GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2006-03 > 1143674482
Subject: History of Harvard, Mass. 1643 - 1732 - by Nourse , 1894 - p. 50 thru p.52
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 18:21:22 EST
The History of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1643-1732, by Henry S. Nourse,
Clinton, Mass. 1894. - W. J. Coulter, Printer.
They were sometimes absent from their homes four or five weeks in the
pathless wilds. Each man furnished his own subsistence and was paid from
the public treasury two shillings and sixpence - then worth about twenty
cents in silver - per day. Henry Willard and James Houghton of Still
River, Harvard - and Jacob Gates, Ephraim & Reuben Farnsworth of the
northern section of Harvard were among the volunteers of the expedition
under Captains Lovewell and John White, who by a night surprise captured
a war party of ten Indians near the sources of the Salmon River in New
Hampshire and brought home a thousand pounds worth of scalps; and March
10, 1725 on their return, marched with their bloody trophies displayed
through the streets of Boston, the applauded heroes of the day.
In 1725, Capt. Samuel Willard of Still River, under orders from Lieut.
Governor Dummer, led two military expeditions into New Hampshire. In the
second, there were about one hundred and eighty-nine men under his
command, including several Indian scouts. He explored the Merrimack to
its sources, ascending the Pemigewasset and returned down the Saco;
marching over five hundred miles, surmounting many difficulties and en-
during many hardships but finding no enemy to try his prowess.
Henry Willard accompanied him with the rank of ensign. The rangers in this
war drove the remnant of the Penacooks beyond the White Mountain
barriers, and were the discoverers of the beautiful valleys along the
rapid streams and island studded lakes of New Hampshire. They opened the
pathway for the pioneers of a new commonwealth.
IV. The Contest for Autonomy.
When the rest from war's alarms permitted, the townspeople began the
discussion of a domestic question which proved troublesome to settle,
and ominous of dissensions to come. It is one evidence of the greatly
increased and increasing population of Lancaster that the meeting-house
built in 1706 would not hold the church-goers of 1726. At a town meeting
January 23, 1726-7, the subject of absorbing interest was
p.51 Worcester County.
wether the meeting-house should be enlarged or the old site abandoned,
and two houses built so as to accommodate the people better. The whole
matter was finally referred to a committee, which reported in February,
favoring an extensive enlargement of the existing building. The voters,
a large minority of whom were already studying over changes in the map
of Lancaster, by which they hoped for personal advantage, would authorize
only a twenty-foot addition to the length of the old house. This extension
was made, the seats re-dignified, and the minister's salary raised from
eighty to one hundred pounds. But this settlement of a vexatious
question was known to be merely a temporary compromise, and the dis-
satisfied gained numbers and arguments as months rolled by.
Meanwhile Still River, Harvard, lost its most prominent citizen, Capt.
Samuel Willard, who, in 1727, removed to the west side of the river.
Worcester County created - April 2, 1731.
In June, 1728, a petition headed by Capt. William Jennison was presented
to the General Court, with a plan for a new county, to be formed from
certain towns of Suffolk and Middlesex. Lancaster, in August, favored
this scheme, contingently upon the holding of certain courts at Marl-
borough and Lancaster; but reconsidered this vote in the following
February, and joined in the Petition for the erection of a new County
in the western part of Middlesex, which resulted in the creation of
Worcester County, April 2, 1731.
Lancaster was the oldest, had the largest number of inhabitants and
was the wealthiest of the fourteen towns that wer thus set off from
A warrant calling a town-metting on Monday the 18th day of May, 1730,
discloses the ambition of the villagers at Bare Hill - an article in it
"Also to Consider, Conclude and Act what may then be thought proper
to be done in setting off a part of ye Town of Lancaster by meets and
bounds or by allowing a dividing line to be made, beginning at the
Southern end of ye causey near to the house of Samuel Wilson and run
west - northwest to ye west line of Lancaster old Township, or so much
land lying on ye northerly side of sd causey (causeway) as may be judged
soficient (sic) for to make a Township with that part of Stow and Groton
whose inhabitants have agreed and covenanted with the petitioners:
John Priest, Jr.
p.52 History of Harvard.
Henry Houghton, Jun'r.
Henry Willard, Jun'r
Samuel Rodgers Jun'r.
The town voted not to accede to the wish of the petitioners. Propositions
to the same end met the voters of Stow and Groton, at the same time. At a
Town meeting in Stow, March 2, 1729-30:
"The question was put wether the Town will set off the land beyound (sic)
Beaver Brook with the inhabitance and it passed in the negative."
Groton was more kindly disposed to the scheme, for, March 3, 1729-30:
"Upon the motion and application of:
Simon Stone Jun'r
Jonathan Farnsworth Jun'r
voted that the town is willing that the persons forenamed with the land
on the southerly part of the town as far as to the brook, about six pols
southwardly of James Stone's house at that place where ye highway crosses
said brook so easterly & westerly on a parrelel (sic) line with ye South
line of ye township to ye towns of Littleton & Lunenburg, be annexed to
some part of ye town of Stow and Lancaster for a separate township when
ye General Court of Pleas - the farm called Cauicus (or Major Simon's
Willard's farm) or such part thereof as shall fall with ye Line aforesaid
excepted - the property of said lands devided or undevided remaining to ye
The associated secessionists from the three towns at once appealed to the
General Court in a Petition which is preserved only in such abstracts as
were incorporated in town meeting warrants, and in a later plan of the lands
The petition was read in the House of Representatives July 2nd and notice
of a hearing was ordered, given to the towns concerned. August 7, 1730,
the voters of Lancaster were warned to a town meeting:
"to show cause (if any the town have) by agents or otherwise on ye
2nd Tuesday of ye next session of ye General Court, why ye prayer of a
Simon Stone Jun'r
on behalfe of themselves, (and as they say, on behalfe and at ye desire
of sundry of ye Inhabitants of ye Towns of Lancaster, Stow and Groton)
wherein they pray that a considerable part of ye towns of said Lancaster,
Stow and Groton, may be incorporated into a District and separate Township
should NOT be granted.
To be continued - p. 53 - Petitions for a Township
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth