OLD DARTMOUTH HISTORICAL SKETCH
Being the proceedings of the Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, on September 27, 1907.
PERSONS AND PLACES OF THE PAST
by Edmund Taber
THE FAMILY OF GEORGE ALLEN, THE IMMIGRANT, AND ITS CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF OLD DARTMOUTH
by Walter Spooner Allen
[Note.—The "Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches" will be published by the society quarterly and may be purchased for ten cents each on application to the Secretary and also at Hutchinson's Book Store.]
Proceedings of the Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society
September 27, 1907
The 17th regular meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society was held at 8 o’clock, Friday evening, September 27, 1907, in their building on Water Street. There was a large attendance.
The meeting was called to order by the retiring president, William W. Crapo, who introduced the new president, Edmund Wood. Mr. Crapo spoke with gratification of the work that had been done by the society during the four years of his presidency, and touched on the possibilities that were open to the society for further development of its work.
He told how the stranger to the city in former years was taken for a drive along County Road (now unfortunately called County Street) to see the old mansions, and around the Point Road to view the fine scenery, which he declared could not be seen as effectively now. The place where the stranger is now taken, he said, is to the rooms of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. He thanked the members for the help and sympathy they had given him during his term as president of the society, and expressed the hope that the same might be extended to his successor.
Mr. Crapo then introduce the new president, Edmund Wood, who spoke as follows:
Members of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, Ladies and Gentlemen – I wish to thank you for selecting me as the second president of this society, and to thank the retiring president for his recommendation and what seems to me his rather reckless endorsement.
It is a distinguished honor to act as the president of the already distinguished society. But it is distinctly a misfortune to be called on to immediately succeed such a president. Whether we have in mind, his valuable services to this society, or to the varied business interests of this city, whether we think of him as lawyer, or scholar or national legislator, we all, without one dissenter – regard the Hon. William W. Crapo as the most distinguished citizen of this large community. Through the many years of untiring services among us he has won our respect, our admiration and our love.
It is only upon his positive assurance that he will continue to grant us the benefits of his counsel and exercise a fatherly supervision over the official acts of his plain successor, that I accept the honor, and venture upon the duties of the office to which you have elected me.
Old Dartmouth was originally a large township – not especially homogeneous or harmonious. There were several widely scattered centers of population and local interest.
As the years passed the process of differentiation lopped off from the parent stem one township after another, until in our time and before this society was formed there were five distinct towns fashioned out of the original Dartmouth soil. It has been one of the missions of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society to furnish the bond of cohesion, and bring back again New Bedford and Westport, and Fairhaven and Acushnet and reunite them to the old mother Dartmouth by the ties created by this new interest in our common origin and history.
When we selected different directors some were named to represent these different towns and so in electing a new president it might be well to require him to give his credentials and prove that he is a son of Old Dartmouth imbued with enough Dartmouth blood to give fair expectation of a true Dartmouth spirit.
Your new president has been assured by the records that he is almost monotonously a Dartmouth product – both parents, four grandparents and seven out of eight great-grandparents being dwellers in the limits of the old township. And of these seven three lived in what is now New Bedford, two in Dartmouth, one if Fairhaven and one in Acushnet.
Since looking up the above facts, I have been sorry about Westport, that one of those seven worthies didn’t sojourn there for a while, so I would have had a comprehensive territorial record. But knowing this shortcoming of one of my ancestors – I don’t charge any special one with it – that he did not move over into Westport for a short time, just to reduce his tax. I shall be on my guard not to unduly discriminate against that town in the affairs of our society.
The retiring president has given us tonight an admirable review of the accomplishments of this society during its first four years of life. He probably has had two purposes in view.
First – That the record shall be clear that all these things were done during his reign, and none of us can hereafter claim them as the brilliant results of our own administration.
And second – That he can thus best spur us on to as great accomplishments in the future. May it prove such a stimulus, and with his eloquent words still ringing in our ears it is fitting that we resolve that our efforts shall be unflagging, that with this collection as a nucleus, and this building as a working home, we shall bring forth new and rich treasures from their hiding places and record with greater fullness the eminent virtues of the men and women of Old Dartmouth.
Persons and Places of the Past
By Edmund Taber
The picture now before you of “The Old Four Corners in 1812,” by William Allen Wall is probably familiar to most of you. The following description of it, which I have had for many years, was furnished me by Deborah Taber, mother of the late Edward S. Taber, and one of 19 children of Abraham Smith. “The house on the hill was the residence of William Rotch senior, who left France two days before the death of Louis XVI. He, with his family, was at Nantucket in 1794. The next year settled in New Bedford, where he died in 1828, aged 94 years. He is seen in his chaise which was imported from England. The yellow building, with three arched doors, is the market. By the white signs are Jehard Jenney who is lame, and Peter Barney. Around the corner of the large building are Samuel Rodman and Abraham Russell with white top boots on. In the shade are Capt. Rolland R. Crocker and William Rotch Jr. Near the three Indians is James Davis, a Friend Minister.”
The house of William Rotch Sr., on the hill still remains as the Mansion house of later days, but the tall Lombardy poplars in front of it have long disappeared. In my early recollection the Main Street, as it was then called, continuing down to the water, had been cut down through the bank, leaving the houses perched high above it. At the foot of the street on the north side I recall the paint shop of William Russell, next west the house of Aunt Lydia Bunker, who was the grandmother or Mrs. Susan Page, – next were Caleb Congdon, Barnabas Taber, Francis Taber, Abraham Shearman Jr. & Co.’s store and on the corner of Water Street, I think, Josiah Wood’s store. Opposite, to the south, was Henry Cannon’s Washington Hotel. Opposite, to the west of the latter was Patty Hussey’s house. On the northwest corner of Main and Water Streets was the brick building occupied by Charles Ricketson & Son. The New Bedford Social Library, one of the constituents of our Public Library, was in this building and subsequently was at one time on Hamilton Street, back of Merchants Bank. I think the New Bedford Institution for Savings began its successful career in 1825 in an office over Dr. Greene’s apothecary shop. Abraham Shearman Jr., first treasurer, then Wm. C. Taber. On the east side of Water Street, north of the corner were the apothecary shop of Job Otis, Ames’ hat store, apothecary shop of Wing Russell, afterwards Elisha Thornton, Z. and G. M. Eddy, afterwards Josiah B. King. It would take time to enumerate the shops, insurance and lawyers offices, banks, etc., on both sides of the street, occupied by persons whose names were familiar then. Col. John Baylies, warm hearted and witty; Judge Prescott, highly esteemed and respected, who wore his camlet cloak on those rare occasions, when he wore any outer garment. Roland R. Crocker, still impulsive and genial in his old age – his huge bandanna handkerchief was always in evidence, rendered necessary by the exigencies of snuff-taking. John Henry Clifford and his law-partner, Judge Colby, Judge Brigham, whose loveable nature endeared him to all who knew him. Thomas D. Eliot, our faithful representative in congress – the alert and audacious Timothy G. Coffin. The time will not permit to enumerate more than a few of the persons whose very names are associated with pleasant recollections of those early golden days.
On the west side of Water Street, near the corner of William Street, was the residence of William Rotch Jr., with its curved flight of high stone steps, and next to the north, across William Street, is the building (now occupied as a bakery) which was the residence of Samuel Rodman Sr. The house of William Rotch Jr. was removed to Johnny Cake Hill, now Bethel Street, and is occupied by New Bedford Port Society as a mariners home. These last named friends were prominent figures in the Society of Friends and I well recollect the impression made by their venerable and commanding figures upon my youthful mind. Perhaps it may be of interest to repeat some incidents in the careers of these families, who lived in times of peril and suffering and who have left record of their experiences from which I quote. Joseph Rotch, believed to be of Huguenot descent, came to Nantucket from Salisbury, England, in 1730, where he married Love Macy. His son, William (senior), was born in 1734. Joseph came to New Bedford in 1764, and engaged in the whale fishery, with warehouses, rope walks, etc. His property was largely destroyed by fire by British soldiers under Sir George Grey in 1778, who landed on Clark’s Neck and marched round by the head of the river, destroying on this side as they went, and re-embarked on the west side of Sconticut Neck. Joseph was a man of great enterprise and force. It is upon record, by the testimony of Mary, wife of Cousin Nathan Taber, that he sneezed so loud that he could be heard in Fairhaven.
Francis Rotch was a son of Joseph, and brother of William. In 1773 he took a load of oil to London in the ship Dartmouth and brought, as return freight, 114 chests of tea from the East India Co. to Boston consignees, who paid the freight, although they lost their tea, it being thrown overboard by the famous Boston tea party. A town meeting met at the “Old South” meeting house and Frank, who was the young supercargo, was beset by excited patriots. He could only explain that his desire was to take the ship away without unloading, but could not get a clearance from the collector of the port, nor from the governor, as both had absented themselves.
William Rotch Sr., the eldest son of Joseph, carried on business in Nantucket. In 1764 he took goods for a debt of a Boston merchant, among which were some muskets – a part of them with bayonets. Whalemen visiting the Straits of Belle-Isle, where ducks were plenty, bought his muskets, but he refused to sell the bayonets, and put them away, as it was contrary to his principles to sell weapons intended to take human life. These bayonets were forgotten till the war commenced, when they were applied for, but he refused the application. He was charged with disloyalty for this, and his life threatened. To avoid further importunity he threw them into the sea. Summoned to Watertown by a committee of the General Court, he explained that his action was in obedience to the principles of the Society of Friends. “Then you principles,” said one of the committee, “are passive obedience and non-resistance.” “No, my friend,” was the reply, “our principles are active obedience or passive suffering.” “The clamor long continued against me,” he says.
From 1775 to the close of the war there was great suffering at Nantucket. “Our vessels,” he says, “were captured by the English cruisers and our boats that we sent to the continent for provisions were refused on the plea that we supplied the British, which was false. In 1778 seven armed vessels with troops from Newport invaded and plundered us. Afterwards a more formidable expedition was planned. In this emergency a town meeting was called and two others with myself commissioned to go to Newport and New York and represent our case and obtain the intervention of the English admiral and Sir Henry Clinton. Arriving at Newport, where General Prescott and Capt. Dawson were in command of the British forces, we were immediately ordered to depart, but by perseverance and insistence we obtained an interview with General Prescott. Knowing his brittle temper, and it being in the afternoon, I almost dreaded to appear in his presence. However, let my treatment be what it may, I desired the meeting over and accordingly went. He received me very cordially, gave me his hand and was full of conversation respecting the siege of New York by the Americans, and made it a very trifling thing. I then mentioned that 12 French ships being before the town was much against them. ‘To be sure,’ said he, ‘it is not very pleasant, but we don’t mind them.’
“As the expedition against Nantucket was progressing rapidly we requested that it should be put off until they would know the result of our mission to the British authorities in New York. This was finally agreed to and we then proceeded to New York and obtained an interview with Sir Henry Clinton by the assistance of one of his aides, ‘Major Andre, that fine young man who lost his life as a spy.’ Our application for intervention in regard to the expedition against us and also for permits for whaling were both granted and the expedition was given up.” For this service William Rotch was tried for high treason in 1779, but the General Court did not agree on a verdict.
In going to the quarterly meeting of Friends in Sandwich with two men and two women Friends in his own vessel, he met with difficulties more serious than those which attend our present journeyings. They were captured by an English privateer who robbed them of their money and put them off from the vessel into a cedar boat to shift for themselves. Presently however, an American armed vessel bore down upon the assailants and retook the vessel, which William Rotch was able to recover again by paying salvage.
In 1785 he went to England in the ship Maria to seek a suitable arrangement with the government to carry on the fisheries there. Assisted by his friend Robert Barclay, a descendent of the author of Barclay’s Apology, in obtaining an interview with Sir William Pitt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he pressed his case but did not succeed in obtaining concessions of privileges sufficient to warrant a removal to England. The British import duties on oil, taking effect since peace was declared, having destroyed the business at Nantucket by shutting out England as a market.
“I presume,” says William Rotch, “that the chancellor of the exchequer laid my application before the privy counsel. I waited for their action more than four months and then requested them to appoint some person to confer with, that the matter might be brought to a close. This was done, but unfortunately Lord Hawksbury was the person, – a great enemy to America, – and the interview was characterized by unreasonable assumptions and requirements on his part. ‘Finally,’ said he, ‘I am about a fishery bill and want to come at something I can insert.’ My answer was, ‘Thou canst go on with thy fishing bill, thy offer is no object to me’. I was then taking leave and withdrawing. – ‘Well, Mr. Rotch, you’ll call on me again in two or three days?’
‘I see no necessity for it.’
‘I desire you would.’
‘If thou desirest it perhaps I may call.’
“However, he sent for me again after one day, repeating the same story, but I told him it was unnecessary to enter again upon the subject. I then informed him that I had determined to go to France. ‘Ah,’ said he, ‘Quakers go to France?’ ‘Yes, but with regret.’ I then parted with Lord Hawksbury for the last time.”
William Rotch then proceeded to France and made satisfactory arrangements with the French government to carry on the whale fishery at Dunkirk, – the partners being William Rotch, his son Benjamin, and Samuel Rodman. “After this we returned to London and”, he says, “I was soon sent for by George Rose, one of Pitts’ secretaries. He enquired if I had contracted with France. I told him no, I did not come to make any contract. ‘You are then at liberty to agree with us, and I an authorized by Mr. Pitt to tell you you may make your own terms.’ I told him it was too late – the time had passed by.”
In 1791 William Rotch, with others, attended the National Assembly at Paris to present a petition respecting certain privileges and exemptions connected with the religious principles of the Society of Friends.
On presenting themselves at the assembly they were permitted to retain their hats and were treated with courtesy. President Mirabeau read his reply to the petition, future decision upon which was promised, and he closed by saying, “the Assembly invites you to stay its sitting.”
With a view of strengthening their case, they called upon some of the members, – amongst them Talleyrand, who, in the language of W. R., “made no reply and let us pass silently away.” He seems to console himself respecting this incident by the reflection that “of more consequence than the object of our petition was the opportunity we found of somewhat spreading a knowledge of our principles.”
“In the beginning of 1793, war being about to break out between France and England”, he says, “I went to England and was successful in saving two of our vessels which had been captured.
“Two days after I left France the king was guillotined.” Returning later to this country in the ship Barclay, he finally removed from Nantucket to New Bedford about 1795. His narrative was stated to have been given orally to his daughter Mary in 1814, and reduce to writing by Thomas A. Greene. He was a scrupulous observer of the principles of the Society of Friends. His son, William Rotch Jr., whose venerable figure impressed my boyhood, left the society in the early part of the century and with Samuel Rodman Sr., Joseph Congdon, Thomas A. Greene, Andrew Robeson and a few others, held meetings in what was then called Lyceum hall, which still remains on the south side of William Street.
As to the causes of the unhappy dissensions which rent the society in those and later days it seems unprofitable to define them, now that progressive enlightenment has so largely effaced them.
For interesting details see “Autobiographical Memoirs of William Rotch,” (1775 to 1794), in New England Hist. and Gene. Register, vol. 31, pp. 262 to 264; vol. 32, pp. 36 to 41, pp. 151 to 155, pp. 271 to 274, pp. 389 to 394.
For petition of Friends to National Assembly of France and Mirabeau’s reply see N. E. Hist. and Gene. Register, vol. 34, pp. 304 to 308.
In the North American Review for 1822 is an article by Edward Everett on Mirabeau’s speech which varies in phraseology from the above, but is substantially the same. Mr. Everett probably found his material in the Moniteur of July 10, 1791.
The Family of George Allen, the Immigrant, and its Connection with the Settlement of Old Dartmouth
By Walter Spooner Allen
On March 20, 1635, there sailed from Weymouth in England for New England a ship, whose name is unknown, carrying something over 100 persons under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Hull, and in this ship’s company was George Allen, Catherine, his wife, his sons George, William and Matthew and Edward Poole his servant, and from this George Allen came the line of Allens who have been identified with old Dartmouth.
Like so many of the early shiploads of immigrants to New England, a clergyman was the head of this little company, and from the residences of several of those named in the passenger list it is safe to assume that this party was made up of friends and neighbors living on the borders of Somersetshire and Dorsetshire who decided to follow Mr. Hull into the new country across the ocean.
The religious breaking up in England, which began under Henry VIII, and which every year grew more intense, reached its climax under Charles I, with the appointment of Archbishop Laud, and the persecution of Dissenters and Separatists who chose to meet together and worship in their own way drove many of the best blood of England to seek refuge in Holland and America.
Somersetshire was a hotbed of religious dissent. The people were distinctly republican in thought, and the contest between the Established church, controlled by the king and the bishops, and the Non-Conformists, who sought a republican form of ecclesiastical government, was bitter. Each wanted the mastery. Under the episcopates of John Still and James Montague, covering the period from 1592 to 1616, every attempt was made to enforce conformity and submission to authority, and heavy penalties were imposed in the Episcopal courts, but the crisis in the ecclesiastical affairs in this district came in the episcopate of William Piers between 1632 and 1670.
Piers was the son of a hatter, and subserviently followed Archbishop Laud in his attacks on the people. Speaking of this period, an English writer says: “Easily moved by kindness as the people of Somerset are, their resolute will, and their impatience of any assertion of authority over them, rendered the appointment of such a man as Piers to this see a singularly unfortunate one. The special character of the bishop himself and of the people of his diocese probably had, at least, as much to do with the resistance to Piers’ measures as any difference of principle.”
Some of the towns from which this company of Joseph Hull’s came felt the hand of the bishop. Several from Batcombe are mentioned in the ship’s company, and it is reported of this town that the church wardens, having painted on the walls of their church the words of Isaiah lviii: 13, 14, in regard to keeping the Sabbath, refused to remove them at the command of the bishop, even when threatened with excommunication. Piers, however, sent his chaplain with a plasterer to cover the inscription, declaring, it is said, that “a Jewish piece of Scripture was not fit to be suffered in the church.”
The puritan party in Somerset was strongest in the towns of Bath, Taunton, Bridgewater and Ilchester, in the Mendip country and in the cloth-making districts. It is recorded that at Batcombe the puritans were strong, and we find there a record of Richard Alleine as rector of the church, of whom it is said that he was the son of the puritan rector of Ditcheat and a man of like mind. This was about 1640, but it indicates the probability of finding in Somersetshire, perhaps at Ditcheat or in the neighborhood, the English home of the Allens who came to Old Dartmouth.
The sturdy opposition of the Somerset puritans to any interference with their freedom of thought continued after they crossed the ocean, and later in Weymouth, in Sandwich and in Dartmouth we find the Allens actively and passively opposing an Established Church and state interference with what they believed to be their religious rights.
As has been seen, many of the rectors were puritans, and under the strenuous action of Laud numbers of the clergy left the church and many left England. This seems to have been the case with Rev. Joseph Hull.
Joseph Hull was born in Somersetshire in 1594, matriculated at St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford, May 12, 1611, took an A.B. November 14, 1614, was appointed rector at Northleigh in Devonshire April 4, 1621, where he remained until 1632, when he resigned, and three years afterwards he headed the party for New England.
Sailing on March 20, 1635, this party arrived at Boston on May 6, and in all probability remained a short time in that neighborhood until some place for settlement could be determined upon.
On July 8, 1635, the General Court at Boston passed this vote: “There is leave granted to 21 ffamilyes to sitt down at Wessaguscus,” and September 2, 1635, this vote was adopted: “The name of Wessaguscus is also changed and hereafter to be called Waymothe.”
The twenty-one families, who were those of the Hull party, established themselves in Weymouth with Mr. Hull as their minister, and began a settlement. In a list of the proprietors of Weymouth, complied between Oct. 26, 1642, and May 21, 1644, we find the names of a large number of those who came in Rev. Joseph Hull’s party given either as present or former holders of land in that town.
Even here in this new country the religious feuds which existed in the old country continued. Weymouth had its full share of them. In 1623 a colony was established there by Capt. Robert Gorges, son of Sir Fernando Gorges, and these settlers represented the Episcopal element. In 1637 and 1638 this party was not strong enough to have a minister, but there were other factions to be reckoned with; the settlers who had come into Weymouth from other towns in the colony and were Puritans sustained Rev. Thomas Jenner; the settlers of 1635, who were under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Hull, who had been a rector of the Established Church but who had resigned his living and was an independent; and a strong party which had invited Rev. Robert Lenthal, who was suspected of favoring the views of Mrs. Hutchinson, to come as a minister. Rev. Samuel Newman was called to heal the breach, but he found it too serious, and in 1643 he withdrew with some forty families to Rehoboth, and among those was John Allen, one of the earlier settlers, who may have been some relation of George Allen. In 1639 Mr. Hull withdrew from Weymouth, afterwards preaching in Barnstable and Yarmouth.
The years following 1635 were an active period in the settlement of the Colony – several thousand new colonists arrived from England, and the people began soon to establish new settlements. A considerable exchange of population between the two colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay began at this period. On April 3, 1637, Mr. Edmund Freeman and nine associates of Saugus had granted to them the town of Sandwich, and they began a settlement at that place, where George Allen and some of his family joined them at once.
Although George Allen, the immigrant, was never a resident of Old Dartmouth, yet as the ancestor of those who were actual settlers here he is of great interest to us, and the records are fortunately sufficiently complete to enable us to outline a fairly complete account of his connection with the early days of the settlements grouped about Buzzards Bay.
George Allen was undoubtedly a yeoman farmer living in the county of Somerset, England, when the Rev. Joseph Hull collected his little company together to emigrate to America. He was probably not a member of the gentry, as the Heraldic Visitation of Somerset shortly before his emigration does not include his name, and therefore neither he nor his descendants were qualified to bear a coat of arms.
He joined the party of Joseph Hull and sailed from Weymouth March 20, 1635, arriving at Boston May 6 and remaining there until July, when the General Court granted the permission to settle at Weymouth. He may have been in Lynn during the wait, as a George Allen is recorded as there about this time. His presence in Weymouth, however, is plainly recorded, with others of the Hull company, in the list of proprietors of land in that town.
In the list made not later than 1644 land is described as of George Allen and also land of Ralph Allen, who, although not coming in the same ship was in all probability his son. In the Weymouth record mention is several times made to land “first given to George Allen,” and at that time these pieces were held by William Reade, Ralph Allen, Henry Kingman and Robert Tytus. Of these William Reade and Henry Kingman came in the same ship as George Allen. At the time of this list the land of George Allen was described as follows: “Three acres in Kingoke hill fist granted to Robert Louell bounded on the north with the land of Hugh Roe on the south with the land of Richard Waling,” and the land then of Ralph Allen was described as follows: “Twenty acres first granted to George Allen lying in the Easterneck and three acres meddow adioyning to it bounded on the east with the land of Richard Bouin, on the west with the sea, on the north with the land of Edward Poole, on the south with the sea.”
“An acre of salt marsh first granted to Thomas White bounded on the east with the highway, on the south with the sea.
“Fower acres that was first granted to Thomas Rider bounded on the east with the land of Joseph Shaw, on the west with the land of Mr. Glouer, on the north and south with the sea.”
“Two acres of salt march first granted to George Allin bounded on the east with the marsh of Robert Martin on the west to the sea, on the north to the marsh of Mr. Parker, on the south to the marsh of Richard Addames.”
Altogether the names of 15 of the company coming with Rev. Joseph Hull are found in the list as present or former holders of lands. Names found in this list became familiar in the later history of Sandwich, such as William Howland, John Burge, Richard Bouin (Bourne) and William Newland.
But although George Allen plainly held land in Weymouth, he did not remain there long, for in 1637 he is recorded in Sandwich. Although not one of Edmund Freeman’s company to whom the grant of Sandwich was made, he appears among the members of the first church in 1638, and in 1639 was constable. In 1640-41-42 he was deputy to the general court at Plymouth, and in 1641 was one of the committee to divide the lands in Sandwich, and was granted 6½ acres. In 1646 he built a house in Sandwich about a quarter of a mile from the Quaker meeting house on the main road to the Cape, which stood until about 1882, when it was taken down. He died in 1648, and was buried on May 2 of that year. We do not know his age, but he is often referred to as aged, and his name does not appear in 1643 in the list of those between sixteen and sixty able to bear arms, so that at that time he was more than sixty years old.
He is said to have been an Anabaptist before leaving England. His will, which was made in 1648, was probated Aug. 7, 1649, and made his wife Catherine executrix and named Ralph Allen and Richard Bourne as overseers. In his will he gives “unto all my children twelve pence apiece.” To his son Matthew he gives one calf and five shillings; to his wife the old cow and also the house and household stuff for life, but if she marries they are to be disposed of and divided to the five least children. To the five least children he leaves one cow each. To his son William he leaves a meadow, and to his sons Henry and Samuel the rest of meadow. The adventure in Barque Heave he leaves to wife and five least children. His wife Catherine was married again to John Collins, and appears to have gone to Boston, as in 1655 Henry and Samuel Allen of Boston “deed to George Allen of Sandwich a parcel of land in Sandwich which came to them from their father, George Allen, with the consent of their mother, Catherine Collins, who has rights therein.”
We do not know the names of all of George Allen’s children, but some we can identify, as follows: George, Ralph, Samuel, William, Matthew, Henry, Francis, James and Gideon. In all probability the last two belong to the five least children mentioned in the will and were the children of Catherine, and it is possible that Francis, who is not mentioned in the will, was also a child of Catherine. The others were undoubtedly children of a first wife, whose name is unknown. Of the children, Ralph and Samuel seem to have come over at an earlier date, and Ralph we find in Weymouth, and a Samuel who is said to have been in Braintree before 1635 when he was admitted a freeman, is said to have been in 1620 of Bridgewater in Somersetshire, England, and is undoubtedly of this family.
After the death of George the family began to scatter. Ralph, George, William, Matthew and Francis remained in Sandwich, Henry and Gideon moved to Connecticut, James went to Marthas Vineyard, and Samuel was in Braintree.
In Sandwich there were at this time two Ralph Allens referred to in the records as Ralph Sr. and Ralph Jr. A careful study indicates that Ralph Jr. was a son of George Sr.
Ralph Allen Sr. married Esther Swift of Sandwich, daughter of William and Joan, and had several children, who seem to have gone to Rhode Island. Jediah, his oldest son, moved to New Jersey. This Ralph Allen is referred to in the records as a mason. Ralph Allen was in Newport in 1639, in Rehoboth in 1643 and then for many years in Sandwich. He was imprisoned in 1659 at Boston for being a Quaker. He may have been a brother of George Allen.
Ralph Allen Jr. who was the ancestor of most of the Allens of Old Dartmouth, is called a planter. The first mention of a Ralph Allen in Sandwich occurs in the list of church members in 1638, and in 1651 we find the first mention of a Ralph Allen called Sr. and in 1654 a Ralph Allen Jr. so that it is probable that Ralph Jr. came to Sandwich about 1650.
The history of the Allen family, like the history of Sandwich and that of most of the towns of the colony, becomes involved with the religious conflicts of the period. Although the Pilgrims and the Puritans came to New England to escape religious persecution, as soon as they had firmly established themselves they in their turn showed their intolerance towards all who did not agree with them, in their religious beliefs. Only one colony among all those in America granted tolerance to all religions and that was the Roman Catholic colony of Maryland, which in 1649 granted toleration to all Christian sects.
Massachusetts expelled Mrs. Hutchinson and Roger Williams and Plymouth soon took up the persecutions.
In 1647 George Fox formed the Society of Friends, and as he himself puts it: “In 1656 truth broke forth in America,” and in 1657 Christopher Holder and John Copeland came to Sandwich and there established the earliest monthly meeting of Friends in America. But even before the advent of the Quakers the settlement in Sandwich had felt the power of Puritan law. In 1651 Ralph Allen Sr. and Richard Kirby of Sandwich were bound over to “answer for deriding and vilifying speeches of and concerning God’s word and ordinances” in twenty pounds each. Presentments were also made of Ralph Allen Sr. and wife, George Allen and wife, William Allen, Richard Kirby, Peter Gaunt and wife, Rose Newland, Edmund Freeman Sr. and wife, Goodwife Turner and Widow Knott, all of Sandwich, “for not frequenting the public worship of God contrary to order made June 6 of the present year.”
In 1655 the General Court at Plymouth ordered that “no Quaker be entertained by any person or persons within this government under penalty of five pounds for every such default or be whipped.” In that year there was a split in the church in Sandwich, and the Rev. Mr. Fessenden in his account of the church troubles mentions Ralph and George Allen as among “the implacable opponents of Mr. Leverich.” In the same year a collection was made for the purpose of building a place of public worship, and for this purpose Ralph Allen Sr., Ralph Allen Jr., and William Allen each gave ten shillings, and Matthew Allen, George Allen and Francis Allen each gave five shillings.
Even at this early date, before the Quakers established themselves, dissent was active in Sandwich, and in this year a great many of the Sandwich settlers were arraigned for violations of the orders of the General court, as given in the records. Peter Gaunt of Sandwich being called upon by the court at Plymouth “to answer for not frequenting the public worship of God affirmed that he knew no public visible worship,” and Ralph Allen took similar ground, whilst George Allen, who was arraigned for the same offence, “dissented” from the views of the preceding but had other excuses.
There are no further records affecting the Allens until 1657, when, after the establishment of the monthly meeting in Sandwich by Holder and Copeland, the persecutions broke out anew. William Allen was especially obnoxious to the established authorities. He was a son of George Allen, and had married Priscilla Brown, a daughter of Peter Brown of the Mayflower. They had no children, and from the records it appears that a large number of the Friends’ meetings were held at their house, for which he was frequently fined. But this did not disturb his loyalty to his faith, for in his will, dated February 17, 1698, he “reserves a right for his friends called Quakers to hold meetings in the southerly end of his now dwelling house in the winter season.”
In 1656 the General Court at Plymouth enacted that “vilifying any church ordinance be punished by a fine of five shillings, profaning the Lord’s day by a like fine or public whipping.” The neglect to attend public worship fell under this last clause. Under this law in 1657 complaint was made to the General Court against divers persons in Sandwich “for meeting of Lord’s days at the house of William Allen and inveighing against ministers and magistrates to the dishonor of God and the contempt of government.” Jane, the wife of William Saunders, and Sarah, the daughter of Richard Kirby Sr., complained of “for disturbance of public worship and for abusing the minister,” were, upon being summoned to court, sentenced to be “publicly whipped.” At about the same time William Newland was, “for encouraging Thomas Burges” to let Christopher Holder, a Quaker, occupy his house, sentenced “to find sureties for his own good behavior,” and Ralph Allen, “for entertaining such men and for unworthy speeches,” was also arrested and laid under bonds.
The years 1658 and 1659 were bitter years for the Quaker settlement in Sandwich, and the Allen family, at first only sympathizers, soon became active members of the society and suffered severely for their sympathy.
In 1658 Peter Gaunt, Daniel Wing, Ralph Allen Jr. and William Allen of Sandwich, arrested “for tumultuous carriage at a meeting of Quakers,” were convicted, severally admonished and fined twenty shillings. The same year Robert Harper, Ralph Allen Sr., John Allen, Thomas Greenfield, Edward Perry, Richard Kerby Jr., William Allen, Thomas Ewer, William Gifford, George Allen, Matthew Allen, Daniel Wing, John Jenkins and George Webb, all of Sandwich, summoned to court at Plymouth to give a reason “for not taking the oath of fidelity to government,” professed that they “held it unlawful to take the oath,” and were all fined.
Bowden in his history of the Quakers says than William Newland and Ralph Allen were among the first to join the sect.
He also says that “the Allens were of the family of George Allen who had been an Anabaptist,” and continues: “There were six brothers and sisters of Ralph who joined the Friends. The father had laid down his head in peace before Friends had visited these parts. His children had resided upwards of 20 years in Sandwich and vicinity and were much respected by their neighbors.”
But the best way to understand the feelings of any time must be from contemporaneous letters, and in Joseph Besse’s book published in 1735 and called A Collection of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers, we find such a letter written by James Cudworth in December, 1658. Cudworth had been a magistrate and commission officer in Plymouth county, “till,” as Besse says, “he resigned the one and was discharged from the other for showing some Humanity to the persecuted Quakers.”
This letter of Cudworth’s speaks of the laws then in force as follows: “For our Law then was ‘If any entertain a Quaker and keep him after he is warned by a Magistrate to depart, the party so entertaining shall pay 20 Shillings a week for entertaining them.’ Since hath been a Law made, ‘If any entertain a Quaker, if but a Quarter of an Hour, he is to forfeit five Pounds.’ Another ‘That if any see a Quaker, he is bound if he lives six Miles or more from the Constables, yet he must presently go and give Notice to the Constable, or else is subject to the Censure of the Court (which may be hanging),’ another ‘That if the Constable know or hear of any Quaker in his Precincts, he is presently to apprehend him; and if he will not presently depart the Town, the Constable is to whip him, and send him away.’ Also another Law ‘That if there be a Quakers’ Meeting anywhere in this Colony, the party in whose House, or on whose Ground it is, is to pay 40 Shillings, the preaching Quaker 40 Shillings, every Hearer 40 Shillings; yea and if they have Meetings though nothing be spoken when they so meet, which, they say, so it falls out sometimes.’”
Our last law, “That now they are to be apprehended, and carried before a Magistrate, and by him committed to be kept close Prisoners until they will promise to depart and never come again, and will also pay their Fees and they must be kept with the Countries allowance, which is but small, namely, course Bread and Water, No Friend may bring them any thing; none may be permitted to speak with them; nay, if they have Money of their own, they may not make Use of that to relieve themselves.”
They have many Meetings and many Adherents, almost the whole Town of Sandwich is adhering towards them.
As for the Means by which they are impoverished; those in the first Place were scrupulous of an Oath; why then must we put in Force an old Law, ‘That all must take the Oath of Fidelity?’ This being tendered they will not take it, and then we must add Force to the Law, and that is ‘If any Man refuse or neglect to take it by such a Time, he shall pay five Pounds or depart the Colony.’ When the Time is come they are the same as they were; then goes out Marshall, and fetches their Cows and other Cattle. Well, another Court comes; they are required to take the Oath again; They cannot; then five Pounds more. On this account thirty-five Head of Cattle, as I have been credibly informed, have been, by the Authority of the Court, taken from them the latter part of this summer; and these People say, ‘If they have more Right to them than themselves, let them take them.’ Some that had a Cow only, some two Cows, some three Cows, and many small children in their Families, to whom in Summertime a Cow or two was the greatest outward Comfort they had for their subsistence. A poor Weaver that hath seven or eight small Children (I know not which) he himself lame in his Body, but had two Cows, and both taken from him. The Marshall asked him ‘What he would do, he must have his Cows?’ The Man said ‘That God that gave him them, he doubted not, would still provide for him.’
“To fill up the Measure yet more full, though to the farther emptying Sandwich Men of their outward Comforts, The last Court of Assistants, the first Tuesday of this Instant, the court was pleased to determine Fines on Sandwich Men for Meetings, sometimes on First-days of the Week, sometimes on other days, as they say, they meet ordinarily twice in a Week besides the Lord’s Day, one Hundred and fifty pounds whereof W. Newlands is 24 for himself and his Wife at ten Shillings a meeting; W. Allen £46 some affirm it £49. The poor Weaver before spoken of, £20 Brother Cook told me, one of the Brethren at Barnstable certified him, That he was in the Weavers house, when cruel Barlow (Sandwich Marshall) came to demand the Sum and said he was fully informed of all the poor Man had, and thought if all lay together it was not worth ten Pounds” * * * * “but now we must have a State-Religion, such as the Powers of the World will allow and no other: And we must worship and serve the Lord Jesus as the World shall appoint us: We must all go to the publick Place of Meeting in the Parish where he dwells or be presented: I am informed of three or four score last Court presented for not coming to publick Meetings and let me tell you how have brought this about. You may remember a Law once made, called Thomas Hinckley’s Law ‘That if any neglected the Worship of God, and sets up a Worship contrary to God, and the Allowance of this Government, to the publick Profanation of God’s holy Day and Ordinance, he shall pay ten Shillings.’ This Law could not reach what was then aimed at; because he must do so and so, that is all Things therein expressed, or else not break the Law. In March last, a Court of Deputies was called and some Acts touching Quakers were made, and that was by putting out the word (and) and putting in the word (or) which is a Disjunctive, and makes every Branch to become a Law. So now if any neglect or will not come to the publick Meetings, ten Shillings for every Defect.” Thus far the Letter written in December, 1658.
Besides those mentioned in the foregoing Letter we find the following Persons had their Goods taken from them about this time, some for refusing to Swear, and others for Absence from the publick Worship.
Robert Harper £40-10 Joseph Allen 5-12-0 Edward Perry 89-18-0 George Allen 25-15-0 William Gifford 57-190 William Newland 36-0-0 Ralph Allen Junior 18-0-0 John Jenkins 19-10 Henry Howland 1-10 Ralph Allen Senior 18-0-0 Thomas Greenfield 4-0-0 Richard Kirby 57-12-0 William Allen 86-17-0 Thomas Ewer 25-8-0 Daniel Wing 12 Peter Gaunt 43-14-6 Michael Turner 13-10 John Newland 2-6-0 and Matthew Allen 48-16-0. Amounting in all to £660-7-6.
“And so envious were the Persecutors, that they put three Inhabitants of Sandwich in the Stocks only for taking John Rouse by the Hand.”
Unable to collect these fines levied on the Quakers in Sandwich the court at Plymouth ordered distraints on their goods, and their property was seized and sold to satisfy the claims. The Allen family suffered heavily. Ralph Allen Sr. suffered to the extent of £68 collected by the sale of three oxen, four cows, one steer, one horse and one mare and colt; Matthew Allen the sum of £48-16-0; George Allen £25-15-0; Joseph Allen £5-12-0; Ralph Allen Jr. £18-0-0 and William Allen £86-17-0.
William Allen was especially obnoxious to the authorities inasmuch as the meetings were frequently held at his house; £40 of the fine was for allowing twenty meetings to be held at his house. The authorities left his one cow “out of pretended pity” as the chronicle says, having taken eighteen head of cattle and a mare.
Although the distraints and the persecutions under the famous Marshall Barlow continued, we find little further reference to the Allens.
Two of the Allen family remaining in Sandwich disappear in this generation – William, who had no children, and Francis, who had six daughters. George Jr. continued to live in Sandwich, and two, Ralph and Matthew, began the settlement of the family in Dartmouth.
William Allen was early interested in the settlement in Dartmouth, as through his wife Priscilla Brown he had inherited one-third of the whole share granted to Peter Brown in the original division of Dartmouth into 34 shares. This one-third of a share he sold for £15-0-0 to Henry Tucker of Milton on April 15, 1669. Matthew Allen acquired an interest in Miles Standish’s share, at what date I have been unable to ascertain, and came to Dartmouth to live.
Ralph Allen bought land extensively from three owners. Oct. 15, 1663, he bought from Alice Bradford one-half of her whole share which came to her from her husband Governor Bradford. April 29, 1672, “Sarah Warren, widow, for 33 pounds sells to Ralph Allen of Sandwich, planter, my half share in the Township of Dartmouth at Barnes his Joy on the southerly side of a parcel of land he bought of Constant Southworth which half share was in partnership between my deceased husband Nathanial Warren and his brother Joseph Warren and lately divided.”
Although I have no record of the deed, yet by the claims made before Benjamin Crane by his children, Ralph Allen, bought apparently the whole of Constant Southworth’s share.
Whether Ralph Allen ever actually came to Dartmouth to live is uncertain. The refusal of the Quakers to take the oath of fidelity made them ineligible as voters, and many who are known to have been located here at an early date do not appear either as freemen or as town officers.
Dartmouth was hospitable to all dissenters, but the old Puritan theocracy refused to allow these dissenters any voice in town affairs. The Allens and Kirbys from Sandwich and the Howlands from Duxbury were Quakers, and appear but seldom in the early town proceedings.
Ralph Allen, it is true, is mentioned in deeds as of Dartmouth, and in 1684 he is one of the agents for the proprietors of Dartmouth, in making an agreement with Geo. Badcock and Henry Tucker concerning a grist mill in Dartmouth. It is probable that he lived some time here. He died in Sandwich and his will, dated December 18, 1691, was probated July 1, 1698. In his will he calls himself aged and requests that he may be buried in his friend William Allen’s burying ground. He divides his estate among his five children, Joseph, Increase, Ebenezer, Zachariah and Patience, and he mentions his grand-children Abagail and Joseph, children of Joseph.
Patience married Richard Evans of Newport, but the four sons of Matthew and the two sons of Matthew settled in Dartmouth.
Before Ralph Allen’s death he had divided a large part of his Dartmouth lands by deed among his children. The land at Barnes his Joy which he bought from Sarah Warren he gave by deed to his son Ebenezer Allen, 4th month 10th, 1675, and on the same day he gave by deeds to his two sons Zachariah and Increase Allen the half share in Dartmouth which he bought of Alice Bradford. The 18th of the 1st month, 1680, Ralph Allen conveys for love and affection to his grandsons Joseph and John Allen, “both the sons of my son Joseph Allen ? of a whole share in Dartmouth which I bought of Constant Southworth of Duxbury.”
Matthew Allen, who had lived some time in Dartmouth, in his will, dated February 7, 1688, probated May 23, 1695, gave one-half of his lands in Dartmouth to his son Samuel, and gave the other half to his son Matthew to be delivered to him by Samuel “when he cometh of age 1 and 20 years.”
So we find several of the grandchildren of George Allen settled in Dartmouth prior to 1700 – Samuel, son of Matthew, and Joseph, Increase, Ebenezer and Zachariah, sons of Ralph. Several of these increased their holdings of land in Dartmouth as by deeds recorded in Plymouth. January 10, 1679, Increase Allen buys for 30 pounds various parcels of land in Dartmouth from Thomas Baxter of Yarmouth. January 26, 1683, Ebenezer Allen buys for 11 pounds from Hanniah Grant and Dorothy his wife land in Dartmouth. The first of 3d month, 1684, Zachariah Allen buys a one-half share of land in Dartmouth for 110 pounds from Zachariah Jenkins of Sandwich (Zachariah Jenkins of Sandwich had married Abiah, daughter of Francis Allen and granddaughter of George Allen.)
With the various divisions of the land in Dartmouth all of these members of the Allen family made claims to land, and after the destruction of the Proprietors’ Records they filed their claims with Benjamin Crane as recorded in the Proprietors’ Records.
It is interesting to try and determine about where these various branches of the family lived. The division of the original shares and the sales and purchases of land resulted by 1700 in ownership by the settlers of lands in widely separated parts of the township, but from the Proprietors’ Records, the deeds and especially from the maps drawn by the late E. C. Leonard, we are able to locate some of the places where this family had settled.
The earliest definitely located piece of land was that bought by Ralph Allen from Sarah Warren, situated, as the deed says, at Barnes his Joy, and deeded by him to Ebenezer in 1675. This name is preserved to this day as Barneys Joy, and there was the location of Ebenezer’s homestead. In one of Crane’s layouts in 1710 land laid out to Peleg Slocum on the eastward side of Barneys Joy is described as bounded westward on the homestead of Ebenezer Allen. Increase Allen, too, lived in this region, as did Joseph. Joseph’s homestead, which he gave in his will to his son Josias, was at the easterly end of Allens Pond, with Increase Allen’s homestead to the west and Ebenezer’s to the east.
Increase Allen, who died in 1723, in his will left all his property to his widow. Increase Allen Jr. seems to have lived at the old homestead. Crane laid out to Increase Allen at the Horse Neck. On Clark’s Neck, on Sconticut Neck and on the west side of Cuishnet River, Increase Allen had lands, so that it will be seen his ownership was widely scattered. This was true of all the landowners of that time, as land was acquired from time to time in the various divisions made.
Ebenezer held land on the west side of Coxsit River as well as the homestead land, and in 1727 we find a deed from William Soul, weaver, to Ebenezer Allen, blacksmith, of the meadow in Horseneck on the west side of Long Let. His will, made in 1725, gives his homestead to his sons, Philip, James and Seth.
Joseph in his will, dated 1696, gives to his son Josias his dwelling at Allen’s pond, to his son William a quarter share of land in Dartmouth, bought from William Palmer (this land was located on the east side of the Acushnet River), and to his sons Joseph and John, all the remainder of the land in Dartmouth. Joseph Jr. lived at Coxsit on the west side.
The family of Joseph Allen scattered, and by 1719 two of the sons had moved to Monmouth County, N.J., and two are reported as of “Sissell County, province of Miriland.” Matthew Allen, the son of Ralph, had land in Dartmouth which he divided between his sons Matthew and Samuel. Samuel seems to have soon given up all his interest in his land to his brother.
At a town meeting in 1699 Samuel Allen had the following put upon the record: “This is to certify that to all persons whom it may concern that Samuel Allen of the Town of Dartmouth in the County of Bristol in New England, did at a Town Meeting held in Dartmouth aforesaid, the last day of March in the year 1699 promise and engage, to leave all his rights in the house and land left to him by his Father Matthew Allen late of Dartmouth, deceased, for the maintenance of his Mother Sarah Allen during the time of her widowhood, and also to let his said Mother have a good Cow for her use now forthwith.
Samuel X. Allen”
By this he gave up his interest in the land until his mother’s death, and by a deed dated December 2, 1702, he sold the half he inherited to his brother, Matthew Allen, so that Matthew in this way acquired an entire share. In the layouts of Benjamin Crane land is mentioned as belonging to Matthew Allen of the west side of Clarks Cove. This piece laid nearly at the head of the cove. Benjamin Allen, who was a son of Increase, had under the claims filed with Benjamin Crane and laid out by him, a homestead on Clarks Neck between the two Russells. This homestead was where the present Washington club building is, at the beginning of Clarks Point.
The above covers all of the homesteads of the sons of Matthew and Ralph Allen excepting the land belonging to Zachariah. I have not been able to ascertain anything concerning Zachariah Allen or his children excepting a few items which appear among the claims filed with Benjamin Crane. Zachariah Allen claims interests in the original shares of Moses Simmons, and claims 80 acres at Marshtuxset. He seems to have sold a number of pieces of land, as in the claims made to Benjamin Crane, Peleg Slocum claims by a deed from Zachariah Allen a part of the John Shaw Sr. claim; Nathaniel Howland claims land by deed from Zachariah Allen in the Standish share, and Ebenezer Allen claims by deed from Zachariah Allen in an unnamed share.
As before suggested, but little mention is made of the Allens in the public records during the earlier days of the township. This was due in all probability to the fact that, being Quakers, they were unwilling to take the oath of fidelity, and so did not become freemen entitled to vote, or take part in town affairs. The older colonies were aristocratic in the broadest sense of the word, and allowed no one to become a freeman except by a vote of the general court. In this way the government of the earlier colonies became an oligarchy, in large measure governed by the church and those assenting to the established religion.
We do, however, find several references in the records to office holding in Dartmouth by the sons of Ralph and Matthew Allen, who settled there. In 1671 Samuel Allen was a member of the grand inquest (grand jury); in 1675 Joseph Allen was a grand juryman; in 1682 Joseph Allen was a rater (assessor); in July, 1687, Joseph Allen was chosen constable; and May 21, 1688, Ebenezer and Zachariah Allen were chosen constables. In 1697 Joseph Allen was chosen a representative to the general court.
The constable in the early days of the colony was a very important personage, as he represented the entire civil authority and was invested with a staff of office and given broad authorities to enforce fines and penalties, and was responsible for the orderly proceedings of the town.
In the list of subscribers to the first meeting house in Dartmouth Ebenezer Allen gave five pounds and Increase Allen three pounds.
It is evident from a vote in the town meeting in Oct. 1685, that the Allens vigorously insisted upon what they supposed to be their rights, when William Wood, George Soule, Nathaniel Soule, Joseph Allen, Ebenezer Allen and Zachariah Allen make a complaint against practically all of the freemen of the town for 800 pounds damages “because they will not set off equally four whole parts or shares and a fourth part of a share excepting 30 acres of land out of it,” but they were unsuccessful, as the court granted a non-suit. This seems to have been a controversy over the divisions of the land among the then owners of the original shares. This same group of Dartmouth townspeople also in 1686 objected to the action of the town in voting to build a new prison as follows: “We whose names are underwritten being warned to a town meeting and appearing the 30th August 1686 enter our dissent against choosing of Raters to make a rate for the building a prison at Bristol in as much as we have been at charge for the building a prison in the colony already and therefore we see no reason to build another as long as that is repaired.
“Joseph Allen, William Wood, George Soul, Nathaniel Soul, Nathaniel Howland, Ebenezer Allen, Matthew Allen.”
I have not undertaken in this paper to carry down the ownership of any lands in Dartmouth beyond the first settlers’ homesteads, as such a search would involve infinitely more time than I have been able to give to it, but I have sought to show the origin of the Allen family in England, the movements of the original immigrants and their children from their first landing in Boston through Weymouth and Sandwich to Dartmouth, and their connection during this period with the religious movement which kept all the colonies in turmoil for so many years. There is a large and interesting field open to those who have the time and opportunity to attempt the tracing of the origin of the family in Somersetshire, and of their land ownerships in the various subdivisions in the town of Dartmouth. It would be of material assistance and of great value if some one of the members of this society would undertake to furnish for the society a paper giving some of the details relating to the various divisions of land made among the actual settlers and known as the 800 acre division, the 400 acre division, the 300 acre division and the 36 acre division, by which these settlers obtained tracts in widely separated parts of the town. I realize that owing to the destruction of the original Proprietors’ Records such a research is difficult, but certainly the society could do nothing better than to enable those of us who are searching for the original locations of our ancestors to find some clue to these different parcels of land.
After the reading of the papers, Henry B. Worth, on behalf of Herbert E. and Anna F. Cushman, presented to the society a beautifully bound book containing 250 photographs of houses and public buildings in the town comprising the territory of Old Dartmouth, with notes describing the same.
In presenting the gift Mr. Worth spoke as follows:
“A noticeable feature in the newspapers of New England is the attention given to colonial houses and buildings. In magazines and books considerable space is devoted to the same subject. This furnishes conclusive evidence of the marked interest in this line of historical inquiry. Observation indicates that in this section there exists to a high degree the same regard for the origin and ownership of ancient dwellings. When this sentiment is analyzed, it will be found entirely natural that people should manifest this enthusiasm, but the query might arise, ‘Why has the interest developed so conspicuously in recent years.’ It has always existed to some extent, but the chief stimulating cause has been the progress in photography and engraving. Events that occur at noon are described and illustrated in the afternoon edition of the papers. Pictures of local buildings and scenes are as numerous and inexpensive as the leaves of the trees and they describe the object infinitely better than words.
“Having observed the interest in this direction, two of our members discussed an opportunity to contribute to our collection in this line.
“The work is a finely bound book of 400 leaves, containing 250 photographs with exhaustive notes carefully indexed.
“When you have noted the care in the execution and arrangement and the attention apparently given to every detail, you will appreciate the generosity and thoughtfulness of the members who present this beautiful collection.”
The book bears the following inscription:
“To the officers and members of Old Dartmouth Historical Society.
“Dear Friends – We have always been deeply interested in the section formerly comprised in the original town of Dartmouth and have felt the desire to contribute something of a permanent character to the collection now being arranged in the new Historical Building. With that thought in mind we obtained the pictures contained in this work and the notes and the descriptions appended thereto and present them to your society in the hope that they may prove entertaining and instructive to any who desire to consult them.
“Herbert E. Cushman,
Anna F. Cushman.”
The photographs in the book were taken by Fred W. Palmer, the descriptive notes were written by Henry B. Worth, and the book was typewritten by Emma C. Austin.
“It is Opportune to look back upon
Old Times and Contemplate
Sir Thomas Browne
Last modified: May 30, 2014