GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2006-03 > 1143067264
Subject: History of Harvard, Mass. 1643-1732 by Henry S. Nourse, 1894 p.39
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 17:41:04 EST
The History of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1643-1732, by Henry S. Nourse,
1894. - W. J. Coulter, Printer.
p.39 Garrisons, continued.
Very commonly, a tall stockade of half-hew logs encircled it, the entrance
to which was by narrow portals guarded with strongly hung
gates and a watch tower.
Some of the earliest garrisoned houses of Harvard can be readily located,
though in those that have survived, the wrecking forces of time and
accident, nearly all tokens of antiquity are covered from sight by modern
alternations and repairs. A few of these will be particularly noticed
in later pages of this book.
For more than a century all town highways determined upon had to be
approved by the proprietors of the original grant and their legal
successors at their stated meetings - which were always town meetings,
and located by committees specially chosen for the purpose in each case.
An allowance of four rods in width was reserved through allotments lying
where a roadway was sure to be called for in the near future; and when a
way was granted through lands where no such reservation had been made,
the owner was awarded generous compensation for damages - paid in land
where most convenient to him in the undivided commons.
Under such methods it was somewaht easy for an influential proprietor
to bend the highway out of the direct course in order to favor convenient
rectangles for his hay and corn fields, or to afford a better site for his
buildings; and local changes in the established road were often made
to suit private advantage. This may account for some of the short crooks
and abrupt turns so common in our older thoroughfares. Flagrant en-
croachments upon the highway were constantly complained of, and town
action was taken in regard to them long before Harvard won its auto-
nomy. Though town after town was severed from the original eighty square
miles granted the Nashaway company, the proprietors retained their
possession of these highways until troublesome questions often arose
because of the divided jurisdiction and ownership. Finally, February
7, 1791, it was voted by the prorietory to:
"Relinguish to the several towns in the bounds of Old Lancaster all their
Right to the roads in the Respective Towns and that each Town
have a Right to dispose of and alter said roads within their limits,
not to injure the Publick."
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth