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September 25, 1999

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HISTORY OF TAUNTON
CHAPTER I
Taunton, County of Somerset, England - Dr. Toulmin's History
Dr. Thomas Amory's Poem - Taunton's Public Buildings
Church of St. Mary Magdalen - The Castle
stronghold of the Parliament in Time of Charles I
The Siege - Col. Blake's Answer to the Summons to Surrender
The Relief - Second Siege - Charles the Second's Revenge
The Duke of Monmouth Proclaimed King - Judge Jeffries Bloody Assizes
The Old Taunton and the New - Interchange of Courtesies.

While it is not true that the Taunton in New England was settled as a colony from Taunton in the mother country, or that many of its first purchasers were from that town, it however is clear that its settlement was largely from the south-western counties of England --Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Gloucester -- and that it was the love which they bore toward the ancient Taunton, a representative in the homeland, which led them to select the name for their new home in this Western world. Hence the propriety of prefacing our history of the latter with a brief notice of the former.

A volume of rather more than six hundred pages is in our hands, a reprint of the history of Taunton, in the county of Somerset, England, originally written by Joshua Toulmin, D.D. This new edition is greatly enlarged by James Savage; not our James Savage of historic fame, I conclude, but a man of like tastes and aptitude. The book, singularly enough is printed for John Poole (a name known and honored in our Taunton), bookseller, Fore street, and contains much useful information. Its value to us is enhanced by finding within its covers the following inscription:

1884. Presented by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of the Borough of Taunton, England, to the City of Taunton, New England. Thomas Penny, Mayor, Thomas Meyler, Town Clerk.

 

Dr. Toulmin's preface to the first edition may very properly be quoted in part:

The history of a particular town, though it cannot in the variety of the events it comprehends, or the grandeur of the subject it handles, be compared with that of a nation or empire, yet connects with it importance and utility. It is peculiarly interesting to natives; and it furnishes for their younger years a proper introduction to more general and extensive history. Here may, advantageously, commence their researches into the state and events of past ages. A taste for historical reading may be easily and agreeably given to youth, by beginning with facts taking place at home; and the connection of them with national affairs will awaken a curiosity to become acquainted with the revolutions their country hath seen.

The history of a town is united with that of the kingdom to which is belongs, and with that of the ages through which it has stood. Publications of this kind are particularly serviceable towards an accurate and complete provincial history. They should not, therefore, because they are local, be neglected and overlooked. The history of a town constitutes a part of that whole, which commands attention by the magnitude of the object; and they who, by birth or residence, or any other circumstance, are connected with it, feel a peculiar concern fin a review of those actions of which it has been the theatre.

In these views the History of Taunton may claim attention. Few towns in this Kingdom have a larger share in events of national importance, or can furnish a detail of transactions more adapted to give lessons on liberty and virtue to the rising generation.

The subjects treaded of in this volume are Taunton's ancient history, running back to the time of the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons, its public buildings and charitable institutions, its churches and schools, its trade and manufactures, its civil constitution and political transactionsin which the town has borne a conspicuous part.

 

A river called the Tone flows through the town, and this, according to some, accounts for its name--tain or ton in the Gaelic meaning water or river, and tain--town or ton--town, the town on the banks of the river. The county of Somerset, of which Taunton is the Principal town, is supposed to derive its name from the summer-like temperature of its air. Taunton is lovely in its location; called by its inhabitants Taunton Dean, which means in its Saxon origin, the vale of Taunton, and so well satisfied are these inhabitants with their home that it has been expressed in the proverb, "Where should I be born else but in Taunton Dean?"

Dr. Thomas Amory, a native of the town, published in 1724 a poem of considerable length, descriptive and laudatory beginning:

Hail, native town, with cheerful plenty bless'd,

Of numerous hands and thriving trade possess'd;

and, as if conscious of being unequal to the task of properly presently his theme, closing thus:

Large as thy vales, and generous as thy soil

The verse should be, which would thy praise proclaim,

In numbers worthy of the matchless theme.

The most notable public buildings in Taunton are the castle and the church of St. Mary Magdalen, representing the one the civil government, and the other, the ecclesiastical. Correct views of these buildings accompany this chapter. The castle stands on the west side of the town, and the original foundation of it was laid as early as the year 700 by Ina, one of the West Saxon kings, who made it his residence and held therein the first grand council of his kingdom, when a code of laws for the government of his subjects was considered and completed whereby he gained a great reputation as a legislator. The present castle, built in part on the foundation of the first was erected in the reign of King Henry the First. The original edifice, from time to time, has been changed, enlarged and repaired and is, at present, a most imposing structure.

The church of St. Mary Magdalen is near the center of the town and dates back to the fourteenth century. It has a tower, a quadrangular structure which, according to the statement of Dr. Toulmin, "is the admiration of every beholder, but more especially of those who have any taste for architectural elegance. The height of the tower" he goes on to say, "from the ground to the cornice is one hundred and twenty-one feet, and of the pinnaccles thirty-two feet, making in the whole one hundred and fifty-three feet. From its top is a most extensive and delightful prospect of the rich vale of Taunton Dean, which may justly be described as "a land flowing with milk and honey."

Taunton is known in history as the town where, in the war between Charles I, and his Parliment, the Parliment had its stronghold. When in 1648, the king's forces came down to take the town, Colonel Blake in command, to the summons to surrender is said to have sent the following reply:

These are to let you know, that as we neither fear your menace nor accept your proffers, so we wish you for time to come to desist from all overtures of the like nature unto us, who are resolved, to the last drop of our blood, to maintain the quarrel we have undertaken: and doubt not but the same God, who hath hitherto protected us, will ere long bless us with an issue answerable to the justness of our cause; howsoever to Him alone shall we stand or fall.

Blake and his garrison nobly held out til Sir Thomas Fairfax appeared for the relief and the siege was raised. The 11th of May, the day of relief, was celebrated for some years by acts of public devotions and anniversary sermons, and the mercies of it conveyed down in historical song, one of them beginning with:

The 11th of May was a joyful day

When Taunton got relief.

But the relief was only temporary, since a second siege lasting five weeks brought the Tauntonians into still greater straits, so that the Governor Blake was obliged to write to the Parliment in the most pressing terms for immediate assistance. His letters represented, "That if relief come not speedily to them, they should be put into great straits for provisions and ammunition; they assured the House they never accepted a parley from the enemy, but scorned it: and they had some ammunition left and were resolved to feed upon their horses; they requested the House to take consideration of their condition, and left all to the Almighty, they doubted not, would relieve them."

The Parliment returned for answer: "That relief should speedily come to them and what money they took up in the House would pay; and desired them to go in their vigilance and valor and they should never want the encouragement of the Parliment."

The Parliment was mindful of its promise and succor came in due time.

The zeal and steadiness with which the town of Taunton, the corporation as well as the inhabitants, supported the cause of Parliment against the despotism and arbitrary measures of Charles I, were remembered against them when his son, Charles II, came to the throne. In 1662 orders were issued displacing the officers and demolishing walls of cities and towns which had bulwarks and garrisons, maintained against the king. Taunton lost its charter and its walls were razed to their foundation. Nevertheless, true to their principles and welcoming the promise of something better for their religion and their liberties, the town favored James, the Duke of Monmouth, who claimed the crown, and it was in Taunton he was first proclaimed king. It was in the marketplace that the proclamation was read: "The declaration of James, Duke of Monmouth, and the noblemen, gentlemen and others, now in arms, for the defense and vindication of the protestant religion and the laws, rights, and priviledges of England." The proclamation charged the Duke of York with being a conspirator against the reformed religion and the rights of the nation. It called upon the people, "All sincere Protestants and true Englishmen to afford their utmost aid and succor for dethroning James, Duke of York", concluding thus: "Now let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God; and the Lord do that which seemeth good unto Him."

When on Tuesday, June 18, Monmouth and his party entered Taunton, the inhabitants, we are told, of the upper as well as the lower classes, vied with each other in testifying their affection for his person and their zeal for his cause." While the latter rent the air with applauses and acclamations, the former opened their houses to him and his followers and furnished his army with the necessaries and supplies of every kind. His way was strewn with flowers; the windows were thronged with spectators, all anxious to participate in what the warm feelings of the moment made them deem a triumph. "Husbands pointed out to their wives, mothers to their children, the brave and lovely hero who was destined to be the deliverer of his country."

On Friday, the next day, twenty-six young maids," the narrator goes on to say, "of the best families in town presented him with colours wrought by them for the purpose, and made at the expense of the townsmen." Miss Sarah Blake was the leader of these youthful persons, carrying in one hand a naked sword and in the other a small Bible, addressing him at the same time in a short speech. The duke received these emblamatic expressions of the attachment of the town, and of their expectations from him, with great pleasure and assured her "That he came now into the field with a design to defend the truths contained therein, and to seal it with his blood if there should be an occasion for it."

Such, as we all know, was the tragic end after the disasterous battle of Sedgemore, when in 1685, on Wednesday the 15th of July, the Duke of Monmouth was beheaded on Tower Hill and what royalty was pleased to call a conspiracy on the part of a discontented people to change their rulers was at last, for a time at least, crushed.

The sequel was seen in that chapter of English history called "Judge Jeffrey's bloody assizes," when in the name of law and justice, the most shameless atrocities and barbarities were perpetrated, which have made the name of Jeffries a synonym for all that is mean and infamous and excretable in human character. He held his own court, as it was called, at Taunton, where were hundreds of prisoners, and what appear to be accurate accounts are given of the last hours of some of these, who were wrongfully executed, the martyrs of liberty and a righteous cause. So heroic was the death of some of these, that it came to be a common expression, "If you would learn how to die, go to the young men of Taunton."

Not only Taunton, but Dorchester, Chard, Lyme, Exeter, Bath, Bridgewater, Wells, Bristol, and other cities and towns whose names are to be found in New England, furnished men and women also, to fill the pages of what is called Western Martyrology.

There is a list of subscribers to the history of the English Taunton and in looking it over will be found names which have long been familiar in the records of the daughter town: Barker, Blake, Bliss, Brown, Cos, Crocker, Dawes, Hathaway, Jones, King, Meade, Mitchell, Moore, Philips, Poole, Richards, Sanford, Savage, Stone, Townsend, Tripp, Webster, White, Whitmarsh, Williams, Wilson, and Wood.

When we consider the condition of things in England which culminated in the cruelties which have just been described, the exodus which led to the settlement of New England towns is not surprising. Precisely how many of these settlers came to Cohannet from the ancient town of Taunton we are unable to state, but a sufficient number from that region to render appropriate their recorded statement that the name of Taunton was given to the settlement "in honor and love to our dear and native country"; agreeing well with what Cotton Mather says: "That the reason why most of our towns are called what they are is because the chief of the first inhabitants would thus bear up the names of the particular places there [in old England] from whence they came."

The interchange of visits between the old and the new Taunton has tended to create and keep alive an interest in each other's welfare. So long ago as 1856, Rev. Charles H. Brigham of our Taunton, gave, on his return from England, a pleasant account of his visit to the mother town and he closed the address with the words: "I should advise all who feel interest in the residence of those who were the first proprietors of this soil, and brought to the township its name, to visit, if they cross the ocean, the old town of Taunton in England; and I can promise them, from my own experience, delightful society there and a hearty welcome."

This recommendation of the Taunton minister was remembered by Hon. William C. Lovering, of our city, who, having made the acquaintance of Wilfred Marshall, esq. of Taunton, England, in his own home, was permitted to renew that acquaintance this side of the Atlantic and introduce the gentleman to the citizens of the New England Taunton, much to their delight. Nor have we forgotten the generous welcome extended to the Hon. Edmund H. Bennett, the first mayor of our city of Taunton, who, in 1890, was commissioned to bear a friendly greeting from the mayor and city council of that year, to the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Taunton, England. The report which, on his return, he made of his reception and the honor shown him, as Taunton's representative, was most gratifying. May this good feeling and fellowship evermore continue!

Chapter II

 

The Slow Increase of the First Decade of New England
The Marvelous Growth of the Second Decade
The Old Story of Winslow and Hopkins
Miss Elizabeth Pole, the "Gentlewoman" in Winthrop's Narrative
Her "Shute Farm" and the "Pole Plain" - The "Tetiquet Purchase
The Cohannet Purchase - The Forty-six "First and Ancient Purchaseres"
Henry Andrews - John Briant - Mr. John Browne - Richard Burt
Edward Case - Thomas Cooke - David Corwdithy - William Coy
John Crossman - John Deane - Walter Deane - Francis Douhty
John Drake - William Dunn - Mr. Thomas Farwell - Mr. John Gilbert
Thomas Gilbert - John Gilbert - John Gingell - William Hailstone
George Hall - William Harvey - Hezekiah Hoar - Robert Hobell
William Halloway

Notes: The Tetiquet and Cohannet Purchases

The Will of William Deane, of South Chard, England

A Possible Fourth Son of Walter Deane

 

For some years after the Plymouth Landing in 1620, there was only a small increase in the settlement of New England. Nearly half of the Mayflower company died during the winter months, and it was not till the November following the ship Fortune

arrived bringing Elder Robert Cushman and thirty-five others, who brought good fortune and good cheer certainly to the Plymouth settlers. Later arrived the ships Ann and James. During the first decade Weston and Morton made a very poor beginning at Wessagusset (afterwards called Weymouth) and Mount Wollaston. Nantasket, Monamet (now called Sandwich), and Cape Ann were visited for fishing. It was not till 1628 John Endicot and his choice company fixed on Naumkeak (now Salem) as the site of a town, the first permanent settlement in Massachusetts colony. About the same time a few persons pitched their tents at Mishawum (afterwards Charlestown). But when, in 1630, Roger Clap and others went up Charles River prospecting, this is the account Roger gives of the situation:

Coming into this country I found it a vacant wilderness, in respect of the English. There were indeed some English at Plymouth and Salem and some few at Charlestown, who were very destitute, when we came ashore, and planting time being past, shortly after provision was not to be had for money.

This was May, 1630. Soon, however, ships arrived from England laden with people and provisions, and not only Charlestown, but Cambridge, Roxbury, Watertown, Boston, Dorchester began to be known as distinct settlements, and in 1635, we are informed, "the colonists of Massachusetts, on account of the increase in cattle, experiencing inconveniences from the nearness of their settlements to each other, began to emigrate from the first settled towns. They went out to Hingam, Weymouth, Concord, and "through the wilderness, men, women, and children, with their horses, cattle and swine to the Connecticut River." Thus were Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford settled. Nor were the Plymouth colonists content to remain within their narrow limits, but we hear of them at Duxbury, Scituate and Marshfield, "the principal men of the colony, Captain Standish, John Alden, Jonathan Brewster, and Edward Winslow, and Stephen Hopkins had spent a night at an Indian settlement on this river, named Tetiquet, where now is the charming village of North Middleborough. We fortunately have an account of this trip in Winslow's own language and although often quoted, it should have a place here. Winslow and Hopkins represented the Plymouth government in a friendly visit to Massasoit, the sachem of the Wampanoags, who early in the year had entered into a written treaty of peace and good fellowship with the Plymouth pilgrims, called the "Peace of Plymouth" - a treaty which this true-hearted chief faithfully kept. The route of this Plymouth delegation, under the guidance of the friendly Squanto, lay through out Taunton and Dighton. Here is their description of the river and its banks.

The ground is very good on both sides, it being for the most part, cleared. Thousands of men have lived there, which dyed in a great plague not long since and pity it was and is to see so many goodly fields and so well seated, without men to dresse and manure the same. Upon this river dwelleth Massasoyt. It cometh late into the sea at Narrohiganset Bay, where the Frenchmen so much use. A shipp may go many myles up it, as the Salvages report and a shallop to the head of it: but so far as wee saw wee are sure a shallop may.

As we passed along wee observed that there were few places by the River but had beene inhabited, by reason whereof much ground was cleare, save of weeds, which grew higher than our heads. There is much good Timber, both Oake, Walnut-tree, Firre, Beech and exceedingly great Chestnut trees. The country in respect of the lying of it is both Champania and hilly, like many places in England. In some places its very rockie both above ground and in it: And though the country bee wilde and overgrowne with woods, yet the trees stand not thick but a man may well ride a horse amongst them.

The account contains much interesting matter relating to the Indians whom they met on their way, and who showed themselves hospitable and kind. As being the first notice of this locality, after the settlement of Plymouth, it is of very great interest. The journey was made in July of the year 1621. In March, 1623, Winslow made a second visit to Massasoit, the occasion for which for which is thus described:

News came to Plymouth that Massassowet was like to die, and that at the same time there was a Dutch ship driven so high on the shore by the stress of weather, right before his dwelling, that till the tides increased she could not be got off. Now, it being a commendable manner of the Indians, when any especially of note are dangerously sick, for all that profess friendship to them to visit them in their extremity, either in their persons or else to send some acceptable persons to them; therefore, it was thought meet, being a good and warrantable action, that as we had ever professed friendship, so we should now maintain the same by observing this, their laudable custom; and the because we desired to have some conference with the Dutch, not knowing when we should have so fit an opportunity. To that end, myself having formerly been there and understanding in some measure the Dutch tongue, the Governor laid this service upon myself and fitted me with some cordials to administer to him; having one Mr. John Hamden, a gentleman of London, who then wintered with us and desired much to see the country for my comfort, and Hobbatnock for our guide. So we set forward and lodged the first night at Nemasket, where we had friendly entertainment.

We have a minute account of Winslow's administering of medicine to the sick sachem, which worked admirably and doubtless saved his life. And thus for the second time, Middleborough, Titicut, Taunton, Dighton, and Somerset lands as they are now known, were traversed by Englishmen, one of whom was, probably, the identical John Hampden who afterwards distinguished himself by his arbitrary demands of Charles I.

We see that the "cleared lands" and well watered acres of the ancient Cohannet, through Winslow and Hopkins and Hampden, were known to the Plymouth settlers. Whether the tradition to which Mr. Baylies, the Plymouth Colony historian refers, " that settlers were here as early as 1626," can be trusted is for each one for himself to decide. I should place the date ten years, at least, later. When in 1635, Plymouth, Salem, Charlestown, Cambridge and Dorchester were sending out their recruits hither and thither, it would not be strange if some of these adventurous persons found their way to this inviting spot, whose authentic history as a settlement must begin with 1637.

This year a plantation was begun at Tecticutt, by a gentlewoman, an ancient maid, one Mrs. Poole. She went late thither and endured much hardship and lost much cattle.

Further account of this "ancient maid" (who was, however, less than fifty) will be found in its appropriate place in this chapter, in connection with her brother William, one of the forty-six purchasers; her name is now mentioned as that of the first known settler in this section, if not, as Baylies states, the original purchaser of Cohannet. The "Shute farm" and the "Pole plain," in the easterly part of the town, have been for more than two hundred and fifty years associated with her name --a name which must be held in fond remembrance by all who come to learn her worth.

The Pole settlement, or Titiquet Purchase so far as records show, antedated all other settlements and led to the coming of acquaintances and friends from Dorchester and other places, and the ultimate founding of the town.

Precisely when the Cohannet Purchase was made and the forty-six original purchasers had their title to the lands from Massasoit, the friendly sachem of the Wampanoags, who claimed the territory, is not now known since no man of this generation has seen the deed and it is supposed to have been irrecoverably lost. But fortunately a confirmatory deed of the first purchase from Philip, Massasoit's son is in existence and may be found in Plymouth Record of Deeds, Vol. III, page 13, part I, and "the year one thousand six hundred and thirty-eight," is named as the year which "the plantation(named Taunton) was bought of Ousamequin," that is Massasoit, and I am inclined to consider this the right date, rather than 1637, as heretofore taught. This better agrees with what Richard Williams, Walter Deane, John Hall and others say in a document signed and presented to a town meeting in 1680, with this preface:

Whereas, by the Providence of God, in the year 1638 and the year 1639, it pleased God to bring the most part of the first purchasers of Taunton over the great ocean into this wilderness from our dear and native land and after some small time here we found this place called by the natives the land Cohannet, etc.

The "natives" were recognized by these first settlers as holding, by virtue of birth and possession, rights to the soil and streams which constituted their territory. For a fair, satisfactory consideration they sought an equitable title. It is due to the original purchasers and proprietors, forty-six in number, that all which is known of them should be made a matter of record in this memorial volume. I have their names as given by John Wilbore, Proprietors' clerk. I have taken the liberty of arranging them in alphabetical order. The spelling is that of the clerk which does not always agree with that found in other documents. Names as they occur in records throughout our book, will be found variously spelled. We have not considered it best to change them, even for the sake of a desirable uniformity in this particular.

Names of the forty-six ancient purchasers of Taunton:

  1. Henry Adams
  2. John Briant
  3. Mr. John Browne
  4. Richard Burt
  5. Edward Case
  6. Thomas Cooke
  7. David Corwithy
  8. William Coy
  9. John Crossman
  10. John Deane
  11. Walter Deane
  12. Francis Doughtye
  13. John Drake
  14. William Dunn
  15. Thomas Farwell
  16. Mr. John Gilbert
  17. Thomas Gilbert
  18. John Gilbert
  19. John Gingell
  20. William Hailstone
  21. George Hall
  22. William Harvey
  23. Hezekiah Hoar
  1. Robert Hobell
  2. William Holloway
  3. John Kingsley
  4. John Luther
  5. George Macey
  6. William Parker
  7. John Parker
  8. Richard Paull
  9. William Phillips
  10. Mr. William Pole
  11. The Widdo Randall
  12. John Richmond
  13. Hugh Rossitor
  14. William Scadding
  15. Anthony Slocum
  16. Richard Smith
  17. John Smith
  18. Francis Street
  19. John Strong
  20. Henry Uxley
  21. Richard Williams
  22. Benjamin Wilson
  23. Joseph Wilson

Each of the above, with the exception of Mr. John Browne, is credited with holding from six to twelve shares; twenty, twelve each; seventeen, eight each eight, six each, an aggregate of four hundred and twenty-four.

There are other lists of proprietors, which will be referred to hereafter, but we have now to do with those who in distinction from all others, are styled "the first and ancient purchasers."

1. Henry Andrews, one of the first purchasers, was admitted freeman in 1638. He was deputy in 1639, the first year any were chosen to General Court; also in 1642, 1643, 1644, 1647, 1649. On jury, 1640, 1641,1650,1652. In 1646 he was appointed on a committee composed of one from each town, "to consider of a way for defraying the charges of the magistrates' table by way of excise upon wine and other things." In 1641 he received "a grant of forty acres with six others, lying together in some convenient place for their great charges attending courts, laying out of lands and other occasions for the town." In 1645 and 1649 he was chosen to "order town affairs." In 1647, for building the meeting house he received from the town a deed of what was called "a calves pasture," and which is thus described:

Parcel or neck of land, it lying and being bounded by the Great River from the land of Richard Williams inhabitant of Taunton heading it, the said neck, at the upper corner thereof and the land of George Hall, inhabitant of Taunton, heading it at the lower corner thereof or near unto it, etc. This parcel or neck of land with its appurtionances.

In his will, dated March 13, 1652, proved February 10, 1653-54, he names wife Mary, children Henry, Mary, wife of William Hodges, Sarah, Abigail, and grandson John Hodges. He calls himself "senior and yeoman," giving to daughter Mary Hodges, wife of William Hodges, dwelling-house near his own his own and after her to his grandson, John Hodges; to his daughters, Sarah and Abigail, one hundred and thirty pounds, in the hands of John Parker, shoemaker of Boston; to his son Henry his house. To the minister of the town and to Elizabeth Harvey, one of the poor of the church, he gives something. James Wyat and Walter Deane were overseers; William Parker, James Wyat, John Gallop, witnesses. Inventory taken February 10, 1653, by Walter Deane, James Wyat, William Parker, Richard Willaims. Amount, 330 pounds, 16 shillings.

In the will of the widow, February 14, 1654-55, the son is said to be forty-three years old and Sarah is called "little." The son Henry was killed by the Indians in 1676. His home-lot was bounded "by the lands of John Strong on the north, of James Wyatt on the south, faced by the Great River on the east end and six acres more or less; also six acres on the further side of the Great river lying opposite and facing the home lot above said, bounded on the north side by the land of John Strong and on the south side by the land of John Smith now deceased." This was in the easterly part of the town. He had other lands.

The daughter Mary, widow of William Hodges, married the second time, "soon after Apr. 2, 1654," Peter Pitts.

2. John Briant was one of the settlers who died early, soon after falling a victim to the fatigue and exposure of frontier life. The date of his death is given as April 28, 1638. No one knows the place of his burial. His will, which was an oral one, was presented to the Plymouth Court June 4, 1638, by Richard Paul and William Scadding, who appeared as witnesses, to testify to hearing him declare it, only two days before his death. All his goods and chattels, he gave to his son John, except a platter and a bottle, which he gave to Richard Paul. He desired Mr. John Gilbert to take possession of everything and turn all to the best advantage for his son, who was still young. Mrs. Elizabeth Poole, Mrs. Jane Poole, William Scadding and Richard Paul were to take the inventory of all he possessed, which amounted to forty-three pounds, three shillings and three pence. The property consisted of household goods and carpenter's tools--no real estate. This was the first will admitted to probate from Taunton. The son John was admitted freeman in 1654, and his name appears as one entitled to a division of lands in 1659.

In a petition of this son to the Probate Court on the subject of his father's will, he calls himself "of Rochester, the eldest son, and the only son and all his children," and also makes mention of his father's wife as "mother-in-law."

The Plymouth town record gives the children of "John Briant, Junior, and Sarah Briant, his wife," John, born September 1, 1678; James, July 26, 1682; Ruth, September 26, 1685; Sarah, February 28, 1688; Joannah, November 13, 1690; George, December 3, 1693.

 

3. Mr. John Browne was one of the four purchasers who are honored with the prefix "Mr." to their names, a mark of distinction in those days. Early as 1628, in the records of the Company of Massachusetts Bay, prior to coming to America, "John Browne, gent. of Roxwell, in Essex," is named with the following complimentary notice, commending him to Governor Endicott: "A man experienced in the laws of our kingdom and such as one, as we are persuaded, will worthily deserve your favor and furtherance." Whether this is the same John Browne as was chosen one of Governor Winslow's assistants in the government of New Plymouth in 1636, we are not sure, but we know the Plymouth man proved himself singularly well fitted to act well his part in all public affairs ever afterward, as his steady re-election as Governor's Assistant for nineteen years, or until 1655, abundantly shows. He was also chosen one of the commissioners of the United Colonies on the part of Plymouth Colony in 1644, the year after the confederation was formed, and was continued in that most responsible position for twelve years, serving as the associate of Governor Winslow, Governor Branford, Thomas Prence and Timothy Hatherly. He also held other important offices, as a member of the Council of War in 1642, 1646, and 1653, and an officer appointed by the court to take the proof of wills in Taunton in 1655.

Mr. Browne, after a brief sojourn in Plymouth, became an original settler and proprietor of Taunton. He was an early settler of the ancient Rehoboth, when it comprised Seekonk Plain, Attleborough, Pawtucket, and that part of Swansey called Wannamoiset. This last named territory was, according to Mr. Baylies, granted to Mr. John Browne for his eminent services to the government of New Plymouth, and he it was that encouraged Capt. Thomas Willett, his son-in-law, and the Rev. John Myles to plant themselves there, the last named having been pastor of the first Baptist Church at Swansea, in Wales, England, and becoming pastor of the first Baptist Church in the Plymouth Colony. Mr. John Browne and his son James, the last named being an original member of the Swansey Church, were influential enough to secure toleration and peace for the whole flock. And to Mr. Myles belongs the honor of having established the first Baptist Church in Boston. To Captain Willett attaches the honor of having been the first English mayor of New York City.

We are not sure of the exact date of Mr. Browne's leaving Taunton for Rehoboth, but in 1655, he made a deed of his real estate in Taunton, as recorded in the following terms:

Know to all men that I, John Browne, out of my especial good will have hereto- fore given unto my cousin John Tisdale, that dwelling-house which I bought of Goodman ______, with some garden and a lot of land thereunto belonging, containing about three acres, be it more or less; and furthermore, I do declare that for divers good causes and considerations me hereunto moving, did bargin and sell that dwelling-house which once myself lived in at Taunton, with barn and outbuildings, and all the land thereunto belonging, with all such land as by any way appertaineth unto me, the said John Browne, unto my aforesaid cosen, John Tisdall and my cosen James Walker, his brother-in-law, to have and to hold, to them and theire and assigns forever, with appurtenances thereunto belonging as fully as ever the same was mine and I doe hereby declare the same under my hand and seal the 23rd day of November 1655.

John Browne (seal)

Sealed and delivered in the presence

of Richard Burt.

Mr. James Browne came into the Court held at Plymouth the 27th day of October 1670. and did notify and confirme the act and deed above written, signed and sealed by Mr. John Browne his father deceased and for the truth hereof he hath hereunto sett his hand.

James Browne

The above written signed to by Mr. James Browne was done before the said Court. Attested, Nathaniel Morton, secretary

In 1675, James Walker is described as owner of Mr. John Browne's rights.

Mr. Baylies, copying from Morton's "New England Memorial," says:

Died this year (1662) at his residence in Rehoboth (now Swansey) Mr. John Browne. While traveling in Holland, he had formed a strong attachment to Robinson and the Leyden Church and aftr their emigration to America, he resolved to join them. He was a man of great piety, highly esteemed in the colony, and being as near the Indians, by whom he was greatly regarded, his death was a serious loss.

Mr. Morton in his earlier notice says:

He was well accomplished with abilities to both civil and religious concernments and attained through God's grace, unto a comfortable persuasion of the love and favor of God to him. He, falling sick of a fever, with much serenity and spiritual comfort, fell asleep in the Lord and was honorably buried at Wannamoisett, near Rehoboth, in the spring of the year.

The date of his death was April 10. His wife, Dorothy, died in 1674, according to Mr. Baylies. His eldest son, John, died before him, in the same year. His other son, James, attained considerable eminence, being chosen Governor's Assistant in 1665. Cotton Mather classes him as a preacher. He was one of the pillars of the Baptist Church. Savage says he married Lydia, daughter of John Howland, and died October 20, 1710, aged eight-seven.

Mr. Baylies is our authority for saying that a grandson of the first John, bearing his name, "became useful and eminent. In 168,5 he was one of the first Associate Justices of the Common Pleas in the county of Bristol. In 1699, under the administration of Lord Bellamont, under a new arrangement of that Court, he was again appointed to that office with John Saffin, Thomas Leonard, and Nicholas Peck."

In Mr. James H. Dean's interesting article on Taunton, in the Bristol County History, he makes mention of "Mr. Browne's Brook" as a well known landmark in early deeds, which leads him to locate John Browne's lands on the westerly side of the Great River between the Weir and the Dighton line.

4. Richard Burt, a first settler, was probably over sixty in 1643, as his name does not appear in the list of those subject to military duty. He must have died before 1647, for in that year, his minor son, Richard, chose his uncle James Burt, his guardian, and the court confirmed the choice. The son took the oath of fidelity in 1657, was constable in 1667, and receiver of excise. The will of the son, bearing the date of September 7, 1685, in which he calls himself fifty-six years old, makes mention of sons Abel, Richard, Joseph, Ebenezer, Ephraim, daughters Mary and Abigail; appointing his wife, Charity, executrix. The will was proved October 29, 1685. His home lands were at the "Ware," between the "Ware" and the "farms."

Richard had a brother James who early appeared at Taunton, although not among the first purchasers. He was a surveyor of highways in 1645 and again in 1654. He took the oath of fidelity in 1657. In 1659 his name appears on the list as entitled to divisions of land and on that of 1675 as claiming on his own rights. Mr. James H. Dean, who has bestowed much time and thought on the first settlers, is our authority for the statement that his home lands were on the westerly side of the Great River, and that his descendants still own lands in that vicinity. His will of March2, 1681, gives to his eldest son James his "dwelling-house and six acres of land lying between the brook called Mr. Browne's brook on the southwest side of the cartway going to Thomas Lincoln's house, called Thomas Lincoln's cartway, and a gore of land lying below the Three Mile River below the lower falls in a place called the Falls Plain". He also had a son Thomas.

5. Edward Case, one of the first purchasers, came to Cohannet from Watertown. He was one of the first freemen in 1638 and one of the deputies to Plymouth in 1640 and 1647, 1648 and 1649. He was highly esteemed at home and of good reputation at Plymouth, as in 1645 he was one of a committee "to prepare and recommend new laws for the redress of present abuses and the preventing of such in future." He was also one of the seven men receiving in 1641 a special grant of forty acres for valuable services rendered the town. Like some others of the original owners of lands, he was attracted, for reasons unknown, to some other place and sold out his possessions to one Samuel Wilbore, the father of Shadrach, of whom we shall have occasion to speak hereafter as Taunton's faithful town clerk. The home-lot of Mr. Case, which ultimately came into the possession of Shadrach Wilbore, was on Dean Street near the junction of Spring and Main.

6. Thomas Cooke, an original settler, was himself under sixty, and his son, Thomas Cooke, jr., over sixteen, in 1643, as their names both appear in the list of those subject to military duty that year. The father took the oath of fidelity, but his name is not on the list of freemen. Mr. Savage thinks father and son removed to Portsmouth, RI, where was a Captain Thomas Cooke and who, in 1659, was honored with a commission to run the western line of the colony. Increase Robinson became the owner of his rights in the township of Taunton.

The name of Cooke appears often in the early history of New England. There was a John Cooke in Portsmouth, RI, in 1655. Another John in Salem in 1637. Still another John in Plymouth in 1633, and in Rehoboth in 1643. And the Francis Cook, who came over in the Mayflower in 1620, and who married in the Netherlands, had a son John, who was in Dartmouth in 1676. Jacob, at Plymouth, married a daughter of Stephen Hopkins. These are only a few of the Cookes who were the pioneers in New England settlements, and in 1834 fifty-two graduates of colleges were counted up, eleven at Harvard, nineteen at Yale and twenty-two elsewhere.

7. David Corwithy was proposed as freeman in 1639, called David Kerwithy. Nicholas White, senior, claimed on his rights in the list of 1675. He is not named in the records elsewhere and the conclusion is that he, like some others, died early or went away, leaving no posterity which even the indefatigable Savage could find. There is a perfect blank under this name, as of Hobell's, in his treasure-house of statistics.

8. William Coy was one of the early purchasers who has left no trace behind of his lineage or descent. There was a Matthew Coy, of Boston, in 1638, and Richard, also, who had perhaps a sister Mary, so Savage thinks, who married John Lake of Boston. But as to our William, we only know he came probably unmarried and alone, to die early and to be buried in an unknown grave. Let these few words from our pen concerning him keep alive the memory of his name, to be read and cherished as the name of one who helped to lay the foundation of a new town in this western world, and who builded better than he knew.

9. John Crosman, one of the first settlers, is better known to us through his son Robert and his numerous descendants, than by reason of any prominence of his own. Indeed, his name is not found in the lists of 1643, 1659, or 1675. There is no record of his wife. He probably came to this country a widower, bringing his son, Robert, of whom will appear a notice later, and died early. But his name will be held in fond remembrance as the progenitor of a family which has filled a large place in the history of Taunton and laid the present and future generations under great obligations to it for the foundations of growth and prosperity upon which they are permitted to build.

10. John Deane is one of the names found among the first settlers entitled to special honor and notice. He was one of those who came to Cohannet and made a permanent settlement. He was a recognized leader both in church and in all town affairs. His birthplace is known --South Chard, a settlement in Somersetshire, England, delightfully located in Taunton Dean, a few miles south of Taunton. He was the son of William2

the son of Walter Deane of South Chard. He left behind brothers William, Isaac, Thomas, and sisters Susan, Elanor, Elizabeth, in the home land. His brother Walter, and sister Margaret, wife of John Strong, accompanied him to New England. With others of the settlers he landed at Dorchester. He was born about 1600, died between April 25 and June 27, 1660, "aged sixty years or thereabouts." He was made freeman of the Plymouth Colony, December 4, 1638. He filled various offices in town, as constable, surveyor of high-ways and selectman. He was devoted to the interests of the church, of which he was for a long time a prominent member and officer, and evidenced his regard for gospel ordinances by the following item in his will:

My will is, that these my overseers, with the consent of my wife, shall in case there be no settled ministry in Taunton, they shall have full power to sell either the whole or a part of these my Housings and Lands, soe as my children and Posteritie may remove elsewhere, where they my enjoy God in His ordinances.

But there was no occasion for this removal. He saw well to it that during his lifetime there should be a "settled ministry" and his "posteritie" were like minded.

The inventory of his estate was three hundred and thirty-four pounds, eighteen shillings. His homestead was on the river bank, and in honor of him and his brother Walter, the street has always borne the name of "Dean Street." His wife's name was Alice, who survived him. To them were born the following children:

I. John, having the reputed distinction of being the first white child born in the settlement, in the year 1639. Tradition connects also this circumstance to his mane, that in the great snow storm in the month of February, 1717, he lay dead in the house many days before notice could be sent to the neighbors, and his unmarried daughter, Elizabeth, the sole living occupant of the house, before timid, became ever after the most courageous and fearless of women. This John married November 7, 1663, Sarah, daughter of Deacon Samuel Edson, of Bridgewater. Their children were as follows:

  1. Samuel, deacon of the Taunton Church, born January 24, 1666, died October 1, 1731. Married Sarah _______.
  2. Sarah, born November 9, 1668. Married Major Jonathan Howard of Bridgewater.
  3. John, born July 6, 1670, died August 6, 1670.
  4. Mehitabel, born October 9, 1671. Married Joseph Wilbore
  5. John 2nd, born September 18, 1674, died July 31, 1724. Widow, Hannah, died July 15, 1748. From this son descended John Gilmore Deane, born in Raynham, and eminent citizen of Ellsworth and Portland, ME.
  6. Elizabeth, born March 15, 1676, died single March 15, 1749.
  7. Mary born July 15, 1680. Married Seth Williams.
  8. Susannah, born August 13, 1683, died single about 1716.
  9. Israel, born August 4, 1685. Married 1705, Katharine Bird of Dorchester

II. Thomas settled at Taunton; married, January 5, 1669-70, Katharine Stephens. Their children were as follows:

  1. Thomas, born February 11, 1671, died February 26, 1671.
  2. Hannah, born January 14, 1672, died January 2, 1749, single.
  3. Thomas 2nd, born 1673, died September 10, 1747. Married, January 7, 1696-7, Mary Kinsley, of Milton. Of this branch was Honorable Josiah Dean, of Raynham, member of Congress 1807-09.
  4. Deborah, married John Tisdale.
  5. Katharine, married April 17, 1701, Deacon Samuel Leonard. Their daughter, Hazadiah, married Rev. John Wales, first minister of Raynham; their daughter Prudence married Rev. Peres Fobes, LLD, second minister; their daughter Nancy married Rev. Simeon Doggett, also a minister of Raynham and first preceptor of Bristol Academy. A son of Rev. John Wales was Rev. Samuel Wales, D.D., professor in Yale College whose son, Hon. John Wales was the United States senator from Delaware.
  6. Lydia, married George Hall, of Easton.
  7. Mercy, married February 1, 1719, Daniel Williams.
  8. Elizabeth, born about 1688, died in Norton, March 18, 1758. Married December 4, 1707, Deacon Benjamin Williams.

III. Israel, "was a lieutenant in Philip's war and was in the great Narragansett fight." He died unmarried. His will was dated August 7, 1677.

IV. Isaac, married January 24, 1677-78, Hannah, daughter of James Leonard, senior. Their children:

  1. Alice, born November 20, 1678. Married John King February 1, 1699.
  2. Abigail, born November 16, 1680. Married Thomas Terry January 4, 1699.
  3. Hannah, born April 24, 1683. Married Nathaniel Hodges.
  4. Nathaniel, born April 25, 1685.
  5. Jonathan, born about 1695, died September 10, 1750. Married Abigail Burt August 30, 1729.
  6. Abiah, married Benjamin Hodges.
  7. Deborah, married Joseph Allen November 25, 1736.
  8. Mehitabel, married William Stone of Norton.

11. Walter Deane, "a tanner," was a younger brother of John who came with him from Chard, England, and to Taunton by way of Dorchester. He became a freeman at the same date with his brother, December 4, 1638. In 1640 he was deputy to the General Court at Plymouth. For more than twenty years he served as selectman, a certain proof of the high estimation in which he was held by his fellow-townsmen, and was often appointed on special committees for apportioning lands and establishing boundaries, proving his great ability and trustworthiness in all difficult questions which came up for settlement. His home was on Deane Street, next east of his brother.

It should be added, Mr. Deane was held in high esteem by the church, which expressed this esteem by appointing him deacon, an office which he held for some years. To him and his wife Ellinor, sister of John Strong were born children as follows:

I. Joseph, "cordwainer of Taunton," 1684, of Dighton, died between December 3, 1728 and February 11, 1729, leaving a widow Mary. (See Prob. Records, 6, 202). Children:

  1. Joseph, died 1773 leaving a widow Sarah.(See Prob. Rec.22, 482).
  2. Samuel, died single October 1770 in his eighty-sixth year.
  3. James, married Mary Williams December 20, 1745.
  4. Sarah, married Joseph Reed of Freetown, December 29, 1708.

II. Ezra, married December 17, 1676, Bethiah, daughter of Deacon Samuel Edson, of Bridgewater. Their children:

  1. Bethia, born October 14, 1677, died November 27, 1679.
  2. Ezra, born October 14, 1680, died July 1, 1737. Married (1) Abigail Leonard, (2) Abigail, daughter of Samuel Brintnell, of Norton. His family was remarkable for size and longevity, the united ages of sixteen children having been 1307 years. Eleven of the family lived more than one thousand years. Through this branch came Dr. John Godfrey, whose mother was Theodora Deane.
  3. Samuel, born 1681, died in 1683.
  4. Seth, born June 3, 1683, the progenitor of Rev. Paul Dean.
  5. Margaret, Married Benjamin Shaw.
  6. Ephraim, married Mary Allen of Rehoboth.

III. Benjamin, married, January 6, 1681, Sarah Williams. Their children:

  1. Naomi, born November 1681, died January 6, 1682.
  2. Hannah, born December 26, 1682. Married _______ Richmond.
  3. Israel, born February 2, 1685, died March 27, 1760. Married Ruth Jones, of Sandwich.
  4. Mary, born June 15, 1687. Married Samuel Edson January 1, 1707-08.
  5. Damaris, born September 4, 1689. Married Matthew White
  6. Sarah, born August 30, 1692. Married James Danforth.
  7. Elizabeth, born March 26, 1695. Married Edward Richmond.
  8. Mehitabel, born June 9,1697. Married Josiah Richmond.
  9. Benjamin, born July 31, 1699. Married Zipporah Dean; she died September 27, 1778.
  10. Ebenezer, born February 24, 1702. Married (1) Rachel Allen, (2) Alice _____.
  11. Lydia, born December 11, 1704. Married Ebenezer Wilbore December 2, 1729.
  12. Joshia, born October 23, 1707, died March 20, 1710.

Dr Savage says Walter Deane had six children 3 but he is not able to give any other names, and he mistakes in one instance, in the record of the three calling Joseph, Thomas. He makes mention of a Jonas Deane, in Scituate, who came, he thinks from Taunton, England.

12. The name of Francis Doughty appears among the ancient purchasers. His name is otherwise spelled, as Douhty, Doutie, and Doty. The Rev. Charles A. Briggs, in his history of the American Presbyterianism, makes mention of him as originally "vicar of Sodbury, Gloucester, England, where he was silenced for nonconformity." He found his way, with others from that locality, to Cohannet and may have done some preaching before Messrs. Hook and Street were installed into their office as pastor and teacher. Things did not go exactly to his mind ecclesiastically, since Lechford, in his account of the ordination, in his "Newes from New England," says:

One Master Doughty, a minister, opposed the gathering of the church, alleging that according to the covenant of Abraham, all men's children, that were of baptised parents, and so Abraham's children, ought to be baptised; and spake so in publique or to that effect, which was held as a disturbance, etc.

From this it appears he was a very plain, outspoken man, with strong convictions of his own, which he could not easily yield, and so his stay in Taunton, with uncongenial spirits, was short. We hear of him at Mespat (near Newtown), Long Island, with the view of establishing a Presbyterian Colony there. (See James Riker,, Annals of Newtown, New York, I, 305-6, 311,331,334-5,341,426,553; II, 93.) He preached also for a while at Flushing Long Island. His daughter is said to have married Abraham Vander Donck, a prominent lawyer of New York City, and an official under Van Rensselaer. This son-in-law and others signed a complaint against the administration of Stuyvesant, in a case which concerned Doughty, bringing serious charges, which Stuyvesant was obliged to answer to the authorities in Holland. In a reprint of the original document in 1649, by Henry C. Murphy, NY, 1854, p. 159, it is remarked: "His [Stuyvesant's] injustice and illegal administration of justice were also apparent in a certain suit against Francis Douthey, an English minister, to whom he had given permission to form a colony before the war, and who had made such a beginning therein that more than eighty persons had proceeded there. The war coming on, everything was down and came to a stand."

Doughty, discourage by difficulties, which beset him on Long Island, "fled," we are told, "to Maryland, where he preached to the Puritans for many years." There is a deposition concerning him in the Proprietors' Records of Taunton, as follows:

This writing being made the 4 of June, 1687. It is to testify concerning the sale of Mr. Doutie's land which he had in Taunton his whole right in the town of Taunton "being twelve acres, that is to say six acres lying by the land of Mr. Holloway on the Mill river and six acres over the Great river lying by the land of the aforesaid Mr. Holloway, James Burt, Sen., of Taunton being appointed by a letter of attorney to make sale of this land to one Richard Hide of Taunton for the sum of twelve pounds, which the aforesaid Richard Hide told me he had satisfied the aforesaid Mr. Doutie in a house, the which the aforesaid Hide had of his own at the Dutch plantation, which he said Mr. Doutie had of him and that was Mr. Doutie's satisfaction for his land for ought that even I understood and this land hath been quietly enjoyed by thos that have possessed it ever since being about eighteen or nineteen years agone.

That which is above written was testified upon oath June 5, 1667 before me.

James Walker

In the Winthrop papers, 5th series, vol.I, p. 308, may be found a not of the governor as follows:

Rev. Francis Doughty, son of Francis Doughty, a merchant and alderman of Bristol England was at Taunton in 1639 and subsequently removed to Rhode Island and Manhattan. Having been somewhat roughly been used by the Dutch, he afterwards went to Virginia. His sister Elizabeth was the wife of William Cole. She charged her brother with defrauding her of her marriage portion and her share in her father's estate.

A letter from doughty to the governor is printed "to the much honored magistrate in Boston, "inquiring concerning this charge of his sister against him."

I make bold to entreat you doe me the favor to let me understand the effect of her proceeding & whether I shall need to attend the next Cort and what you guess she will doe then and when the Cort is. I pray God increase yo'r honour & perpetuate y'r happiness, Resting til you command, Fr. Doughty

13. John Drake was one of Taunton's first purchasers, who according to Savage, made Dorchester or Boston his landing-place in 1630, with Governor Winthrop. He gives his request to be made freeman, October 19, of that year. From Taunton Savage traces him to Windsor, Conn., where August 17, 1659, he was "killed by a cart-wheel running over him, leaving sons Jacob, Job and John, beside one if not more dead" His widow died October 7, 1681, "but we may hesitate," says Savage, "at the old recorded story of her 100th y'r, yet agree to the main truth of her being called "old widow Drake""

Jacob, son of the preceding, living in Windsor, married April 12, 1649, Mary, daughter of John Bissell; had no children and died August 6, 1689. Job, another son of John living in Windsor, married June 25, 1646, Mary, daughter of Henry Wolcott, having children, Abigail, Mary, Job, Elizabeth, Joseph, Hepzibah, Esther. John, third son of John 1st, also living in Windsor, married November 30, 1648, Hannah, daughter of John Moore. Children, John, Job, Hannah, Enoch, Ruth, Simon, Lydia, Elizabeth, Mary, Mindwell, Joseph. The descendents of the 1st John, through John 2nd and Job are numerous.

14. William Dunn, one of the original purchasers, is best known to us through his connection with William Wetherall, believed to have been, according to Rev. Mr. Clark, author the history of Norton, that town's first settler. He repeats the story which has come down as a tradition in the family, that Wetherell came from England in the capacity of a cabin boy, with William Dunn, the master of the vessel, one of Taunton's original proprietors, who was said to have soon returned to England, leaving his cabin boy in charge of his proprietary, with the understanding that if he (Dunn) did not return to claim it, the right should be Wetherell's and so it was, since no mention was made of Dunn after the first purchase, save the division of lands, 3when William Wetherell claimed upon his rights. Doubtless Dunn, as the "master of a vessel," found an early opportunity to return to England.

As an interesting fact in the history of Norton, once a part of Taunton, it may be added, the first settlement of Wetherell, within the present bounds of that town, was on the easterly side of Winneconnet Pond, about twenty rods northerly from the bridge, over the outlet of this pond which marks the bounds between Norton and Taunton.

15. Mr. Thomas Farwell was one of the four first purchasers who were designated as "Mr.". He was on the military list of 1643. In the list of 1659 his name does not appear as one of those then living in town entitled to division of lands. The date of his death is not anywhere given, but the names of his heirs are mentioned in the list of 1675. His son John went to England, according to Baylies, and his wife, whom he called Sarah, but whose name, according to J. Edward Seaver, was Alice, in her widowhood became third wife of Rev. George Shove, the third minister of Taunton, December 8, 1686. In March, 1700, Mr. John Pole, merchant of Boston, appeared as the attorney of the son, John Farwell, to claim the land due to him in Taunton. The lands are thus described:

A parcel at Assonet Neck, an island in the Great River called Grassy Island, a piece on the eastward side of the river near a place known as the Needle's Eye, and a home lot in the town, on the northwestward side of Taunton River, bounded northeast by John Cobb's land and southeast by land of Shadrach Wilbore, deceased.

page 44

 

 

In 1696-97, January 6, John Richmond, in a "recorded deposition," makes this statement:

Mr. John Gilbert had a house at a meadow down on the westward side of Taunton Great River and there wintered cattle for some years and it was known by the name of Mr. Gilbert's farm meadow, afterward in the possession of John Smith.

The will of Mr. Gilbert, dated May 10, 1654, begins as follows:

I, John Gilbert, of Pondsbrook, in Taunton, though being in good health and of perfect memory, ...my body to be buried near my house at Pondsbrook upon the hill near the pine tree. . . To my son Gyles, my farm at Pondsbrook, one hundred acres, with the house, houses and commons there belonging, ten acres of meadow lying at Scadingamore, one yoke of my biggest oxen, named Colliar and Browne, 2 cows named Cherry and Colly, 2 steers named Summer and Winter, etc., etc.

Pondsbrook, so called, describes a locality in the northerly part of the present Berkley, where his land probably was. When he had finished nameing all the articles of household furnityre, farming tools and wearing apparel he wanted Gyles to have, he proceeds with the same particularity to name his sons Joseph and Thomas, his daughter Mary Norcross, and in case of her death, her daughter Mary, and his wife, Winifred, whom he appoints executrix, and Nicholas Street and Richard Williams, overseers, the last two "for and towards their pains and christian care, "are to receive "each of them 4 bushels of wheat." "I give," he says, "10 bushels of Indian corn unto such as have most need of corn in the town to be disposed of at the discretion of the deacons of the church at Taunton." "April 1, 1656, the testator, John Gilbert, had this will read to his wife and sons, and they expressed their good lining of it." Nicholas Street and William Pole, witnesses to the will. Mr. Gilbert is supposed to have died some time the next year, as the inventory of his estate is exhibited at court June 3, 1657. Mrs. Winifred Gilbert had three heads in her family in 1659. The names of the children were Thomas, John, Joseph, Gyles, and Mary.

17. Thomas Gilbert, the eldest son of John, senior, whose account has just been given, was, like his father, a "first purchaser." Born in England, in that part of it where so many of your first settlers originated, the County of Devon, he married Jane, the daughter of Hugh Rossiter, in Cohannet, March 23, 1639. He was freeman in 1643, constable in 1648 and 1649, and one to order town affairs in 1648 and 1651; was deputy to the General Court in 1651. In 1653 he returned and never came back, but died there in 1676. His wife and children remained in Taunton. The wife died June 9, 1691, aged 77. The name of their eldest son was Thomas who was born in 1643, and married in Boston, December 18, 1676, Ann, daughter of William Blake of Milton. This Thomas was constable in 1677, surveyor, 1679, 1690, 1694; selectman, 1699,1707-1713, 1715, 1718. He bore the title of Ensign. His children were Hannah, Sarah and Mary who were twins, Thomas, Nathaniel, Mehitabel, Susannah, and Experience. He died April 20, 1725, aged eight-two. The other children of Thomas and Jane (Rossiter) Gilbert were Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Eliezer. From the daughter Mary, the eldest, who married Samuel Williams, son of Richard, descended the Hon. Francis Baylies. Mr. Baylies, in his account of the family, named Jean as the wife of Samuel Williams, but Mr. E.H. Reed is very sure that it was Mary.

18. John Gilbert, the younger son of John, senior who was named among the first proprietors of Taunton, returned to England much earlier than his brother Thomas, and like him, never returned, and the entire record of him is lost. "The family of Gilbert," remarks Mr. Baylies, quoting from Mr. Samuel Davis, the antiquary of Plymouth, "Were related to the Harts and Streets and to th4e Rossiters, both of Old and New England."

In 1654 Mrs. Thomas Gibert "desired that her servant, now in Mr. Streets family, might remain until her husband returned from England," showing that if there was considerable intimacy, between the two families.

19. John Gingell has a name spelled fourteen different ways, some of which are Gengill, Gungle, Gingen, and Gengen. He did not long remain in Taunton, but his name is entered as a freeman in Massachusetts, a resident of Dorchester, in 1646. The first church, Dorchester, has a silver sacramental cup bearing the name "John Gengen, 1685," and in his will when he was seventy years old, he gave five pounds to the church of Dorchester, and "five pounds to Mr. Lawson, minister of Salem village." I t does not appear from the will that he had wife or children, since he made his "3 sisters" who married into the Wilkins family his heirs, them and their children,. Mr. Savage thinks he was one time a resident of Salem. A deed has recently come to light representing him a resident of Lynn. Richard Williams became the owner of his lands in Taunton. The following affidavit was recorded in the Registry of Deeds, vol. II, p19:

The testimony of Mr. John Hathway and John Richmond, sen. both of Taunton, being of lawful age, testifieth that whereas one John Gingell was in Taunton in or about the year 1639, or in the year 1640 and about that time went from Taunton and was never since in said Taunton as we ever saw or heard of. And that Mr. Richard Williams late of Taunton deceased hath demanded and received lands upon the right of the said John Gingell for above fifty-six years and further saith not.

In Taunton, in Bristol county, March the 27th, 1699, the above said John Hathway and John Richmond made oath to the above written evidence before me.

Thomas Leonard, Justice.

The deed already referred to, in possession of Mr. J. Edward Seaver is in part as follows:

To all christian people, before whom these presents shall come, John Gingell, of Wills Hill in Lion Bounds in the Massachusetts Colony of New England, Taylor Sendeth Greeting. Know you that the said John Gingell for & in consideration of four and Twenty pound of sheeps wool to him in hand payd by John Smith of Taunton in the Colony of New Plymouth, Husbandman, the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge doth give, grant, bargain, sell unto the said John Smith one full purchase Right in the Township of Taunton afore s'd that is to say, all my Right which I ever had or herafter shall be due to me by virtue of my aboves'd purchase Right, only excepting my house lott which formerly I sold to William Pool of Taunton afores'd

In witness whereof the said John Gingell aboves'd has hereunto put his hand and seal the second day of the month. In the year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles the second by the Grace of God King &c. Annoque Domini Christi 1671

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence [Seal] John Gingell

of John Wiswall, sen., Thomas Bancroft {seal]

The above written Deed was acknowledged by the above names John Gingell to be his own Act and Deed the 15th, 3:72 Before me Elizer Luther Assistant

 

The John Smith above named must have been the son of John the 1st, as the latter died before 1653, as appears from the description of Henry Andrew's land, noticed elsewhere. The "right of John Gingill," according to the above deed whose claim would seem to conflict with that of Richard Williams. William Pool's purchase of a "house lott" of Gingell, who left Taunton about the year 1639," and Pool's sale of a "house and six acres near Mr. Pool's farme at Pole's" to Increase Robinson, would seem to favor the view that his first settlement in or near the Cohannet was exchanged for a central home later on. This misunderstanding as to Gingell's right gave rise to considerable controversy, cropping out in various old documents, which we have not space to quote.

20. William Hailstone, an original proprietor, was made a freeman in 1644. He is not named in connection with any public office. He probably quietly pursued his vocation of tailor, although he must have been somewhat neglectful of his duty in that regard, toward one at least of his apprentices, since Jonathan Briggs complained to the court in June, 1654, that his master, William Hailstone, "had not performed his covenants to him in that he did not learn him the trade of tailor," and the court ordered that Hailstone should "pay his servant fifteen pounds in good and current pay with all convenient speed." Mr. Hailstone took exceptions to this order, and asked for a review of the case, which occasioned considerable controversy between him and Mr. James Walker, a prominent man in town about that time, who appears to have acted as Mr. Briggs attorney, and it led to some church action which was designed to heal a breach between two good men who ought to have been good friends.

Mr. Savage is our authority for saying that Mr. Hailstone bought an estate in Boston in 1646, which he sold the next year. Also, that his daughter Margaret married, October 14, 1659, Samuel Fletcher, of Chelmsford.

21. George Hall was one of the leading proprietors and the first purchasers of Taunton. With his wife Mary he came to Taunton by the way of Duxbury, where he was a proprietor before the Taunton purchase. Propounded as a freeman in 1643, he was admitted in 1645. Served as constable in 1645, and chairman of the selectmen from 1666 to the year of his death 1669. He was a member of the Board of the Supervising Council, of which William Pole was chairman, in 1657. He was a founder and liberal contributing member of the first church of Taunton. He was largely interested in the establishment of the first iron "bloomery," of which he served as clerk and business manager from 1656 (with the exception of one year) until the time of his death in 1669, the office then falling to his son John. In October, 1669, being seriously ill, he made his will, with Deacons Richard Williams and Walter Deane as witnesses, dying on the 30th of that month, aged about sixty-nine years. His wife, Mary is named executrix, and the mother, with her three sons, John, Joseph and Samuel, and three daughters, Charity, Sarah and Mary, came into possession of Mr. Hall's shares in the iron works and other property. He was a large landholder, his rate in 1659 being the largest on the list, except for that of Thomas Lincoln, senior. His home-lot was on Deane Street, by the side of Williams and near the Deanes and other prominent settlers. In his will, Mr. Hall did not forget the church of his love, but gave it "forty shillings to buy cups."

John, the eldest son of George, born in 1640, died in 1693, married, February 4, 1671, Hannah Penniman, having children, John, Joseph, James, Benjamin, Sarah, Jacob, Hannah. His descendants are numerous and he was ever prominent in all town affairs serving some years as constable and selectman. He, like his father, was interested in the church, of which he was a member, contributing five acres of land in its aid in 1687. From this branch of the family, through John 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Brian, Silas and Richard Hutchens, one of Taunton's mayors Richard Henry Hall, is descended.

Joseph, the second son of George, born in 1642, died April 17, 1705, married Mary, daughter of James Bell, having children, Joseph, Mary, Mehitabel, Abigail, Nathaniel, Nehemiah. This son was a large landholder and influential in town affairs, serving as constable and surveyor, He was also interested in the church.

Samuel, the third son of George, born in 1644, died in 1690, leaving his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas White, a widow who had children Samuel, John, Nicholas, Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah, Ebenezer, Sarah 2d, George, Hannah. This son, like his brothers, was a man of large property and influence, and contributed liberally toward improving the parsonage of his minister, Rev. Samuel Danforth.

From this branch of the family have sprung several eminent ministers, notably Rev. Gordon Hall, one of the first missionaries from this country to India, whose son, bearing his father's name, was a prominent minister of Massachusetts, settled at Northampton. Still another was Rev. John G. Hall, of the Presbyterian Church, settled with another Rev. John G. Hall, of the Presbyterian Church, settled with various churches in New York and Ohio. Through Samuel and his daughter Elizabeth, who married John Caswell, descended that eminent scholar and scientist. President Alexis Caswell, of Brown University born in Taunton, January 29, 1799. Capt. Rueben Hall and his son, Ellis, who won distinction in their time as men of affairs, the latter as a patron of music and financier, descended from Samuel. So also did John Williams Dean Hall, a descendent in the seventh generation not only from George Hall, but John Deane and Richard Williams, as the combination of names given him by his father, John Williams Hall, doth indicate. And what is somewhat surprising, his wife, Abby Southworth Jackson, of Providence, married November 21, 1831, is a descendant in the seventh generation from John and Priscilla Alden.

Rev Silas Hall, well known as a minister of the Baptist Church in the earlier part of this century, was a descendent of George through John.

It has been a tradition in the Hall family that George and Mary of Taunton, came "from Devonshire, England." This is probably an error. There is good reason for believing that they were related to the Williams family and came with them from Gloucestershire. In a letter received from Conway Dighton, of Cheltenham, St. Julia's Gloucestershire, it is stated by him, a recognized authority in such investigations: "Some people named Hall are cousins of the Williamses." We already knew this, since we have seen the wills of Jane and Benjamin, in which they make mention, the former of John Hall "my sister's eldest son," and Samuel, Daniel and Susanna, "the other three children of my brother-in-law, John Hall;" and the latter of "his cousins, Susanna Hall, John, Samuel, and Daniel Hall, now or late of Whetenhurst, Gloucester County." No doubt the Halls were thus related to the Williamses in the home land, while living side by side in Gloucestershire; and thence some of them came to New England together.

22. William Harvey, first of Plymouth, became one of the first purchasers of Taunton, and married Joanna Huckin, or Joane Hucker, in Cohannet, April 2, 1639. He lived on the north side of Cohannet street, between the training field and Mill River. He removed to Boston, and was several times chosen selectman and a member of the General Court at Plymouth, and also served in other town offices as constable in 1661 and surveyor in 1662. He was a large landholder, and prominent in his time. It was at Mr. Harvey's house in Taunton, that Governor Prince, Major Winslow, Captain Thomas Southworth and Mr. Constant Southworth met in 1668, and completed the sale of Taunton North Purchase to Taunton men.

His will was proved in 1691. His wife died at an earlier date.

He had children, vis:

(1) Thomas, born in 1642, who married Elizabeth Willis, daughter of Deacon John Willis of Bridgewater, December 10, 1679. He died about 1726-27.

(2) Jonathan, who died unmarried about 1690.

(3) Joseph, born in Boston, October 8, 1645, who married Ester ______. He died before 1690.

(4) Experience, born in Boston, January 4, 1644, who married Thomas Harvey (probably her cousin) of Taunton.

(5) Elizabeth, who married Nathaniel Thayer of Taunton.

23. Hezekiah Hoar has been called by Baylies and Savage and others, one of several brothers who settled in New England about the same time, one of these having been president of Harvard College. I had hoped this was so. But in reply to a letter of inquiry sent Judge Hoar, of Concord, he writes:

You will find this pedigree of President Leonard Hoar, of Harvard College, in the appendix to Vol. I., of Sibley's Harvard Graduates, p 587. His mother, two brothers and two sisters came from England in 1640-41 and settled in Braintree. One son, Thomas, did not come over. His father was sheriff of Gloucester and died there in 1638, Hezekiah was no relative of the family so far as I know. The son, John, who came over with his mother, settled first at Scituate and then at Concord, where he and his descendents in succession to my father, are buried. We can trace all of our family and Hezekiah was not a brother to President Leonard nor of John of Scituate and Concord. Very truly yours,

E.R. Hoar

Thus another supposed historic fact proves visionary, but in justice, to Mr. Baylies it should be stated, he was lead to his misstatement by Rev. Samuel Deane of Scituate. Hezekiah, as well as John, was for a time in Scituate, which may have led Mr. Deane to consider them brothers. He may be right in calling Richard of Yarmouth, and Daniel of Boston, his brothers, also, Rev Samuel Newman, of Rehoboth, his cousin.

The house lot of Hezekiah Hoar was on the westerly corner of what is now Winter Street. It was once called Hoar's Lane. The lot joined Walter Deane on the west. Mr. Hoar was constable of the town in 1657, 1663, and 1672, and one of the surveyors of the highways in 1651. In 1693 his house lot was conveyed by his sons to Ezra, son of Walter Deane. The Proprietor's records give the names of his children as follows:

  1. Mercy, born last of January, 1654.
  2. Nathaniel, born last of March, 1656.
  3. Sarah, born on the first of April, 1658.
  4. Elizabeth, born May 26, 1660.
  5. Edward, born September 25, 1663.
  6. Lydia, born March 24, 1665.
  7. Mart, born September 22, 1669
  8. Hezekiah, born November 19, 1678

According to Savage, Lydia married, November 16, 1688, John Whipple. Sarah married, February 15, 1692, Nicholas Stroughton as his second wife. Nathaniel married, February 2, 1682, Sarah Wilbore (adding, in his uncertain way, "perhaps daughter of Shadrach") having daughter Abigail November 2, following.

24. Robert Hobell, although an original purchaser, disappeared from public view soon after and the inference is that he died early. Indeed, this is quite certain, since in March, 1641, according to the Plymouth records, "son of Widow Hoble" is called to an account for swearing--the "widow" then is no more heard of.

25. William Holloway (a name of various spelling, as Hallowell, etc.), according to Savage was a first settler of Taunton, but removed to Boston about 1650. He became a freeman in 1644, and his name is on the military list in 1643, but it is not on the list of 1659, as entitled to division of land. Mr. Savage makes the statement that he removed to Boston in 1650, and gives the name of his wife as Mary, by whom were children as follows:

  1. Mary, born April 2, 1653.
  2. William, born January 11, 1655.
  3. Benjamin, born July 8, 1656.

He names daughter Hannah, who died October 31, 1653. We think there were at least two other sons, born still earlier and in Taunton, John and Malachi, as the following found in the State archives, under date of May 7, 1662,--an answer of the General Court "to the petition of William Holloway, father to the late John Hollaway, that server the Governor as Sergeant near two years would show: The Court granted to the father, administrator of the estate of the said son, "one hundred and fifty acres in some free place near to some plantation." The land so granted was laid out in 1671. In 1687 Malachi Holloway of Taunton, presented a petition to Governor Andros, settling forth that a grant was made to his father, William Holloway, by the General Court in 1662, of one hundred and fifty acres upland and meadow lying beyond Wading River, near the Plymouth line and praying that a new survey be made and a patent for confirmation be granted to him.

It is quite certain this father was the William Holloway, of Taunton, and equally certain that two of his sons were John and Malachi. The latter was a large landholder in Taunton.

There was a Timothy Holloway in 1643 and 1659. Also Samuel Holloway, who married March 26, 1666, Jane Brayman, having children Hannah, Samuel, Nathaniel, Esther, and John. Their relationship to William is not clear.

----to be continued-----


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