohasset  was  2,585,  and  in  1915  it  was  2,8oo.  The  assessed 
valuation  of  proinrty  in  1916  was  $9,802,964. 

.■\t  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  the  town  officers  were:  Selectmen,  Assess- 
ors and  Overseers  of  the  Poor,  Harry  E.  Mapes,  William  O.  Souther,  Jr.,  Heiliert 
L.  Browe ;  Oerk,  Harry  F.  Tilden ;  Treasurer  and  Collector,  Newoomb  B.  Tower ; 
Highway  Surveyor.  George  Jason ;  Constables,  Sidney  L.  Deal,  Heniy  E.  Bren- 
nock,  John  T.  Keating,  Louts  J.  Morris  and  Edward  £.  Wentworth. 

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Dedham,  the  shire  town  of  Norfolk  County,  is  situated  a  little  north  of  the 
center  of  the  county.  It  is  somewhat  irregular  in  shape ;  is  bounded  on  the  north 
by  the  Town  of  Xeedham  ■  on  the  east  by  the  City  of  lioston ;  on  the  southeast 
by  the  Town  of  Canton,  and  on  the  south  and  west  by  the  Town  of  Westwood. 
It  is  separated  from  Needham  by  the  Charles  River,  and  the  Neponset  River  flows 
between  Dedham  and  Canton.  The  town  is  well  watered  by  ^ese  two  streams 
and  their  smaller  tributaries.  The  surface  is  generally  rolling  or  hilly,  and  the 
soil  is  of  a  sandy  or  gravelly  nature,  not  naturally  fertile,  but  by  careful  cuhivation 
it  can  be  made  to  produce  fair  crops  of  the  grains,  fruits  and  v^etables  adapted 
to  this  section  of  the  country. 


In  May,  1635.  the  General  Court  gave  permission  to  the  people  of  Watertown 
"to  remove  whither  they  pleased.  pro\  idcd  they  continued  under  the  jurisdiction  of 
the  court.  "  Some  of  the  inhabitants  of  those  towns  selected  a  location  on  the 
Charles  River,  and  on  September  3,  1 635,  the  General  Court  ordered  that :  "There 
shall  be  a  plantation  settled  about  two  miles  above  tfie  falls  of  the  Charles  River, 
on  the  northeast  side  thereof,  to  have  ground  lying  to  it  on  both  sides  of  the  river, 
both  upland  and  meadow,  to  be  laid  out  hereafter  as  the  court  shall  appoint." 

The  first  settlement  was  made  upon  the  new  plantation  in  the  fall  of  1635  by 
people  from  Watertown  and  Roxbury,  In  March,  1636,  the  General  Court 
apfNrinted  commissioners  to  set  out  the  bounds  of  the  plantation.  The  commia- 
sioners  made  their  report  on  April  13, 1636.  At  that  time  it  was  a  custom  in  New 
England  for  the  settlers  in  a  new  community,  before  they  were  incorporated  as  a 
town,  to  form  themselves  into  a  sort  of  voluntary  association  and  enter  into  an 
agreement  to  observ-e  certain  regulations  until  such  time  as  the  General  Court 
should  see  fit  to  pass  an  act  of  incorporation.  Pursuant  to  this  custom,  the  settlers 
'  of  the  new  plantation  on  the  Charies  River,  soon  after  the  bounds  had  been  fixed 
by  the  commissioners,  adopted  the  following 

117  • 

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"i.  V\c,  whose  names  are  hereunto  subscribed,  do,  in  the  fear  and 
reverence  of  Almighty  God,  mutually  and  severally  promise  amongst  ourselves 
and  each  to  other  t6  profess  and  practice  one  truth  according  to  that  most  perfect 

rule  the  foundation  whereof  is  everlasting  love. 

"2.  That  we  shall  by  all  means  labor  to  keep  off  from  us  all  such  as  are  con- 
trar>'-mincled.  and  receive  only  such  unto  us  as  be  such  as  may  be  probably  of  one 
heart  with  us,  as  that  we  either  know  or  may  well  and  truly  be  informed  to  walk 
in  peaceable  cmiversation,  with  all  meekness  of  sjHrit,  for  the  edification  of  each 
other,  in  the  knowledge  and  faith  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  the  mutual  encouragement 
unto  all  temporal  comforts  in  all  things,  seeking  the  good  of  each  other  out  of  all 
which  may  be  derived  true  peace. 

"3.  That  if  at  any  time  diflference  shall  arise  between  parties  of  our  said 
town,  that  then  such  party  and  parties  shall  presently  refer  all  such  difference  unto 
some  two  or  three  odiers  of  our  said  society,  to  be  fully  accorded  and  determined 
without  further  delay,  if  it  possibly  may  be. 

"4.  That  every  man  that  now  or  at  any  time  hereafter  shall  have  lot>  in  our 
said  town  shall  pay  his  share  in  all  such  rate?  of  money  and  charp:es  as  shall  be 
imposed  upon  him  rateably  in  proportion  with  other  men,  as  also  become  freely 
subject  unto  all  such  orders  and  constitutions  as  shall  be  necessarily  had  or  made, 
now  or  at  any  time  hereafter,  from  this  day  forward,  as  wdl  for  the  toviag  and 
comfortable  society  in  our  said  town  as  also  for  the  prosperous  and  thriving 
condition  of  our  said  fellowsliii),  especially  respecting  the  fear  of  God,  in  which 
we  desire  to  begin  and  continue  whatsoever  we  shall  by  His  loving  favor  take 
in  hand. 

"5.  And  for  the  better  manifestation  of  our  true  resolution  herein,  every  man 
90  received  to  subscribe  hereunto  his  name,  thereby  obliging  botii  himsdf  and  his 
successors  after  him  forever,  as  we  have  done." 

This  covenant  was  signed  by  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  persons,  to  wit: 
Ferdinando  Adams.  Thomas  Alcock.  John  Aldis,  Nathan  Aldis.  Edward  Alleyne. 
James  AUin,  John  AUin,  Francis  Austin,  William  Avery,  Michael  Bacon,  George 
Barber,  Richard  Barber,  Thomas  Bartlett,  John  Batchelor,  Thomas  Hayes.  George 
Bearstowe.  William  Bearstowe,  Henry  Brock,  Benjamin  Bullard,  Isaac  Bullard. 
John  Bullard,  William  Bullard.  Samuel  Bulleyne,  Thomas  Cakebread,  Thomas 
Carter.  Francis  Chickering.  Joseph  Clarke,  Nathaniel  Coalcborne  (Colbum), 
Edward  Colver,  John  CooUdge.  Robert  Grossman,  Philemon  Dalton,  Timothy 
Dalton,  Andrew  Deming,  Henry  Dengayne,  James  Draper,  John  Dwight,  Timothy 
Dwight.  Timothy  Dwight,  Jr.,  Thomas  Eames.  John  Eaton,  John  Elderkin,  John 
Ellice,  Joseph  Ellice.  Richard  Ellice.  Richard  Evercd  (Everard),  George  Fayer- 
banke,  John  Fayerbanke.  Jonathan  Fayerbanke.  Jonathan  Fayerbanke,  Jr.,  Robert 
Feake,  Anthony  Fisher.  Cornelius  Fisher,  John  Fisher,  Joshua  Fisher,  Samuel 
Fisher,  Thomas  Fisher.  Thomas  Fisher,  Jr.,  John  Fray  rye,  Ralph  Freeman, 
Thomas  Fuller,  John  Gaye,  Lambert  Genere,  Henry  Glover,  Robert  Gowen,  John 
Guild,  Thomas  Hastings,  James  Herring,  Thomas  Herrii^,  Robert  Hinsdale. 
Ezekiel  Holliman,  John  Houghton.  John  Haward  (Howard),  John  Iluggin.  Jonas 
Humphrey,  John  Hunting.  James  Jordan,  Thomas  Jordan,  Edward  Kenipe,  Austen 
Kilham,  John  Kingsbury,  Joseph  Kingsbury,  Thomas  Leader,  Eleazer  Lusher, 

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THK  sgl  AHK,  U)()KIN(;  KAST,  DKDHAM 


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LiL  i...  ■     a Y  I 

L  J 

ASTr  p    [  KS  J\  AND 

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John  Luson,  John  Mason.  Michael  Metcalfe,  Thomas  Metcalfe,  Samuel  Mills, 
Jeffrey  Mingeye,  Daniel  Morse,  John  Morse,  Joseph  Morse,  Samuel  Morse,  Josef^ 
Moyes,  Robert  Union,  John  Tarlridge,  Thomas  Payne,  Henry  Phillips,  Martin 
Phillips,  Nidu^  Phillips,  John  Plympton,  Daniel  Pond,  Michael  Powell,  John 
Rice,  Edward  Richards,  John  Rogers,  John  Roper,  Abraham  Shaw,  Joseph  Shaw, 
Ralph  Shepherd,  Benjamin  Smith,  Christopher  Smith,  Henry  Smyth,  Hugh 
Stacey.  Thwaits  Strickland,  James  Thorpe,  John  Thurston.  Jatncs  \'ales  (Fales), 
Rol)ert  Ware,  Ralph  Wheelock,  Nathaniel  Whiting,  Thomas  W  ight,  EUice  Wood 
and  I  'eter  W  oodward. 

The  covenant  bears  no  date  to  show  just  when  it  was  adopted,  and  a  few  of 
die  names  attached  to  it  were  those  of  mere  children,  notab^  Timothy  Dwigfat, 
Jr.,  Isaac  BuUard,  Jonathan  Fayerbanke.  Jr.,  and  John  Houghton,  some  of  whom 
were  not  more  than  five  years  of  age  at  the  time  the  covenant  was  first  written. 


The  oldest  record  of  a  town  meeting  in  the  settlement  on  the  Charles  River 
bears  date  of  August  18,  1636.  Another  meeting  held  on  the  5th  of  September 

was  attended  by  nineteen  persons,  who  adopted  the  following  petition  for  presen- 
tation to  the  General  Court,  which  was  then  in  session : 

"i.  May  it  please  this  honored  court  to»  ratify  unto  your  humble  petitioners 
yottr  grant  formerly  made  of  a  plantation  above  the  falls  that  we  may  possess  all 
that  land  which  is  left  out  of  all  former  grants  upon  that  side  of  the  Charles  River. 
And  upon  the  other  side  five  miles  square.  To  have  and  enjoy  all  those  lands, 
meadows,  woods  anri  otlier  p:rounds,  top^ether  with  all  waters  and  other  benefits 
whatsoever  now  being  or  that  may  be  within  the  compass  of  the  aforesaid  limits 
to  lis  with  oar  associates  and  our  assigns  forever. 

"2.  To  be  freed  from  all  country  charges  for  four  years.  And  military  emr- 
dses  to  be  only  in  our  own  town,  except  extraordinary  occasion  require  it. 

"l-  That  such  distribution  or  allotments  of  lands,  meadows,  woods,  &c., 
within  our  said  limits  as  are  done  and  performed  by  the  t^rantees,  their  successors, 
or  such  as  shall  be  deputed  thereunto,  shall  and  may  stand  for  good  assurance 
unto  the  several  possessors  thereof  and  their  assigns  forever. 

"4.  That  we  may  have  countenance  from  this  honored  court  for  the  well 
ordering  of  the  nonage  of  our  society  according  to  the  best  rule.  And  to  that 
purpose  to  assign  unto  us  a  constable  that  may  rec^ard  peace  and  truth. 

"5.  To  distinguish  our  town  by  the  name  of  Contentment,  or  otherwise  what 
you  shall  please. 

**6.  And  lastly  we  entreat  such  other  hdps  as  your  wisdoms  shall  know  best 
in  favor  to  grant  unto  us  for  our  well  improving  of  what  we  are  thus  entrusted 
withal  unto  our  particular,  but  especially  unto  the  general  good  of  this  whole  weal 
public  in  succeeding  times. 

"Subscribed  by  all  that  have  underwritten  in  covenant  at  present.'* 
The  nineteen  men  who  signed  this  petition  at  the  meeting  at  which  it  was 
unanimously  adopted  were:  Edward  Alleyne,  Francis  Austin,  Thomas  Bartlett, 
William  Bearstowc.  John  Coolidge,  Philemon  Dalton,  John  Dwight,  Richard 
Evered,  John  Gaye,  Lambert  Genere,  Ezekiel  Holliman,  John  Howard,  Jc^ 

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Kingsbur)',  Samuel  Morse,  Nicholas  Phillips,  John  Rogers,  Abraham  Shaw, 
Joseph  Shaw  and  Ralph  Shepherd.  Some  historians  state  that  the  petition  was 
signed  by  nineteen  inhabitants  of  the  plantation,  but  as  a  matter  of  fact  it  was 
signed  by  twenty-two.  The  mintites  of  the  meeting  of  September  5,  1636,  state 
that  ''After  ye  assembly  was  dissolved-  Mr.  Robte  Feke  came  and  subscribed  his 
name  unto  ye  said  peticioii.  And  Thomas  Hastings  and  John  Hqggin  did  the  like 
at  Boston." 

It  appears  that  the  petitioners  lost  no  time  in  bringing  the  matter  before  the 
General  Court,  for  on  September  8,  1636,  that  body  ordered  that:  "The  planta- 
tion  to  be  settled  above  Charles  River  shall  have  three  years  immunity  from  public 

charges,  as  Concord  had,  to  be  accounted  f  rom  the  first  of  May  next ;  that  the  name 
of  the  town  shall  be  Dedham  :  to  enjoy  all  that  land  on  the  easterly  and  southerly 
side  of  the  Charles  River,  not  formerly  granted  unto  any  town  or  particular  per- 
son ;  and  also  to  have  five  miles  square  on  the  other  side  of  the  said  river."  It  is 
from  the  date  of  this  order  that  Dedham  dates  its  incorporation  as  a  town. 


Worthington's  History  of  Dedham,  published  in  1827,  says  on  page  31 :  "The 
celebrated  John  Rogers,  of  Dedham,  in  England,  had  been  forbidden  to  preach 
before  our  first  settlers  came  to  this«  country.  Mat^  of  his  people  emigrated  to 
this  country  and  several  to  this  town.  John  Dwight  and  his  son  Timothy  Dwight, 
John  Rogers  and  John  Page  were  of  this  number.  From  this  circumstance  we  may 
suppose  the  General  Court  gave  to  this  place  the  name  of  Dedham.  The  inhabi- 
tants requested  the  General  Court  to  give  it  the  name  of  Contentment,  which  name 
is  written  over  the  records  of  tiie  first  several  meetings.  It  appears  to  me  that 
tiie  word  well  expresses  the  leading  motives  of  the  first  twenty*four  settlers  in 
coming  into  tiiis  town." 


The  grant  made  to  the  Town  of  Dedham  by  die  act  of  September  8^  1636,  was 
princely  in  its  proportions,  though  rather  indefinite  as  to  boundaries.  Soutii  and 

cast  of  the  Charles  River  it  embraced  the  present  towns  of  Dedham,  Dover,  Fox- 
borough.  Franklin,  Medfield.  Xorfolk.  Xonvood,  Plainville.  Walpole,  Westwood, 
VVrentham,  and  nearly  all  of  Bcllingham.  On  the  north  and  west  of  the  river  it 
included  Needham,  Medway,  Millis,  Wellesley,  that  portion  of  BelHngham  on  that 
side  of  the  river,  and  parts  of  Natick  and  Sherbom.  On  the  east  the  town  extended 
to  the  grant  of  land  to  Israel  Stoughton  and  others,  and  it  was  not  until  nearly  a 
century  afterward  that  the  Neponset  River  was  made  the  boundary  between 
Stoughton  (now  Canton)  and  Dedham.  The  boundary  line  between  Dedham  and 
the  towns  of  Dorchester  and  Roxbury  was  not  definitely  established  for  several 
years.  Dedham  might  be  appropriately  called  the  "MoUier  of  Towns,"  as  more 
tiian  half  the  towns  in  Norfolk  County  were  included  wiUun  the  limits  of  its 
original  boundaries,  as  well  as  a  large  part  of  the  towns  of  Natick  and  Shethom, 
in  the  County  of  >fiddlc';ex,  and  portions  of  Hyde  Park  and  West  Roxbury,  which 
have  since  been  annexed  to  the  City  of  Boston. 

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'    A  F£W  PIONBEXS 

It  is  impossible,  after  a  lapse  of  nearly  three  hundred  years  and  in  the  absence 
of  authentic  records,  to  give  the  names  of  all  the  members  of  the  first  company 
that  came  to  Dedham  in  1635.  The  list  of  the  signers  of  the  covenant  given  above 
was  compiled  by  Erastus  Worthington  in  1884.  From  this  list  and  the  annotatims 
made  by  Mr.  Wordiington  it  can  be  determined  with  tolerable  certainty  that 
among  those  who  came  in  each  of  the  first  three  years  of  Dedham's  history  were 
the  following: 

1635 —  Edward  Alleyn,  Philemon  Dalton,  John  Dwight,  John  Ellis  (or  EUice, 
as  it  appears  among  the  signers  of  the  covenant),  John  Gay,  John  Howard,  Samuel 
Morse  and  Ralph  Shepherd. 

1636 —  Thomas  Alcock,  William  Bearstowe,  Richard  Evered,  Lambert  Genere, 
Ezekiel  Holliman,  John  Kingsbury,  Nicholas  Phillips,  John  Rogers  and  Abraham 

1637—  John  Allin,  Francis  Chickering,  Thomas  Fisher,  Eleazer  Lusher.  John 
Luson,  Michael  Metealf,  John  Thtuvton,  Thomas  W^t  and  probably  Hugh 

Concerning  the  character  of  these  pioneers,  especially  those  who  came  first* 

W  orthinpton  says:  "This  company  of  men  seems  from  their  subsequent  conduct, 
to  have  been  a  portion  of  that  mixed  population  collected  at  Watertown,  who 
possessed  good  sense  and  moderate  principles  and  were  desirous  of  forming  a 
peaceable  society.  They  were  Puritans,  but  by  no  means  of  high  proof.  Tins 
company  did  in  substance  at  least  say  to  their  f ellow  townsmen,  whom  th^  were 
about  to  leave:  'Let  there  be  no  strife  between  us  and  thee,  and  between  thy 
herdsmen  and  our  herdsmen,  for  we  be  brethren  ;  if  you  gO  to  the  right  WC  will  go 
to  the  left,  for  is  not  the  whole  country  before  us?' " 

Edward  Alleyn  was  unquestionably  the  leading  man  of  the  company.  There  is 
a  tradition  that  he  wrote  the  covenant,  and  that  he  was  active  in  brin^i^  the  peti- 
tion of  September,  1636,  before  the  General  Conrt  is  well  known.  When  the  town 
was  incorporated  in  re';pnn';c  to  that  petition,  he  was  chosen  a  member  of  the  first 
board  of  selectmen  and  the  first  records  of  the  town  are  in  his  handwriting.  Upon 
the  establishment  of  the  first  church  in  1638,  he  experienced  some  difficulty  in 
being  admitted,  owing  to  objections  caused  by  'rumors  regarding  his  conduct  in 
England.  The  objections  were  removed,  however,  as  soon  as  Mr.  Allesm  could 
procure  evidence  from  the  mother  country.  In  i'')39  he  was  elected  a  representa- 
tive to  the  General  Court  and  continued  a  member  of  that  body  tmtil  his  death, 
which  occurred  suddenly  on  September  8,  1642. 

Philemon  Dalton  was  linen  weaver  by  trade.  He  came  over  in  the 
"Increase"  in  1635  and  located  at  Watertown.  One  account  says  he  did  not 
become  a  resident  of  Dedham  until  1637,  but  as  he  was  one  of  the  first  to  sign 
the  covenant  and  also  the  petition  of  1636.  it  is  certain  that  he  was  a  member  of 
the  original  company.  About  1640  he  went  to  Ipswich,  where  he  died  on  June  4, 

John  Dwight  first  located  at  Watertown  upon  coming  to  America,  but  remained 
tfiere  only  a  short  time  before  coming  to  Dedham.  For  sixteen  years  he  served 

on  the  board  of  selectmen  and  it  was  from  him  that  Dwight's  Brook  was  named. 
His  house  stood  near  the  brook,  on  High  Street,  and  was  removed  in  1849  ^  make 

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way  for  the  railroad  bridge.  He  died  on  the  last  day  of  June,  1674.  When  he 
hrst  came  to  Dedham  he  was  accompanied  by  his  family.  One  son,  Timothy 
Dwight,  was  then  about  five  years  of  age.  He  grew  up  in  Dedham«  was  town 
,  clerk  for  ten  years  and  selectman  for  twenty-four  years.  In  1678  and  again  in 
1691  he  was  elected  representative  to  the  General  Court.  His  death  occurred  on 
January  31,  17 18. 

Samuel  Morse  and  his  two  sons — John  and  Daniel — were  among:  those  who 
came  over  in  the  "increase"  in  1635.  He  was  one  of  the  original  proprietors  of 
the  plantation  on  the  Charles  River  that  afterward  became  the  Town  of  Dedham. 
In  1641  he  was  elected  a  selectman  and  served  for  two  years.  He  died  on  June 
20,  1654. 

Ralph  Shepherd  came  in  the  "Abigail"  in  1635  and  located  at  Dedham  in  the 
same  year.  After  a  short  residence  he  removed  to  Weymouth  and  from  there  to 
Maiden.  He  then  bought  a  farm  at  Concord  and  lived  there  for  a  few  years, 
when  he  went  to  Charlestown.  He  died  there  on  September  11,  1693. 

William  Bearstowe  (correct  family  name  "Darstow")  was  one  of  the  passen- 
gers on  the  "Truelove"  in  1635  and  soon  after  landing  he  became  interested  in  the 
Dedham  movement.  He  was  one  of  the  signers  of  the  petition  for  the  incoq^ora- 
tion  of  the  town  and  after^vard  removed  to  Scituate.  His  brother  George,  who 
came  over  on  the  same  vessel,  in  1636  received  an  allotment  of  land  in  Ded- 
ham, but  did  not  become  a  resident  until  several  years  later.  He  was  a  member 
of  the  Dedham  artillery  company  for  a  time  and  then  removed  to  Scituate. 

Richard  Evered  was  the  founder  of  the  American  family  bearing  the  name 
of  F.\orett.  of  which  Gov.  Edward  Everett  was  a  distinguished  member.  He  was 
elected  one  of  the  selectmen  in  1661  and  held  the  office  for  one  year.  His  death 
occurred  on  July  3, 16S2. 

Ezekiel  HoUiman  is  mentioned  in  scmie  of  the  early  records  as  "a  man  of  gifts 
and  piety,"  though  it  seems  he  did  not  always  conform  to  established  customs.  On 
March  \2,  i^>3S,  he  was  "summoned"  because  '"he  did  not  frequent  the  puiilic 
assemblies,"  and  his  case  was  referred  by  the  court  to  the  ministers  for  conviction. 
Previous  to  that  time  he  had  been  fined  for  felling  "one  greate  Timber  tree  for 
daptxnrds  without  his  own  lott,"  and  also  for  covering  his  house  with  clapboards 
*'contrar>'  unto  an  order  made  in  that  behalfe."  The  following  month  the  fines 
were  remitted  "in  consideration  of  some  moneyes  disbursed  by  him  for  ye  benefit 
of  our  Towne."  .\bout  1^)31)  he  removed  to  Salem  and  from  there  went  to  Rhode 
Island,  where  he  became  one  of  the  founders  of  the  first  Baptist  Church  in 

John  Kingsbury  came  to  Dedham  from  Watertown  in  1636  and  was  one  of  the 

signers  of  the  petition  for  the  incorporation  of  the  town.  In  1639  he  was  elected 
one  of  the  selectmen  and  served  on  the  board  for  twelve  years,  and  in  1647  he  was 
elected  representative  to  tlic  General  Court.    Ho  died  in  1658. 

Nicholas  Phillips  came  to  Dedham  from  \\  atertown  and  was  one  of  the  twenty- 
two  men  who  signed  the  petition  for  incorporation.  In  August^  1639,  he  sold  his 
pn^rty  in  Dedham  to  Rev.  John  Allin  and  removed  to  Weymouth.  He  died  in 
September.  1672  His  brother,  Henry,  who  came  about  the  same  time,  was  a 
member  of  the  artillery  company  in  \fi.\o,  served  as  selectman  in  1^145,  was  an 
ensign  in  the  militia  company  in  1648,  and  soon  after  that  removed  to  Boston. 

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Abraham  Shaw  first  settled  at  Watertown  when  he  came  to  America.  His 

house  there  was  destrojred  by  fire  soon  after  it  was  completed  and  he  came  to 
Dedham.  The  town  granted  him  the  privilege  of  crcLtini,^  a  water  mill  on  the 
Charles  River  and  gave  him  a  tract  of  land  for  that  purpose,  but  he  died  in  1638 
before  the  work  was  commenced. 

John  Allin,  who  is  further  mentioned  in  the  chapters  on  Church  History, 
was  bom  in  Enghuid  in  1596.  Cotton  Matiier  says  he  had  been  engaged  in  the 
ministry  before  C(Mmng  to  America,  and  because  of  his  refusal  to  conform  to  all 
the  ceremonies  and  requirements  of  the  Church  of  England  transplanted  himself 
to  Xew  England.  He  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  first  church  in  Dcdham.  of 
which  he  was  installed  pastor  on  April  24,  1639,  a  position  he  held  until  his  death 
on  August  26, 1671. 

Francis  Chickering  came  from  Suffolk,  England,  in  1637  and  located  in  Ded- 
ham  soon  after  landing  in  .America.  In  i^>4i  he  was  elected  one  of  the  selectmen 
of  the  town  and  continued  in  that  office  fur  hfteen  years.  He  became  a  meml>er 
of  the  artillery  company  in  1C43.  In  1644  and  again  in  1653  he  was  elected  repre- 
sentative to  the  General  Court  His  death  occurred  on  October  2,  1658. 

Eleazer  Lusher,  another  pioneer  of  1637,  was  for  many  years  one  of  the  most 
prominent  men  in  Dedham.  Worthington  says:  "He  was  tlie  leading  man  in  all 
his  lifetime  and  directed  all  the  important  affairs  of  the  town."  l^or  twenty-three 
years  he  held  the  oflFicc  of  town  clerk,  and  to  his  careful  and  painstaking  manner 
of  keeping  the  records  the  people  of  the  present  generation  are  indebted  for  a 
knowledge  of  early  events.  He  was  a  member  of  the  board  of  selectmen  for 
twenty-nine  years  and  he  was  also  lor  many  years  a  deputy  to  the  General  Court. 
Through  his  activity  in  organixii^  the  Dedham  Artillery  Company  he  acquired 
the  title  of  "major,"  and  in  many  other  ways  he  was  influential  in  promoting  the 
interests  of  the  town.  In  1670  he  was  appointed  commissioner  of  the  Massachu- 
setts Bay  Colony  to  revise  and  codify  the  laws,  and  in  1672  he  was  appointed  to 
examine  and  classify  historical  papers.  He  died  at  Dedham  on  November  13, 1672. 

Michad  Metcalf,  whose  name  appears  as  one  of  the  selectmen  in  1641,  was 
bom  at  Tatterford,  Norfolk,  England,  in  1586.  On  July  14,  1637,  he  landed  in 
Dedham.  Two  years  later,  soon  after  the  First  Church  was  organized,  he  was 
appointed  one  of  the  committee  "to  contrive  the  fabrick  of  a  meeting  house."  He 
died  on  December  27,  1644.  An  old  chest  and  a  chair,  both  handsomely  carved, 
tiiat  he  brought  with  him  from  Enghind  are  now  among  the  o)llections  of  the  Ded- 
ham Historical  Society.  His  youngest  son,  Thomas  Metcalf,  afterward  became 
a  deacon  in  the  church,  and  represented  Dedham  in  the  General  Court  in  1694 
and  again  in  1697. 


.Although  Dedham  was  incorporated  as  a  town  on  September  8,  1636,  no  town 
officers  were  elected  until  May  17.  1630.  At  that  time  a  board  of  selectmen  com- 
posed of  seven  members  was  elected,  to  wit:  Edward  .Allen  (or  AUeyn),  John 
Bachelor.  John  Dwight,  Robert  Hhssdale,  John  Kingsbur>-,  Eleazer  Ludier  and 
John  Luson.  Edward  Allen  was  also  chosen  tovm  derk,  which  office  he  held  until 
164 1,  when  he  was  succeeded  by  Eleazer  Lusher. 

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OEDHAX  IN  1664 

Erastus  Worthington,  writing  in  1827,  gives  the  following  description  of  the 
village  of  Dedham,  as  it  appeared  twenty-aine  yean  after  the  first  settleroeiit  was 
established : 

"In  1664  ninety-five  small  houses  near  each  other  were  situated  within  a  short 
distance  of  the  place  where  the  new  court-house  now  stands;  the  greater  part  of 
them  east  of  that  place  and  around  Dwight's  iirook.  A  row  of  houses  stood  OH 
the  north  side  of  i^iigh  Street,  as  that  road  was  then  called,  which  extends  from 
the  bridge  over  Dwight's  Brcx^  westwardly  toward  tlie  court-hoase.  The  total 
amount  of  the  value  of  these  houses  was  691  pounds.  Four  only  of  the  houses 
were  valued  at  20  pounds.  The  greater  number  were  valued  from  three  to  ten 
poun'Is.  The  greatest  number  of  these  houses  were  built  soon  after  the  first 
settlement  was  commenced.  There  were  then  very  few  carpenters,  joiners  or 
masmis  m  die  colony.  There' was  no  saw  mill  in  tlM  settlement  for  many  years. 
The  only  boards  which  could  be  procured  at  first  were  those  which  were  sawed  1^ 
hand.  The  saw  pits,  now  seen,  denote  that  boards  were  sawed  in  the  woods.  The 
necessary  materials,  bricks,  glass  and  nails,  were  scarcely  to  be  obtained.  These 
hou'-c'-  therefore  must  have  been  principally  constructed  by  farmers,  not  by 
nieclianics,  and  have  been  very  rude  and  inconvenient.  They  were  probably  log 
houses.  Their  roofs  were  covered  with  thatch.  By  an  ordinance  of  the  town,  a 
ladder  was  ordered  to  extend  from  the  ground  to  the  chimney,  as  a  substitute  for 
a  more  perfect  fire  engine.  Around  these  houses  nothing  was  to  be  seen  but 
stumps,  clumsy  fences  of  poles,  and  an  uneven  and  unsubdued  soil,  such  as  all  first 
settlements  in  New  England  present.  The  native  forest  trees  were  not  suitable 
shades  for  a  door  yard.  A  shady  tree  was  not  tiien  such  an  agreeable  object  as  it 
now  is,  because  it  could  form  no  agneaUe  contrast  with  cleared  groimds. 

"Where  the  meeting  house  of  the  first  parish  now  stands^  there  stood  for  more 
than  thirty  years  a  low  building,  thirty-six  feet  long  and  twenty  wide,  twelve  feet 
hiph,  with  a  thatched  roof  and  a  large  ladder  resting  on  it.  This  was  the  first 
meeting  house.  Near  by  was  the  school  house,  standing  on  an  area  of  eighteen 
feet  by  fourteen,  and  ridng  to  a  height  of  three  stories.  The  third  story,  how- 
ever, was  a  watch  house  of  small  dimensions.  The  watch  house  was  beside  the 
amfrfe  stone  chimney.  The  spectator  elevated  on  die  little  box  called  the  watdl 
hotice,  might  view  this  plain,  on  which  a  part  of  the  present  village  stands,  then  a 
connnon  plough  field,  containing  about  two  hundred  acres  of  cleared  land,  par- 
tially subdued,  yet  full  of  stumps  and  roots.  Around  him  at  a  farther  distance 
were  the  'herd  walks,'  as  the  common  feeding  hmds  were  called  m  the  language 
of  that  time.  One  of  these  herd  walks  was  on  Dedham  Island  north  of  the  Charles 
River,  and  one  was  at  East  Street  and  more  fully  in  view.  The  other  herd  walk 
was  on  South  Plain.  The  herd  walks  were  at  first  no  better  cultivated  than  cut- 
ting down  the  trees  and  carrjing  away  the  wood  and  timber,  and  afterwards,  when 
it  was  practicaUe  In  the  spring  of  the  year,  burning  them  over  under  the  direction 
of  town  officers  called  *wood  reeves.'  Land  thus  treated  would  in  tiie  spring 
appear  barren,  for  nothing  would  be  seen  but  black  stumps,  the  burnt  soil  and  the 
rocks.  It  would  scarcely  appear  l^'tter  when  the  wild  grass  and  cropped  shrubs 
next  succeeded.  The  meadows  were  not  yet  cleared  to  any  great  extent.  Beyond 
these  herd  walks  was  a  continued  wilderness,  which  was  becoming  more  disagree- 

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able  to  the  inhabitants,  for  the  cattle,  goats  and  swine  seem  to  have  allured  the 
wolves  to  their  neighborhood.  The  dense  swamps  about  W^am  Swamp  were 
not  yet  cleared.  The  numerous  dogs  in  tiie  plantation,  which  were  so  troublesome 

to  the  worshiprjintr  assembly,  were  not  a  sufficient  guard  against  wnlvcs  The 
inhabitants  for  many  years  after  this  period  cncouraj^^ed  their  hunters  by  addi- 
tional bounties  to  destroy  these  troublesome  enemies. " 

This  description  has  teen  reproduced  here  at  some  length,  because  it  gives  a 
fair  idea  of  the  conditions  that  prevailed  at  the  time,  and  of  the  collection  of 
houses  that  then  formed  Uie  village.  By  comparing  it  with  the  Dedham  of  1917 
the  reader  can  note  the  progress  of  two  and  a  half  centuries. 


In  1644  the  town  proprietors  set  apart  the  trianguhr  piece  of  ground  at  the 
junction  of  what  are  now  High  and  Common  streets  for  the  use  of  the  military 
company.  This  action  was  confirmed  some  four  years  later,  as  shown  by  the  fol- 
lowing extract  from  the  town  records: 

"7th  Mo.  10,  1648.  Granted  to  ye  trayned  company  of  this  Town  and  to  ye 
officers  thereof  and  to  their  successors  for  ever  the  Free  use  of  all  that  parcell 
of  land  comonly  called  the  Trayning  Ground  always  provided  that  the  said  Trayned 
Company  &  the  oflkers  thereof  shall  not  at  any  time  hereafter  appropriate  the 
said  parcell  of  Land  or  any  part  thereof  or  improve  the  same  to  any  other  use 
than  to  the  Publick  exercise  of  ye  said  Company  without  the  consent  of  ye  Select- 
men of  ye  Town  for  the  time  beeing  first  attayned.  Neither  shall  it  be  in  the 
Ubertie  or  Power  of  the  Selectmen  hereafter  at  any  time  to  dispose  of  ye  said 
parcell  of  Land  or  any  part  thereof  in  any  case  without  the  consent  of  ye  said 
Trayned  Company  &■  the  officers  thereof  first  had  and  Manifest." 

By  the  common  consent  of  the  selectmen  and  the  officers  of  the  military  com- 
pany, one  acre  of  the  ground  was  granted  to  Amos  Fisher  in  1677,  and  at  the 
same  time  Daniel  Fond  was  given  pemnssion  to  cultivate  one  and  a  half  acres,  for 
whidi  he  was  to  pay  "thirty  shillings  in  merchantable  com."  Other  persons  were 
likewise  given  permission  to  cultivate  certain  portions  of  the  field  from  time  to 
time,  enough  always  being  reserved  for  the  use  of  the  company  as  a  drill  ^[^round. 

In  February,  1^)87,  the  voters  of  the  town  being  assembled  in  town  meeting, 
and  the  town  toeing  in  need  of  funds,  it  was  voted:  "That  if  any  appear  to  pur- 
chase the  Trayning  Ground  &  will  give  betwixt  30  and  40  pounds  in  money  or  not 
much  less  it  may  be  sold  if  the  trayned  company  the  military  officers  and  the 
Sdectmen  approve  thereof."  No  buyer  presented  himself  and  the  field  still 
remained  in  the  possession  of  the  town  and  the  military  company  Al)r)ut  1773 
an  alms  house  was  built  on  the  western  side  of  the  ground  and  remained  tlu  re  until 
1836.  when  the  building,  "together  with  the  land  and  appurtenances  thereto  belong- 
ing," was  sold  by  order  of  the  town.  Later  a  street  was  opened  through  the 
ground  to  connect  with  Bridge  Street,  and  in  1843  the  citizens  planted  tfie  shade 
trees  along  the  borders  of  the  field. 


Realizing  the  importance  of  having  some  improved  way  of  grinding  dieir 
grain,  oat  of  the  first  acts  of  the  Town  of  Dedham  after  its  incorporation  in  1636 

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was  to  grant  to  Abraham  Shaw  and  his  associates  the  privilegie  of  building  a  mill 
on  the  Charles  River.  Shaw  built  a  dam.  which  Mann  says  was  located  "about 
three-iourths  of  a  mile  southwest  from  the  new  bridge,"  but  he  died  in  1O38 
before  the  mill  was  completed.  The  place  where  this  dam  was  constructed  is 
fretiuently  referred  to  in  the  early  town  records  as  the  **01d  Mill/'  and  it  is  pos- 
sible that  a  mill  of  some  kind  was  established  there  some  one  after  Mr.  Shaw's 

On  March  28,  1639,  it  was  ordered  by  a  town  meeting  "That  a  ditch  shalbe 
dug  at  common  charge  through  Upper  Charles  meaddow  unto  East  iirook  that  it 
may  both  be  a  partition  Fense  in  the  same  and  alsoc  may  form  a  suitable  course 
unto  a  Watermill  that  is  if  it  shalbe  found  fitting  to  sett  a  mill  upon  in  the  opinioa 
of  a  workman  to  be  emptoyed  for  that  purpose." 

The  ditch  thus  excavated  became  known  as  Mother  Brook.  At  the  same  meet- 
ing at  which  it  was  ordered  the  town  granted  liberty  to  any  one  who  would  under- 
take it,  to  build  a  mill  upon  the  stream  and  also  to  give  him  a  lot  of  land  adjoining 
the  mill.  It  is  not  certain  who  was  the  first  to  avail  himself  of  the  privilege,  but 
the  records  show  that  in  1641  "a  foot  path  is  laid  out  to  the  mill,"  indicating  that 
a  mill  had  previously  been  built  and  was  then  in  operation.  Not  long  after  the 
foot  path  was  laid  out  John  Dwight  and  Rev.  John  .\llin  conveyed  the  mill  to 
Xathaniel  Whiting,  lie  and  his  heirs  continued  in  jiossession  of  the  mill  i)rivilege 
until  about  the  beginning  of  the  Nineteenth  Century,  when  it  was  sold  to  Ben- 
jamin Bussey. 

In  1664  Ezra  Morse  and  Daniel  Pond  asked  the  town  for  permission  to  erect 

a  corn  mill  on  Mother  Brook,  a  short  distance  above  the  one  owned  by  Mr.  Whit- 
ing,'. Permission  was  t^rantcd  and  the  mill  erected,  when  it  was  discovered  that  it 
interfered  with  the  rights  of  Whiting  and  a  dispute  arose,  which  tinally  re^^tilted  in 
the  abatement  of  the  new  dam.  This  was  the  beginning  of  litigation  over  mill 
privileges  and  rights  that  went  on  for  more  than  a  century  and  a  half,  the  last 
lawsuit  of  which  there  is  any  record  having  been  settled  early  in  the  Nineteenth 
Century.  Mann,  in  his  ".Annak  of  Dedham,"  says  that  soon  after  l639»  "Nathanid 
\\'hiting  and  Ezra  Morse  became  possessed  of  the  principal  mill  seats  in  the  town, 
and  they  have  been  held  by  their  descendants  to  this  day."  That  was  written 
in  1847. 

Joshua  Fisher  built  a  saw  mill  on  the  Neponset  River  in  1664*  the  town  grant- 
ing him  liberal  inducements  to  undertake  the  enterprise.  It  was  on  the  southern 
border  of  the  town  and  as  part  of  the  frandiise  agreement,  Mr.  Fisher  agreed  to 

saw  timber  for  the  citizens  at  a  stipulated  price.  When  Ezra  Morse  was  driven 
from  Mother  Rrook,  he  was  granted  a  mill  site  on  the  Neponset,  not  far  from 
Fisher's  saw  mill.  This  is  no  doubt  the  mill  seat  held  by  his  descendants  in  1847, 
as  referred  to  by  Mann.  Draper  &  Fairbanks  built  a  ftdling  mill  on  the  Neponset 
in  1681.  In  1700  the  com  mill  on  Mother  Brook,  then  owned  1^  Timothy  Whitii^, 
was  destroyed  by  fire  and  the  town  agreed  to  loan  him  twenty-five  pounds,  with- 
out  interest,  to  rebuild  it. 


Northwest  of  the  village  of  Dedham  the  Oiarles  River  flows  around  a  neck 
of  land,  which  in  early  days  overflowed  easily,  owing  to  the  slight  fall  of^the  river 

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at  this  point.  Around  the  **horse5hoe  bend"  of  the  river  is  a  distance  of  almost 
five  miles,  while  across  the  '"heel''  of  the  shoe  the  distance  is  less  than  three- 
fourths  of  a  mile.  To  prevent  damage  to  the  meadows  by  overHow-s,  the  enter- 
prising citizens  of  tlie  town  in  1652  conceived  the  idea  of  cutting  a  ditch  across 
the  neck,  throti|^  the  ''Broad  Meadows,**  thus  uniting  the  two  channels  of  the 
river  and  carrying  off  part  of  the  water  that  came  around  the  bend,  llioaias 
Fuller  and  '•Lieutenant**  Fisher  were  employicl  to  make  a  survey  for  the  ditch, 
the  construction  of  which  converted  the  land  inclosed  in  the  bend  into  an  island, 
^incc  known  as  "Dedham  Island."  One  of  the  tirst  brick  yards  was  established 
on  the  lot  of  .Michael  Metcalf  on  this  island,  and  along  the  narrow  strip  of  land 
at  the  westerly  end  of  the  island  ran  the  "Long  Causeway,"  upon  which  a  road 
was  located  in  1644,  leading  to  the  Great  Plain,  in  what  is  now  th<  Town  of 


In  165Z  the  General  Court  granted  2x100  acres  for  a  new  Indian  town  in  Natick, 
in  which  were  to  be  collected  those  Indians  converted  to  Christianity  by  Rev. 
John  Eliot  and  taught  the  arts  of  civilization.  The  land  included  in  this  grant  was 

taken  from  Dedham,  and  the  proprietors  of  the  town  were  given  the  privilege  of 
selecting  8,000  acres  of  any  unlocated  lands  within  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Court. 
Messengers  were  sent  out  to  examine  "the  chestnut  country"  (believed  to  be  some- 
where near  Lancaster,  Worcester  County),  but  they  reported  unfavorably.  John 
Fairbanks  and  Lieut.  Daniel  Fisher  were  then  sent  to  look  at  a  tract  011  the  Deef- 
tield  River,  in  what  is  now  Franklin  County.  They  passed  through  Sudbur)', 
Lmcastcr  and  Hadley,  all  then  infant  settlements,  and  finally  arrived  at  the 
valley.    Upon  their  return  Lieutenant  Fisher  reported  as  follows: 

"We  at  length  arrived  at  the  place  we  sought  after.  We  called  it  Petumtuck, 
because  there  dwdl  the  Petumtuck  Indians.  Havii^  ascended  a  little  hill,  ap- 
parently surrounded  by  rich  meadow  land,  from  that  spot  we  beheld  broad  mead- 
ows extending  far  north,  west  and  south  of  us.  In  these  meadows  we  could  trace 
the  course  of  a  fine  river,  which  comes  out  from  the  mountains  on  the  northwest, 
and  running  northerly  through  many  miles  of  meadow,  seemed  to  us  to  run  in 
among  the  hills  again  at  the  northeast.  The  tall  trees  of  buttonwood  and  ehn 
exposed  to  us  its  course.  That  meadow  is  not  soft  and  covered  wi^  coarse 
water  grass  like  that  around  us  here,  but  is  hard  land.  It  is  the  best  land 
that  we  have  seen  in  this  colony.  We  dug  holes  in  the  meadow,  with  the  intent 
to  tind  the  depth  of  the  soil,  hut  could  not  find  the  bottom.  At  the  foot  of  the  little 
hill  we  stood  on  is  a  plat  of  ground  sufficiently  large  to  build  a  village  upon,  and 
sufficiently  high  to  be  out  of  the  reach  of  the  spring  floods.  Providence  led  us 
to  that  place.  It  is  indeed  far  away  from  our  plantations  and  the  'Canaanites  and 
Amalekites  dwell  in  that  valley.'  and  if  they  have  any  attachment  to  any  spot  on 
earth,  must  delight  to  live  there.  Rut  that  land  must  be  ours.  Our  people  have 
resolute  and  pious  hearts  and  strong  hands  to  overcome  all  difficulties.  Let  us  go 
and  possess  the  bnd,  and  in  a  few  years  you  will  hear  more  boast  of  it  in  this 
colony  as  a  good  land  for  flocks  and  herds  than  could  ever  be  justly  said  of  the 
land  of  Goshen,  or  any  part  of  the  land  of  Canaan." 

Fisher's  optimism  so  imin'essed  the  peo|4e  that  they  immediately  appointed 

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a  cominittee  of  six  to  repair  to  the  place  and  cause  the  8,000  acres  to  be  located 
there.  Capt.  John  I'vnchon  of  Springfiefild  was  emplo\c-d  to  purchase  the  lands 
of  the  Indians.  He  procured  four  deeds  of  relinquiahnient  from  the  natives,  for 
which  they  received  ninety-four  pounds  and  ten  shiUings.  liie  tract  afterward 
became  known  as  the  "  Py  nchoa  Purchase/'  In  the  records  the  name  Petumtuck  is 
spelled  in  various  ways,  but  the  one  here  used  is  the  most  common.  In  1670  tibe 
number  of  proprietors  of  the  new  purchase  was  twenty-six,  twenty  of  whom  were 
inhabitants  of  Dedham.  The  traa  was  afterward  incorporated  as  the  Town  of 


The  first  mention  of  a  pubhc  house  of  entertainment  in  the  town  records  is 
in  the  minutes  of  a  town  nK-eting  held  in  1646.  when  Michael  Powell  was  licensed 
to  keep  a  taven,  the  location  of  which  is  now  uncertain.  Powell  was  at  that  time 
the  town  cleric 

Woodward's  Tavern  stood  on  Hi^  Street,  where  the  Registry  Building  now 
stands.  The  exact  date  when  the  house  was  opened  cannot  ascertained.  In 
1658  it  passed  into  the  hands  of  Joshua  Fisher,  who  received  a  hccnse  from  the 
town  authorities  to  conduct  a  public  He  was  succeeded  by  his  son.  who 
conducted  the  tavern  for  several  years.  About  1735  Dr.  Nathaniel  Ames  became 
the  landlord.  His  son.  Fisher  Ames,  was  bom  in  this  house  on  April  9,  1758. 
Richard  W'oodward  assumed  the  management  in  1769  or  1770.  It  was  in  this 
house  that  the  committee  drafted  the  resolutions  in  September,  1774,  declaring 
in  favor  of  armed  resistance  to  Great  Britain  if  it  became  necessary,  the  first 
open  declaration  of  that  character  made  by  any  of  the  colonists.  The  building 
was  torn  down  in  1817. 

Gay's  Tavern,  iHiich  stood  on  Omrt  Street  near  Highland,  and  Howe's  Tavern, 
farther  north  on  the  same  street,  were  two  noted  hostelries  in  their  day.  The 
former,  of  which  Timothy  day  was  owner  and  proprietor,  was  a  sort  of  political 
iR-adquarttTs  for  years  during  the  early  liiNtory  of  Norfolk  County.  About  1803 
the  building  was  removed  to  the  northwest  corner  of  iiigh  and  \\  ashington  streets, 
where  it  and  several  of  the  adjoining  buildings  were  destroyed  by  fire  on  October 
30, 1833.  About  six^  horses  belonging  to  the  Citiiens  Stage  Company  perished 
in  the  fire.  The  tavern  was  rebuilt  by  Mr.  Gay,  who  christened  the  new  building 
the  "Phoenix  House."  It  was  opened  in  1S34  with  James  Bride  as  the  landlord, 
and  soon  came  to  be  widely  known  as  "Bride's  Tavern."  At  the  time  it  was 
completed  it  was  the  finest  hotel  in  Norfolk  County  and  in  its  appointments  rivaled 
some  of  the  leading  hotels  of  Boston.  Un4er  different  names  and  different  man- 
agers the  house  continued  to  do  a  good  bu»ness  until  it  was  again  burned  to  the 
ground  on  the  morning  of  December  25.  1880.  Among  the  distinguished  guests 
of  this  hotel  were  Gen.  Andrew  Jackson,  while  President  of  the  United  States, 
and  President  James  Monroe. 

In  1801  Martin  Mardi  leased  part  of  the  Ezekiel  HoUiman  tract  and  built  a 
tavern  on  Court  Street,  almost  opposite  the  conr(-house.  It  was  opened  in  1804, 
about  the  time  the  Norfolk  &  Bristol  turnpike  was  completed,  and  soon  became 
a  popular  stopping  place  for  stage  passengers.  Mr.  Marsh  was  a  mason  by  trade 
and  also  a  member  of  the  Masonic  fraternity.  Some  of  the  first  meetings  of  Con- 

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stellation  Lodge  were  held  in  a  room  in  his  tavern.  In  June,  1818,  he  sold  out 
to  Moses  Gragg  and  Francis  Alden,  who  renamed  the  house  the  "Norfolk  Hotel." 
It  was  opened  under  the  new  management  with  a  grand  dinner  on  July  4,  1818.  In 
the  latter  '40s  the  place  lost  much  of  its  former  reputation  through  dances,  etc., 
that  respectable  people  declined  to  attend,  and  the  greater  part  of  its  patronagd 
was  diverted  to  the  Phoenix  House.  In  May,  1849,  >"08t  of  the  furniture  was  sold 
at  auction,  and  the  next  year  a  man  named  Stimson  leased  the  houa^  and  started 
a  dancing  school.  On  June  i,  1866,  the  building  was  sold  to  the  trustees  of  St. 
Mar>'s  School  and  .■\sylum.  This  institution  was  closed  in  June.  1^79.  After 
that  the  house  was  occupied  by  various  persons  and  used  for  various  purposes 
tintil  June,  1905,  when  it  was  bought  by  Charles  H.  (Afford.  A  few  years  later 
Mr.  Gifford  sold  the  property  to  Walter  Austin,  the  present  owner. 


During  the  first  three  years  of  Dedham's  existence  as  a  town,  no  attention 
was  paid  to  precautionary  measures  against  fire.  But  at  a  town  meeting  in  1639 
the  following  action  was  taken:  "For  the  prevention  of  damage  that  might  arise 

by  fire  vpon  any  house  in  our  Towne  it  is  Ordered  that  ever)-  Housholder  in  our 
Towne  shall  forth  with  pvide  &  mayntaine  one  good  stronge  &  Sufticient  Lader 
that  may  be  suthcient  in  all  respects  for  the  speedie  6c  safe  attayneing  to  ye  toppe 
of  ye  Chmmey  of  his  house  vptm  oocasiones  whidt  sayd  Laders  shall  be  kept  in 
possesion  at  against  or  neere  the  house  or  Chimney  wher  fire  is  vsually  made  & 
for  the  greater  care  heere  in  as  in  a  case  of  so  greate  Concernm'  it  is  further 
ordered  that  who  so  ever  being  an  housholder  in  our  Towne  sliall  fayle  in  any  the 
pticulers  aforesaide  for  the  space  nt  fnurteene  dayc'^  tom.-tlier  shall  forfiet  vnto 
ye  Towne  &  the  vse  there  of  ye  sum  of  Five  Shillings,'"  etc. 

Coming  down  to  more  modem  times.  Engine  No.  i,  called  the  "Hero,**  was 
presented  to  the  town  in  January,  1801,  and  was  named  a  company  of  volun- 
teers composed  of  Eliphalet  Baker,  Jr.,  Jesse  Clapp,  Elisha  Crehore,  David  Dana, 
F'aul  Fi-^hcr,  Amasa  Guild,  Reuben  Ciuild,  Reuben  Newell,  James  Noyes,  Eli 
Parsons.  Reuben  Richards  and  Calvin  Whiting.  It  was  located  at  what  was  known 
as  the  "Upper  Village." 

Engine  ComfMiiiy  No.  a  was  organized  about  this  time,  and  in  April  1802,  was 
presented  with  the  engine  "Cood  Intent,"  which  was  purchased  by  the  inhabitants 
of  the  town  by  subscription.  It  was  stationed  in  the  "Centre  \'illage."  The  first 
Good  Intent  company  was  made  up  of  the  following:  .Xbner  .\therton.  John  Dul- 
lard. Jr.,  William  BuUard,  Francis  Child,  Josiah  Daniels,  Abner  Ellis,  Stephen 
Farrington,  George  Gay,  John  Guild,  Nathaniel  Guild,  William  Howe,  Herman 
Mann,  Sr.,  Thaddeus  Mason,  Martin  Marsh,  James  Richardson,  Edward  Russell, 
Jesse  Stowdl  and  Seth  Sumner. 

In  1826  the  "Enterprise"  was  purcfiased  by  subscription  and  located  in  the 
Upper  Mill  \"illa^^e,  but  the  members  of  the  company  that  first  handled  it  can 
not  be  learned.  The  three  engines  mentioned  constituted  the  town's  hre  depart- 
ment until  at  a  special  meeting  held  in  December,  1831  the  sum  of  $1,500  was 
voted  "for  the  purchase  of  fire  engines  and  apparatus  for  extinguishing  fires." 
The  appropriation  was  to  be  divided  among  the  several  school  districts,  in  pro- 
portion to  the  taxes  paid  by  each,  though  any  two  adjoining  districts  were  given 

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permission  to  unite  their  proportion  of  the  funds.  The  appropriation  of  this  sum 
had  the  effect,  of  multiplying  the  number  of  fire  companies  and  engmes  in  the 
town  from  three  to  deven.  Six  of  the  engines  were  located  in  the  First  Parish, 
two  in  the  Second  and  three  in  the  Third. 

On  May  4,  1S46,  the  town  voted  to  raise  the  sum  of  $2,500  for  the  erection  of 
engine  houses  "and  for  placing  the  Fire  Department  in  a  more  efficient  state 
fur  >t  rvice  ■'  David  A.  Baker,  George  Ellis  and  Samuel  C.  Mann,  of  the  first 
parish,  Joseph  Day,  of  the  second,  and  Merrill  D.  Ellis,  of  the  third,  were  ap- 
pointed a  committee  to  carry  the  order  into  effect  Under  the  supervision  of  this 
committee  Dedham's  first  engine  houses  were  erected. 

Since  1846  the  department  has  been  developed  little  by  Uttle  to  keep  pace  with 
the  growth  of  the  town.  This  work  of  development  has  been  made  easier  in  some 
respects  by  the  organization  of  new  towns  that  t09k  away  some  of  Dedham's  terri- 
tory, so  that  the  departnwnt  now  does  not  have  to  cover  so  wide  a  fidd.  The 
first  steam  fire  engine  was  installed  in  1873,  and  at  the  same  time  the  town  ex- 
pended $2,500  in  the  purchase  of  new  hose.  A  new  engine  house  was  also  built 
in  that  year.  According  to  the  report  of  the  board  of  fire  engineers — Henry  J. 
Marrigan,  John  H.  Shaughncssy  and  W.  E.  I'atenande — for  the  year  lylO.  there 
were  then  in  service  one  engine  company,  two  liookand  ladder  companies  and  four 
hose  companies,  and  the  cost  of  maintaining  the  department  for  the  year  was 


A  few  years  after  the  close  of  the  Civil  War  in  1865,  the  citizens  of  Dedham 
became  interested  in  the  subject  of  some  system  of  waterworks  for  the  town» 
as  a  means  of  extinguishing  fires  and  obtainii^  a  supply  of  water  for  domestic 

purposes.  Nothing  was  accomjilished,  however,  until  .\pril  11,  1876,  when  the 
Legislature  passed  an  act  incorjxjraling  the  Ueclham  Water  Coni[)any.  The  in- 
corporators named  in  the  act  were:  Edward  S.  Hand,  Jr.,  Waldo  Colbum,  Wins- 
low  Warren,  E.  Worthington,  Royal  O.  Stom,  William  BuUard,  Ira  Cleveland, 
Edward  Stimson,  Thomas  Sherwin,  J.  P.  Maynard,  Thomas  L.  Wakefield,  L.  H. 
Kingsbury,  F.  D.  Ely.  John  R.  Hullard  and  Charles  C.  Loring.  The  act  authorized 
the  above  named  stockholders,  "their  associates  and  successors,"  to  take  water 
from  the  "Charles  River,  Buckmaster  Pond,  or  any  other  natural  pond  or  ponds, 
spring  or  springs,  brook  or  brooks  within  the  Town  of  Dedham." 

It  was  also  provided  in  the  act  of  incorporation  that  the  capital  stock  should 
not  exceed  $200,000,  of  which  the  town  was  given  authority  to  hold  one-fourth. 
No  further  action  was  taken  for  about  five  years  and  little  interest  was  manifested 
in  the  project  until  after  the  dry  seasons  of  it^7<>  and  1880,  when  the  water  in  many 
of  the  wells  failed,  and  this  stimulated  the  company  to  do  something  toward  the 
establishment  of  a  syston  of  waterworks.  A  meeting  of  the  incorporators  was 
held  early  in  the  fall  of  1880,  the  capital  stock  was  fixed  at  ^5,000,  and  the 
followii^  officers  were  elected:  Royal  O.  Storrs,  president;  Winslow  Wanen. 
secretary;  Erastus  Worthington,  treasurer.  Percy  M.  Pilake  was  then  employed 
as  civil  engineer  to  examine  llie  held  and  report  upon  the  liest  }>lan  fur  obtaining- 
a  supply  of  water  and  the  cost  of  constructing  works.  He  made  his  report  on 
December  28, 1880,  recommending  the  Charles  River  as  the  most  available  source. 

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with  a  lai^  "filter  well"  on  the  southerly  side  of  the  river  near  Bridge  Street, 
from  which  water  could  be  pumped  to  a  standpipc  on  Walnut  Street,  and  from  the 

standpipe  distributed  to  the  different  parts  of  the  town.  He  estimated  that  a 
plant  of  this  character  could  be  built  for  less  than  the  amount  of  the  capital  stock, 
which  in  the  meantime  had  all  been  subscribed. 

The  plan  reconiinetded  by  Mr.  Blake  was  adc»pted  and  work  was  commenced 
as  soon  as  practicaUe  in  1881.  Kendall  &  Roberts  were  awarded  the  contract  for 
the  construction  of  the  standpipc ;  Goodhue  &  Bimie,  for  laying  the  mains  throu^ 
the  streets ;  and  the  Knowles  Pump  Company,  for  the  pumping  station  and  ma- 
chinery. The  diameter  of  the  standpi|)e  was  increased  from  fifteen  to  twenty 
feet,  and  some  other  changes  were  made  in  the  original  plans,  which  brought  the 
total  cost  of  the  worics  up  to  about  ninety-two  thousand  dollars.  The  first  public 
test  was  made  early  in  December,  1881,  and  a  few  days  bter  the  water  was 
turned  into  the  mains  for  general  use. 

On  January  i,  1917,  the  company  had  about  forty-one  miles  of  mains  and  was 
supplying  water  to  more  than  two  thousand  customers.  The  daily  consumption  of 
water  is  over  one  million  gallons.  Some  years  ago  the  old  filter  well  was  aban- 
doned and  the  water  is  now  taken  from  driven  wells.  The  result  of  this  change 
has  been  a  great  improvement  in  the  (juality  of  the  water,  which  has  been  ap- 
proved by  the  Massachusetts  State  Board  of  Health. 


At  a  to«m  meeting  held  on  March  6, 1865,  the  question  of  erecting  a  monument 

to  the  soldiers  from  Dedham  who  served  in  the  Union  army  during  the  War  of 
the  Rebellion  came  up  for  discussion  and  was  referred  to  the  following  com- 
mittee: Ira  Cleveland,  E.  Burgess,  Comfort  Weatherbee,  Kliphalet  Stone,  Eben- 
czer  F.  Gay  and  J.  N.  Stevens.  At  an  adjourned  meeting  on  April  6,  1865,  the 
ccmunittee  reported  in  favor  of  the  erection  of  a  granite  monument,  ''decorated 
with  militaiy  einblcms  and  provided  with  proper  tablets  for  the  inscription  of  the 
names,  ages  and  date  of  the  death  of  all  who  have  died,  with  the  names  of  the 
battlefields  on  which  they  have  fallen,  or  the  hospitals  or  prisons  where  they  have 
died."  Franklin  Square  was  recommended  as  the  location  for  the  monument, 
which  the  committee  estimated  could  be  erected  at  an  expense  of  from  four  to  six 
thousand  d<^ars. 

As  the  war  had  not  yet  come  to  a  close,  no  action  was  taken  upon  the  report 
of  the  committee,  the  meeting  deciding  to  wait  until  peace  was  restored.  On  May 
7,  iSCiC.  at  an  adjourned  town  meeting,  it  was  voted  to  build  a  "Memorial  Hall," 
with  walls  of  granite  on  the  lot  bounded  by  Church,  High  and  Centre  (now  Wash- 
ington)  streets,  in  Dedham  Village,  "to  provide  a  suitable  place  for  the  trans- 
action of  the  town's  business  and  a  memorial  to  the  soldiers  of  Dedham  who  died 
in  the  service  of  the  I'nited  States  during  the  War  of  the  Rebellion." 

A  building  committee  of  five  was  chosen,  viz. :  Waldo  Colburn,  Augustus  R. 
Endicott,  William  Ames,  Addison  Boyden  and  Merrill  D.  EUis.  The  town  treas- 
urer was  authorized  to  borrow,  with  the  consent  of  the  selectmen,  a  sum  not 
exceeding  thirty-five  thousand  dollars  for  the  erection  of  the  building.  Ware  & 
Van  Brunt  of  Boston  were  employed  as  architects.  Prior  to  this  time  the  lot  had 
been  purchased  with  a  fund  raised  by  subscription  and  placed  in  the  hands  of 

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James  Foord  as  trustee.  The  building  is  64  by  104  feet,  two  stories  high,  with  the 
town  offices  on  the  first  floor  and  a  large  hall  on  the  second.  There  is  also  an 
attic  story,  which  has  been  used  for  several  years  by  the  Masonic  lodge.  In  the 
main  corridor  on  the  first  floor  are  the  marble  memorial  tablets  bearing  the  names 
of  the  Dedham  soldiers  who  lost  their  lives  w  defense  of  the  Union.  On  March 
2,  186^  the  town  treasurer  was  authorized  to  borrow  $12,000  more  to  oonqilete 
the  building,  wh^  was  dedicated  on  September  29,  1868,  Bates'  and  Gilmore's 
bands  furnishing  the  music  and  Erastus  Worthington  delivering  the  dedicatory 
address.  On  the  front  wall,  facing  Washington  Street,  upon  a  panel  of  Quincy 
granite,  is  the  following  inscription : 

To  Commemorate 
The  Patriotism  and  Fidelity 
Of  Her  Sons 
Who  FeU 
In  DcfLi-.  c  of  the  Union 
In  the  War 
Of  tlic  Rchcliion 

Elects  This  Hall 


This  is  said  to  be  the  first  Memorial  Hall,  or  monument  of  any  description, 
erected  to  the  memory  of  Unira  soldiers  in  the  United  States. 


No  common  seal  for  the  Town  of  Dedham  was  adopted  until  the  town  meet- 
ing of  April,  1878,  at  which  it  was  voted  to  adopt  a  seal,  with  the  following  device, 
to  wit :  "In  the  centre  of  the  foreground  a  shield,  upon  which  is  inscribed  the  rep- 
resentation of  an  ancient  oak;  on  the  right  of  the  background  the  representation  of 
a  factory  building;  on  the  left  the  implements  of  agriculture;  above,  the  sword 
and  scales  of  justice;  and  beneath,  in  a  scroll  the  motto,  'Contentment;'  in  the 
upper  senudrcle  of  the  border,  'The  Town  of  Dedham,'  and  in  the  lower  semi« 
cirde,  'Plantation  begun  1635,  Incorporated  1636.**' 

It  was  also  ordered  that  when  the  seal  was  executed  it  should  remain  in  the 
custody  of  the  town  clerk.  The  design  originated  with  a  member  of  the  Dedham 
Historical  Society  and  was  approved  by  that  society  before  it  was  presented  to 
the  town  for  adoption.  The  oak  was  intended  to  represent  the  '*Avery  Oak,"  a 
further  account  of  which  is  given  in  tiie  chapter  on  "Historic  Landmarks.*'  The 
factory  and  agricultural  implements  portray  the  occupations  of  the  inhabitants. 
The  sword  and  scales  signify  that  Dedliam  is  the  shire  town  of  the  county,  and  the 
motto — Contentment — serves  as  a  reminder  that  it  was  the  name  selected  by  the 
first  inhabitants  of  the  settlement. 


For  a  number  of  years  after  Dedham  was  settled,  letters  were  carried-by  pri- 
vate individuals  or  received  and  delivered  at  the  Boston  postoffice,  which  was 
established  by  order  of  the  General  Court  on  November  5,  1639,  with  Richard 

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Fairbanks  as  postmaster.  FrcHii  that  time  tmtil  1693  the  postal  service  of  Ded- 
bam  was  altogether  under  Massachusetts  authority.  On  May  i,  1693,  Andrew 
and  John  Hamikon  received  a  royal  patent  to  establish  mail  communications 

between  Portsmouth.  Xew  Hami)shire.  and  Xew  York.  Subsequently  the  route 
was  extended  to  \\'illiain>lniri;,  \  irginia.  The  first  mailrider  carried  the  mail 
from  Portsmouth  to  Boston.  There  the  second  took  it  and  passed  through  Rox- 
bury.  Dedham,  Rehoboth,  Bristol  and  Newport  to  Saybrook,  where  he  met  the 
rider  from  Xew  York.  The  Hamiltons  continued  to  operate  the  route  until  1707, 
when  their  patent  was  annulled  and  the  crown  controlled  the  mail  serv  ice  until 
December,  1775.  After  the  Government  of  the  United  States  was  established,  the 
mail  route  came  under  its  jurisdiction.  The  first  mention  of  a  mail  coach  i)assing 
through  Dedham  was  in  1785.  The  line  of  coaches  between  iioston  and  the  West 
was  organized  by  Eben  Hazard,  who  lived  at  Jamaica  Plain,  and  amtinued  in 
operation  until  1835.  The  railroad  was  opened  to  Dedham  in  1836  and  tiie  old 
mail  coach  line  went  out  of  business. 

The  first  postoffice  was  established  at  Dedham  in  I7<)3,  with  Jeremiah  .Shuttle- 
worth  as  postmaster.  Mann's  Annals  of  Dedham  states  that  on  April  i,  1801, 
"letters  are  advertised  as  remaining  in.  the  postoffioe  in  this  tovm  for  people  in 
the  towns  of  Dedham,  Medway,  Bellingham,  Medfield,  Dover,  Foxborough,  Wal- 
pole,  Hopkinton,  Sharon,  Canton,  Franklin,  Kittery,  Stoughton,  Sherburne  and 

From  this  it  can  be  seen  that  Dedham  was  the  jxistal  center  for  a  large  dis- 
trict. It  would  be  interesting  to  know  who  some  of  the  early  postmasters  were — 
or  the  early  persons  in  charge  of  the  station  under  the  Hamilton  regime — but  many 
of  the  postoffice  department  records  were  destroyed  by  the  burning  of  the  national 
capitol  and  other  public  buildings  in  Washington  by  tlw  British  in  the  War  of  l8i2,r 
and  it  may  be  that  the  lack  nf  information  is  due  in  a  measure  to  this  fact. 

In  191 7  the  Dedham  Postottice  reported  annual  receijits  of  over  seventeen 
thousand  dollars.  The  office  then  employed  thirteen  people,  including  the  branch 
at  East  Dedham.  Edmond  H.  Bowler  was  then  postmaster  and  the  East  Dedham 
blanch  was  under  the  management  of  Fred  A.  Campbell. 


Erasttts  Worthington,  writing  of  the  town  in  1884,  said:  "The  tocal  business 
of  Pedham,  except  in  the  woolen  mills,  has  substantially  passed  away.  The  ses- 
sions of  the  courts  and  the  transaction  of  other  public  business  at  the  shire  town 
of  the  county,  still  bring  people  to  Dedham.  but  these  come  by  one  railway  train 
only  to  leave  by  the  next  departing  train.  The  hotels  once  the  centers  of  social 
life  and  gayety,  have  disappeared.  Dedham  village  is  mainly  a  place  of  residence 
for  those  whose  business  is  in  Boston.  These  constitute  the  main  body  of  its  most 
vahied  citizens,  and  upon  them  and  upon  the  interest  whidi  they  may  take  in  its 
local  affairs,  must  chiefly  depend  its  future  character  and  prosperity." 

Since  that  was  written  but  little  change  has  come  to  the  town.  In  19 10  the 
population  was  9,284,  and  in  1915,  according  to  the  state  census,  it  was  11,043, 
again  of  1,759  years.  The  assessed  valuation  of  the  property  in  1916  was 
$16,722,310.  Its  schools,  churdies,  public  library,  business  interests,  etc.,  are 
treated  in  other  chapters  of  this  work.  Its  principal  attractions  are  its  well-kept 
streets,  beautiful  shade  trees  and  co^  homes. 

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Dover  is  situated  in  the  north  central  part  of  Norfolk  County.  It  is  bounde<i 
on  the  nortli  by  tlie  towns  of  W'cllesley  and  Xeedham ;  on  the  east  by  Wesiwood ; 
on  the  south  by  Medlield  and  Walpole;  and  on  the  west  by  Natick  and  Sherbom, 
two  towns  of  Middlesex  County.  For  about  ten  and  a  half  miles  the  Charles 
River  forms  the  boundary  line  of  the  town,  sqiarating  it  from  Sherborn  and  from 
Wellesley  and  Needham. 


The  word  "hilly"  might  be  used  to  describe  generally  the  surface,  though  there 
are  also  some  fertile  valleys,  in  which  are  located  some  of  the  finest  farms  in 
•Norfolk  ("(•nnty.    Several  of  the  largest  hills  have  been  designated  by  names. 

Pine  Kock  Hill,  the  highest  in  the  town,  rises  to  a  height  of  449  feet  above 
sea  level  and  is  the  highest  elevation  in  the  county  e.vcept  the  Blue  Hill  range  in 
Milton.  From  its  summit  a  fine  view  of  the  surrounding  countiy  can  be  obtained 
and  on  a  dear  day  vessels  can  be  seen  in  Massachusetts  Bay. 

Pegan  Hill,  so  named  for  an  ancient  tribe  of  Indians,  lies  on  the  boundary  line 
between  Dover  and  Xatick.  It  is  420  feet  high  and  from  its  top  can  be  seen  the 
state  house  in  Boston.  Bunker  Hill  monument,  and  some  twenty  villages.  Around 
the  base  of  this  hill  are  attractive  homes  and  fertile  faims. 

Strawberry  Hill,  in  the  eastern  part  of  the  town,  received  its  name  because 
in  early  days  its  sides  were  covered  with  wild  strawberry  vines.  Its  summit  is 
200  feet  above  the  Charles  River. 

In  the  southern  part  are  Cedar  and  Oak  Hills,  the  fomier  400  and  the  latter 
360  feet  high.  Here  there  are  fine  deposits  of  granite.  From  the  quarries  in 
these  hills  was  taken  the  stone  for  the  court-house  at  Dedham,,the  Dedham 
Memorial  Hall,  the  asylum  at  Medfield  and  several  other  public  buildings. 

Big  Brook,  so  named  in  the  early  Dedham  records,  is  the  largest  stream  in  the 
town  and  flows  in  a  westerly  direction  into  the  Charles  River. 

Clay  Brook  recei\ed  its  name  because  the  early  settlers  in  the  vicinity  took 
clay  from  its  banks  to  be  used  in  the  construction  of  the  dwelling  houses. 

There  are  two  streams  called  Mill  Brook.  One  rises  in  Dedham  and  flows 
in  a  southerly  course  to  the  Charles  River,  and  the  other  rises  in  Dover  and  flows 
in  southerly  direction  into  the  Town  of  Medfield. 


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Noanet  Brook  rises  in  the  southern  part  of  the  town  and  flows  northwardly, 

emptying  into  the  Charles  River  not  far  from  Charles  River  Village.  It  is  the 
outlet  of  Reserve  Pond,  which  originally  covered  some  twenty  acres  of  land.  In 
the  early  land  transactions  Xoanet  Brook  played  an  important  part,  detining  boun- 
daries of  grants  to  settlers.   It  was  named  for  an  Indian  chief. 

Trout  Brook,  west  of  Noanet  and  flowing  in  the  same  general  directkm*  has 
its  source  in  the  Boiling  Springs  and  takes  its  name  from  the  great  numbers  of 
trout  which  formerly  sported  in  its  pure  waters. 

In  the  southeastern  part  of  the  town  is  Great  Spring,  one  of  the  largest  in  the 
county  and  furnishing  a  never-failing  supply  of  the  purest  water.  Its  outlet,  called 
Tubwreck  Brook,  is  a  tributary  of  the  Xeponset  River.  This  stream  derived  its 
name  in  a  curious  manner.  One  spring,  when  the  brook  was  much  higher  than 
usual,  Capt  James  Tisdale  embarked  in  a  half  hogshead  for  the  purpose  of  float- 
ing down  the  brook  to  gather  flood  cranberries.  The  novel  craft  was  capsized  and 
from  this  incident  the  little  creek  became  known  as  "Tubwreck  Brook." 


So  far  as  can  be  learned,  Ae  first  settler  within  the  limits  of  the  present  Town 
of  Dover  was  Henry  W  ilson,  a  native  of  Kent,  l^ngland,  who  came  to  Dedham 
in  1640.  lie  received  a  ^rant  of  land,  along  with  the  other  settlers,  but  never  built 
upon  it,  preferring  to  go  farther  west,  and  he  established  his  home  in  the  easterly 
part  of  the  town,  not  far  from  the  Westwood  line.  He  married  ami  brought 
his  wife  to  the  new  home  in  the  wilderness,  and  here  their  first  child,  Michael 
Wilson,  was  bom  in  1644,  probably  the  first  white  child  to  be  born  in  the  town. 
Game  of  all  kinds  was  plentiful  in  those  days,  and  it  is  said  that  Mr.  Wilson,  upon 
awakening  in  the  morning  after  the  first  night  spent  in  his  new  house,  was  sur- 
prised to  see  a  huge  wildcat  looking  in  at  the  window. 

The  first  settler  in  the  western  part  ¥ras  ^ubtless  Thcmuts  Battle  (spelled 
Battelle  in  some  of  the  early  records),  who  built  his  house  on  the  Clay  Brook 
Road,  not  far  from  the  Katick  line.  Tn  if's'^;^  he  received  another  grant  of  land 
cnn-^isting  of  "half  an  acre  of  u{)lan(i  and  meailow  bottom  as  it  licth  his  own  land 
near  the  Great  Brook,  near  Xatick,  hounrled  by  his  own  land  sontlu-a'^t  the  way 
to  the  brook,  and  by  the  brook  in  all  other  parts."  Mr.  liattlc  was  elected  one  of 
the  selectmen  of  Dedham  in  2677  and  served  in  that  capacity  for  five  years.  He 
then  held  for  two  years  the  office  of  town  cleric. 

In  1682  Thomas  Battle  sold  a  jiortion  of  his  land  to  James  Draper,  of  Roac- 
bnry.  whose  son  John  marriefl  in  and  it  is  believed  he  settled  in  Dover  soon 
after  his  marriaj^e.  Some  years  prior  to  that  time  a  road  had  been  opened  from 
Medfield  to  South  Natick,  and  several  settlers  located  along  the  line  of  this  road. 
Nathaniel  Chickering  came  from  England  in  i68t  and  within  a  few  years,  by 
grant  and  purchase,  became  the  owner  of  about  one  thousand  acres  of  land, 
part  of  which  lay  within  the  present  Town  of  Dover.  He  settled  in  Dover  in 
i6f)4.  but  difl  not  live  to  occupy  the  house  he  built,  his  death  occurring  on  the  21st 
of  October  of  that  year.  His  widow  and  children  moved  into  the  house  and  some 
of  his  descendants  still  live  in  the  town. 

Roving  bands  of  Indians  were  a  giiat  source  of  annoyance  to  the  Dover 
pioneers.  For  protection  and  defense  they  built  a  fort  of  thkk  white  oak  plank,  in 

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two  walls,  filling  in  between  them  with  brick.  Small  windows  were  left  at  inter- 
vals through  which  the  settlers  could  Hre  upon  their  assailants.  The  fort  stood 
near  the  road  leading  from  ^iedficld  lo  Natick,  on  the  high  land  overlooking  the 
Charles  River.  It  was  torn  down  in  the  spring  of  1800. 


Dover  was  a  part  of  Dedham  for  nearly  a  century  after  the  latter  town  was 
incorporated  in  1635.  About  1725  the  inhabitants  of  the  western  part  of  Dedham 
reached  the  conclusion  that  they  should  be  freed  from  the  rates  for  the  support 
of  the  minister  at  Dedham  and  permitted  to  build  a  meeting  house  of  their  own. 
Nothing  was  done,  however,  until  March  3,  1728,  when  they  j)Ctitioned  the  Ded- 
ham town  meeting  to  he  set  off  as  a  jirfcinct,  with  the  following  bounds:  "Begin- 
ning at  Bubbling  Brook,  where  it  crosses  the  Medtield  road ;  thence,  taking  in  the 
lands  of  Samuel  Chidcering,  to  the  westerly  end  of  Nathanid  Ridiards'  house  lot, 
and  so  down  to  the  Charles  River,  with  all  the  lands  and  inhabitants  westerly  of 
said  line." 

The  town  jjranted  the  request  of  the  petitioners  on  Xovember  9,  1729,  but 
almost  immediately  the  inhabitants  dcvcloiicd  an  ambition  to  be  set  off  as  a  sepa- 
rate and  distinct  precinct  by  the  General  Court.  Consequently,  on  November  19, 
1729,  a  petition,  signed  by  Jonathan  Battle  and  others,  was  presented  to  the  Court 
making  that  request.  The  petition  was  referred  to  a  committee,  which  reported  on 
December  2,  1729,  in  favor  of  freeing  the  petitioners  and  their  neighbors  from 
paying  the  minister  rate  in  Dedham.  The  report  was  accepted  and  an  act  passed 
providin^^  that  ".*^amuel  Chickering  and  twelve  others  should  attend  church  at 
Medheld,  Ralph  Day  and  four  others  the  church  at  Needham,  and  Eleazer  Ellis 
and  thirteen  others  the  church  at  Natick." 

Under  this  act  the  territory  referred  to  in  the  petition  became  the  Fourtit 
Dedham  Precinct.  An  old  tax  list  of  the  precinct  for  the  year  1732,  three  years  after 
it  was  set  off,  shows  the  names  of  the  following  property  holders,  a  few  of  whom 
may  have  been  non-residents:  Aaron  Allen,  Benjamin  Allen,  Eleazer  Alien, 
Hezekiah  Allen,  Moses  Allen,  John  Bacon,  Michael  Bacon,  Jona^an  Battle,  Jona- 
than Battle,  Jr.,  Nathaniel  Battle,  —  Battle  (widow),  Jonathan  Bullard.  John 
Bullard,  Nathaniel  Bullard.  John  Bullin,  F.liphalet  Chickering,  Nathaniel  Chicker- 
injj,  Samuel  Chickerint^,  Ralph  Day,  John  Draper.  John  Draper,  Jr.,  Joseph  Draper, 
Benjamin  Ellis,  Caleb  Ellis,  Eleazer  Ellis,  James  Ellis,  Jonathan  Ellis,  John  Fisher. 
Joshua  Fisher,  Mrs.  Jonathan  Gay  (widow),  Abraham  Harding,  Ebcnezer  Knapp, 
Samuel  Leadi,  Ebenezer  Mason,  Jonathan  Mason,  Seth  Mason,  Sedi  Mason,  Jr., 
Thcmias  MasMi,  Joseph  Merriiield,  David  Morse,  Nadianiel  Mone,  Mattis  Oddn- 
son,  Jonathan  Plimpton.  John  Rice.  Ebcnezer  Robinson,  Ephraim  Ware,  Jr.,  Jona- 
than Whiting.  David  Wight,  Ephraim  Wight,  .Samuel  Wight,  Nathaniel  W^ilson. 

For  nearly  twenty  years  no  change  was  made  in  the  conditions  relating  to 
attendance  at  church,  the  people  being  content  to  worship  in  other  towns,  but  in 
1747  another  appeal  was  made  to  the  General  Court  to  be  established  a  distinct 
precinct,  the  act  of  1729  merely  freeing  the  people  from  paying  the  minister  rate 
in  Dedham  without  conferring  full  precinct  privileges.  Tho^e  who  attended  church 
at  Mcdfield  and  South  Natick  opposed  the  movement  and  sent  in  a  remonstrance. 
Some  time  was  spent  in  winning  over  some  of  those  opponents  and  on  April  5, 

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1748,  a  petition  for  a  precinct  oiiganization  was  presented  to  the  General  Court 
It  was  dated  at  "Dedham,  March  jo  ,1748/*  and  was  signed  by  the  following  resi- 
dents of  the  territory  it  was  proposed  to  include  in  the  new  precinct:  Samuel 

Metcalf,  Joshua  Elhs,  Hczekiah  Allen.  Jr..  Ebenezer  Xcwell,  Thomas  Merrifield, 
Jonathan  Battle,  Ralph  Day,  John  Dr.iper,  Samuel  Lhickering,  Josiah  Ellis,  Jona- 
than Day,  Nathaniel  Wilson,  Ezra  Gay,  Timothy  Ellis,  Thomas  Battle,  Jonathan 
Bollard,  Thomas  Richards,  Seth  Mason,  Joseph  Chidcering,  Eliphalet  Chickering, 
Jabez  Wood,  Oliver  Bacon,  John  Bacon,  Joseph  Draper,  Benjamin  Ellis,  David 
Wight.  John  Chent-y.  j<ihn  Cliickcrinj;,  John  Battle,  Joviah  Richards,  Jonathan 
Whiting,  Daniel  Chickerinj;.  John  (.iripgs,  Abraham  C.  haniherlain. 

On  Xovember  18,  1748,  the  General  Court  granted  the  prayer  of  the  petitioners 
and  the  precinct  now  became  the  Fourth,  or  Springfield,  Parish,  with  "all  the 
powers  and  privil^es  which  precincts  were  entitled  to  enjoy."  Two  days  later 
the  warrant  was  issued  for  the  first  precinct  meeting,  but  as  the  General  Court 
failed  to  nominate  any  one  to  notify  the  inhabitants,  Joshua  Ellis,  a  justice  of  the 
peace,  warned  the  {)eople  to  asseml)le  at  10  o'clock  A.  M.  on  Januan,'  4.  1749.  at 
the  school  house  near  the  residence  of  Joseph  Chickering  "to  <:hoosc  a  moderator, 
precinct  clerk,  and  a  committee  to  call  parish  meetings."  At  that  meeting  Joshua 
Ellis  was  elected  moderator  and  later  precinct  clerk.  The  committee  to  call  meet- 
ings consisted  of  Joshua  Ellis,  Joseph  Chickering,  Joseph  Draper,  Samuel  Met- 
calf and  Samuel  Chickering. 

At  a  precinct  meeting  held  on  March  15,  1749,  Jonathan  Whiting  was  elected 
precinct  treasurer,  and  the  following  committee  was  chosen  to  prepare  timber 
for  a  meeting  house:  Hezekiah  Allen,  Daniel  Chickerii^,  Jotegh  Draper,  Jona- 
than Day  and  Samuel  Metcalf.  Captain  Allen,  the  chairman  of  tiie  committee,  was 
a  carpenter  by  trade.  This  committee  was  instructed  to  prepare  the  materials  for  a 
meeting  house  "forty-two  feet  lonR,  thirty-four  feet  wide,  and  twenty  feet  high 
from  the  top  of  ye  eel  to  yc  top  of  ye  plate." 

Another  meeting  was  held  on  March  24,  1749,  at  whidi  an  effort  was  made  to 
choose  a  site  for  the  meeting  house.  Two  sites  were  proposed— one  on  die  hill 
near  Morse's  swamp,  and  the  other  on  the  hill  south  of  John  Battle's  house.  The 
meeting  then  adjourned  to  pive  the  voter':  an  opportunity  to  in'jpect  the  two  loca- 
tions proposed.  U|Mjn  reas.semhlint,'  i:i  t!ie  afternoon  tiie  ijiiestion  wa.s  submitted 
and  resulted  in  a  tie  vote.  It  was  then  decided  to  leave  the  selection  of  a  site  to 
a  committee  of  five,  each  member  of  which  was  to  be  a  resident  of  some  other 
town.  The  committee  finally  selected  was  composed  of  Thomas  Greenwood,  of 
Newton:  Jo?ef)h  Williams,  of  Roxbury;  Joseph  Hewins,  of  Stoughton;  Elkanah 
Billine;?.  of  Dorchester;  and  Joseph  Ware,  of  Sherbom.  After  viewing  the  dif- 
ferent localities  suggested,  the  committee  reported  in  favor  of  "the  hill  east  of 
Trout  Brook,**  which  report  was  accepted  by  the  precinct  "after  much  debate." 
A  further  history  of  this  parish  will  be  found  in  the  chapters  on  Church  History. 

With  the  exception  of  the  church  rates,  the  peq>1e  of  Springfield  Parish  still 
paid  taxes  to  Dcdham.  At  times  these  taxes  became  rather  burdensome  and 
some  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  parish  bepan  to  talk  of  separation.  Then  came 
the  Revolution  and  all  thoughts  of  a  new  town  were  for  the  time  forgotten 
in  die  great  struggle  for  independence.  As  the  war  drew  to  a  ctose  the  subject 
was  revived  and  on  October  10,  178a  a  precmct  meeting  voted  "that  we  desire 

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to  l>€  incorporated  into  a  town."  On  February  i6,  1781,  another  meeting  was 
held,  at  which  Col.  John  Jones,  Capt.  Hezekiah  .Alien.  John  Reed,  Capt.  Hczekiah 
Battle  and  Thomas  Burridge  were  appointed  a  coniniittec  to  prepare  a  petition 
for  presentation  to  the  Town  of  Uedhain,  asking  to  be  set  off  from  that  town. 
At  a  Dedham  town  meeting  held  on  June  4.  1 781,  the  petition  was  granted  upon 
the  following  conditions:  "The  question  was  put  whedier  the  town  will  consent 
that  the  Fourth  Precinct  in  .^^aid  town  may  be  incorjKtrated  into  a  township,  the 
said  t(i\v!i  relinquishing  their  right  or  share  in  the  workhouse,  school  money,  all 
donations,  and  other  public  i)rivilegcs  in  said  town.    Passed  in  the  aftirmative." 

The  conditions  were  accepted  by  llie  people  of  the  Fourth  Precinct  on  Sep- 
tember 17,  1 78 1,  when  they  voted  to  relinquish  all  their  rights  in  or  daims  to  the 
property  of  the  Town  of  Dedham,  provided  they  were  incorporated  into  a  sepa> 
rate  town  by  the  General  Court.  Col.  John  Jones,  Joseph  Haven  and  John 
Reed  were  appointed  to  present  a  petition  for  incorporation  to  the  next  session 
of  the  (k-neral  Court.  The  petition  was  accordingly  presented  on  January  16, 
1782,  and  passed  the  house,  but  on  April  23,  1782,  it  was  defeated  in  the  senate. 

Another  petition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court  on  March  17,  1784.  In 
it  the  following  reasons  were  given  for  asking  that  the  precinct  be  incorporated 
as  a  town : 

"Those  of  our  members  that  have  attended  town  meetings  in  Dedham  have 
been  obliged  to  travel  between  four  aii<l  ti-n  miles  out  and  as  far  home,  to  attend 
in  the  First  Precinct,  the  constant  place  of  town  meetings  in  said  town;  and,  by 
reason  of  the  extra  distance,  the  badness  of  the  ways,  and  sometimes  deep  snow 
and  stormy  seasons,  there  hath  not  been  more  than  two  or  three  of  said  Fourth 
Precinct  at  tin  ir  town  meetings  when  matters  of  great  weight  arc  transacted. 
And  a  considerable  jiart  of  said  precinct  are  weaned  with  such  unreasonable  toil 
and  travel,  and  detertnincd  several  years  ago  never  to  attend  another  town 
meeting  in  said  place  again,  and  still  adhere  to  their  detcmiination,  whereby  the 
interest  of  the  said  Fourth  Prednct  has  frequently  suffered,  and  probably  some- 
times not  from  any  unreasonable  desire  in  the  other  precincts  to  infringe  on 
the  interest  of  the  said  Fourth  Precinct,  saving  that  the  said  Fourth  Precinct 
has  never  been  able  to  obtain  a  town  meeting  in  rotation  within  their  limit. 
That  the  extra  expense  and  charges  that  would  be  incurred  by  their  being  incor- 
porated into  a  town  would  be  fully  compensated  by  their  negotiating  their  affairs 
within  themselves  and  without  much  travel;  and,  althot^  the  said  precincts 
are  not  many  in  number  or  opulent  and  wealthy,  they  are  considerably  filled  with 
inhabitants  and  are  increasing.  Rut  if  they  were  fewer  in  number  and  of  less 
ability,  they  are  under  the  absolute  necessity  of  being  incorporated  into  a  town 
by  reason  of  their  irregular  fonn  and  distance  from  the  other  precincts." 

A  ccxnmittee  of  the  General  Court  took  the  petition  under  consideration  and 
reported  that  '*in  view  of  the  smallness  of  the  population,  the  request  diould  not 
be  granted."  Having  thus  failed  to  secure  the  incorporation  of  a  town,  the  people 
of  the  parish  voted  imanimously  on  June  28.  1784,  to  the  General  Court  to 
incorporate  them  into  a  district  as  by  that  means  they  could  be  united  with  some 
other  town  in  the  election  of  a  representative  to  the  General  Court.  petition  to 
tilis  effect  was  presented  to  the  General  Court  and  resulted  in  the  passage  of  the 
following  act.  which  was  approved  on  July  7,  1784: 

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"commonwealth  of  MASSACHUSETTS 

**In  the  Year  of  Our  Lord  One  Thousand  Seven  Hundred  and  Eighty- four. 
"An  Act  for  erectii^  a  District  within  the  County  of  Suffolk  by  the  name  of 

"Whereas,  the  inhabitants  of  the  Fourth  Precinct  in  the  Town  of  Dedham  in 
said  C  ounty  have  repeatedly  and  earnestly  iK-titioned  this  Court  that  they  may 
be  incorporated  into  a  district,  and  it  appears  tliat  ihey  laL>or  under  great  difh- 
culries  in  their  present  situation ; 

"Be  it  therefore  enacted  1^  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  in  the 
General  Court  assem'bled,  and  by  the  atlthortty  of  the  same,  that  the  said  Fourth 
Precinct  in  Dedham  be,  and  it  hereby  is,  incorporated  into  a  district  by  the  name 
of  Dover,  with  all  the  powers,  privileges  and  immunities  of  incorporated  districts; 
provided,  that  the  freeholders  and  inhabitants  of  the  said  District  of  Dover  shall 
pay  their  proportion  of  all  taxes  now  assessed  by  and  debts  due  from  the  said 
Town  of  Dedham,  and  that  the  said  District  of  Dover  relinquish  all  their  rights, 
title  and  interest  in  and  to  the  workhouse,  school  money  and  all  donations,  and 
other  public  privileges  in  said  Town  of  Dedham. 

"And  be  it  further  enacted  by  the  authority  aforesaid,  that  the  polls  and  estates 
in  said  District  of  Dovor  diat  were  returned  by  the  assessors  for  die  said  Town 
of  Dedham  on  the  Ust  valuation,  which  tiien  belonged  to  said  Town  of  Dedham, 
be  deducted  from  the  return  made  by  the  said  assessors  and  be  placed  to  the  said 
District  of  Dover  until  another  valuation  shall  be  taken. 

"And  l)e  it  further  enacted  that  ."^trphen  Metcalf.  Esq.,  be  an<l  is  htTel)y  cm- 
powered  to  issue  his  warrant,  directed  to  some  principal  inhabitant  within  the 
said  District  of  Dover,  requiring  him  to  warn  the  freeholders  and  other  inhabi- 
tants within  the  said  District  of  Dover,  qualified  to  vote  in  district  affairs,  to 
assemble  at  some  suitable  time  and  place  in  the  said  district,  to  dioose  such  offi' 
cersas  shall  l>e  necessary  to  manage  the  affairs  of  said  district. 

"And  be  it  further  enacted  that  the  selectmen  of  the  Town  of  Dedham,  fifteen 
days  at  least  before  the  time  of  choosing  a  representative  for  the  said  town,  shall 
give  notice  of  the  time  and  place  by  them  ordered  for  that  purpose  in  writing, 
under  their  hands,  to  the  selectmen  of  said  District  of  Dover,  to  the  intent  the 
selectmen  of  said  district  may  issue  their  warrant  to  the  constable  or  constables 
of  the  -aid  flistrict.  to  warn  the  inhabitants  thereof  to  meet  with  the  said  Town  of 
Deiliiani  at  time  and  place  so  appointed  for  the  choice  of  a  representative. 

"In  the  House  of  Representatives,  July  6,  1784. 

"This  bill,  having  had  three  several  readings,  passed  to  be  enacted. 

"Samuel  A.  Otis.  Speaker. 

"In  the  Senate,  July  7,  1784. 
"This  bill,  having  had  two  several  readings,  passed  to  be  enacted* 

"Samuel  Adams,  President. 

"Approved,  John  Hancock.** 

Under  the  laws  of  Massachusetts  in  1784.  a  district  was  endowed  with  all  the 
powers  and  exercised  all  the  functions  of  a  town,  with  the  exception  of  having  a 

representative  in  the  General  G>urt.  On  August  9,  1784,  the  first  district  meeting 
was  held  in  the  meeting  house.  Col.  John  Jones,  Deacon  Joseph  Haven  and  Lieut 

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Ebenezer  Newell  were  elected  selectmen ;  Col.  John  Jones,  clerk;  William  Whiting, 
treasurer;  Theodore  Newell  constable  and  tax  collector.  Dover  remained  attached 
to  Dedham  for  representative  })uri)  until  1789,  when  a  new  representative 
district  was  formed  of  Medheld  and  Dover.  For  forty-seven  years  after  that 
date  the  voters  of  Dover  went  annually  to  Medfield  to  cast  their  Mots  for  a 
representative  to  the  General  Court. 

On  February  17,  1836,  the  selectmen  of  Dover — Walter  Stowe,  Lowell  Perry 
and  Timothy  Allen — ^pursuant  to  instructions  given  them  at  a  previous  district 
meeting,  presented  a  petition  to  the  General  Court  asking  to  be  incorporated  as  a 
town.  The  petition  was  granted  on  the  31st  day  of  March  following,  and  Dover, 
having  passed  throt^h  all  the  vicissitudes  of  precinct,  parish  and  district,  became 
a  full-fledged  town.  The  first  town  officers  were:  Selectmen,  Walter  Stowe, 
Lowell  I'erry  an<]  yiirani  W.  Jone-- ;  Clerk.  Xoah  A.  I'"iske ;  Treasurer,  George 
Chickening;  K('jire-(.'iitati\ c,  Ki\,  Kalph  .Sanger.  Noah  A.  I-"iske  was  first  elected 
clerk  in  1825  and  held  the  oftice  for  twenty-four  years.  George  Chickering  served 
continuously  as  treasurer  from  1821  to  1842. 


For  many  years  the  district  and  town  meetings  were  held  in  the  meeting  house. 
When  that  structure  was  destroyed  by  fire  on  January  20,  1839,  the  town  ofticials 
offered  to  assist  in  the  building  of  a  new  one,  with  the  understanding  that  the 
vestry  might  be  used  for  town  meetings.  A  meeting  was  held  at  the  Centre  school 
house  on  February  11,  1839,  at  which  Daniel  Mann,  John  Williams  and  Hiram  W. 
Jones  were  appointed  a  committee  on  the  part  of  the  parish  to  superintend  the 
erection  of  a  new  meeting  house.  The  town  appointed  W  alter  Stowe.  Lowell 
Perry,  Joseph  A.  Smith,  John  Shumway  and  Jeremiah  Marden  a  committee  to 
cooperate  with  the  parish  committee,  and  the  sum  of  three  hundred  dollars  was 
ai^opriated  as  the  town's  share  of  the  cost.  This  sum  was  used  In  the  construc- 
tion of  the  vestry,  which  was  used  for  town  purposes  until  1880. 

The  ccilmt;  of  this  vestry  was  only  eight  feet  high  and  it  was  poorly  lighted  and 
\entilate(l.   In  1859  a  petition  signed  by  Aaron  Bacon  and  thirty-eight  other  tax- 
payers came  before  the  town  meeting  asking  that  a  new  hall  be  erected,  but  it  was 
not  granted.  Twenty  years  later  (1879)  the  question  again  came  before  the  town 
meeting,  when  the  sum  of  three  thousand  dollars  was  appropriated  for  a  new  hall. 
Warren  .Sawin,  Eben  Higgins  and  William  A.  Howe  were  appointed  a  committee 
to  ]>rocure  plans.    They  reported  in  favor  of  a  two-story  building,  a  site  was 
selected  on  the  common  facing  Springdale  Avenue,  and  the  work  was  coninienceU. 
On  July  16, 1879,  just  after  the  walls  were  up  and  the  roof  completed,  a  cycl<Mie 
struck  the  unfinished  building  and  "scattered  it  to  the  four  winds."  One  of  the 
workmen  was  killed  and  others  were  more  or  less  seriously  injured.    A  meeting 
was  caller!  to  determine  what  should  be  done  under  the  circumstances  and  the  board 
of  selectmen — ^John  Humphrey,  Asa  Talbot  and  lianiabas  Paine — were  instructed 
to  proceed  with  the  erection  of  a  new  building  and  another  appropriation  was 
made.  The  loss  caused  by  the  storm  amounted  to  $1,926.85.  The  selectmen  chose 
a  new  site  and  decided  to  build  a  one-story  hall  with  basement,  after  plans  made 
by  Thomas  W.  Silloway  of  Boston.  The  new  hall  was  dedicated  on  June  17,  1880, 
with  appropriate  ceremonies. 

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\\  ith  the  growth  of  the  town  and  the  estabUshmeitt  of  a  public  library,  the 
ow-stoxy  stnictare  was  found  to  lie  inadequate,  and  in  the  spring  of  1893  a  com- 
mittee, consisting  of  Eben  Higgins,  Barnabas  Faine  and  Benjamin  N.  Sawin,  was 

appointed  to  consider  the  improvement  of  the  building.  This  committee  reported 
in  favor  of  raisinpf  the  buildinp  and  placing  under  it  another  ston,-,  eleven  feet 
in  height,  which  report  was  accepted  and  the  work  was  completed  in  the  fall  of 
1893,  at  a  cost  of  $3,594.28,  giving  Dover  a  town  house  ample  for  all  needs.  In 
addition  to  the  assembly  haU,  the  building  ccmtains  a  banquet  hall,  kitchen,  toilet 
rooms,  quarters  for  the  town  officers,  and  a  firqproof  vault  for  tito  preservation 
of  the  town  records.' 


On  April  30,  1894,  nearly  one  hundred  years  after  the  incorporation  of  the 
District  of  Dover,  the  town  adopted  a  seal  which  is  thus  described  by  Henry  £. 
Woods  in  heraldic  language :  "Upon  a  field  showing  on  the  dexter  side  a  school 

house  and  brook,  and  on  the  sinister  side  a  hill  and  Indians,  an  escutcheon  bearing: 
azure  on  a  mount  vert  a  meeting  house,  without  steeple.  pru])er;  crest,  a  plough 
and  garb,  crosswise,  proper;  motto  'Incorporated  183O,'  surrounded  by  a  circle 
inscribed  in  chief  'Town  of  Dover,'  and  in  base  'Massachusetts,'  divided  on  the 
dexter  side  by  'Parish  1748'  and  the  sinister  side  by  District  1784.' " 

Til'  meeting  house  is  made  the  prominent  figure  upon  the  escutcheon  to  indi- 
cate the  desire  of  the  early  inhabitants  to  have  the  i)rivilege  of  worshiping  among 
themselves;  the  school  house  on  tiie  left  (representing  the  building  erected  in  1762) 
shows  that  education  is  the  handmaiden  of  religion,  and  that  it  was  so  regarded  by 
the  Dover  pioneers ;  the  hill  on  the  right  represents  Ptgm  Hill,  only  part  of  it 
being  shown  to  indicate  that  it  is  not  wholly  within  the  limits  of  the  town ;  and  the 
principal  industry  of  the  people  is  indicated  by  the  plough  and  sheaf  of  grain  sur- 
mounting  the  shield. 


The  first  postoffice  in  the  town  was  established  at  Dover  in  February.  1838, 
with  John  Williams  as  postmaster.  Prior  to  the  establishment  of  this  office  the 
mni!  was  brought  from  the  office  at  Dedhamby  whoever  might  l)e  passing^  lietween 
the  two  towns.  At  hrst  there  were  but  two  mails  during  the  week,  on  \\  ednesdays 
and  Saturdays.  In  February,  1840,  Rev.  Ralph  Satiger  succeeded  Mr.  Williams 
as  postmaster  and  hdd  the  office  until  January,  i860,  when  he  resigned.  During^ 
hb  administration  daily  mails  were  inaugurated. 

Later  in  the  year  1838  a  second  postoffice  was  established  at  Charles  River 
\'i!!age  and  J(»>iah  Newell  was  appointed  postmaster.  This  office  was  established 
with  the  understanding  that  the  mail  should  l)e  delivered  to  it  by  interested  persons 
without  expense  to  the  Government.  When  the  railroad  was  completed  the  office 
was  removed  to  the  railway  station.  Upon  the  introduction  of  the  free  rural 
delivery  system  all  the  offices  in  the  town  were  discontinued  except  the  mie  at 
Dover,  though  the  inhabitants  still  receive  daily  mail  by  carrier. 


The  first  record  of  any  effort  to  oiganize  a  fire  dqnrtment,  or  to  take  steps 
for  tile  means  of  octinguishing  fires,  was  made  in  181 1,  when  some  of  the  resi* 



dents  in  the  western  part  of  the  town  presented  a  petition  to  the  selectmen  asking 
that  the  subject  be  taken  into  consideration.  The  l>oard  ajiixjinted  lienjamin  Guy, 
Jr.,  John  Plimpton,  Seth  Mason,  Sodh  Fiske,  Jonathan  Battle,  Jr.,  Obed  iian- 
shom.  Benjamin  Guy,  James  Mann  and  Diaper  Smith  a  committee  '"to  draft  some 
plan  of  such  an  engine  or  madiine  to  extiqguish  fires  as  will  be  suitable  to  the 
district,  and  to  calculate  the  probable  cost  of  the  same." 

The  committee  was  unable  to  present  any  device  that  was  acceptable  to  the 
people  of  the  district,  at  a  reasonable  cost,  and  more  than  forty  years  elapsed  before 
the  question  again  came  up  before  the  authorities.  In  1858  it  was  proposed  in 
the  town  meeting  that  the  selectmen  be  authorized  "to  provide  a  set  of  fire  hooks, 
ladders,  axes  and  carriage  for  the  same/'  but  again  nothing  w  as  dune.  In  1896 
a  committee  was  appointed  to  purchase  a  wagon,  ladders  and  chemical  fire  extin* 
guishers,  and  an  appropriation  of  $500  was  made  for  the  purpose. 

From  this  modest  beginning  has  been  developed  tiie  Dover  Fire  Department, 
which  at  the  dose  of  the  year  1916  consisted  of  twenty  men,  equipped  with  two 
trucks,  ladders,  a  number  of  fire  extinguishers,  etc  Tlie  appropriation  for  1916 
was  $1,600,  which  was  expended  under  the  supervision  of  a  board  of  fire  engineers 
composed  of  C.  F.  Lyman,  V.  .\.  Hovey  and  J,  A.  Knowles.  The  firemen  receive 
pay  only  for  the  time  they  are  actually  on  duty. 


During  the  old  colonial  days  the  tavern  was  an  important  institution  and  gen- 
erally stood  near  the  meeting  house.  As  there  were  no  newspai^ers,  the  gossip 
around  the  tavern  fire  was  tlie  principal  channel  through  which  news  was  dis^cmi- 
nated.  It  is  believed  that  the  first  tavern  in  £>pver  was  kept  by  Ebenezer  Newell, 
a  cooper  1^  trade,  who  came  from  Needham  a  few  years  before  the  middle  of  the 
Eighteenth  Century  and  opened  a  house  of  entertainment  near  the  center  of  the 
parish.  In  1764  he  was  elected  one  of  the  selectmen  of  Dcdham  and  served  on 
the  board  for  seven  years.  W  hen  the  rfiw  n  of  Dedham  decided  in  1774  that  no 
imported  tea  should  be  used  by  tlie  inhabitants,  he  was  one  of  the  coniniuiee  to  sec 
that  the  order  was  properly  observed.  At  the  time  of  tiw  "Lexington  Alarm"  he 
wan  a  lieutenant  in  Captain  Guild's  company  and  later  served  in  the  Continental 
army.  He  was  succeeded  as  "mine  host"  of  the  tavern  by  Daniel  Whiting. 

John  Reed  kej)!  a  public  house  for  a  short  time  before  the  beginning  of  the 
Revolution.  Init  the  best  known  tavern  in  the  history  of  Dover  was  the  W  illiams 
Tavern,  which  was  situated  near  the  center  of  the  district.  It  was  kept  by  John 
Williams,  who  added  a  wing  on  the  north  side  early  in  the  Nineteenth  Century, 
where  many  social  gatherings  were  held.  The  "Sons  of  Liberty"  held  meetings 
in  the  great  room,  where  weighty  matters  were  discussed,  while  the  genial  boniface 
passed  around  New  England  rum  to  enliven  the  debate.  The  Boston  &  Woonsocket 
coaches  stopped  daily  at  this  tavern,  and  many  prominent  men  were  at  one 
time  or  another  guests  of  "The  Williams." 


When  the  petition  went  tn  the  ( ".eneral  Court  in  January,  T7S2,  the  petitioners 
asked  that  the  town  might  be  named  Derby.   It  is  said  that  this  choice  was  that 

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of  Col.  John  Jones,  chairman  of  the  committee  which  presented  the  petition,  and 
was  selected  in  honor  of  Derby,  England.  In  the  bill  incorporating  the  district 
the  name  was  changed  to  Dover,  after  the  old  English  town.  "Either  name  would 
probably  satisfy  Colonel  Jones'  fondness  for  old  English  names."  Before  the 
District  of  Dover  was  erected,  the  territory  was  induded  in  Springfield  Parish,  a 
name  derived  from  the  beautiful  boiling  springs  which  form  tile  source  of  Trout 
Brook  and  the  field  in  which  they  are  located. 


Prior  to  1730  the  people  of  Dover  buried  their  dead  in  the  cemetery  at  Dedham. 
In  February,  1730,  a  small  tract  of  ground  on  the  farm  of  Nathaniel  Chickering 
was  inclosed  as  a  cemetery.  In  1746  Mr.  Chickering  donated  this  ground  to 
the  precinct  in  the  following  document,  to  wit :  **I  pvt  and  bequeath  to  tiie  West 
Precinct  of  the  Town  of  Dedham  the  burying-ground  as  it  lyeth  now  within  fence» 
to  be  for  the  use  of  the  said  precinct  for  a  burying  place." 

The  first  body  to  be  buried  here  was  that  of  John  Battle,  a  grandson  of  Thomas 
Battle,  whose  death  occurred  on  February  14,  1730.  Additions  were  made  to  this 
cemetery  in  1762,  1826,  1864  and  1891.  The  oldest  gravestone  is  that  over  the 
grave  of  John  Wight,  who  died  on  October  4, 1743,' "in  ye  12th  year  of  his  age." 

The  first  preacher,  after  the  parish  was  established  in  1748,  was  Thomas  Jones» 
who  began  his  work  on  the  first  Sunday  in  December,  1749.  and  filled  an  engage- 
ment of  thirteen  weeks.  The  first  meeting  house  wa.s  dedicated  in  December,  1754^ 
though  not  completed  at  the  time.   It  was  finished  in  the  spring  of  1758. 

In  1726  Uie  Town  of  Dedham  appropriated  five  pounds  "to  support  a  school 
in  the  westerly  part  of  Dedham."  This  was  the  first  appropriation  frcmi  the 
mother  town  for  educational  purposes  in  Dover,  though  schools  had  been  taught 
there  prior  to  that  date. 

A  law  was  passed  by  the  General  Court  in  1760  that  "any  persons  able  of  body 
who  shall  absent  themselves  from  public  worship  of  God  on  the  Lord's  Day  shall 
pay  a  fine  of  ten  shillii^."  Col.  Jc^n  Jones  held  a  commission  as  justice  under  the 
king  and  the  following  is  taken  from  his  "Book  of  Minits" : 

"Dom.  Rex  vs  Ephraim  Bacon) 
"Sttflfolk  County  J*^- 

"Memo,  That  on  ye  asth  day  of  July,  1774,  Ephraim  Bacon  of  Dedham 
(Dover),  yeoman  in  ten  pounds,  Oliver  Kendrick  of  Dedham  (Dover),  yeoman  in 
ten  pounds.  Recognized  that  ye  said  Ephraim  should  appear  before  ye  Court  of 
General  Sessions  of  ye  Peace  to  be  held  at  Boston  on  ye  26th  Inst  at.  10  A.M.,  to 
answer  for  his  unlawfully  absenting  himself  from  Pnblick  Worship  of  God  on 
Lord's  Days  three  months  as  Expressed  in  a  bill  of  indictment  filed  in  said  Onirt. 

"SuflFolk  ss.,  August  8.  1774.  Ephraim  Bacon  in  ye  same  sum  and  ye  same 
surety  recognized  and  held  to  answer  at  ye  General  Sessions  of  ye  peace  ye  ist 
Tuesday  in  October  next." 

The  records  do  not  show  whether  a  verdict  was  rendered  for  the  plaintiff  or 
the  defendant,  but  as  the  laws  at  that  time  were  rigidly  and  impartially  enforced^ 
and  Fi>hraim  appears  to  have  been  somewhat  habitual  in  his  non-attendance  at 
church,  it  is  quite  likely  that  he  was  made  to  pay  his  fine  in  accordance  with  the 

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DOVER  IN  I917 

In  years  gone  by  there  was  some  manufacturing  carried  on  in  Dover,  but  the 
establishments  have  been  discontinued  or  removed  to  localities  where  conditions 
were  more  favorable.  The  Dover  of  today  is  a  typical  New  England  agricultural 

community,  some  of  the  finest  fanns  in  Xorfolk  County  being  located  in  this 
town.  Dover  has  Baptist,  Unitarian  and  Congregational  churches,  a  good  public 
school  system,  a  public  library  with  over  six  thousand  volumes,  a  historical  society 
which  occupies  a  building  given  by  Benjamin  N.  Sawtn  and  his  wife  and  known 
as  the  "Sawin  Memorial  Building/'  well  kept  streets  and  hi^wa]rs»  a  public  park, 
etc.  The  Boston  &  Woonsocket  division  of  the  New  York,  New  Haven  &  Hart- 
ford passes  through  the  central  jx^rtion  and  affords  trans{)ortation  facilities.  In 
1910  the  j)Opulation  was  7«>8  and  in  1915,  according  to  the  state  census,  it  was  (><;<j, 
a  gain  01  201  in  five  years.  In  1915  the  property  was  valued  for  tax  purposes  at 

Following  is  a  list  of  the  towm  officers  as  they  were  at  the  beginning  of  the 
year  1917:  Selectmen,  Overseers  of  the  Poor  and  Board  of  Health,  Charles  S. 
Bean;  James  H.  Chickering  and  Michael  \V.  Comiskey;  Clerk,  John  H.  Faulk; 
Treasurer,  Eben  Higgins;  Auditor,  George  Battelle;  Assessors,  Judson  S.  Battelle, 
Eben  Higg^ns  and  John  V.  Schaffher;  School  Committee,  Richard  H.  Bond,  Dr. 
William  T.  Porter  and  Mrs.  Agnes  Y.  Rogers;  Highway  Surv^or,  James  McGiU, 

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In  the  early  records  relating  to  this  town  the  name  is  spelled  "Foxborough," 
which  is  still  used  by  the  Gomnumwealth  of  Massachusetts,  but  the  form  adopted 
by  the  United  States  Government  as  the  name  of  the  postoffice,  and  in  general 
use  at  the  present  day,  is  '■FoxlK)ro."  The  town  is  located  in  the  southern  part 
of  Norfolk  County  and  is  bounded  as  follows:  On  the  north  by  the  Town  of 
Walpole ;  northeast  and  east  by  Sharon ;  south  by  Bristol  County ;  west  and  north- 
west by  the  towns  of  PhinniUe,  Wrentham  and  Norfolk.  The  surface  is  rolltng 
and  there  are  several  lakes  or  ponds  In  the  town.  The  large  pond  called  Neponset 
Reservoir,  the  source  of  one  branch  of  the  Neponset  River,  is  situated  in  the 
northern  part:  Cocasset  Pond  is  in  the  southwestem  part  and  Miramichi  (com- 
monly called  Shepard's)  Pond  is  on  the  line  between  Foxboro  and  Plainville. 
Cocasset  and  Miramichi  ponds  are  drained  by  Furnace  Brook,  which  flows  in  a 
sootfaeify  direction  into  Bristol  County.  In  the  eastern  part  is  BUluigs  Brook, 
which  also  follows  a  southerJy  course  and  crosses  the  southern  boundary  line 
of  die  county  a  short  distance  south  of  East  Foxboro. 


A  part  of  the  present  Town  of  Foxboro  was  mcluded  in  Dedham  when  the 
latter  town  was  incorporated  in  September,  1635,  but  the  greater  portion  of  it 

was  embraced  in  the  "New  Grant"  that  was  made  to  Dorchester  in  1637.  Wren- 
tham was  set  off  from  Dedham  in  October,  1673,  and  included  a  small  portion 
of  what  is  now  Foxboro.  In  December,  1715,  the  General  Court  erected  "Dor- 
diester  South  Precinct,"  which  embraced  the  present  towns  of  Canton,  Sharon 
and  Stoughton,  and  that  part  of  the  "New  Grant"  now  within  the  Foxboro  limits. 
Walpole  was  incorporated  on  December  10^  1724.  and  Stoughton  on  December 
22.  i-^ri.  The  latter  included  the  greater  part  of  Foxboro,  all  of  Canton  and 
Sharon,  and  a  large  portion  of  the  original  Town  of  Dedham.  Sharon  was  cut 
off  as  the  Town  of  Stoughtonham  in  June,  1765,  and  a  small  part  of  what  is 
now  Foxboro  was  included  in  tiie  new  town.  Thirteen  years  later  the  Town 
of  Foxboro  was  incorporated.  John  Shepard.  a  native  of  the  town,  was  bom 
on  February  25,  1705,  while  the  territory  was  a  part  of  Dorchester,  and  lived 
to  be  over  one  hundred  years  of  age.  Through  the  various  l^islative  changes 

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al)ove  mentioned,  the  story  became  current  that  he  had  been  "a  resident  of  three 
different  cotmties  and  live  different  towns*  yet  lived  in  the  same  bouse  all  the 


Al)Out  one  William  Hudson  received  a  grant  of  five  hundred  acres  of 

land  (now  in  Foxboro )  from  the  Dorchester  authorities,  and  on  October  21, 
lO/O,  conveyed  the  entire  tract  to  Thomas  Platts  of  Boston  for  two  hundred 
and  seventy-five  pounds.  In  the  deed  the  land  was  described  as  "situate,  lying 
and  being  in  the  wilderness,  between  Dedham  and  Seaconet,  ccmunonly  called 
or  known  by  the  name  of  Wading  River  Farm.' "  Thomas  Platts  died  in  the 
summer  of  i(r<)j  and  tlie  land  passed  to  his  son  Thomas,  who  conveyed  it  to 
jacnb  Sht'iiard  on  July  11.  1704.  So  far  as  known  this  Jacob  Shepard  was  the 
first  while  man  to  estabiisli  a  home  in  what  is  now  the  Town  of  Foxboro.  He 
was  the  father  of  John  Shepard,  above  mentioned,  who  was  probably  the  first 
white  child  bom  in  the  town. 

Some  years  later  the  Morses  and  Boydens  came  from  Medfield,  the  Capens 
from  Dorchester,  the  Belchers  from  Sharon,  and  the  Carpenters  from  Rehoboth. 
In  1713  the  proprietors  of  the  outlying  lands  in  Dorchester  were  incorporated 
as  "The  Proprietors  of  the  Undivided  Lands,"  an  organization  wdiicfa  continued 
in  existence  for  about  sixty  jrears,  and  through  which  the  title  to  much  of  the 
land  in  Foxboro  was  obtained.  The  following  list  of  residents  on  January  i, 
1777,  was  prepared  by  Fbenczer  Hill,  at  that  time  one  of  the  selectmen  of  the 
Town  of  Stouj,ditrniham  (now  Sharon):  Zuriel  Atherton,  Samuel  Balcom.  John 
Basset,  Eleazer  Belcher,  Beriah  Billings,  Ebenezer  Billings,  Elijah  Billings.  Jona- 
than Billings,  Jonathan  Billings,  2nd,  Samuel  Billings,  William  Billings,  Josiah 
Blanchard,  Samuel  Bradshaw,  Nehemiah  Carpenter,Timothy  Clapp,  William  Clapp, 
Nathan  Clark.  Nathaniel  Clark,  William  Clark.  Stephen  Cobb,  John  Comey.  Wil- 
liam Comey.  Jacob  Cook.  Zebulon  Dean,  Josiah  Farrington,  David  Forrest,  Ebe- 
nezer Hill,  Spencer  Hodj^es,  Jacob  Lenard,  Lemuel  Lyon,  Elijah  Morse,  Ezra 
Morse,  Levi  Morse,  Nat  Morse,  Elizabeth  Payn  (widow),  Jacob  Payn,  John 
Payn,  Joseph  Payn,  William  "Payn,  William  Payson,  Exddel  Pierce.  Thomas 
Pogge,  Jeremiah  Rhodes,  Joseph  Rhodes,  Joseph  Rhodes,  2nd,  John  Ridiardson, 
Thomas  Richardson,  Josiah  Robbins,  Daniel  Robeson,  Seth  Robeson,  Ephraim 
Shcpard,  Israel  Smith,  John  Smith,  John  Sumner,  Joseph  Tifney,  David  White. 
David  VVilkeson,  Job  Willis,  David  Wood,  Jethro  Wood,  Joseph  Wood  and 
WiOiam  Wright. 


The  total  population  at  the  bepinninf^  of  the  year  1777,  based  upon  Mr.  Hill's 
list,  was  106.  Toward  the  close  of  that  year  a  petition  was  circulated  and  signed 
by  a  majority  ,  of  the  l^jal  voters  and  taxpayers,  asking  the  General  Court  to 
establish  a  new  town.  The  petition  was  granted  and  Foxboro  was  duly  incor- 
porated by  the  act  of  June  10.  1778.  the  title  of  which  is  as  follows:  "An  Act 
for  incorporating^  certain  lands  in  the  County  of  Suffolk,  formerly  belonpng-  to 
the  Town  of  Dorchester,  but  now  to  the  towns  of  Wrentham,  Walpole,  StoughtCMi 

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and  Stoughtcjiiham,  with  the  inhabitants  living  thereon  into  a  town  by  the  name 
of  Foxborough."' 

On  June  29,  1878,  Hon.  E.  P.  Carpenter,  in  an  address  at  Foxboro,  gave  the 
following  account  of  how  the  town  otvtained  its  name:  "Charles  James  Fox, 
bom  1749,  son  of  Lord  Holland,  in  Parliament  before  he  was  twenty  years  of 
age,  was  already  an  eminent  man  when,  in  1774,  he  opposed  the  Boston  Port 
Bill  and  defended  the  conduct  of  the  colonics.  He  said  in  1775  Lord  North, 
the  prime  minister  of  George  III,  'The  King  of  Prussia,  nay,  even  Alexander 
the  Great,  never  gained  more  in  one  campaign  than  Lord  North  has  lost  He  has 
lost  a  whole  continent.'  One  of  Fox's  biographers  says— 'During  the  whole 
American  war,  Mr.  Fox  successively  protested  against  every  measure  of  hostility 
directed  against  the  colonics.'  Of  him  the  Foxborough  soldiers,  who  marched 
in  quickstep  at  the  "Lexington  Alarm,'  and  to  Bunker  Hill  and  Dorchester 
Heights,  had  heard,  and,  whatever  the  faults  of  that  famous  British  statesman, 
no  friend  of  American  independence  need  blush  to  bear  his  name,*'  < 


On  June  29,  1778,  the  first  town  meeting  was  held  and  the  following  officers 
were  elected:  Josiah  Pratt,  John  Everett,  Benjamin  Pettee,  Daniel  Robinson 
and  Joseph  Shepard,  selectmen ;  Swift  Payson,  clerk ;  Nehemiah  Carpenter,  treas* 

nrer:  John  Comey,  con>table :  Joseph  Pratt,  John  Everett,  Josiah  Mann,  John 
Shepard.  Jr.,  and  Nathaniel  Clark,  assessors;  Benjamin  Guild  and  Jacob  Cook, 


In  the  original  act  of  incorporation  it  was  provided  that  Eleazer  Robbins, 
Daniel  Morse.  Elisha  Morse,  Mar>'  Patten  (widow),  David  Pratt.  Mary  Boyden 
(widow).  Solomon  Morse,  Uriah  Atherton,  Samuel  Morse,  Josiah  Hodges,  Eliph- 
alet  Hodges,  Josiah  Bhncfaard,  John  Everett,  Isaac  Pratt.  Joseph  Ptatt's  heirs 
and  Joseph  Gilbert,  "with  their  estates  shall  remain  to  the  towns  to  which  they 
now  belong." 

Some  of  those  above  named  were  inhabitants  of  Stoughton — a  few  living  in 
that  part  afterward  set  ofT  as  Sharon — some  lived  in  Walpole.  and  some  in 
Wrentham.  On  March  12,  ij^ji,  the  governor  of  Massachusetts  approved  an 
act  of  the  L^slatnre,  Section  i  of  which  provided  that  '*EIeazer  Robbins,  Daniel 
Morse,  Elisha  Morse,  Solomon  Morse,  Samuel  Morse,  Isaac  Pratt,  Ralph  Thomp- 
son, widow  Mar\-  Patten,  David  Patten,  Caleb  Atherton,  Eli  Atherton,  Abijah 
Pratt  and  Seth  Boyden  be,  and  they  are  hereby,  set  off  from  the  Town  of 
Stoughton  and  annexed  to  the  Town  of  Foxborough,  with  their  families  and 
estates,"  etc. 

Section  2  of  the  same  act  reads:  "And  be  it  farther  enacted  that  Shadrack 
Winslow  and  David  Wilbore,  with  their  families  and  estates;  also  T.c\i  Pratt, 
Jesse  Pratt,  Benoni  Pratt.  .Alexander  Doby  and  the  heirs  of  Jonathan  Wilbore, 
now  lyinp  within  the  bounds  of  Sharon  and  Stouphton,  be,  and  hereby  are,  set 
off  from  said  towns  and  annexed  to  the  Town  of  Foxborough." 

Section  3  describes  the  line  between  Foxboro  and  Sharon,  but  this  line  was 

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again  altered  by  the  act  of  Januar>'  30,  1833,  and  was  located  as  it  is  at  present 
by  the  act  of  February  28,  1850.  In  March,  1834,  part  of  Foxlx)ro  was  annexed 
to  Walpole.  The  Hne  between  Stoughton  and  Foxboro  was  adjusted  by  the  act 
of  March  12,  1793. 


Scth  Boyden,  whose  name  appears  amonj^  those  annexed  to  Foxboro  by  the 
act  of  1793,  settled  in  Stoughton  about  1738.  Twelve  years  later  he  was  col- 
lector for  the  second  nttnisterial  precinct  in  Stoughton,  as  shown  by  an  old  rate 
book  still  preserved  by  his  descendants.  The  precinct  included  the  present  towns 
of  Stoughton  and  Sharon  and  a  large  part  of  Foxboro.  His  descendants  also 
have  (or  had  only  a  few  years  since)  "The  Records  of  the  Proprietors  of  a  lot 
of  land,  being  ye  forty-fifth  lot  in  ye  Twenty-five  Divisions  of  land  (so  called) 
lying  and  being  in  ye  Township  of  Dorchester,  and  now  in  ye  Township  of 
Stoughton,  in  ye  County  of  Suffolk,  and  is  hdd  in  coounon  by  ye  said  Pro- 
prieto;^ — ^B^n  the  tenth  day  of  April,  1759,  Seth  Boyden,  Proprietors'  Clerk." 

The  lot  of  land  to  which  this  record  refers  was  partly  in  what  is  now  the 
Town  of  Sharon  and  partly  in  Foxboro.  It  contained  a  bed  of  iron  ore  which 
was  worked  for  several  years.  In  the  warrant  issued  by  Jonathan  W  are,  March 
4,  1738,  for  a  town  meeting  in  Wrentham,  the  sixth  article  was  "To  determine 
in  what  manner  ye  Ircm  oar  and  stream  in  s'  land  shall  be  disposed  of.'*  At 
the  meeting  it  was  voted  "That  the  iron  oar  now  or  hereafter  found  shall 
be  reserved  to  ye  proprietors  according  to  their  interest,  each  of  whom  may 
between  the  last  Tuesday  in  August  and  October  dige  oar  annually  anri  at  noe 
other  time  of  the  year."  The  stream  is  now  known  as  Furnace  Brook  and  was 
reserved  likewise  to  the  proprietors  "to  buikl  a  mill  or  dam  on  provided  they  do 
not  raise  such  a  head  of  water  as  to  float  ye  adjacent  lands  or  meaddows  at  any 
other  time  of  the  year  than  between  ye  first  day  of  October  and  ye  20th  day  of 
Aprile  annually." 

Lot  No.  45  contained  4.^7  acres,  of  which  Seth  Boyden  received  about  270 
acres.  According  to  his  account,  in  the  old  record  referred  to,  he  received  as 
his  share  of  ore  seventy-five  tons  between  the  years  1740  and  1755.  Mr.  Boyden 
held  several  offices  before  the  incorporation  of  Foxboro. 

John  Everett  was  one  of  the  first  settlers  in  the  town  and  was  a  bladcsmiUi 
by  trade.  He  was  one  of  the  first  board  of  selectmen  and  one  of  the  first  assessors. 
In  1779  he  was  elected  a  representative  to  the  General  Court  and  the  same  year 
was  chosen  a  delegate  to  the  constitutional  convention  which  framed  the  first 
origanic  law  of  Massachusetts. 

Swift  Payson.  the  first  town  clerk,  was  a  son  of  Rev.  Phillips  Pftyson,  at  one 
time  pastor  of  the  church  at  Walpole.  In  his  address  at  Foxboro's  centennial 
in  June,  1878.  Mr.  Carpenter  told  this  storv'  of  Swift  Payson:  "He  was  a 
humorous,  whimsical,  but  kindly  character.  Passionately  fond  of  music,  his  first 
accumulatkms  as  a  boy  were  devoted  to  tiie  purdiase  of  a  vk>ltn.  Horrified  at 
the  sound  of  the  instrument,  accidentally  heard  after  a  long  concealment,  his 
father  cried:  "Where  did  you  get  that  fiddle?'  'I  bought  it,  sir,*  was  the  appar- 
ently innocent  reply.  'Then  sell  it  at  the  first  opportunity ;  let  me  never  hear  it 
again.'  Shortly  after  the  Ministerial  Association  met  with  Mr.  Payson,  to  whom. 

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sitting  in  his  parlor,  demurely  entered  the  lad  with  his  violin.  'Gentlemen,  would 
cither  of  you  like  a  tirst-rate  fiddle?  My  father  says  I  may  sell  it,  and  I  thought 
it  only  right  to  give  you  the  first  chance.'  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  boy's  wit 
saved  his  fiddle.  It  may  have  done  good  service  in  Foadboroi^,  for  tradition 
says  our  people,  in  the  midst  of  hardship  and  privation,  were  yet  gay  and 
pleasure-loving  and  'often  danced  on  sanded  floors  to  the  scraping  of  the  catgut.'  " 

Aaron  Everett  was  a  carpenter;  Joseph  Everett  a  tanner  and  glove-maker; 
Joseph  Comey  was  the  village  shoemaker;  Eleazer  Belcher,  who  lived  near  the 
BorAeast  comer  of  the  town,  made  pousb  and  kept  a  small  stodc  of  goods,  and 
Amos  Boyden  was  a  sorveyor,  who  in  1779  was  directed  "to  take  and  award 
all  ye  higliways  or  roads  in  your  squardren ;  also  all  ye  other  roads  belonging 
to  ye  Town  of  Foxborough  in  that  part  late  belonged  to  Stoughton." 

The  first  house  built  at  Foxboro  C  entrc  was  the  building  long  known  as  the 
"Old  Carpenter  House."  It  was  built  in  1749-50  by  Xchemiah  Carpenter,  who 
came  from  Reboboth,  Bristol  County,  and  stood  on  a  way  leading  off  from  South 
Street  and  not  far  from  the  town  house.  Some  years  after  it  was  built  it  was 
used  as  a  tavern.  It  was  torn  down  in  1880. 


The  early  town  meetii^  were  held  in  a  meetii^  house  that  was  erected 

ibout  1763,  fifteen  years  before  the  town  was  incorporated.  In  1821  Rev.  Thomas 
Williams,  being  about  to  leave  the  parish,  offered  the  society  five  hundred  dollars 
(the  amount  of  his  original  settlement)  if  it  would  apply  the  money  toward 
building  a  new  meeting  house.  The  offer  was  accepted  and  the  work  of  tearing 
down  the  old  dmrdi  was  commenced  forthwith,  without  consulting  the  selectmen. 
On  December  2^  1821,  the  selectmen  issued  a  warrant  ior  a  town  meeting,  **to 
assemble  at  their  meeting  house  on  Monday,  the  4th  day  of  January,  1822,  to  see 
if  the  town  win  repair  tiieir  meeting  house,  or  do  anytfiing  native  to  the 

Before  the  time  for  the  meeting  arrived  the  meeting  house  had  entirely  dis- 
appeared, and  the  records  of  tiut  meeting  begin  with  the  statement:  "Pursuant 
to  the  foregoing  warrant  the  town  assembled  on  the  spot  where  the  meeting  house 

stood.  Voted,  to  direct  their  treasurer  not  to  prosecute  any  person  or  persons  on 
account  of  the  parish  taking  down  their  meeting  house." 

From  that  time  until  November  14,  1836,  town  meetings  were  held  in  the 
Union  Hall,  over  the  school  house,  which  had  been  bnik  in  1793.  It  stood  near 
the  present  Baptist  Gmrdi.  During  the  next  eleven  years  the  town  meetings 
were  held  in  Sumner's  Hall,  where  the  Union  Building  was  afterward  erected, 
then  in  Cnra'^^et  TIall  until  the  spring  of  and  from  then  until  the  com- 

pletion of  the  town  hall  in  the  .American  Hall.  The  town  hall  was  built  in  1857, 
by  a  committee  consisting  of  E.  P.  Carpenter,  Otis  Carj',  Henry  Hobart,  F.  D. 
Vt^Iliams  and  Oliver  Carpenter.  A  town  meeting  on  March  14,  1857,  voted  to 
build  the  hall  and  the  first  meeting  was  held  in  it  on  March  29,  1858.  The  cost 
of  the  building  and  the  ground  on  which  it  stands  was  $15,496.79.  In  1874  an 
addition  was  built  for  school  purposes  at  a  cost  of  $26,244.31.  Upon  the 
completion  of  the  new  Savings  Hank  lUiilding  in  the  spring  of  1915,  the  town 
offices  were  moved  to  the  second  floor  of  the  Bank  Building. 

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In  the  warrant  for  a  town  meeting  to  be  held  on  March  lo,  I'^^V*.  was  an 
article  in  rt'fercncc  to  a  monument  to  Foxboro's  soldiers  who  fell  m  the  service 
of  their  coutnry.  At  the  meeting  it  was  voted  to  refer  the  subject  to  a  com- 
mittee, consisting  of  E.  P.  Carpenter,  William  H.  Thomas,  Otis  Cary,  George 
T.  Ryder  and  William  Carpenter.  This  committee  made  an  extended  report 
on  March  6,  1867,  recommending  the  erection  of  a  memorial  hall,  and  ten  days 
later  the  same  committee  was  instructed  to  procure  plans  and  estimates  in  accord- 
ance with  the  report.  The  hall  was  erected  in  1868  at  a  cost  of  about  thirteen 
thousand  dollars,  made  up  of  town  appropriations,  subscriptions  and  donations. 
It  stands  near  the  center  of  the  old  cemetery,  and  was  dedicated  on  June  17. 
1868,  the  principal  address  being  delivered  by  Hon.  George  B.  Loring.  At  the 
right  of  the  entrance  is  a  marhlc  tablet,  with  a  medallion  of  flint-lock  musket, 
powder-horn  and  cartridge-box  in  relief,  and  the  names  of  those  who  served  in 
the  Revolution  and  the  \\  ar  of  1812.  Upon  the  opposite  side  of  the  doorway 
is  the  "Roll  of  Honor,"  giving  the  names  of  those  mrho  served  in  the  War  of  the 
RebelliiMi — i86i-6s — and  on  a  separate  tablet,  facing  the  entrance,  are  the  names 
of  "Our  Honored  Dead,"  who  lost  their  Uves  in  that  great  conflict. 


At  a  town  meeting  held  on  March  23, 1878^  E.  P.  Carpenter,  Virgil  S.  Pond, 
N.  F.  Howard,  William  T.  Cook  and  Charles  F.  Howard  were  appointed  a  com- 
mittee to  consider  the  (|iiestion  of  establishing  a  system  of  water  supply  for  the 
town.  This  committee  made  a  unanimous  report  at  a  subsequetit  meeting  in 
favor  of  some  system  of  waterworks,  and  suggested  a  plan  by  which  the  town 
could  be  supplied  with  water.  The  matter  was  then  taken  to  the  Legislature,  and 
on  April  4,  1879,  an  act  was  approved,  Section  i  of  whtdi  was  as  follows : 

"The  inhabitants  of  the  Village  of  Foxborough  in  the  County  of  Norfolk, 
liable  to  taxation  in  the  Town  of  Foxl)orough,  and  residing  within  a  radius  of 
half  a  mile  from  the  center  of  the  jniblic  common  in  said  village,  shall  constitute 
a  water  district  and  are  made  a  body  corporate  by  the  name  of  The  Foxborough 
Water  Supply  l^trict,  for  the  purpose  of  supplying  themselves  with  pure 
water,"  etc. 

Setcion  2  authorized  the  people  of  the  district  to  use  the  waters  of  Governor's 
Brook,  or  any  springs,  natural  ponds,  brooks  or  other  water  sources;  Section  3 
made  the  district  liable  for  damages  to  property  by  the  construction  of  dams, 
reservoirs,  etc.,  and  Section  4  authorized  a  loan  not  exceeding  fifty  thousand 

Nothing  further  was  done  for  about  seven  years.  In  the  spring  of  1886  the 
"Mansfield  and  Foxbrirnugh  Water  Company"  was  formed  by  F.  D.  Williams, 
\'irgil  S.  Pond.  William  V>.  Crocker.  John  Q.  Lynch,  C.  W.  Hodges  and  George 
F.  Williams  of  Foxboro,  and  a  like  number  of  Mansfield  men.  The  company 
asked  the  Legislature  to  grant  it  a  charter  of  incorporation,  whidi  was  refused 
on  accoimt  of  the  previous  mcorporation  of  the  Foxborough  Water  District. 
The  Mansfield  Water  District  was  then  incorporated  on  June  28,  1886,  with 
power  to  borrow  $75/xx>,  and  the  Foxboro  people  were  left  just  where  they  were 
at  the  start. 

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1  NiV/  YC'X 


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On  May  38^  iSS^  a  meeting  was  held  to  take  action  on  the  question  of 
increaang  the  loan  $75,000,  and  a  request  to  that  eflfect  was  presented  to  the 
next  session  of  the  Lefi;islature.  By  the  act  of  April  2,  i8yo,  the  increased  loan 
was  authorized,  provided  it  was  approved  by  a  two-thirds  vote  of  the  {>eople 
living  within  the  limits  of  the  district.  An  election  was  held  on  May  14,  i8yo, 
at  which  the  proposition  failed  to  receive  the  support  of  the  required  two^thiids. 
On  June  11,  1891,  another  act  was  passed  by  the  LegisUture  relating  to  this 
subject.  It  repealed  the  feature  of  the  act  of  the  preceding  year  requiring  a 
two-thirds  vote,  and  substituted  therefor  a  "majority  vote."  Under  this  act  the 
people  authorized  the  construction  of  the  waterworks,  which  were  completed 
abimt  three  years  later.  The  town  is  now  divided  into  two  water  districts — 
Foxboro  and  East  Foxboro. 


No  one  seems  to  know  just  when  the  first  volunteer  tire  company  was  organized 
in  Foxboro,  but  it  wras  many  years  ago.  On  June  29.  1878,  the  town  celebrated 
hs  centennial  and  the  following  issue  of  the  Foxboro  Times,  in  giving  an  account 
of  the  ceremonies,  said :  "At  the  present  time  we  have  a  population  of  nearly 
thirty-two  hundred  souls ;  a  town  bonsc  that  cost  nearly  twenty-five  thousand 
dollars,  with  a  school  house  addition  worth  as  much  more ;  six  other  school 
houses,  valued  at  from  six  hundred  to  two  thousand  dollars  each;  a  thirteen 
thousand  dollar  memorial  hall,  with  an  excellent  public  libraiy  of  neariy  three* 
thousand  volumes  therdn;  two  commodious  engme  houses;  fire  apparatus  (with 
an  able  department  to  use  it),  which  cost  not  less  than  ton  thousand  dcrflars, 
and  which  is  worth,  when  it  is  considered  the  amount  of  property  it  has  saved 
to  our  citizens,  a  much  larger  sum." 

That  was  written  nearly  forty  years  ago  and  in  that  period  the  efficiency 
of  the  department  has  been  increased  to  keep  pace  with  the  growth  of  the 
town.  The  cost  of  maintenance  for  the  year  1916  was  $1,718.68,  and  during  die 
year  thirty-two  calls  were  answered.  In  the  warrant  for  the  town  meeting  to 
1>e  held  March  6,  1916,  .Xrticle  8  was  "To  authorize  the  treasurer,  with  the 
approval  of  the  selectmen,  to  borrow  money  in  anticipation  of  the  revenue  of 
fht  current  financial  year."  The  minutes  of  the  meeting,  rdatmg  to  this  article, 
show  that  it  was  "Voted,  that  the  treasurer,  with  die  approval  of  the  selectmen, 
be  and  herelqr  is  authorized  to  borrow  the  sum  of  four  thousand  dollars  for 
the  purpose  of  purchasing  a  comhination  auto  truck  for  the  use  of  the  I  ire 
Department,  and  to  issue  two  notes  of  two  thousand  each,  of  the  town  therefor, 
payable  one  November  i,  1917,  from  the  tax  levy  of  that  year,  and  one  November 
1. 1918.  from  the  tax  levy  of  that  year,  at  a  rate  of  mterest  not  exceeding  five 
per  cent  per  annum." 

At  the  same  meeting  Article  14  was  passed  by  a  vote  of  fifty-four  to  twenty- 
five.  "To  sell  the  chemical  fire  engine  and  purchase  a  combination  ntito  truck, 
and  raise  and  appropriate  the  sum  of  $5,000  therefor,  as  recommended  by  the 
board  of  fire  engineers." 

With  the  purchase  of  the  equipment  ordered  by  these  votes,  Foxboro  has  a 
fire  department  able  to  cope  with  any  fire  that  is  likely  to  occur.  An  appropria- 
tkm  of  $100  was  made  by  the  annual  meeting  m  1916  for  a  fire  lookout  on  Moose 

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Hill,  and  during  the  year  $300  were  expended  in  extending  and  improving  the 
&re  alarm  system. 


Not  many  towns  of  its  dass  are  better  provided  with  transportation  facilities 
than  Foxboro.   Two  lines  of  the  New  York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  raUroad 

system  pass  through  the  town  and  on  these  lines  there  are  four  stations.  East 
P'oxboro  is  on  the  main  line  from  Boston  to  Providence,  and  Foxboro,  North 
Foxboro  and  Foxvale  are  on  the  line  running  from  Taunton  to  Marlboro  and 
Fitcbbnrg.  In  addition  to  these  roads  there  is  a  division  of  the  Norf cdk  &  Bristol 
electric  line,  witii  a  brandi  from  Foxboro  to  Wrentiiam. 

FOXBORO  IN  1917 

Acctn'ding  to  the  United  States  census,  the  population  of  Foxboro  in  1910 
was  3^63.  The  state  census  of  1915  reported  a  population  of  3,755.  This  shows 
a  decrease  of  108  during  the  five  yean.  There  has  also  been  a  slight  decrease 

in  the  assessed  valuation  of  the  property,  that  for  1015  being  $3,041,740,  and 
the  assessment  for  1916  was  $2,825,210.  The  town  has  two  banks,  a  weekly 
newspaper  (the  Reporter),  nine  public  school  buildings,  in  which  twenty-four 
teadiers  were  employed  during  the  sdiool  year  of  191 5-16,  a  number  of  manu- 
facturing establishments,  diurches  of  different  denominations,  hotels  and  mer- 
cantile houses,  one  of  the  prettiest  commons  in  the  county,  and  a  large  number  of 
comfortable  homes.  It  is  one  of  the  few  towns  of  the  state  that  have  no 
bonded  indebtedness. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  the  principal  town  officers  were  as  follows: 
Oriando  McKenzie,  Jarvis  Williams  and  Louis  W.  Ho<^es,  sdectmen  and  over- 
leers  of  the  poor;  George  R.  Ellis,  clerk  and  treasurer ;  Percy  B.  RMunond.  John 
B.  Hodges  and  Lewis  Belcher,  assessors ;  Benjamin  F.  GiflFord.  surveyor  of  high- 
ways; Franklin  A.  Pettee,  tax  collector;  Fred  H.  Richards,  accountant;  William 
S.  Kimball,  Jarvis  Williams  and  Fred  N.  Griffiths,  board  of  health;  Ernest  A. 
White,  Walter  S.  Keidi  and  Richard  W.  Barton,  engineers  of  ^e  fire  depart- 
ment and  forest  fire  wardens;  Lucius  A.  Cady  and  Ernest  A.  White*  constables ; 
Jdm  E.  Warren,  Miss  Frances  A.  White  and  William  R.  Lewis,  school  committee. 

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Fruikliii  b  situated  in  the  smithwestern  part  of  the  county.  It  is  bounded 
on  the  north  by  the  Charles  River,  which  separates  it  from  the  Town  of  Medway ; 

Oo  the  cast  by  the  towns  of  Norfolk  and  Wrentham;  on  the  south  by  ^^'ren- 
thani,and  on  the  west  by  Bellingham.  The  surface  is  an  elevated  plain,  diversitied 
by  green  meadows,  sunny  hills  and  shady  valleys.  From  some  of  the  highest  . 
points  the  Blue  Hills  of  Milton,  nearly  twenty  miles  distant,  can  be  seen,  and  on 
dear  days  the  top  of  Mount  Wachusett,  in  Worcester  County,  is  clearly  visible. 
Amor^  the  hills  are  a  number  of  small  lakes  or  pwids.  The  largest  of  these 
is  Popolatic  Pond  in  the  northeastern  part,  oa  the  line  dividing  Franklin  from 
Norfolk,  the  waters  of  which  finrl  their  way  to  the  Charles  River  through  Mill 
(or  Stop)  River.  Beaver  Pcnd  and  two  smaller  ones  lie  near  the  center  of  the 
town  and  are  drained  by  the  Aline  Brook,  a  tributary  of  the  Charles  River.  In 
the  southeastern  part  is  Uncas  Pond,  which  derives  its  name  from  a  tradition 
that  the  Mohcgan  sadiem  Uncas,  in  some  of  his  hunting  excursfons  or  warlike 
expeditions  against  the  Pequot  Indians,  was  wont  to  encamp  upon  its  shores. 


The  territory  now  comprising  the  Town  of  Franklin  was  originally  a  part  of 
Dedham.   It  was  included  in  Wrentham  when  that  town  was  incorporated  on 

October  15.  iC^/T,.  and  remained  a  part  of  Wrentham  for  more  than  a  century. 
In  June,  173^^  a  petition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court  asking  for  the 
establishment  of  a  precinct  in  the  western  part  of  Wrentham.  That  petition  was 
signed  by  forty-eight  resident  freeholders,  viz.:  John  Adams,  Robert  Blake, 
Ebenezer  Clark,  David  Darluig,  John  Failes,  Nathaniel  Fairbanks,  Eleazer  Fisher, 
John  Fisher,  Lineard  (Leonard)  Fisher,  Nathaniel  Fisher,  Edward  Gay,  Edward 
Hall.  Daniel  Hawes,  Josinh  Hawes,  Nathaniel  Hawes,  Ebenezer  Hunting,  David 
Jones,  David  Lawrence,  David  Lawrence.  Jr.,  Ebenezer  Lawrence.  Daniel  Mac- 
cane,  Thomas  Mann,  Sr.,  Eleazer  Metcalf,  Eleazer  Metcalf,  Jr.,  Michael  Metcalf, 
Samuel  Metcalf,  Samuel  Morse,  James  New,  Ebenezer  Partridge,  Job  Partridge, 
Samuel  Partridge,  Baruch  Pond,  David  Pond,  Ezra  Pond,  Ichabod  Pond,  Robert 
Poi^,  John  Richardson,  Benjamin  Rockwood,  Thomas  Rockwood,  Ebenezer 


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Sheckclworth.  Simon  Slocum,  John  Smith.  Daniel  Thurston,  Eleazer  Ware,  JoMpb 
Whiting,  Michael  W  ilson,  Uriah  Wilson  and  Jonathan  Wright. 

Owing  to  objections  on  the  part  of  Wrentham,  a  delay  of  more  than  a  year 
was  experienced,  but  on  December  23,  1737X  Governor  Belcher  affixed  his 
stature  to  the  bill  erectii^  the  "Second  Precinct  of  Wrentham."  A  few  days 
later  a  warrant  was  issued  to  Robert  Pond,  Jdin  Adams,  Daniel  Hawes,  David 
•Jones  and  Daniel  Thurston  authorizing  them  to  call  a  meeting  for  the  election 
of  officers  and  the  organization  of  the  precinct,  "in  the  house  the  inhabitants 
usually  meet  in  for  public  worship."  The  meeting  assembled  at  noon  on  Januar>' 
16,  1738,  and  after  electing  officers  adjourned  to  the  20th.  At  the  adjourned 
meeting  the  sum  of  eighty  pounds  was  voted  for  preachif^  and  a  committee 
appointed  to  secure  a  preacher.  Another  committee  was  appointed  to  provide 
materials  for  a  meeting  house  "forty  feet  long,  thirty-one  feet  wide,  with  twenty 
feet  posts,  toward  which  erich  may  contribute  his  [)r()j>ortion.''  The  meeting  also 
voted  to  send  a  request  to  Wrentham  "for  the  fulhllment  of  a  promise  made 
them  ten  years  before,  that  money  ^id  by  them,  amounting  to  one  hundred  and 
tiiirty  pounds  eleven  shillings,  towards  its  meeting  house  should  be  repaid  to 
them."  Wrentham  at  first  refused  to  grant  this  request,  but  in  May  reconsidered 
the  matter  and  the  money  was  refunded. 

The  church  was  regularly  organized  on  Februar}^  16.  173S,  Rev.  Joseph  Baxter 
of  Medfield  acting  as  moderator.  In  November  following  Rev.  Elias  Ifaven  was 
installed  as  the  first  pastor,  but  the  meeting  house  was  not  completed  until  the 
spring  of  1740.   (See  Church  History.) 



Fruddm  continued  as  the  Second  Precinct  of  Wrentham  for  forty-one  years. 
From  1740  to  1742  the  subject  of  applying  to  Wrentham  for  permission  to 
become  a  town  was  discussed,  but  no  definite  action  was  taken.   On  March  4, 

1754.  the  people  of  the  precinct  presented  a  petition  to  that  effect  to  the  Wren- 
tham town  meeting,  where  it  was  voted  down.  Then  came  the  dissensions  with 
England  that  culminated  in  the  Revolution  and  the  question  was  dropped  for 
nearly  a  <:]uarter  of  a  centuiy,  the  inhalritants  going  to  Wrentham  to  participate 
in  the  numerous  meetings  called  from  time  to  time  to  consider  the  condition  of 
the  colonics.  At  one  of  these  meetings,  held  on  June  5,  1776,  the  following 
instructions  were  issued  to  IVnjamin  Guild,  Joseph  Hawes  and  Dr.  Ebenezer, 
representatives  to  the  General  Court  ; 

''Gentlemen — We,  your  omstituents  in  full  town  meeting  assembled,  June 
5, 1776,  give  you  the  following  instructions: 

"WTiereas,  Tyranny  and  Oppression,  a  little  more  than  one  century  and  a  half 
ago.  obliged  our  forefathers  to  quit  their  peaceful  habitations  and  seek  an  asylum 
in  this  distant  land,  amid  an  howling  wilderness  surrounded  with  savage  enemies, 
destitute  of  almost  every  convenience  of  life. was  their  unhappy  situation,  but 
such  was  thdr  zeal  for  the  common  rights  of  mankind  that  they  (under  the 
smile  of  Divine  Providence)  surmounted  every  difficulty,  and  in  a  little  time 
were  in  the  exercise  of  civil  government  under  a  Charter  of  the  Crown  of  Great 
Britain.  But  after  <;ome  years  had  passed,  and  the  Colonies  had  Income  of 
some  importance,  new  troubles  began  to  arise.    The  same  spirit  which  caused 

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Li  3 1\  ART 

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them  to  leave  their  native  land  still  pursued  them,  joined  by  designing  men  among 
themselves.    Letters  began  to  be  wrote  against  the  Government  and  the  first 

Charter  soon  afterward  destroyed. 

"In  this  situation  some  years  passed  before  another  charter  could  be  obtained, 
and,  although  many  of  the  gifts  and  privileges  of  the*  first  diarter  were  abridged 
by  the  last,  yet  ia  that  situation  the  Government  has  been  tolerably  quiet  until 
about  the  year  1763.  since  which  time  the  same  spirit  of  oppression  has  risen  up. 
Letters  by  divers  ill-minded  persons  have  been  wrote  a{3;ainst  the  frovcmmcnt  (in 
consequence  of  which  divers  acts  of  the  British  Parliament  made,  mutilating  and 
destroying  the  Charter,  and  wholly  subversive  of  the  Constitution;.  Fleets  and 
armies  have  been  sent  to  enforce  Uiem,  and  at  length  a  civil  war  has  conunenced, 
and  the  sword  is  drawn  in  our  land,  and  the  whole  United  Colonies  involved  in 
a  common  cause;  the  repeated  and  humble  petitions  of  the  good  people  of  these 
Colonies  have  been  wantonly  rejected  with  disdain;  the  Prince  we  once  adored 
has  now  commissioned  the  instruments  of  his  hostile  oppression  to  lay  waste 
our  dwellings  with  fire  and  sword,  to  rob  us  of  our  property,  and  wantonly  to 
Stain  the  land  with  the  blood  of  its  innocent  inhabitants;  he  has  entered  into 
treaties  with  the  most  cruel  nations  to  hire  an  army  of  foreign  mercenaries  to 
subjugate  the  Colonies  to  his  cruel  and  arbitarary  purposes.  In  short,  all  hope 
of  an  accommoflation  is  entirely  at  an  end ;  a  reconciliation  as  dangerous  as  it  is 
absurd;  a  recollection  of  past  injuries  will  naturally  keep  alive  and  kindle  the 
flames  of  jeakmsy. 

'^e,  your  constituents,  therefore  think  that  to  be  subject  to  or  dependent 

on  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain  would  not  only  be  impracticable,  but  unsafe  to 
the  State.  The  inhabitants  of  this  town  thorefnro.  in  full  town  meeting,  unani- 
mously instruct  and  direct  you  ( i.  e.  the  rcj)rescntativesl  to  give  your  vote  that, 
if  the  Honorable  American  Congress  (in  whom  we  place  the  highest  confidence 
under  God)  should  (^tnk  it  necessary  for  the  safety  of  the  United  Colonies  to 
declare  them  independent  of  Great  Britain,  that  we,  your  constituents,  with  our 
lives  and  fortunes  will  most  cheerfully  support  them  in  the  measure." 

These  instructions  have  been  reproduced  in  full  as  showing  the  trend  of  public 
sentiment  in  "the  days  that  tried  men's  souls."  It  is  interesting  to  compare 
the  language  used  by  this  little  backwoods  settlement  in  Massachusetts  with  that 
of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  adopted  by  the  Continental  Congress  at 
Philadelphia  a  month  later.  And  the  sons  of  Franklin  backed  up  their  declara- 
tions with  their  deed-^.  L'pon  the  first  alarm  from  Lexington  and  Concord  her 
Mi^utc-^^en  were  prompt  to  resfwnd.  and  from  that  time  until  the  British  Gen- 
eral Cornwallis  handed  his  sword  to  General  Lincoln  on  the  field  at  Yorktown, 
October  19,  1781,  they  were  upon  the  firing  line  in  numerous  engagements. 


During  the  -lievolutionary  war  the  demand  for  town  meetings  became  more 
urgent  and  the  business  to  be  transacted  more  important.  Between  January, 
1773.  February,  1778,  no  fewer  than  thirty-one  meetings  were  held  in  Wren- 
iStaan.  To  attend  these  meetings,  the  people  of  Franklin  had  to  travel  from 
five  to  ten  miles  over  bad  roads  in  all  kinds  of  weather,  but  their  loyalty  and 
sense  of  duty  impelled  them  to  make  the  frequent  tiresome  journeys.  On 

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December  29,  1777,  another  petition  was  brought  before  the  town  meeting  asking 
"for  liberty  to  be  set  off  into  a  distinct  township,  according  to  grant  of  Court 
that  they  were  first  incorporated  into  a  precinct,'*  etc.  Deacon  Jabez  Fisher, 
Jonathan  Metcalf,  Asa  Whiting,  Dr.  John  Metcalf,  Capt.  John  Boyd,  Joseph 
Hawes  and  Samuel  Lethbridge,  "chief  men  of  the  precinct  are  put  m  charge 
of  the  matter." 

Wrentham  appointed  a  committee  of  nine  to  confer  with  the  "chief  men" 
above  mentioned,  and  on  February  21,  1778,  reported  in  favor  of  the  petition. 
Then  followed  the  work  of  dividing  the  town  property,  etc.  The  quota  of  soldiers 
recruited  for  service  in  the  Continental  army  were  proportionately  accredited  to 
each  section;  firearms,  military  stores,  the  supply  of  salt  allowed  by  the  General 
Court  were  satisfactorily  adjusted ;  the  five  paupers  were  also  assigned — three  to 
Wrentham  and  two  to  the  new  town — and  the  public  revenues  were  duly  adjusted. 
All  this  having  been  attended  to,  a  petition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court, 
which  resulted  in  the  enactment  of  the  following  bill : 

"state  of  MASSACHUSETTS  BAY. 

'•In  the  Year  of  our  Lord,  1778. 

"An  .Act  incorporating  the  Westerly  Part  of  the  Town  of  Wrentham,  in  the 
County  of  Suffolk,  into  a  Town  by  the  name  of  Franklin. 

"VVhereas,  the  Inhabitants  of  the  W  esterly  part  of  the  Town  of  W^rentham 
in  the  Cbunty  of  Suffolk  have  Represented  to  this  Court  the  Difficulties  they 
Labor  under  in  tiieir  present  situation,  and  apprehending  themselves  of  sufficient 
Numbers     Ability,  request  that  they  may  be  Incorporated  into  a  separate  Town. 

"Be  it  Therefore  Enacted  by  the  Council  &  House  of  Representatives  in  Gen- 
eral Court  .Assembled,  &  by  the  Authority  of  the  same,  That  the  W'esterly  part 
of  said  Town  of  Wrentham  separated  by  a  line,  as  follows,  viz:  Beginning  at 
Charles  River,  where  Medfield  line  comes  to  said  river;  thence  running  south 
seventeen  degrees  and  a  half  West  until  it  comes  to  one  rod  east  of  jfe  EKvelling 
House  of  William  Man ;  thence  a  strait  line  to  the  eastwardly  corner  of  .Asa 
W'hiting's  bam ;  thence  a  strait  line  to  sixty  rods  due  south  of  the  old  cellar 
where  the  Dwelling  House  of  Ebenezer  Healy  formerly  stood;  thence  a  Due 
West  cource  by  tiie  Needle  to  Bellingham  line,  said  Bellii^ham  line  to  be  the 
West  Bounds  and  Charles  River  the  Northerly  Bounds,  be  and  hereby  is  incor- 
porated into  a  Distinct  and  Separate  Toen  by  the  name  of  franklin,  and  invested 
with  nil  the  powers,  Privileges  and  Immunities  that  Towns  in  this  State  do  or 
may  enjoy. 

".And  be  it  further  enacted,  by  the  .Authority  aforesaid,  That  the  inhabitants 
of  the  Town  of  Franklin  shall  pay  their  proportion  of  all  State,  County  and  Town 
diaiges  already  granted  to  be  raised  in  the  Town  of  Wrentham  and  also  thdr 

proportion  of  the  pay  of  the  Representatives  for  the  present  year.  And  the  said 
Town  of  W'rentham  and  Town  of  Franklin  shall  be  severally  held  punctually  to 
Stand  by  &  perform  to  each  other  the  Terms  &  Proposals  Contained  and  Expressed 
in  a  vote  of  the  Town  of  Wrentham  passed  at  a  Publick  Town  Meeting  the 
sixteenth  day  of  February,  1778^  according  to  ye  plain  and  obvious  meaning 

".And  it  also  Enacted  by  ye  Authority  aforesaid.  That  Jabez  Fisher, 
Esq.,  Be  &  he  hereby  is  Authorized  &  Required  to  issue  his  warrant  to  one  of 

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f        r.Z;.'  vrr.K 
i^cLiC  U3KAKY 


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the  Principal  Inhabitants  of  said  Town  of  Franklin,  authorizing  &  requiring 
him  to  Notifie  &  warn  the  Freeholders  &  other  Inhabitants  of  said  Town  to 

meet  together  at  such  time  and  place  as  shall  be  Expressed  in  said  warrant.  To 

choose  such  officers  as  Towns  are  authorized  by  Law  to  Choose,  and  Transact 
other  such  Law  full  matters  as  shall  be  expressed  in  said  Warrant. 

"And  be  it  further  Enacted,  That  the  Inhabitants  living  within  ye  Bounds 
aforesaid  who  on  the  Late  Tax  in  the  Town  of  Wrentham  were  rated  one-half 
part  so  much  for  their  Estates  and  Facttlties  as  for  one  single  Poll  shall  be  taken 
&  Holden  to  be  Qualified  and  be  allowed  to  Vote  in  their  first  Meeting  for  the 
Choice  of  officers  &  such  other  meetings  as  may  be  Called  in  said  Town  of 
Franklin  until  a  Valuation  of  Estates  shall  be  made  by  Assessors  there. 

"in  the  house  of  KEPKESENTA-nVES. 

"February  27,  177^^ 
"This  Bill  having  been  read  three  several  times,  passed  to  be  engrossed. 
Sent  up  for  Concurrence. 


"in  council. 
*'Mardi  2, 

"This  bill,  having  had  two  several  readingSi  passed  a  Concurrence,  to  be 

"JOHN  AVERY,  Dpy.  Sccy.** 


Mortimer  Blake  gives  the  following  account  of  the  manner  in  which  the  name 
of  Franklin  was  selected  for  the"  town :  "In  the  original  draft  of  the  charter, 
as  preserved  in  the  State  Archives,  the  name  of  the  new  town  is  written  as 
'Exeter.*  Why  its  name  was  first  written  Exeter  is  a  conondnun,  whose  answer 
is  inaudible  among  the  echoes  of  die  past.  Why  it  was  changed  to  Franklin  is 
apparent  After  the  Declaration  of  Independence  in  1776^  Benjamin  Franklin 
with  two  other>  was  sent  forthwith  to  France  to  arrange  for  a  treaty  of  alliance 
with  Louis  X\'I.  The  kin^  dallied  with  the  ambassadors  until  the  close  of  1777,, 
when  the  capture  of  Burgoyne  settled  his  doubts,  and  a  treaty  of  amity  and  tom- 
merce  was  formed  widi  them  in  January,  1778.  News  of  tfieir  success  reached 
this  country  while  the  petition  of  iSxt  new  town  was  waiting  decision.  The  charter 
was  doubtless  amended  in  honor  of  that  event  and  'Exeter'  was  changed  for 
the  honored  name  of  'Franklin.'  the  first  of  twenty-nine  towns  in  our  states  who 
have  since  followed  her  example  in  calling  themselves  by  the  same  name." 


Shortly  after  the  act  of  incorporation  was  passed  by  the  General  Court.  Tahez 
Fisher,  a  justice  of  the  peace,  issued  his  warrant  for  a  town  meetinpf  to  be  held 
in  the  new  town  on  Monday,  March  23,  1778.  At  that  meeting  the  only  business 
transacted  was  the  election  of  town  officers  and  tiie  diCNce  of  a  *^omnuttee  of 
Correspondence,"  to  look  after  military  matters.  Jonathan  Metcalf,  Samuel  Leth- 
l>ri<^,  Joseph  Hawe»,  Asa  Whiting  and  Hezdciah  Fisher  were  elected  as  the 

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first  board  of  selectmen;  Asa  Pond,  town  clerk;  Asa  Whiting,  treasurer;  and 
Joseph  Hawes.  representative  to  the  General  Court.  The  "Committee  of  Corre- 
spondence' was  composed  of  Capt.  John  Boyd,  Lieut.  Ebenezer  Dean,  Capt. 
Thomas  Bacon  and  Daniel  Thurston. 


It  must  be  remembered  that  ["ratiklin  was  born  in  the  midst  of  the  Revolu- 
tionary war,  when  every  man  was  expected  to  be  for  or  agamst  the  cause  of  the 
American  colontes.  There  were  no  neutrals.  The  committee  on  corresp<mdettce 
looked  sharply  after  the  enemies  in  their  midst  and  a  town  meetiqg  voted  that  all 
tories  should  be  reported  to  the  proper  court.  Every  demand  for  men  or  money 
on  the  Town  of  Franklin  was  promptly  met.  A  town  meeting  directed  that 
"soldiers'  families  shall  be  supplied  with  the  necessaries  of  life  at  a  stipulated 
price  at  the  town's  expense,"  and  voted  not  to  deal  with  any  persons  whose  scale 
of  prices  did  not  conform  to  that  recommended  by  the  Concord  convention  of 
1779.  Within  e^hteen  months  the  town  fumidied  its  proportion  of  beef  to  the 
Continental  army — 33,908  pounds — almost  robbing  the  town  of  its  cattle.  When 
the  credit  of  the  new  Government  of  the  L'liited  States  hung  in  the  balance. 
Franklin  recommended  all  who  had  money  to  lend  "to  avoid  lending  it  to  monopo- 
lizers, jobbers,  harpies,  forestallers  and  tories,  with  as  much  caution  as  they 
would  avoid  a  pestilence,  and  lend  it  to  the  Continental  and  State  treasuries." 
It  was  patriotism  of  this  type  that  made  the  American  Republic  possible  and 
placed  it  up<m  a  sound  financial  basis. 


The  first  mill  for  grinding  com  for  the  early  settlers  was  built  near  the  foot 
of  E^le  Hill  by  John  Whiting  in  1685,  nearly  <me  hundred  years  before  the 

Town  of  Franklin  was  incorporated.  That  mill  was  owned  by  memlxrs  of  the 
Whiting  family  for  over  a  century.  The  first  boards  used  in  the  construction 
of  dwellings  were  split  in  the  form  of  "puncheons"  or  sawed  with  a  whip-saw. 
'  .In  17 1 3  the  settlers  in  the  North  Precinct  of  Wrentfaam,  anxious  for  a  mitt 
nearer  to  them,  induced  Danid  Hawes,  Eleazer  Metcalf,  R<rf)ert  Pond,  John 
Maccanc  and  Samuel  Metcalf  to  build  a  saw-mill  at  the  falls  of  Mine  Brook. 
The  contract,  or  articles  of  association,  signed  by  these  men  is  here  reproduced 
as  a  literary  curiosity:   "Wrentham,  Feb.  the  7,  1713. 

"We  hose  names  are  hereunto  subscrib'  doe  agree  to  build  a  Saw  Mill  at 
the  place  called  the  Minebrook:  Daniel  Hawes  wone  quarter  John  Maccane 
wone  quarter  Eleazar  Metcalf  and  Samuel  Metcalf  wone  quarter  &  Robert  Pond 
Sen  wone  quarter.   We  doe  covenant  &  agree  as  follows : 

"i  We  doc  promis  that  we  wil  each  of  us  carry  on  &  doe  our  equal  pro- 
porchon  IBrought  in  procureing  of  irones  &  IJueing  framing  of  a  dam  &  mill  & 
all  other  labour  throught  so  f^re  as  tiie  major  part  shall  see  meat  to  doe  dien  to 
com  to  a  reckoning: 

"2  We  doe  agre  that  all  of  us  shall  hav  liberty  for  to  work  out  his  propor- 
sion  of  work  &  in  case  aney  wone  of  us  neglect  to  carry  on  sayd  Work  till  it  he 
done  t'l-  tit  to  saw  &  he  that  neglects  to  carry  on  his  part  of  sayd  mill  shall  pay 
half  a  crown  a  day  to  the  rest  of  ye  owners  that  did  says  Work: 

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"3   We  doe  allsoe  agre  that  sayd  Land  shall  bee  for  a  mill  pond  soe  loqg 

as  the  major  part  shall  se  fit.  We  doc  Allsoe  agre  that  no  wone  shall  sell  his  part 
of  sayd  mill  till  he  has  hrst  made  a  Tender  to  ye  rest  of  ye  Owners  We  doe 
allsoe  agre  iliat  no  wone  shall  sell  his  part  in  ye  land  till  he  has  tenderd  it  to 
the  rest  of  ye  Owners. 

"elbasar  kbtcalt 
"bobast  fond 

"john  maccane 
"danif.l  haws 
"samuel  metcalf." 

The  contract  was  *'«gned,  sealed  and  defivered  in  the  presence  of  Ezra  Pond, 

Robert  Pond,  Jr.,  and  Jonathan  Wright,**  and  notwithstanding  its  peculiar  phrase- 
ology and  great  number  of  misspelled  words,  it  seems  to  have  answered  the 
purpose  just  as  well  as  a  more  elaborate  document,  drawn  up  and  attested  by 
a  notary,  would  have  done.  On  March  7,  17 17,  the  following  supplementary 
agreement  was  indorsed  on  the  back  of  the  original: 

"We  doe  agree  to  lay  out  each  man's  loot  as  they  are  drawn  the  first  loot  is 
to  he  gin  four  foot  from  the  upper  sil  of  the  streak  sil  &  soe  up  unto  the  ind  of 
the  slcapers  &  to  devide  it  equal  into  four  loots  &  from  the  sleapers  towards  the 
road  so  as  not  to  interupt  the  road." 

This  was  signed  by  the  five  original  projectors  of  the  mill  and  Daniel  Thurs- 
ton, who  it  appears  had  in  the  meantime  been  taken  into  partnership.  Subse- 
quently the  mill  and  aU  hs  appurtenances  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  Whitings, 
who  continued  to  operate  it  for  many  years.  Many  of  the  early  buildings  in 
Franklin  were  constructed  of  lumber  sawed  at  the  Mine  Brook  Mill. 


In  1876  the  town  employed  Percy  M.  Blake  to  make  a  survey  with  a  view 
of  establishinc;  a  system  of  waterworks  to  supply  the  inhabitants  with  water  for 
domestic  f'Urposes  and  as  a  protection  against  loss  by  fire.  Mr.  Dlakc  made  his 
report,  but  no  action  was  taken  until  the  town  meeting  in  March,  1883.  Then 
Joseph  G.  Ray,  Asa  A.  Fletcher  and  William  ^.  Nason  were  appointed  a  com- 
mittee "to  ascertain  the  cost  and  all  odier  necessary  information  relative  to  the 
introduction  of  a  water  supply."  While  this  committee  was  making  its  investi- 
gations, the  Legislature  on  May  16,  1883,  passed  an  act  incorporating  the  Franklin 
Water  Company  and  authorizing  it  "to  issue  bonds  to  the  amount  of  $75,000, 
payable  in  thirty  years,  and  to  take  water  from  Beaver  Pond."  Among  the 
incorporators  of  the  company  were  James  P.  Ray,  Geoige  W.  Wiggin,  Rev.  Wil- 
liam M.  Thayer,  James  M.  Freeman,  Homer  V.  Snow  and  Henry  R.  Jenks. 

In  1906  the  works  constructed  by  this  company  were  taken  over  by  the  town 
and  bonds  issued  to  pay  for  the  plant.  At  the  close  of  the  year  191 6  the  amount 
of  these  water  bonds  outstanding  was  $218,000.  I  hc  water  commissioners,  in 
their  report  for  1916,  give  the  number  of  gallons  pumped  during  the  year  as 
120,384469.  The  sttf^  is  taken  from  both  open  and  driven  wells.  There  are 
145  public  and  24  private  hydrants  and  about  eleven  himdred  customers. 

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Previous  to  the  establishment  of  the  waterworks,  the  Franklin  Fire  Depart- 
ment consisted  of  only  two  hand  engines  of  rather  antiquated  pattern  with  the 
completion  of  the  waterworks  and  the  purchase  of  a  supply  of  hose,  the  depart- 
iMnt  was  greatly  improved.  In  their  last  annual  report  the  water  commiswMiers 
said:  *'The  town  now  has  about  as  good  a  Fire  Department  as  it  is  possiUe 
to  get  from  call  firemen,  yet  in  order  to  make  it  more  efficient  hydrants  should 
be  established  in  several  places  where  property  is  not  well  protected  Under 
the  policy  your  commissioners  adopted  several  years  ago,  to  ask  no  appropriation 
from  the  town,  except  hydrant  rentals,  same  as  we^e  paid  to  the  Franklin  Water 
Company,  we  have  had  no  funds  to  extend  the  mains  in  all  the  streets  where  it 
m^t  be  tiseful  for  fire  protection,  but  will  extend  and  improve  ibt  system 
as  our  fimds  allow." 

At  the  close  of  the  year  1916  the  equipment  of  the  department  consisted  of 
one  steam  tire  engine,  two  motor  combination  trucks,  one  hook  and  ladder  com- 
pany, and  three  hose  companies.  During  that  year  tiie  department  af»wercd 
fifty-two  calls,  in  which  the  value  of  property  involved  was  $X49,50O  and  the  loss 
was  $l7ji04a  Ernest  L.  Metcalf  was  then  chief  of  the  department.  The  engine 
company,  known  as  "Ray  Engine  No.  3,"  received  a  gift  of  a  high-powered 
searchlight,  which  was  presented  by  Charles  N.  Barnard. 


In  the  early  years  of  the  Nineteenth  Century  mail  for  the  inhabitants  of  Frank- 
lin was  left  at  the  Wrentham  office  by  the  carriers  on  the  mail  route  between 
Providence  and  Boston,  who  made  their  trips  three  times  a  week.  About  1812 
some  of  the  people  of  Franklin  made  up  a  fund  and  hired  Herman  C.  Fisher, 
then  a  boy  of  fifteen,  to  go  to  the  Wrentham  office  every  Saturday  and  bring 
the  mail.  This  arrangement  continued  until  1819,  when  Eli  Richardson  built  the 
stone  store  at  City  Mills  f  now  in  the  Town  of  Norfolk)  and  succeeded  in  having 
a  postoffice  established  there.  This  brought  mail  facilities  a  little  nearer  to 
Franklin,  where  Mr.  Richardson  attended  church,  and  every  Sunday  morning 
he  would  take  tbe  Franldtn  mail,  which  was  left  at  ihc  store  of  Davis  Thayer, 
to  be  distributed  Monday.  * 

Such  a  system  was  not  satisfacton',  and  in  iSai  a  movement  was  started 
to  secure  a  postoffice  at  "Franklin  Centre."  It  was  successful  and  the  office  was 
setablished  in  1822,  with  Maj.  Davis  Thayer  as  postmaster.  The  postmasters 
since  that  time  have  been  as  follows:  Spencer  Pratt,  Theron  C.  Hills,  David 
P.  Baker,  Cyrus  B.  Snow,  Charles  W.  Stewart,  David  P.  Baker,  Smith  Fisher, 
J.  A.  Woodward,  Oliver  H.  Ingalls,  James  M.  Freeman,  Heniy  A.  Talbot, 
Watthew  F.  Cbnroy,  Henry  A.  Talbot.  Mr.  Talbot  died  on  January  i,  1903. 
and  Miss  Catherine  L.  Healy.  the  present  assistant  postmaster.  ser\-ed  as  acting 
postmaster  until  the  appointment  of  E.  B.  Sherman,  who  was  succeeded  soon 
after  President  Wilson's  inauguration  by  B.  F.  Callahan. 

On  July  I,  1898,  the  office  was  i^ven  authority  to  issue  international  money 
orders,  and  on  July  i.  1901,  it  was  made  a  second  dass  office.  Rural  free  delivery 
was  established  at  that  time  and  some  of  the  country  postoffices  in  the  vicinity  ' 

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PUBLIC  Library 

AT'"  -    t  '.-•"'X  AMD 

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were  discontinued.  On  March  i,  1902,  the  town  appropriated  $400  to  pay  for 
numbering  the  houses  for  the  purpose  of  free  local  deliver)',  which  was  intro- 
duced on  the  first  o£  September  following.  At  the  close  of  the  fiscal  year  on 
June  30,  1917,  the  office  reported  annual  receipts  of  about  eighteen  thousand 
dollars,  and  that  a  total  of  twelve  people  were  employed. 


For  more  than  half  a  century  after  Franklin  was  incorporated,  little  cost 

was  imposed  upon  the  people  in  caring  for  the  poor.  The  selectmen  looked 
after  the  few  paupers,  furnishing  thctn  with  provisions,  the  town  making  an 
appropriation  for  clothing  and  medical  attendance.  In  1835  the  annual  town 
meeting  voted  to  purdiase  the  farm  and  dwelling  house  of  Alpheus  Adams  for 
an  ahnshonse,  at  a  price  of  $3,000,  which  sum  was  apprapriated  for  the  pur- 
pose. The  house  was  destroyed  by  fire  in  1868,  hut  a  new  one  was  soon 
afterward  built  a  short  distance  east  This  property  is  now  known  as  the  "Town 
Farm"  and  is  valued  at  $7,000. 


In  their  report  for  the  year  1916.  the  assessors  announced  the  total  valuation 
of  the  property  in  the  town  as  having  been  fixed  at  $5,835,812.50.  The  value  of 
property  bdoi^ng  to  the  town  as  a  corporation  on  April  i,  1916,  was  as  follows: 

Sdiool  Buildings   $135,000 

Grand  Army  Hall  *.   3,000 

Town  Hall    2,500 

Public  Parks    6,000 

Fire  Buildings  and  Apparatus   15,000 

Town  Farm    7,000 

Sewer  Beds  and  Buildings   7.000 

Waterworks   200,000 

Lucretia  Pond  Fund   1,000 

Total  $365,500 

These  values,  as  fixed  by  the  board  of  assessors,  are  considered  by  local  finan- 
deis  as  conservative.  At  the  same  time  the  town  treasurer  reported  the  town's 
liabilities  to  be  as  shown  in  the  following  table : 

Water  Bonds  $218,000.00 

School  Bonds    22,000.00 

Sewer  Bonds   ; 1 57,000.00 

Sewer  Notes    8,000.00 

Sewer  Bond  Fund   ATAOl&j 

All  odier  evidences  of  mdebtedness   i6,332.<!i9 

Total  Debt   $468438.56 

Thus  it  will  be  seen  that  the  corjwnite  proi>erty  of  the  town  is  equal  in  value 
to  morf  than  75  per  cent  of  the  public  debt.  The  principal  expenditures  for 
the  year  1916  were  as  follows: 

T«l.  I— 11 

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Streets  and  Highways.. 

Sewer  System  

Government,  Salaries,  etc 

Interest  on  Bonds  

Fire  Department  


$41,616.12  • 





Of  the  fund  expended  on  the  waterworks,  $20,495.98  was  received  from  the 
sale  of  water,  and  in  the  poor  account  $1,731.59  came  from  the  sale  of  produce 
from  the  town  farm  and  $1,316.82  from  other  towns. 

In  1910  the  United  States  census  gave  Franldin  a  population  of  5.641,  and 
the  state  census  of  1915  reported  it  to  be  6,440,  a  gain  of  799  in  five  years. 

Franklin  is  established  upon  the  firm  business  basis  of  a  number  of  substantial 
manufacturinp  concerns,  which  produce  cotton  and  woolen  goods,  felt  and  straw 
hats,  shoddy,  rubber  goods,  pianos,  knit  goods,  carriages,  etc.  There  arc  two 
banks,  a  semi-weekly  newspaper' (the  Sentinel),  steam  and  electric  raflway  lines 
that  aiFord  ample  transportation  facilities,  churches  of  various  denominations,  a 
fine  public  library,  hotels,  mercantile  establishments,  and  many  handsome  resi- 
dences. Social  life  is  well  represented  by  a  thriving  country  club  and  a  Young 
Men's  Christian  .Association.  The  Dean  Academy,  one  of  the  best  known  educa- 
tional institutions  in  Eastern  Massachusetts,  is  located  here.  Unionville  and 
Wadsworth,  the  only  postolBces  in  the  town  outside  of  Fraiddin  Village,  are 
thriving  husiness  centers. 

The  principal  town  officers  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  were:  Fred 
E.  Mason,  Jacob  F.  Geb  and  Palmer  A.  Woodward,  selectmen;  Michael  J.  Cos- 
tello,  clerk;  Albert  H.  Martin,  treasurer  and  tax  collector;  Lawrence  J.  Kelley, 
Ernest  L.  Metcalf  and  Edward  L.  Cook,  assessors;  Geoige  A.  Allen,  David 
W.  Cbrson  and  George  E.  Emerson,  overseers  of  the  poor;  Walter  E.  Morse, 
auditor;  Bradley  M.  Rockwood,  Fred  P.  Chapman  and  Harry  T.  Hay  ward, 
water  and  sewer  commis'^ioners;  James  R.  Hosford,  William  Hodge  and  George 
W.  Wiggin,. school  committee.  / 


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DEPARTMENT — SOLUIERS'  MONUMENT — HOLBROOK  TODAY — ^TOWN  OFFICERS.  one  of  the  small  towns  of  Norfolk  County.  It  is  situated  in  the 
southeastern  part  and  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  Braintree;  on  the  east  hy  Wey* 

mouth ;  on  the  south  by  Plymouth  County ;  and  on  the  west  by  the  towns  of  Ran- 
dolph and  Avon.  The  Cochato  River  forms  the  boundary  line  between  Holbrook 
and  Randolph  and  there  are  a  few  small  streams  in  the  town,  part  of  which  are 
tributary  to  tiie  Codmto  and  the  ottwrs  flow  sov^wardly  into  Plymouth  County. 
The  genera]  surface  of  the  town  is  undulating^  though  the  hills  here  are  not  so 
well  defined  as  in  some  other  sections  of  the  county. 


Holbrook  was  originally  a  part  of  Braintree.  When  the  Town  of  Randolph  was 
set  off  from  Braintree  on  Mardi  9,  1793,  it  included  the  present  Town  of  Hol- 
brook, which  remained  a  part  of  Randolph  for  nearly  eighty  years.  The  early 
history  of  the  town  is  therefore  embraced  in  the  chapters  on  Braintree  and  Ran- 
dolph. For  many  years  the  people  living  east  of  the  Old  Colony  (  now  the  New 
York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford)  Railroad  discussed  in  a  desultory  sort  of  way  the 
advisability  of  dividing  Randolf^  and  establishing  a  new  town  east  of  the  railroad 
or  the  Cochato  River.  Two  meetings  to  consider  this  subject  were  hdd  in  Janu- 
ar}-,  i^'^i7.  Imt  thtre  wns  such  a  diversity  of  opinion  that  the  matter  was  dropped 
for  the  time  being.  One  thing,  however,  was  demonstrated,  and  that  was  that  the 
majority  of  the  citizens  of  East  Randolph,  as  that  portion  of  the  town  was  called, 
were  in  favor  of  the  erection  of  a  new  town,  the  lade  of  unanimity  occurring 
mainly  on  matters  of  minor  detail. 

Early  in  the  fall  of  1871  those  who  most  earnestly  desired  the  separation  of 
Randolph  and  the  establishment  of  a  new  town,  bee^nn  work  in  earnest.  Their 
efforts  culminated  in  a  citizens'  meeting,  which  was  largely  attended,  on  Tuesday 
evening,  December  5,  1871.  L.  S.  Whitcomb  was  called  to  the  chair  and  E.  F. 
Lincoln  was  dected  secretary.  As  soon  as  the  meeting  was  oi^anized  by  the  elec- 
tion of  these  officers,  Frank  W.  Lewis  offered  the  following:  "Resolved,  That  it 
is  the  sense  of  this  meeting  that  it  is  expedient  that  the  portion  of  Randolph  lying 
east  of  tlie  Old  Colony  Newport  Railroad  be  set  off  from  the  main  town  and 
incorporated  as  a  new  town." 


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After  some  discussion  the  resolution  was  adopted  with  only  one  dissenting  vote. 
The  next  day  a  petition,  signed  by  Elisha  X.  iiolbrook  and  thirteen  other  residents 
of  the  territory  it  was  proposed  to  include  in  the  new  town,  was  fii^d  in  the  olftce 
of  the  secretary  of  state,  and  on  tiie  8th  a  copy  of  the  petition  was  served  upon 
the  Town  of  Randolph  by  a  deputy  sheriff.  Another  meeting  was  held  on  Satur- 
day evening,  December  9,  1871,  at  which  Elisha  N.  Holbrook  oflFered  to  give  to 
the  new  town,  in  the  event  of  its  incorporation,  the  sum  of  $50,000,  of  which 
$25,000  should  be  used  for  the  purpose  of  erecting  a  town  hall  and  establishing  a 
public  library,  and  the  remainder  for  the  payment  of  the  town  debt  which  it  might 
be  necessary  to  assume  if  set  off  from  Randolph. 


At  the  meeting  of  December  9,  1871,  it  was  voted  that  the  Legislature  be  peti- 
tioned to  establish  a  new  town,  to  be  called  Holbrook.  and  that  £.  W.  Morton  of 
'  Boston  be  engaged  to  lode  after  the  interests,  as  counsel,  of  the-  advocates  of 

division.  The  petition  was  presented  in  the  state  senate  early  in  January,  287d» 
by  Senator  Car{>cntcr  of  Foxboro.  Up  to  this  time  the  people  of  the  western  por- 
tion of  Randolph  had  not  given  serious  thought  to  the  project.  Xow  they  began 
to  bestir  themselves.  A  meeting  was  held  in  Stetson  Hall  on  January  18,  1872, 
"to  take  action  on  the  petition  of  R  N.  Holbrook  and  others."  At  that  meeting^ 
it  was  voted  to  af^int  a  committee  to  oppose  the  division  of  the  town,  and  to 
instruct  the  rej)resentative  in  the  Legislature,  Ludovicus  F.  Wild  of  East  Randolph, 
"to  carry  out  the  expressed  wish  of  the  town,  or  resign."  Many  citizens  of  the 
eastern  part  of  the  town  were  present  at  the  meeting  and  voiced  their  protest,  but 
they  were  outvoted,  as  had  often  occurred  before.  Hearings  before  the  L^slative 
committee  on  towns  b^n  on  the  24th  of  January,  Mr.  Morton  appeariqg  in  behalf 
of  the  petitioners,  and  B.  W.  Harris  for  the  remonstrants.  Before  the  hearings 
were  concluded  Elisha  N.  Holbrook  died  on  February  5,  1872. 

Mr.  Holbrooks'  death  cast  a  gloom  over  the  people  of  East  Randolph,  but  they 
went  on  with  the  fight.  On  February  8,  1872,  the  senate  committee  reported  a  bill 
for  the  incorporation  of  the  Town  of  Holbrook,  which  was  finally  passed  by  that 
body  on  the  13^1,  by  a  vote  of  twenty-five  to  ten.  Then  began  the  contest  in  the 
house,  where  the  most  serious  opposition  was  encountered.  After  hearing  both 
petitioners  and  remonstrants  in  the  committee  rooms,  the  bill  was  reported  for 
passage,  though  both  sides  were  indefatigable  in  trying  to  secure  enough  votes  to 
enact  or  defeat  the  bill,  as  the  case  might  be.  On  the  19th,  after  being  debated  for 
the  greater  part  of  two  days,  the  bill  passed  its  first  readit^  by  a  vote  of  113  to  91. 
The  lull  was  finally  passed  and  was  approved  on  February  39,  1^2,  by  the 


FoUowing  is  a  copy  of  the  more  important  sections  of  die  act  of  incorporarion : 

"Section  i.  All  the  territorj'  now  within  the  town  of  Randolph,  in  the  County 

of  Norfolk,  comprised  within  the  following  limits,  that  is  to  say:  Beginning  at 
the  stone  mominicnt  in  the  line  between  said  Randoljjh  and  the  Town  of  Braintree, 
on  the  easterly  side  of  Tumbling  Brook ;  thence  taking  a  southwesterly  course  in 

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a  straight  line  to  a  point  six  feet  westerly  from  the  northwesterly  comer  in  range 

of  the  northerly  side  of  the  so-called  East  Randolph  statioii>hoiue  of  the  Old 
Colony  &  Newport  Railroad  Company;  thence  the  same  or  other  southwesterly 
course  to  a  point  on  the  town  line  (li\  iding  Randolph  and  Stoughton,  one  hundred 
and  fourteen  rods  southeasterly  from  the  town  stone  monument  in  said  last- 
menttoned  dividii^  line,  at  the  southerly  terminus  of  Main  Street  in  said  Randolph ; 
thence  southeasterly,  northeasterly,  northerly  and  westerly  as  the  present  dividing 
line  between  said  Rand(rfph  and  Stoughton,  Xorth  Bridgewater,  Abington,  Wey- 
mouth and  Rraintree  nms.  to  the  first-mentioned  bound,  is  hereby  incorporated 
into  a  town  by  the  name  of  Holbrook ;  and  said  Town  of  Holbrook  is  hereby 
invested  with  all  the  powers,  privileges,  rights  and  immunities,  and  is  subject  to 
all  the  duties  and  requisitions  to  which  other  towns  are  entitled  and  subjected  by 
the  Constitution  and  laws  of  this  Commonwealth. 

"Section  2.  The  inhabitants  of  said  Town  of  Holbrook  sha)l  be  holden  to  pay 
all  arrears  of  taxes  which  have  been  legally  assessed  upon  them  by  the  Town  of 
Randolph,  and  all  taxes  heretofore  assessed  and  not  collected  shall  be  collected  and 
paid  to  the  treasurer  of  die  Town  of  Randolph  in  the  same  manner  as  if  this  act 
had  not  been  passed ;  and  also  their  proportion  of  all  County  and  State  taxes  that 
may  be  assessed  upon  them  previously  to  the  taking  of  the  next  State  valuation, 
s.'iid  j)roportion  to  be  ascertained  and  determined  by  the  last  valuation  in  the  said 

"Section  3.  Said  towns  of  Randolph  and  Holbrook  shall  be  respectively  liable 
for  the  support  of  all  persons  who  now  do  or  shall  hereafter  stand  in  need  of 
relief  as  paupers,  whose  settlement  was  gained  1^  or  derived  from  a  settlement 

gained  or  derived  within  their  respective  limits;  and  the  Town  of  Holbrook  shall 
ako  pny  annually  to  the  Town  of  Randolph  one-third  part  of  all  costs  of  the  sup- 
port or  relief  of  those  persons  who  now  do  or  shall  hereafter  stand  in  need  of 
relief  of  support  as  paupers,  and  have  gained  a  settlement  in  said  Town  of  Ran- 
dolph in  consequence  of  the  military  services  of  themselves  or  those  through  whom 
they  derive  their  settlement 

"Section  4.  The  corporate  property  belonging  to  the  Town  6f  Randolph  at  the 
date  of  this  act,  and  the  public  debt  of  the  said  town  existing  at  said  date,  shall  be 
divided  between  the  towns  of  Randolph  and  Holbrook  according  to  the  valuation 
of  the  property  within  their  respective  limits  as  assessed  May  i,  187 1 ;  and  said 
Town  of  Holbrook  shall  receive  from  said  Town  of  Randolph  a  proportionate  part 
of  whatever  amount  may  hereafter  be  refunded  to  the  Town  of  Randolph  from 
the  State  or  United  States  to  reimburse  said  Town  of  Randolph  for  bounties  to 
soldiers,  or  State  aid  paid  to  soldiers'  families  after  deductint^  all  reasonable 
expenses;  and  said  Town  of  Holbrook  shall  bear  the  expense  of  making  the  survey 
and  establishing  the  line  between  said  towns  of  RandoI[^  and  Holbrook." 


The  first  town  meeting  in  Holbrook  was  held  in  the  East  Parish  meeting  house 
on  March  11,  1872.  Lemuel  S.  Whitcomb  was  chosen  moderator,  after  which  the 
meeting  proceeded  to  the  election  of  town  officers,  with  the  following  result:  John 
Adams.  E.  W.  Thayer  and  Lemuel  S.  Whitcomb,  selectmen,  assessors  and  over- 
seers of  the  poor ;  Frank  W.  Lewis,  clerk  and  treasurer ;  Jacob  Whitcomb,  collector 

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of  taxes;  Ludovicus  Wild,  Newton  White  and  Nathantel  E.  Hobart,  auditors; 

Hiram  Belcher,  Thomas  West  and  Royal  Thayer,  fence  viewers;  Samuel  L.  White, 
S.  R.  Hodge  and  Z.  P.  Jordan,  constables ;  Warren  Thayer,  sealer  of  weights  and 
measures;  Edward  P>elcher  and  Samuel  U.  Chase,  engineers  of  the  fire  depart- 
ment; Frank  W.  Lewis,  Barton  Howard  and  Charles  H.  Paine,  school  committee. 

One  of  the  early  business  transactions  to  come  before  the  Hdbrook  town  meet* 
ings  for  consideration  was  the  adjustment  of  the  town's  proportion  of  the  Ran- 
dolph debt,  in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  section  4  of  the  act  of  incorpo- 
ration. After  the  subject  had  !)ecn  discussed  in  several  town  meetings,  an  arrange- 
ment was  made  with  Randolph  by  which  the  selectmen  of  the  two  towns  were 
appointed  to  adjust  the  indebtedness  and  divide  the  town  pro^x^rty.  The  joint 
committee  met  several  times  and  finally  presemed  to  the  citizens  of  the  two  towns 
for  their  approval  a  report  of  the  manner  in  which  the  town  property  had  been 
divided  and  an  itomizod  statement  of  the  public  debt.  The  documents  were  signed 
by  all  the  selectmen  and  the  one  relating  to  the  division  of  the  debt  bore  the  follow- 
ing indorsement:  "Randolph,  March  uj,  1873.  It  is  hereby  agreed  and  ccrtiticd 
that  there  has  been  paid  1^  the  Town  of  Holbrook  to  the  Town  of  Randolph  the 
balance  of  indebtedness  as  within  stated,  amounting  to  $14,988.94,  with  interest 
on  the  same  from  February  i  to  March  i,  1873.  of  $74  94,  making  $15,063.88." 
This  stun  was  paki  out  of  the  fund  left  by  Elisha  N.  Holbrook. 


In  1873  the  town  erected  a  town  hall  on  Franklin  Street,  just  south  of  Linfidd. 
adjoining  the  W  intlirop  ('hureli.  It  was  a  frame  building,  with  brick  basement, 
forty-eight  by  ninety  feet  in  dimensions,  and  two  stories  high.  On  the  main  floor 
at  the  rear  were  provided  quarters  for  the  public  library.  Early  on  Christma* 
morning  in  1877,  fire  brdce  out  in  the  building  and  both  it  and  the  church  were 
totally  destroyed. 

Immediately  after  the  fire,  the  citizens  took  the  preliminary  steps  for  the  erec- 
tion of  a  new  town  hall,  which  was  completcfl  and  dedicated  on  March  26,  1879. 
It  is  a  brick  edihcc,  the  main  portion  of  which  is  fifty-three  by  one  hundred  feet, 
with  forty-four  feet  wings  on  either  side.  On  the  main  floor  are  two  rooms  used 
for  mercantile  purposes^  rooms  for  the  town  officers  and  quarters  for  the  public 
library.  The  main  hall  on  the  second  floor  is  fifty  by  ninety  feet.  A  stone  tablet 
in  the  front  wall  of  the  buildmg  bears  the  inscription: 

Holbrook  Town  Hall 

Erected  1878 
The  Gift  of 
E.  N.  Holbrook. 

On  the  last  day  of  February,  1898.  the  town  hall  was  again  seriously  damaged 
by  lire,  but  was  innnetliately  repaired,  a  few  changes  l>eing  made  in  the  original 
design.   The  building  was  once  more  brought  into  use  on  June  11.  1898. 

About  half  past  five  o'clock  on  the  momiiig  of  March  2,  1916.  fire  was  dis- 
covered in  the  town  hall.  A  general  alarm  was  sounded,  the  fire  department  and 
many  of  the  citizens  promptly  responded  and  the  building  was  saved  without 
serious  damage.  The  cause  of  the  fire  was  defective  electric  wirii^.  As  the  struc- 

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tiiie  had  to  be  repaired,  the  town  took  advantage  of  the  occasion  to  make  a  number 

of  changes  and  altogether  the  stun  of  $11,158.89  was  expended  in  the  repairs  and 
alterations,  giving  Holbrook  a  town  house  that  is  modem  in  every  respect  and 
ample  for  the  needs  of  the  town  for  years  to  come. 


A.  E.  Sproul,  writing  in  1884,  concerning  the  manner  in  which  the  town  received 
its  name,  says :  "The  idea  which  still  remains  current  to  a  considerable  extent, 
particularly  outside  the  borders  of  the  present  town,  that  Mr.  Holbrook  made  his 
munificent  gift  conditional  upon  the  proposed  town  being  named  for  him,  deserves 
emphatic  contradiction  at  the  hands  of  the  present  writer,  based  upon  tfie  most 
reliable  contemporary  testimony.  At  the  meeting  where  the  generous  proposal 
was  made,  the  citizens  assembled  at  once  brought  forward  the  name  'Holbrook' 
for  the  new  town,  and  it  received  almost  unanimous  approval  by  the  townspeople. 
The  name  was  adopted  n9t  so  much  in  honor  of  any  one  man  as  in  recognition  ot 
a  family  of  old  residents,  who  had  become  wealthy  in  the  prosecution  of  legiti- 
mate business,  and  who  had  always  shown  themselves  enterprisuig  and  public 
spirited,  and  alive  to  the  interests  of  the  community  with  which  they  were  for  so 
many  years  identified.  At  the  meeting  of  Decenilx;r  ylh,  therefore,  it  was  imme- 
diately voted  that  the  Legislature  be  petitionotl  to  name  the  new  town  Holbrook, 
if  incorporated,  and  three  cheers  were  given  tor  the  name,  and  three  more  and  a 
vote  of  thanks  for  Mr.  Holbrook." 


The  corporate  seal  of  Holbrook,  which  was  adopted  soon  after  the  town  gov- 
ernment was  organized,  is  of  neat  and  appropriate  design.  In  the  center  of  a 
circular  field  is  a  shield  bearing  a  portrait  of  Elisha  N.  Holbrodc,  and  above  the 
portrait  are  the  words  "Cochato,  1654."  To  the  right  of  the  shield  are  a  plow 
and  scythe,  and  to  the  left  an  anvil  and  hammer,  typifying  the  agricultural  and 
manufacturing  interests  of  the  town.  Above  the  shield  is  an  arm  brandishing  a 
drawn  sword,  signifying  that  Holbrook  can  be  relied  on  to  do  her  part  in  war  as 
well  as  in  peace.  In  the  upper  left  of  tiie  circular  fidd  is  the  legend:  "Braintree — 
1640*'  and  in  the  upper  right.  ''Randolph— 1793,"  showing  Holbrook's  civic  connec- 
tions before  it  was  organized  as  a  separate  town.  In  a  circle  around  the  margin 
of  the  seal  is  the  inscription:  "Town  of  Holbrook,  Mass.,  Incorporated  1872." 


By  the  act  of  May  8,  1885,  the  towns  of  Braintree,  Randolph  and  Holbrook 

were  severally  or  jointly  authorized  to  supply  themselves  with  water  from  Great 
Pond,  to  construct  buildings,  lay  pipes,  etc.,  and  for  the  construction  of  such 
waterworks,  buildings  and  pipes,  each  town  was  authorized  to  issue  bonds  in  any 
sum  not  exceeding  $100,000.  The  act  was  to  become  effective  when  it  was 
accepted  by  a  two^irds  vote  of  any  or  all  tfie  towns. 

Braintree  made  other  arrangements  about  a  water  supply,  but  the  towns  of 
Holbrook  and  Randolph  accepted  the  provisions  of  the  act  and  jointly  constructed 

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a  system  of  waterworks  to  supply  the  citizens  with  water  for  domestic  purposes 
and  provide  better  protection  against  loss  by  fire.  Subsequently  Holbrook  was 
authorized  to  issue  additional  bonds  to  the  amount  of  $35,000  to  complete  her 
portion  of  the  works.  A  pumping  station  was  built  at  Great  Pond  and  standpipes 
erected  in  each  of  the  towns,  and  the  water  was  turned  into  the  mains  in  the 
summer  of  1886.   (See  also  the  chapter  on  Randolph.) 

During  the  year  1916  the  board  of  water  commissioners  laid  6,122  feet  of  new 
main,  most  of  it  of  six  inch  pipe.  In  his  report  of  the  condition  of  the  works, 
Herbert  S.  Child,  the  town  auditor,  says :  "The  receipts  of  this  year  show  a  marked 
increase  over  last  year,  die  uncollected  accounts  are  about  $60000  won  and  the 
surplus  of  revenue  is  ^,129.56.  These  figures  certainly  prove  that  the  year  19x6 
was  a  prosperous  year,  whidi  is  due  to  the  able  and  efficient  management  of  the 


Holbrocdc  has  two  fire  stations — one  adjoining  the  town  hall  and  the  other  at 

Brookvillc,  in  the  southern  part  of  the  town.  Each  station  is  equipped  with  hook 
and  ladder  truck  and  hose  wagon,  and  the  hydrant  service  of  the  waterworks  is 
extended  to  all  parts  of  the  town.  According  to  the  report  of  the  board  of  engi- 
neers for  the  year  1916,  the  expense  of  maintaining  the  department  was  $1,863.57, 
and  twenty-two  calls  were  answered«  two  of  which  were  false  alarms.  The  mem- 
bers of  the  department  receive  pay  only  for  the  time  actually  emj^oyed  at  fires, 
or  in  work  connected  with  the  department. 


Holbrook  had  no  corporate  existence  at  the  time  of  the  Qvil  war,  beiqg  then  a 
part  of  Randolph.  However,  a  number  of  men  living  within  the  borders  of  the 

present  town  enlisted  in  some  of  the  Massachusetts  volunteer  regiments  and  served 
their  country  throughout  the  war.  At  the  annual  town  meeting  on  March  i,  1916, 
a  communication  was  received  from  £.  £.  Holbrook  offering  to  pay  one  half  the 
cost  of  a  soldiers'  monimient,  to  commemorate  die  valor  of  those  who  sacrificed 
their  lives  in  defense  of  the  Union.  The  meeting  extended  a  vote  of  thanks  to  Mr. 
Holbrook  for  his  generous  offer  and  referred  the  matter  to  a  committee  composed 
of  the  following  citizens:  Qiarles  E.  Brown,  W.  B.  Emery,  George  E.  Kent,  Joha 
King,  Charles  S.  Ludden,  Patrick  A.  Mack,  Charles  H.  McCarter,  Arthur  W, 
Paine  and  £.  N.  Thayer. 

At  a  special  meeting  on  October  11,  1916,  die  committee  reported  in  favor  of 
erecting  a  monument,  the  cost  of  which  should  not  exceed  three  thousand  dollars, 
to  be  located  in  the  park  near  the  town  hall,  and  that  Mr.  Holbrook  would  con- 
tribute $1,500  of  the  amount.  The  meeting  then  voted  to  appropriate  $1,500,  to 
be  taken  from  the  tax  levy  of  1917,  and  that  Louis  E.  Flye,  Philip  H.  Fraher,  J.  F. 
Megley,  John  W.  Porter,  H.  H.  Sampson  and  Ellis  A.  White  be  added  to  die 
committee,  whidi  should  have  full  diarge  of  the  fund  and  die  construction  of  the 
m(mument.  The  design  selected  was  that  of  Thomas  Carrigg  &  Son  of  Holbrook. 
It  con'jists  of  a  pedestal  of  Westerly  granite,  upon  which  is  the  figure  of  an  infan- 
try soldier  in  bronze,  seven  feet  high,  marching  with  his  musket  at  a  "right 

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shoulder  ahift."  Upon  the  front  of  the  pedestal  in  neat  raised  letters  is  the  inscrip- 
tion: ^*Thjs  memorial  is  erected  to  hmot  tiiote  who  offend  tfadr  Uvea  to  gain  and 
preserve  the  liberty  of  this  nation."  The  monument  was  dedicated  on  May  30, 1917. 


Holbrook  is  what  might  be  termed  an  average  town.  In  1915  eleven  of  the 
twenty-eight  towns  in  Norfolk  County  reported  a  smaller  population,  and  seven 
showed  a  lower  valuation  of  property.  The  population  at  that  time  was  2,948,  a 
gain  over  the  United  States  census  of  1910  of  132,  and  the  valuation  of  property 
was  $1,990,337.  The  Boston  &  Middleboro  division  of  the  Xcw  York,  New  Haven 
&  Hartford  Railroad  passes  through  the  town,  and  the  transportation  facilities 
are  aogmented  by  the  electric  line  that  runs  from  Quincy  to  Brockton.  Holbrook 
has  six  public  sdiool  buildings,  churches  of  different  denoorinatimis,  some  of  the 
fraternal  organizations  are  represented  by  lodges,  there  is  a  good  public  libraiy, 
the  streets  are  well  kept  and  lighted  by  electricity,  parks  and  playgrounds  have 
been  provided  for  recreation' and  the  accommodation  of  the  children,  and  there  are 
postoflices  at  Holbrook  and  Brookville.  Formerly  there  were  several  shoe  fac- 
tories in  the  town,  but  only  one  concern  of  this  character  remains,  the  others  having 
either  been  discontinued  or  removed  to  other  lo^tions. 

Following  is  a  list  of  the  principal  town  officers  at  the  begittniqg  of  the  year 
Kji":  George  W.  Porter,  John  King  and  Ira  W.  Paine,  selectmen  and  overseers 
of  the  poor;  Zenas  A.  French,  clerk;  luif^cne  Snell,  treasurer;  Frank  W.  Hol- 
brook, tax  collector ;  George  W.  Porter,  Charles  H.  McCarter  and  A.  C.  Belcher, 
assessors ;  Frank  L.  Hayden,  W.  F.  Bourbeau  and  Artiiur  W.  Paine,  water  com- 
missioners ;  Philip  H.  Fraher,  George  E.  White  and  James  A.  Windle,  park  com- 
missioners;  Mclvin  Coulter,  Ellis  A.  White  and  George  A.  Nason,  fire  engineers; 
Herbert  S  Child,  auditor;  S.  B.  Field,  Frank  T.  White  and  Mrs.  Sibyl  Niles, 
school  committee. 

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The  town  of  Medtidd  is  located  in  the  western  portion  of  Norfolk  County, 
Massachusetts.  The  town  is  of  irregular  form  and  is  bounded  as  follows:  on  the 
nordi  by  the  town  of  Dover;  on  the  cast  by  a  portion  of  Dover  and  Walpole ;  on 
the  aonth  by  Walpde  and  Norfolk;  and  on  the  west  by  the  Charles  River  fdiidi 

sqnrates  Mediield  from  Millis  and  Middlesex  County.  The  Charles  River  on 
the  west  is,  of  course,  the  most  important  stream  of  this  town,  with  Stop  River  as 
a  tributary  flowing  through  the  central  and  southern  parts  of  the  county. 


Although  much  detail  concerning  the  Indian  histor)-  of  this  territory  is  given 
in  the  chapter  devoted  to  that  subject,  something  of  it  must  necessarily  be  given 
as  an  introduction  to  the  settlement  and  organization  of  the  town  of  Medtield. 
All  the  region  to  the  southwest  of  Boston  was  occupied  by  several  Indian  tribes, 
among  them  the  Natidc,  the  Neponset  and  the  Nipmuck ;  tlw  whole  oi^anixation  of 
Indian  tribes  in  this  section  of  the  country  bore  the  general  name  of  Massachusctt. 
They  were  at  first  friendly  with  the  white  men,  but  after  the  English  had  accorded 
them  harsh  treatment  at  different  times,  their  friendship  changed  to  oj^en  ho^-tility. 

The  territory  south  and  cast  of  the  Charles  River  was  included  in  the  domain 
of  the  Neponset.  The  sachem  of  this  tribe,  Chickatabot,  was  friendly  with  tfie 
English  from  the  banning,  frequently  making  treaties  with  both  the  Plymouth 
and  Bay  colonies.  About  the  year  1632  William  Pynchon  of  Boston,  afterwards 
of  Springfield,  purchased  from  Chickatalx)t  all  of  the  territory  lying  between  the 
Charles  River  and  the  Neponset  River.  This  land  embraced  what  is  now  the  town 
of  Medtield,  as  well  as  several  other  NorfoUc  County  towns  as  far  south  as  the 
Rhode  Island  line.  The  boundaries  of  this  purchase  were  very  poorly  defined 
at  the  time  of  the  purdiase,  consequently  in  after  years  trouble  arose  between  the 
Indians  and  whites  over  the  exact  boundary  lines,  particularly  that  of  the  south. 
In  1635  the  colonial  goveniment  asked  for  persons  who  were  present  at  the  time 


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of  the  purchase  and  could  place  the  boundary  lines  as  they  were  laid  down.  How- 
ever, no  one  came  forward  with  the  information.  Ifany  of  the  Indians,  including 
Chidcatabot  himself,  had  been  stricken  with  deatfi  by  the  smallpox  scourge  of 
1633  and  there  were  few  left  to  respond. 


The  Town  of  Dedham  was  incorporated  in  i6j6  and  uicluded  "all  the  lands 
on  the  easterly  and  southerly  side  of  Charles  River  not  formerly  granted  to  any 
town  or  particular  person."  Roxbury  had  been  set  off  from  the  Pynchon  pur- 
chase prior  to  this  time,  so  Dedham,  when  formed,  comprised  all  the  remainder 
of  the  territory  included  in  that  purchase,  including  that  now  in  Medfield.  Med- 
fidd  remained  a  part  of  Dedham  for  a  period  of  fourteen  or  fifteen  years. 

The  land  now  within  the  Town  of  Medfield  was  little  used  for  many  years, 
except  as  pasture  and  hay  land.  All  of  the  territory  of  the  Charles  River  valley 
between  Medfield  on  the  east  and  Medway  and  Shcrborn  on  the  west,  with  adja- 
cent lands,  was  called  P.ogj^estow  by  the  Indians.  The  present  Town  of  Dedham 
embraced  but  a  small  portion  of  this.  The  plain  a  mile  east  of  the  village  was 
known  as  the  "herd^house  jrfain,"  proving  beyond  a  doubt  that  citizens  from 
Dedham,  and  possibly  from  other  settlements  utilised  this  vicinity  as  a  pasture 
ground.  As  early  as  1642  Dedham  granted  to  one  of  her  citizens  a  farm  of  350 
acres  "  to  lie  in  or  about  that  place  called  Boggestow,  or  not  far  from  thence."  This 
tract  of  land  was  on  the  east  side  of  the  river  and  was  afterward  bought  in  by 
the  selectmen  of  Medfield,  no  settlement  having  been  made  on  the  site. 


The  first  move  for  the  formation  of  a  new  settlement  and  town  was  made 
by  citizens  of  Dedham,  principally  because  several  of  the  men  of  Dedham  found 
the  town  too  small  for  them  and,  in  addition,  wished  to  gain  good  hnded  prop- 
erty for  themselves.  There  is  a  well  founded  supposition  that  certain  of  these 
reactionaries  desired  a  little  more  freedom  in  religious  matters  and  in  political 
discussions.  Ralph  Wheelock  was  the  principal  man  in  the  "new  territory"  group. 
He  had  been  educated  in  Enjjlantl  and  at  first  had  been  a  preacher  in  the  estab- 
hshed  church,  later  becoming  a  dissenter.  It  is  thought  that  Dedham  was  not 
entirely  agreeable  to  Wheelock  at  this  time.  Consequently,  a  number  of  citizens, 
led  by  Wheelock,  proposed  a  scheme  to  make  a  new  town  out  of  a  portion  of 
Dedham,  also  a  corresponding  portion  of  land  lying  on  the  west  side  of  the  river, 
so  including  the  river  bed  and  the  adjacent  rich  meadows. 


A  petition  was  written,  signed  by  the  citizens  interested,  and  presented  to  the 
General  Court,  askincf  for  a  g^rant  of  land  on  the  west  side  of  the  river.  This 
petition,  unfortunately,  has  not  been  preserved,  but  the  following  order  is  in- 
scribed on  the  records  of  the  court : 

**In  answer  to  a  petition  of  tiie  inhabitants  of  Dedham  for  a  parcel  of  upland 
and  meadow  adjoining  to  their  line,  to  make  a  village  in  quantity  four  miles  south 

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and  north  and  three  miles  east  and  west,  because  th^  are  'streightned'  at  their 

doors  by  other  towns  and  rocky  lands,  etc.  Their  request  is  granted  so  as  they 
erect  a  distinct  village  thereupon  within  one  year  from  this  day.  October  23.  K149, 
and  Captain  Keaine,  Mr.  Edward  Jackson  and  the  surveyor  general  are  appointed 
to  lay  it  out  at  any  time,  Dedham  giving  them  a  week's  warning." 

Thus,  the  date  of  this  grant  is  fixed  on  October  23,  1649.  The  land  described 
in  the  above  has  been  called  the  "old  grant/*  and  embraced  what  was  later  East 
Medway  and  now  the  Town  of  Millis. 


The  men  appointed  by  the  Cent  r  .1  Court  to  lay  out  the  lands  west  of  the  river 
performed  their  specified  du^.  In  the  colonial  record  for  May  32, 1650,  appear^ 

the  following : 

"Whereas  there  was  a  grant  made  by  the  General  Court  at  a  session  the  22d 
of  the  8th  month,  1649,  tmto  the  inhabitimts  of  Dedham  in  answer  to  a  petition  of 
theirs  for  the  enlargement  of  the  village  there,  as  by  the  said  grant  may  more  fully 

.ir  i «  if.  this  grant,  so  made,  was  laid  out  by  Capt.  Robert  Keaine  and  Mr.  Edward 
Jackson,  who  have  su])scribed  it  with  their  hands  in  manner  and  form  following: 
beginning  at  a  small  hill,  or  island,  in  the  meadow  on  the  west  side  of  the  Charles 
River,  and  running  from  thence  about  full  west  three  miles,  and  then,  turning  a 
south  line,  ended  at  the  Charles  River  at  three  miles  and  a  quarter,  this  line  being 
there  shorter  than  by  the  grant  it  was  allowed  to  be,  but  accepted  by  grantee,  the 
said  river  is  appointed  to  be  the  bounds  from  that  place  to  the  place  where  the 
first  line  began.  The  court  doth  approve  of  this  return  of  the  persons  above  men- 
tioned concerning  the  bounds  of  the  said  village  and  in  answer  to  the  inhabitants 
of  Dedham  'doe  order  that  it  shalbe  called  (Meadtield).' " 

In  the  above  the  small  hill,  or  island,  mentioned  is  about  one  quarter  mile 
north  of  the  Boggestow  pond;*the  line  "about  full  west"  nearly  the  present  line 
between  Medway  and  Sherbom  and  Holliston ;  the  "south  line"  marks  the  indenta- 
tion in  the  north  boundary  of  Medway  and  came  to  the  river  a  little  west  of 
Medway  village. 


On  Novemh}er  14th,  shortly  after  the  grant  had  been  obtained  from  the  General 
Court,  a  town  meeting  was  held  in  Dedham  and  a  jwrtion  of  the  original  Dedham 
territory  set  apart  for  the  new  town.  The  town  voted  tliat  there  should  be  "granted 
for  the  accommodation  of  the  village  so  much  land  within  the  west  end  of  the 
boimds  of  Dedhai^i  next  Boggestow  as  is  or  may  be  contained  witiiin  the  extent  of 
three  miles  east  and  west  and  four  miles  north  and  south — the  form  and  line  to  be 
varied  and  altered  as  in  the  judgment  of  such  men  as  shall  be  deputed  thereunto 
shall  seem  for  the  most  convenient  accomadation  both  of  Dedham  and  the  said 

In  the  following  January  three  men,  Ensign  miillips.  John  Dwight  and  Daniel 
Fisher,  were  appointed  to  lay  out  this  grant  before  the  middle  of  April.  1650. 
The  records  show  that  they  accomplished  their  mission  satisfactorily.  This  made 
two  separate  actions  taken  by  the  citizens  of  Dedham  for  the  formattcm  of  the 

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new  town  of  Medfield.  The  first  was  the  petition  to  the  General  Court,  the 
grant  hjr  tfiat  body  and  the  appointment  of  Keaine  and  Jadcson  to  lay  out  the 
«aid  grant ;  the  second  action  was  the  independent  move  of  Dedham,  severing  a 
portion  of  its  territory  from  the  western  side  of  the  town  and  adding  it  to  the 
land  obtained  by  the  General  Court's  grant,  also  the  appointment  of  Phillips, 
Dwight  and  Fisher  to  lay  it  out. 


The  why  and  wlurefore  of  the  name  Medficld  has  l>een  described  in  several 
ways.  In  the  report  made  by  C  aptain  Roliert  Keaiut*  and  l^dward  Jackson  is 
the  following:  "doe  order  that  it  shalbe  called  (Meaddeld;."  The  fact  that 
the  name  ts  contained  in  brackets  seems  to  be  sufikient  proof  that  it  had  not  been 
decided  upon,  but  was  tncorpcnated  in  the  report  later.  In  otiier  of  the  earlier 
records  the  name  is  also  spelled  Meadfield  and  Medfield.  Of  the  reasons  advanced 
for  the  name  the  principal  ones  are:  first,  the  open  field  where  the  village  was 
afterward  erected  was  called  the  "meadow  field,"  hence  the  contraction  into  Med- 
field;  second,  that  there  were  open  fields  north  and  south  of  the  town,  which  led 
to  the  name  of  "mid  field;"  and  third,  that  many  of  the  settlers  near  here  came 
from  the  towns  of  Dedham  and  Medfield  in  Old  England,  which  lay  very  close 
together.  Tradition  says  that  the  town  of  Medfield  in  New  England  received 
as  a  present  a  bell  from  Medfield,  England;  however,  no  confirmation  of  this  inci- 
dent is  available.  The  latter  theory  of  the  origin  of  the  name  is  the  most  plaus- 
ible. It  Is  true  that  Dedham  received  her  name  In  this  manner,  which  lends 
strei^h  to  the  conjecture  that  Medfield  also  received  a  name  similarly. 


At  the  town  meeting  held  in  Dcdiiam,  November  14,  1649,  a  committee  was 
appointed  to  look  after  the  affairs  of  the  proposed  town  of  Medfield.  This  com- 
mittee was  composed  of  the  following  men:  Ralph  Wheelock,  Thomas  W^t, 
Robert  Hinsdale,  Hemy  Chickeruig,  John  Dwight,  Peter  Woodward  and  Eleazer 

Lusher.  These  men  were  chosen  principally  to  superintend  the  various  activities 
incident  to  the  new  territory  prior  to  the  tin:e  of  incorporation. 

At  the  same  meeting  in  Dedham  the  question  was  proposed  and  discussed  as 
to  die  conditions  upon  which  the  lands  were  to  be  granted.  Some  of  those  present 
desired  that  they  be  freely  given,  while  others,  in  consideration  of  their  town 
rights  in  the  meadows,  thought  the  grantees  should  pay  the  sum  of  £  100  "to  be 
divided  among  such  of  the  inhabitants  of  Dedham  as  do  not  remove  to  the  village." 
This  latter  view  prevailed,  but  the  amount  the  settler  should  pay  was  afterward 
reduced  to  ^50. 

Wheelock,  Hinsdale  and  Thomas  Wight  were  the  first  to  go  to  the  new  settle- 
ment;  Chickering,  John  Dwight  and  Woodward  were  named  to  rt-main  in  Ded- 
ham and  act  for  that  town ;  while  Eleazer  Lusher  was  appointed  clerk  of  the  town 
until  Meflfield  was  officially  reco^^nized. 

About  this  time  the  "agreement"  was  drawn  up  by  the  committee,  in  all  prob- 
ability written  by  Ralph  Wheelock  himself,  who  was  tiie  foremost  figure.  Among 
tiie  things  provided  for  in  this  agreement  were :  that  all  persons  receiving  grants 

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of  land  from  the  new  town  should  become  subject  to  the  town  government  j  that  all 
differences  of  opinion  or  discussions  were  to  be  seliicd  by  reference  or  arbitration, 
without  resorting  to  the  courts;  that  no  one  should  be  permitted  to  become  a 
townsman,  but  such  as  were  honest,  peaceable  and  free  from  the  burden  of  a  bad 
leputaticn ;  that  grants  of  land  were  to  be  given  to  the  settlers  according  to  the 
extent  of  their  wealth  and  the  number  of  people  in  the  family;  that  no  one  was 
to  receive  in  the  first  grant  more  than  twelve  acres  of  upland  and  twelve  of 
meadow,  nor  less  than  six  of  each;  and  that  none  should  receive  lands  except 
those  who  intended  to  become  actual  settlers,  also  that  all  settlements  should  be 
made  before  the  end  of  May,  165 1.  Teachers  and  church  officers  were  specially 
provided  for  and  the  probable  town  hall  site  set  oflf  for  the  minister,  which  in 
this  case  went  to  Rev.  John  Wilson.  A  tablet  is  now  fixed  to  the  town  hall  mark- 
ing this  home  of  the  first  minister ;  it  was  set  in  place  by  the  Medfield  Historical 

The  first  roads  were  also  designated  about  this  time,  but  no  record  exists  of 

their  exact  location.  The  main  road  from  Dedham  to  Boggestow  entered  Med* 
field  near  Foundry  Street.  A  bridge  was  constructed  across  the  Charles  River  near 
the  later  town  farm  and  a  road  run  eastward  through  the  town  to  Dedham.  From 
this  road,  at  the  center  of  the  town,  a  road  ran  northward,  now  North  Street,  and 
another  south,  near  Pleasant  Street  The  meeting  house  lot  and  the  cemetery  were 
laid  out  about  the  same  time. 


The  committee  in  charge  of  affairs  held  a  meeting  on  May  10,  1650,  when  pro- 
visions were  made  for  the  laying  out  of  house  lots  in  Medfield.  Thomas  Wight, 
Robert  Hinsdale,  Timothy  Dwight,  Samuel  Bullen  and  John  Fiairy  were  appointed 

to  assist  the  survqror,  or  •'measurer,"  in  this  work.  Also,  every  grantee  was 
ordered  to  pay  the  sum  of  one  shilling  to  the  collector,  Thomas  Wight.  On  June 
19,  1650,  the  committee  named  proceeded  to  lay  out  the  first  thirteen  house  lots  in 
the  new  town. 

Number  One  went  to  Ralph  Wheelock;  this  consisted  of  twdve  acres  at  the 
west  comer  of  Main  and  North  Streets.  Number  Two  was  taken  by  John  Ellis ; 
his  lot  later  was  known  as  the  I  pham  Place  These  two,  with  that  of  Rev.  John 
W'ilson,  were  the  only  lots  then  taken  on  Main  Street.  Each  of  three  had  what 
was  known  as  a  "home  field"  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  street,  extending  through 
as  far  as  Street  Lot  Number  Three  was  apportkmed  to  Sanniet  Bullen. 
This  site  was  on  the  lane  leading  out  of  Philip  Street,  near  South  Street.  Number 
Four  was  given  to  Daniel  Morse,  consisting  of  twelve  acres  next  to  that  of  Samud 
Bullen  "to  the  southeast  and  brook  southwest."  Numbers  Five,  Six,  Seven  and 
Fight  were  assigned  to  Janus  .Allen.  Joseph  Clark.  I'Vancis  Hamant  and  John 
Turner  respectively,  all  on  South  Street  from  the  Rhodes  House  to  the  comer  of 
Curve  Street.  To  John  Frairy  went  Number  Nine,  comprising  twelve  acres  on 
what  is  now  Frairy  Street  Timothy  Dwight  received  twelve  acres  on  tiie  same 
street,  his  lot  being  Numl)er  Ten.  Number  Eleven  consisted  of  three  and  a  half 
acres  on  the  later  site  of  the  Ednnuid  ("henery  home,  from  the  brook  to  Green 
Street,  and  was  granted  to  Robert  Hinsdale.  Number  Twelve  was  granted  to 
Thomas  Wight  and  Number  Thirteen  to  John  Wight,  his  son.    These  latter  two 

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wtK  located  east  of  the  Hinsdale  grant,  on  the  lane  leading  to  thdr  houses,  now 
Green  Stieet,  Imt  for  many  years  called  Wight's  Lane. 


During  the  following  year  there  was  little  or  no  building  in  the  new  town. 
Isaac  Chenery  and  Henry  Smith  located  on  South  Street  beyond  Oak  Street. 
Joshua  Fisher,  Geoi^e  Barber  and  John  Thurston  obtained  lots  on  East  Main 
Street  from  Reverend  Wilson's  home  to  the  Hewins  Place.  John  Bullard,  John 
Plimpton  and  John  Metcalf  located  their  homes  on  West  Main  Street  from  the 
railroad  to  the  cemeter>'.  Joseph  Morse,  with  his  aged  father,  Samuel,  obtained 
grants  on  Pound  Street.  John  Pratt,  William  Partridge,  Thomas  Ellis,  Thomas 
Mason  and  John  Partridge  selected  sites  on  North  Street.  Ten  families  came  to 
the  new  town  from  Weymouth  and  Braintrcc.  Thcsi  crinsistcd  of  Ilenjamin  Alby,  \ 
John  Bowers,  Nicholas  Rockwood,  Alexander  Lovell.  Abraham  Har<linp;,  Henry 
Adams,  John  Fussell,  Edward  Adams.  IVter  Adams  and  Margaret  Shfpi)ard.  All 
took  lots  on  Bridge  Street,  in  the  order  named,  from  the  almshouse  to  the  comer 
of  Bridge  and  Main  Streets.  The  above  named  persons,  with  the  original  thirteen 
grantees,  constitated  the  first  settlers  of  the  town  of  Medfidd.  The  first  family 
to  remove  to  their  Medfield  home  was  that  of  Samuel  BuUen,  whose  house  stood 
near  Philip  Street. 


January  1 1,  165 1.  a  general  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  of  Dcdham  was  held, 
at  which  time  the  following  vote  was  passed :  "It  is  by  the  town  of  Dedham  con- 
sented unto  and  ordered  that  the  power,  right  and  privilege  of  town  government 
that  hath  hitherto  and  is  remaining  in  the  township  of  Dedham,  or  any  of  their 
tmstees  or  assigns,  whereby  they  have  and  did  act  in  and  on  behalf  of  the  town 
of  Medfield,  shall  be,  or  hereby  is,  wholly  or  totally  transmitted  and  delivered  into 
the  hands,  power  and  disposii^  of  the  township  of  Medfield  in  general  and  the 
selectmen  thereof  and  their  successors  forever.  And  do  also  further  agree  with 
those  of  Medfield  that  are  now  present  that  such  care  as  is  necessary  that  due  and 
seasonable  payment  be  made  of  that  debt  due  from  Medheld  to  this  town  upon 
reasonable  demand  thereof.  And  further  promise  as  much  forbearance  thereof 
as  the  public  occasion  of  the  town  admit  of." 


The  sanction  of  the  General  Court  was  given  on  May  22, 165 1,  by  an  act  en*^ 
titled  "Medfidd's  Power,'*  which  read  as  follows: 

"There  being  a  town  lately  erected  beyond  Dedham,  in  the  county  of  Suffolk, 
upon  the  Charles  River,  called  by  the  name  of  Meadfeild.  upon  their  reqtiest  made 
to  this  General  Court,  this  court  hath  granted  them  all  the  j^owers  and  [)rivileges 
which  other  towns  do  enjoy  according  to  law."  Medfield  was  the  forty-third  town 
in  the  colony  in  the  (Hxler  of  incorporation.  The  first  board  of  sdectmen  for  Med- 
fidd consisted  of  Ralph  Wheelock,  Timothy  Dwight,  Robert  Hinsdale,  John  Frairy 
and  Benjamin  A%,  with  Henry  Adams  as  clerk. 

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In  the  above  account  of  the  incorporation  of  the  town  of  Medheld  the  year 
1651  is  pven  as  the  time  of  this  occurrence.  To  this  statement  there  may  be  a 
difference  of  opinion.  The  date  is  that  used  by  W.  S.  Tilden  in  his  various  his- 
torical descriptions  of  the  town.  Mr.  Tilden,  while  living,  was  known  as  a  care- 
ful student  and  writer  of  history  and  his  works  bear  a  reputation  of  accuracy 
and  veracity.  However,  there  are  other  authorities  which  place  the  date  of  incor- 
poration in  the  year  The  Manual  fen-  the  General  Court,  1917,  also  the 
New  England  Historic  Genealogical  Society's  puUication  known  as  the  Medfield 
Vital  Records,  jdace  the  date  of  incorporation  as  May  32, 1650. 


It  has  been  stated  before  that  the  first  family  to  move  to  Medfield  to  take  up 
residence  was  that  of  Samuel  Bullen,  whose  house  stood  near  Philip  Street  The 
meadows  surrounding  the  village  proper  were  laid  out  into  grants  in  the  year  1652 
and  given  to  the  owners  of  house  lots.  The  following  year  the  lands  easily 
accessible  to  cultivation  were  divided,  according  to  persons  and  estates,  each  mem- 
ber of  the  household  being  appraised  at  ten  pounds.  The  same  year  the  town 
cleric  bqian  the  vital  records---births,  deaths  and  marriages—which  have  been 
continued  until  the  present  time. 

The  custom  of  burning  over  all  the  waste  lands  in  November  of  each  year, 
which  custom  was  learned  from  the  Indians,  was  continued  in  Medfield  for  many 
years.  The  purpose  was  to  clear  the  land  of  underbrush  and  so  provide  good 
pasturage  for  the  live  stock. 

For  many  years,  or  prior  to  1660,  the  granting  of  house  lots  to  new  settlers, 
the  division  of  wood  lands,  laying  out  town  roads,  making  provisions  for  fences 
and  bounds,  and  a<lopting  other  ordinances  for  the  good  of  the  community  gave 
the  settlers  plenty  to  do.  A  pair  of  stocks  for  the  punishment  of  the  unruly  were 
also  placed  upon  a  public  spot. 

The  territoiy  west  of  die  river  was  enlarged  in  the  year  1659  by  what  w«8 
known  as  the  "new  grant"  This  land  covered  an  area  of  two  miles  east  and  west 
and  four  miles  north  and  south.  All  the  owners  of  house  lots  in  Medfield  shared 
in  the  division  of  this  territor)\  the  same  being  laid  out  in  portions  of  fifty  to  one 
hundred  and  fifty  acres.  Very  soon  afterward  families  began  to  settle  on  the 
west  side  of  the  river. 

The  first  emigration  frtmi  the  town  occurred  about  the  year  1670*  when  the 
Hinsdales,  Plimptons  and  Frairys  removed  to  the  Onmecticut  Vall^.  Near  the 
same  time  a  post  road  was  established  from  Boston  to  Hartford  and  a  road  laid 
out  from  Medfield  to  Mendon.  In  1672  John  Awashamog.  an  Indian  of  Xatick. 
laid  claim  to  the  territory  west  of  the  Charles  River.  The  Xatick  tribe  had  been 
the  original  holders  of  this  territory  and  it  would  seem  that  the  Indian's  claim  bore 
some  weight  for  it  was  compromised  by  the  payment  of  twenty-one  pounds.  The 
year  1676  was  a  memorable  one  in  the  history  of  Medfield,  for  in  diis  year  occurred 
King  Philip's  war  and  the  burniner  of  Medfield.  Details  of  this  disastrous  event 
may  be  found  in  Chapter  TIT  of  this  voUime. 

Again,  in  1685,  Josias,  a  son  of  Chickatabot,  made  a  claim  to  the  lands  within 

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the  town  of  Medfield.   Mr.  Pynchon  had  already  purcliaaed  the  land  and  paid 

for  it,  hut  as  no  deed  could  be  discovered  the  town  was  forced  to  Compromise 
with  the  IncHan  for  ten  pounds  four  shillings. 

The  Lllack  Swamp  lands  were  laid  out  in  the  year  1702  to  the  proprietors,  num- 
bering  one  hundred  and  twenty-three.  About  twenty-seven  of  these  lived  west 
of  the  Charles  River.  k 


In  171 2  the  question  of  dividing  the  town  of  Medfield  was  sericMisly  discussed 
by  the  citizens.  In  1713  the  people  on  the  west  side  of  the  river  sent  a  petition 
to  the  General  Court,  a  committee  was  appointed  and  instructed  to  visit  the  land 
in  question  and  make  a  report.   This  they  did  and  advised  a  division  of  the  town. 

By  an  act  of  the  Legislature,  October  25.  1713.  the  town  of  Medway  was  set  off 
and  the  Charles  River  became  the  western  boundary  of  Medfield.  This  division 
is  treated  more  at  length  in  Chapter  XXI  on  the  Town  of  Medway. 


The  first  moves  for  the  division  of  the  county  of  Suffolk  occurred  in  the  year 
1726,  but  not  until  over  a  half  century  later  did  they  materialize.  The  town  of 
Medfield  took  great  interest  throughout  this  long  stretch  of  years  and  frequently 
the  discussion  occupied  most  of  the  time  at  the  town  meetings.  The  result,  as 
stated  before,  was  the  formation  of  Norfolk  County  in  1793.  At  one  time  the 
proposition  was  advanced  to  make  Medfield  the  shire-town,  but  the  objections  of 
certain  citizens  prevented  this.  They  said  that  the  temptation  of  the  citizens  to 
visit  the  court  room  during  the  time  of  trials  would  be  prejudicial  to  industrial 


The  following  table  of  figures  relative  to  the  population  of  the  Town  of  Med- 
field will  be  found  interesting  in  view  of  the  fact  that  it  has  never  been  published 
in  a  historical  volume  upon  Medfield.  The  census  statistics  are  taken  from  the 
state  and  goveniment  census  reports  as  compiled  by  the  New  England  Historic 

Genealogical  Society.  It  is  stated  by  one  authority  that  in  1675,  twenty-five  years 
after  the  incorporation  of  the  town,  Medfield  had  seventy-seven  landed  pro- 


1660  (Prov.)   234 

1765  (Prov.)    626 

1776  (Prov)    775 

1790  (U.  S.)   731 

1800  (U.  S.)   745 

1810  (U.  S.)   786 

1820  (U.  S.)   893 

1830  (U.  S.)   817 

1840  CU.  S.)   883 

1850  (U.  S.)   966 

Tal.  I— IS 

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1855  (State)    984 

mo  (U.  s.)   1,082 

1805  (State)  1,012 

1870  (U.  S.)   1,142 

1875  (State)  1.163 

1880  (U.  S.)   1^71 

1885  (State)   1.594 

i8fp  (U.  S.)   1,493 

1895  (State)  1,872 

1900  (U.  S.)   2.926 

1905  (State)  3,314 

1910  (U.  S.)   3.466 

1915  (State)  3.648 



The  first  effort  for  the  establishment  of  a  postoffice  in  the  Town  of  Medfield 

was  mack'  in  i  Sf/i.  Daniel  Adams  wrote  to  Seth  Hastings  of  Mendon,  Congress- 
man, under  date  {^f  January  28,  1806,  'Stating  many  reasons  why  Mcdhelci  ^hoidd 
have  a  regularly  established  postoffice,  also  extolHng  his  own  qualities  for  the 
position  of  postmaster.  Prior  to  this  time  the  citizens  had  been  compelled  to  go 
to  Dedham  or  Medway  for  their  mails.  Mr.  Adams  did  not  succeed  in  obtaining 
the  postmastership,  although  Medfield  was  given  the  office  April  i,  1807.  and 
Samuel  Seaver  appointed  the  first  postmaster.  He  kept  the  office  in  his  small 
store  on  the  comer  of  N'orth  and  Main  streets,  where  he  had  succeeded  Oliver 
Wheelock  in  business.  The  postofiice  is  now  located  in  the  town  hall. 


In  the  year  i8r/)  the  town  received  a  hefjuest  from  George  \V.  Chenen,-  for 
the  purpose  of  constructing  a  town  hall  in  the  village  of  Medfield.  This  sum  of 
money,  amounting  to  $23,700  was  placed  in  the  hands  of  the  following  trustees: 
Charles  Hamant.  Isaac  Fi^e  and  E.  P.  Carpenter,  the  latter  of  Foxboio.  In  1869 
the  trustees  purchased  the  old  tavern  lot  in  the  center  of  the  vilfa^  for  $1,760  for 
the  site  of  the  liall  Tn  1872  the  town  hall  was  erected  and  dedicated  on  September 
lOth.  The  firm  of  Hartwell  &  Swasey  drew  the  plans  and  the  contracting  was 
done  by  C.  11.  &  W.  Stewart.  The  total  cost  of  the  building,  exclusive  of  the 
land,  was  $26,668. 

The  citizens  of  Medfield  were  permitted  to  enjoy  their  excdlent  new  haU  but 
little  over  a  year.  On  January  8,  1874.  the  building  was  destroyed  by  fire,  widi 
the  exception  of  a  small  portion  of  the  tower.  The  public  library,  the  fire  engine 
and  apparatus  and  the  hearse  which  was  kept  in  the  basement  were  all  burned, 
also  a  portion  of  the  public  records.  By  the  heroic  efforts  of  a  few  of  the  citizens, 
led  by  Charles  Hamant,  the  safe  which  contained  valuable  town  documents,  was 
suspended  by  a  chain  and  prevented  from  falling  into  the  flames  below;  tiiis  alone 
saved  the  most  important  records  from  destruction.  The  fire  occurred  very  late 
at  night  and  by  the  time  the  alarm  had  been  turned  in  had  progressed  too  far  to 
be  checked. 

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The  town  waited  but  a  short  time  before  taking  action  toward  the  erection  of 
a  new  town  hall  upon  the  site  of  the  old  one.  On  January  24th  a  meeting  w  ati  held 
and  there  a  vote  was  taken  to  rebuild  the  hall  inunediately.  T.  W.  Silloway  was 
named  as  the  architect  and  Mead,  Mason  &  Company  were  awarded  the  ccmtract 
for  building.  The  total  cost  of  the  reconstruction  was  $21,500,  of  which  sum 
$15,000  was  received  frotn  the  insurance.  The  new  town  hall  was  redcdicated 
November  2,  1874,  with  appropriate  exercises.  The  ])ostotiice,  public  library,  and 
historical  society  rooms  are  now  housed  in  the  building. 

However,  the  library  and  historical  society  will  in  the  near  future  be  moved 
into  the  handsome  new  brick  library  building  in  process  of  erection  opposite  the 
town  hall  on  Main  Street.  This  building  was  given  to  the  town  of  Medfield  by 
Granville  S.  Dailey. 


The  one  deserving  first  mention  among  the  early  settlers  of  the  town  of  Med- 
field  is  undoubtedly  Ralph  Wheelock,  often  spoken  of  as  the  "founder  of  Med- 
fidd.''  Wheelock  received  his  education  at  Clare  Hall.  Cambridge  University, 
England,  where  he  took  his  degree  in  1626  and  1631.  For  a  time  he  was  a  preacher 
in  the  Established  Church.  In  i6j8  he  came  to  Dedham,  was  made  a  freeman 
March  15.  1638,  and  died  at  Medfield  January  11,  1684.  For  several  generations 
aftenvard  descendants  of  Ralph  Wheelock  lived  in  Medfield.  Col.  Ephraim 
W  lieelock.  his  great-grandson,  served  in  both  the  I-'rench  and  Indian  and  the  Revo- 
lutionary Wars.  Notwithstanding  the  fact  that  sonic  writers  have  criticised  Ralph 
Wheelock  for  his  dissenting  views,  it  cannot  be  denied  that  he  was  a  man  of 
energy,  large  ideas  and  stnSng  executive  ability.  To  his  efforts  may  be  credited  the 
success  of  the  movement  to  form  the  new  town  of  Medfield. 

The  next  in  order  of  importance  in  early  Medfield  was  the  Rev.  John  Wilson, 
the  first  minister  in  the  town,  whose  residence  stood  on  the  site  of  the  town  hall. 
Reverend  Wilson  commenced  his  pastorate  here  in  December,  1^151.  He  con- 
tinued his  work  among  the  people  of  Medfield  a  little  over  forty  years,  when  his 
death  occurred  in  1691.  He  was  a  mudi  loved  man  and  of  sterling  quality. 

Timothy  Dwight,  son  of  John  Dwight.  one  of  the  original  thirteen  house  lot 
trrantees,  was  a  freeman  June  2,  1641.  Dwipht  was  a  representative  for  Medfield 
in  1652.    He  died  in  this  town  in  the  year  1677. 

Daniel  Morse,  son  of  Samuel  Morse,  first  came  to  Dedham  and  then  to  Med- 
field. He  became  a  freeman  May  6, 1635.  His  death  occurred  in  Sherbom  in  1688. 

Thomas  Wight  came  from  the  Isle  of  Wight  to  Dedham  in  1637.  He  was  of 
the  Medfield  incorporation  and  died  March  17,  if>74. 

Robert  Hinsdale,  one  of  the  first  thirteen  lot  holders.  l)ecame  a  freeman  March 
^.l-  i^'3^-  He  htcr  moved  to  Medfield.  thence  to  Iladley,  where  he  resided  for 
several  years,  and  then  to  Deerfield.  At  the  latter  place  he  was  killed,  with  his 
three  sons,  by  the  Indians  at  the  time  of  Captain  Lothrop's  defeat  at  Bloody 

.Samuel  Bullen  became  a  freeman  June  2,  1641.  and  died  January  16,  16912. 

He  was  one  of  the  first  settlers  in  the  town  of  Medfield. 

George  P.arber  first  came  to  Dedham  in  i^>43,  and  later  moved  to  Mcdiield.  He 
became  a  freeman  May  16,  1647,  was  a  representative  in  1668-9  a  high  militia 
oflker.  ^ 




The  improvement  of  roads,  public  conveniences  and  private  property  has  been 
a  matter  of  gradual  and  substantial  growth  in  Mcdrteld.  This  growtli  lias  ex- 
tended over  a  period  of  many  years  and  is  an  excellent  proof  of  the  stabihty  of 
the  towa  Another  feature  of  Medfidd  at  the  present  time  is  the  fact  that  diere 
is  practically  no  debt  to  burden  the  citizens.  In  the  past  Medfield  has  bonded 
itself  heavily»  but  in  recent  years  these  debts  have  been  cleared  away,  leaving  the 
town  in  191 7-1 8  in  very  prosperous  condition. 

Water  is  sui)plied  by  the  Medfield  Water  Company,  the  supply  being  taken 
from  springs.  A  city  plant  was  first  proposed  about  1^2,  but  never  materialized. 
The  present  company  was  oi^nized  several  years  later.  The  Medfield  Electric 
Light  and  Power  Company  supplies  electricity  to  the  inhabitants.  This  corpora- 
tion was  established  in  November,  1900. 

The  lirst  attemjn  at  sewer  construction  was  made  in  the  'Sos,  when  the  straw 
works  and  the  town  divided  upon  the  expense  of  constructing  a  sewer  to  carry  the 
waste  from  the  factory.  In  1886  the  town  voted  to  build  a  common  sewer  from 
a  point  on  North'  Street  to  a  point  northwest  of  Dale  Street,  where  a  filtering 
basin  was  constructed.  In  1881  a  sewer  had  been  laid  from  the  corner  of  Main 
and  Pleasant  streets  along  North  Street  to  the  Meeting  House  I'ond.  The  sewer 
then  started  has  been  extended  at  ditterent  times  until  now  practically  every 
Street  of  importance  in  the  village  of  Medfield  is  provided  with  this  convenience. 
Land  was  donated  by  D.  D.  Curtis  for  the  sewer-bed. 

A  lafge  amomit  of  road  improvement  has  been  accomplished  within  the  last 
decade.  There  is  hardly  a  half  mile  of  roadway  in  the  town  now  not  improved 
and  finished  with  Tarvia,  a  road  bed  composition  of  good  wearing  quality.  The 
streets  of  the  town  were  first  given  names  in  1855,  principally  for  the  con- 
venience in  bounding  lands  and  executing  conveyances.  The  selectmen  who  per- 
formed this  task  and  christened  the  roads  were  Charles  C.  SewalU  Geoige  M. 
Smith  and  Benjamin  F.  Shumway.  In  1856  some  of  the  old  town  roads  were 

.Xdequate  fire  protection  is  supplied  by  the  usual  hook  and  ladder  and  hose 
companies;  the- excellent  water  supply  and  pressure  assist  greatly  in  the  preven- 
tion of  any  more  disastrous  years  of  fires  such  as  occurred  in  the  early  '70s. 
The  first  fire  engine  in  the  town  was  a  gift  some  years  before  1832.  This  antiquated 
engine  was  kept  in  a  barn.  A  Hunneniair  fire  engine  was  purchased  in  1853  at  a 
cost  of  $600.  A  short  time  afterward  an  engine  house  was  constructed  on  North 
Street  and  a  company  formed.  In  1S77  a  hook  and  ladder  truck,  with  apparatus, 
was  purchased  by  the  town  and  another  company  formed.  The  first  telephone 
line  built  in  the  town  came  throu^  in  1883. 

The  first  step  tatoi  for  the  erectkm  of  a  building  for  the  care  of  the  poor 
and  destitute  occurred  in  1837  when  the  town  purchased  the  farm  of  Geoi^ 
Newell  for  $3,100  and  clianf,'ed  it  into  a  poor  farm.  Until  this  time  paupers  were 
placet  1  on  fHiblic  auction  and  sold  to  the  lowest  bidder  for  their  support. 

I  he  visitor  to  Medfield  town  is  at  once  impressed  by  the  large  number  of  stately 
trees  lining  the  roadways,  some  of  them  of  magnificent  proportions  and  of  great 
age.  These  trees  are  not  aO  the  products  of  chance,  for  in  the  year  1798  the 
citizens  of  the  town  became  interested  in  the  ^stematic  planting  of  trees  along 

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Tin:  K.  V.  MITrllKLL  CYIMI'AW  S  HAT  KA(  niRY,  MKDI  1KM> 

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the  streets.  The  silvan  beauty  of  the  town  and  village  is  largdy  the  result  of  the 
enthttstasm  aroused  at  that  time  for  tree  planting. 


A  daughter  of  John  Ellis,  afterward  the  wife  of  Samuel  Rockwood,  was  first 
white  female  child  bom  in  the  town. 

The  first  death  was  that  of  the  infant  child  of  Rev.  John  Wilson  in  De- 
cember, 1652.  The  first  death  among  the  settlers  was  that  of  John  W^ht  in 

The  marriage  of  Thomas  Mason  and  Margery  Partridge  in  1653  was  the 
first  in  the  town.  The  ceremony  was  performed  by  Eleazer  Lusher  of  Dedham. 
No  minister,  unless  possibly  the  Episcopal,  was  qualitied  under  the  English  law 
to  marry  people  tintil  about  thirty  years  later.  Ralph  Wheelock  was  appointed 
magistrate  in  1656,  then  he  had  die  privilege  of  conducting  the  marriage  cere- 
monies in  this  vicinity. 

The  first  murder  in  Medfield  occurred  in  the  year  1802,  when  William  P. 
Allen  was  killed  by  his  brother-in-law,  Ebenezer  Mason.  Mason  was  tried,  coii- 
vtcted  and  hanged  on  the  7th  of  October.  His  body  was  stolen  from  the  grave 
shortly  afterward  and,  although  a  half-hearted  atttempt  was  made  to  recover  it, 
iht  effort  was  unsuccessful. 

In  1656  occurred  the  marriage  of  Thomas  llollirook  and  Hannah  Sheppard, 
before  Ralph  \\  heelock  and  Thomas  Grubb,  the  first  before  the  town  commis- 
sioners of  Medheld. 


The  first  list  of  property  vahmtions  on  record  for  the  Town  of  Medfield  are 
those  of  1652,  and  not  all  of  them  are  itemized.*  As  an  example  of  the  method 
of  valuations  the  following  account  tmder  the  heading  of  *'Ra]ph  Whedock  His 

Estate"  is  given :  , 

£  s.  d. 

Psons.  10  100  o  o 

Acrs  9  bro.                                      33  o  o 

Unbro.  3                                           5  o  o 

Orch                                              10  o  o 

House                                                   30  o  o 

Oxen  2                                                14  o  o 

Cows  2   12  o  o 

3  yearL                                           5  o  .0 

2  yearl                                            3  10  o 

One  yearl                                               2  o  o 

Debts  to  rece                                          40  o  o 

Overplus  of  first  estate  given  in  20  o  o 

274  10  o 


There  were  thirty-four  prnperty  holrlers  lifted  in  thi';  first  valuation  of  town 
wealth.  Their  names  and  the  total  valuation  of  their  holdings  are  given  in  the 
following  table: 

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John  Bower   *,  £9! 

Robert  Hinsdale   250 

John  Thurston   246 . 

Francis  Hamant  lOi 

Albert  Harding  31 1 

James  Allin  139 

Isaac  Chenery   41 

Edward  Adams   104 

Peter  Adams   100 

Alexander  Lovell   88 

John  Plimpton   ;  106 

Daniel  Morse  251 

John  Turner  116 

John  Bullard  ...,.166 

John  AUioe  148 

Geotge  Barber  240 

Joseph  Clark  183 

Samuel  I'.ullen   175 

Henry  Smith   183 

John  W  ilson  231 

John  Frairy  316 

Benjamin  Alby  183 

Timothy  Dwight  278 

Thomas  Dwight  322 

John  Wight    88 

Widow  Sheppard   105 

Joshua  Fisher  180 

Joseph  Morse   260 

Samuel  Morse  90 

Thomas  Grubb  200 

John  Aletcalf  135 

Nidiolas  Rodcwood  100 

Henry  Adams  210 

Ralph  Wheelock   See  above 

The  whole  valuation  of  the  property  in  Medfield  in  1652  totaled  i5i834- 


In  early  Medfield  slavery  prevailed  to  some  extent.  Rev.  Jos^  Baxter,  in  his 

will  whidi  was  prol)ated  in  1745,  bequeathed  to  his  wife  the  slave  woman  Nanny. 

He  also  named  certain  conditions  of  good  beha\  inr  by  which  Kanny  could  even- 
tually {jain  her  freedom.  Warwick  Green,  Colonel  W  heelock's  body  servant 
during  his  service  in  the  army,  was  brought  here  directly  from  Africa.  New- 
port Green  was  another  slave  in  this  town. 

A  cemetery  along  ^^ain  Street  was  laid  out  immediately  after  the  settlement 
of  the  town.  This  plot  of  ground  was  cleared  of  bushes  and  undergrowth  every 
year  and  in  1843  was  tirst  enlarged  by  an  addition  of  land  on  the  north  and  cast. 
A  wall  next  to  the  street  was  built,  paths  and  driveways  laid  out,  and  trees 

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planted.  The  resting  jdaces  of  only  four  of  the  original  settlers  could  be  found 
in  recent  years,  the  graves  being  those  of  Rev.  John  Wilson,  Samuel  Bullen, 
Samuel  Morse  and  John  Metcalf. 

About  the  year  1856  a  law  was  passed  tliat  every  town  should  have  an  "ordi< 
nary"  or  public  house.  The  pioneer  tavern  keeper  in  Medfield  was  Joshua  Fisher, 
who  opened  up  for  business  where  the  home  of  Mrs.  Margaret  He  wins  was  after- 
ward located.  Samuel  Sadey  began  to  operate  a  public  house  on  North  Street, 
opposite  the  head  of  Dale  Street;  another  was  in  the  south  part  of  town  and 
£rst  kept  by  Sabin  Mann ;  another  was  started  by  Seth  Clark ;  Moses  Richard- 
son also  kept  one  in  the  east  part  of  towa  In  1810  David  Fairbanks,  a  prominent 
bostness  man  of  Medfidd  at  this  time,  built  a  tavern  on  the  site  of  the  town  hall 
and  this  was  for  fifty  years  the  only  public  h(  n  c  in  Medfidd.  The  Wheelock 
estate  was  purchased  by  Fairbanks  in  order  to  begin  this  business. 

Tlx-  bi-cfntennial  anniversar)'  of  tlie  burning  of  Medhcld  by  the  Indians 
was  celebrated  February  2O,  1876,  with  appropriate  exercises.  The  day  started 
bjr  the  ringing  of  bdls  uid  the  firing  of  the  national  salute  1^  a  detadunent  from 
Battery  B  of  the  Massadmsctts  Artillery  under  Captain  Baxter.  The  Medfidd 
Band  supplied  music  during  the  day.  Addresses  were  delivered  by  Rev.  C  C 
Sewall,  R.  R.  Bishop  and  a  poem  was  read  by  James  Hewins.  The  exercises  were 
held  at  10:30  A.  M.  in  the  town  hall.  In  the  afternoon  the  people  reassembled 
and  various  activities  consumed  the  remainder  of  the  day. 

On  June  6, 1901  occurred  the  celebration  of  the  two  hundred  and  fiftieth  an- 
niversary  of  the  incorporation  of  the  Town  of  MedBeld.  An  appropriation  of 
Si.^cx)  had  been  secured  some  months  jm'or  to  the  day  for  the  proper  conduct  of 
the  celebration.  The  day  started  in  the  usual  patriotic  manner  and  at  9  o'clock 
the  grand  procession  was  held,  comjwsed  of  the  following;  officers,  committees, 
American  Waltiuun  Watch  Company  Band  of  twenty-two  pieces,  Moses  EUis 
Pnst,  No.  117,  G.  A.  R.,  Medfield  Lodge  No.  216,  I.  O.  O.  F.,  Medfidd  Lodge 
Xo.  40,  A.  O.  U.  \V..  Medfield  Grange  NO.  1 14,  P.  of  H.,  fire  department.  Women's 
Relief  Corps,  Hannah  Adams  Club,  schools,  trades,  etc.  Literar>'  exercises  were 
held  at  the  First  Congregational  Church  at  1 1  A.  M.,  with  the  principal  address 
by  \V.  S.  Tilden.  At  i  o'clock  a  banquet  was  held  in  Chenery  Hall,  presided 
over  by  James  Hewins.  Sports  and  games  were  hdd  at  2 :30  P.  M  and  at  8  P. 
M.  a  concert  was  given  by  the  band. 

The  Boston  and  Hartford  turnpike  was  constructed  in  1806.  It  was  owned 
by  numerous  stockholders  who  eventually  found  it  an  unprofitable  investment.  A 
line  of  coaches  was  run  through  the  town  for  the  next  thirty  years  and  toll  gates 
were  erected  at  various  pmnts  along  the  nmte. 

The  first  guide  boards  in  Medfidd  were  erected  in  1795.  There  were  five 
of  them  and  they  were  placed  at  the  comers  of  the  principal  townways. 

In  a  paper  read  by  James  Hewins  before  the  Worcester  Society  of  Antiquity 
and  others  at  the  annual  field  day  at  Medfield  June  20.  i.Sji.  the  writer  brought 
forth  the  suggestion  of  naming  the  more  prominent  homes  of  the  town  after  In- 
dian characters  who  had  historical  connection  with  the  town,  dther  through  the 
great  Massasmt,  in  whose  dominion  the  territory  now  in  Medfidd  was  situated 
at  the  time  of  the  landing  of  t1>c  Pilgrims  in  1620,  or  through  his  son.  Metacomet, 
otherwise  known  as  King  Philip.  Many  names  were  suggested  by  Mr.  Hewins, 
the  more  prominent  of  which  follow,  also  the  name  of  the  residence  to  bear 

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each:  Akkompoin,  Edwin  V.  Mitchell,  North  Street;  Annawon,  George  L.  Hurll, 
Canal  Street;  Ashamattan,  W.  S.  Tilden,  Spring  Street;  Mantowapuct,  Almcnia 
C.  and  Amelia  F.  Everett,  Main  Street;  Mattatoag,  M.  F.  Clark,  South  Street; 
Metacomet,  Francis  Hamant,  South  Staeet ;  Miantunnomoh,  Samuel  Ellis,  North 
Street;  Moooco,  EUen  Curtis,  North  Street;  Mooonnm,  W.  R.  Smith,  South 
Street;  Nanuntemoo,  J.  Henry  Gould,  Main  Street;  Petonowowett,  George  G. 
Babcock,  South  Street;  Pokanoket,  A.  B.  Parker,  Main  Street;  Potok,  T.  L. 
Barney,  Main  Street;  Pumhain,  J.  Augustus  Fitts,  Main  Street;  Quadequin, 
James  Hewins,  Alain  Street ;  Quanapohit,  J.  H,  Richardson,  North  Street ;  Quin- 
napin,  Wihnot  W.  Mitchdl,  Mmb  Street;  Quinobequin,  G.  R.  Chase,  Bridge 
Street;  Sonkannhoo,  Henry  M.  Parker,  Main  Street;  SowanqiMt,  A.  E.  IiAasoo, 
North  Street;  Tiashq,  Albert  A.  Lovell,  Railroad  Street;  Wampatuck,  W.  P. 
Hewin?,  Main  Street;  Watuspaquin,  Hamlet  Wight,  North  Street;  W'awaloam, 
Stillman  J.  Spear,  North  Street;  Weecum,  William  Marshall,  Main  Street;  Weet- 
amoo,  George  H.  Smith,  Main  Street;  W'oosamequin,  Elizabeth  S.,  Alice  O.  and 
Edward  U.  SewaU,  Main  Street;  Wootonekannske,  J.  B.  Hal^  South  Street;  Jo- 
seph A.  Allen  retained  his  name  of  Castle  HilL 

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The  town  of  Medway  lies  in  the  western  portion  of  the  county  of  Norfolk  and 
kboanded  in  the  following  manner:  on  the  north  by  Middlesex  County;  on  the 
vest  hy  Worcester  Comity;  on  the  south  by  the  towns  of  Belltqgfaam  and  Frank- 

fo;  and  on  the  east  by  the  town  of  Millis.   The  territory  of  Medway  presents 

an  undulatinp  surface,  well  watered  by  the  Charles  River  and  some  of  its  tribu- 
taries. The  viplands  of  this  town  once  became  notable  as  fine  meadow  lands, 
a  fact  which  aided  in  the  hrst  settlement  of  the  town.  Part  of  the  town  is  hilly» 
Imtnot  is  sulficieiit  ana  to  destroy  the  vahie  of  the  land 


The  territory  now  comprising  the  town  of  Medway  originally  belonged  to  the 
territory  claimed  by  the  Nipmuck  Indians,  once  a  \try  powerful  tribe.  Prior  to 
King  Philip's  war  this  tribe  became  divided,  one  of  the  principal  branches  being 
the  Natick.  The  negotiations  with  these  Indians  relative  to  the  country  in  this 
vicinity  were  carried  on  mostly  by  the  settlers  of  Medfield,  a  description  of  which 
is  given  in  the  chapter  on  that  town.  In  addition,  the  early  legal  transactions 
of  the  Town  of  Medfield  will  answer  for  the  earliest  government  of  Medway,  as 
the  latter  town  was  largely  contained  in  Medfield  when  set  aside  from  Dedham. 


In  the  year  1643  the  General  Court  of  Massachusetts  Bay  granted  to  the 
Rev.  John  Allin  200  acres  of  wild  land  in  the  forest  beyond  the  west  bounds  of 
Dedham.  This  is  probaUy  the  first  grant,  at  least  the  first  recorded,  in  the  terri- 
loiy  whidi  hiter  was  to  become  the  Town  of  Medway.  Reverend  AUin,  according 
to  history,  never  occupied  his  land  in  person. 

In  1649  Captain  Robert  Keaine  (also  spelled  Kayne.  Kaine  and  Keane),  of 
Boston,  received  a  grant  of  1,074  acres  to  the  north  of  the  Allin  farm.  The  line 
between  Medfield  and  Sherbom  afterwards  drawn  corresponded  very  nearly  with 
die  fine  between  these  two  grants. 

About  the  same  time  thirty*three  acres  of  land  were  laid  out  "before  Bridge 
Street."  These  seven  lots  were  bounded  on  the  east  by  the  river  and  formed  a 


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tract  later  crossed  by  the  turnpike.  The  first  land  on  the  west  side  of  the  river 
to  be  divided  among  the  citizens  of  Medfield  was  the  part  known  as  the 
"broad  meadows."  In  1653  Abraham  Harding  and  Peter  Adams  had  grants  in 
Gnpe  Meadow,  east  of  the  Black  Swamp.  In  1655  grants  were  also  made  to 
Benjamin  Alby  and  Alexander  LovdL 


The  first  actual  settler  within  the  territory  afterwards  included  in  the  Town 
of  Medway  was  Geoiige  Fairbanks.  He  came  about  the  year  1657,  althou^  this 
date,  as  well  as  his  birth  and  parentage,  is  buried  in  obscurity.  The  year  1657 
is  approximated  only.  Fairbanks  was  marrie{l  on  August  26,  1646  to  Mary  A. 
Harris  in  Dedham,  raised  a  family  of  five  chiMn-ii,  and  died  January  10,  1682. 
On  I-"cbruary  6,  I'Xxj,  the  Town  of  .Mcdhcld  granted  to  l  airbanks  "such  timber  for 

fencing  as  shall  make  300  rails,  with  posts  for' it,  as  shall  be  set  out  by  brother 
W^jfat  and  John  Metcalf  shall  appoint  him  witb  what  he  has  already  fallen  to 

make  up  300  rails."  This  is  the  first  mention  of  him  in  the  town  records.  Fair- 
banks was  not  associated  with  the  settlement  of  Medfield  Plain,  but  purchased  the 
land  which  in  1643  had  been  granted  to  Reverend  Allin  by  the  General  Court. 
So  he  held  his  land  by  purchase  and  not  by  town  grant.  His  dwelling  was  the 
noted  "stone  house"  near  the  north  border  of  the  pond.  The  location  \Df  his  farm 
prevented  Fairbanks  from  being  listed  as  one  of  the  Medfield  proprietors  in  the 
division  of  the  New  Grant.  In  fact,  his  political  and  social  activities  were  almost 
wholly  confinefl  to  the  town  of  Sherborn,  where  he  once  served  as  selectman. 
For  at  least  seven  generations  the  original  farm  remained  in  the  hands  of  and  was 
cultivated  by  Fairbanks'  descendants.  In  1660  it  is  recorded  ^t  his  nearest 
neighbors  were  "Nicholas  Woods,  Daniel  Morse»  Henry  Lealand,  Thomas  Hol- 
brook  and  Thomas  Bass." 

Til  1652  Nicholas  Woods  and  Thomas  Holbrook,  !)Oth  from  Dorchester,  settled 
on  the  west  side  of  the  river,  between  Death's  Bridge  aiul  l{oll)rook's  Mills.  They 
were  located  one-half  mile  from  each  other,  were  beyond  any  town  and  were 
four  miles  from  any  English  neighbors.  In  the  same  year,  or  soon  afterward, 
Hopestill  Lealand,  seventy  years  of  age,  with  his  son  Henry,  came  here  from 
Dordiester.  In  1658  John  Hill  and  Thomas  Breck  located  to  the  soudiwest  of  the 
above  named,  one-third  of  a  mile  north  of  Boggestow  Pond.  Tliey  were  also  from 
Dorchester.  By  marriage  most  of  these  men  soon  became  related,  formuig  a  large 
family  community.  Thomas  Bass  appeared  in  the  vicinity  about  1660  and  married 
Woods*  daughter.  It  is  probable  that  Benjamin  BuUard  resided  nearby  at  this 

Joseph  Daniel  was  the  second  actual  settler  within  the  bounds  of  Medway. 
fie  was  the  son  of  Robert  Daniel,  of  Cambridge  or  Watertown.  He  first  became 
identified  with  Medfield,  becoming  a  townsman  there  in  1662.  His  marriage  to 
Mary  Fairbanks  on  November  16.  1665,  was  the  first  in  Medway,  although  that 
of  Jonadian  Adams  and  Elizabeth  Ruaitf  occurred  the  same  year. 

Prior  to  the  year  1660  George  Fairbanks  was  the  only  settler  west  of  the 
river  in  whnt  later  was  set  off  .'.•^  the  Town  of  Medway.  Jolm  Fusscll  and  his 
s<^-ii»-h\v.  Jonathan  .\dams,  were  early  settlers  on  the  west  side.  William  .Mlin 
probably  located  here  about  1668,  when  be  married  Elizabeth  Twitchell,  daughter 

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of  Benjamin  Twitchell.  Allin  died  in  1736,  when  over  ninety  years  of  age.  Be- 
fore 1669  Peter  CaSkey  located  near  the  Boggestow  Pond.  At  the  time  of  the 
burning  of  Medfield  Abraham  Harding  was  constructing  his  house  in  Medway 

trrritory.  Josiah  Rockwood  in  1677  settled  on  the  place  later  known  as  the 
Oak  Grove  farm.  John  Rockwood  built  his  house  here  about  the  same  time. 
John  Richardson  is  first  mentioned  in  the  records  of  the  town  in  1678.  Before 
1680  Peter  Adams  probably  had  settled  on  tfie  west  side  of  the  Charles.  In  his 
house  the  first  public  worship  after  the  incorporation  of  Mt  llkM  was  held. 
Samuel  Daniel,  brother  of  Joseph  Daniel,  settled  in  1680  and  after  his  dcatii 
fifteen  years  later  the  fami  was  sold  to  Jasper  Adams.  N'inccnt  Shuttle  worth 
came  to  the  territory  in  1O81.  He  was  a  deserter  during  the  Indian  wars  and  for 
the  offense  was  fined  a  sum  of  £5 ;  later,  however,  he  further  proved  his  worth- 
kssness  by  becoming  the  first  pauper  of  Medfield.  John  Partridge,  John  Adams 
and  John  Clark  came  in  1681.   Samuel  HtU  appeared  about  1693. 

The  tax  list  for  the  year  ifnj;^  f^vcs  the  names  of  the  following  men  then  living 
in  Medfield  west  of  the  river:  John  Adams,  Jonathan  Adams,  Sr.,  Jonathan  Adams, 
Jr,  Peter  Adams,  John  Clark,  Joseph  Daniel,  Joseph  Daniel,  Jr.,  John  Ellis, 
Geofge  Fairbanks,  Jonathan  Fisher,  Abraham  Harding,  Samuel  Hill,  John  Part- 
ridge, John  Ridiardson,  John  Rockett  and  Josiah  Rodrett. 


During  the  early  days  of  settlement  in  the  town  of  Medfield  west  of  the  river, 
later  included  in  Medway,  the  settlers  were  compelled  to  devise  some  means  for 
protection.   The  Indians  were  hostile  and  were  burning,  killing  and  pillaging 

throughout  the  neighborhood,  so  it  became  necessary  for  the  men  to  act  quickly  in 
order  to  safeguard  their  families  from  destruction.  Accordingly,  a  stone  garrison 
house  was  constructed  on  the  north  side  of  Boggestow  Pond.  This  stone  block- 
house, or  fort,  was  about  sixty-five  feet  long  and  two  stories  in  height,  and  was 
built  of  flat  stones  carried  to  the  site.  The  house  was  lined  with  heavy  white 
pine  planking  and  a  double  row  of  loop-holes  were  cut  clear  around  the  four 
sides.  The  single  door  at  the  south  end,  facing  the  pond,  served  as  an  entrance 
and  window.  Here  one  could  enter  without  over  exposure  to  the  enemy  were  he 
nearby.  The  upper  story  was  arranged  for  the  women's  quarters,  with  a  small 
skk  room  at  one  end. 

It  is  known  with  certainty  that  George  Fairbanks  used  this  stone  house  as  a 
residence.  The  precaution  of  the  settlers  proved  to  be  \ery  fortunate,  for  on 
several  occasions  the  stone  house  was  subject e<l  to  siege  by  the  Indians,  every  time 
without  success.  The  bullets  were  easily  turned  aside  by  the  thick  stone  walls 
and  the  white  men's  fire  in  return  prevented  die  enemy  from  venturing  near. 


T-ate  in  the  year  1658  the  town  of  Medfield  voted  to  lay  out  certain  iq^lands 
on  the  west  side.  These  lands  are  described  in  the  town  records  by  the  following 
sentences:  "On  the  long  plain  to  b^in  next  to  Boggestow  River  on  that  end."  "At 
the  further  comer  of  our  bounds  by  Charles  River  to  begin  next  to  the  town." 
"In  pine  vallqr  to  I  cirin  at  the  north  end  and  t^o  tliroutjh  it."  "At  the  end  of  pine 
valley  on  a  parcel  of  land  that  the  path  goes  through." 

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In  the  spring  of  1659  fifteen  lots  were  granted,  in  all  one  hundred  and  eighty 
acres.  A  highway  was  projected  on  the  east  side  of  the  lots,  running  north  and 
south.  The  lots  were  bounded  on  the  east  and  west  sides  by  waste  lands  and 
were  taken  up,  beginninig  at  Boggestow  Brocdc,  in  the  foUowiqg  order: 


Benjamin  Alby   ■,   15 

Heirs  of  Joseph  Morse    15 

Thomas  Wight,  Sr.   15 

John  Thurston    10 

Samuel  Bullen    13 

Peter  Adams    XO 

Nicholas  Rockwood  ,  ..«*.  II 

Thomas  \\  ight,  Jr   6 

John  Frairy,  Sr   14 

Robert  Hinsdale   9 

Joshua  Fisher   15 

Thomas  Thurston   11 

Thomas  Ellis   9 

Mr.  Wilson    13 

James  Allen  /   7 


About  the  only  one  of  the  above  men  who  became  an  inhabitant  of  the 
territory  so  set  aside  was  Nicholas  Rockwood,  who,  in  his  old  age,  came  to  live 
with  his  son  John.  The  land  was  taken  by  the  men  from  Medfidd  principally  to 
provide  homes  for  their  sons,  a  few  of  whom  later  profited  by  their  fathers' 


In  the  records  of  the  town  of  Medfield  occurs  the  following:  "The  Eleventii 

of  May  one  Thousand  six  hundred  fifty-nine»  in  answer  to  a  petition  of  the  town 
of  Medfield  presented  to  the  General  Court  was  granted  by  the  court  to  the 
town  of  Medfield  an  addition  of  land  at  the  west  end  of  their  former  grant,  as  the 
record  of  the  court  will  make  appear." 

In  tiie  Colonial  Record  for  May,  1659,  appears  the  folkiwii^:  "In  answer 
to  a  petition  of  the  inhabitants  of  Medfield,  the  court  judgeth  it  meet  to  grant 
unto  them  as  an  addition  to  their  former  bounds  and  at  the  west  end  thereof  two 
niiles  east  and  west  and  four  miles  north  and  south,  providcth  it  entrench  not 
\\]yon  any  former  grants,  and  that  Captain  Lusher  and  Lieutenant  Fisher  are 
hereby  appointed  to  lay  it  out." 

At  the  next  annual  town  meeting  of  Medfidd,  February  6,  1660,  the  follow- 
ing vote  was  passed  by  those  assembled :  "It  is  ordered  that  the  new  grant  made  to 
the  town  this  year  by  the  court  shall  be  divided  by  way  of  dividend  to  all  the 
inhabitants  of  the  town  that  are  proprietors  in  the  town  and  that  it  shall  be  di- 
vided by  the  common  rules  of  division  by  number  of  persons  and  estates." 

Each  member  of  the  family  equaled  ten  pounds  of  estate  in  the  partition  of  the 

Digitized  by  Gopgle 


land.  At  a  later  town  meeting,  April  20,  1660,  two  highways  were  ordered  to 
be  laid  through  the  new  grant,  one  a  half  mile  north  of  the  Charles  River  from 
east  to  west  and  the  other  through  "the  midst  of  the  tract  of  land  from  the  way 

that  runs  west  to  a  line  to  the  north  end  of  the  same."  These  roadways  <livi(led 
the  grant  into  three  scjiarate  sections,  known  as  the  River,  East  and  \\'e>t  Sec- 
tions. The  River  Section  was  divided  into  twelve  lots,  including  an  area  of 
1,079  acres.  The  West  Section  was  divided  into  nineteen  lots,  embracing  1,096 
acres.  The  East  Section  was  divided  into  sixteen  lots,  covering  1,658  acres. 
There  were  about  200  acres  in  the  northeast  comer  of  the  grant  which  were  un- 
divided. The  total  cost  of  laying  out  this  new  grant  was  iig  6s.  sd. 



The  following  table  will  show  the  names  of  those  who  received  lots  in  the 
new  grant,  the  order  in  which  they  received  them  and  the  amount  of  land  in 

River  Section 


Ralph  Wheelock   156 

John  Metcalf  II7 

Robert  Mason   57 

John  Pratt    39 

Widow  Sheppard   51 

Thomas  Wight,  Jr.  $6 

Timothy  Dwight   146 

Jolni  Turner  I20 

Alexander  Lovell   94 

John  Ellis   126 

James  Allen   loa 

Joseph  Thurston   15 

We^t  Section 


Heirs  of  Joseph  Morse   141 

Henry  Smith  158 

John  Bullard  '.  100 

Sampson  Frairy    68 

Edward  Adams   I02 

John  Fussell  24 

William  Partridge  61 

Jcmathan  Adams   .....84 

Daniel  Morse  ,   12 

John  Plimpton   107 

Isaac  Chenery   77 

Joseph  Clark  161 

Robert  Hinsdale  157 

John  Fisher  61 

Digitized  by  Gopgle 



Nicholas  Rock  wood  85 

Samuel  Bullcn   .'  13^ 

Abiel  W  ight    38 

John  Frairy,  Jr  I77 

Mr.  Wilson   147 

East  Section 


( icrshom  W'heclock   3^ 

Joshua  Fisher    78 

Benjamin  Alby   138 

John  Frairy,  Sr  147 

Henry  Adams   148 

Thomas  Wight,  Sr  166 

Thomas  Mason   73 

Francis  llamant   87 

John  Partridge  ^ 

John  Wariield  22 

Thomas  Ellis    77 

John  Bowers   102 

Thomas  Thurston   ^2 

John  Thurston  191 

Peter  Adams   loi 

George  Barber   149 

Under  the  date  of  March,  1702.  the  lilack  SwamiJ,  so  called  from  the  forest 
of  pines  covering  the  area,  was  ordered  to  be  laid  out  into  lots.  The  record  is: 
"Voted,  that  the  Black  Swamp  shall  be  laid  out  with  such  necks  of  uplands  and 
ilands  as  shall  make  it  formable  by  our  former  rules  of  laying  out  lands."  There 
were  one  hundred  and  twenty-three  landed  proprietors  listed,  the  following 
twenty-seven  of  whom  were  residents  on  the  west  side  of  the  river:  Jasper 
Adams,  John  Adams,  Jonathan  Adams,  Jn,  Peter  Adams,  Benjamin  Alien,  Wil- 
liam Allen,  John  Garke,  Theophilus  Clark,  Timothy  Dark,  Ebenezer  Daniel. 
Joseph  Daniel,  Joseph  Danid,  Jr.,  John  Ellis,  Sr.,  George  Fairbanks,  Jonathan 
Fisher,  Henry  Guernsey.  Abraham  Harding,  Samuel  Hill,  John  Partridge,  Samuel 
F*artridge,  Widow  Rebecca  Richardson,  John  Richardson,  John  Rockwood,  Josiah 
Rockwood,  Vincent  Shuttleworth  and  Ebenezer  Thompson. 


During  the  following  decade  or  so  there  was  a  strong  increase  in  the  popula> 
tion  on  the  west  side  of  the  river.  The  peo])le  at  length  became  desirous  nf  obtain- 
ing a  separate  meeting  house  for  the  west  side  of  the  river  and  so  ix-titioned  the 
Town  of  Medtield  on  May  7,  1712,  for  this  privilege.  Their  petition  was  unsuc- 
cessful, so  later  the  matter  was  carried  to  the  General  Court.  This  last  petitkm 
was  opposed  v^orously,  but  met  with  colonial  favor»  and  the  General  Court 
"recommended  to  the  town  of  Medfield  to  raise  money  towards  the  building  of 
another  meeting  house  on  the  west  side  of  the  Charles  River."  This  was  opposed 

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by  a  vote  of  the  town  and  March  9,  17 13,  "voted  that  the  town  shall  petiti<m  the 
(ieneral  Court,  declaring  their  inability  to  build  another  meeting  hOUSe  in  the 
town  and  to  bare  the  charge  attending  it." 


The  General  Oiurt  finally  de^tched  a  committee  to  look  over  the  ground, 
with  the  view  of  establishing  a  new  town  west  of  the  Charles  River.  This  com- 
mittee handed  in  a  favorable  report  after  their  investigations.  Judge  Sewall 
wrote  that  he  "helped  the  selectmen  prepare  the  bill  for  Medway,  the  new  town 
on  the  west  of  Charles  River/'  The  act  was  passed  the  next  day,  October  2$, 
1713.  Medway,  in  the  order  of  incorporations,  was  the  sixty-ninth  town  in  the 
Massachusetts  Colony.  The  Act  of  Incorporation  itself,  which  is  still  preserved, 
reads  as  follows: 


"An  Act  for  Dividing  of  the  Township  of  MedfiM  and  erecting  a  ntw  Town 

there  by  the  uantc  of  Medi\.'ay. 

"Whereas  the  lands  of  the  township  of  Medlield  within  the  county  of  Suffolk 
are  situated  on  the  Charles  River,  to  wit,  on  both  sides  of  the  said  river,  being 
divided  by  the  same:  and  the  town  plat  and  principal  settlement,  as  also  the 
meeting  house  for  the  public  worship  of  God,  being  seated  on  the  east  side  for 
tiie  accomadation  of  the  first  and  ancient  inhabitants,  who  are  now  much  in- 
creased, many  issued  forth  and  settled  on  the  west  side  of  the  river  to  a  com- 
petent number  for  a  distinct  town  of  themselves,  and  labor  under  many  hard- 
ships and  difficulties  by  reason  of  separation  by  the  river  to  enjoy  equal  benefit 
and  town  privileges  with  others  of  their  fellow  townsmen  and  neighbors,  and 
have  therefore  made  application  to  the  town  as  also  addressed  this  court  to  be 
made  a  distinct  town.  Committees  appointed  by  diis  court  having  been  upon 
the  ground,  viewed  the  land  and  rqwrted  in  their  favor  for  proper  bounds  to  be 
set  them. 

"Be  it  Enacted  by  his  Excellency  the  Governor,  Council,  and  Representathwt 
in  General  Court  assembled  and  by  the  authority  of  the  Same: 

"That  all  those  lands  lying  on  the  west  side  of  the  Charles  River,  now  part  of 

the  township  of  Medfield,  be  erected  and  made  into  a  distinct  and  separate  town 
by  the  name  of  Medway,  the  river  to  be  the  bound  betwixt  the  two  towns.  And 
that  the  inhabitants  of  Medway  have,  use  and  exercise  and  enjoy  all  such  power 
and  privileges  which  other  towns  have,  so  by  law  use,  exercise  and  enjoy.  So 
that  they  procure  and  settle  a  learned,  orthodox  minister  of  good  conversation 
among  them  and  make  provision  for  an  honorable  support  and  maintenance  for 
him.  and  that  in  order  thereto,  they  be  dischar^ijed  fmm  further  payment  tO  the 
ministry'  in  Medfield  from  and  after  the  last  day  of  February  next. 

"Provided  also  that  all  province  and  town  taxes  that  are  already  levied.  Or 
granted,  be  collected  and  paid,  and  all  town  rights  and  common  undivided  lands 
remain  to  be  divided  among  the  interested  as  if  no  separation  had  been  made. 

"And  Mr.  Georpc  I-'airbanks,  a  principal  inhabitant  of  the  said  town  of 
Medway,  is  hereby  directed  and  empowered  to  notify  and  summon  the  inhabitants 

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duly  qualified  for  voters  to  assemble  and  meet  togetlier  for  the  choosing  of  town 
officers  to  stand  utuil  the  next  annual  election  according  to  law. 
"A  true  copy — examined.  * 

**JSA.  Addimgton,  Sec*y.** 

The  first  board  of  selectmen  consisted  of  Samuel  Partridge,  Jonathan  Adams, 
Sr.,  Jonathan  Adams,  Jr.,  Edward  Clark  and  John  Rockett,  the  latter  also  actii^ 
as  the  first  clerk  of  the  town. 


Like  many  of  the  other  towns  in  Norfolk  County  there  are  several  reasons 
advanced  for  the  naming  of  the  town.  Some  traditional  records  have  given  the 
reason  for  the  name  Med  way  as  the  location  of  the  town,  lying  midway  between 
the  meadow  lands  as  it  did.  Another  is  that  Medway  was  the  half  way  stopping 
point  on  the  old  post  road  from  Dedham  to  Mendoa  Other  authorities  have 
placed  Uie  origin  of  the  name  as  the  Medway  River  in  England. 


There  were  forty-eight  men  who  were  credited  with  the  honor  of  beiqg  the 
founders  of  the  town  of  Medway.   The  names  of  these  men  follow:  Daniel 

Adams,  Jasper  Adams,  John  .\dams,  Jonathan  Adams,  Jonathan  Adams,  Jr.; 
Joseph  Adams,  Obadiah  Adams,  Peter  Adams.  James  Allen,  William  Allen,  John 
Barber,  Joseph  P>arber,  John  Bullard,  Malachi  BuUard.  William  Burgess,  The- 
ophilus  Clark,  Timothy  Clark,  Edward  Clark,  Josepii  Curtis,  Ebenezer  Daniel, 
Jeremiah  Daniel,  Joseph  Daniel,  Joseph  Daniel,  Jr.,  Samud  Daniel,  John  EOis, 
Joseph  Ois,  George  Fairhanks,  Heniy  Guernsey,  Abnham  Hardiiqr«  Abraham 
Harding,  Jr.,  John  Harding,  Thomas  Harding,  Samuel  Hill,  Samuel  Hill,  Jr., 
Ephraim  Hill,  Michael  Metcalf,  .*>amuel  Metcalf,  Benoni  Partridge,  John  Part- 
ridge, Jonathan  Partridge,  Samuel  Partridge,  Daniel  Richardson,  John  Richard- 
son, John  Rockwood.  Josiah  Rockwood,  Ebenezer  Thompson,  Nathaniel  Whiting 
and  Nathaniel  Wight. 


It  is  probable  that  at  the  time  of  incorporation  the  Town  of  Medway  had  a 
population  of  nearly  300  people.  The  first  census  taken,  in  the  year  1765,  gave 
the  number  of  people  as  785,  including  380  males,  388  females  and  17  negroes. 
By  this  same  census  there  were  123  houses  in  the  town.  From  that  time  until 
the  present  the-  ditTerent  census  figures  have  been  as  follows: 

1776  (Prov.)    912 

1790  (U.  S.)   1,035 

1800  (U.  S.)   1,050 

1810  (U.  S.)   M13 

1820  (U.  S.)   ;  1.523 

1830  (C.  S.)   1,756 

1840  (U.  S.)   2,043 

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1850    (U  S.)   2,778 

1855    (State)   3.230 

i860    (U.  S.)   3,195 

1865    (State)   3,219 

1870    (U.  S.)   3,721 

1875   (State)  4,242 

1880   (U.  S.)   3^56 

1885    (State)   2,777 

i8(/)    (U.  S.)   2,98s 

1895    (State)   2,913 

1900   (U.  S.)   2,761 

1905   (State)  .'  2,650 

1910    (U.  S.)   2,696 

1915   (State)  ....2,846 

The  total  assessed  valuation  of  property  in  Medway  for  the  year  1915  was 


The  first  town  meeting  of  Medway  was  held  on  November  23,  1713.  The 
principal  object  of  the  meeting  was  to  choose  officers  to  serve  until  the  following 
annual  election.  After  making  a  choice  for  selectmen,  town  clerk  and  constable, 
matters  relative  to  the. meeting  house  were  discussed  and  voted  upon.  The  record 
states  this  as  follows; 

"Voted,  That  John  Rockett  and  Jonathan  Adams,  Sr.,  Seig.  Samuel  Partridge 
and  Serg.  Jonathan  Adams  and  Edward  Clark  to  be  a  committee  to  take  care  to 
procure  the  meeting  house  built. 

"\'oted,  that  .-Xbrnhnm  TTarding,  Sr.,  Tolui  1  artridg^c  and  Theophilus  Clark  to 
procure  and  carry  in  a  petition  to  the  town  clerk  of  Medfield  in  order  to  the  pro- 
curing of  accomadations  for  the  setting  of  the  meeting  house  upon  the  place 
commonly  called  bare  hills,  and  some  convenient  accomadations  for  the  min> 
ister  thereabouts." 

The  above  is  an  example  of  the  character  of  the  town  records  for  the  first 
half  centur>'  of  the  town's  existence.  Church  matters  formed  the  principal  busi- 
ness during  this  time. 

For  the  first  thirteen  years  of  municipal  life  the  town  was  not  represented  in 
tile  Provincial  Court.  The  town  had  taken  a  vote  on  December  3,  1713,  **to  send 
none,  accounting  ourselves  not  obliged  to  send  any."  This  rule  was  followed  until 
1726.  when  the  town  named  Jonathan  Adams  as  the  first  representative  to  the 
General  Court. 


When  the  grants  of  land  were  made  out  to  the  citizens  of  Medfield  interested 
in  the  settlement  of  the  new  territory,  various  roads  were  laid  out  in  order  to 
make  die  land  easily  accessible.  In  1652-3  a  road  one  rod  and  a  half  in  width 
was  laid  out  from  the  entrance  of  Broad  Meadows  at  the  south  and  running 
Arough  the  whole  to  the  north  end.  In  1660,  as  mentioned  before,  two  highways 

T«L  I— 1« 

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were  ordered  to  be  laid  out  through  the  new  grant,  dividing  the  same  into  three 
sections.  The  first  lot,  obtained  by  Ralph  Wheelock,  was  located  just  where  the 
village  of  Medway  now  stands.  The  records  of  the  town,  under  date  of  April  13, 
1661,  state: 

"Whereas  the  way  leading  through  the  new  grant  from  east  to  west  is  found 

not  passable  nor  capaUe  of  being  made  so,  it  is  therefore  agreed  on,  and  also  laid 
out  by  the  men  that  were  deputed  thereunto  that  the  way  is  to  assent  ( ascend )  the 
hill  by  the  river  and  thence  to  cross  the  lot  of  Mr.  Kaljjh  W'heeUjck  to  the  side  line 
of  John  Mctcalf,  by  a  little  pine  standing  on  a  stony  ridge  and  so  to  turn  down 
by  John  Metealf  s  side  line  to  llw  other  way  at  the  head  of  bis  lot,  whidi  is  a  matter 
of  forty  rods  and  to  be  four  rods  wide.**  At  this  time  there  was  no  road  from 
the  Great  Bridge  westward,  excqtt  that  which  is  described  as  "the  path  up  into  the 
wilderness,"  which  had  been  stuveyed  as  a  highway,  part  of  it  being  across 
Wheelock 's  lot. 

The  first  road  laid  out  after  the  incorporation  of  the  town  is  recorded  in  the 
following  manner: 

"June  4,  171 5.  The  selectmen  met  at  the  house  of  Nadianid  Wight  to  lay 
out  highways  for  the  benefit  of  this  town,  and  for  the  convenience  of  travelers 
to  pass  from  town  to  town  as  follows:  begin  in  the  country  road  that  leads  to 
Mendon  near  twenty  rods  east  from  Xat  Wight's,  upon  a  straight  line  across  part 
of  the  plain  known  by  the  name  of  Stony  Plain,  and  cross  a  swamp  place  com- 
monly called  Paradise  Island,  and  by  the  southeast  side  of  Ebeneser  Thompson's 
field  on  to  bare  hill  along  at  the  southwest  end  of  the  meeting  house  to  tfie  laid  out 
highway  through  the  plain  commonly  known  by  the  name  of  hills." 

The  old  Mendon  road  from  east  to  west  was  laid  out  in  1670.  This  was  after- 
ward the  county  road,  along  which  Washington  rode  on  his  way  to  Cam- 
bridge to  take  command  of  the  American  Army  in  1 775.  It  is  also  said  that  white 
passing  through  this  town  he  stopped  at  Richardson's  Hotd  in  the  east  parish 
to  dine. 

By  an  act  of  incorporation,  pa'ssed  March  9.  1804,*  the  Hartford  and  Dedham 
Turnpike  Corporation  was  established.  A  turnpike  was  constructed  through  the 
town  from  east  to  west,  called  the  Hartford  turnpike.  The  road  was  opened  for 
travel  in  1807  and  toll  gates  built  One  was  built  near  the  old  Hammond  Place, 
now  marked  1^  the  railroad  crossing  in  Minis.  Tolls  were  collected  for  a  score 
of  years. 

The  Medford  turnpike  was  laid  out  and  established  as  a  public  highway  June 
4,  1838,  and  received  the  name  of  Main  Street.  It  extended  from  Medfield  to 
Bellingham.  The  old  county  road,  the  oldest  highway  in  the  town  at  present,  was 
given  tfie  name  of  Village  Street 


The  first  postoflice  in  the  town  was  established  at  Medway  Village  in  the  spring 
of  1803.  Capt  William  Felt  was  appointed  the  first  postmaster.  His  first  quar- 
terly return  was  made  July  i,  1803.  Gideon  Granger  beii^  postmaster-general. 
The  office  was  kept  in  the  store  of  Captain  Felt  and  the  mail  was  carried  by  a  post 
ri<!(  r  who  went  over  the  route  once  each  week.  The  office  was  afterward  trans* 
f  erred  to  San  ford  Hall. 

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The  second  postoflke  in  the  town  was  established  in  East  Medway  (now 
Mitlis)  March  17,  1819.  Timothy  Hammond  was  appointed  the  first  postmaster. 

At  first  the  office  was  kept  at  the  house  of  Adam  lUillard. 

The  third  i)ostoffice  was  estabhshcd  September  19,  1854,  in  West  Medway. 
Olney  Poristall  was  the  first  postmaster  here. 

Tlie  fourth  postoffice  in  the  town  was  established  February  23,  1838,  in  Rock- 
vtlle.  Deacon  Timothy  Walker  was  a|)fXMnted  the  first  postmaster  here. 


Fnnn  the  unimproved  lands,  ungraded  roadways  and  unsatisfactory  buildings 
of  the  early  times  the  town  of  Medway  has  developed  into  a  community  of  modem 
diii^,  including  improved  and  level  roads,  well  kept  estates,  excellent  business 
blocks  and  beautfful  residences.  In  scenic  beauty  Medway  is  in  the  first  rank  of 
Xorfolk  County  towns.  Like  the  neighboring  town  of  Mcdficld  the  foresight  of 
past  generations  in  matters  such  as  tree  planting  has  been  of  great  benefit  to  the 
present  generation.  Water  works,  electricity  and  adequate  sewerage  are  but  a 
few  of  the  municipal  improvements  added  to  Medway  within  the  last  forty  years. 

Sanford  Hall  in  the  village  of  Medway  was  erected  in  the  year  1872  at  a  cost 
of  about  $ir>.ooo.  It  was  dedicated  DcHxmltcr  31,  1872,  and  named  for  the  largest 
donor  to  the  building  fund,  Milton  A.  Sanford,  of  New  York,  who  was  bom  in 
Medway.  Theodore  VV.  Fisher,  M.  D.,  of  Boston,  gave  an  historical  address  on 
the  occasion  and  Rev.  R.  K.  Harlow  made  the  address  of  dedication. 

Partridge  Hall  in  Millis  (then  East  Medway)  was  erected  in  18761  The  build* 
ing  of  thb  hall  was  largely  through  the  efforts  and  material  aid  of  the  family 
whose  name  it  hears  today. 

.\nother  feature  of  the  town  of  Medway  is  the  library  known  as  the  Dean 
Public  Library,  which  was  founded  by  Dr.  Oliver  Dean  and  incorporated  March  3, 
i86a  The  East  Medway  Circulating  Ijbraiy  was  established  about  forty  years 


On  March  4,  1 700,  the  town  of  Medfield  voted  that  "the  inhabitants  on  the  west 
side  of  the  Charles  River  shall  have  two  acres  of  land  for  a  burying  pkce,  where 
they  and  a  committee  chosen  by  the  selectmen  for  that  end  shall  order  it  in  any  of 
the  town  commons  there."  This  ground,  according  to  the  available  records,  was 
not  laid  out  until  the  town  was  incorporated,  but  burials  were  made  in 
Medfield  and  in  the  southern  part  of  Sherborn.  The  voters  of  Medway  met  at 
the  house  of  Peter  Adams,  October  29, 1714,  and  a  vote  passed  to  locate  a  buiying 
ground  on  Bare  Hill,  writhin  forty  rods  of  the  meeting  house.  A  committee  was 
appointed,  consisting  of  George  Fairbanks,  Zachariah  Partridge  and  John  Rich- 
ardson, to  confer  with  the  committee  from  Medfield  upon  the  question  of  laying 
out  this  cemetery.  This  cemetery  was  the  first  and  for  many  years  the  only  one  in 
the  town  of  Medway. 

The  second  cemetery  laid  out  was  in  the  west  precinct,  about  the  time  of  the 
erection  of  the  first  church  in  1750.  Oakland  Cemetery,  near  Medway,  was  the 
third  burying  ground  in  the  town.  This  ground  was  consecrated  June  20,  1865. 

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It  may  be  said  here  that  the  first  burial  in  Oakland  Cemetery  was  that  of  Mrs. 
Mary  Darling,  who  died  October  26,  186$,  at  the  age  of  one  hundred  and  two 

The  Catholic  Cemetery  was  located  in  1876  a  short  distance  from  Oakland. 


Wild  animals  in  the  earliest  days  of  settlement  were  a  source  of  constant  annoy- 
ance to  the  settlers.  In  1730,  in  the  vicinity  of  VVinthrop  Pond,  bears  became 
troublesome  and  many  hunting  parties  were  organized  to  search  for  them.  The 
records  show  that  in  1737  Seth  Harding  was  paid  one  pound  for  killing  a  wild 
cat  In  1742  £19  IIS  6d  were  ordered  to  be  paid  for  the  slaughter  of  817 
squirrels  and  684  blackbirds.  The  last  deer  kilted  in  the  viciniQr  was  in  1747  and 
the  last  panther  was  seen  about  1790. 

Among  the  notable  men  who  liave  been  attributed  to  Medway  was  William  T. 
Adams,  author,  known  by  his  nom  dc  plume  of  "Oliver  Optic."  Oliver  Optic  was 
bom  July  30,  1822.  He  became  noted  during  his  productive  period  as  a  writer 
of  juvenile  literature,  many  of  his  works  now  being  considered  classics  in  that 
particular  style  of  auihorship. 

On  March  3,  1792  the  bounds  l)etween  Medway  and  Sherbom  were  established. 
On  June  25,  1792,  a  part  of  Medway  was  annexed  to  the  town  of  Franklin.  The 
bounds  between  the  latter  two  towns  were  fixed  on  November  13th  of  the  same 
year.  On  March  3, 1829,  the  bounds  between  Medway  and  Holliston  were  estab- 
lished and  a  part  of  each  town  was  annexed  to  the  other  town.  Bounds  were 
ag^ain  estal)lished  between  Medway  and  Franklin  on  February  23.  1832,  and  on 
March  13.  1839.  part  of  Franklin  was  annexed  to  Medway.  On  Fcbruar}'  23,  1870. 
part  was  set  off  to  Norfolk,  and  on  Februar)'  24,  1885,  the  eastern  part  was  incor- 
porated as  the  Town  of  Millis. 

The  records  of  the  town  contain  many  significant  items  during  the  time 
of  the  tea  tax,  which  resulted  in  the  Boston  Tea  Party.  In  March,  1770,  the 
town  voted  that  the  inhabitants  "will  forbear  the  purchasing  of  tea  and  wholly 
restrain  themselves  from  the  use  of  it.  U])on  which  there  is  a  duty  laid  by  the 
Parliament  of  Great  Hritain  and  also  that  they  will  forbear  the  purchasing  of 
any  goods  knowingly,  directly  or  indirectly  of  any  inqwrter— until  the  revenue 
acts  shall  be  repealed.'*  In  December,  1773,  the  sdectmien  were  ordered  to  grant 
no  favors  or  privil^es  to  "inn-holders  and  retailers  of  strong  liquors  in  this  town 
from  all  such  persons  that  shall  buy,  use  and  consume  any  tea  in  their  homes 
while  subject  to  duties."  Throughout  the  records  there  arc  many  other  items 
which  prove  the  patriotism  and  loyalty  of  the  town  of  Medway.  The  use  of 
His  Majesty's  name  was  first  abolished  from  the  town  records  in  March.  1776. 

The  tax  list  for  1783  contained  the  names  of  216  residents  and  98  non- 
residents. The  poll  tax  at  this  time  was  2S  6d.  The  principal  taxpayers  were: 
Asa  P.  Richardson,  £1  2s  od ;  Capt.  Joseph  Tovell.  £1  3s  8d;  and  Nathaniel 
Lovell,  ii  8d.  In  1795  Federal  money  first  came  into  use  and  the  town  finances 
were  recorded  in  dollars,  cents  and  mills  for  the  first  time. 

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The  Town  of  Millis  is  located  in  the  western  part  of  Norfolk  County.  It  is 
bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Town  of  Sherbom,  Middlesex  County ;  on  the  east 
by  Medfield ;  on  the  south  by  Norfolk ;  on  the  west  by  Medway,  and  the  Town 
of  Holliston,  Middlesex  County,  forms  a  little  of  the  boundary  on  the  northwest. 
Th-  Charles  River  nins  along  the  southern  and  en<tcrn  border?,  separating  Millis 
ir<im  the  towns  of  Norfolk  and  Medfield.  In  the  northern  jiart  is  Pioppestow 
iirook,  which  flows  in  a  general  easterly  direction  to  the  Charles  River,  draining 
two  or  three  ponds  of  ctmsiderable  sixe  on  its  course.  There  are  some  hills 
in  Millis,  but  they  are  not  so  high  nor  so  incturesque  as  those  of  some  of  the 
adjacent  towns,  and  between  the  hills  are  fertile  valleys  that  are  well  adapted 
to  the  pursuit  of  agriculture. 


The  territory  now  comprising  the  Town  of  Millis  was  or^inally  a  part  of 

Dedham.  When  Medfield  was  incorporated  by  act  of  the  General  Court  on  May 
22.  1650,  it  included  practically  all  of  Millis.  The  first  settlements  were  there- 
fore made  in  this  part  of  Norfolk  County  iong  before  the  Town  of  Millis  was 
even  dreamed  of  by  the  inhabitants.  Among  the  pioneers  were  George  Fair- 
banks, Nicholas  Woods,  Daniel  Morse,  Thomas  Holbrook,  Thomas  Bass,  Joseph 
Daniel,  John  Fussell,  Jonathan  Adams,  Peter  CaIley,*Josiah  Rockwood  and  some 
others,  all  of  w-hom  are  mentioned  more  in  detail  in  the  chapter  devoted  to  the 
Town  of  Medway,  of  which  Millis  was  a  part  for  nearly  one  and  three-quarters 


For  many  years  the  Town  of  Medway  was  divided  into  three  communities, 
socially  and  in  a  business  way.  though  the  people  lived  under  the  same  town 
government  without  friction,  attending  the  town  meetings  and  voting  upon  all 
questions  affecting  the  common  welfare.  Under  the  conditions,  however,  it 
was  natural  that  some  of  the  citizens  should  beccmie  somewhat  dissatisfied,  and 
in  1884  the  dissatisfaction  of  tlKise  living  in  the  eastern  part  of  the  town  found 
expressifm  in  the  following  petition  for  division: 


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"To  the  Honorable  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  Common- 
wealth of  Massachusetts,  in  (ieneral  Court  assembled: 

"The  undersigned  petitioners,  citizens  of  Medway,  respectfully  represent 
that  the  interests  and  convenience  of  a  laige  number  of  the  citizens  of  said  town 
would  be  promoted  by  the  incorporation  of  the  easterly  part  of  said  town  into 
a  new  town;  wherefore,  the  undersigned  respectfully  petition  that  all  the  terri- 
tory  within  said  town  comprised  within  the  following;  limits,  that  is  to  say : 
Beginning  at  a  stone  bound  at  an  angle  in  the  boundary  line  between  the  towns 
of  Medway  and  Holliston  about  sixty  rods  distant  from  Orchard  Street  and 
near  the  'Nathan  Plsrmpton  place,'  so  called;  thence  southerly  in  a  straight  line 
to  the  southeasterly  corner  of  Farm  and  Village  streets;  thence  continuing  in 
the  same  course  to  the  bank  of  the  Charles  River;  thence  following  the  present 
boundary  lines  between  the  Town  of  Mi-dway  and  the  towns  of  Xorfolk.  Med- 
'  field,  Sherbom  and  Holliston  to  the  above  mentioned  stone  bound,  the  place  of 
beginning,  may  be  set  off  and  incorporated  into  a  town  by  the  name  of  'Millis.' " 

This  petition  was  signed  by  E.  S.  Fuller,  E.  L.  Holbrook,  G.  F.  Holbrook. 
F.Iliri  lLjc  Dark,  K  O.  Jameson.  John  lUillard.  Timothy  Hullard,  Frank  E.  Cook, 
Israel  I).  Fuller.  F.dwin  Metcalf,  Austin  Metoalf.  Lansing  Millis.  "and  125  others." 

\\  hen  it  was  learned  by  the  people  living  in  the  central  and  western  portions 
of  the  town  that  this  movement  was  on  foot,  they  circulated  a  counter  petition, 
which  was  also  addressed  to  the  Legislature,  and  which  was  as  follows: 

"The  undersigned,  lqr>l  voters  of  the  Town  of  Medway,  in  said  Common- 
wealth, in  view  of  the  possible  division  of  the  town,  upon  petition  to  be  presented 
to  your  Honorable  Body  of  citizens  of  East  Medway.  so  called,  respectfully 
represent  that  the  population  of  the  Town  of  Medway  is  substantially  divided 
into  three  distinct  communities  in  all  their  social  and  business  relations,  and 
your  petitioners,  therefore,  respectfully  pray  that  the  town  may  be  divided  into 
three  corporate  and  distinct  towns,  upon  lines  of  division  substantially  in  accord- 
ance with  sndi  as  have  for  many  years  maiiced  their  social  and  business  interests. 

to  wit : 

"That  East  Medway  be  incorporated  as  prayed  for  in  the  petition  referred  to, 
embracing  the  territory  of  Medway  westward  to  a  line  from  a  point  on  the 
Charles  River  extending  northerly  to  the  boundaiy  of  Holliston. 

''That  West  Medway,  so  called,  include  the  territory  of  Medway  extending 
eastward  to  a  line  commencing  at  a  point  nn  said  Charles  River  at  or  near  the 
junction  with  said  river  on  the  Lone  Star  Brook  from  Franklin  ;  thence  northerly 
crossing  X'illage  and  Main  streets  to  Hill  Street  at  the  Holliston  boundary  line, 
near  the  house  of  John  Sullivan,  in  nearly  a  straight  course. 

"And  that  Medway  proper  remain  constituted  with  the  territory  and  popula- 
tion lying  between  and  residing  upon  the  same  between  the  two  lines  as  previously 
described  and  a'^  will  more  fully  appear  by  a  plan  of  the  same  to  be  submitted 
to  your  Honorable  Body.    And  in  duty  bound  will  ever  pray." 

This  petition,  dated  "Medway,  October  20.  1884,"  was  signed  by  M.  M.  Fisher, 
E.  A.  Daniels,  Jesse  K.  Snow,  Edward  Fennessy,  James  O'Donnell,  E.  C.  Wilson. 
W.  H.  Carey,  Clark  Partridge,  C  S.  Philbrick,  Henry  S.  Partridge,  "and  193 
others."  Notwithstanding  the  fact  that  it  bore  a  much  larger  number  of  signa- 
tures, the  petitioners  for  the  Town  of  Millis  remained  steadfast  in  their  work. 
Their  petition  was  published  in  four  successive  issues  of  the  "Medway  Magnet." 

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was  swom  to  before  William  A.  W  yckoff,  a  justice  of  the  peace,  on  December 
2,  188.},  and  was  immediately  afterward  Hied  in  the  office  of  the  secretary  of 
state.  In  due  time  it  came  before  the  Legislature,  which  evidently  took  the  view 
that  it  would  be  unpracticable  to  divide  the  Town  of  Medway  into  three  towns, 
for  on  Februaty  10,  1885,  a  bill  was  introduced  in  the  senate  providing  for  the 
incorporation  of  the  Town  of  Millis,  upon  the  boundaries  asked  for  by  the 
petitioners.  Two  days  later  it  passed  the  senate  and  was  sent  to  the  house,  where 
it  passed  the  final  stages  on  the  19th  and  was  approved  by  the  governor  on  the 
24th.    Millis  therefore  dates  its  corporate  existence  from  February  24,  1885. 


The  town  takes  its  name  from  the  Millis  family,  meml)cr>  of  which  were 
influential  in  securing  its  incoq)oration.  The  r.oston  vS:  WOnnsocket  division  of 
the  Xew  York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  Railroad  runs  through  the  town,  and 
after  it  was  oiiganized  the  name  of  East  Medway  was  changed  to  Millis.  Henty 
L.  Millis  was  particularly  active  in  promoting  the  fortunes  of  the  new  town. 


A  short  distance  northeast  of  Millis,  which  is  the  municipal  center  of  the 
town,  is  the  railroad  station  of  Clicquot.  Not  long  after  the  town  was  incorporated, 

Henry  L.  Millis  made  an  arrangement  with  #ie  New  York,  New  Haven  &  Hart- 
ford Railroad  Company  to  erect  a  building,  the  lower  storj'  of  which  should 
be  used  for  railroad  pur|K)scs  and  the  upper  story  for  a  town  hall  and  public 
library.  Mr.  Millis  then  conceived  the  idea  of  communicating  with  all  natives 
or  former  residents  ami  askii^f  each  one  to  cocitribate  a  stime  for  iSxt  building. 
The  result  was  that  quite  a  number  responded  to  his  request,  and  the  walls  of 
the  town  hall  and  railroad  station  are  cohstructed  of  boulders  from  almost  every 
state  in  the  Union.  Some  of  the  ^tonos  hear  suitable  inscriptions,  showing  from 
whence  they  came  and  who  were  their  donors.  The  boulders  of  different  hues 
and  texture  give  the  building  a  unique  appearance  rarely  to  be  found  in  a  public 
edifice.  The  hall  is  centrally  located  and  the  town's  portion  of  tiie  structure 
was  donated  by  Mr.  Millis. 


The  Millts  waterworks,  now  the  property  of  the  town,  were  also  built  by 
Henry  L.  Millis,  but  were  sold  to  the  town  some  years  later,  a  bond  issue  of 

$30,000  being  authorized  to  pay  for  them.  Since  the  purchase  by  the  town 
the  mains  have  been  extended  in  several  districts,  at  a  cost  of  $24,380.  The 
principal  of  these  extensions  is  that  to  Rockville,  where  a  standpipe  was  erected, 
the  total  cost  of  the  improvement  being  $16,500.  Regarding  the  matter  of  exten- 
sions, at  a  town  meeting  held  on  February  14,  1916,  it  was  voted:  ''That  the 
water  c<»nmtssioners,  urith  three  others  nominated  from  the  floor,  investigate 
and  report  at  the  next  town  meeting  rules  to  govern  all  extensions  of  water  pipes 
in  the  Town  of  Millis." 

The  three  men  appointed  to  act  with  the  commissioners  were  Harold  P.  Wil- 

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Hams,  Ospoocl  T.  Dean  and  Frank  S.  Hoflf.  On  March  31,  1916,  the  committee 
made  a  report  to  a  town  meeting,  a  portion  of  which  report  was  as  follows: 
"The  committee  believes  that  property  owners  who  own  property  outside  of  the 
so-caUed  water  district  should  be  afforded  the  privily  of  olytaining  Town  water 
on  a  reascMiable  basts.  At  the  same  time  the  committee  realizes  that  in  most 
cases  the  cost  of  extending  the  water  system  to  outlying  properties  is  dispropor* 
tionate  to  the  income  derived  from  the  use  of  the  water,  and  is  greatly  in  excess 
of  installing  the  water  supply  within  said  water  district. 

"It  seems  reasonable,  therefore,  to  the  committee,  that  property  owners  who 
desire  an  extension  of  the  water  system  for  their  benefit  outside  of  this  water 
district  should  pay  for  a  reasonable  period  a  sum  in  excess  of  that  diaiged  to 
takers  within  said  water  district.  The  committee  feels  that  if  an  annual  sum, 
equal  to  six  jier  cent  of  the  cost  of  extending  the  system,  is  paid  by  the  takers 
for  a  period  of  ten  years  from  the  time  of  installation,  this  sum  would  pay  for 
fhe  water  used  during  the  wme  period  and  would  also  reimburse  the  town  to 
some  extent  for  interest  paid  on  monqrs  expended  in  making  sudi  exten^on. 
.  .  .  As  it  is  the  bdief  of  the  committee  that  this  six  per  cent  guar- 
anteed payment  will,  to  some  extent,  recompense  the  town  for  the  expense  of 
extension  of  its  water  system,  the  committee  recommends  that,  where  there  is 
more  than  one  taker  of  water  on  any  extension,  all  of  the  takers  on  such  exten- 
sion shall  jointly  pay  a  sum  equal  to  six  per  cent  of  the  investment  of  the  town 
in  the  «ctemion.  and  if  the  quantity  of  water  taken  on  ai^  extenskm  is  suffident, 
if  paid  for  at  the  regular  water  rate,  to  pay  the  town  a  sum  equal  to  said  six 
per  cent  on  its  investment,  that  all  water  taken  above  such  quantity  shall  be  paid 
for  at  the  regular  water  rates :  it  being  the  belief  of  the  committee  that  the  town 
should  in  any  event  receive  a  sum  equal  to  six  per  cent,  and  as  much  more  as  the 
quantity  of  water  used  would  enable  it  to  receive,  charging  for  said  water  at 
die  regular  rate." 

In  connection  with  the  purchase  of  the  waterworks  by  the  town,  it  is  worthy 
of  note  that  a  sinking  fund  was  established  for  the  redemption  of  the  bonds 
when  they  fall  due  in  1925.  As  the  sinking  fund  accumulated,  it  was  loaned 
to  the  town.  At  the  close  of  the  year  1916  the  town  was  the  borrower  of  $12,180 
of  this  fund.  Thus  the  town  is  paying  itself  interest  upon  its  own  money,  an 
arrangement  which  is  regarded  as  being  mudi  better  than  paying  interest  to 
outside  money  lenders.  The  amount  of  water  pumped  in  1916  was  X5,694/)70 
gallons,  the  receipts  for  which  amounted  to  $3,387.29. 


The  Millis  Fire  Department  is  a  volunteer  organization.  Part  of  the  equi|^ 
mcnt  originally  was  inherited  from  the  old  Town  of  Medway,  when  the  property 
of  that  town  was  divirled  with  Millis  under  the  act  of  February  24.  At 
the  town  meeting  on  February  14,  1916,  a  committee  previously  appointed  to 
investigate  the  conditions  of  the  Rodcville  Fire  Gmipany,  reported  in  favor  of 
the  erection  of  a  building  for  that  company,  ''at  a  cost  of  $700,  as  the  town  is 
paying  fifty  dollars  rental  for  a  building  that  18  not  fit  for  the  purpose."  The 
report  was  accepted  and  adopted,  and  the  house  was  erected  during  the  jreaf. 

In  their  annual  report  for  the  year  1916,  the  board  of  fire  engineers,  conslstmg 

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of  Charles  LaCroix,  J.  C.  Thorne  and  Albion  K.  P.  Barton,  reported  that  the 
department  had  answered  fourteen  calls  durinp  the  year.  The  appropriation 
for  the  support  of  the  department  for  the  year  was  $i,ooo. 


In  1916  the  valuation  of  the  property,  as  fixed  by  the  board  of  assessors, 
was  $1,556,872.  Accordinjij  to  the  treasurer's  report,  the  liabilities  of  the  town 
on  December  31,  1916,  amounted  to  $80,230.    Of  these  liabihties  the  principal 

items  were  as  follows: 

Water  bonds,  due  December  i,  1925    $30,000 

School  bonds,  due  annually  to  1933  

Water  ICxtension  bonds   13.50O 

Sinking;  l-'und  notes   12,180 

All  other  obligations   6,700 

Total   $80^330 

Millis  has  never  been  niggardly  in  the  matter  of  public  improvements,  but 
from  the  time  the  town  was  organized  in  1885  to  the  present  day  the  people  have 
exercised  good  judgment  in  making  appropriations.    The  expenditures  for  the 

year  1916  were  as  follows: 

Notes  paid  during  the  year  .  .$20,124.50 

Schools    11,587.11 

Streets  and  Highways   7,956.29 

Interest  on  Town  Debt   3,029.40 

Poor  Department    1,307.78 

Moth  Department   1,262.26 

Fire  Department    843.96 

Incidentals  (including  salaries)   2,817.04 

All  other  expenditures   8    t  /i  5 

Total  $57,289.99 


In  19 10  the  I'nited  States  census  reported  the  population  of  Millis  as  1.399, 
only  two  towns  in  the  county  (Dover  and  Norfolk)  showing  a  smaller  number 
of  inhabitants.  The  state  census  of  191 5  gave  Millis  a  populatioQ  of  1442,  a 
gain  of  only  43  in  live  yem.  Besides  the  division  of  the  New  Yorl^  New 
Haven  &  Hartford  Railroad  above  mentioned,  Milfis  tt  connected  with  Dedham 
on  the  east,  and  Mil  ford  on  the  west  by  an  electric  railway.  Electric  railways 
that  connect  with  this  line  afford  easy  transportation  to  a  number  of  the  adjacent 
towns.  The  principal  manufacturing  concerns  are  a  large  boot  and  shoe  factory 
and  the  Qicquot  Onb  ginger  ale  works,  one  of  the  laiigest  of  the  kind  in  the 
country.  Near  this  factory  the  railroad  company  has  established  a  Station  to 
which  has  been  given  the  name  of  "Clicquot."  BoUi  Station  and  factory  are  about 
half  a  mile  northeast  of  the  Village  of  Millis. 

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The  principal  town  officers  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  were:  Michael 
H.  Clancy,  Horace  M.  Cushniati  and  Georfjc  (1.  lIotT,  selectmen;  Louis  LaCroix, 
clerk;  Evan  F.  Richardson,  treasurer;  J.  A.  Cole,  I'rank  S.  Harding  and  Moses 
C.  Adams,  assessors;  Ernest  L.  Hill,  Herbert  H.  Thorne  and  Frank  S.  Harding, 
overseen  of  the  poor ;  Charies  LaCroix,  George  G.  Hoff  and  Midiael  H.  Clancy, 
water  commissioners;  J.  Clarence  Thome,  tax  collector;  Lawrence  J.  Reardon, 
auditor;  Edward  LaCroix.  J.  A.  Cole  and  J.  C.  Thome,  school  committee;  Cor- 
nelius J.  Erisman  and  William  H.  Thome,  constables. 

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Milton,  the  sixth  town  to  be  incorporated  within  the  present  hmits  of  Nor- 
folk County,  is  situated  northeast  of  the  center  of  the  county  and  extends  north- 
ward to  the  Suffolk  County  line.  It  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  City  of 
Boston;  on  the  east  by  Quincv:  on  the  south  and  southwest  by  Randolph  and 
Cantors ;  atid  on  the  west  by  the  Town  of  Hyde  Park,  which  is  now  within  the 
Boston  city  limits. 


Of  all  the  towns  of  NorfoUc  County,  Milton  is  preeminently  the  "town  of 
hills."  The  Blue  Hill  ranc^e,  composed  of  the  highest  elevations  in  Eastern 
Massachusetts,  passes  throu},'h  the  town.  Except  small  patches,  interspersed 
here  and  there  among  the  hills,  there  is  practically  no  level  land.  The  soil  of 
these  small  level  tracts  is  a  deep,  heavy  loam,  quite  fertile  and  productive.  The 
Blue  Hin  Reservation,  comprising  the  principal  elevations  of  the  Blue  Hill  range, 
has  been  set  apart  by  the  state  as  a  tract  for  the  recreation  and  edification  of 
the  people,  and  is  under  the  control  of  the  Metropolitan  Park  Commission. 

The  Xeponset  is  the  principal  watercourse  connected  with  the  drainage  system 
of  the  town.  Its  laiigest  tributary  in  Milton  is  the  Pine  Tree  Brook,  which  has 
its  source  in  a  pond  fed  1^  several  small  streams  in  the  western  part  of  the  town. 
Its  general  course  is  easterly  until  it  empties  into  the  Xeponset,  not  far  from 
the  Central  Avenue  bridge.  Balster's  and  Cook's  brooks  flow  into  the  Pine  Tree 

Unquaty  or  Gulliver's  Brook  rises  near  the  Milton  Cemetery  and  flows  east- 
wardly  to  the  harbor.  It  derives  its  name  from  Anthony  Gulliver,  who  was 
bom  in  England  in  1619  and  died  in  Milton  in  1706.  It  is  said  that  Dean  Swift 
got  the  suggestion  of  his  "Gulliver's  Travels**  from  a  memlier  of  this  family. 
Jonathan  Gulliver,  a  SOU  of  Anthony,  was  a  member  of  the  Massachusetts  General 
Court  in  1727. 

Blue  Hill  River,  a  branch  of  the  Monatiquot.  a  small,  crooked  stream,  forms 
the  boundary  line  between  Milton  and  Randolph.  On  some  maps  this  river  is 
called  the  Monatiquot.  It  receives  the  waters  of  Silver  Brook,  which  rises  on 
the  east  side  of  the  Great  Blue  Hill  and  flows  in  a  southeriy  direction,  draining 
Houghton's  Pond  in  the  course  of  its  meanderings. 


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In  1630  Gov.  John  Winthrop  arrived  in  the  Massachusetts  Bay  colony  with 
the  charter.  During  the  next  three  years  there  was  a  heavy  emigration  from 
England  to  the  New  World.  In  1633  the  name  of  Israd  Stoi^lhton  first  appears 
in  the  Dorchester  records  as  a  grantee  of  lands  lying  within  the  present  Town 
of  Mihon.  For  his  residence  tract  he  selected  loi  acres  on  the  south  side  of 
the  Xeponset  River,  described  as  the  "Indian  Fields."  His  tract  inckided  nearly 
the  whole  of  Milton  Mill,  extending  along  the  river  from  the  lower  falls  to  the 
bend  where  Briggs'  shipyard  was  afterward  located.  In  1656  this  land  was 
.sold  by  the  heirs  of  Israel  Stoughton  to  John  Gill. 

Associated  with  Mr.  Stoughton  (doubtless  stockholders  of  the  company  before 
leaving  Fngland)  were  John  Glovrr  and  William  Hutchinson.  Mr.  Glover 
selectt'd  a  tract  of  180  acres  directly  south  of  Milton  Hill,  bordered  on  the  north- 
west by  the  brook.  His  land  was  occupied  by  his  agent  or  tenant,  Nicholas  Wood, 
until  it  was  sold  by  the  Glover  heirs  in  1654  to  Robert  Vose. 

Mr.  Hutdiinson  laid  out  a  large  tract,  which  included  a  portion  of  Milton, 
though  the  greater  part  of  it  was  in  Braintree.  In  1656  his  son,  Capt.  Edward 
Hutchinson,  sold  the  land  to  Anthony  Gulliver,  Henry  Crane  and  Stefrfien 

In  1C36  the  Town  of  Dorchester  obtained  a  grant  of  land  which  embraced 
nearly  the  entire  present  Town  of  Milton.  At  tfiat  time  it  was  customary,  in 
occupying  a  new  territory,  to  obtain  a  release  of  the  Indian  title.  Aooordingly, 

on  October  8,  163^1,  Chief  Kitchamakin  of  the  Massachusett  Indians,  a  brother 
of  Chickatabot.  granted  and  sold  to  Richard  Collicott  of  Dorchester,  "all  that 
tract  beyond  the  Mill  within  ye  bounds  of  Dorchester  for  them  and  their  heirs 
for  ever — only  reserving  for  my  own  use  and  for  my  men  forty  acres  where  I 
like  best  &  in  case  I  &  they  leave  it  the  same  alsoe  to  belong  untoe  Dorchester, 
giving  some  consideration  for  the  paines  Bestowed  Upon  it,**  etc. 

For  this  tract  of  land  James  M.  Robbins,  in  an  address  delivered  on  the 
occasion  of  Milton's  two  hundredth  anniversary,  June  1 1.  1S62,  says  Kitchamakin 
received  "twenty-eight  fathoms  of  wampum."  He  and  his  men  continued  to 
occupy  the  reservation  until  1657,  when  they  removed  to  the  country  about 
Ponkapog  Pond,  now  in  the  Town  of  Canton. 

.'\n  old  map  or  plan  of  the  purchase,  made  by  John  Oliver,  shows  the  names 
of  the  landowners  at  the  time  it  was  jircpared.  The  map  bears  no  date,  but  as 
John  Oliver  died  in  1646,  it  must  have  l)ccn  made  prior  to  that  time.  L'[Ktn  it 
appear  the  names  of  Israel  Stoughton,  Richard  Collicott,  John  Glover,  William 
Hutdiinson,  John  Holman,  Robert  Badcock,  Nehemiah  Bourne,  William  Daniels, 
Nicholas  Ellen,  Thomas  Lewis,  Anthony  Newton,  Andrew  Pitcher,  Bray  WiUcins 
and  William  Salsbury. 

.Among-  theso  early  settlers  or  landowners  Ca  few  of  them  did  not  occupy 
their  holdings)  the  names  of  Richard  Collicott  and  John  Holman  appear  most 
frequently  in  the  records,  indicating  that  they  were  active  in  shaping  the  destinies 
of  the  new  plantation.  Collicott  was  "a  licensed  fur  dealer,*'  an  occupation 
which  brought  him  into  intimate  commercial  relations  with  the  Indians  and 
doubtless  explain*;  why  he  was  selected  to  negotiate  the  deal  with  the  chief  for 
possession  of  the  land.  He  built  his  house  on  what  is  now  .Adams  Street  in  1634. 
It  was  of  the  style  known  as  a  "garrisoned  house"  and  was  used  later  by  the 

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Town  of  Dorchester  as  a  "guard  house,"  Mr.  CoUicdtt  served  on  the  board  of 
selectmen  in  Dorchester  from  1637  to  1641  ;  was  a  deputy  to  the  Genenil  Court 
in  1637;  was  tirst  sergeant  of  the  Dorchester  Artillery  Company,  and  was  other- 
wise prominent  in  town  affairs.  He  died  at  Boaton  In  1686. 

John  Holman  received  a  grant  of  110  acres  adjoining  that  of  Cbllicott  and 
settled  there  soon  afterward,  the  property  remaining  in  his  family  for  neaily  a 
centur\'.  He  served  several  terms  as  one  of  Dorchester's  selectmen;  was  one  of 
the  original  nieml)crs  of  the  "Ancient  and  ilonurable  Artillery  Company";  ensign 
of  the  hrst  Artillery  Company  of  Dorchester,  and  identified  with  many  of  the 
early  events  in  Miltom  His  death  occurred  in  165a. 


For  a  little  more  than  a  quarter  of  a  century  after  Dorchester  received  the 
grant  of  land  south  of  the  Xeponset  River  and  Mr.  Collicott  obtained  the  relin- 
quishment of  the  Indian  title,  the  region  now  embraced  within  the  Town  of  Mil* 
ton  remained  a  part  of  Dorchester.  By  that  time  a  number  of  families  had  gone  ' 
into  the  new  grant  and  developed  farms,  and  in  the  autumn  of  1661  a  movement 
was  started  for  the  organization  of  a  now  town.  It  seems  that  Dorchester 
offered  no  opposition  and  the  following  petition  was  presented  to  the  General 

"To  the  Mono'  Gene"  Court  now  assembled  att  Boston  7th  May  1662:  The  ' 
humble  petition  of  us  who  arc  Inhabitants  of  that  parte  of  ye  Towne  of  Dor- 
chester which  is  sittunttd  on  the  south  side  of  ye  Xaponsett  River  commonly 
called  I'nciuatifjuisset  Humbly  showeth  that  ffor  as  much  as  it  hath  pleased  Ciod 
for  to  cast  the  bounds  of  our  habitations  in  ye  more  remote  partes  of  Dorchester 
Town  as  that  we  stand  in  a  more  remote  capacitie  unto  a  constant  &  comfortable 
attendance  upon  sudi  administrations  as  doe  respect  sivill  and  ecdesiasticall  com* 
munion  in  ye  sayde  Towne  of  Dorchester. 

"Yet  notwithstanding  ye  difficulties  &  allmost  impossibilityes  of  ye  constant 
attendance  of  us  &  our  familyes  have  compelled  not  only  our  selves  but  allsoe 
ye  Towne  of  Dorchester  to  acknowledge  some  necessitie  of  providing  &  settling 
a  public  ministry  amongst  our  selves.  And  to  that  Purpose  ye  Towne  of  Dor- 
chester (divers  years  since)  granted  us  Libertie  by  our  own  contribution  to 
maintayne  our  own  Ministry.  But  we  finding  by  experience  that  the  orderly 
managing  of  such  an  Affair  as  Settlement  hath  some  dependence  upon  ye  exer- 
cise of  Sivill  Power  unto  ye  eflfectual  exercise  of  W  hich  (as  to  ye  attaynement 
of  sudi  an  end)  we  find  our  selves  alltogether  out  of  a  capacitie  as  now  we  stand 
therefore  we  have  obtayned  from  ye  Towne  of  Dorchester  a  second  graunt  lib- 
ertie to  become  a  Township  of  our  selves — a  coppie  of  which  graunt  we  here 
withall  present  to  the  view  of  the  Hon''''  Court. 

"(Jur  humble  petition  to  tliis  Hon'''*'  Court  therefore  is  that  (If  according  to 
ye  terms  &  tenor  of  this  graunt  you  shall  in  your  wisdom  judge  us  capable  of 
being  a  Township)  you  would  please  by  your  authoritie  to  confinn  the  sd  graunt 
unto  us.  And  it  beeing  a  more  than  ordinarie  juncture  of  affaires  with  us  as  to 
our  present  Settlement  we  doe  allsoe  humbly  crave  our  freedom  from  country 
rates  according  to  the  accustomed  graunt  to  new  Tiantations  we  beeing  (by 
Reason  of  our  slowness  &  ye  strait  limitts  of  our  place  as  unable  ftor  Publick 
Afifayrcs  as  if  we  were  a  new  Plantation). 

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"This  our  humble  petition  is — -If  it  shall  bee  by  this  Honor^  Court  accepted 
wee  hope  wee  shall  doc  what  in  us  lyes  to  mannage  atifayrcs  in  our  comunitic 
according  to  the  laws  of  God  &  this  Goverment  out  present  design  becing  the 
promotion  of  ye  Public  weak  which  that  it  may  bee  the  period  of  ^our  Consul* 
tations.  So  pray  your  humUe  petitioners. 



"In  the  names  of  all  ye  rest  of  ye  Inhabitants." 

No  time  was  lost  by  the  Court  in  the  consideration  of  the  petition,  for  on  the 
very  day  it  was  presented  (May  7,  1662)  the  township  was  incorporated.  The 
original  petition  in  the  state  archives  bears  the  indorsment :  "The  deputyes  think- 
meet  to  graunt  this  petition,  viz.  so  far  as  it  concernes  ye  Township  but  do  not 
think  meet  to  exempt  them  from  rates." 

In  merely  gnMdng  the  petition  the  town  was  left  without  a  name.  To  rectify 
this  oversight  tfie  following  action  was  taken  later  by  the  Court :  "There  having 
been  granted  to  the  inhabitants  of  Unkctyquisset  within  ye  Township  of  Dor- 
chester to  become  a  Township  of  themselves  upon  motion  of  your  inhabitants  it 
is  ordered  that  ye  said  Town  shallbee  called  Milton." 

Stephen  Kingsley,  whose  name  appears  as  the  first  of  the  signers  of  the  peti- 
tion, was  ordained  a  ruling  elder  of  the  church  in  Bramtree  in  1653.  About 
three  years  later,  after  he,  Henry  Crane  and  Anthony  Gulliver  had  purchased 
the,  William  Hutchinson  grant,  he  removed  to  I  'nketyquisset,  where  it  is  stated 
he  conducted  the  tirst  religious  services.  He  quickly  became  active  in  local 
affairs  and  drew  up  the  petition  which  was  signed  by  himself,  Robert  \'ose  and 
John  Gin  as  a  committee  of  the  inhabitants,  which  petition  resulted  in  the 
incorporation  of  the  town  as  above  noted. 


The  Indian  name  of  the  region  now  included  in  the  Town  of  Milton  was 
Unketyquisset  (the  name  is  spelled  in  various  ways),  but  as  that  was  too  un- 
wieldly  the  General  Court  adopted  the  name  of  Milton,  at  the  request  of  the  inhab- 
itants. Three  distinct  theories  as  to  the  reason  for  the  adoption  of  this  name 
have  been  presented.  The  first  says  the  town  was  named  in  honor  of  John 
Milton,  the  celel)rated  Ei^sh  poet,  who  in  1662  was  at  the  zenith  of  his  fame. 
The  second  says  it  was  named  from  the  old  mill  (Mill  Town),  which  was  erected 
by  the  inhabitants  of  Dorchester  on  the  Neponset  River  in  1633.  ^  his  was  the 
first  water-mill  in  New  England.  The  third  theory,  which  is  perhaps  the  most 
plausible  one,  is  that  the  town  derived  its  name  from  Milton,  England.  There  are, 
however,  in  Ei^land  and  Wales  about  twenty  towns  called  Milton,  or  of  which 
the  w  ord  Milton  forms  some  part  of  the  name,  and  it  is  impossible  to  determine 
which  one  was  copied  in  giving  name  to  the  Massachusetts  town. 


Soon  after  the  town  was  incorporated  Roger  Billings  built  a  large  house  on 
what  is  now  Canton  Avenue  and  opened  a  tavern,  which  in  a  few  years  became 

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noted  for  "its  fancy  dinners  and  high  hving."  Mr.  Billings  died  in  106^,  when 
the  name  of  the  hostelry  was  changed  to  "Blue  Hill  Tavern.'*  The  lionse  was 
torn  down  in  1885  and  some  of  the  timbers  were  used  in  buildup  a  bam. 

The  Bent  Tavern  was  ojjencd  on  the  comer  of  Canton  Avenue  and  Atherton 

Street  by  Lemuel  or  Rufus  Iktit  about  1740.  About  1 790  the  name  was  changed 
to  the  "Bradlee  i  avcrn,"  when  Stephen  P.radlee  took  possession.  He  was  a  son 
of  John  Bradlee,  who  settled  in  Milton  some  years  before  the  beginning  the  Revo- 
faitioo.  SteplMtt  Bradlee  died  in  1803  and  the  house  was  kept  for  some  time  by 
his  widow.  Then  she  married  Maj.  Jedediah  Atherton,  who  m  1810  built  a  new 
ta\  em  on  the  site  of  the  old  one  and  opened  it  as  the  "Atherton  House." 

\\  hite's  (later  Wild's)  Tavern  was  in  existence  as  early  as  1787,  for  in  that 
year  there  was  considerable  excitement  in  the  town  over  the  report  that  a  man 
had  died  of  yellow  fever  at  this  house. 

Claric's  Tavern,  on  Randolph  Avenue,  was  built  m  1809  by  Samuel  Tucker 
for  his  son  Joshua,  who  conducted  it  for  several  years.  Then  Minot  Thayer  pur- 
diased  the  property  and  ran  the  tavern  for  some  time.  He  was  succeeded  in 
turn  by  several  other  proprietors  before  the  house  ceased  to  be  a  place  of  enter- 
tairunent  for  travelers. 


From  the  time  Milton  was  incorporated  until  1835,  the  town  meetings  were 
held  in  the  meeting  house.  In  March,  i'*^35.  the  annual  meeting  was  held  in  the 
Academy  Hall.  On  August  24,  it>i6,  the  trustees  01  the  academy  voted  to  rent 
to  the  town  the  tower  story  of  the  building  for  forty  dollars  a  year.  A  few  meet- 
ings were  held  here,  when  the  selectmen  obtained  permisnon  to  use  the  (dd  st<me 
church  known  as  the  "Railway  Village  Meeting  House."  Just  how  many  town 
meetings  were  held  in  this  house  is  not  certain,  but  in  1837  it  was  voted  to  pay 
the  trustees  of  the  church  $300  for  the  use  of  the  building. 

At  the  same  time  this  simi  was  voted  a  committee,  consisting  of  John  Ruggles, 
Jason  Houghton,  Jesse  Tucker,  Moses  Grags*  Alva  Martin,  Walter  Cornell  and 
Samuel  Adams,  was  appointed  "to  purdiase  a  piece  of  land  near  the  center  of 
the  town  and  proceed  to  erect  thereon  a  town  house  not  to  exceed  40  by  60  feet, 
one  stor>-  in  height,  and  at  a  cost  not  to  exceed  $2,5CX)."  About  that  time  the 
surplus  that  had  accumulated  in  the  United  States  Treasury  during  the  adminis- 
tration of  President  Andrew  Jackson  was  distributed  among  die  states,  and  by 
the  states  to  ^  counties  and  towns.  Through  this  channel  Milton  received 
$3424.89,  which  paid  for  the  lot  and  town  house  and  left  a  balance  of  $589.46 
in  the  town  treasury.    This  hall  served  the  town  for  more  than  forty  years. 

At  the  annual  meeting  in  March,  1878,  the  town  voted  an  ai)propriatiun  of 
$35,000  for  a  new  town  hall.  William  H.  Forbes,  Samuel  Gannett,  J.  H.  Wol- 
cott,  James  M.  Robbins,  Samuel  Babcock,  George  Vose,  Edward  L.  Pierce, 
Horace  E.  Ware  and  Albert  K.  Teele  were  appointed  a  building  committee,  with 
instnictions  to  procure  plans  and  specifications  and  superintend  the  erection 
of  the  building.  The  plans  selected  were  those  prepared  by  Hartwell  &  Tilden, 
architects  of  Boston.  \\  Uliam  C.  Poland  ii:  Son  of  Boston  were  awarded  the 
contract  for  the  brkk  and  st<me  woric;  Creesey  &  Noyes  of  Boston,  the  car- 
pentry work;  J.  Farquhar^s  Sons  of  Boston,  the  roofing;  and  L.  Cushman  &  Son 

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of  Waltham,  the  copper  work.  The  roofing  and  copper  work  were  afterward 
included  in  the  contract  of  Creesey  &  N'oyes,  as  were  also  the  painting  and  glaz- 
ing, except  the  interior  decorative  painting,  which  was  done  by  W.  J.  McFherson 
of  Boston.  The  new  hall  was  dedicated  on  February  17,  1879,  Edward  L.  Pierce 
of  the  building  committee  delivering  the  historical  address.  The  total  cost  of  the 
stnicttre  was  $54*959.09. 


The  first  postoflice  in  the  town  was  established  at  Milton  about  the  banning 

of  the  Nineteenth  Centurj'.  Owing  to  the  burning  of  the  records  at  the  time  of 
the  British  attack  on  Washington  in  the  War  of  1812,  it  is  imjxjssble  to  give  the 
exact  date,  but  the  office  was  in  existence  in  1801.  with  Dr.  Samuel  R.  Glover  as 
postmaster.  He  was  succeeded  by  Moses  \\  iiitney  in  1805,  who  held  the  ofiice 
for  some  twelve  years,  when  he  res%ned  and  Nadian  C.  Martb  was  appdnted. 

In  April,  1872,  the  postofEce  at  East  Milton  was  established,  with  J.  W.  Bab- 
cock  as  postmaster,  and  on  April  I,  1874,  the  Blue  Hill  postoffice,  on  Canton 
Avenue  near  Harland  Street,  was  opened  for  the  receipt  and  delivery  of  mail, 
with  Stiilnian  J.  Tucker  as  jwstmaster.  This  office  at  first  received  mail  once  a 
day  through  the  postottice  at  Alattapan.  With  the  introduction  of  rural  free 
delivery  the  postoffice  at  Blue  Hill  was  discontinued,  leaving  but  two  offices  in  the 
town  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917. 


The  system  of  waterworics  in  Milton  was  built  by  the  Milton  Water  Company 
and  was  purchased  by  the  town  in  1903  for  $320,155^02,  of  which  sum  $120,546:67 
was  applied  to  the  payment  of  bonds  issued  by  the  company  prior  to  the  time 

of  purchase.  The  annual  appropriations  from  1903  tO  1916  inclusive  aggregate 
S47.000.  but  of  these  appropriations  $24,503.64  represents  unexj)ended  balances 
that  were  turned  back  into  the  treasury,  making  the  net  cost  to  the  town  at  the 
close  of  tfie  year  1916  the  sum  of  $342,651.38. 

Since  tiie  plant  was  purchased  by  the  town  the  mains  have  been  extended  until 
at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1917  there  were  a  little  more  than  fifty-two  miles, 
all  of  which  except  about  one  mile  consisted  of  pipe  more  than  four  inches  in 
diameter.  The  number  of  pul)lic  hydrants  was  401  and  the  total  consumption  of 
water  for  the  year  1916  amounted  to  135,878,000  gallons. 


On  February  24,  1670,  a  town  meeting  ordered  that  every  householder  should 
have  a  "lader  long  enough  to  reach  to  ye  top  of  his  house  by  the  last  day  of  ye 
Fifth  Month,  or  pay  ten  shillings  for  faleure  to  do  so  &  five  shillings  a  month 
thereafter  so  loqge  as  he  shall  neglect  to  provide  sayd  lader."  This  is  the  first 
mention  of  fire  protection  to  be  found  in  the  town  records,  though  some  precau- 
tion may  have  been  made  earlier,  as  the  records  for  the  first  ei^t  years  are 

In  1793  the  "Firewards  Society  of  Dorchester  and  Milton"  was  organized  and 

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Stephen  Badlam  was  elected  derk.  The  members  of  the  society  were  exempted 
by  the  two  towns  from  military  duty  and  the  paymem  of  poll  tax.  The  first 
eng^ine  was  a  small  affair,  filled  by  leather  buckets.  Nearly  every  house  had  two 
buckets  kept  in  sonic  convenient  place,  where  they  could  be  ca-^ily  reached  in 
case  of  tire,  and  a  number  of  buckets  was  always  kept  with  the  engnie. 

The  first  suction  eng^e— the  "Fountain**— was  near  the  end  of  the 
bridge,  on  the  Dcncbester  side  of  the  Neponset  River.  A  little  later  the  "Alert" 
was  procured  and  stationed  on  the  Milton  side  and  there  was  a  friendly  rivalry 
between  the  two  comi)anies  as  to  which  could  respond  the  more  promptly  and 
render  the  better  service  at  a  tire.  In  1H45  a  hydrant  engine  was  purchased  for 
$1,200  and  the  same  year  a  hook  and  ladder  company  was  organized.  A  supply 
of  hose'  was  also  purchased  for  Uie  use  of  the  fire  company.  Three  years  later 
the  "Ninety's  Hose  Company"  was  organized.  It  is  said  to  have  taken  its  name 
from  the  "87  Hose  Company."  mentioned  in  "Doesticks,"  a  volume  published 
about  that  time.  Better  fire  protection  was  afforded  in  1861  when  a  line  of  pijx: 
was  laid  from  the  mill  to  Canton  Avenue  and  six  hydrants  were  located  thereon. 

In  1881  an  engine  honae  was  built  by  tiie  town  in  the  rear  of  ^  town  hall, 
at  a  cost  of  $3,195  and  a  chemical  engine  was  bought  for  $2,000  and  placed  in 
the  house.  During  the  next  two  years  a  fire  alarm  system  was  installed,  and 
at  the  close  of  1883  there  were  twenty-three  miles  of  wire  and  eip^hteen  alarm 
boxes.  At  that  time  there  were  si.x  reservoirs,  in  which  water  could  be  stored 
for  fire  emergencies — one  near  the  town  hall,  one  on  Central  Avenue,  and  the 
Other  four  at  points  in  East  Milton.  The  annual  town  meeting  in  1887  made  an 
appropriation  for  the  purchase  of  a  steam  fire  engine  and  the  erecti<m  of  an 
en^ne  house  at  Milton  Centre.  This  was  the  first  steam  fire  engine  introduced  in 
the  town. 

According  to  the  report  of  the  board  of  fire  engineers  for  the  year  ending  on 
December  31,  1916,  "The  apparatus  of  the  department  now  consists  of  i  motor 
ladder  truck  with  chemical  tank  attachment;  i  75o^llon  capacity  motor  pump 
engine ;  i  motor  combination  hose  and  chemical  truck ;  totalling  a  cost  to  the 
town  of  $ro.450,  all  of  which  is  housed  in  the  Central  Fire  Station.  The  depart- 
ment also  maintains  horse-drawn  combination  hose  and  chemical  apparatus  at 
both  East  Milton  and  Brush  Hill." 

During  the  year  1916  the  dqNirtment  answered  131  ahrms,  besides  eight  calls 
to  Boston  and  six  to  Quincy.  The  value  of  property  involved  in  the  131  fires  in 
the  town  was  $66,x6o  and  the  total  loss  by  fire  was  $5,207.30,  on  which  the  prop- 
erty holders  recovered  insurance  of  $4,332.30.  making  the  actual  fire  loss  $87^— 
a  record  rarely  equaled  by  town  fire  departments. 


Milton  is  the  third  wealthiest  town  in  Norfolk  County,  being  exceeded  in 
this  respect  only  by  the  Town  of  Brookline  and  the  City  of  Quincy.  .According 
to  the  report  of  the  assessors  for  the  year  1916,  the  total  valuation  of  property 
was  $35,104,044.  This  is  $1,965,319  lower  than  the  valuation  of  1915.  but  the 
decrease  is  not  due  to  any  real  loss  of  property,  being  due  merely  to  a  readjust- 
ment of  assessments  by  the  board  of  assessors.  On  December  31,  1916,  the 
funded  debt  of  the  town  was  $455/xx)^  distributed  as  fc^ows: 

Tot  1-14 

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School  loans   $244,000 

Water  lx)nds  outstanding   160.000 

Sewer  loans   29,000 

Libraiy  loan   15,000 

Public  Paric  loans.   jjaoo 

Toul   $455iO«> 

Of  the  school  loans,  $175,000  was  authorized  in  iyi6  for  the  purpose  of  erect- 
ing a  new  high  school  building.  On  the  other  side  of  the  ledger  the  town  prop- 
trty  was  valued  as  follows:  . 

School .  buildings  and  contents                                $  ^73i890 

Public  Libraiy  and  contents   I37*3i8 

Police  Station  and  contents   35*304 

Other  buildings  and  contents   167.047 

Cemetery    50,000 

Public  grounds  and  parks   36,000 

Other  real  estate.   19,700 

Waterworks   315.000 

Total   $1^35,159 

In  addition  to  this  municipal  property,  the  treasurer  reported  assets  consisting 
of  cash  on  hand  and  uncollected  assessments  of  $201,167.  If  this  be  added  to 
the  $1,035,159  representing  the  value  of  buildings,  etc.,  the  town  has  total  assets 

of  $1,236,326,  or  nearly  three  dollars  for  every  dollar  of  the  funded  debt.  Surely 
the  holder  of  Milton's  obligations  need  feel  no  anxiety  as  to  the  safety  of  his 
securities.  The  total  appropriations  made  by  the  annual  meeting  in  1916 
amounted  to  $397,705,  to  wit: 

Highway  construction   $  50,000 

Highway  maintenance    30,300 

Sprinkling  and  dliqg  streets   10,000 

Sidewalks    Sfioa 

Police  department   33'245 

Fire  department   24,770 

Water  department   14400 

Schools    96,300 

Poor    7/JOO 

Public  Library   lO/XX) 

Street  lighting    >7«9i'3 

Interest    11.079 

Salaries    10,800 

Public  paries   3,600 

Miscellaneous    73*388 

Total  $397J05 

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In  a  majority  of  the  cases,  as  shown  by  the  above  table,  the  appropriations 
were  in  excess  of  the  actual  neccssitic';,  and  the  auditor,  in  his  financial  statement 
at  the  close  of  the  year,  rejx)rte(l  unexpended  ])alances  amounting  to  $180,007. 
This  shows  that  while  the  people  of  Milton  are  liberal  in  giving  support  to  the 
town's  institutions,  the  oflfidals  who  have  charge  of  the  disbursement  of  public 
funds  have  been  governed  by  reasonable  concern  for  the  interests  of  the  tax- 
payers of  the  town,  and  that  they  have  used  good  business  judgment  in  making 
their  contracts  and  purchases. 


The  first  birth  recorded  in  the  town  records  is  that  of  Elizabeth,  daughter  of 

Thomas  Swift,  who  was  born  on  August  2i,  1662. 

The  earliest  recorded  marriaffc  was  solemnized  on  Xovember  30,  1671,  when 
Ale  Caig  became  the  wife  of  Samuel  Pilcher,  though  it  is  quite  certain  that  this 
was  not  the  first  in  the  town— being  only  the  first  on  record. 

The  first  recorded  death  is  that  of  Robert,  son  of  Edward  Vose,  who  died  on 
November  II,  1667.   An  infant  son  of  John  Kcney  died  two  days  later. 

The  first  mention  of  a  school  is  in  the  records  for  March  4,  i6<')9,  when 
"Ebenezer  Tucker  was  chose  Scoole  Master  for  the  west  end  of  the  Town." 

The  first  sermon  was  preached  by  Rev.  Stephen  Kingsley,  but  Rev.  Joseph 
Emerson  was  the  first  regularly  liceiued  deigyman  to  hold  religious  services  in 
the  town. 

The  first  powder  mill  in  this  section  of  the  colony  was  ordered  in  August, 
1673.  A  company  was  at  that  time  Oi^anizcd  by  Rev.  John  (Jxenbridge  and  Rev. 
James  Allen,  pastor  and  teacher  resjKctively  of  the  First  Church  in  P)Oston, 
Robert  Sanderson,  Capt.  John  Hull  and  Freegrace  Bcndall  to  build  a  mill  for 
the  manufacture  of  gunpowder.  They  brought  over  from  England  Walter 
Everendon  as  superintendent,  and  the  mill  was  located  just  south  of  the  Neponset 
bridge,  on  the  Milton  side  of  the  river.  At  the  time  of  King  Philip's  war  the 
■General  Court  ordererl  '"a  constant  watch  to  be  kept  at  L'nkety  for  the  preserva- 
tion of  the  powder  mill  and  the  grist  mill  in  its  immediate  vicinity." 

The  first  pound  was  built  in  1670  on  Mr.  Cushing's  land  near  the  present  • 
White  Street 

The  first  paper  mill  was  started  in  January,  1728,  and  the  chocolate  mill 
in  the  fall  of  1764.  The  first  violoncello  was  made  by  Benjamin  Crehore  in  1798, 
and  the  first  piano  by  the  same  man  two  years  later. 


One  little  passage  in  the  historical  address  of  Edward  L.  Pierce  at  the  dedica- 
tion of  the  town  hall.  February  17.  1S79,  is  worthy  of  more  than  passing  notice. 
Said  he:  "There  has  been  a  continuity  in  the  life  of  this  town  rare  in  municipal 
history.  Growing  in  population  by  natural  increase  rather  than  by  accessions 
from  other  places,  there  has  been  a  steady  flow  of  influence  and  character  from 
one  generation  to  another.  Ei^t  of  the  original  trustees,  to  whom,  in  1664,  a 
tract  of  land  wns  cnnvcycd  for  a  meeting  house  and  other  ministerial  purposes, 
have  always  since  had  and  still  have  descendants  in  the  town  bearing  their  names, 

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and  in  some  instances  living  upon  and  holding,  without  break  in  the  chain  of 
title,  their  ancestral  acres — the  Voses,  Wadswoitbs,  Tuckets,  Stunners,  Gullivers, 
Babcocks,  Swifts  and  Cranes." 

MILTON  IN  1917 

In  19ZO  the  population  of  Mihon,  according  to  the  United  States  census, 

'  was  7,924.  The  state  census  of  1915  reports  it  as  8,600,  and  in  1916  the  superin- 
tendent of  the  waterworks  estimates  it  at  8,933.  These  fi^ires  show  a  steady 
gain  in  the  number  of  inhabitants,  much  of  which  is  due  as  Mr.  Pierce  said  in 
his  address  to  "natural  increase."  Of  the  families  mentioned  by  him,  six  were 
represented  in  the  tax  list  for  1916,  the  Cranes  and  Gullivers  being  the  only  ones 

Milton  has  two  banks,  one  of  which  has  been  in  existence  for  nearly  a  century, 
a  weekly  newspaper  (the  Record),  several  churches,  some  manufacturing  inter- 
tests,  steam  and  electric  railway  transportation,  and  is  one  of  the  most  desirable 
residence  towns  in  tfie  county. 

Following  is  a  list  of  the  principal  town  officers  at  the  beginning  of  the  year 
1917:  James  S.  Russell,  Maurice  A.  Duflfy  and  James  P.  Mitchell,  selectmen  and 
surveyors  of  highways;  G.  Frank  Kemp,  clerk;  J.  Porter  Holmes,  treasurer; 
Clarence  I'oylston,  William  W.  Churchill  and  Charles  H.  Home,  assessors; 
Josiah  Uabcock,  tax  collector ;  J.  H.  Raymond  and  Frederick  N.  Krim,  auditors ; 
Theodore  T.  Whitney,  Jr.,  Howard  L^lie  and  Thomas  B.  Gordon,  water  com- 
missioners; Albert  D.  Smith,  Arthur  H.  Tucker.  Walter  D.  Brooks,  Horace  N. 
Plummer  and  Caroline  E.  Williams,  overseers  of  the  poor;  Bernard  W,  Traflford, 
Malcolm  Donald  and  J.  Sumner  Draper,  park  commissioners ;  Harris  Kennedy, 
H,  B.  Edwards,  Frank  P.  Fanning,  Stephen  C.  Mitchell,  Reginald  L.  Robbins  and 
Eva  B.  Churchill,  school  committee ;  Maurice  Pierce,  Peleg  Bronsdon,  Timothy 
McDermott  and  George  W.  Higgins,  constables;  Phifip  S.  Dalton,  James  S. 
Gallagher  and  J.  H.  Hobnes,  fire  engineers. 

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The  territory  now  comprising  the  Town  of  Needham  was  included  in  Dedham 
when  the  latter  was  incorporated  on  September  8,  1636,  and  remained  a  part  of 
that  town  for  three-quarters  of  a  century.  Needham  is  situated  in  the  northerly 
part  of  the  county,  in  a  bend  of  the  Charles  River.  On  the  nortiiwest  it  is 
bounded  by  Wellesley ;  on  the  northeast  by  the  Charles  River,  which  separates  it 
from  the  City  of  Boston ;  and  also  on  the  southerly  side  by  the  Charles  River, 
which  there  separates  it  from  the  towns  of  Dedham  and  Dover.  That  portion 
of  Dedham  known  as  "Dedham  Island,"  lying  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  Charles 
River  from  the  main  part  of  the  town,  forms  a  small  part  of  Needham's  boundary 
line  on  the  southeast.  There  are  several  small  streams  in  the  town,  all  tributary  to 
the  Charles  River.  They  risr  in  the  central  part  and  flow  in  nearly  all  directions, 
which  indicates  the  general  character  of  the  surface. 


Af  the  time  Dedham  was  incorporated,  and  for  many  years  afterward,  the 
land  in  what  i"^  now  Needham  was  claimed  by  the  Indians.  On  April  14,  1680, 
a  deed  was  executed  by  William  Xahaton  (  sometimes  written  Nehoiden)  and 
his  brothers  and  sisters  to  "a  parcel  or  tract  of  land  as  it  heth  towards  the  north- 
erly side  of  Dedham,  by  the  Great  Falls  of  the  Qiarles  River,  to  the  Natic  saw 
mtU  brook,"  etc.  About  a  year  later,  April  18,  1681,  John  Magus,  a  minor  chief 
living^  at  Xntick.  and  his  wife,  Sara  ^^aglls.  relinquished  all  their  claims  to  "the 
whole  parcel  or  tract  of  land  as  it  licth  in  Dedham  bounds,"  etc.  The  tract  thus 
deeded  to  the  white  inhabitants  was  known  as  "Magus  Hill"  and  included  the 
present  towns  of  Needham  and  Natick  and  that  part  of  Dedham  called  Dedham 
Island.  The  consideration  received  by  Magus  and  his  wife  was  five  pounds  in 
money  and  Indian  corn  to  the  value  of  diree  pounds — a  total  of  about  forty 
doUars.  The  same  lands  today  are  worth  several  millions  of  dollars. 


It  is  uncertain  just  when  or  by  whom  the  first  settlement  was  made  in  Need- 
ham, but  it  was  no  doubt  soon  after  the  extinguishment  of  the  Indian  title,  as 


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mentioned  in  the  foregoing  paragraph.  The  records  of  a  Dedhain  town  meeting 
held  in  March,  1694,  bear  tvidctux'  that  a  settlement  of  some  kind  existed  in 
the  vicinity  of  Magus  Hill.  i)n  July  2,  1705,  the  Dedham  selectmen  granted 
one  Benjamin  Mills  a  license  "to  keep  a  public  house  near  the  Lower  Falls," 
and  on  March  9,  1709.  the  settlers  living  on  the  opposite  side  oi  the  Charles 
River  from  Dedham  Village  petitioned  the  town  for  a  grant  of  eig^t  pounds 
to  pay  a  minister  ior  three  months,  which  request  the  records  show  was  granted 
There  must  have  been  a  considerable  number  of  inhabitants  at  that  time,  or 
the  grant  would  hardly  have  been  made.  It  is  not  probable  that  a  meeting 
house  had  then  been  erected,  but  that  the  preaching  was  to  be  done  at  a  pioneer 
school  house,  or  in  the  homes  of  some  of  the  inhabitants.  A  little  more  than  a  year 
later  the  people  of  what  is  now  Needham  took  the  first  steps  to  haVe  a  town  of 
their  own  established*  by  petitioning  the  General  Court  to  that  effect 


The  petition  asking  for  the  incorporation,  which  was  presented  to  the  General 
Court  in  May,  1710,  was  signed  by  Henry  Alden,  Samuel  Bacon,  Hczekiah  Broad, 
Edward  Cook,  Robert  Cook,  Andrew  Dewing,  Andrew  Dewing.  Jr.,  Jonathan 
Dewing,  John  Fisher,  John  Fisher,  Jr.,  Thomas  Fuller,  Rol)ert  Fuller,  John  Gill, 
Joseph  Hawes,  Stephen  Hunting.  Eleazer  Kingsbury,  James  Kingsbury,  Josiah 
Kingsbury,  Timothy  Kingsbury,  John  Mclntire,  Thomas  Metcalf,  Benjamin  Mills, 
Benjamin  Mills,  Jr.,  William  Mills,  Zechariah  Mills,  Richard  More,  Matthias  Ock- 
inton,  Isaac  Parker,  Jonathan  Parker,  John  Parker,  John  Parker,  Jr.,  Samuel 
Parker,  Christopher  Smith,  John  Smith,  Joshua  Smith,  Andrew  Wadkins,  £be* 
nezer  Ware,  E{)hraim  W  are,  Jeremiah  Woodcock  and  John  Woodcock. 

Opposition  to  the  petition  developed  in  the  Town  of  Dedham,  which  appointed 
a  committee  to  appear  at  the  October  session  of  the  General  Court  and  show  why 
the  petition  should  not  be  granted.  The  effect  of  this  move  on  the  part  of  the 
mother  town  was  that  the  Gent  ml  Court  declined  to  grant  the  prayer  of  the 
petitioners  at  that  time,  but  a(l\  i--ied  the  {people  of  Dedham  to  exempt  them 
from  paying  taxes  for  the  suj)port  of  the  minister  at  Dedham,  provided  they 
would  undertake  to  have  religious  services  among  themselves  and  to  en^loy  a 
minister  to  conduct  sudi  services.  This  advice  was  accqited  by  a  town  meeting 
held  in  Dedham  on  November  13,  1710,  and  on  the  19th  of  March  following  still 
further  encouragement  was  given  by  the  proprietors  of  undivided  land  in  Dedham 
setting  apart  two  lots  of  land  (about  one  hundred  and  thirty-three  acres)  to  be 
used  by  the  settlers  of  Needham  for  the  support  of  the  ministry.  This  placed  the 
inhabitants  of  Needham  in  the  positicm  of  a  sqiarate  precinct,  although  sudi 
precinct  was  not  organized  under  the  laws  of  the  colony. 


The  people  of  the  little  settlement  northwest  of  the  Charles  River  were  not 
satisfied,  however,  with  Hanr  quasi-precinct  oiganization  and  during  the  summer 
and  ea^  fall  of  1711  another  petition  asking  the  General  Court  to  incorporate 
"that  portion  of  Dedham  lying  north  of  tlic  Oiarles  ^tver  as  a  separate  town/* 
was  circulated  and  signed  by  most  of  the  inhabitants.  This  petition  came  before 

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the  General  Court  at  the  fall  session,  and  on  November  5,  171 1,  it  was  granted, 

"the  new  town  to  be  known  as  Needham." 

Concerning  the  name  of  the  town,  Rev.  Stephen  Palmer,  in  a  historical  address 
dehvered  by  him  at  the  centennial  celebration  of  the  town  in  1811,  said:  "I  have 
been  informed  by  one  of  the  descendants  of  the  venerable  Timothy  Dwight.  of 
Dedham,  who  was  a  member  of  the  L^;tslature  when  this  town  was  incorporated, 
that  it  was  named  Needham  at  the  request  of  Governor  Dudley  after  Needham 
in  England,  and  because  that  town  is  near  to  Dedham.  although  in  a  different 



Xeedham's  first  town  meeting  was  held  on  December  4,  171 1,  when  the  fol- 
lowing officers  were  elected:  Timothy  Kingsbury,  John  Fisher,  Benjamin  Mills, 
John  Smith  and  Robert  Cook,  selectmen ;  Timothy  Kingsbur)%  clerk ;  Robert  Cook, 
treasurer.  On  May  19,  1712,  Robert  Cook  was  elected  as  the  first  representative 
to  the  General  Ccmrt.  The  only  other  business  transacted  at  the  meeting  of 
December  4,  17 11,  besides  the  election  of  officers,  was  the  appointment  of  a  com- 
mittee to  select  a  suitable  place  for  a  burial  ground.  The  committee  was  com- 
posed of  the  sckctmen,  Jonathan  Gay,  Jeremiah  Woodcock,  Thomas  Metcalf 
and  Eleazer  Kingsbury. 


As  established  in  1711,  Needham  included  the  present  Town  of  Wellesley 
and  a  part  of  Natick.  On  October  3,  1774,  the  westerly  part  was  set  off  as  a 
precinct  and  about  four  years  later  was  organized  as  a  separate  parish.  Natick 
was  set  off  from  Dedham  in  1781.  By  an  act  of  the  General  Court  in  1797.  the 
tract  known  as  the  "Needham  L^,"  containing  1.656  acres,  was  added  to  Natick, 
but  Needham  received  in  return  404  acres  from  Natick  in  another  place,  the 
change  making  both  the  towns  of  better  shape.  On  June  21.  1803,  the  Turtle 
Island,  at  the  Upper  Falls  of  the  Charles  River,  was  taken  from  Needham  and 
annexed  to  Newton.  The  Town  of  Wdlesley  was  set  off  on  .\pril  C.  1881,  reduc- 
iqg  Needham  to  its  present  dimensions. 


In  the  erection  of  the  Town  of  Wellesley  in  1881,  the  town  hall  that  had  served 
Needham  for  a  number  of  years  went  to  the  new  town.  Needham  received  from 
Wellesley  about  tiiirty  thousand  dollars,  which  was  applied  chiefly  to  the  pay- 
ment of  the  town  debt.  Town  meetings  were  held  in  hired  halls  for  about 
twenty  years,  but  on  November  26.  1901,  a  committee  was  appointed  to  consider 
the  advisability  of  building  a  new  town  hall.  The  committee  made  a  report  in 
favor  of  such  a  movement,  and  on  March  17,  1902,  the  following  building  com- 
mittee was  appointed:  Rodman  P.  Snelling,  Danid  W.  Richards,  Emery  Grover, 
John  E.  Buckley  and  Harrie  S.  Whittemore.  Plans  were  made  by  Winslow  & 
Bigelow,  architects,  and  the  contract  was  awarded  to  Mead,  Mason  &  Company. 
The  comer-stone  was  laid  by  the  Masonic  fraternity  on  September  2,  1902,  and 

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the  building  was  dedicated  with  appropriate  ceremonies  on  the  evening  of  Decem- 
ber 22,  1903.  The  cost,  including  the  furnishings,  was  $57,5CX).  The  structure 
stands  on  Hie  common,  to  tint  nothing  was  paid  for  land.  It  is  oat  of  die  best 
appmnted  town  halls  in  the  comity.  The  cerenuM^  of  the  cwner-stone  laying 
was  made  a  part  of  "Needham  Old  Home  Week"  and  was  attended  by  a  hige 
concourse  of  people. 


In  March,  18^,  a  committee,  consistiiig  of  Dr.  Albert  E.  Miller,  C.  A.  Hicks, 
Thomas  F.  Peabody,  James  E.  Cahill  and  William  Carter,  was  appointed  to  inves- 
tigate the  sources  of  a  water  supply  and  rejKirt  at  a  subsequent  meeting.  The 
following  July  an  appropriation  of  $500  was  made  for  the  use  of  the  committee, 
and  on  March  8,  1888,  an  act  was  approved  authorizing  the  town  to  issue  bonds 
to  the  amomit  of  $75,ax),  to  establish  a  system  of  waterworks.  Later  acts  antfior^ 
ized  bond  issues  aggr^ting  $280,000.  One  provision  of  the  act  of  1888  was 
that  it  was  not  to  become  eflFcctive  until  approved  by  a  vote  of  two-thirds  of 
the  legal  voters  of  the  town.  On  Xovembcr  7.  iS8<).  the  necessary  two-thirds 
vote  was  obtained,  the  proposition  having  twice  been  defeated,  and  on  December 
3,  1889,  the  first  board  of  water  commissioners  was  elected,  viz.:  John  Moseley, 
John  M.  Hodge  and  James  Mackintosh. 

During  the  summer  and  falLof  1890  the  waterworks  were  sufficiently  com- 
pleted to  furnish  water  to  the  more  densely  populated  parts  of  the  town,  the 
supply  being  taken  from  Coli)urn  Spring.  In  October,  1897.  a  water  reservation 
was  established  by  the  purchase  of  the  Coiburn  farm  of  seventy-three  and  a  half 
acres,  and  the  first  well  was  sunk  soon  afterward.  Well  No.  2  was  added  in 
1900  and  in  1902  the  Hicks  Spring,  with  seven  acres  adjoining,  was  added  to 
the  reservatim.  By  1905  the  water  mains  were  extended  to  all  parts  of  the  town. 


The  first  official  mention  in  the  Needham  records  r^jardiug  fire  protection 

is  in  the  minutes  of  the  meeting  of  March  4,  1833,  when  George  W.  Hoogs* 
William  Flagg.  William  Pierce,  David  C.  Mills,  Tyler  Pettee  and  Elisha  Lyon 
were  elected  Hrewards.  During  the  next  five  years  volunteer  companies  were 
evidently  organized,  as  on  April  3,  1838,  the  town  voted  to  exempt  engine  men 
from  poU  tax.  In  1840  the  town  voted  to  "fumiflh  a  hose  carriage  for  the  use 
of  the  engine  company  at  the  Lower  Falls,  the  cost  not  to  exceed  tiiirty-five 
dollars."  Three  years  later  Colonel  Rice,  William  Flagg,  Lyman  Greenwood, 
Galen  Orr,  Fllisha  I. yon  and  Richard  Boynton  were  appointed  a  committee  to 
raise  money  liy  subscrij^tion  for  a  new  entwine  for  the  Lower  Falls,  notwithstand- 
ing a  majority  of  the  members  of  the  hre  company  there  were  Newton  men 
and  the  apparatus  was  kept  on  tiieir  side  of  the  river.  The  committee  was  also 
instructed  to  consider  the  question  of  providing  fire  protection  at  the  Upper 
FaUs»  where  an  engine  company  had  been  oiganized.  No  report  of  diis  com> 
mittee  can  be  found. 

In  the  tmvn  appropriated  the  sum  of  $150  for  the  different  engine  com- 
panies, to  be  distributed  as  follows:    Lower  Falls,  $60;  East  Needham,  $60; 

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Ujpper  Falls,  $3a  Very  few  changes  were  made  in  the  dqtartment  during  the 

next  thirty  years,  further  than  to  replace  old  apparatus  widi  new  as  it  wore 

out,  and  the  introduction  of  new  members  of  the  several  companies  as  old  ones 
dropped  out  of  service.  The  records  of  the  town  meeting  of  1874  show  that 
the  Cataract  Engine  Company  was  allowed  $296.28  and  the  Mechanics  Engine 
Company,  $12342,  "for  services  at  fires  in  excess  of  the  $500  appropriated" 

New  engine  houses  were  erected  at  Needham  Heights  and  on  Chestnut  Street 
in  at  a  cost  of  $3,cxx),  and  on  March  4,  tSBg,  an  appropriation  of  ^|oo  was 
made  for  the  installation  of  a  fire  alarm  system,  an  arrangement  being  made  that 
the  bells  of  the  First  Church  and  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church  should  be 
used  as  alarm  bells.  Boxes  were  placed  at  the  different  engine  hottses  and  one  at 
the  comer  of  Nehoiden  and  Rosemary  streets.  The  alarm  system  was  installed 
by  Henry  D.  Rodgers,  who  was  the  first  superintendent. 

The  first  hook  and  ladder  truck  (purchased  in  1882  at  a  cost  of  $760)  was 
replaced  by  a  new  one  in  1890,  when  a  new  company  was  formed,  the  department 
then  numbering  ninety  men.  In  1901  the  Firemen's  Relief  Association  was 
oiganized  for  the  purpose  of  caring  for  sick  or  disabled  members.  A  combina- 
tion diemical  and  hose  wagon  was  purchased  for  $i,aoo  in  1905,  and  a  second 
was  purchased  about  two  years  later  at  a  cost  of  $1,800.  Since  then  the  depart- 
ment has  been  improved  along  general  lines  and  is  now  in  first  class  oondid<m» 
both  in  organization  and  equipment. 


The  first  street  lights  were  introduced  in  1874.  in  which  year  the  town  paid 
$150  for  maintaining  forty-six  lights.  In  1878  the  number  of  lights  had  increased 
to  179  and  the  cost  to  the  town  for  their  maintenance  was  $450.  An  act  of  the 
General  Court  in  1881  authorized  the  Newton  and  VVatertown  Gas  Light  Com- 
pany to  extend  its  pipes  into  Needham,  but  <mly  a  part  of  the  town  ever  received 
any  benefit.  In  1883  James  Maddntosh  raised  $1,320  by  subscription  for  the 
establishment  of  eighty-eight  street  lamps,  for  which  the  town  a|preed  to  care. 
Ten  years  later  the  number  was  increased  to  127  lamps. 

Under  the  act  of  1891,  Massachusetts  towns  were  authorized  to  construct 
their  own  lighting  plants.  The  provisions  of  this  act  were  accepted  by  the  people 
of  Needham  on  Mardi  7,  1892,  and  at  another  meetii^  on  June  23,  1893,  the 
selectmen  were  authorised  to  issue  bonds  for  $10,000,  and  to  be  commissioners 
of  a  sinking  fimd.  the  money  received  from  the  sale  of  the  bonds  to  be  used  for 
the  purpose  of  cnnstnictinp  a  municipal  lighting  plant.  Before  anything  was 
done  under  this  order,  the  selectmen  were  instructed  by  a  meeting  held  on  Sep- 
tember 15,  1893,  to  enter  .into  a  contract  with  the  Eliot  Falls  Electric  Light 
Company  to  furnish  current,  and  an  additional  appropriation  of  $3,500  was  made 
for  the  erection  of  poles,  etc.,  the  money  to  be  raised  by  the  sale  of  bonds. 
Kineteen  miles  of  poles  and  wires  were  placed  by  the  Ilawes  Electric  Company, 
and  late  in  the  year  the  town  received  its  first  electric  lifjhts.  The  Eliot  Falls 
Company  was  succeeded  by  the  Xatick  Gas  and  Electric  Company,  and  in  1898 
the  Needham  contract  was  renewed  with  the  latter  company  for  five  years.  In 
1903  the  Edison  Electric  llHuninatti^  Company  of  Boston  purchased  the  hokl- 
ings  of  the  Natick  Company  and  since  then  light  has  been  furnished  by  the 
Edis(m  Company. 

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On  May  17,  1826,  a  postoflke  was  established  at  Needham — the  first  in  the 
town — ^witb  Rufus  Mills  as  the  first  postmaster.    He  first  kept  the  oflke  in  his 

house,  using  a  small  trunk  as  a  receptacle  for  the  mail,  but  later  removed  it  to 
Daniel  Kinfjsbury's  store.  A  few  years  ago  the  httlc  trunk  was  kept  on  exhibi- 
tion for  several  days  at  the  postoflfice,  to  show  the  Ijeginning  of  Xeedham's  mail 
facilities,  and  it  was  viewed  by  a  large  ntunber  of  people  with  manifest  curiosity. 

The  second  postoffice  was  established  at  West  Needham,  with  Charles  Noyes 
as  postmaster.  The  exact  date  when  thh  office  was  ordered  by  the  postoffice 
department  cannot  be  ascertained,  but  it  was  jirior  to  1830,  as  in  that  year  mail 
was  delivered  three  times  a  week  by  the  stages  running^  between  Boston  and 
Natick.  Noyes  held  the  position  of  postmaster  but  a  short  time,  when  he  was 
succeeded  by  William  Flagg,  who  served  for  twenty-five  years.  The  site  of  this 
office  is  now  in  the  Town  of  Wellesley. 

On  Januaiy  6,  1851,  the  third  postoffice  in  the  town  was  established  at  Charles 
River  Village,  with  Josiah  Newell  as  postmaster.  In  November  of  the  same  year 
a  postofhce  was  established  at  Grantvilie  in  charge  of  William  H.  .Adams  as  post- 
master. Grantville  was  made  a  railroad  station  in  1884,  It  is  now  in  the  Town 
of  Wellesley. 

The  postoffice  at  Highlandville  (now  Needham  Heights)  was  established  on 
December  19.  1871.  Jonathan  Avery  was  the  first  postmaster  at  this  office.  Rural 
free  delivery  was  inaugurated  in  Needham  on  June  4.  1900. 


In  185 1  the  town  erected  a  monument  ujxin  an  elevation  in  the  old  cemetery 
to  commemorate  the  valor  of  the  Needham  men  who  lost  their  lives  in  the  Revo- 
lutionary war.  The  monument  is  in  the  form  of  a  granite  obelisk,  and  upon  the 
side  next  to  the  public  street  is  the  inscription:  "In  memory  .of  John  Racon, 
Amos  Mills,  Klisha  Mills,  Jonathan  Parker  and  Nathaniel  Chamberlain,  who 
fell  at  Lexington  .-Xpril  iQ,  1775.    For  liberty  they  died." 

John  Bacon  was  first  lieutenant  in  Capt.  Caleb  Kingsbury's  company ;  Amos 
Mills  and  Nathaniel  Chamberlain  were  privates  in  the  same  company;  Elisha 
Mnb  was  a  sergeant  and  Jonathan  Parieer  a  private  in  Capt.  Robert  Smith's 
company.  A  hutoiy  of  these  companies  will  be  found  in  the  chapter  on  the 


The  design  of  the  Needham  town  seal  is  certainly  appropriate  and  conveys 
an  idea  of  the  town's  history.  In  the  center  are  two  white  men  and  an  Indian  in 
a  circle,  representing  the  purchase  of  tiie  lands  from  the  natives;  on  the  left 
is  a  wigwam  and  on  the  right  a  large  tree,  under  which  the  treaty  was  held,  and 
in  the  background  is  a  hill,  representing  Magus  Hill.  In  the  circle  surrounding^ 
this  design  are  the  words,  "Town  of  Needham,  Incorporated,  171 1." 


Besides  the  public  utilities  above  enumerated,  Needham  has  a  banking  insti- 
tution, a  fine  public  library,  a  good  public  school  system,  excellent  highways,  a 

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Ti'i  riEV.'  vc:  k 


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number  of  manufacturing  enterprises,  especially  in  knit  goods,  mercantile  houses 
in  keepinjT  with  the  demands  of  the  population,  churches  of  the  Icadinp;^  denomi- 
nations, lodges  of  the  principal  fraternal  organizations,  and  a  number  of  social 
and  literary  clubs.  In  1910  the  population  was  5,026.  The  town  then  stood 
eleventh  in  poputadra,  but  tlie  state  census  of  191 5  raised  it  to  the  ninth  {dace, 
giving  it  a  population  of  6,542,  a  gain  of  1,516  in  five  years.  The  assessed 
valuation  of  property  in  1915  was  $8,765,6661  only  eight  of  the  Norfolk  County 
towns  returning  a  larger  valuation. 

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Norfolk  is  situated  in  the  westerly  part  of  the  county.  On  the  north  it  is 
bounded  by  Mcdficid  and  MilHs,  being  separated  from  the  latter  for  a  short  dis- 
tance by  the  Charles  River ;  on  the  cast  by  Walpole ;  on  the  south  by  Wrentham ; 
and  on  the  west  by  Franklin.  A  little  of  the  boundary  line  on  the  southeast  is 
formed  by  the  Town  of  Foxboro,  and  the  Stop  River  forms  a  portion  of  the 
boundary  line  between  Norfolk  and  Walpole.  The  general  surface  is  quite 
similar  to  that  of  the  surrounding  towns — rolling,  and  in  some  places  hilly. 
There  are  a  few  ponds  and  some  small  streams,  tributaries  of  the  Charles  and 
Stop  rivers. 


The  general  history  of  Norfolk  is  uneventful.  When  the  Town  of  Wrentham 
was  incorporated  in  (  irtobcr,  if.73.  it  included  the  greater  part  of  the  present 
Town  of  Xorfolk,  and  the  territory  remained  attached  to  Wrentham  for  nearly 
two  centuries.  The  first  settlements  were  made  here  while  the  town  was  still 
a  part  of  Wrentham  and  the  early  history  is  therefore  incorporated  in  the  chapter 
relating  to  that  town.  Among  the  early  settlers  in  this  section  were  the  Blakes, 
Days,  Holbrooks,  Manns,  Ponds,  Richardsons,  Wares  and  several  other  families 
whose  names  have  become  intimately  interwoven  with  the  affairs  of  Norfolk 

In  1791  the  warrant  for  a  town  meeting  in  Wrentham  contained  an  article — 
"To  see  if  the  inhabitants  are  satisfied  with  the  Rev.  David  Avery  as  a  Gospel 
Minister,"  and  "provided  that  if  the  major  part  of  the  town  are  satisfied  with 

the  Rev.  David  Aveiy,  to  see  if  the  town  will  consent  that  any  persons  who  are 
dissatisfied  may  go  to  any  other  society  to  do  duty  and  receive  privilege,"  etc. 

Most  of  those  who  were  dissatisfied  with  Mr.  Aver>'  as  a  minister  lived  in 
the  northern  part  of  Wrentham.  Although  no  action  was  taken  upon  the  above 
mentioned  article  at  the  town  meeting,  the  fact  that  it  was  inserted  in  the  warrant 
was  an  acknowledgment  that  the  dissatisfaction  existed.  Mr.  Avery  contintied 
to  exercise  the  duties  of  pastor  and  early  in  the  fall  of  1705  a  call  was  issued 
by  some  of  the  leaders  in  the  northern  part  of  the  Town  of  Wrentham  for  the 
inhabitants  of  that  section  to  meet  on  "Tuesday,  .September  29th  next  for 
the  purpose  of  knowing  the  minds  of  our  inhabitants  for  building  a  meeting  house 
for  public  and  social  worship  at  the  said  north  end." 


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'1  ne  meeting  was  well  attended  and  after  consideiabk  discusskm  it  was  decided 
to  build  a  meeting  house.  A  lengthy  subscription  paper  was  drawn  up  (probably 
in  advance  of  the  meeting),  giving  the  reasons  for  such  action,  and  this  was  signed 
by  thirty-eight  of  the  most  inlluential  men  m  that  part  of  Wrentham,  pledging 
the  aggregate  stun  of  $1,244  for  die  purpose  of  building  a  meeting  house  and 
employing  a  minister  to  their  liking.  It  seems  that  the  Town  of  Wrentham  offered 
no  objection  and  in  this  way  the  present  Town  of  Norfolk  became  the  North 
Parish  of  Wrentham. 


Norfolk  continued  as  the  Wrentham  North  Parish  for  about  one  and  a  quarter 

centuries  Tn  1869  a  petition  to  the  General  Court  was  prepared  and  circulated 
among  the  inhabitants,  asking  that  the  North  Parish,  with  portions  of  the  towns 
of  Franklin,  Medway  and  Walpole,  be  incorporated  as  a  town.  The  petition 
came  before  the  next  session  of  tiie  General  Court,  and  on  Februar)'  .23,  1S70, 
the  foUowiiig  act  was  approved : 

"An  Act  to  incorporate  the  Town  of  Norfolk. 

"Be  it  enacted,  etc. 

'"Section  i.    All  the  territory  now  within  the  towns  of  Wrentham,  PVanklin, 
Medway  and  W  alpole,  in  the  County  of  Norfolk,  comprised  within  the  following 
limits,  that  is  to  say:  Beginnii^f  at  a  point  on  Chaiies  River,  in  the  nortiiwest 
angle  of  Wrentham,  and  following  in  an  easteriy  course  the  present  line  of  divi- 
sion between  Wrentham  and  Medfield  to  Stop  River;  thence  running  southerly 
alonjs^  said  river,  and  separated  by  the  thread  of  its  stream  from  Walpole,  to  a 
point  forty  rods  north  of  the  mouth  of  the  first  brook  running  into  said  river 
below  Campbell's  Mills,  on  the  easterly  side ;  thence  from  said  point,  by  a  straight 
line,  rnftning  to  the  junction  of  Bade  and  Bird  streets  in  Walpde;  thence  with 
Hhe  easterly  side  of  said  Bird  Street  to  its  jttiictioa  with  West  Street;  thence 
westerly  by  the  northerly  side  of  West  Street  twenty-five  rods;  thence  southerly, 
and  near  to  and  westerly  from  the  barn  belonging  to  the  home  estate  of  Charles 
Bird,  imtil  said  line  strikes  Stop  River  one  hundred  and  twenty  rods  southerly 
from  West  Street ;  Aence  along  said  river  as  far  as  Wrentham  and  Walpole  are 
separated  by  the  thread  of  its  stream;  thence  by  a  strait  line,  running  westeriy 
of  the  Walpole  almshouse  and  easterly  of  the  farm  buildings  of  Patrick  ReardoOt 
and  easterly  of  the  Dupee  Bhke  place,  so  called,  to  a  point  on  the  line  between 
Walpole  and  Foxborough.  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  rods  northeasterly  from 
Dedham  Rock;  thence  from  said  point,  following  the  present  line  of  division 
between  Wrentham  and  Foxborough,  to  Dedham  Rock;  thence  southerly  from 
said  rock  along  the  present  line  of  Wrentham  and  Foxborough  to  a  point  on  said 
Ihie  on  the  southerly  side  of  Pine  Street:  thence  by  a  straight  line  to  a  point 
on  the  westerly  side  of  Everett  Street,  northerly  of  the  house  of  Edmund  T. 
Everett  and  southerly  of  the  Pondville  Cemetery,  to  a  point  on  the  westerly 
side  of  North  Street,  five  rods  southerly  of  the  farm  buildings  of  Samuel  J. 
Benn ;  thence  through  the  Stony  Brook  reservoir,  near  to  the  house  of  E.  S. 
•Nash,  to  a  point  on  the  line  between  Franklin  and  Wrentham,  ninety  rods  south- 
erly of  the  house  of  Eliphalet  T^awrcnce:  thence  ninning  northerly  by  a  straight 
line,  near  to  and  west  of  the  farm  buildings  of  the  home  estate  of  J.  £.  PoUard, 

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near  the  Elliot  FdtiQg  Mills,  near  to  and  thirty-five  rods  west  of  the  present 
residence  of  Saul  B.  Scott,  to  the  southern  extremity  of  Populatic  Pond ;  thence 
along  the  western  shore  of  said  pond,  at  low-water  mark,  to  Charles  River; 
thence  in  an  easterly  course  upon  Charles  River,  and  separated  by  the  thread 
of  its  stream  from  Medway^  to  the  center  of  tiM  irm  bridge  over  said  river; 
thence  upon  the  thread  of  said  river  to  the  bridge  of  the  Medway  brandi  lailroad ; 
thence  along  the  southerly  side  of  said  railroad  twenty-eight  rods  to  a  point; 
thence  from  said  point  by  a  straight  line  running  in  a  northeasterly  course, 
passing  southeasterly  of  and  near  to  the  village  of  Deanville,  near  to  and  south 
of  the  old  bam  belonging  to  John  Barber,  to  a  point  on  Baltimore  Street  two 
rods  from  said  bam;  thence  by  a  straight  Une  to  the  easterly  side  of  the  great 
bend  in  Charles  River  and  near  the  old  fording  place;  thence  upon  said  river 
and  separated  by  the  thread  of  its  stream  from  Medway  to  the  point  of  begin- 
ning— is  hereby  incorporated  into  a  town  by  the  name  of  \orfolk  ;  and  said 
Town  of  Xorfolk  is  hereby  invested  with  all  the  jKDwers,  privileges,  rights  and 
immunities,  and  is  subject  to  all  the  duties  and  requisitions  to  which  the  other 
towns  are  entitled  and  subjected  1^  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  this  Common- 

Section  2  relate?  to  arrears  of  taxes  assessed  upon  the  inhabitants  of  Xorfolk 
by  the  towns  from  which  territory  was  taken,  which  were  to  be  paid  to  the  said 
towns  as  if  this  act  had  not  been  passed. 

Section  3  provides  for  the  support  of  paupers,  and  Section  4  that  "Norfolk 
shall  retain  the  school  houses  within  its  limits  and  shall  assume  and  pay  its  just 
and  equitable  proportions,  according  to  its  present  assessed  valuation,  of  any 
debt  due  or  owing  from  the  towns  of  Wrentham  and  Franklin,  respectively,  at 
the  time  of  the  j)assagc  of  this  act,  and  shall  be  entitled  to  receive  from  said 
towns,  respectively,  its  just  and  equitable  proportion,  according  to  said  assessed 
valuation,  of  all  the  corporate  property  then  owned  by  the  said  towns  of  Wren- 
tham and  Franklin,"  etc. 

Section  5  defines  the  representative,  senatorial,  congressional  and  councilor 
districts  for  the  new  town. 

"Section  6.  Any  justice  of  the  peace  within  and  for  the  County  of  Norfolk 
may  issue  his  warrant,  directed  to  any  principal  inhabitant  of  the  Town  of  Nor> 
folk,  requiring  him  to  notify  and  warn  the  inhabitants  thereof,  qualified  to  vote 
in  town  affairs,  to  meet  at  the  time  and  pl.u  e  appointed  for  the  purpose  of 
choosing  all  such  town  officers  n«  towns  are  by  law  authorized  and  required  to 
choose  at  their  annual  meetings;  and  said  warrant  shall  be  served  by  i)Osiing  up 
copies  thereof,  attested  by  the  person  to  whom  the  same  is  directed,  in  three 
public  places  in  said  town,  seven  days  at  least  before^ch  meeting.  Such  justice 
of  the  peace,  or,  in  his  absence,  such  principal  inhabitant,  shall  preside  until  the 
dioice  of  a  moderator  in  said  meeting.  The  selectmen  of  the  towns  of  Wrentham, 
Franklin.  Medway  and  Walpole,  shall,  before  said  meeting,  prepare  a  list  of  voters 
from  their  respective  towns  within  said  Norfolk,  qualiticd  to  vote  at  said  meet- 
ing, and  shall  deliver  the  same  to  the  person  presiding  at  said  meeting  before  the 
choice  of  a  moderator  thereof." 

Section  7  provides  that  "This  act  shall  take  effect  upon  its  passage,'*  and  as 
previou^y  stated,  the  act  was  approved  on  February  33, 187a 

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Under  the  provisions  of  Section  6,  the  first  town  meeting  in  Norfolk  was  held 
on  Monday,  March  7,  1870.  It  was  called  to  order  by  Saul  B.  Scott,  the  justice 
who  had  issued  the  warrant,  and  during  the  voting  for  moderator,  Rev.  Daniel 
Round  checked  the  lists  of  voters  that  had  been  furnished  by  the  selectmen  of 
Wrentham.  Franklin,  Medway  and  Walpole.  Albert  G.  Hills  was  chosen  moderator, 
after  which  the  following  town  officers  were  elected :  Saul  B.  Scott,  Levi  Mann 
and  Erastus  Uupee,  selectmen;  Silas  E.  Fairs,  clerk;  James  H.  Haines,  George 
£.  llolbrook  and  EHsha  Rockwood,  assessors;  William  £.  Codding,  treasurer; 
George  P.  Cody  and  Albert  E.  Dupee,  constables ;  J.  K.  Bragg,  Lothrop  C.  Keith 
and  Daniel  J.  Hdbrook,  school  committee;  Charles  Jordan  and  Darius  Ware, 
ience  viewers;  Levi  Mann  and  Oren  C.  Ware,  surveyors  of  lumber.  The  meet- 
ing closed  by  a  vote  of  thanks  to  Mr.  Hills  for  his  eflficient  and  impartial 
ser\ices  as  moderator,  and  another  to  Silas  E.  Fales  and  William  A.  Jcpson  for 
the  gift  of  a  ballot-box. 


When  the  Town  of  Norfolk  was  incorporattd  it  came  into  possession  of 
the  old  North  Parish  Church,  which  was  erected  in  I7y<),  and  which  was  used 
just  as  it  was  for  several  years  as  a  town  house.  In  1879  the  building  was 
dwroughly  remodeled  and  a  tower  erected,  in  which  is  a  clock  presented  to  the 
town  by  Josiah  Ware.  The  building  stands  upon  an  eminence  and  its  tower 
commands  a  fine  view  of  the  surrounding  country. 


About  1819,  sixty-one  years  before  the  Town  of  Norfolk  was  incorporated, 
Eli  Richardson  built  the  stone  store  building  at  City  Mills  and  secured  an 

appointment  as  postmaster  of  the  office  e^t;:bbMiC(l  soon  after  the  building  was 
comfikted.  This  was  the  first  i)<)stoftice  within  the  present  limits  of  the  Town 
of  iN'oriolk.  Some  years  later  an  office  was  established  at  the  "Centre"  and  was 
given  the  name  of  Norfdk.  DeanviUe,  in  the  northwestern  ])art,  and  Pondville, 
in  the  southeastern  part,  were  once  postofiices,  but  th^  have  been  discontinued. 
The  only  postoffices  in  the  town  on  July  i,  1917,  were  those  at  Norfolk  and 
City  Mills. 


In  19 10  the  population  of  Norfolk,  according  to  the  United  States  census, 
was  960.  The  state  census  of  191 5  reported  a  population  of  1,268,  a  gain  of 
308  in  five  years.  There  is  some  manufacturinfj  (lone  in  the  town,  but  the  prin- 
cipal occupation  is  agriculture.  The  Boston  &  W  illimantic  division  of  the  New 
York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  railway  system  passes  throu^  the  town,  wtdi 
stations  at  Norfolk  and  Qty  Mills,  and  the  Boston  &  Providence  division  of 
the  same  system  touches  the  southeast  comer,  with  a  station  at  Pondville.  In 
1915  the  assessed  valuation  of  property  was  $1,111,482.  In  that  year  Norfolk  re- 

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ported  the  smallest  population  of  any  town  in  the  county  except  Dover,  and  the 
smallest  property  valuation  except  the  towns  of  Bellingham  and  Plainville.  The 
town  has  a  good  public  school  system,  churches  of  different  denominations,  but  is 
without  either  a  bank  or  a  newspaper.  Norfolk,  Deanville,  City  Mills  and  Pond- 
ville  are  all  supplied  with  general  stoves  and  are  trading  centers  for  the  surround* 
ing  agricultural  districts. 

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The  beautiful  and  enterprising  Town  of  Norwood  is  centrally  located,  being 
boumlcd  on  the  north  by  West  wood;  on  the  east  by  the  Neponset  River,  which 
separates  it  from  the  Town  of  Canton;  on  the  south  by  Sharon  and  Walpole;  and 
on  die  west  by  Walpole  and  Westwood.  The  surface  is  more  or  less  hilly  and  is 
drained  by  the  Babbling  (or  Hawes)  Brook  in  the  southwest,  and  by  the  Purga- 
tor>  Brook  in  the  northern  part.  Both  these  streams  flow  in  a  southeasterly  direc- 
tion to  the  Neponset  River. 


Originally,  the  territory  now  forming  the  town  was  included  in  Dcdham.  As 
the  grant  to  the  Dedham  proprietors  in  1636  was  so  extensi\  c,  it  olTcred  great 
inducements  to  persons  of  an  adventurous  disposition  to  begin  new  settlements 
within  its  limits.  It  is  impossible  to  say  just  who  was  the  first  white  man  to 
locate  within  the  pcesent  bounds  of  Norwood,  though  in  Eleaser  Lusher 
and  Joshua  Fisher  received  a  grtint  of  land  and  the  privilege  of  building  a  saw 
mill  on  the  Neponset  River,  near  the  Cedar  Smmp.  Mr.  Lusher  did  not  remove 
to  the  mill  site,  but  Mr.  Fisher  did,  and  he  was  one  of  the  early  settlers. 

In  1664  Daniel  Pond  and  Kzra  Morse  built  a  corn  mill  on  the  artificial  stream 
known  as  "Mother  Brook,"  near  Dedham  \  illage,  but  when  their  dam  was  com- 
pleted it  was  found  to  interfere  with  a  mill  privilege  previously  granted  to  Nathan* 
id  Whiting  and  they  were  compelled  to  remove  their  dam.  Exra  Morse  was 
dwn  granted,  as  a  compensation  for  his  lo^s,  forty  acres  on  the  Neponset  River, 
"near  the  old  saw  mill  or  at  Everett's  Plain."  He  selected  the  former  and  became 
one  of  Xorwood'^  pioneers.  Other  early  settlers  were  the  Everctts,  Giiilds, 
Bullards,  Smiths,  and  some  of  the  Fales  family. 


On  December  23.  172^,  a  petition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court  by  some 
of  the  people  living  in  what  are  now  Stoughton  and  Norwood,  asking  that  they 
might  be  organized  into  a  precinct  '  in  order  that  a  meeting  house  might  be 
erected  for  public  worship/'  etc.   Stoughton  had  been  incorporated  as  a  town 

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the  day  before  this  petition  came  before  the  General  Court.  Notice  was  served 
upon  that  town  and  Dedham,  and  a  remonstrance  came  in  which  was  strong 
enough  to  defeat  the  object  of  the  petitioners.  It  was  not  long,  however,  until 
another  petition,  headed  by  Joseph  Ellis,  was  presented.  This  petition  stated  in 
more  explicit  terms  the  difficulties  under  which  the  inhabitants  labored  in  attend- 
ing church,  especially  in  bad  weather,  and  asked  for  the  establishment  of  a  pre- 
cinct, or  that  the  nicetin^^  house  be  moved  nearer  to  the  center  of  the  Town 
of  Dedham.  A  committee  was  appointed  to  repair  to  Dedham,  investigate  the 
conditions,  and  report  to  the  General  Court  "on  Tuesday,  the  5th  day  of  Decem- 
ber next."  Following  is  the  report  of  the  conunittee : 

"The  committee  appointed  by  the  Great  and  General  Court  to  take  into  con- 
sideration the  circumstances  of  the  Town  of  Dedham,  and  the  ix?tition  of  the 
southerly  part  of  said  town,  having  attended  the  said  service,  report  as  follows; 
That  viewing  the  situation  and  considering  the  circumstances,  are  of  the  opinion 
that  it  will  be  inconvenient  to  grant  the  prayer  of  the  petition  at  present;  but  for 
as  much  as  it  appears  to  the  committee  that  the  major  part  of  the  petitioners 
labor  under  great  difficulties  in  the  winter  season,  in  attending  the  Public  Worship 
of  God.  by  reason  of  their  distance  from  the  Meeting  House,  the  coniniitlee  pro- 
pose that  the  Public  Worship  of  God  be  performed  by  a  Minister,  to  be  provided 
by  the  petitioners  in  some  private  house,  as  near  tiie  center  as  may  be,  for  five 
months  in  the  year,  viz.,  November,  December,  January,  February  and  March, 
and  that  there  be  allo.v  <  1  thirty  shillings  per  Sabbath  for  the  said  service,  the 
charge  to  be  Iwrne  by  the  whole  town,  and  to  continue  until  the  further  order  of 
the  Court,  all  of  which  is  humbly  submitted  by  order  of  the  committee." 

This  report  was  accepted  by  the  Council  and  concurred  in  by  the  House,  after 
which  it  was  presented  to  the  governor,  who  consented  to  such  an  arraiq[ement 
But  it  was  not  satisfactory  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  southern  part  of  Dedham. 
•  They  wanted  a  precinct  and  parish  of  their  own.  Consequently,  Joseph  Smith, 
Samuel  Everett,  John  Guild.  James  Fales  and  others  kept  up  the  fight,  and  during 
the  next  two  years  several  i)etitions  were  presented  to  the  General  Court.  Under 
the  pressure  of  these  stmdry  petitions,  another  committee  was  appointed  by  the 
General  Court  to  look  into  the  situaticm  and  recommend  a  course  for  the  Court 
to  pursue.  Of  this  committee  William  Dudley  was  diairman,  and  on  November 

19,  1729,  he  reported  as  follows: 

"The  committee  a{)pointed  by  this  Court  to  take  under  consideration  the 
several  petitions,  and  having  been  at  ye  Town  of  Dedham  and  Stoughton,  and 
heard  what  ye  several  parties  had  to  say,  as  well  as  to  view  ye  drcumstances  of 
ye  Inhabitants,  humbly  report  on  ye  whole  their  Opinion  as  follows,  viz.:  That 
all  that  part  of  Stoughton  lying  on  ye  westward  of  the  Neponset  River,  and  to 
the  Northward  of  Traphole  Brook  to  ye  Walpole  line,  be  added  to  and  incorpo- 
rated into  the  Town  of  Dedham,  with  all  ye  Inhabitants,  which  with  the  Southern 
part  of  Dedham,  we  humbly  are  of  Opinion  be  made  into  a  distinct  Township,  the 
boimdaries  of  ye  whole  to  be  as  folbws :  Banning  at  a  place  called  Purgatory 
on  Neponset  River,  where  it  may  most  conveniently  take  ye  house  and  home  lot 
of  Josiah  I'isher.  Jr. ;  from  thence  to  a  place  called  the  Cross  Wayes;  taking  in  ye 
house  and  home  lot  of  John  Hause  (  llawe^)  ;  from  thence  so  as  to  take  in  ye 
house  and  home  lot  of  Lusher  Gay;  from  thence  so  as  to  take  in  ye  house  and 
home  lot  of  John  Baker;  from  thence  to  the  line  for  the  Precinct  at  Springfield 

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(now  Dover)  so  as  to  take  in  ye  house  and  home  lot  of  Amos  Fisher;  thence  by 
ye  said  line  to  Bubbling  Brook;  from  thence  to  Walpole  line  and  by  ye  said  line 
to  Traphole  Brook;  and  by  ye  said  Brook  to  Ivieponset  River;  and  by  ye  same  to 
ye  first  mentioiusd  station,  and  that  ye  petitioners  have  leave  to  bring  in  a  bill 

"And  whereas  there  has  been  and  still  remains  an  unhappy  difference  of  opinion 
amontj  ye  Inhabitants  alwut  jilacing  a  Meeting  House  for  the  I'ublic  Worship  of 
God,  it  is  therefore  humbly  prfiposed  that  the  said  Meeting  Ilou'-e  may  Ix-  ordered 
in  such  place  and  time  as  a  Lonimutee  of  this  Court  shall  appomt,  so  as  to  accom- 
modate the  inhabitants  of  Dedham,  or  of  all  tiie  Inhabitants  of  fhis  proposed 
Town,  and  the  committee  propose  that  the  Western  part  of  Dedham  be  set  off 
by  that  town  for  a  Precinct,  to  be  confirmed  accordingly,  and  that  the  Inhabitants 
thereof  be  allowed  to  congregate,  as  they  do  now,  till  the  further  order  of  this 
Court :  Provided  they  do  their  proportion  of  the  charge  of  supporting  a  minister 
where  they  leave." 

No  action  was  taken  upon  this  report  for  nearly  a  year,  but  on 'October  3, 
1730,  the  Council  voted  to  accept  the  report  and  ordered  "That  the  Prayer  of 

this  Petition  l>e  granted,  so  far  as  that  the  Southwesterly  part  of  ye  Town 
of  Dedliam,  together  with  the  westerly  part  of  ye  Town  of  Stoughton,  accourding 
to  the  bounds  expressed  in  the  Report  of  a  Committee  of  this  Court  in  December 
(November)  last,  be  erected  into  a  Township,  and  tl^lt  the  Petitioners  bring  in 

Five  days  later  the  House  concurred  in  this  action,  except  striking  out  the 
word  "township."  and  inserting  in  its  place  the  word  "precinct."  The  same  day 
the  Council  accepted  the  amendment  and  the  governor  gave  his  official  sanction 
to  the  act,  so  that  the  territory  now  comprising  the  Town  of  Norwood  became  the 
South  Precinct  of  Dedham  on  October  8;  1730. 


Under  a  separate  act  of  the  General  Court,  John  Everett,  "a  principal  inhabi- 
taitt,"  was  authorized  to  caU  a  meeting  of  '*ye  Inhabitants  of  ye  Prednct"  He 
served  his  warrant  upon  each  qualified  voter  **to  assemble  in  his  Majesty's  name  at 

the  house  of  John  Ellis  on  October  22,  1730,  to  choose  Precinct  officers."  When 
the  mreting  assembled  John  Everett  was  chosen  moderator  and  James  Fales.  Jr., 
was  elected  clerk.  The  only  officers  elected  were  three  assessors,  viz.:  John 
Everett,  Ebenezer  ilealy  and  James  Fales,  Jr.,  who  were  authorized  to  call  other 
meetings  of  the  precinct. 

At  a  second  meettug,  held'On  November  9,  1730^  Ebenezer  Dean  was  elected 
treasurer  and  .^amuel  ITolmes,  tax  collector.  It  was  voted  at  this  meeting  to  raise 
and  appropriate  the  sum  of  fifty  pounds,  "to  pay  a  minister  for  six  months — 
three  months  to  be  at  the  house  of  John  Ellis  and  three  months  at  the  house  of 
Nathantd  Guild,  if  it  can  be  obtained;  if  not  the  entire  six  months  at  the  house 
of  John  Ellis."  Joseph  Ellis  and  John  Dean  were  chosen  a  committee  to  procure 
an  orthodox  minister,  and  it  was  also  voted  "to  build  a  Meeting  House  for  the 
Public  worship  of  God  in  ye  Precinct,  said  hou'^e  to  be  forty  feet  in  length  and 
thirty-six  t(  t  t  in  width,  to  l)e  erected  at  ye  centre  of  the  jtrecinct,"  and  William 
Everett,  Xathaniel  Guild,  Ebenezer  Healy,  Joseph  Ellis  and  Ebenezer  Dean  were 

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appointed  a  building  committee.   The  sum  of  one  hundred  pounds  was  voted 
to  pay  for  the  building. 


On  January  30,  1731,  Joseph  Ellis  and  5amuel  Bullard  were  chosen  a  com- 
mittee to  procure  a  surveyor  to  find  the  center  of  the  precinct,  but  it  seems  the 
exact  center  was  an  undesirable  spot  lor  the  meeting  house.  "A  loving  and 
friendly  conference"  was  therefore  held  on  June  7,  1731,  at  which  it  was  decided 
to  ask  die  Genetal  Cowl  to  appoint  a  committee  "to  {rface  ye  Meetnig  House  for 
this  Precinct,"  and  John  Everett  and  William  Bullard  were  selected  to  present 
the  matter  to  the  Court.  In  response  to  the  petition  the  General  Court  appointed 
Joseph  Wadsworth  of  the  Council  and  John  Jacob  and  Denjamin  Bird  of  th  - 
House.  They  rejwrted  in  favor  of  "the  south  end  of  the  common  land  lying 
between  John  Cobb's  and  Doctor  Richards'  as  the  best  place  to  set  it  on,"  which 
report  was  accepted  by  the  Court  and  the  precinct  was  onlered  to  pay  four  pounds 
four  shillings  to  pay  the  expenses  of  the  committee.  The  site  was  not  acoeptaUe 
to  a  majority  of  the  precinct,  and  at  a  meeting  on  July  14, 173 1.  it  was  voted  not 
to  appropriate  money  to  build  a  meeting  house  on  the  i^t  selected  by  the  com- 
mittee, nor  to  pay  tlie  exi^enses  of  the  committee. 

In  the  meantime  a  meeting  house  had  been  commenced  near  the  center  of 
the  prednct»  as  voted  by  the  meeting  of  November  9,  1730,  but  owing  to  dissen- 
sions over  the  location  had  not  been  finished.  During  the  year  1731  no  fewer  * 
than  twelve  meetings  were  called  to  consider  the  question  of  locating  the  meeting 
house,  but  the  lack  of  harmony  prevented  a  decision.  The  year  1732  brought  no 
better  results,  and  on  l-'ebruan,'  26.  1733.  William  Bullard.  James  Fales,  jr.,  Kbene- 
zer  Dean,  William  Everett  and  Ebenezer  Healy  were  selected  as  a  conunittee  to 
carry  the  matter  once  more  before  the  General  Court  and  ask  for  a  reversal  of 
the  order  to  build  a  meeting  house  on  the  common  land  near  die  house  of  John 
Cobb,  but  to  establish  the  place  according  to  a  vote  of  the  piecinct,  and  to  order 
the  three  hundred  pounds  already  granted  to  be  expended  on  the  said  center 
meeting  house.  This  called  forth  a  counter  jK'tition  on  the  part  of  Joseph  Kllis 
and  others  living  in  the  northerly  part  of  the  precinct.  The  result  was  that  the 
Court  ordered  "Joseph  Ellis  and  others,  mth  the  two  Fishers  and  Aaron  Ellis 
with  their  estates,  to  be  laid  hack  to  the  Old  Precinct;  the  others  to  remain  in 
the  South  Precinct" 

A  committee  from  the  General  Court  then  reported  that,  having  considered 
the  petition  of  William  Bullard  and  others,  "the  place  for  a  Precinct  Meeting 
House  be  between  the  houses  of  Ebenezer  Dean  and  Nathaniel  Guild  on  the 
Northwest  side  of  the  way  to  Walpole,  about  nine  rods  from  said  Guild's  fence, 
in  the  quarter  of  an  acre  of  land  given  and  granted  to  the  said  Precinct  by  the 
said  Dean,*'  etc.  On  January  4,  1735,  the  voters  of  the  precinct  accepted  the 
site  recommended  by  the  committee,  approi)nated  the  balance  of  the  one  Inm- 
dred  pounds  voted  by  the  meeting  of  Xovember  Q.  17.J10.  and  Jnhn  I.\ert.'tt. 
William  Bacon,  Daniel  Draper  and  John  Dean  were  appointed  a  building  com- 
mittee to  carry  into  effect  the  order  of  the  meeting.  On  February  6,  1735,  an 
additional  appropriation  of  i  150  was  made  toward  the  erection  of  the  OMeting 
house  and  John  Farrington  and  Nathaniel  Lewis  were  added  to  the  building  corn- 

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mittee.  One  would  suppose  that  the  vexed  question  of  a  meeting  house  was  now 
settled.  But  when  on  Febmaiy  g,        the  people  sdected  Rev.  Thomas  Balch 

as  their  pastor,  Daniel  Draper  and  seven  others,  being  dissatisfied  with  the  choice, 
petitioned  the  General  Court  to  be  released  from  the  precinct.  The  petition  was 
granted,  except  in  the  cases  of  John  Cobl).  W'iHiani  Bullard,  Nathaniel  Lewis  and 
Samuel  Farrington,  who  were  ordered  to  remain  in  tlie  South  Precinct,  Thus 
after  about  five  years  of  dissension,  which  resulted  in  a  division  of  the  prednct 
as  originally  established  on  October  8,  1730,  the  question  of  the  meeting  bouse 
location  was  set  at  rest  The  church„  with  Rev.  Thomas  Balch  as  pastor,  was 
formally  oiganized  on  June  33,  1736. 


By  an  act  of  the  General  Court,  approved  on  January  9,  1738,  "Capt.  Ezra 

Morse  and  his  sons,  Ezra.  Jr..  and  Joseph,  with  their  estates,  are  set  off  from 
Walpolc  and  annexed  to  Dedham  and  to  the  South  Precinct.  Also  that  part  of 
Stoughton  which  was  within  the  limits  of  the  South  Precinct  is  annexed  to 
Dedham  and  the  Xeponset  River  is  made  the  dividing  line  between  the  towns  ot 
Dedham  and  Stoughton,  the  original  Ime  being  about  one  mile  west  of  that 

A  few  years  later  a  large  part  of  the  estate  of  Nathaniel  Sumner  was  set  off 
from  Sharon  and  annexed  to  the  South  Precinct  of  Dedham.  In  1763  the  line 
between  the  two  parishes  was  detined  by  a  committee  composed  of  Ebenezer 
Everett  and  Eliphalet  Pales  on  the  part  of  the  South  Precinct;  Isaac  Whiting 
and  Ichabod  Gay,  on  behalf  of  the  Clapboard  Tree  Parish.  They  reported: 
"The  line  beginning  from  ye  center  betweene  ye  meeting  houses,  then  runs  North 
Sod^frecs  East  to  ye  place  where  the  house  of  Ebenezer  Ellis  stood,  from  thence 
Xnrth  one  dcfjree  west  to  the  Cross  Wayes.  The  distance  betweene  ye  Meeting 
Houses  is  one  and  a  half  mile  and  33  rods." 

In  1767  the  First  Precinct  selected  Jonathan  Mctcalf,  John  Eaton  and  William 
Aveiy  to  act  vnih  Nathaniel  Sumner,  David  Fisher  and  Benjamin  Fisher  of  the 
Second  Prednct  in  fixing  the  boundary  line  between  the  two.  The  committee 
reported  as  follows:  "We  began  at  Pufgatory  Hole  so  called,  thence  run  North- 
westerly to  a  White  Oak  tree  with  stones  around  it  on  the  land  of  Joseph  Wight; 
thence  to  a  heap  of  Stones  at  the  Nortlieasterly  corner  of  lam!  now  belonj^ing  to 
Deacon  William  Avery,  thence  more  northerly  to  the  eastwardiy  comer  of  land 
now  belonging  to  Capt.  Daniel  Gay,  thence  westerly  to  the  Cross  Ways  near  the 
house  of  Jeremiah  Dean ;  and  we  are  of  the  opinion  that  said  line  ought  to  be  the 
dividing  line  between  said  Precincts,  and  for  the  future  to  be  esteemed  as  such, 
excepting  such  lands  as  have  since  the  setting  off  of  the  South  Precinct  been  by 
the  General  Court  laid  to  the  First  Parish  in  Dedham,  which  is  humbly 


On  December  22,  1871.  a  meeting  was  held  in  the  village  hall  to  consider  the 
advisability  of  presenting  a  petition  to  the  General  Court  asking  that  the  South 
Precinct  of  Dedham  be  erected  into  a  town.   George  B.  Talbot  and  a  few  of  his 



friends  had  previously  circulated  a  petition  to  that  effect  and  obtained  252  signa> 
tures.  At  the  meeting  a  committee  was  api>ointed  to  appear  before  the  legislative 
committee  on  towns  and  support  Mr.  Talbot's  jjctition,  which  asked  for  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  new  town  to  embrace  the  old  South  I'reciiict  and  a  small  |>ortion  of 
W'alpole,  the  inhabitants  of  which  were  closely  connected  wjth  the  proposed  new 
town  through  their  business  interests  and  social  relations.  Neither  Dedham  nor 
Walpole  offered  any  objections  to  the  movement,  and  on  Fd>ruary  23,  1872. 
Governor  Washburn  approved  an  act,      tion  i  of  which  was  as  follows: 

"All  the  territory  now  within  the  towns  of  Dedham  and  W'alpole  in  the 
County  of  Norfolk,  comprised  within  the  following  limits,  that  is  to  say:  Hegin- 
ning  at  the  point  where  the  southerly  side  of  Canton  Street  crosses  the  dividing 
line  between  the  towns  of  Canton  and  Dedham;  thence  runnitig  northwesterly  on 
the  westerly  side  of  said  Canton  Street  about  three  thousand  feet»  to  a  point 
dividing  the  lands  of  John  and  Luther  Eaton ;  thence  running  from  said  point,  on 
a  line  in  the  direction  of  the  old  iKirish  boundary  now  standing  at  the  junction  of 
Centre  Street  and  East  Street,  until  said  line  strikes  and  crosses  Downey  Street 
at  a  point  about  thirteen  hundred  and  two  feet  from  a  monument  at  the  comer 
of  Downey  Street  and  Everett  Street;  thence  running  westerly  on  the  northerly 
side  of  Everett  Street,  and  crossing  Centre  Street,  to  the  street  boundary  post  on 
the  southerly  side  of  Clapboard-tree  Street,  near  the  southwesterly  abutment  of 
the  lioston,  Hartford  Erie  Railroad  bridge  near  Ellis  Station;  thence  running 
westerly  by  tiic  southerly  side  of  Clapboard-tree  Street  to  the  angle  in  said  street, 
which  is  about  forty-five  rods  west  of  Jeremiah  Gay's  house;  thence  in  a  straight 
line  toward  the  comer  of  land  of  Samuel  Cheney  on  Winter  Street,  twenty-one 
rods  north  of  the  house  of  said  Samuel  Cheney,  until  said  line  strikes  Nahatan 
Street  about  three  hundred  and  nine  feet  southerly  from  the  north  comer  of 
Eltcnczer  Cay's  land ;  thence  in  a  straight  line  passing  through  the  easterly  line 
of  the  junction  of  Oak  Street  and  Brook  Street,  to  the  dividing  line  between  the 
towns  of  Dedham  and  W'alpole;  then  following  the  said  dividing  line  southeasterly 
to  a  monument  where  Brook  Street  crosses  Babbling  Brook,  at  a  point  south  of 
and  near  the  house  of  James  R.  Fisher;  thence  in  a  straight  line  to  a  monument 
on  the  east  side  of  the  old  Post  Road,  on  land  now  or  late  of  the  heirs  of  Isaac 
Fisher;  thence  by  the  lines  dividing  the  Town  of  Dedham  from  the  towns  of 
Walpole,  Sharon  aii<i  Canton  respectively  to  the  point  of  beginning — is  hereby 
incorporated  into  a  town  by  the  name  of  Norwood." 

Thus  it  was  that  Norwood,  after  having  been  a  precinct  of  Dedham  for  142 
years,  took  her  place  among  the  towns  of  Norfolk  County.  On  March  6,  1872, 
the  citizens  celebrated  the  birth  of  their  town.  Among  the  distinguished  guests 
present  were  Governor  Washburn,  Senator  Thomas  L.  Wakefield  of  Dedham. 
A.  P.  Endicott  and  Benjamin  Weatherhcf,  two  of  Dedham's  selectmen,  and 
several  others.  Governor  Washburn  made  a  short  speech  in  which  he  congratu- 
lated the  people  of  the  new  town  upon  the  auspicious  banning  of  its  career. 


In  accordance  with  a  provision  in  the  act  of  incorporation.  Willard  Gay 
issued  a  warrant  for  a  town  meeting  to  be  held  on  Monday,  March  11,  1872. 
George  Lovis  was  chosen  moderator,  after  which  the  following  town  officers  were 

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IIICII  StH<M>L,  N()R\V<M»n 

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elected:  Samod  E.  Pond,  Willard  Gay  and  Edward  Everett,  selectmen ;  Francis 
Tinker,  cleiic;L.  W.  Bigelow,  treasurer;  Caleb  Ellis,  George  H.  Morse  and  Tyler 
Thayer,  assessors;  J.  C.  Tark.  Rev.  E.  A.  Wyman  and  Francis  O.  Winslow, 
school  committee;  James  Kngles  and  C.  W.  Strout,  constables. 

After  the  election  of  these  ofticers,  the  lirst  otticial  act  of  the  Town  of  Nor- 
wood was  to  extend  a  vote  of  thanks  to  fhe  committee  who  had  served  so  faith- 
fully in  presenting  the  petition  for  a  new  town  to  the  Lqpstatur^  etc.  This 
committee  was  composed  of  John  C,  Park.  Caleb  Fllis  and  J.  W.  Talbot.  The 
next  thitijf  was  to  adopt  the  following:  **Resolved.  That  the  citizens  of  Xonvood, 
in  town  meeting  assembled,  recognize  with  grateful  pleasure  the  readiness  and 
courte>y  with  which  the  citizens  of  Dedham  and  Walpole  have  assisted  us  in 
the  inauguration  of  our  new  town ;  and  that  Use  derk  be  instructed  to  pr^ent 
a  copy  of  this  resolution  to  the  selectmen  of  Dedham  and  Walpole/' 


The  corporate  seal  of  the  Town  of  Norwood  is  typical  of  its  early  history, 
while  it  was  still  the  Dedham  South  Prednct.  In  tiie  background  of  a  drcular 
field  is  a  team  of  oxen  hitched  to  a  plow,  and  to  the  right  is  a  dump  of  trees.  In 
the  foreground  is  the  figure  of  a  uvau  in  the  costume  of  colonial  days,  with 

musket  on  his  shouMer  anri  j)ow(ler-liorn  hanging  at  his  side,  while  underneath 
arc  the  words:  "Aaron  (iuild.  April  i<),  i"75.''  Aaron  Guild  was  one  of  the 
residents  of  the  precinct  at  the  time  the  Lexington  Alarm  was  sounded  through 
the  colonies.  The  deserted  ox  team  and  plow  tdl  the  story  of  his  loyalty  to  the 
cause  of  the  colonists.  He  was  a  member  of  Capt.  Joseph  Guild's  company  in 
the  northern  campaign  of  1775-76,  and'  was  afterward  captain  of  a  company, 
a  laige  number  of  the  members  of  which  came  from  the  South  Precinct.  CSec 
chapter  on  the  Revolution.)  In  the  margin  of  the  seal  are  the  words:  "Town 
of  Norwood,  Mass.,  Incorijorated  Feb.  23, 1872." 


Norwood  is  the  fifth  town  in  the  county  in  point  of  population,  and  also  the 
fifth  in  wealth.  In  u^io  the  j)opulation  was  8.0 1 4  and  the  state  census  of  191 5 
reported  10,977,  a  gain  of  2,963  in  five  years.  The  assessed  valuation  of  property 
for  1916  was  $17,074,710.  This  was  about  tfiirty  tiiousand  dollars  tower  than 
the  valuation  of  the  preceding  year,  owing  to  a  readjustment  of  assessments.  On 
December  31,  1916,  the  Iwnded  indebtedness  of  the  town  was  $527,900,  and  the 
value  of  municipal  property  was  $1,427,801,  or  nearly  three  dollars  of  assets 
for  each  dollar  of  debt,  not  including  cash  on  hand  and  other  personal  property. 

The  town  has  a  system  of  waterworks  that  cost  $361,000,  with  the  principal 
pumping  station  at  Ettis  Station  and  another  at  Westwood.  The  supply  is  taken 
ffom  deep  wdls,  with  the  Budomster  Pond  as  an  auxiliary  supply  in  case  of 
cmeigency.  During  tiie  year  1916  the  amount  of  water  pun^ied  was  347,000,000 
gallons,  and  the  income  of  the  works  was  $39,0,7.^3.'^  Norwood  also  has  a 
municipal  lighting  plant,  the  value  of  which  was  estimated  at  the  close  of  the 
year  1916  as  $125,000.  The  income  for  that  year  was  $66,817.80  and  the  operat- 
ing expenses,  including  the  town  fire  alarm  system,  were  $52,549.22.   The  fire 

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{Icf  artniont  is  equipped  with  combination  auto  truck,  motor  hose  vngtia  and 
a  hook  and  ladder  truck  drawn  by  horses. 

Norwood  has  two  hanks,  a  weekly  newspaper  (the  Messenger),  a  number  of 
prosperous  manufacturing  establishments,  well  stocked  mercantile  houses,  a  fine 
pabUc  library,  good  pabUc  schools,  Baptist,  Cadiolic,  Congregational,  Methodist 
Episcopal  and  Universalist  churdies,  a  fine,  new  Masonic  temple,  well  paved 
streets,  and  many  handsome  residences.  The  division  of  the  New  York,  New 
Haven  &  Hartford  that  runs  from  Boston  to  Providence  via  Wrentham  passes 
through  the  town,  with  stations  at  F.llis,  Norwood,  Norwood  Central  and  Mor- 
rills,  and  the  town  is  connected  with  Boston  and  the  adjacent  towns  by  electric 
railway  lines,  hence  the  transportation  facilities  are  excellent 


Following  is  a  list  of  the  j)rincipal  town  officers  at  the  beginning  of  the  year 
1917:  Frank  G.  Allen,  Oliver  J.  Barr,  George  K.  Bird,  Patrick  J.  Lydon  and 
John  E.  Folan,  selectmen;  James  E.  Pendergast,  clerk  and  accountant;  Harold 
W.  Gay,  treasurer  and  collector;  Clarence  A.  Bins^iam,  general  manager;  MaMon 
R.  Perry,  John  P.  Crowley  and  Aaron  T..  Goodwin,  assessors;  Cornelius  M.  Cal- 
lahan, Alfred  N.  Ambrose,  Ralph  E.  Dullard.  Sarah  N.  Bigelow,  Henr>'  I. 
Everett  and  Harriet  W.  Lane,  school  board;  Francis  J.  Foley,  Herbert  H.  Miller 
and  Frank  A.  Fales,  finance  commission ;  James  A.  Halloran,  town  counsel ; 
J'.  F.  Boyden,  Frank  W.  Talbot  and  Oajrence  A.  Bingham,  board  of  fire  engineers ; 
Joseph  E.  Ccmley»  superintendent  of  public  works. 

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CENKKAr.     DtSC  RII'TION  —  KAKl.V     llISTOkV  I'FTITION      FOR     I  N(  URIN  iR  ATlMN — TUB 


Plainville  is  the  youngest  of  the  Xorfolk  County  towns.  It  is  located  in 
the  southwestern  part  and  is  hounded  as  follows:  On  the  north  hy  Wrentham ; 
on  the  east  by  Faxboro;  on  the  south  by  Bristol  County,  and  on  the  west  by 
the  State  of  Rhode  Island.  From  north  to  south  its  average  width  is  a  little 
over  two  miles,  and  from  east  to  west  it  is  five  miles  in  extent.  The  surface  in 
this  part  of  the  county  is  less  hilly  than  in  some  other  portions.  There  are  no 
large  streams  in  the  town  and  the  few  small  ones  all  flow  toward  the  south. 
Miraraichi  Pond  is  on  the  boundary  between  I'lainville  and  I*oxlx)ro.  It  is  somc- 
tuncs  called  Shepard's  Pond,  after  one  of  the  early  settlers  in  the  vicinity.  There 
is  another  large  pood  about  a  mile  west  of  Miramtchi,  and  ther^  are  a  few 
smaller  ponds  in  the  neighborhood  of  Plainville  Village. 


From  1636  to  1673  the  territory  now  comprising  the  Town  of  Plainville  was 
inchided  in  the  Town  of  Dedham.  In  the  latter  year  it  was  made  a  part  of 
Wrentham^  where  it  remained  until  the  Town  of  Plainville  was  incorporated 

in  1905.  For  more  than  ten  years  after  the  incorporation  of  Dedham,  the  inhabi- 
tants knew  comparatively  little  of  this  region,  which  was  known  by  the  Indian 
name  "Wollomonopoag."  About  1647  John  Dwight  and  Francis  Chickering 
reported  indications  of  some  mines,  "about  thirteen  miles  from  Dedham  Village," 
and  the  general  ojrinion  is  that  some  mines  were  at  Wollomonopoag.  Two  years 
later,  "on  accotint  of  the  scarcity  of  grass  in  Dedham.  the  inhabitants  went  to 

Wollomonopoag  to  cut  grass  from  the  meadows  there."  That  is  the  only  men- 
tion in  the  Dedham  records  of  this  part  of  the  county  until  July  22.  iC/r>,  when 
the  selectmen  appointed  Lieutenant  Fisher,  Sergeant  Fuller,  Richard  Wheeler 
and  Ens^  Fidier  to  view  ^  hnds  and  make  report  to  the  selectmen,  etc.  On 
the  last  day  of  December  following,  the  selectmen  submitted  the  report  of  tiie 
viewers,  to  wit:  "To"  us  it  sccmeth  that  it  might  be  helpfull  to  Conduce  to 
publick  and  particuler  good  that  the  place  might  be  planted  with  meet  Inhabi- 
tants in  due  time." 

At  a  general  town  meeting  held  on  March  27,  1661,  it  was  voted  that  a  planta- 
tion be  set  up  at  the  place  called  Wollomonopoag,  and  that  a  committee  be  ap- 
pointed to  allot  to  each  settler  his  proportion  of  the  600  acres  set  apart  for  ^ 


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plantation;  to  determine  who  were  meet  to  be  accepted;  and  "to  order  the 
setting  of  the  Plantacion  in  reference  to  High  Wayes  convenient  place  for  a 
Meeting  House,  with  such  other  things  Necesary  as  may  here  after  be  pro- 
posed." This  was  the  beginning  of  authorized  settlement  at  W'ollomonopoag, 
the  name  of  which  place  was  changed  to  Wrentham  in  1673.  The  account  of 
the  settlement  .will  be  found  in  the  chapter  devoted  to  Wrentham. 


While  still  a  part  of  W  rentham,  the  Village  of  Plain\ille  was  laid  out  and 
settled  and  a  postoffice  was  there  established.  Early  in  the  year  1905  the  fol- 
lowing petition  was  presented  to  the  Lqfislature,  then  in  session: 

"To  the  Honorable  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives,  etc., 

"The  undersigned  petitioners,  citizens  of  Wrentham,  reqiectfully  represent 
that  they  are  inhabitants  of  the  X'illage  of  Plainville,  in  said  town;  that  they 
are  desirous  of  having  said  X'illage  of  Plains  ille  set  off  as  a  sejxirate  town  under 
the  name  of  Plainville,  or  such  other  name  as  to  the  General  Court  seem  suit- 
able; and  that  the  boundaries  of  the  new  town  be  fixed  as  follows:  Beginning 
at  the  northeast  boundary  stone  of  die  State  of  Rhode  Island;  thence  in  a 
strai|^t  line  to  the  Foxboro  town  line  on  the  south  side  of  Thurston  Street; 
and  on  all  other  sides  by  the  Town  of  Foxboro,  North  Attleboro,  and  the 
State  of  Rhode  Island." 

This  petition  was  signed  by  William  S.  Metcalf,  H.  E.  Thompson,  Willis 
M.  Fuller,  Rufus  King,  ''and  many  others."  On  April  3,  1905,  a  bill,  which 
had  previously  passed  the  senate,  was  reported  in  the  house  of  representatives 
and  passed  the  same  day.  It  was  approved  the  following  day,  so  that  Ilainville 
dates  its  corporate  existence  from  April  4,  1905. 


"Be  it  enacted,  etc.,  as  follows: 

"Section  i.  .Ml  the  territory  now  within  the  Town  of  Wrentham  which 
lies  south  of  the  followinfj  described  line,  to  wit: — .\  straight  line  drawn  from 
a  stone  monument  in  the  boundary  line  between  the  Town  of  Wrentham  and 
the  Town  of  Cumberland  in  the  State  of  Rhode  Island,  which  monument  is  at 
the  intersection  of  the  lines  forming  the  northeast  comer  of  the  State  of  Rhode 
Island,  to  a  point  where  the  southerly  line  of  Thurston  Street  in  the  Town  of 
Wrentham  intersects  the  boundary  line  between  ^  Town  of  Wrentham  and 
the  Town  of  Fo.xborough,  is  hereby  incorporated  as  a  separate  town  by  tlie 
name  of  Plainville.  and  the  said  Town  of  Plainville  is  hereby  vested  with  all 
the  powers,  privileges,  rights  and  immunities,  and  shall  be  subject  to  all  the 
duties  and  obligaticms  conferred  or  imposed  on  towns  by  tiie  constitution  and 
laws  of  the  Commonwealtfi. 

"Section  a.  The  inhabitant  of  the  estates  within  the  Town  of  Plainville 
and  the  owners  of  all  such  estates,  shall  be  holden  to  pay  all  arrears  of  taxes 
which  have  lejjally  been  assessed  upon  them  by  the  Town  of  Wrentham.  and  all 
the  taxes  heretofore  assessed  and  not  collected  shall  be  collected  and  paid  to  the 
treasurer  of  the  Town  of  Wrentiiam,  and  all  moneys  now  in  tiie  treasury  of  the 

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Town  of  Wrentham,  or  that  may  hereafter  be  received  from  taxes  now  as- 
sessed, shall  be  applied  to  the  purposes  for  which  they  were  raised  and  assessed, 
in  the  same  manner  as  if  this  act  had  not  been  {>assed ;  and  until  the  next  state 

valuation  the  Town  of  Plaiinille  shall  annually,  in  the  month  of  November,  pay 
to  the  Touii  of  W'rtntham  its  proportion  of  such  state  and  county  taxes  as 
may  be  assessed  upon  the  Town  of  Wrentham,  said  proportion  to  be  ascer- 
tained and  determined  by  the  last  valuation  of  the  Town  of  Wrentham;  and 
the  assessors  of  the  Town  of  Wrentham  shall  make  return  of  said  valuation 
and  the  proportions  thereof  in  the  towns  of  Wrentham  and  PlainviUe,  respect- 
ively, to  the  secretary  of  the  Commonwealth  and  to  the  county  commissioners  of 
the  County  of  Norfolk." 

Section  3  relates  to  the  liability  of  each  of  the  towns  of  Wrentham  and 
Plainville  in  the  care  of  paupers,  and  Section  4  provides  that  all  suits  and  pro- 
ceedings at  law  or  in  equity,  in  which  the  Town  of  Wrentham  is  a  plaintiff  or 
defendant,  shall  be  prosecuted  or  defended  as  thou^  the  act  had  not  been 

"Section  5.  The  corporate  property/ of  the  Town  of  Wrentham  both  real 
and  persona],  in  existence  at  the  time  of  the  passage  of  this  act,  and  the  town 
ddxs  then  existing,  shall  be  divided  between  the  towns  of  Wrentham  and 

PlainviUe,  according  to  the  valuation  of  the  property  within  Iheir  respective 

limits  as  assessed  the  first  day  of  May  in  the  year  1904.  The  towns  shall  sev- 
erally retain  and  liohl  all  tlu*  real  and  personal  property  now  within  their 
respective  limits,  at  a  valuation  to  be  agreed  upon  by  a  committee  consisting  of 
six  legal  voters,  three  to  be  chosen  by  each  town  at  a  1^1  meeting  to  be  called 
for  that  purpose;  and  the  differences  in  valuation  shall  be  equaliied  and  bal- 
ances adjusted  by  apiinrtinnment  of  the  town  debt.  In  case  of  failure  to  agree 
upon  a  valuation  ami  division  of  the  assets  and  liabilities  the  same  shall  l)e 
determined  by  a  hoard  of  throe  commissioners,  none  of  whom  shall  be  a  resident 
of  either  of  said  towns,  to  be  apjx)inted  by  the  Superior  Court  for  the  County 
of  Norfolk,  in  term  time  or  vacation,  upon  the  petition  of  either  town  after 
notice  to  the  other,  whose  award  when  accepted  by  the  court  shall  be  final,  and 
the  said  court  may  issue  any  writ  or  make  any  order  thereon  necessary  to 
carry  their  award  into  effect.  The  award  may  l)e  set  aside  for  fniud  or  mani- 
fest error,  but  for  no  other  cause,  and  the  matters  to  be  determined  as  afore- 
said may  be  recommitted  to  the  same  or  to  other  commissioners  to  be  appointed 
for  the  purpose,  with  like  powers  and  duties  as  aforesaid." 

Section  6  provides  that  the  public  library  building  at  Wrentham  Centre  and 
the  fund  hehl  by  the  trustees  of  said  library  shall  belong  to  the  Town  of  Wren- 
tham. Section  7  places  the  Town  of  Plain\illc  in  the  judicial  district  of  the 
District  Court  of  Western  Norfolk,  the  Twelfth  Congressional  District,  the 
Second  Coondllor  District,  Second  Norfolk  Senatorial  District  and  the 
Tenth  Representative  District  of  Norfolk  County.  Section  8  authorixes  any 
justice  of  the  peace  in  the  County  of  Norfolk  to  issue  his  warrant  for  a  town 
meeting  in  the  Town  of  I'lainville,  and  Section  0  makes  it  incumbent  upon  the 
selectmen  of  W'rentliain  to  call  a  special  town  meeting  within  thirty  days  for 
the  purposes  of  electing  town  officers  to  fill  vacancies  caused  by  the  incorpora- 
tion of  PlainviUe.  Section  10  relates  to  powers  and  privileges  reserved  to 
Wrentham  in  the  construction,  maintenance  and  operation  of  certain  street  rail- 

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ways.  Section  ii  provides  that  the  Town  of  Plainvtlle  shall  bear  the  expense 

of  making  the  surveys  and  establishing  the  line  between  it  and  Wrentham. 
Section  12  sets  forth  that  Plainville  shall  receive  a  proportional  pan  of  any 
funds  paid  by  the  Coninionwcalth  or  by  the  United  States  to  Wrenthani  on 
account  of  bounties  to  soldiers  or  for  state  aid  heretofore  paid  to  soldiers' 
families,  "after  deducting  all  reasonable  expenses/'  and  Section  13  declares 
the  act  shall  take  effect  upon  its  passage. 


On  April  5,  1905,  the  day  following  the  approval  of  the  act  of  incorporation, 
James  H.  Shannon,  a  justice  of  the  peace  re^k&^f  in  Plainville,  issued  a  war- 
rant to  William  F.  Maintien  "to  notify  and  warn  the  inhabitants  of  the  Town  of 

Plainville  qualified  to  vote  in  town  aflfairs.  to  meet  in  the  Plainville  Methodist 
Episcopal  Church  oti  Wedncsflay,  the  12th  day  of  April.  A.  D.  1903.  at  nine 
o'clock  in  the  f(  rcnoon,"  to  elect  officers  and  transact  certain  other  business  set 
forth  in  the  warrant,  esjjecially  the  appointment  of  a  committee  to  act  with  a 
committee  of  Wrentham  for  the  division  of  the  town  property. 

The  oflkers  elected  at  that  first  town  meeting  were  as  f oUows :  William  P. 
Maintien,  George  F.  Cheever  and  William  S.  Metcalf,  selectmen,  o\crsccrs  of 
the  poor  and  hoard  of  healtli;  James  II.  Shannon,  clerk;  Walter  E.  Barden, 
treasurer;  (ieorge  \V.  Wood,  tax  collector;  William  Maintien,  Joseph  F. 
Breen  and  J.  F.  Thompson,  assessors;  John  J.  Eiden,  auditor;  Edward  C.  Bar- 
ney, highway  surveyor;  Rttfus  King,  Bentley  W.  Morse  and  Gardner  Warren, 
school  committee;  John  H.  Greven,  Sylvester  Smith  and  Daniel  Crotty,  con- 

On  the  question  of  the  division  of  the  town  property,  W  illiam  F.  Maintien, 
Herbert  E.  Thompson  and  Walter  E.  Barden  were  unanimously  chosen  by  the 
meeting  as  Plainville's  members  of  the  joint  committee  provided  for  in  Section 
5  of  the  act  of  incorporation.  The  meeting  also  voted  to  borrow  $15,000  for 
the  purpose  of  erecting  a  new  school  house,  and  Herbert  E.  Thon^MOn,  W.  M. 
Fuller,  Rufus  King  and  Edward  C.  Barney  were  appointed  a  committee  to 
superintend  the  erection  of  the  building.  Walter  E.  Barden.  Frank  n  Corbin 
and  Rufus  King  were  appointed  a  committee  on  by-laws,  with  instructions  to 
procure  designs  for  a  town  seal  and  report  at  the  next  meeting.  Their  report 
on  by-laws  was  made  at  a  special  meeting  held  m  Monday,  November  6,  1905, 
and  was  accepted. 


The  committee  above  named  met  with  the  Wrentham  members — Elbridge 
J.  Whitaker,  Artemas  Willard  and  Edward  F.  McQennan— and  the  joint  com- 
mittee organized  by  electing  Elbridge  J.  Whitaker  as  chairman  and  William 

F.  Maintien  as  clerk,  .\fter  canvassing  aU  the  property,  real  and  personal, 
they  found  within  the  limits  of  Wrentham  property  valued  at  $43,592.  and  in 
Plainville  at  Sr^ji 2.22.  in  addition  to  which  the  former  held  assets  of  $16,- 
391.44,  making  the  total  valuation  of  corporate  property  $73,695.66.  Wrentham 
assumed  all  the  town's  liabilities,  amounting  to  $29,277.11.    The  final  settle- 

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mcnt  was  that  Wrentham  should  pay  to  Plainville  $4,055.20  to  equalize  the 
division  of  corporate  property,  and  $727.30,  with  interest  thereon  at  4  per  cent 
from  February  i,  1905,  as  the  town's  share  of  the  school  fund. 


At  the  meeting  of  November  6,  I90S»  ^e  committee  on  by-laws,  pursuant  to 
the  instructions  of  the  first  town  meeting,  submitted  a  design  for  a  town  seal,  a 
representation  of  the  new  school  building  to  occupy  the  center  of  the  seal. 
James  H.  Shannon,  town  clerk,  brought  forward  a  design  making  use  of  tlie 
Angle  Tree  boundary  monument  as  the  proper  emblem  to  occupy  the  center  of 
the  .seal,  and  explained  at  some  length  the  significance  of  his  design.  Walter 
E.  Harden,  a  member  of  the  committee,  moved  that  the  design  submitted  by  the 
town  clerk  be  substituted  for  that  offered  by  the  committee,  which  was  carried 
by  a  decisive  majority. 

A  brief  history  of  the  Angle  Tree  monument  shows  the  wisdom  of  the  town 
in  selecting  it  as  the  central  figure  of  the  corporate  seal.  When  Charles  I  granted 
the  patent  to  the  Massachusetts  Bay  Company  in  the  spring  of  1628,  the  south- 
em  boundary  was  designated  as  "three  miles  south  of  the  southerly  end  of  the 
Charles  River."  It  was  not  long  until  disputes  arose  l)ctween  the  Plymouth  and 
Massachusetts  Bay  colonies  as  to  the  exact  location  of  the  boundary  line.  In  1640 
Plymouth  selected  William  Bradford  and  Edward  Winalow,  and  Massachusetts 
Bay  selected  John  Endicott  and  Israel  Stoughton,  ''for  ye  setting  out,  setting 
&  determing  of  ye  bounds  &  limitts  of  ye  lands  betweene  ye  said  jurisdic- 
tions." etc. 

The  work  done  by  these  commissioners  evidently  was  not  satisfactory  to 
the  people  of  the  two  colonies,  for  in  1O64  a  second  commission  was  appointed 
to  run  and  mark  the  line.  The  record  of  this  survey  was  outlined  on  a  tree.  * 
called  the  "Ai^le  Tree,"  standing  on  the  line  between  the  present  towns  of 
Plainville  and  North  Attleboro,  where  it  remained  for  more  than  a  century. 
Finally  the  old  tree  disappeared  and  in  May,  i7'X>.  the  Genera!  Court  appointed 
Lemuel  Kollock  to  erect  a  monument  where  the  tree  stood,  and  to  "make  a 
return  of  his  doings  into  the  Secretary's  office  with  a  Certificate  from  under 
the  Hands  of  the  Selectmen  of  the  Towns  of  Wrentham  and  Attieborough  or 
the  Major  I^rt  of  them  sworn  to  before  some  Justice  of  the  Peace  certifying 
that  said  stone  is  erected  in  the  same  spot  where  the  said  station  or  angle  tree 
formerly  stood  &  is  one  of  the  Ixjunds  between  said  towns,  and  lay  his  account 
before  this  Court  for  allowance  and  payment." 

On  Mardi  11,  1791,  Lemuel  Kollock  was  ^^wed  £21  as  6d  for  "procuring 
and  fixing  a  Monument  upon  the  importam  Bounds  in  the  Town  of  Wrentham, 
by  order  of  the  Government."  It  is  a  representation  of  this  moounient  which 
occupies  the  center  of  the  town  seal.  At  the  toj)  of  the  monument  are  tlu-  w Drds 
"Mass.  Colony  1628";  in  the  center,  divided  by  the  figure  of  the  monument. 
•'Wrentham,  1673,  Plainville,  1905."  and  in  the  circle  surrounding  the  central 
field  the  inscription:  **Town  of  Plainville,  Mass.,  Incorporated  April  4,  1905." 


A  fire  engine  house  had  been  built  in  the  Village  of  Plainville  before  the  town 
was  incorporated  in  1905.  This  became  the  property  of  the  Town  of  Plainville 

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in  the  division,  and  the  department  has  since  been  improved  by  the  purchase  of 
some  new  equipment  and  a  supply  of  hose.  The  appropriation  for  the  depart- 
ment in  1916  was  $500.  Soon  after  the  town  was  incorporated  a  system  of 
waterworks  was  established.  At  the  close  of  tho  year  1916  the  amount  of  water 
bonds  outstanding  was  $29,400.  In  their  report  for  that  year  the  water  com- 
missioners announce  that  the  total  stipply  of  water  pumped  and  distributed  was 
0</>^.954  gallons,  and  the  amount  received  from  water  rates  was  $2,366.06. 
Plainville  is  well  supplied  with  public  schools,  churches  of  different  denomina- 
tions ofTer  opportunities  for  public  worship,  the  manufacturing  interests  include 
jewelry,  shoestrings  and  shoddy,  the  town  claming  the  latgest  manufactory  of 
ladies'  mesh  bags  in  the  world,  and  the  mercantile  interests  are  in  keeping  with 
the  general  demands  of  the  town.  The  Boston  &  Providence  division  (via 
Wrentham)  of  the  Xew  York,  New  Haven  &  Hartford  Railroad  and  the  electric 
railway  running  from  l-rankliii  to  Attleboro  provide  good  transjKjrtation  facilities. 

In  1910  the  population  of  riainville  was  1,385,  and  in  1915  it  was  140S,  a 
gain  of  only  23  in  the  five  years,  owing  to  the  removal  of  several  persons  from 
the  town.  In  1916  the  assessed  vahiatipn  of  property,  as  shown  by  the  report 
of  the  assessors,  was  $ijoyo/}32. 


At  the  beginnii^  of  the  year  1917  die  principal  town  officers  were:  Eari  B. 
Thompson,  William  E.  Blanchard  and  Fred  W.  Northup,  selectmen,  overseers  of 
the  poor  and  board  of  health;  Theo<lore  K  \.  Fuller,  clerk;  Walter  F  Harden, 
treasurer;  J.  Fred  Thompson,  William  H.  lilanchard  and  Frank  E.  Barney, 
as-cssors;  Harry  B.  Thompson.  \Mlliam  H.  Xash  and  Giarles  N.  Moore,  water 
commissioners;  James  H.  Cheever,  auditor;  John  J.  Eiden,  Willis  M.  Fuller  and 
Giarles  C  Root,  school  committee;  Oliver  P.  Brown,  tax  collecteH*. 

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The  Ct^  (formerly  Town)  of  Quincy  is  situated  in  the  eastern  part  of  the 
county  and  is  bounded  as  follows:  On  the  north  by  the  Town  of  Milton  and 
Quincy  P>ay ;  on  the  oast  by  the  Weymouth  Fore  River  and  Town  River  Bay, 
which  separate  it  from  the  Town  of  Weymouth;  on  the  south  by  Braintree 
and  Randolph;  on  the  west  by  Milton,  and  on  the  northwest  the  Neponset  River 
forms  a  little  of  the  hoimdary  line,  separating  Quincy  from  the  City  of  Boston. 
The  coast  line  from  the  mouth  of  the  Neponset  to  the  mouth  of  the  Weymouth 
Fore  River  is  indented  by  numerous  bays,  such  as  I>orchester  and  Quincy  bays. 
Rock  Island  Cove  and  Town  River  Bay.  Projecting  into  the  waters  are  several 
ca|)es  or  headlands,  the  principal  of  which  are  Commercial  Point,  Squantum 
Head,  Quincy  Great  Hill,  Hough's  Neck,  Rock  Island  Head,  Gull  Point  and 
Quincy  Point.  The  main  water-courses  are  Town  River,  Sagamore  and  Black 
creeks  and  Furnace  Brook.  The  surface  is  uneven  and  some  of  the  finest  granite 
deposits  in  the  United  States  are  found  within  the  Quincy  limits. 


It  is  quite  probable  that  Capt.  John  Smith,  while  voyaging  along  the  coast 
in  1614  and  trading  with  the  natives,  landed  in  what  is  now  Quincy,  for  on  the 
rude  maj)  of  the  coast  drawn  by  him  the  coast  line  can  be  identified.  But  the 
tirst  recurded  visit  of  while  men  was  in  the  month  of  September,  1621,  when 
-Miles  Standish  and  twelve  men  came  up  the  coast  from  Plymouth,  anchored  in  a 
small  cove  on  Thompson's  Island  on  the  night  of  the  39th,  and  ^  next  momii^ 
landed  on  Squantum  Head,  where  they  found  a  pile  of  lobsters,  upon  which  they 
breakfasted.  Taking  four  men  and  the  Indian  guide,  Squanto,  Captain 
Standish  started  out  to  explore  the  country.  They  soon  met  an  Indian  woman, 
who  was  going  after  the  lobsters  they  had  eaten,  and  for  which  Standish  gave 
her  something  in  the  way  of  compensation.  Squanto  accompanied  the  woman  to 
her  village,  which  was  on  the  northerly  side  of  the  Neponset,  while  Standish 
and  his  companions  returned  to  their  boat.  Upon  their  return  to  Plymouth  they 
gave  a  fn\orable  account  of  the  country  they  had  visited,  "wishing  they  had  been 
there  seated." 




Nearly  four  years  elapsed  after  the  visit  of  Standish  before  any  attempt  was 
made  to  plant  a  settlement  at  the  place  where  he  had  landed  and  which  he  partially 
explored.  In  June,  1625,  a  company  of  a<i\ cmiircrs,  chief  among  whom  was  a 
Captain  W'oUaston.  came  over  from  England  wiili  a  party  of  articled  servants  with 
a  view  to  establishing  a  trading  post.  They  located  at  a  place  called  by  ^e  Indians 
Passonagessit,  but  to  whidi  thqr  gave  the  name  of  Mount  WtdfaMtDn — a  name 
which  it  still  retains.  Here  was  built  the  first  house  within  the  limits  of  Quincy, 
but  its  exact  location  cannot  be  determined.  The  winter  that  followed  was 
severe  and  it  seems  that  Captain  W'oUaston  had  enough  of  the  "stern  Xew  Eng- 
land climate, '  tor  in  the  spring  of  1626  he  took  pari  of  his  company  and  set  sail 
for  Virginia,  leaving  a  man  named  Rasdell  in  charge  of  the  post  at  Mount 
Wdlaston.  He  reached  Virginia  and  managed  to  send  word  bade  to  Rasdell  to 
place  one  Fitcher  in  change  of  the  post  and  come  on  to  Virginia,  bringing  with 
him  a  number  of  the  servants,  whose  labor  was  afterward  sold  to  Virginia  planters. 


In  the  company  was  Thomas  Morton,  who  had  first  come  to  America  with 
Andrew  Weston,  a  brother  of  Thomas,  in  June,  1622,  and  passed  a  portion  of 
that  summer  at  Wessapfuscus  (that  portion  of  Weymouth  later  known  as  Old 
Spain),  returning  to  England  in  September.  Morton  has  been  described  as  a 
sportsman  who  was  desirous  of  returning  to  America,  but  was  without  means 
to  organize  an  expedition  of  his  own.  Having  been  connected  with  Weston's 
unfortunate  venture,  he  deemed  it  imprudent  to  apply  to  Sir  Ferdinando  Gorges, 
who  was  laboring  to  encourage  emigration,  so  he  joined  the  company  led  by 
Captain  Wollaston.  When  the  latter  sent  for  the  man  Rasdell,  Morton  saw  that 
it  was  the  intention  to  break  up  ihe  settlement  at  Mount  Wollaston,  a  movement 
with  which  he  was  not  in  sympathy.  He  therefore  sowed  the  seeds  of  discon- 
cent  among  the  remaining  servants  by  telHi^  them  that  if  they  were  taken  to 
Virginia  ^tuy  would  be  sold,  and  stiggested  that  if  they  would  place  him  at  the 
head  of  the  plantation  they  could  all  live  there  in  comfort  and  derive  large  profits 
by  trading  with  the  Indians.  After  Rasdell's  departure  there  were  but  eight 
men  left,  one  of  whom  was  the  man  Fitcher  selected  by  Wollaston  to  conduct 

Morton  soon  won  over  the  seven  men  and  Fitdier  was  expdled  from  the 

settlement.   He  went  to  Plymouth,  leaving  Morton  in  full  control.   Nor  did  he 

fail  to  make  good  his  promises  regarding  easy  living  and  the  profits  of  the 
Indian  trade.  With  the  Indians  he  became  a  great  favorite,  because  he  not  only 
bought  their  furs  on  liberal  terms,  but  he  also  admitted  them  to  the  drunken 
revels  of  the  trading  post.  Morton  decided  to  rechristen  the  plantation  and  on 
May-day,  1627,  he  set  up  a  maypole,  a  merry  song  was  made  "which  was  sung 
by  a  chorus,  every  man  bearing  his  part,  which  th^  performed  in  a  dance  hand 
in  hand  about  the  maypole,  while  one  of  the  company  sang  and  filled  out  the 
good  liquor,  like  Ganymede  and  Jupiter."  The  name  selected  by  Morton  was 
Maremount,  but  the  place  soon  became  known  as  "Merryraount,"  on  account  of 
the  wild  orgies  conducted  there  from  time  to  time. 

Had  Morton  and  his  associates  contented  themselves  with  their  frivolities, 
they  would  probably  not  have  been  molested  by  his  neighbors  at  Plymouth,  even 

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though  they  might  have  remonstrated  with  him  because  of  his  worldy  practices. 
Unfortunately,  however,  he  began  to  supply  the  ImUans  with  fire<«mis  and 
ammunition.   Some  five  years  before  this  time  the  French  on  the  coast  of 

Maine  and  the  Dutch  in  New  York  had  commenced  to  sell  guns  and  ammunition 
to  the  natives  and  the  practice  was  forbidden  by  royal  proclamation.  Morton 
ignored  the  proclamation  and  sold  the  Indians  all  the  j^ns  he  could  spare,  after 
which  he  sent  to  England  for  a  new  supply,  preparatory  to  going  into  the  busi- 
ness on  a  laiger  scale.  AD  along  the  coast  the  infant  settlements  looked  upon 
Merrymouttt  as  a  menace  to  their  safety.  The  settlers  from  Plymouth  to  Ports- 
mouth realized  that  if  they  attempted  to  drive  Morton  out  by  force  he  could 
summon  to  his  aid  his  Indian  friends  and  prove  to  be  a  match  for  them  all. 
Nevertheless,  something  must  be  done. 

In  the  spring  of  1628  the  Plymouth  authorities  wrote  a  friendly  communica- 
tion to  Morton,  asking  him  to  desist  from  his  evil  practices  and  requesting  an 
answer  by  the  messenger.  Morton  sent  back  word  to  the  Plymouth  magistrates 
that  they  were  meddling  in  matters  which  in  no  way  concerned  them,  and  inti- 
mated that  he  was  callable  of  conducting  his  trade  with  the  Indians  as  he  pleased 
and  without  any  of  their  interference.  Again  the  authorities  wrote  to  Morton, 
reminding  him  of  the  royal  prochmatira  concerning  the  safe  of  fire-arms  to  tiie 
Indians.  To  this  he  replied  that  King  James'  proclamation  was  not  law  and  that 
he  was  prepared  to  defend  himself  against  any  attempt  to  molest  his  business 
or  his  plantation.  Early  in  June.  ii'oS,  (  apt  Miles  Standish  was  despatched 
with  eight  men  to  suppress  the  .Merryniount  nuisance.  Standish  had  evidently 
been  coached  by  some  of  Morton's  near  neighbors,  as  he  arrived  at  a  time 
when  most  of  the  company  were  absent  on  a  trading  expedition.  He  found 
Morton  at  Wessaguacus,  to  which  pbce  he  had  gone,  as  he  said,  "for  the  benefit 
of  company."  Standish  arrested  him  and  placed  him  under  guard.  During  a 
thunder  storm  that  night,  the  prisoner  managed  to  make  his  escape  and  went 
back  to  Merrymount,  where  he  barricaded  himself  in  his  house,  accompanied  by 
his  three  retainers,  one  of  whom  Charles  Francis  Adams  says  "in  the  endeavor 
to  stimulate  his  courage,  got  hopelessly  and  helplessly  drunk." 

When  Standish  and  his  party  arrived  on  the  scene  the  next  morning  and 
demanded  a  surrender.  Morton  returned  an  insolent  reply.  The  door  was 
ordered  to  be  broken  down,  when  Morton  came  out.  followed  only  by  his 
drunken  associate.  He  aimed  his  gun  at  Standish,  but  it  was  turned  aside 
by  one  of  the  Plymouth  party,  after  which  Morton  was  again  made  prisoner  and 
this  time  was  taken  to  Plymouth.  From  there  he  was  sent  to  Engbqd.  Merry- 
mount  being  outside  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Plymouth  colony,  it  is  clear  that 
Morton's  arrest  and  banishment  was  not  strictly  legal,  but  "desperate  diseases 
yield  only  to  desperate  remedies,"  and  the  act  was  one  of  self-preservation. 


In  September,  1628,  about  three  months  after  the  arrest  of  Morton,  Governor 

Endicott  and  his  company  landed  in  Salem,  under  the  patent  of  March  19.  1628, 

to  those  who  afterward  l>ecame  known  as  the  Massachusetts  Bay  Company. 

Endicott  was  a  typical  Puritan  and  when  he  learned  of  the  doings  of  Morton 

(it  is  possibfe  that  he  had  received  instructions  regarding  tiie  Merrymount 

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plantation  before  leaving  England),  he  lost  no  time  in  taking  action.  With  a 
small  c()mi>any  he  crossed  the  hay,  suddenly  appeared  at  the  settlement,  overawed 
the  startled  inhabitants,  hewed  down  the  maypole  and  warned  them  agam.->t  the 
continuance  of  llieir  pernicious  practices.  Bradford  says  the  Merry  mount 
people  now  changed  the  name  of  their  place  and  called  it  Mount  Dagon. 

Xo  char<,'L  was  placed  against  Morton  in  England  and  in  some  way  Isaac 
Allerton,  the  London  agent  of  the  Plymouth  Company,  was  induced  to  Ixjfriend 
him  by  helping  him  to  get  back  to  America.  I^te  in  the  summer  of  1629  ho 
appeared  at  Plymouth,  much  to  the  chagrin  of  the  inhabitants,  and  from  there 
made  his  way  to  Merrymount,  where  he  again  assumed  control.  Although  he 
did  everything  in  his  power  to  annoy  Governor  Endtcott»  it  seems  he  was  tolerated 
for  a  time.  About  Christmas  Endicott  sent  men  to  arrest  him,  but  he  succeeded 
in  eluding  them  and  continued  his  annoyances.  His  company  was  reduced  by 
this  time  to  a  mere  fragment  of  its  former  proportions,  probably  not  more  than 
four  or  five  men  being  left,  .\lonon  was  finally  arrested  in  the  latter  part  of 
August,  1629,  and  on  the  17th  of  September  was  arraigned  for  trial.  He 
attempted  a  defense,  but  was  ordered  to  hold  his  peace  and  hear  his  sentence, 
which  was  pronounced  by  Governor  Winthrop.  He  was  ordered  to  be  set  in  the 
stocks  for  a  certain  length  of  time,  at  the  end  of  which  he  was  to  be  trans- 
portcfl  to  England,  deprived  of  all  his  possessions,  and  have  his  house  burned  to 
the  ground,  "to  the  end  that  the  habitation  of  the  wicked  should  no  more  appear 
in  Israel."   Such  was  the  end  of  Merrymount. 


For  several  years  after  the  exjnilsion  of  Morton  the  territory  now  comprising 
Quincy  was  without  a  single  white  mhabitant.  Xot  until  the  May  session  of  the 
General  Court  in  1C34  was  it  "ordered  that  Uoston  shall  have  convenient  enlarge- 
ment at  Mount  Wollaston."  On  the  8th  of  December  in  die  same  year  a  grant 
of  land  at  Mount  Wollaston  was  made  to  Rev.  John  Wilson,  pastor  of  the 
Boston  Church,  who  was  the  first  landowner  in  Quin^  under  the  Massachusetts 

( )n  January  4.  1636,  the  iMtint  of  land  which  still  hears  his. name  was  awarded 
to  Atherton  Hough,  and  at  the  same  meeting  a  committee  of  five  was  appointed 
to  make  further  individual  allotments.  Among  diose  who  received  allotments 
under  this  arrangement  were :  William  Hutchinson,  husband  of  the  noted  Anne 
Hutchinson,  William  Coddington,  Edmund  Quincy,  and  Rev.  John  Wheelwright. 
The  last  named  married  a  sister  of  William  Hutchinson.  He  became  minister 
at  Mount  Wollaston  and  as  Anne  Hutchinson  was  already  engaged  in  a  sort  of 
feud  with  Rev.  John  \\  ilson  when  Wheelwright  arrived  in  America  in  June, 
1636,  she  made  haste  to  enlist  him  on  her  side.  The  next  few  years  were  taken 
up  with  church  dissensions  on  account  of  this  feud,  and  little  progress  was  made 
in  developing  the  Quincy  settlement.  In  March,  1638,  Governor  Wtnthrop 
ordered  Mrs.  Hutchinson  to  leave  the  Massachusetts  jurisdiction  and  she  crossed 
the  Neponset  to  join  W  heelwright's  family,  intending  to  go  to  Portsmouth,  but 
the  plans  were  changed  and  they  went  to  Rliode  Island,  where  some  of  their 
adherents  followed. 

After  the  expulsion  of  Mrs.  Hutchinson  and  Wheelwright,  more  attention 

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was  paid  to  the  settlement  of  the  region  and  on  May  13,  164O,  the  Town  of 
Braintree.  which  included  the  present  City  of  Ouincy.  was  incorporated  by  act  of 
the  General  Court.  From  this  time  until  February,  1792,  the  reader  is  referred 
10  the  chapter  on  iiramtree  for  the  history  of  the  events  connected  with  Quincy. 
However,  it  may  be  well  to  state  that  the  South  Prednct— which  included  the 
present  towns  of  Braintree,  Randolph  and  Holbrook— was  incorporated  on 
November  5,  1708,  and  Quincy  became  the  North  Precinct  of  Braintree,  remain- 
ing as  such  for  more  than  half  a  century. 


In  the  latter  part  of  the  year  1790  about  cmc  hundred  and  twenty  inhabitants 
of  the  llraintree  North  Precinct,  and  a  few  of  those  living  in  Dorchester  and 
Miltdii  immediately  south  of  the  Xeponset  River,  united  in  a  petition  to  the 
deneral  Court  asking  that  they  might  be  set  off  as  a  separate  town.  The  petition 
came  before  the  Senate  in  January,  1791,  and  about  the  same  time  a  town  meet- 
ing was  called  in  Braintree  to  decide  on  some  course  of  action  r^rding  it. 

In  the  meantimr  the  original  South  Precinct  had  become  the  Middle  Precinct 
and  a  new  South  I'rt-oinct,  L-mbracin^,'  the  present  towns  of  Randolph  and  Hol- 
brook. had  been  organized.  These  two  precinots  now  combined  against  the  peti- 
tioners. A  committee  of  six  was  appointed  "to  appear  before  the  General  Court 
by  counsd  to  oppose  the  division  of  the  town,  and  its  representative  was  instructed 
to  the  same  end."  The  petition  went  over  until  the  next  session,  and  in  Septem- 
ber, 1 791,  another  town  meetii^  was  held  "to  make  one  more  effort  l)efore  the 
legislative  committee  to  prevent  the  dismemberment  of  liraintree."  The  effort 
proved  futile,  for  f)n  I  tbruary  22,  17<;2.  Gov.  John  Hancock,  who  had  been  born 
and  brought  up  in  the  territory,  approved  the  act  incorporating  the  Town  of 

While  the  act  of  incorporation  was  pending  in  the  Legislature  Rev.  Anthony 

VVihird  was  requested  to  suggest  a  name  for  the  town,  somethii^  the  petitioners 
had  failed  to  do.  He  declintfl  the  honor  and  then  Richard  Cranch  was  asked 
to  supply  a  name.  He  suggested  the  name  Quincy,  "in  honor  of  Col.  John 
Quincy."  Some  of,  the  inhabitants  wanted  the  town  called  Hancock,  after  Gov. 
John  Hancock,  who  was  then  at  the  hdght  of  his  personal  popularity,  thot^h 
•  members  of  the  Quincy  family  had  been  identified  with  the  town  almost  from 
the  very  beginning. 


This  same  Richard  Cranch,  who  was  a  justice  of  the  peace,  was  authorized  by 

the  organic  act  to  issue  his  warrant  for  the  first  town  meeting,  which  he  did, 
calling  the  meeting  for  Thursday.  March  S.  i7q2.  The  warrant  was  addressed 
to  Lieut.  Elijah  Wazif,  who  iKjtitud  the  voters,  and  at  the  appointed  time 
the  citizens  assembled  and  elected  the  following  officers:  Fbenezer  Miller,  John 
Hall  and  Benjamin  Beale,  Jr.,  selectmen  and  assessors;  Eben  Vesey  (or  Veasie), 
clerk:  Thomas  B.  Adams,  treasurer;  Joseph  N.  Arnold,  constable;  Peter  Brackett 
anti  Jonathan  Baxter,  fence  viewers;  Peter  Brackett,  Ebenezer  Nit^htiiT^ale, 
Jonathan  Baxter,  Samuel  Bass  and  Jonathan  Beale,  surveyors  of  )iighways; 

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I'eter  Adams  and  John  Sanders,  hog  reeves;  Wilhain  Adams  and  William 
Sanders,  tithino-men  ;  Thomas  Pratt,  surveyor  of  boards  and  stileworks;  John 
Billings,  surveyor  ol  hemp;  tbenezer  Adams,  packer  of  beef;  Samuel  Brown, 
culler  of  fish;  Jonathan  Webb,  bread  weigher;  Thonia»  Cleverly,  Jr.,  sealer  of 
leather;  John  Nightii^iale  and  Lemuel  Billings,  hay  wards;  Edward  W.  Baxter 
and  Samuel  Nightingale,  fire  wards. 

From  this  formidable  array  of  officials  it  would  seem  that  Quincy  started 
off  on  its  career  with  an  officer  for  every  conceivable  duty.  Quite  a  numljer  of 
the  positions,  such  as  bread  weigher  and  culler  of  lish  have  long  since  passed 
out  of  existence. 


At  the  time  Quincy  was  incorporated  the  custom  prevailed  in  many  of  the 
New  England  towns,  of  warning  undesirable  inhabitants  to  leave  within  a  given 
period,  **or  suffer  the  consequences."  At  a  town  meeting  held  on  February  12, 
I793i       selectmen  were  instructed  to  issue  warning  to  the  following  persons 

that  their  presence  in  Quincy  was  no  longer  to  be  tolerated :  Thomas  Welsh  and 
wife,  I'larnabas  Swift,  Thomas  Swift,  Seth  Joice.  James  McDaniels,  Jacob  Fowlc 

and  family,  l.iiike  Herd  and  family,  Joseph  Dorren.   • —  Copeland.  John 

Paul  and  family,  James  Faxon  and  family,  Gains  Thayer  and  family,  William 
Jenkins  and  Patty  Page.  No  reason  is  found  in  the  records  why  these  people  were 
to  be  expelled  so  unceremoniously  from  the  town,  though  it  is  evident  diat  they 
were  engaged  in  some  questionable  line  of  business,  or  in  practices  that  affected 
the  general  moral  welfare.  Xo  doubt  the  citizens  of  that  day  were  more  zealous 
in  their  efforts  to  exclude  such  people  from  their  midst  than  are  the  people  of 
modern  Quincy. 


Not  long  after  the  town  was  incorporated  and  the  local  government  organized, 
a  building  was  erected  for  a  grammar  school  with  a  hall  for  holding  town  meet- 
ings. It  was  destroyed  by  fire  on  December  30,  1815,  and  at  the  annual  meeting 
on  March  4,  1816,  a  committee  was  appointed  to  recommend  a  plan  for  a  new 
structure.  The  report  of  the  committee  was  as  follows: 

"Your  committee  are  unanimously  of  the  opinion  that  it  will  be  expedient 
for  the  town  to  cause  to  be  erected  a  building  of  sufficient  dimensions  to  allow 
two  school  rooms  on  the  lower  floor,  the  second  story  to  be  reser\'ed  and  con- 
veniently arranged  as  a  town  hall  for  the  inhabitants  to  meet  in.  Your  committee 
were  also  requested  to  report  on  a  site  for  said  building,  but  not  having  had 
time  to  give  this  point  suitable  consideration,  would  have  it  referred  to  anodier 
committee  and  they  be  chosen  by  ballot.** 

The  report  was  accepted  and  agreed  to,  and  the  second  committee  reported  in 
favor  of  a  building  30  l)y  55  feet,  two  stories  high,  "to  be  located  on  John 
P.rin<1cr's  lot  next  to  the  burying  ground."  They  also  ref>orted  that  such  a 
building  would  cost  $2,2QO,  if  built  of  wood,  or  $3,600,  if  built  of  stone.  Thomas 
Greenleaf,  Benjamin  Page,  Thomas  B.  Adams,  Edmund  Billings  and  Josiah 
Adams  were  then  appointed  a  committee  to  select  a  site  on  the  tiaining  field.  This 

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action  was  reconsidered  on  June  24,  1816,  and  after  several  sites  had  been 
examined  it  was  voted  on  the  i6th  of  July  to  accept  the  Brinsler  lot,  which  was 
accordingly  purchased  for  $339.  The  building  was  completed  on  July  21,  1817, 
at  a  cost  of  $2,127.19. 

In  1841  the  question  came  before  the  annual  meeting  in  March  of  building 
a  new  town  house  and  it  was  voted  to  build  it  on  land  owned  by  Daniel  French, 
pro\i(1cd  the  same  could  be  purchased  at  a  price  not  exceeding  one  thousand 
dollars.  It  seems  that  this  was  as  far  as  the  proposition  went  at  that  time,  for 
on  February  9,  1844.  a  movement  was  voted  down  in  town  meeting  to  purchase 
the  Universalist  Church  and  convert  it  into  a  town  hall.  At  the  same  meeting 
a  proposhkm  to  erect  a  stone  building  for  town  purposes  was  defeated.  A  oom- 
mittee  was  then  chosen  to  invest^te  the  subject  and  recommend  a  course 
to  be  pursued  at  an  adjourned  meeting.  The  committee,  consisting  of  Solomon 
Willard.  John  Savil,  Gershom  Clements.  John  /\.  Green  and  Xoah  Curtis,  reported 
in  favor  of  a  frame  structure,  the  estimated  cost  of  which  was  $7,587,  on  a  plan 
50  by  85  feet,  two  stories  in  height. 

The  report  was  accepted  and  the  treasurer  was  ordered  to  purchase  the  lots 
on  the  comer  of  C^nal  and  Hancock  streets,  owned  by  Faxon  &  Will^,  but  tiie 
title  was  found  to  be  defective.  Daniel  Baxter,  Benjamin  Page,  James  New- 
comb,  John  Souther  and  George  Veazie  were  then  appointed  a  building  com- 
mittee, the  proposition  to  erect  a  frame  house  was  reconsidered  and  it  was 
voted  to  build  one  of  stone,  on  land  to  be  bought  of  Daniel  French.  The  build- 
ing  was  completed  in  1844,  at  a  cost  of  $19,115.93.  In  1871  it  was  remodded 
at  a  cost  of  $6478  and  is  now  the  Quincy  City  Hall.  In  his  inaugural  address 
in  191 7.  Mayor  Joseph  L.  Whiton  said: 

"1  find  that  there  are  seventeen  department  ofticials  and  boards,  with  their 
respective  clerks,  having  ottices  in  the  basement  of  the  City  Hall.  It  seems 
incredible  that  a  city  of  the  rize  and  importance  of  Quincy  should  require  so 
many  of  its  oflkials  and  boards  to  transact  its  business  in  a  basement  under  sudi 
unhealthy  conditions  as  exist  in  the  basement  of  thb  hall.  This  condition  of 
affairs  should  be  remedied  at  once  and  other  quarters  provided  for  them.  The 
reducing  of  the  number  of  councilmen  from  twenty-three  to  nine  will  enable  the 
council  to  transact  its  business  in  smaller  quarters  than  formerly  used.  This  will 
enable  us  to  supply  accommodations  for  some  of  these  departments  above  the 
first  floor  of  the  hall.  When  these  departments  have  been  removed  from  the 
basement,  the  basement  can  be  fitted  up,  made  fireproof  and  equipped  so  as  to 
be  a  very  desirable  place  in  which  to  preserve  the  records  and  archives  of  the 

From  this  extract  from  the  mayor's  inaugural  address  it  can  be  seen  that 
the  city  has  outgrown  the  capacity  of  its  municipal  building  and  it  will  be  but  a 
few  years  until  the  question  of  a  new  one,  moft  in  keeping  with  the  progressive 
spirit  of  the  city,  will  have  to  be  affirmed. 

Thomas  Greenleaf,  who  was  ai)i)ointe(l  chairman  of  the  committee  in  1816 
to  select  a  site  for  the  town  hall,  was  an  important  factor  in  the  development 
of  Quincy  about  Aat  time.  He  was  bom  in  Boston  and  graduated  at  Harvard 
in  179D.  In  1803  he  took  up  his  residence  in  Quincy  and  soon  manifested  an 
interest  in  town  affairs.  Besides  his  connection  with  the  building  of  the  town 
hall,  be  catised  the  first  almshouse  to  be  built,  securing  an  appropriation  of. 

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$2,000  for  this  purpose,  and  ander  his  efficient  business  methods  the  cost  of 
maintaining  the  town  poor  was  reduced  about  one-half.  He  died  in  Quincy  in 


Previous  to  the  year  1825  little  attention  had  been  giiven  to  the  value  of  the 
granite  deposits  of  the  town.  In  that  year,  on  behalf  of  the  Bunker  Hill  Monu- 
ment A^soiintion,  (irifllcy  iJriant  bought  a  quarry  in  \\'e<t  Quincy  for  the  pur- 
pose of  taking  out  stone  for  the  nwnunieni.  This  stone  had  already  been 
examined  and  approved  by  Solomon  \\  illard,  and  the  quarry  is  still  known  as 
Ae  ''Bunker  Hill  Quarry."  Before  the  opening  of  this  quarry,  the  rough,  glacial 
bowlders  which  lay  scattered  about  over  the  surface  had  alone  been  used  for 
building  purposes.  King's  Giapel  in  Boston  was  built  of  this  kind  of  stone. 
Shortly  after  it  was  completed  in  a  town  meeting  in  Braintree  voted  to 

prohibit  the  removal  of  any  more  stone  frmn  the  commons.  Ixjcause  if  the  ship- 
ment of  stone  to  Boston  continued  there  would  not  be  enough  left  for  the  town's 
own  use.  In  1803  Josiah  Bemis,  George  Steams  and  Michael  Wild  split  a  large 
stone  with  iron  wedges.  This  opened  the  way  for  tiie  working  of  the  great 
granite  deposits  am!  Quincy  granite  is  now  known  wherever  stone  is  used  for 
monumental  or  building^  purposes.  The  rei)ort  of  the  Bureau  of  Statistics  for 
1915  gives  returns  from  more  than  one  hundred  stone  working  concerns,  having 
a  combined  capital  of  over  two  millions  of  dollars. 


The  first  po.iUna'^ter  in  Quincy  was  Richard  Cranch.  whose  commission  was 
dated  April  i,  1795  Mr.  Cranch,  it  will  be  remcmljered,  was  the  man  who 
selected  the  name  of  Quincy  for  the  town,  and  the  justice  of  tiie  peace  who 
issued  his  warrant  for  the  first  town  meeting.  Several  times  he  represented 
Braintree  in  t!ie  (General  Court  and  was  afterward  a  judge  of  the  Court  of  Com- 
mon Pleas.  At  the  time  of  his  appointment  as  postmaster  the  rates  of  letter 
jwstage  varied  from  six  cents  for  carrying  a  letter  thirty  miles  or  less  to  twenty- 
four  cents  for  carrying  one  450  miles  or  more.  He  served  as  postmaster  until 
his  death  in  1811,  and  on  January  i,  1S12,  Dr.  Benjamin  Vinton  was  appointed 
as  his  successor.  During  the  period  of  his  service,  eastern  and  southern  mails 
arrived  and  departed  three  times  a  week. 

The  present  handsome  postoffice  building  in  Quincy  was  completed  early  in 
the  spring  of  1909  and  was  occupied  on  the  first  of  March  of  that  year.  Its  cost, 
exclusive  of  the  site,  was  a  little  over  seventy  thousand  dollars.  The  ofBce  is 
now  a  station  of  Metropolitan  Bostoa  Besides  the  postmaster  and  his  assistant, 
the  office  employs  twenty-six  carriers  and  fifteen  clerks.  There  is  also  one  rural 

At  the  beginning  of  the  year  191 7  the  other  offices  within  the  city  limits  were 
located  at  Atlantic.  Squantum  and  W'ollaston,  all  of  them  being  branches  of 
the  Boston  postoffice.  Some  forty  years  ago  there  were  po^offices  at  West 
Quincy  and  Quincy  Point,  but  th^  have  been  discontinued. 

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Early  in  i860  Daniel  P.  Nye,  F.  M.  Johnson  and  Eleazer  Frederick  applied 
to  the  Legislature  for  a  charter  to  manufacture  and  sell  gas  to  the  town  and 
people  of  Quincy.  They  and  their  associates  were  incorporated  as  "The  Citizens 
Gas  Light  Company  of  Quincy,  "  with  power  to  own  and  hold  real  estate,  manu- 
facture gas  and  make  contracts  for  the  sale  of  the  same  to  the  municipality  and 
its  inhabitants.  The  next  year  the  town  agrees  by  vote  to  pay  for  gas  for  street 
lamps  for  any  persons  who  would  erect  lamp  posts  at  their  own  expense  the 
posts  to  be  a  certain  distance  apart.  This  plan  was  followed  for  a  few  years,  but 
in  1874  it  was  decided  that  coal  gas  was  too  expensive  for  illuminating  the  town, 
and  it  was  voted  to  use  naphtha  gas  instead.  In  1876  the  gas  company  reduced 
its  prices  and  the  town  returned  to  the  use  of  coal  gas.  Several  years  later  the 
gas  lights  were  displaced  by  electricity  and  the  gas  is  now  used  chiefly  for  cook- 
ing  and  lighting  private  buildings. 


Quincy  was  incorporated  as  a  city  by  the  act  of  May  17,  188^  Sectwn  i  of 
which  provides  that  "The  inhabitants  of  the  Town  of  Quincy  shall,  in  case  of 

the  acceptance  of  this  act  by  the  voters  of  said  town,  as  hereinafter  provided, 
continue  to  be  a  body  politic  and  corporate  under  the  name  of  the  City  of  Quincy, 
and  as  such  shall  have,  exercise  and  enjoy  all  the  rights,  ininiunities,  powers  and 
privileges  and  shall  be  subject  to  all  the  duties  and  obligations  now  pertaining 
to  and  incumbent  upon  the  said  town  as  a  municipal  corporatkm." 

The  act  authorized  the  division  of  the  town  into  six  wards  and  the  election 
of  members  of  a  city  council — five  of  the  members  to  be  elected  as  councilmen 
at  large  and  one  from  each  ward.  The  executive  authority  is  vested  in  a  mayor, 
and  the  management  of  the  public  schools  in  a  school  committee.  It  was  also 
provided  that  the  first  city  election  should  be  held  on  the  first  Tuesday  in 
December  and  that  die  nmnicipal  year  should  begin  on  the  first  111 onday  in  Janu- 
ary.  The  voters  accepted  the  pnnisions  of  the  act  and  on  January  7, 1889,  the 
city  government  of  Quincy  went  into  f^flfect 

Following  is  a  list  of  the  mayors  since  the  incorporation  of  the  city,  together 
with  the  year  when  each  assumed  the  duties  of  the  office:  Charles  H.  Porter, 
1889;  Henry  O.  Fairbanks,  1891 ;  William  A.  Hodges,  1894;  C.  F.  Adams  (2nd), 
1896;  Russell  A.  Sears,  1898;  Harrison  A.  Keith,  1899;  John  O.  Hall,  1900; 
diaries  M.  Bryant,  1902;  James  Thompson,  1905;  William  T.  Shea,  1908; 
Eugene  R.  Stone,  1912;  John  L.  Miller,  1914  (died  the  same  year  and  the  unex- 
pired term  filled  by  Joseph  L.  Whiton);  Chester  1.  Campbell*  1915;  Gustave  B. 
Bates,  1916;  Joseph  L.  Whiton,  1917. 


The  first  move  toward  supplying  the  Town  of  Quincy  with  water  was  made 

on  May  3.  1883,  when  the  governor  approved  an  act  of  the  Legislature  incor- 
IK)rating  William  L.  Faxon.  John  A.  Gordon,  John  O.  Ilolden.  Charles  H.  Porter 
and  their  associates  and  successors  as  the  "Quincy  Water  Company,"  with  a 

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capital  stock  not  to  exceed  $250iOoa  By  the  provisions  of  the  act  the  company 
was  authorized  to  take  the  waters  of  Town  Brook,  with  all  the  other  rights  and 
.privileges  to  which  such  corporations  are  entitled  under  the  laws  of  Massa- 
chusetts. It  was  also  provided  in  the  act  of  incor|>oration  that  the  Town  of 
yuincy  might  purchase  the  franchise  and  property  of  the  company,  at  a  price  to 
be  mutually  agreed  upon,  when  two-tinrds  of  the  legal  voters  of  the  town  gave 
their  assent. 

In  June,  1885,  the  company  was  given  the  right  to  supply  the  Town  of 
Mihon  with  water,  and  on  June  11,  1891,  two  years  after  the  incorporation  of 
Quincy  as  a  city,  the  Legislature,  conferred  upon  the  municipality  the  right 
to  take  the  waters  of  Blue  Hill  River  and  certain  of  its  tributaries  as  a  water 
supply,  and  to  issue  bonds  in  any  sum  not  exceedii^  $400,000  for  the  purpose  of 
purdiasing  and  developing  the  plant  of  the  Quincy  Water  Company.  The  works 
were  then  purchased  by  the  city  anrl  on  June  13,  1892,  another  act  was  passed 
by  the  Legislature  authorizing  the  mayor  to  appoint  a  board  of  water  commis- 
sioners of  three  members.  The  same  act  increased  the  borrowing  power  of  the 
city  to  not  more  than  $700,000,  to  be  known  as  the  "Quincy  Water  Loan." 

At  the  close  of  the  year  1916  the  Qamcy  waterworks  system  embraced  nearly 
one  hundred  and  forty  miles  of  mains,  1,119  hydrants,  with  8,872  meters  in  use. 
The  receipts  from  water  rates  for  the  year  amounted  to  $155,624.67  and  the 
expense  of  maintenance  was  $12,968.29.  About  three  miles  of  additional  mains 
were  laid  in  1916  and  forty-one  new  hydrants  installed,  at  a  cost  of  nearly 
twenty-nine  thousand  dollars. 


Almost  immediately  after  the  town  was  incorporated  in  1792,  the  citizens  met 
and  organized  a  Fire  Association.  Buckets,  ladders  and  fire  hooks  were  pur- 
diased  and  for  many  years  this  was  the  only  fire  department  of  which  Quincy 
could  boast.  In  18 12  a  fund  was  raised  by  subscription  and  a  hand  engine 
was  purchased.  It  was  one  of  the  kind  that  had  to  be  filled  with  buckets  and 
at  a  fire  a  line  would  be  formed,  the  buckets  passed  from  hand  to  hand  to 
keep  the  engine  supplied  with  water,  while  the  firemen  worked  the  pump.  In 
cases  wher«  the  supply  of  vratitr  was  some  distance  from  tiie  fire,  the  engine 
would  be  drawn  to  the  pond  or  rivers  for  a  supply  and  then  back  to  the  fire, 
repeating  the  process  until  the  fire  was  extinguished  or  the  building  burned  down 
—more  frequently  the  latter.  The  engine  was  called  the  "Columbia"  and  was 
stationed  on  Hancock  Street.  A  little  later  another  engine  of  the  sajne  type  was 
purchased  and  named  the  "Adams."   It  was  kept  on  School  Street. 

In  1826  a  law  was  passed  exempting  firemen  from  military  duty.  This  stimu- 
lated interest  in  the  fire  companies  of  Qmncy  and  a  number  offerol  their  services 
as  volunteers.  The  first  suction  engine — ^the  "Niagara"— was  purchased  in  1840. 
Three  more  and  a  hook  and  ladder  outfit  were  purchased  in  1844.  The  new 
engines  were  named  the  "Vulture,"  which  was  located  at  the  Point;  the  "Tiger," 
stationed  at  South  Quincy ;  and  the  "Granite,"  in  West  Quincy. 

By  the  act  of  April  8, 1853,  the  town  was  authorized  to  establish  a  fire  depart- 
ment, but  little  change  was  made  for  nearly  twenty  years.  In  1874  a  steam 
pump  was  bought,  the  town  paying  $350  and  the  balance  being  raised  by  sub- 
scripticm.  Two  years  later  a  reservoir  was  built  at  Wollaston  Heights  in  order 

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to  store  a  volume  of  water  to  be  used  in  case  of  fire.  From  that  time  additions 
were  made  to  tiie  depaitiiieiit  at  intervals,  until  it  reached  its  present  state  of 

The  Quincy  fire  department  now  has  six  stations,  viz.:  Central,  WoUaaton, 
Atlantic,  West  Quincy,  Quincy  Point  and  Hough's  Xeck.  According  to  the 
report  of  Faxon  Billings,  chief  of  the  department  for  the  year  1916,  the  equip- 
ment of  these  stations  was  then  as  follows:  Central,  one  steam  fire  engine  and 
tractor,  one  aoto  conibinatioR  ladder  track,  two  aitto  coinbination  hose  trucks, 
one  chief's  car,  two  spare  hose  wagons  and  one  bobsled.  Wollaston,  one  com* 
bination  ladder  truck  and  one  combination  hose  wagon,  both  drawn  by  horses. 
Atkintic,  one  auto  combination  hose  truck.  West  Quincy,  one  ladder  truck  and 
one  hose  wagon,  both  drawn  by  horses.  Quincy  Point,  one  combination  hose 
wagon  drawn  by  horses.  Hough's  Neck,  one  combination  hose  wagon,  horse 
drawn.  The  value  of  all  the  apparatus,  including  hordes,  was  estimated  at 

The  department  consists  of  a  chief,  three  assistant  chiefs,  one  captain,  one 

lieutenant,  the  superintendent  of  fire  alarm  system,  and  thirty-five  permanent 
men.  During  the  year  1916  the  department  responded  to  376  alarms. 


According  to  the  L'nittd  States  census  of  1910.  the  population  of  Ouincy  was 
then  32,642.  In  1915  the  state  census  reported  40,674,  a  gain  of  8,032  in  five 
years.  The  city  has  four  banksi  two  daily  newspapers  (the  I^triot-Ledger  and 
the  Telegram),  twenty-five  diurches  of  different  denominations,  seventeen  public 
school  buildings,  a  number  of  weU  sUidced  stores,  and  more  than  one  hundred 
and  fifty  prosperous  manufacturing  establishments.  Quincy  is  located  on  the 
line  of  the  Boston  &  Plymouth  division  of  the  New  York,  New  Haven  &  Hart- 
ford railway  system,  only  eight  miles  from  Boston,  and  is  connected  with  the 
adjoining  towns  by  dectric  railway  lines.  The  assessed  valuation  of  property 
in  1916,  as  reported  by  the  board  of  assessors,  was  $63*789»i30,  and  in  his  annual 
report  the  city  treasurer  announced  a  municipal  indebtedness  of  $ii570k52l.i5 
—nearly  forty  dollars  in  assets  for  every  dollar  of  liabilities. 


Following  is  a  list  of  the  principal  city  officials  at  the  commencement  of  the 
year  1917:  Joseph  L.  W  hiton.  mayor;  Emery  L.  Crane,  clerk;  Walter  E.  Piper, 
treasurer;  Charles  A.  Hadlock,  collector  of  taxes;  Moses  L.  Brown,  commis- 
sioner of  public  works;  William  Campbell,  overseer  of  the  poor;  Frederick 

E.  Tiipper,  Charles  A.  McFarland  and  Michael  T.  Sullivan,  assessors;  James 
H.  Slade,  Philip  R.  Guinan  and  Alexander  A.  Robertson,  Jr.,  park  commis- 
sioners; Daniel  R.  McKay,  chief  of  jxilice;  Faxon  Hillings,  chief  of  the  fire 
department;  Walter  H.  Buchan,  Dr.  Michael  T.  Sweeney  and  Tupper  G.  Miller, 
board  of  health. 

The  city  council,  the  legislative  branch  of  the  government,  was  composed 
of  Alfred  H.  Richards  (president),  Thomas  CriflRn,  Thomas  J.  McGrath,  Rus- 
sell A.  Sears,  John  D.  Smith,  Lewis  Bass,  William  A.  Brad  ford,  Alexander 
Falconer  and  Rodney  P.  Gallagher.  Regular  meetings  of  the  council  are  held 
on  the  first  and  third  Thursday  evenings  of  each  month. 




Randolph  lies  in  the  southeastern  portion  of  Norfolk  County.  On  the  north  it 
is  bounded  by  the  Town  of  Milton  and  the  City  of  yuincy;  on  the  east  by 
Braintree ;  on  the  sotttheast  by  Holbrook ;  and  on  the  west  by  Canton  and  Stough 
ton.  Great  Pond  lies  on  the  line  between  Randolph  and  Braintree,  and  Ponlca- 
poag  Pond  on  the  line  between  Randolph  and  Canton.  The  Blue  Hill  or 
Monatiquot  River  forms  the  northcm  boundary  line,  and  there  are  several  small 
streams  flowing  into  Great  Pond.  The  surface  is  generally  rolling,  but  in  the 
valleys  are  fertile  farms  and  fine  orchards,  giving  the  town  an  air  of  thrift  and 


Randolph  has  been  called  the  daughter  of  Braintree  and  the  mother  of 
Holbrook.  When  Braintree  was  incorporated  in  1640  it  embraced  the  present 
towns  of  Braintree,  Quincy,  Randolph  and  Holbrook.  Fifty  years  later  die 
population  numbered  nearly  three  thousand.  The  town  was  then  divided  into 
three  precincts — North.  South  and  .Middle.  The  North  Precinct  included  prac- 
tically what  is  now  the  City  of  Quincy ;  the  Middle  Precinct,  the  present  Town 
of  Braintree;  and  the  South  Precinct,  the  present  towns  of  Randolph  and  Hol- 
brook. Quincy  was  set  off  as  a  town  on  Fd)ruary  22,  1792,  and  immediately 
afterward  the  inhabitants  of  the  South  Prednct  b^n  to  insist  upon  a  similar 
privilege.  At  a  meeting  held  at  the  South  Precinct  meeting  house  on  March 
15,  1792,  Dr.  Ephraim  Wales,  Nathaniel  Niles.  Joseph  White.  Samuel  Bass, 
Seth  Turner  and  Samuel  Niles  were  appointed  a  committee,  "with  discretionary 
power,"  to  take  the  necessary  steps  to  elTect  a  separation  between  the  precinct 
and  the  Town  of  Braintree*  and  to  'fsustain  the  claims  of  the  South  Parish 
for  a  diviskm  before  the  General  Court,  or  doing  anything  they  may  think  proper 
for  the  purpose  aforesaid." 

At  another  meeting  on  June  15.  ^7^)2,  for  which  the  inhabitants  of  the  pre- 
cinct had  been  specially  warned,  it  was  voted  that,  "Whereas  a  Petition  has 
been  presented  to  the  Generatl  Court  for  a  ^vision  of  tfie  Town  of  Braintree,  by 
a  large  number  of  Signers  Hon.  Samuel  Niles,  Dr.'  Ephraim  Wales,  Samuel  Bass, 
Col.  Seth  Turner,  Seth  Mann,  Joseph  White  and  Lieut.  Nathaniel  Niles  be 


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chose  a  conunittee  with  discretionary  Powers  to  sustane  the  Aforesaid  petition 
ontil  the  passage  of  it  be  Granted." 

The  Town  of  Rraintree — or  rather  the  Middle  Precinct — opposed  the  division 
of  the  town,  and  a  counter  petition  was  presented  to  the  General  Court.  As 
petitions  throw  considerable  light  upon  the  situation  as  it  then  existed,  they  are 
reproduced  in  full. 


**To  the  Hon'''*'  Senate  and  the  Hon'*'*  House  of  Representatives  in  General 
Court  assembled: 

'*The  Petition  of  the  Inhabiunts  of  the  South  Precinct  of  Bnuntree  respect- 
fully shews  That  your  Petitioners  from  longr  Experience  have  found  the  incon- 
venience of  beings  Connected  with  the  other  parts  of  the  Town  of  Braintree,  As 

the  town  is  very  long  and  narrow — the  Centre  of  said  South  Precinct  is  more 
than  five  miles  distant  from  the  Middle  Precinct  mcetinj^  liouse,  which  is  the 
usual  and  most  convenient  place  of  holding  Town  Meetings  while  the  town  is  in 
its  present  form,  which  makes  it  necessary  that  nearly  one  half  of  your  Peti- 
tioners should  travel  five  miles  and  Upwards  to  attend  every  Town  Meeting,  or 
Otherwise  which  is  frequently  the  case :  They  are  obliged  to  submit  to  the  Centre 
of  the  Town's  transacting  the  whole  of  the  Business  which  they  do  as  your 
Petitioners  think  with  a  very  Partial  Eye  to  their  own  Interests. 

''And  as  Travelling  is  often  very  bad  at  March  and  April  meetings  it  is 
difficult  &  Many  times  impossible  for  Elderly  &  Infirm  people  to  improve  die 
Privilcfes  they  might  otherwise  do  &  which  every  free  man  wishes  to  Enjoy. 
Many  other  Disadvantages  peculiar  to  your  Petitioners  extrecm  situation  in 
the  Town  will  be  made  more  fully  to  appear  should  your  Honors  grant  them 
a  hearing 

"And  your  Petitioners  wish  further  to  sugest  that  the  South  Precinct  afore- 
said in  its  present  form  is  very  incommodious  ft  Irregular  and  was  owing 

originaly  to  a  Cause  which  now  ceases  to  exist,  Viz.  When  the  Division  of  the 
Middle  and  South  Precinct  was  fir<{  Proposed  the  Rev*'  M""  Xiles  was  Minister 
of  Both  in  One  &  owned  a  large  farm  which  incircled  several  other  farms  that 
lay  within  the  Bounds  of  the  proposed  South  Precinct.  But  the  Rev**  M'  Niles 
being  willii^  his  own  farm  should  lye  within  the  limits  of  his  own  parish  opposed 
the  South  Parish  going  off  unless  he  might  be  thus  Gratified  and  as  he  was  then 
a  man  of  much  Influence  your  Petitioners  were  obliged  to  relinquish  said  farms 
or  continue  very  much  to  their  Disadvantage  a  part  of  his  parish  &  the  former 
of  the  two  evils  they  submitted  to — Now  circumstances  relative  to  said  farms 
are  far  different.  A  considerable  part  of  M'  Nile's  farm  is  now  owned  by 
Residents  of  the  South  Precinct  ft  the  Proprieton  of  the  other  farms  aforesaid 
arc  desirous  of  improving  the  advantages  they  ou^^t  long  since  to  have  enjoyed 
by  joining  the  South  Precinct  as  they  are  much  nearer  to  that  meeting  than  their 
own.  Your  i)etitioners  wish  therefore  to  he  ^ct  rilT  from  the  otlier  Parts  of  the 
Town  of  Braintree  in  connection  with  the  proprietors  of  the  aforesaid  farms 
as  a  separate  town :  and  they  as  in  duty  bound  shall  ever  pray." 

The  petition  was  signed  by  Ephraim  Wales,  Seth  Turner,  Levi  Thayer, 
Ebenezer  Alden,  John  Stetson,  Richard  Delcher,  Nathaniel  Niles,  Benjamin  Man, 

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Seth  Man,  Joseph  White,  "and  one  hundred  and  ten  others,"  and  on  the  bade  of 

the  original  in  the  state  archives  is  the  indorsement:  "In  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives Jan'  17"'  1702.  Read  t\:  Committed  to  the  Standing  Committee  on 
Incorixjrations  to  consider  report.  Sent  up  for  concurrence."  Signed  bv  D. 
Cobb,  speaker.  Then  follows  a  similar  indorsement,  signed  by  Samuel  Phillips  as 
president  of  the  senate,  showing  the  concurrence  by  that  body  on  January  18. 


"We  the  Subscribers  Inhabitants  of  the  now  North  Precinct  m  Brainiree  being 
Deeply  imprest  with  the  Disagreeable  Situation  of  this  once  Respectable  Town 
of  Braintret  A  Town  which  has  Produced  some  of  the  First  characters  among^ 

man  kind  and  even  those  who  have  arisen  to  Exalted  Stations  amongst  the 
Rulers  of  our  Country.  The  old  North  Precinct  are  Already  got  ofT  from  us 
and  Incorporated  into  a  Town  by  the  Xame  of  Ouincy  and  our  Rrcathren  of 
the  South  Precinct  are  now  Petitioning  the  General  Court  to  be  set  off  and  incor- 
porated into  a  Town  by  Some  other  Name  should  the  Prayer  of  their  Petition 
be  Granted  there  will  be  but  a  small  Part  of  their  old  Town  of  Braintree  left 
to  bare  up  the  Name  it  appears  to  us  that  the  Reasons  Why  our  Breathren  in  the 
South  Precinct  are  aiming  to  git  off  from  us  is  that  they  Suppose  the  Number  of 
Inhabitants  in  this  Now  North  F'recinct  will  Ik;  Greater  than  in  the  South  Pre- 
cinct &  by  that  means  they  will  be  Exposed  to  have  Voted  from  them  those 
Privily  which  they  have  a  Just  right  to.  Now  to  Ease  the  minds  of  our 
Breathren  in  that  Respect  We  the  Subscribers  do  hereby  upon  our  Words  and 
Honour  Which  in  the  Nature  of  the  thing  is  the  Strongest  Obligation  that  we  can 
lay  our  Selves  under  Engage  that  we  Will  at  All  times  as  far  as  we  are  WAc 
prevent  their  having  Just  Cause  of  Complaint  in  that  Respect  &  We  do  hcrtl)y 
Declare  that  if  they  will  Withdraw  their  Petition  Which  we  think  will  be  to 
their  Advatage  as  Well  as  ours  and  Equally  so  that  We  are  Willing  that  the 
meetings  Shall  be  held  AHematdy  &  that  our  Breathren  of  the  said  South 
Precinct  shall  have  Every-  advantage  from  the  Suffrages  of  the  People  at  Laige 
if  we  Continue  together  Without  Scpcration  Which  they  Shall  have  any  just 
reason  to  E.\pect  &  at  the  same  time  that  Wc  May  Experience  the  same  Inrnevo- 
lence  from  then  &  that  We  may  Continue  together  in  Brotherly  Love  &  Unity 
is  the  Sincear  and  Hearty  Wish  of  Us  the  Subscribers." 

This  remonstrance  was  signed  by  James  Faxon,  EUsha  Frendi,  Adam  Hobart, 
Jonathan  Thayer,  Abraham  Thayer,  William  Allen,  Nehemiah  Hayden,  Samuel 
Holbrook,  and  "sixty-three  other  residents  of  the  North  Precinct,"  but  it  bears 
no  evidence  that  it  was  ever  seriously  considered  by  the  General  Court.  The 
advocates  of  division  were  well  organized  and  presented  their  cause  with  such 
force  that  they  finally  won  their  object  through  the  passage  of  the  following 


"An  Act  for  incorporating  the  South  Precinct  of  the  Town  of  BraintTM,  in 
the  County  of  Suffolk,  into  a  separate  Town  by  the  name  of  Randolj^. 

"Section  t.  Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  in 

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General  Court  assembled,  and  by  the  authority  of  the  same,  That  the  lands  com- 
prised within  the  South  Prednct  in  Braintree,  as  the  same  is  now  bounded,  with 

the  inhabitants  dwelling  thereon,  be,  and  they  hereby  are,  incorporated  into  a 
town  by  the  name  of  Randolph ;  and  the  said  Town  of  Randolph  is  hereby 
invested  with  all  the  powers,  privileges  and  imnnmitics  to  which  towns  within 
this  Commonwealth  are,  or  may  be,  entitled,  agreeably  to  the  Constitution  and 
Laws  of  the  said  Commonwealth." 

"Section  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  by  the  authority  aforesaid,  That  the 
inhabitants  of  the  satd  Town  .of  Randolph  shall  pay  all  the  arrears  of  taxes 
which  have  been  assessed  upon  them  by  the  Town  of  Braintree,  and  shall  sup- 
port any  i)Oor  person  or  persons  who  have  heretofort'  been,  or  now  arc,  in- 
habitants of  that  part  of  Braintree  whicli  is  hereby  incorporated  and  are  or  may 
become  chargeable,  and  who  shall  not  have  obtained  a  settlement  elsewhere  when 
they  may  beccmie  chargcaUe;  and  sudi  poor  person  or  persons  may  be  returned 
to  the  Town  of  Randolph,  in  the  same  way  and  manner  that  paupers  may,  by 
law,  l>e  returned  to  the  town  or  district  to  which  they  belong.  And  the  inhabitants 
of  the  said  Town  of  Randolph  shall  pay  their  proportion  of  all  debts  now  due 
from  the  Town  of  Braintree,  and  shall  be  entitled  to  receive  their  proportion  of 
all  debts  due  to  the  said  Town  of  Braintree;  and  also  their  proportionable  part 
of  all  other  property  of  the  said  Town  of  Braintree,  of  what  kind  and  descrip> 
tion  soever:  Provided  always,  That  the  lands  belonging  to  the  said  Town  of 
Braintree,  for  the  purpose  of  maintaining  schools,  shall  be  divided  between 
the  said  Town  of  Braintree  and  the  said  Town  of  Randolph,  in  the  same  pro- 
portion as  tli^  were  respectively  assessed  for  the  payment  of  &e  last  state  tax. 

"Section  3.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  any  of  the  inhabitants  now 
dwelling  within  the  bounds  of  the  said  Town  of  Randolph,  who  have  remon- 
strated against  the  division  of  the  Town  of  Braintree,  and  who  may  be  desirous 
of  belonging  to  said  Town  of  Braintree.  shall,  at  any  tmic  within  six  months 
from  the  passing  of  this  act,  by  returning  their  names  to  the  Secretary's  Office, 
and  signifying  their  desire  of  belonging  to  said  Braintree,  have  that  privily, 
and  shall,  with  their  pdls  and  estates,  belong  to  and  be  a  part  of  said  Braintree, 
by  paying  their  proportion  of  all  taxes  which  shall  have  been  laid  on  said  town 
of  Randolph,  previously  to  their  thus  returning  their  names,  as  they  would  by 
law  have  been  holden  to  pay  had  they  continued  to  be  a  part  of  the  Town  of 

"Section  4.  And  be  it  furtfier  enacted  by  the  authority  aforesaid.  That 
Samuel  Niles.  Esq.,  be  and  he  is  hereby  authorized  to  issue  his  warrant,  directed 
to  some  principal  inhabitant  of  the  said  town  of  Randolph,  requiring  him  to 
warn  and  give  notice  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  said  town,  to  assemble  and  meet 
at  some  suitable  time  and  place  in  the  said  Town  of  Randolph,  as  soon  as  con- 
veniently may  be,  to  choose  all  such  officers  as  towns  are  required  to  choose  at 
dieir  annual  town  meeting  in  the  month  jof  March  or  April  annually." 

This  bill  passed  the  House  on  March  5,  1793,  and  was  sent  to  the  Senate, 
which  passed  it  the  next  day.  On  the  9th  it  was  approved  by  Gov,  John  Han- 
cock, and  from  that  day  the  Town  of  Randolph  dates  its  corporate  existence. 
An  indorsement  attached  to  the  original  copy  of  the  act  in  the  state  archives 
shows  that  Levi  and  Timothy  Thayer,  Abraham  Jones,  Noah  and  Samud  Cbees- 

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man,  claimed  the  privilege  extended  by  Section  3  and  remained  inhabitants  of 


The  town  was  named  for  Pqrton  Randolph,  who  was  bom  in  Virginia  in 
1723,  the  second  scui  of  Sir  John  Randolph.  After  graduating  at  William  and 

Mary's  College  he  studied  law  in  London  and  at  the  age  of  twenty-five  was 
appointed  royal  attorney  for  X'irginia.  Soon  after  this  he  was  elected  a  member 
of  the  Virginia  House  of  Burgesses  and  was  appointed  chairman  of  a  committee 
to  revise  the  laws  of  the  colony.  In  1764  he  framed  the  remonstrance  of  the 
House  of  Bufgesses  against  the  passage  of  the  Stamp  Act.  He  was  the  presi- 
dent of  the  First  Continental  Congress,  which  met  at  Philadelphia  on  September 
5.  1774.  and  was  again  chosen  for  that  |>()sition  when  Congress  rea?.sem!)le(l  at 
Philadelphia  on  May  10.  I775-  Mr.  Randolph  died  of  apoplexy  at  Philadc]|>hia 
on  October  22,  1775.  The  naming  of  this  Norfolk  County  town  in  his  honor  was 
a  fitting  tribute  to  one  who  devoted  his  life  to  the  interests  of  the  American 


Pursuant  to  the  authority  conferred  by  Section  4  of  the  organic  act,  Samuel 
Niles  issued  his  warrant  for  a  town  meeting  to  be  held  on  Monday,  April  1, 
1793.  Dr.  Ephraim  Wales  was  chosen  moderater,  after  which  the  meeting  pro- 
ceeded to  elect  the  foil^  town  officers:  Micah  White,  Jr.,  Dr.  Ebcnezer  Alden 
and  Joseph  W  hite.  Jr..  ^elcc■t^1l■n  :  Sanuiel  P.ass,  i  lerk  and  treasurer.  Samuel 
Bas?.  Nathaniel  Xiles  and  Seth  Turner  were  appointed  a  .committee  to  settle 
with  the  Town  of  Braintree. 

At  a  second  meeting  held  on  Thursday,  May  16,  1793,  Samuel  Bass  was 
elected  representative  to  tiie  General  Court,  and  at  the  annual  meeting^  in  1794 
all  the  town  officers  chosen  the  preceding  year  were  reelected.  At  the  same  time 
it  was  voted  "That  the  committee  ap7)ointed  to  settle  with  P.raintree  shall  apply 
for  a  division  of  powder  and  balls,  and  in  case  there  is  a  deficiency  the  selectmen 
are  requested  to  procure  more."  The  selectmen  were  also  requested  to  "build 
a  powder  house  in  some  suitable  place,  according  to  their  discretion." 


When  the  town  was  first  established  in  1793,  it  extended  southward  to  the 
county  line.  Through  a  narrow  valley  running  north  and  south  ran  a  narrow 
riverbed,  in  which  flowed  the  Cbchato  River.  Two  villages  grew  up  on  roads 
about  a  mile  apart,  the  one  on  the  east  side  of  the  Cochato  being  known  as  East 
Randolph,  and  the  other  as  West  Randolph.  When  the  railroad  now  known  as 
the  I'.oston  &  Middlclioro  division  of  the  New  York.  New  Haven  &  Hartford 
system  was  built,  the  station  on  the  east  side  was  given  the  name  of  "Randolph." 
A  few  years  later  the  railroad  from  Boston  to  Taunton  was  built  down  the  west 
side  of  the  valley,  passing  through  West  Randolph.  Some  of  the  dtiaens  enter- 
tained a  hope  that  the  two  villages  would  grow  together,  but  the  hope  was  never 

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realized.    In  1872  East  Randolph  was  set  off  as  the  Town  of  Holtn'ook  (see 

Chapter  XIX)  and  the  name  of  the  railroad  station  was  changed  to  correspond 
to  that  of  the  new  town.  The  word  "West"  was  then  dropped  from  the  other 
village,  which  has  since  been  merely  known  as  "Randolph." 


Randolph's  town  hall,  which  was  the  j^ift  of  Amasa  Stetson,  was  dedicated 
in  1842.  It  is  a  substantial  frame  structure,  the  cost  of  which  was  about  ten 
thousand  dollars,  and  is  centrally  located.  Amasa  Stetson  was  boni  in  Randolph 
m  March,  1769,  while  the  town  was  still  a  part  of  Braintree.  He  learned  die 
trade  of  shoemaker,  went  to  Boston,  where  he  became  associated  with  his  brother 
Samuel  in  the  shoe  business  and  thus  laid  the  foundation  of  a  large  fortune.  He 
died  on  August  2,  1844,  leaving  a  fortune  of  over  half  a  million  dollars  and 
no  children.  The  lower  stor)-  of  the  town  hall  was  used  for  some  time  for  high 
school  purposes.  A. few  years  ago  the  building,  called  "Stetson  Hall/'  in  honor 
of  the  donor,  was  thoroughly  remodeled.  Mr.  Stetson  also  left  die  town  a  fund 
of  ten  thousand  dollars  for  educational  purposes.  It  is  known  as  the  "Stetson 
School  Fund,"  and  the  income  is  usecl  for  the  support  of  the  public  schools. 
In  1916  the  trustees  of  the  fund  reixjrted  the  amount  of  the  fund  as  being 
319488.63,  invested  in  interest  bearing  bonds  and  bank  stock. 


Soon  after  the  town  was  incorporated  a  fire  company  was  organized  and 
for  many  years  the  old  hand  enj^ines — " I'ire- Kinj^."  "ln<le|>en(lence"  and  "Fear- 
less"— responded  to  fire  alarms  with  as  much  "pomp  and  circumstance"  as  the 
more  efficient  fire  departments  of  modem  days.  When  Holbrook  was  set  off 
in  1873,  the  question  of  a  better  fire  department  came  up  in  the  town  meetings, 
and  during  the  next  decade  great  improvements  in  the  service  were  made  by 
the  purchase  of  two  steam  fire  engines,  a  hook  and  ladder  truck  and  two  hose 

In  1915  a  new  combination  auto  tire  truck  was  purchased  by  the  town  and 
placed  in  commisnon  by  the  board  of  fire  engineers.  On  July  30,  1916,  the  old 
department  was  disbanded  and  two  days  later  was  reorganized  on  the  basis  of 
sixteen  men  to  be  known  as  "Combination  Company  No.  1";  nine  men  as  "Hose 
Company  No.  i";  six  men  as  "Hose  Comj>any  No.  2";  eight  men  as  "Hook  .and 
Ladder  Company  No,  i";  and  an  engineer  and  stoker  for  "Steamer  No.  i." 
The  cost  of  the  department  for  the  year  1916  was  $1 ,86a  The  board  of  engineers 
was  then  composed  of  Richard  F.  Forrest,  James  H.  Meany,  Geoige  Stetson 
and  M.  F.  Sullivan. 


By  an  act  of  the  L^slature,  approved  May  S,  1885,  the  towns  of  Braintree, 
Randolph  and  Holbrook  were  authorized  to  supfJy  themselves  with  water  from 

Great  Pond,  severally  or  jointly,  and  to  be  united  in  the  construction  of  build- 
mgs,  etc.  Braintree  did  not  accept  the  provisions  of  the  act,  but  Randolph  and 

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Holbrook  each  issued  bonds  to  the  amount  of  $100,000  (the  maximum  authorized 
by  the  act)  and  established  a  joint  system  of  waterworks,  which  were  completed 
in  the  summer  of  1886.  During  the  year  1916,  according  to  the  report  of  the 
water  commissioners,  the  cost  of  maintenance  was  $9,898.91,  which  included 
$1,232  for  interest  on  outstanding  bonds  and  $2,303.49  for  extension  of  the 
mains  to  new  districts.  The  receipts  for  the  year  amounted  to  $12,953.  '^*^ 
amount  of  water  consumed  during  the  year  was  146,720,000  gallons. 

After  the  first  issue  of  bonds  otlicr  issues  were  authorized  by  the  Legislature, 
with  the  stipulation  that  a  sinking  fund  should  be  established  for  their  redemp- 
tion when  due.  At  the  close  of  the  year  1916  the  amount  of  bonds  outstanding 
was  $107,200,  and  there  was  then  in  the  sinking  fund  $74.286418  and  $2,385.14 
in  cash  in  the  hands  of  the  town  treasurer,  leaving  a  net  indebtedness  of 
$30,528.58.  .As  the  last  of  the  bonds  do  not  fall  due  until  July  1,  1926.  it  is 
e\  ident  that  Randolph's  waterworks  will  be  paid  for  according  to  the  original 



Of  the  twenty-eight  towns  in  Norfolk  Couttty,  Randolph  in  19 15  stood  four- 
teenth in  population  and  eighteeth  in  the  assessed  valuation  of  property.  The 
number  of  inhabitants,  according  to  the  state  census,  was  then  4.734.  a  gain  of 
433  since  the  United  States  census  of  1910.  The  assessed  valuation  of  property 
was  $3,252,912.  In  1916  the  assessors  reduced  the  vahiation  to  $2379,100,  merely 
as  a  matter  of  equalization. 

The  town  has  two  banks,  five  public  school  buildings,  eighteen  teachers  in  the 
public  schools,  churches  of  various  denominations,  electric  light,  some  manufac- 
turing concerns,  though  this  line  of  business  is  not  as  great  as  in  the  years 
immediately  following  the  Civil  war,  a  tine  public  library,  lodges  of  the  leading 
fraternal  orders,  mercantile  establishments  in  keeping  with  the  demands  of  the 
town,  steam  and  electric  railway  transportation,  a  wed^  new^per  (die  News), 
and  a  money  order  postoflfioe  which  has  one  rural  route  that  supplies  daily  mail 
to  the  surrounding  country.  The  visitor  to  Randolph  cannot  fail  to  be  impressed 
with  the  air  of  neatness  that  attaches  to  the  many  cozy  homes — the  chief  charm 
of  the  town. 


Following  is  a  list  of  the  principal  town  officials  at  the  beginning  of  the 
year  1917:  James  H.  Dunphy,  Michael  E.  Clark  and  Jeremiah  J.  Desmond, 
selectmen  and  overseers  of  the  poor;  Arthur  \V.  Alden,  Michael  E.  Clark  and 
James  H.  Dunphy,  assessors ;  Patrick  H.  McLaughlin,  cleric  and  treasurer;  Richard 
F.  Forrest,  William  F.  Barrett  and  John  B.  McNeil,  water  commissioners;  . 
Michael  F.  Cunning^iam,  John  B.  Wren  and  John  K.  Willard,  auditors ;  Jeremiah 
J.  Desmond,  tax  collector;  Edward  Long,  George  V.  Higgins  and  Edmund  K. 
Belcher,  school  committee :  Joseph  Belcher,  representative  to  the  General  Court ; 
Frank  J.  Donahue.  Michael  F.  Sullivan,  John  J.  Madigan,  Frank  VV.  Harris.  Fred 
O.  Evans  and  Fred  \  ye,  constables ;  Frank  M.  Condon,  Patrick  H.  McLaughlin, 
H.  F.  Howard  and  John  H.  Field,  registrars  of  voters. 

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The  Town  of  Sharon  is  situated  in  the  southern  part  of  the  county,  extending 
southward  to  die  county  line.  On  the  north  it  is  bounded  by  the  towns  of 
Norwood  and  Walpde;  on  tbe  cast  by  Canton  and  Stoi:^ton;  on  the  south  by 
Bristol  County;  and  on  the  west  by  Foxboro.  The  Neponset  River  just  touches 
the  northeast  corner,  and  Traphole  Brook  forms  a  little  of  the  boundary  line 
between  Sharon  and  Norwood. 


The  surface  of  Sharon  is  varied.  Moose  Hill,  in  the  western  part  is  the 
highest  elevation.  Its  summit  is  said  to  be  about  six  hundred  feet  above  the 
level  of  the  sea.  It  received  its  name  from  the  fact  that  in  early  days  it  was 
a  favorite  haunt  of  the  moose.  Only  a  few  years  before  the  beginning  of  the 
Revolution  deer  reeves  were  dected  by  the  people  of  Stoughton  (of  which 
Sharon  was  then  a  part)  for  the  protection  of  the  moose  and  deer  that  inhabited 
the  forests  about  this  hill.  .\  winding  road  leads  to  the  top  of  the  hill,  where 
in  the  days  immediately  preccdini;  the  Revolution  was  lighted  "the  signal  fires 
of  liberty."  In  later  years  an  observatory  was  built  there.  From  the  observatory 
cam  be  seen  Mount  Wadiusett,  the  hills  of  New  Han(»diire  and  Rhode  Island, 
the  Blue  Hills  of  Milton,  and  the  Nqwnset  Valley  is  spread  out  like  a  panoiama. 

One  can  readily  infer  how  Rattlesnake  Hill,  a  high,  rocky  ridge  in  the  south- 
eastern part  of  the  town,  received  its  name.  The  slopes  of  this  ridge  are 
covered  with  a  growth  of  timber  that  affords  an  excellent  pla-^e  of  alx)de  for 
the  serpent  that  gave  name  to  the  elevation.  The  road  to  North  liaston  passes 
over  this  ridge. 

There  are  a  number  of  smaller  hills,  such  as3ald  Hill,  Bluff  Head  and  Bul- 
laid's  HilL  From  the  southern  part  of  Bullard's  Hill  a  fine  view  of  the  Village  of 
Sharon  may  be  seen.  Along  the  foot  of  the  hill  runs  the  little  brook,  fed  by 
springs,  called  by  the  Indians  Maskwonicut,  but  to  which  the  white  settlers 
gave  the  name  of  Puffer's  Brook. 

Near  the  center  of  die  town  is  Lake  Massapoag,  a  pretfy  body  of  water, 
bearing  an  Indian  name  signifying  "Great  Water."  About  thirty  or  forty  years 

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ago  the  lake  was  stocked  with  fish — black  bass,  white  perch,  land-locked  salmon, 
etc. — and  along  its  shores  have  been  built  quite  a  number  of  summer  residences 
by  people  from  Boston,  who  come  from  the  city  during  the  hot  weather  to  enjoy 
the  scenery  and  rest. 

In  die  western  part  is  Wolomolopoag  Pond,  whidi  in  the  Indian  language 
means  "deep,  pleasant  water."  The  outlet  of  this  pond  flows  in  a  southerly 
direction  and  on  its  banks  was  built  the  first  house  in  what  is  now  the  Town 
of  Sharon.  It  was  built  by  some  one  almut  ifjfx)  or  a  few  years  earlier,  and 
being  located  on  the  old  Boston  and  Bristol  post  road  was  occupied  by  Captain 
Billings  as  a  tavern  in  1675.  The  pond  above  mentioned  is  somedmes  called 
Billings'  Pond.  On  the  southern  boundaiy  lies  Wilbur  Pond — also  known  as 
Leach's  Reservoir. 

In  the  eastern  part  of  the  town  are  some  good  granite  quarrieSi  and  in  early 
days  considerable  quantities  of  bog  iron  ore  were  obtained  here. 


When  the  Town  of  Stoughton  was  incorporated  in  December,  1726,  it  included 
all  the  territory  south  of  the  Blue  Mills  and  extended  from  Readville  to  the  south 
line  of  Suffolk  (now  Xorfolk)  County.  The  west  line  of  Stoughton  was  nearly 
twenty  miles  long,  and  the  average  width  of  the  town  from  east  to  west  was  about 
ten  miles.  In  this  large  town  was  included  the  present  Town  of  Sharon.  The 
colonial  laws  of  that  period  required  the  towns  to  support  diurcfaes  and  the 
people  to  attend  public  worship  on  Sunday.  Stoughton  was  so  large  that  it  was 
inconvenient  for  many  of  the  people  to  attend  the  church  supported  by  the 
town,  which  was  located  at  Canton  Comer,  hence  those  living  adjacent  to  other 
towns  attended  worship  where  it  was  most  convenient.  After  some  ten  or 
twelve  years,  the  people  living  about  Lake  Massapoag  decided  to  ask  the  General 
Court  to  estatlisb  a  town  or  precinct  for  their  benefit,  and  the  result  of  their 
agitation  was  the  following 


"To  His  Excellency  Jonathan  Belcher  £sqr.  Captain-General  and  Governor 
in  Chief  in  and  over  His  Majesties  Province  of  the  Massachusetts  Bay  in  New 
England — and  the  HonouraUe  His  Majesties  Council  &  House  of  Representa- 
tives of  ye  General  Court  assembled  in  Boston  on  ye  Eighth  day  of  June  1739. 

"The  petition  of  John  Hixson  and  Benjamin  Johnson  committee  to  Prefer 
a  petition  to  this  Court  in  bchalfe  of  ye  subscribers  Inhabitants  of  ye  Southerly 
part  of  Stoughton  humbly  sheweth  that  Whereas  by  the  Providence  of  the  All 
Disposing  God  our  lots  are  fallen  to  us  at  so  greate  a  Distance  from  the  PuUidc 
Worship  of  God  in  ye  NorA  part  of  ye  sayd  town  that  your  Petitioners  cannot 
ever  without  greate  difficulty  attend  the  Publick  worship  of  God.  Wherefore  we 
have  petitioned  the  Town  once  and  Again  to  be  eased  of  the  g^reate  Difficultves 
we  now  labor  under  but  have  been  by  them  rejected  Notwithstanding  the  greate 
length  of  way  which  some  of  your  Petitioners  live  from  ye  Publick  Worship  in 
ye  sayd  North  Part  about  eight  or  nine  miles  And  in  Consideration  of  our  greate 
Duty  to  attend  ye  Publick  Worship  of  God  not  only  Our  selves  but  by  our 

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f  amilyes  and  ChUdren  which  by  the  Blessing  of  God  are  greately  increased  There- 
fore your  Petitioners  have  of  late  Petitiotied  diis  Honourable  Court  to  be  sett 
off  a  seperate  town  or  Prednct,  but  this  Honourable  Court  did  not  see  Cause . 

to  grant  ye  Petition.  The  reason  as  we  Humbly  conceve  was  the  answers  to  the 
Petition  which  were  wrong  &  erroneous. 

"Therefore  your  Petitioners  humbly  Pray  this  Honourable  Court  to  see  with 
your  own  Eyes  by  sending  a 'C<munittee  to  view  ye  circumstances  at  the  duirge 
ft  cost  of  ye  Petitioners  that  thtt  Honourable  Court  may  be  rightly  Informed  ft 
see  the  Unjust  procedings  of  the  Honourable  respondents  &  their  fallacious 
answers  to  our  former  petitions  &  as  your  Petitioners  are  Obliged  by  Conscience 
and  Law  to  attend  the  \\  orship  of  God  they  have  by  a  free  Contribution  main- 
tained preaching  amongst  them  selves  for  a  Considerable  time  Notwithstanding 
they  have  alsoe  payed  their  proportional  Part  to  ye  North  Part  where  they  can 
have  but  little  or  none  advantage.  And  we  wotild  b^  leave  to  Inform  this  HoA- 
oumble  Court  that  since  we  have  had  preacMnt^  amongst  us  it  has  encouraged 
some  well  minded  Persons  to  come  &  Settle  within  the  hmitts  herein  Petitioned 
&  ti  it  should  Please  the  Honourable  Court  to  Grant  our  Petition  it  would  be  a 
greate  caoourragemem  to  a  greate  many  more  if  your  Petitioners  were  in  a 
Capacity  to  hive  the  Ordinances  of  God  administered  amongst  them  ft  your  Peti* 
tioners  having  had  some  Experience  by  their  Having  maintained  preaching 
amongst  them  selves  they  look  on  them  selves  as  able  to  Maintain  the  Worship 
of  God.  ^'our  Petitioners  therefore  hunitjly  pray  this  Honourable  Court  that 
ihey  would  please  send  a  Committee  to  view  our  Circumstances  that  so  your 
Petitioners  may  be  put  into  a  Capacity  that  they  may  have  the  ordinances  of  the 
Saviour  Setded  amongst  them  in  a  r^ular  Order  by  setting  them  off  as  a  dis- 
trict and  -reiterate  Town  or  Precinct  viz : 

(Here  follows  a  description  of  the  boundary  lin(  <  including  the  present  towns 
of  Sharon  an<l  I'oxboro,  after  which  the  petition  continues:) 

"We  humbly  beg  leave  here  to  say  that  what  we  now  oflfcr  in  Respect  to  our 
being  sett  off  is  in  sincerity  for  the  promoting  of  the  Worship  of  God  and 
Religion  in  its  purity  amongst  us.  Wherefore  we  pny  Your  Excellency  & 
Honours  would  be  pleased  to  hear  our  request  and  grant  our  petition  and  as  in 

duty  bound  shall  ever  pray." 

The  signers  of  this  petition,  in  the  order  in  which  their  names  appear,  were 
as  fellows:  Benjamin  Estey,  Timotiiy  Tolman,  Isaac  Cmnings,  Jc^n  Smith, 
William  Colwdl,  Samuel  Cumings,  William  Richards,  Samuel  Estcy,  Samuel 
Dwelly,  Nathaniel  Coney.  Pelatiah  Whittemore,  Eleazer  Puffer.  Josq)h  Ingra- 
ham,  Samuel  Lovcl,  Matthias  Puffer.  Abraham  Chandler,  Ebenezer  Estey, 
William  Webb.  Mahew  Tupper.  Stephen  Holland,  Benjamin  Perry,  Joshua 
Johnson,  Josiah  Perry,  Eliakim  Perry,  John  Noyes,  Eleazer  Hawes,  Job  Swift, 
Jacob  Estey,  Daniel  Richards,  Jodiua  Whittemore,  Ebenezer  Hewins,  Edward 
Belcher,  Jeremiah  Belcher,  Matthew  Hobbs,  Qifford  Belcher,  Ephraim  Payson, 
Samuel  Bird,  Thomas  Randall,  Thomas  Rogers,  Ebenezer  Capen,  William  Wood 
and  Nathan  Clark. 


To  this  petition  the  inhabitants  of  the  north  part  of  Stoughton  prepared  a 
response,  in  which  they  said:  "The  Petitioners  have  used  a  great  deal  of  Craft 

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in  the  course  they  have  pursued,  in  as  much  as  the  Town  now  owes  the  minister 
about  ei^ty  pounds  (i8o)  &  the  .town  has  just  layed  out  nearly  one  hundred 
pounds  (iioo)  in  building  a  Road  for  the  petitioners  to  go  to  Meeting  &  now 
tfwy  have  built  a  Church  near  their  own  Doinrs  ft  ask  to  be  set  oflF  as  Town  or 

The  (leneral  Court  appointed  a  committee  as  asked  for  in  the  petition,  and 
after  visiting  the  territory  the  committee  unanimously  reported  in  favor  of 
grantmg  the  prayer  of  the  petitioners.  A  bill  to  that  effect  passed  both  branches 
of  the  General  Cbttrt  and  it  was  approved  by  the  governor  on  July  2,  1740.  At 
a  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  held  soon  afterwatd»  John  Hixson,  Epbraim  Fay- 
son  and  Daniel  Richards  were  elected  a  oommittee  to  manage  the  affairs  of  the 
precinct,  and  Ebenezer  Hewins  was  chosen  treasurer.  On  January'  5.  1742,  Rev 
Philip  Curtis  was  called  to  the  pastorate  of  the  Second  Precinct,  and  the  meeting 
house  mentioned  in  the  petition  was  completed  in  1744. 


In  this  conflict  quite  a  number  of  the  citizens  of  the  Second  Precinct  volun- 
teered as  members  of  the  company  commanded  by  Capt.  Elkanah  Billings. 
Among  them  were  some  who  signed  the  petition  asking  for  the  establishment  of 
the  precinct,  notably  Samuel  Cumings.  Xathan  Clark,  Mayhew  Tupper  and 
Benjamin  Estey.  Samuel  Billings  was  lieutenant  of  tl^e  company;  Eleazer 
Robbins,  ensign;  Elijah  Billings,  Timothy  Morse  and  Ebenezer  Billings,  ser- 
geants; Daniel  Morse,  Benjamin  Rhoads  and  Williun  Savage,  corporals; 
Eleazer  Fisher,  clerk;  Ebenezer  Bullard,  drummer;  and  Seth  Lane,  fifer.  The 
company  served  in  Colonel  Miller's  raiment  about  Crown  Point,  TioMidenga 
and  Port  William  Henry. 

Capt.  Ebenezer  Mann  of  this  precinct  raised  a  company,  most  of  tlie  mem- 
bers of  which  came  from  Wrentham.  The  volunteers  from  Sharon  fought  side 
by  side  with  the  British  regulars  and  acquitted  tiiemselves  in  such  a  manner  that 
the  precinct  afterward  profited  by  their  senices.  The  war  closed  in  i-f^v?  and 
not  long  after  that  the  inhabitants  of  the  Second  Precinct  decided  to  ask  the 
General  Court  to  l>e  set  off  as  a  se|)arate  town,  or  at  least  to  be  made  a  district, 
whereby  they  would  enjoy  greater  civil  and  political  privileges. 


Early  in  the  year  1765  Joseph  Hewins,  Jr.,  Jeremiah  Fuller  and  William 

Richards  were  appointed  a  committee  to  present  a  petition  to  the  General  Court 

asking  that  the  Sccoik!  Precinct  of  Stoughton  be  made  a  separate  town  or  dis- 
trict, aiKi  this  ct)mniiti(."e  emphasized  the  services  of  the  men  who  went  out  from 
the  precinct  in  the  hrench  and  Indian  war  as  an  argument  why  the  petition 
should  be  granted.  It  does  not  appear  that  the  Town  of  Stoughton  oflfered  any 
serious  objections  and  on  June  21,  1765,  the  following  act  was  passed: 

"anno  regn'i  regis  georgii  tertii  quinto 


"An  Act  for  incorporation  tlie  Second  Precinct  in  the  Town  of  Stoughton. 
in  tiic  County  of  Suffolk  (as  it  now  is),  into  a  District  by  the  name  of 

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"Whereas,  the  inbalntants  of  the  Second  Precinct  in  Stoughton  labor  under 
great  difficulties,  by  reason  of  their  distance  from  the  {rface  where  town  meetings 

are  held  in  said  town : 

"I'.c  it  enacted  by  the  Governor,  Council  and  House  of  Representatives, 
That  the  Second  Precinct  in  the  Town  of  Stoughton,  by  the  same  bounds  and 
limits  which  the  said  Second  Precinct  now  have,  be,  and  hereby  are,  incorpo- 
rated into  a  separate  district  by  the  name  of  Stoughtonham ;  and  that  the  inhab- 
itants thereof  be  vested  with  all  the  powers,  privileges  and  immunities  which  the 
inhabitants  of  any  town  within  this  province  do,  or  by  law  ought  to  enjoy — 
excepting  only  the  privilege  of  sending  a  representative  to  the  General  Assembly 
— and  that  the  inhabitants  of  said  district  shall  have  liberty,  from  time  to  time, 
to  join  with  the  Town  of  Stoughton  in  the  choice  of  a  representative,"  etc. 


Pursuant  to  the  authority  conferred  upon  him  by  the  above  mentioned  act, 
Joseph  Hewins,  justice  of  the  peace,  issued  his  warrant  to  Ridiard  Hixson,  as 

one  of  the  principal  inhabitants  of  the  district,  to  notify  and  warn  the  legal 
voters  of  the  district  to  meet  on  July  8.  1765,  for  the  purpose  of  electing  such 
officers  as  by  law  the  district  was  entitled  to  choose.  At  the  appointed  time 
Daniel  Richards,  Job  Swift  and  Thomas  Randall  were  elected  selectmen  and 
assessors,  and  Daniel  Richards,  cterfc-and  treasurer. 

The  district  was  now  in  a  condition  to  manage  <its  own  affairs,  take  care  of 
its  own  poor.  di\ide  the  school  money  with  the  Town  of  Stoughton,  and  a 
settlement  with  that  town  was  effected  without  trouble  or  ill  feeling. 


It  may  not  be  generally  known  that  the  first  cannon  cast  in  America  were 
made  in  the  Town  of  Sharon  while  it  was  the  District  of  Stoughtonham.  In 
the  spring  of  1767  Edmund  Quincy,  Jr.,  came  to  the  district  and  bought  a  farm 
on  the  east  shore  of  Massapoag  Lake.  One  day  while  walking  along  the  diore 
of  the  lake  he  noticed  the  indications  of  iron  ore  in  considerable  quantities. 
Realizing  that  in  case  of  a  war  with  the  mother  country,  which  then  seemed 
imminent,  this  ore  would  be  of  great  value  to  the  colonies  in  the  manufacture 
of  heavy  guns,  he  communicated  the  information  of  his  discovery  to  his  friend 
Richard  Gridley  of  Boston.  Colonel  Gridley  was  the  only  American  who  knew 
anything  regarding  the  manufacture  of  cannon,  having  been  an  engineer  in  the 
colonial  service.  Mr.  Quincy  purchased  of  the  Dorchester  proprietors  the  right 
to  take  the  ore.  lie  then  formed  a  sort  of  partnership  with  Colonel  Gridley 
arifi  Joseph  Jackson  and  bought  the  furnace  that  had  been  erected  by  Ebenezer 
Mann  in  the  south  part  of  the  district.  The  first  cannon  were  completed  in 
1775,  and  Cdonel  Gridley,  who  had  in  the  meantime  become  the  chief  engineer 
of  the  Continental  am^,  came  out  to  the  works  to  test  them.  The  test  proved 
satisfactory  and  the  guns  were  used  on  various  fields  of  the  Revolution. 


When  the  "l-exington  .Xlarm"  was  sounded  through  Massachusetts  on 
April  19,  1775,  two  companies,  commanded  by  Capt.  Samuel  Payson  and  Capt. 


Israel  Smith,  inarched  from  Stotightonham  (See  chapter  on  the  Revolution). 
But  there  was  one  incident  connected  with  the  War  for  Independence  that 
belongs  peculiarly  to  Sharon  history,  and  is  thus  told  by  Solomon  Talbot: 

"It  was  the  morning  of  the  17th  of  June.  1775,  when  the  stillness  of  the 
early  hour  was  broken  by  heavy  cannonading  in  the  distance,  at  Boston.  The 
roar  of  heavy  guns  continued  all  the  forenoon.  In  the  afterno(m  the  contest 
seemed  to  have  redoubled  its  fury.  What  were  the  thoughts  of  these  women 
as  the  horrors  of  war  and  bloody  strife  entered  their  minds?  What  if  their 
husband?  or  sons  should  be  slain  in  battle  and  a  revengeful,  conquering  enemy 
should  put  into  execution  their  threats  to  come  with  fire  and  $WOrd»  burn  the 
houses  and  kill  the  defenseless  women  and  children? 

"In  their  agony  of  spirit  and  despair  they  turned  their  steps  to  Sharon  Hill, 
the  high  ground  near  the  school  house,  where  they  might  possibly  behold  the 
fearful  contest.  They  sank  down  in  despair  as  they  beheld  before  them  on  the 
horizon,  twenty  miles  away,  in  a  fearful  mass  of  smoke  and  flames,  Qiarles* 
town,  with  its  six  hundred  dwellings. 

"Night  coining  on.  the  tumult  and  voice  of  war  was  hushed.  Anxiously 
awaiting  some  tidings  from  the  terrible  strife  before  them,  they  went  into  the 
school  house,  where  they  could  sympathize  with  and  console  each  odier.  Others 
came  in  and  a  goodly  number  were  gathered.  Rev.  Philip  Curtis,  who  had 
faithfully  watched  over  them  these  many  years,  was  with  them  with  his  prayers, 
exhortations  and  watching.  Here  on  this  eventful  night  was  held  the  first 
watch-meeting  ever  held  in  Sharon.  Here  these  women,  w-ith  aching  hearts  and 
tearful  eyes,  beheld  in  the  light  of  burning  Charlestown  the  beacon  of  freedom, 
the  dawn  of  a  nation's  birthday." 


On  August  23,  1773,  was  passed  the  general  law  providing  that  all  district > 
in  the  Province  of  -Mas.sachusetts  Bay  should  become  towns,  and  on  that  day. 
or  under  that  act,  Stoughtonham  became  a  full-Bedged  town.  Its  boundaries 
then  included  the  present  Town  of  Foxboro,  which  was  set  off  on  June  lo^ 
1778.  In  some  of  the  records  there  is  a  mention  of  a  meeting  at  which  the  citizens 
voted  to  ask  the  General  Court  to  change  the  name  to  Washington,  but  no  fur- 
ther information  on  the  subject  is  availa1)le.  On  February  25,  1783,  the  fcrflow- 
ing  act  was  approved  l)y  Gov.  John  Hancock : 

"An  act  for  discontinuing  the  name  ot  a  town  in  the  County  of  Suflfolk 
incorporated  under  tiie  name  of  Stoughtonham,  and  calliiig  die  same  Sharon. 

"Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  in  General 
Court  assembled,  and  by  the  authority  of  the  same,  That  the  said  Town  of 
Stoughtonham  shall  no  longer  bear  that  name,  but  henceforth  shall  bo  called  and 
known  by  the  name  of  Sharon,  the  aforesaid  incor{x)rating  act  notwithstanding. 
.\nd  all  officers  in  said  town  shall  hold  and  exercise  their  respective  offices  in 
the  same  manner  as  they  would  have  done  had  not  die  name  of  said  town  been 


The  first  jxistofhce  in  the  town  was  established  on  July  I.  iXiu.  and  was 
located  at  Cobb's  Tavern,  on  the  Bay  road.    In  1828  the  postoffice  at  Sharon 

Digitized  by  Google 


Centre  was  established.  On  June  3,  184 1,  the  name  of  the  office  at  Cobb's 
Tavern  was  changed  to  East  Sharon,  and  that  at  Sharon  Centre  to  Sharon.  The 
former  has  been  disoontiimed,  90  that  the  only  postoflfice  in  the  town  is  the  one 
at  Sharon. 


For  many  years  the  town  meetings  of  Sharon  were  held  in  the  meeting 
house  or  In  hired  haUs.  In  1883  j.  M.  Weston,  C.  C.  Barney  and  A.  B.  Love  joy 
were  appointed  a  building  committee  to  superintend  the  erectimi  of  a  town  hall, 
45  l>y  70  feet  ^nd  two  stories  in  height.  Plans  were  prepared  by  Arthur  H. 
Dodd,  an  architect  of  Boston,  and  the  contract  was  awarded  to  L.  E.  &  T.  L. 
Barlow,  except  the  granite  foundation  which  was  built  by  John  Moyle.  The 
superstructure  is  a  frame,  the  first  story  of  which  is  covered  with  clapboards 
and  the  second  story  with  shingles.  At  the  right  hand  of  the  front  entrance  is 
a  circular  tower  and  the  building  is  surmounted  by  a  cupola,  the  top  of  whidi 
is  seventy-six  feet  above  the  sidewalk.  The  first  floor  is  occupied  by  the  town 
offices,  the  clerk's  office  being  provided  with  a  fireproof  vault  for  the  preser\'ation 
of  the  records.  On  the  second  floor  is  a  large  hall,  44  by  45  feet,  with  the  cus- 
toaary  anterooms,  etc.  The  public  library  was  formerly  kept  in  the  building, 
the  cost  of  which  was  about  eight  thousand  ddlars.  The  hall  was  dedicated  on 
February  ai.  1884,  with  i^jpropriate  ceremonies. 


The  Sharon  Waterworks  were  built  by  a  company  and  were  acquired  by 
the  town  in  1895.  Since  that  tune,  to  January  i,  1917*  the  town  has  appropr^ 
ated  $31,414  for  water  for  public  use,  and  the  sum  of  $89,544.51  has  been 

realized  by  the  sale  of  iKJnds.  Of  these  bonds  the  amount  outstanding  at  the 
beginning  of  the  year  1917  was  $49,000.  The  system  includes  two  pumping 
stations,  nearly  twenty  miles  of  mains  and  107  public  hydrants.  During  the 
year  1916  Pumping  Station  No.  i  pumped  26,121,500  gallons,  and  No.  2,  20,371*- 
952  gallons,  making  a  total  consumption  of  46493452  gaUons,  for  which  tiie 
town  received  $10,325  and  tlic  cost  of  maintenance  was  only  $3,403. 

On  \ovem!)er  20.  I(>i6.  Daniel  \V.  Pettee.  who  had  served  on  the  board  of 
water  commissioners  for  more  than  twenty-one  years,  passed  away  by  death  and 
Alfred  C.  Sampson  was  appointed  to  the  vacancy.  The  board  at  the  beginning 
of  the  year  1917  was  composed  of  Ralph  O.  Brown,  Alfred  C.  Sampson  and 
Timothy  F.  Quinn. 


The  Sharon  fire  department,  like  those  of  most  of  the  towns,  has  been  de- 
veloped from  the  old  hand  enginfe  and  volunteer  company  into  a  thoroughly  modem 
fire-fighting  organization.  The  cost  of  maintenance  for  the  year  1916  was 
$4,541.77.  of  which  $2,552.51  was  used  to  pay  the  salaries  of  the  members  of  the 
depannient.  and  $698.27  represents  the  cost  of  ins