New Hampshire State Papers

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE,

 

TOWN CHARTERS

 

INCLUDING GRANTS OF TERRITORY WITHIN THE PRESENT

 

 

LIMITS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE,

 

 

MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND A PORTION OF THE GRANTS AND CHARTERS ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE ,

 

WITH AN APPENDIX,

 

CONSISTING OF PAPERS RELATING TO THE GRANTING OF THE VARIOUS LINES AND BODIES OF TOWNS, WITH ACTS IN REGARD TO TOWN BOUNDS IN GENERAL, AND MANY DOCUMENTS PRODUCED BY DISPUTES BETWEEN TOWNS CONCERNING THEIR BOUNDARY LINES,

 

WITH ILLUSTRATIVE MAPS AND PLANS AND COMPLETE INDEXES.

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

 

VOLUME XXIV.

TOWN CHARTERS, VOLUME

 

ALBERT STILLMAN BATCHELLOR,

 

EDITOR OF STATE PAPERS.

 

CONCORD:

 

EDWARD N. PEARSON, PUBLIC PRINTER.

 

1894.

 

 

JOINT RESOLUTION relating to the preservation and publication of portions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampshire.

 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

That His Excellency the Governor be hereby authorized and empowered, with the advice and consent of the Council, to employ some suitable person and fix his compensation, to be paid out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriュated to collect, arrange, transcribe, and superintend the publication of such porュtions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampュshire as the Governor may deem proper; and that eight hundred copies of each volume of the same be printed by the state printer, and distributed as follows: namely, one copy to each city and town in the state, one copy to such of the public libraries in the state as the Governor may designate, fifty copies to the New Hampュshire Historical Society, and the remainder placed in the custody of the state libraュrian, who is hereby authorized to exchange the same for similar publications by other states.

Approved August 4, 1881.

 

 

 

PREFACE.

 

The disposition of the territory which is now included in the State of New Hampュshire, and which was considered as vested in the crown by discovery and conquest, and the final assurance of undisputed titles among the people, was accomplished under peculiar conditions and after almost endless postponement. An early conュfusion and conflict of authority in the transmission of the patents affecting indefinite tracts, through the intervention of the Council of Plymouth in the first instance, and in the subsequent assumption and exercise of the right to hold and dispose of the same lands in the name of the King by the early governors of the province, was sufficient to keep the people of the province in long protracted difficulty over the titles to the soil which they occupied. Throughout the entire history of the province the title of Mason, the first patentee, was a potent element in affairs of the pioneer settlers and of the province, rendering all other titles uncertain, and constantly disュturbing business and government. Interwoven with all this were the most determined assertions of rights by long continued occupancy, and by conveyances which had apparently been made in compliance with all the forms of law by the aboriginal masters of the domain. What of progress the towns of Portsmouth, Dover, Hampton, and Exeter accomplished before the erection of the provincial government under President Cutt, in 1679, was in the midst of the most embarrassing complications growing out of the confusion which prevailed in land titles accompanied by repeated changes in the conditions of colonial jurisdiction. The documentary history of these first towns is intimately involved in that of the state in its beginning. Papers illustrating this epoch have been given in prior volumes. Those now to be presented relate more particularly to the individual towns in which settlements were effected at a later date than the formal establishment of the province in 1679. An excepュtional political history and character belonged to a group of towns of which Dunstable was the earliest settled. These were treated as Massachusetts territory without serious question for a considerable period, and for this reason much of their documentary history has been sought in the archives of that commonwealth. The papers which pertain to the towns of this group are here included under the general title of Massachusetts Grants," although the term may not be exactly descriptive.

As regards the mode of passing titles to the domain of the King in the province, in the period which followed the date of a settled government, it will be remembered

 

 

 

iv PREFACE.

 

that the Governor and Council appointed by royal commission from time to time for purposes of administration in the province were empowered to dispose of lands in the King's name. As early as 1686, in the commission of Edmund Andros as Governor of the territory and dominion of New England, a specific grant and definiュtion of the authority delegated for this purpose is made in the following terms

 

"AND WEE do likewise give and grant unto you full power and authority, by and with the advice and consent of our said Council, to agree with the planters and inhabitants of our said territory and dominion, concerning such lands, tenements and hereditaments, as now are or shall hereafter be in our power to dispose of, and them to grant unto any person or persons for such terms, and under such moderate quit-rents, services, and acknowledgements to be thereupon reserved unto us, as shall be appointed by us, which said grants are to pass and to be sealed by our Seal of New-England, and (being entered upon record by such officer and officers as you shall appoint thereunto), shall be good and effectual in law against us, our heirs and successors." 2, Provincial Papers p. 9.

 

The commission of Joseph Dudley as Governor of the Province of New Hampュshire, issued in 1702, contains a similar declaration,. viz.,

 

"And wee doe hereby likewise give and Grant unto you full power and Authority by and with the advice of our said Councill, to agree with the Inhabitants of our Province and Territories aforesaid for such Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments as now are, or hereafter shall be, in our power to dispose of and them to Grant to any person or persons for such Termes and under such moderate Quitt Rents, services and acknowledgements to be thereupon. Reserved unto us, as you by and with the Advice aforesaid shall think fitt; which said Grants are to pass and be Sealed by our Seale of New Hampshire, and being entered upon Record by such Officer or Officers as you shall appoint thereunto, shall be good and effectual in Law against us our Heires and Successors." 2, Provincial Papers, p. 373.

 

The New Hampshire grants made under these and succeeding administrations conform substantially to the form thus expressed. The quit-rents reserved were indeed "moderate." These clauses mention the payment for ten years of the rent of one ear of Indian corn only, and thereafter one shilling of proclamation money yearly for each hundred acres owned or possessed, and like nominal reservations.

The grantees under a charter became a quasi corporation in each instance. They were generally known in common and legal parlance as "proprietors." In that capacity they effected and maintained organizations which disposed of the land taken in a large body under the charter of the proprietors or others as individuals. Thus the township, that is, the land which was the subject of the grant, was surveyed and divided into lots suitable for farms, mill privileges, or public uses. The indiュvidual obtained his title from the corporation, that is to say, from the proprietors or the proprietary, as it was sometimes termed. The distribution among the proprie‑

 

 

 

PREFACE. v

 

tors of the fractional parts into which the township was divided might have been by lot, or by vote of the corporation, or by deed. In either event the individual grantee was invested as to his holding, with all the right and title which passed from the King to the corporation. As the division and distribution of the township as a territorial property progressed, the functions of the corporation were proportionュately limited, and eventually ceased for want of subject-matter on which the corporate powers might operate.

The records which will be included in this and subsequent volumes are generally termed "town charters." They may be considered as in three principal classes: first, those which conveyed title to townships and lesser tracts within the territorial limits of New Hampshire, but were issued under authority of the Massachusetts government; second, those grants made by authority of the Governor and Council of the Province of New Hampshire, acting directly under royal commission; third, the Masonian charters, or grants made by the proprietors of the Masonian title, which has been a familiar subject in New Hampshire history from its beginning.

In the arrangement of the material which follows, the first in order are the so-called Massachusetts grants, which were a practical assertion of jurisdiction and the right of possession and disposal, comprehending, at one time, all the territory south of an east and west line in which Endicott Rock at The Weirs is a monument, and afterwards a more limited area. These documents are principally from the Massaュchusetts archives, and were carefully selected and transcribed for this use by Mr. Otis G. Hammond, who personally made the copies, and subsequently compared the transcripts with the originals with the utmost care. Some of these papers are of a very early date, but the greater part belong chronologically in the few years immediュately preceding the settlement of the boundary line controversy in 1741. The efforts of Massachusetts to plant settlements friendly to their interests in the disputed region were discontinued about this time, but petitions and other documents which were the aftermath of the principal contention are included, and placed in their proper town sections. The two towns of Rindge and Salisbury, in this class, were granted to the same body of petitioners, and by one vote of the Massachusetts legislature. This vote will be found with the Salisbury papers. Reference should be had to Vol. XIX for the material which is of more general interest in the history of the boundary line controversy. Its later aspects may be studied in the recent reports of the commissioners of the two states principally interested, to whom the subject has been committed.

The next in order are the charters granted by the provincial Governor and Counュcil of New Hampshire, to which reference has already been made. The original instruments were issued to the grantees named, but copies were kept in the office of the Secretary of the province. These are preserved in five volumes, which accompanied the last royal Governor, John Wentworth, into exile in 1775, but were considerately returned to the state after the Revolution. These grants will

 

 

 

vi PREFACE.

 

be presented in two sections, the first being those relating to lands within the present limits of this state, and the second comprising the so-called New Hampshire Grants, which are now within the jurisdiction of Vermont.

The Massachusetts government, beset with numerous petitions for lands, finally came to the point of granting townships, not only singly, but in contiguous series, commonly termed "lines of towns," all the towns in a certain line being disposed of by a single act. These lines were planned to most effectuュally protect the frontiers, and the four lines laid out within the present limits of this state, had they been completely settled, would have formed an irreguュlar quadrilateral, the sides extending from Old Dunstable to Northfield, Mass., thence up the east side of the Connecticut River, thence across the country in a comparatively straight course to Penacook, now Concord, thence down the Merriュmack River to Dunstable again. The lines from Penacook to the Great Falls in Connecticut River and down the river on the east side are the only sides in which the idea was carried out to any important extent, according to the documents we have, the towns in the other two sides being afterwards disposed of singly. The towns in the north side of this figure were numbered from 1 to 9, and comュprised Warner, Bradford, Acworth, Alstead, Hopkinton, Henniker, Hillsborough, Washington, and Lempster, in the order named. The west side consisted of Chesterfield, Westmoreland, Walpole, and Charlestown, numbered from 1 to 4. The papers relating to these lines of towns in general and to no one town in particular, occupy the first place in the appendix.

Besides these, there are three other instances of collective grants, though the townships under these grants were not laid out in lines, but rather in bodies or wherever suitable territory might be found. The Ashuelot townships, so named from their situation on the Ashuelot River, were our present towns of Keene and Swanzey. The Canada townships were granted to survivors and descendants of deceased participants in the Canada expedition of 1690. The towns of Dunbarton, Lyndeborough, New Boston, Richmond, Rindge, Salisbury, and Weare were originally granted to these men. The survivors of the Narragansett War and the heirs of those who lost their lives in the service, or of those who were otherwise deceased meantime, also received grants at the rate of one township of six miles square for every one hundred and twenty persons. A list of these claimants showed that eight hundred and forty persons were entitled to consideration, and afterwards two hundred and thirty-two more were found, making one thousand and seventy-two, calling for nine townships. Only three of these, Amherst, Goffstown, and Bedford, were in this state, and they were numbered 3, 4, and 5. The others were located in Maine and Massachusetts. Papers relating to these three bodies of towns are also contained in the appendix. The remainder of the appendix is occupied by documents relating to the settlement of the bounュdaries between various towns.

 

 

 

PREFACE. vii

 

The third and last instalment will include the grants made under authority of the Masonian Proprietors. The Masonian title extended over a considerable portion of that part of the state which had been relieved of the claim of Massachusetts by the King's decree in 1741, as well as to territory elsewhere within the bounds of the original Masonian patent. While the claim of Mason appears as an important actor in New Hampshire history for a hundred and fifty years or more from the publication of the Masonian patent, its existence had been more a subject of legal and political contention than a foundation for quiet and peaceable possession of lands by actual settlers, until it became the property of a syndicate of twelve persons in 1746. The history of the title is outlined in the early chapters of Belknap's History of New Hampshire, but the account of the transactions by which it passed to this proprietary is given in his chapter XXI. It appears that these parties for prudential reasons immediately quit-claimed title to certain towns within the limits of their purchase which had at that date been substantially settled. The original deed is in the Masonian Papers, Vol. 1, page 57, dated July 1746, and the towns named therein are Portsmouth, Dover, Exeter, Hampton, Gosport, Kingsュton, Derry (Londonderry), Chester, Nottingham, Barrington, Rochester, Canterbury, Bow, Chichester, Epsom, and Barnstead.

It will not be timely here to extend the account of the proceedings of these new owners of the Masonian lands farther than to state that they exercised their rights of property by disposing of townships in a manner quite similar to that which had been followed in the grants by the Governor and Council in the latter part of the provincial period. The terms, conditions, and reservations of their grants are briefly stated by Belknap, Farmer's edition, p. 299, and the text of any of these instruments in its full extent may be examined with advantage to the student of the subsequent volumes, in which they will be reproduced. One of these charters is printed in full in the History of Rindge, chapter 11, which contains a clear and adequate exposition of the results which followed this revival and recognition of the Masonian title. It may be remarked that the grantees' and surveyors' plans which accompany the grants are in all cases copied and used as illustrations so far as available. Whenever the record or text of the grant is unaccompanied by a plan, it is in the exceptional instance that none has been preserved.

In the consideration of this work a marked distinction should be recognized beュtween the township charters and the acts of incorporation. A part of the charters emanating from the Governor and Council seem to combine some of the elements of the ordinary municipal act of incorporation with terms apt for the transmission of title to land, and various privileges respecting it. The charter of Kingston, 1694, not only conveys to the inhabitants the township with the streets, lanes, and highways, but it also makes provision for the political organization of the town. The charter of New Castle, 1696, is to the same effect.

But in the Massachusetts grants and in those issued under the Masonian authority,

 

 

 

viii PREFACE.

 

there is no attempt to confer political privileges on the grantees. It was understood that these privileges were to be derived from the general or special acts of the assembly regulating the assumption of municipal organization by the people of the towns considered as a territorial unit. This was the theory on which town governュment was developed when settlements had been effected under the charters. It may not be possible in all cases to trace this development in its regular stages. The logical order was, first, the township charter, and, second, the act of incorporation. The authority for the assumption of the powers and privileges of municipal self-government is sometimes found in the terms of the charter, and sometimes in special legislative acts of incorporation. In a few instances the inhabitants of towns seem to have assumed the functions of organized towns without these usual legal pre-requisites. Bow v. Allentown, 34 N. H. Reports, 351. As a rule, howュever, the history of the origin of municipal government in the several New Hampュshire towns is not obscure. The granting of bodies of land as townships to a number of grantees, whether by the intervention of province authority or through the Masonian proprietary, was quite another affair. The act was by a formal instrument of conveyance to a number of persons duly named as grantees. In a large number of our own province charters it will be noted that the elements of an act of incorporation for the exercise of political powers are not included.

As the towns became stronger and more populous, it was not infrequent that parュishes were erected by acts of the assembly. The towns often covered a large terriュtory, hence the extension of settlements and changes in the centres of population demanded additional places for religious worship and consequent division of the the towns as church supporting establishments. This was one stage in the breaking up of the old towns, which preceded the erection of new ones upon the framework of the parish. The functions of this class of municipal corporations were well defined, and the transition from parish to town was the usual result of the parish establishュment. (IX. Bouton, Town Papers, 717.)

A comparison of those township charters which were drawn simply for the purュpose of passing a township of land to designated grantees, with acts incorporating towns and parishes, will indicate more clearly the radical distinction between the latter as municipal corporations established for the administration of political affairs, and the former as quasi corporations established, as was said in the case of Wells v. Burbank, 17 N. H. Reports, 393, for the sale and partition of lands.

The publication of these instruments with the accompanying papers will open new opportunities for the study of features of local and state history which have hitherto been obscure. The original titles to the subdivisions of large areas will be made accessible to all who are interested in examining them. The movement of population on the several lines over which the settlement of regions outside the four ancient towns of the province of New Hampshire, can be more accurately and sysュtematically traced by the names of grantees, and by the dates of grants which mark

 

 

 

PREFACE. ix

 

the extension of emigration in all directions over New Hampshire and Vermont. Carefully prepared and complete indexes to the names of all persons and places mentioned In the volume will render their contents immediately available for referュence. The township maps which are prepared for this volume are copies of those of Blanchard and Langdon, Jeffries, and Holland. The papers in the body of the volume are arranged alphabetically under the modern names of the towns to which they relate. The preliminary note under each caption contains citations to the principal publications on the local history of the towns. There are many works of the gazetteer class which give summaries of town history and statistics. As these have not been cited in the town notes, it will suffice to mention them by titles in this connection. In the order of publication are Merrill's, 1817, pp. 231; Farmer and Moore's, 1823, pp. 276; Heywood's (New England, with treatment of N. H. towns), 1839; New Hampshire As It Is, by E. A. Charlton, 1856, pp. 592-4; Coolidge and Mansfield's History of New England (with N. H. section), 1858; Fogg's Gazetteer, 1874, pp. 647. The Walling series of county maps, 1860, give town geography in minute detail, and are intended to name and locate each houseュholder, most of the places of business, and the public and religious establishments. The Atlas of New Hampshire is a later effort in the same direction but the results are presented in a different form. See mention of N. H. maps, by William Little, X, Granite Monthly, p. 360, and Hitchcock's Geology of New Hampshire, chapter on topography, vol. 1, p. 169. Other lines of New Hampshire historical literature are of necessity in part general and in part local in their subject-matter and method. Such are Potter's' Military History," 1866'68; Moore's "Printers and Printing," 1886; Bell's "Bench and Bar," 1894; Chapin's "New Hampshire Poets," 1883; Watson's "Physicians and Surgeons," in press; Carter's Native Ministry," in preparation. Picturesque New Hampshire has been treated in a class of literaュture which embodies much of local history and description. Among the more important are N. J. Bachelder's "Summer Resorts," and Sweetser's "White Mountains." See also the editor's note on historical literature of New Hampshire now in preparation, Vol. XIV of the Granite Monthly, p. 365.

In the consideration of these towns as factors in government, and in the review or continuation of such studies as have been made by the authors of De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," Bryce's "American Commonwealth," Joel Parker's "New England Towns," and Dillon's "Municipal Corporations," recourse should also be had to the reported decisions of the Supreme Court. So far as they relate to town history, town government, and other subjects of local concern, they are readily accesュsible by the aid of the digests of decisions, in the municipal clerks' offices, and in law libraries, and are replete with information and suggestions.

The more general questions of boundary, as that of Canada, affecting especially the Indian Stream territory, and that of Maine, of Massachusetts, and of Vermont, enter very largely into the history of the border towns, but a general reference to the

 

 

 

X PREFACE,

 

literature of those controversies, hereafter cited, suffices for the present purpose. The compilation of material for this series of volumes of town charters and the accompanying illustrations has necessitated extensive research, and has taken many directions and brought us in contact with, and placed us under obligations to many persons, in private as well as in official relations. With regret we find it impracュticable to make full mention of all who have cordially rendered aid by responding with important information, and by other active coperation. But principal among these are Secretary Olin, of Massachusetts, Secretary Stearns, of New Hampshire, and Mr. Hammond, our efficient office assistant. Governor Smith and members of his council have manifested an interest in the undertaking which has made them familiar with its progress, and rendered its presentation in these and the sucュceeding volumes more complete in form, and more satisfactory in substance.

The next volume to be issued will be on the same general plan as this, and will be a continuation of the New Hampshire provincial charters.

THE EDITOR.

 

                TABLE OF CONTENTS.

 

                    MASSACHUSETTS GRANTS.

 

Acworth 3

Alstead 6

Amherst 8

William Davis, Isaac Johnson, and others 9

Anna Lane 10

John Wilson 11

Bedford 13

Boscawen 21

Bradford 28

Canterbury 29

Joseph Gerrish 29

Richard Kent 30

Concord 31

John Endicott 62

William Hawthorne 64

Samuel Sewall 65

Deering 67

Jonathan Butterfield 68

Thaxter, Turner, and Dudley 70

Dover 73

Richard Beers 76

Emanuel Downing 77

Dunbarton 78

Dunstable 82

Durham 101

Fitzwilliam 104

Goffstown 105

William Lund 113

Medford, Mass 117

Uxbridge, Mass 120

Peleg Wiswall 123

Groton (old grant) 126

Hampton 134

 

 

 

xii TABLE OF CONTENTS,

 

Hancock 136

Green, Walker, Lyde, and Green 137

Henniker 139

Hillsborough 140

Hinsdale 142

John Russell 143

Hopkinton 145

Hudson 146

Joseph Hills 146

Isles of Shoals 149

Keene 152

Lempster 154

Litchfield 157

Richard Davenport 167

Phineas Pratt 169

Londonderry 170

Lyndeborough 172

Manchester 178

John Blaisdell 189

Isaac Bradley 191

Samuel Butterfield 192

John Plaisted 195

Robert Rand 195

Jeremiah Stevens 199

Thomas Tilestone 201

Merrimack 203

Benjamin Smith 203

Milford 204

Charlestown School Farm 204

Anna Cole 205

Samuel Cole 206

Duxbury School Farm 208

Nashua 210

Boston Artillery Co. 210

Richard Dummer 212

Savage, Oliver, and others 214

John Whiting 214

New Boston 215

Newington 224

New Ipswich 225

Pelham 232

John Endicott, Jr. 232

Pembroke 233

Peterborough 249

Portsmouth 258

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS. xiii

 

Raymond 271

Samuel Symonds 271

Richmond . 272

Josiah Willard 279

Rindge 282

Rochester 292

Samuel and Mrs. Parnell Nowell 293

Samuel Sewall 295

Salisbury 297

Sharon 307

Jeremiah Allen 307

John Read 311

Robert Auchmuty 313

Jeffry Bedgood 314

Sullivan 316

Aaron Denio 316

Swanzey 318

Temple 324

Tyng, Nelson, and Alden 324

Walpole 330

Jonathan Belcher 334

Warner 335

Washington 339

Weare 340

Winchester 345

 

                        UNLOCATED GRANTS.

 

Valentine Hill 363

William Hubbard 364

Ann Mason, court decision 365

Passaconoway 366

Bryan Pendleton 367

Edward Rawson 367

 

            NEW HAMPSHIRE CHARTERS AND GRANTS.

 

Acworth 371

Samuel Fitch 386

Albany 389

Samuel Haven 394

Daniel Rindge and Daniel Peirce 397

Joseph Senter 400

Alstead 404

Amherst 414

 

 

 

xiv TABLE OF CONTENTS.

 

Ashland 418

Atkinson 419

Auburn 419

Barnstead 419

Barrington 423

Bartlett 426

Philip Bailey 427

Robert Furniss 431

James Gray 435

Andrew McMillan 439

Vere Royse 441

William Stark 444

Bath 447

Bedford 457

Belmont 460

Bennington 460

Benton 460

Ammi R. Cutter 465

George King 469

George Meserve 473

Berlin 477

Bethlehem 481

Boscawen 485

Bow 489

Brentwood 493

Bridgewater 496

Bristol 496

Brookfield 496

Brookline 497

Cambridge 499

Campton 504

Canaan 513

Theophilus Dame 520

Candia 523

Canterbury 523

Webster's Ferry 525

Carroll 529

Nash and Sawyer 534

Center Harbor 537

Charlestown 537

Olcott's Ferry 543

Chatham 544

Henry Bellew 550

Samuel Gilman 553

Samuel Langdon 557

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS. xv

 

Chatham:

Thomas McDonough 560

Sherburne, Sherburne, and Knight 562

Chester 566

Chesterfield 569

Chichester 576

Claremont 579

Joseph Wait 584

Clarksville 587

Colebrook 589

Columbia 598

Seth Wales and others . 606

Concord 610

Conway 650

Sterling and Stark 658

Cornish 662

Moses Chase 667

Coulerain 669

Croydon 671

Dalton 678

Danville 678

Deerfield 679

Deering 679

Derry 681

Dorchester 682

Dover 695

Dublin 701

Dummer 703

Dunbarton 708

Durham 710

East Kingston 712

Easton 712

Eaton 712

Ellsworth 727

Enfield 723

Epping 732

Epsom 732

Errol 734

Erving's Location 739

Exeter 743

 

APPENDIX.

 

Lines of Towns:

Dunstable to Northfield 748

 

 

 

xvi TABLE OF CONTENTS.

 

Lines of Towns:

Dunstable to Penacook 754

Rumford to the Great Falls and on East Side of

Connecticut River 761

Ashuelot Townships 771

Canada Townships 787

Narragansett Townships 793

Town Bounds, General 821

Disputed Town Boundaries 829

Indexes 927