History of Springfield, MA
After Mr. Moxon's departure, there being no regular minister to take his place, the services were conducted by the leading members of the church. At a town meeting held February 18th, 1656, "It was voted that Mr. Hollyoke and Henry Burt should carry on the work of the Sabbath in this plase, but in case that through any providence of God part of the tyme (they) should be disenabled that Deacon Chapin
should supply that present vacansy; more over the town voted to allow them also 50 pounds a year, that is to say from the 4th of November last the time they began and to continue till the town have another suply or shall so cause to alter they are to in that particular, but they would accept but of 40 pounds unto which the Town assented."
"it was also voted they would allow to Decon Wright, decon Chapin, Mr. Hollyock, Henry Burt 12 pounds for their labours the last summer which they spent in that work."
"At a town meeting, November 9th, 1657, Mr. Holyoke is made choice to cary on ye worke of ye Sabbath once every Sabbath day which he accepts of. Mr. Pynchon is made choise of one part of ye day once a fortnight which he will endeavor to attend sometimes by reading note and sometimes by his own meditations till March next. Deacon Chapin and Henry Burt are made choice of to carry on ye other part of ye day once a fortnight for which these persons they are allowed forty pounds a year."
SEATING THE PEOPLE IN THE MEETING-HOUSE.
The Selectmen and the Deacons, or a committee appointed by the Selectmen, determined the order in which the seats in the meeting-houses in New England, in the early settlement, should be occupied. Ability and general regard, as well as wealth, had much to do with the order of selection. The women, as a rule, do not appear to have been assigned to particular seats, but occupied, in another part of the house, such as suited their own preferences. The lists still preserved, which give the order of seating the men and boys in Springfield, do not indicate any great regard for those having the largest possessions. At Northampton, "age and estate" determined the order, and to some extent that might have prevailed here. The first list, still of record, bears the date of December 23, 1659, and reads:
"The order which persons now seated in the meeting house by the Selectmen and Deacon Chapin.
The Selectmen are as followeth:
Henry Burt in the little Seate by the Deacon's seate.
And for order sake there were place in the
The rest of the younge persons that want years, are to sit on the other side of the alley in the seate next to the stayers.
The order of seating, bearing date of February 23, 1662, in the records, - 1663, according to present reckoning, the year at the time beginning March 25th - was as follows:
By Deacon Chapin & the Selectmen - Thomas Cooper, Robert Ashley, Benjamin Cooley & Samuel Marshfield. In ye:1st Seate.
9th Seate - not mentioned here.
In ye foreseate of ye Gallery:
In ye upper seate above ye Pillar on ye North side:
In ye upper part above ye Pillars on ye South side:
Below ye Pillars on ye North side:
On ye South side below ye Pillars:
Thomas Cooper, Jun.
In ye Backer seate of ye Gallery on the North side at the upper end of it:
In ye South side at ye upper end of the Backer seate:
In ye Backer seate above the Pillars on the North side:
On the South side:
Goodwife Chapin is to sitt in the seate along with Mistress Glover and Mistress Holyoke.
BURNING OF SPRINGFIELD BY THE INDIANS.
The burning of Springfield by the Indians October 5, 1675, nearly forty years after its settlement, was the most startling and important event in its early history. King Philip had begun open hostilities which had spread to the region of the Connecticut valley. Hadley, Deerfield and Northfield had suffered. Captain Lothrop and his brave men had been slaughtered at Deerfield, and terror reigned in every town and hamlet. Major John Pynchon had gone to Hadley with a small force on the 4th of october, leaving Springfield unprotected.
On Long Hill in the south part of the town, overlooking the valley, a fort had been con-structed for the protection of the friendly Indians, who were dwelling in peace in the neighborhood. Into this a large number of hostile Indians, including some who had previously been on terms of intimate friendship with the whites, had secreted themselves. Toto, a friendly Indian, who was living with a white family in Windsor, revealed the plot, and that night a messenger rode swiftly to Springfield, who roused the inhabitants and warned them of the threatened danger.
Everyone was notified who had not gone to Hadley with Major Pynchon, and immediately took refuge in the three fortified houses. Among the numbers were some of the older men of the community including:Deacon Samuel Chapin
Rev. Pelatiah Glover
Lieut. Thomas Cooper
Mr. Glover at once carried his library
to Mr. Pynchon's house for safety. A messenger was dispatched to Hadley to notify Major Pynchon of the great danger that was impending, but the morning of the 5th opened without any indications of an attack upon the town, and Toto's statements began to be discredited. Rev. Mr. Glover, confident that there was no danger had carried his library back to his house, and Lieut. Cooper, long engaged in this region, set out on horseback for the fort. Thomas Miller accompanied him. They had approached Mill river, within less than a half a mile of the fort, when they were fired upon by the Indians. Miller was instantly killed and Cooper severely wounded. The latter's horse galloped back to town and stopped in front of Major Pynchon's house, when Lieut. Cooper fell dead to the ground. The Indians then followed up this attack, and soon the dwellings which had been temporarily deserted by the occupants, for places of greater safety, were set on fire and destroyed.
Pentecost Mathews, wife of John Mathews, was shot and killed in the south part of the town, and her house set on fire and consumed. The work of destruction, now fairly begun, the prominent actors in this most startling frontier drama, no longer continued their disguise. They proved to be some of the hitherto friendly Indians - one of them an old Sachem who had been on the most intimate terms of friendship, almost from the first settlement. The house or correction, some of Pynchon's mills and many other dwellings and barns, were burned to the ground. Various accounts differ as to the actual number. Major Pynchon, who hurried back from Hadley as soon as informed of the contemplated plot, but did not arrive until the town was in ashes, stated that about thirty houses were burned. Capt. Samuel Appleton, who was at Hadley, in a letter put the number at thirty-three houses and twenty-five barns while Jonathan Burt set down the number at "twenty-nine houses and barns." He was chosen one of the Selectmen the next February and entered a brief account in the third volume of the town records, which now occupies a fly leaf of that book and this is the only account that has been preserved in Springfield.
During the attack Edmund Prygrydays and Nathaniel Brown were severely wounded and both died soon afterwards. Major Treat of Connecticut who had been stationed at Westfield with an armed force, and Major Pynchon and Captain Appleton with their two hundred soldiers prevented further destruction.
Mr. Glover's valuable library shared the common fate and was entirely destroyed with his dwelling. Fifteen houses on the street and twenty or more in the outskirts of the town were saved.
Major Pynchon's letter to Rev. John Russell of Hadley, his letter to the Governor, both of which are on file in the State Archives at Boston, and one to his son then in England, con-tain some interesting statements concerning this entirely unexpected and startling event. His letter to Rev. Mr. Russell is given in full below:
Springfield, October 5, 1675.
"The Lord will have us ly in ye dust before him; wee yt were full and emptyed, but it is ye Lord & blessed be his holy name: we came to a Lamentable & woefull sight. The Towne in flames, not a house nor barne except Mr. Glovers & John Hitchcocks & Goodman Stewarts, burnt downe with barnes, corne & all they had: a few standing about ye meeting house, & then from Miricks downward, all burnt; two garrison houses at the Lower end of ye Towne, my grist mill & corne mill burnt downe with some other houses and barnes I had let out to tenants: All Mr. Glovers library burnt with all his corne, so yet he hath none to live on as well as my selfe, & many more yt have not for subsistence; they tell me 32 houses ye barnes belonging to them are burnt & all, ye livelihood of ye owners & what more may meete with ye same stress ye Lord only knowes; many more had their estates burnt in their houses, so yt I believe 40 familys
are utterly destitute of subsistence; ye Lord shew mercy on us. I see not how it is possible for us to live here this winter & if so the sooner we were holpen off ye better. Sir, I Pray you acquaint our Honored Governor with this dispensaton of God. I know not how to work, neither can I bee able to attend any Public service, the Lord in mercy speak to my heart & so all our hearts is this real desire of
Under date of October 8, Major Pynchon wrote Governor Leverett:
"I desire to give you an account of the sore stroke upon poor distressed Springfield, which I hope will excuse my late doing of it. On the 4th of October our soldiers which were at Springfield I had called off leaving none to secure the towne because the Commissioners' orders were so strict. That night a post was sent to us that 500 Indians were about Springfield intending to destroy it on the 5th of October.
"With about 200 of our soldiers I marched down to Springfield where we found all in flames about 30 dwelling houses burnt down and 24 or 25 barns, my corn mill, saw mill and other buildings. Generally men's hay and corn are burnt and many men whose houses stand had their goods burnt in other houses which they had carried them to. Lieut. Cooper and two more slain and four persons wounded. That the town did not uttrly perish is cause of great thankfulness. As soon as said forces appeared the Indians drew off, so that we saw none.
"Our endeavors here are to secure the houses and corn that are left. Our people are under great discouragement and talk of leaving the place. We need your orders and directions about it. How to have provisions, I mean bread, for want of a mill, is difficult. The soldiers here already complain on that account, although we have flesh enough. Many of the inhabitants have no houses, which fills and throngs every room of those that have, together with the soldiers; indeed it is very uncomfortable living here. But I resolve to attend what God calls me to and to stick to it as long as I can.
"I hope God will make up in himself what is wanting in the creature, to me, and to us all.
Insert here scanned copy of JONATHAN BURT'S ACCOUNT OF THE BURNING OF SPRINGFIELD (very short report in longhand)
"To speak my thoughts - all these towns ought to be garrisoned, as I have formerly hinted. To go out after the Indians
in the swamps and thickets is to hazard all our men, unless we know where they keep, which is altogether unknown to us."
Major Pynchon, referring to Mr. Glover's loss, says: "He had all his books burnt; not so much as a Bible saved; a great loss, for he had some choice books and many."
This was Springfield's first baptism in fire and blood, and although the settlers must have been greatly disheartened, they immediately set about repairing their broken fortunes. During the year, 1675, according to Judd, in his history of Hadley, 145 persons were killed within the limits of what was then Hampshire county, as follows:
At Brookfield August 2 - 13 killed Above Hatfield, August 25 - 9 killed At Deerfield, Sept 1 and after - 2 killed At Northfield, Sept 2 - 8 killed Near Northfield, Sept 4 - 16 killed At Muddy Brook (Deerfield) Sept. 18 - 71 killed Of Capt. Mosely's Company Sept. 18 - 3 killed At Northampton, Sept. 28th - 2 killed At Springfield, Oct 5 - 4 killed At Hatfield, Oct 19 - 10 killed At Westfield, Oct 27 - 3 killed At Northampton, Oct 29 - 4 killed.
This great destruction of life in a single year brings to us some realizing sense of the danger that attended the early settlements, and the great insecurity of life. On the preceding page is Jonathan Burt's account of the burning of Springfield, reproduced from the original record in the town book.
LONGMEADOW - THE FIRST LOCATION.
The rich alluvial lands at Longmeadow early attracted the attention of those who settled here and grants of land were soon madein that locality. As is generally known the first settlement in Longmeadow was on that stretch of lowland in the region through which the railroad passes. Subject to inundations in every high freshet the residents experienced much discomfort and damage. Action was finally taken looking towards a new location of the street and the homelots upon the high ground to the eastward. At a town meeting held in January, 1703, the question of removal was brought up, when a petition asking for a new
grant of land on the hill. They desired room sufficient to lay out some sixty or eighty homelots, each to be twenty rods in width and eighty rods in length. The petition is here given in full:
"We, the Inhabitants of Longmeadow in Springfield do make our Address to this Town of Springfield as followeth:
"We declare our difficult circumstances.
1. Our living in a general field we are thereby forced to be at great charge to make lanes or outlets for our creatures. (livestock).
2. By reason of floods our lives have been in great danger, our housing much damnified, and many of our cattle have been lost.
3. A third difficulty, which we shall mention in the last place, not that we count it a matter of least concern, but because in reason it will be helpt in the last place, and that is our living remote from public worship of God, as to hearing the Word preached, etc., and also our children are thereby deprived of the benefits of instruction by the schoolmaster in the Town.
Nor for our relief we do suppose our best way is to move out of the general field, and build on the hill against Longmeadow; and we have been at the pains to measure what lands we thought might be convenient to build upon for three score lots and to be twenty rods in breadth and about eighty rods in length. We therefore desire the Town would order those lands to be laid out and modeled in such way and manner as may be most comfortable for settling thereon. We desire not this that the Town by granting this our desire should be brought into any snare or inconvenience hereafter, but for our own benefit and comfort and our posteritys.
We subscribe:Nathaniel Burt, Sr.
Samuel Bliss, 2d.
Nathaniel Burt Jr.
Thereuppon the Towne did vote that Major John Pynchon,
Japhet Chapin, Lieut. John Hitchcock, to be a committee to go upon the place and view the lands, who are to make return of what they find, to the Town."
At a general town meeting held March 9th, 1703, the committee made their report, and the record states:
"At this meeting the petition of the inhabitants of Longmeadow presented at the Town meeting January 29, was considered and it was voted to give the liberty to build upon the hill Eastward of said Longmeadow.
It was further voted to give the land from Pecowsic to Enfield bounds, and from the hill Eastward of the Longmeadow half a mile further Eastward into the woods unot the said Long-meadow inhabitants, and unto such others as a Committee appointed by the Town shall allow, in all which they shall be ordered and modeled in such way and manner as may be most com-fortable to settle on, reserving liberty for convenient highways. And Major John Pynchon, Japhet Chapin, and Lieut. John Hitchcock, were appointed to be the Committee to see to the modeling and ordering of those said lands and the charge of this work to be borne by the Longmeadow inhabitants and such others as shall be added to the Longmeadow inhabitants. Luke Hitchcock, Senr., desired his dissent hereto entered."
This was the beginning of the work of settling in that portion of Springfield which now constitutes the beautiful village of Longmeadow, the most delightful suburb in proximity to the original town, and what it seems must at some future time return and become an in-tegral part of the Springfield that is to be, coming back to the house from which it left at a time when circumstances were greatly different from the present.
Nathaniel Burt, who headed the petition for removal from the meadow to the uplands, was the youngest son of Henry Burt, and he and his sons and grand-sons were for many years promin-ently identified with the interests of the place. He made donations of land to the town in support of the church and schools of Longmeadow and eighty years after
his death his benefactions were recognized by the erection of a monumental tablet at his grave by the town, bearing this inscription:
This monument is erected to his memory by
"Mr. Nathaniel Burt, a respected
and worthy Father of the town of
Longmeadow, was born A.D. 1636,
and died Sept. 29, 1720.
the said Town as a token of gratitude for
donations in land made by him to them for
the support of the gospel and public schools.
Is. 32.8. 'The liberal deviseth liberal things
and by liberal things shall stand.' Erected by
the votes of the Town passed 1796 and 1797."
This was the first public gift in support of popular education made in this part of the colony.
SPRINGFIELD'S FIRST SCHOOL HOUSE.
While no doubt it was adequate for the needs of that time, Springfield's first school house presented a marked contrast with the palatial edifice which is now being erected. It was 22 feet long and 17 feet wide, and the contract price for building was £14. unless the builder should have "an hard bargaine," and in that event he was to be paid "10 shillings more" It was located on what is now Cypress street, then known as "the lane to the upper wharf." It was built in 1679, more than forty years after the settlement was begun, and its builder was Thomas Stebbins, Jr., son of Lieut. Thomas Stebbins and grandson of Rowland Stebbins, the ancestor of the large number who ber this family name.
The record of this transaction is of sufficient interest to be repeated in this place:
"At a town meeting, being a legal meeting, May 7th, 1679, it was voted & concluded, 1st that there should be an house erected for that noble design & use of Learning the youth in those necessary peices or parts of Learning Videl: reading & writing, & secondly, that this house should be twenty & two foot in length & eighteen footin breadth. & 3dly That the Selectmen should be appointed or trusted to agree with any meet person or persons to frame this said building & when ye town shall have deliberated & determined whee to sit it, viz., ye school house, ye same appointed persons are likewise to finish it for school use."
The Selectmen proceeded to carry into effect the vote of the town and on the 2d of June, at a meeting of the board, Deacon Benjamin Parsons, John Dumbleton, Henry Chapin and John Holyoke, being present, they voted: "It having been formerly at a Town meeting propounded to ye Town that they should set up a school house for the Town, they concluded that such a school house should be erected, & appointed Selectmen to bargain with any meet person to build such a house for such use: accordingly they have bargained with Thomas Stebbin, Jun'r to get timber for such a building & frame it, whose length is to be 22 foot; & breadth 17 foot; & stud 8 foot half; & he the said Thomas Stebbin is to carry the frame to place & to nail the clap boards close on both sides & ends & to lath & shingle the roof & to make three ligh spaces (windows) on one side & two lights on one end & to set up a mantletree & set up a rung chimney, & to daub it, & the said Thomas is to have for his work so done fourteen pounds paid him by the Town & in case it so prove that he said Thomas have an hard bargaine it is hereby agreed that he shal have 10 shillings more of the Town."
It does not appear that prior to that the public school had an established place, but that such quarters were used as could be conveniently had. After the new meeting house was built, at a town meeting held on the 9th of October, 1678, "it was voted and agreed that the watch house to ye New meeting house should be, or serve instead of a school house, until such time as the Town shal see cause to order otherwise."
The location of the first school house did not give satisfaction and two years after it was begun, at the annual town meeting, it was voted, "that if any persons appear that will removed the school house without any charge to the Town & bring it into ye Middle of ye Town, & set it in such place as ye Selectmen apoint, without damnifying ye house, by the 1st of March next ensuing, they shall have liberty to do it. But if no such persons appear the house shall be finished & continued where it is now by ye Selectmen.
FORMATION OF COUNTIES AND TOWNS.
For many years Springfield continued the central point of operations relating to the terri-tory which is now embraced in the four western counties; and also in Brookfield in Worcester, and Enfield and Suffield in Connecticut. Out of Springfield have sprung counties and towns of no small importance. Out of the old county of Hamphsire have come Berkshire, Franklin and Hampden, while the old name was retained in the territory in the central limits. The towns which have gone either directly from Springfield or have been subdivisions of those which were established out of Springfield in the earlier years, include what is now within the county of Hampden. Hampshire and Berkshire were named for the corresponding shires in England, while our Hampden has come from the brave and patriotic Puritan leader, John Hampden, and our neighbor on the northern border, from the statesman and philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, one of the best and wisest of New England's sons.
The formation of the present counties of Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin, grew out of an act of the General Court passed March 1, 1787, which created three districts for registering deeds. The towns which now practically constitute the county of Hampshire, were made a district with the office at Northampton. The towns north of them constituted another district, with the office at Deerfield, and those towns which comprise the present county of Hampden a third district, with the office at Springfield. When Hampden County was set off from Hampshire the real estate records for this district remained in Springfield, and also all real estate records for Hampshire County previous to the passage of the act March 1, 1787. All records of the County Court and Probate Court previous to 1812 remained at Northampton.
THE EARLIEST IMPORTANT COUNTY HIGHWAY.
After the settlement of Northampton and Hadley, there ws need of a better highway between the upper and lower settlements. As Hadley was settled from Connecticut towns,
mainly from Windsor, communication between the older and newer towns became frequent. The first road that was traveled between Windsor and Northampton was through what is now within the limits of Westfield and Easthampton. Travel between Springfield and Northampton in early times was by this route. In 1664, ten years after the settlement of Northampton, a movement was made for a road on the east side of the Connecticut, mainly with the view of providing a shorter road to Hadley. The Country Court took action and the report which follows is from the records at Northampton. In this is the first mention of Mount Holyoke by that name. "Scannunganuck," (variously written in other records), refers to a locality now within the limits of Chicopee. "Munhun" is now Manhan, the name give to the mill stream in Easthampton. After the east side road was built travel between Hadley and Windsor passed through Springfield, and the town records show that there was complaint made of the Hadley men doing much damage with their carts to the road in Longmeadow. The action of the County Court and the report of the Committee to lay out the road is given in full, as follows:
"At the county corte held by Adjournment at Northampton, October ye 3d, 1664: The County Corte at Northampton in March last past haveing made choyce of a Committee viz: Capt. Cooke & Quartermaster Woodward of Northampton, Cornet Allys & Andrew Warner of Hadley, & Ensign Cooper & George Colton of Springfield, to make a survey & to lay out highwayes between Hadley & Windsor, giveing to ye said Committee or the majoryt of them full power to de-termine anything concerning ye highways both ye place & places where such highwayes shall lye & the manner how & by whom & when they shal be repayred: Ensign Cooper being not cheerfull to attend the work the Towne of Springfield according to the said Corte, chose another in his roome (place) which choyce fell on Benjamin Cooley. And the said Committee haveing done what in their judgments concerned them for effecting their said work did under the hands of
ffive of them make returne to this Corte of what they had done in ye busyness: This Corte doth approve & allow of the said Returne, ratifying & confirming ye work: A Copy where of here followes the Originall being on file:
Northampton May ye 21st, 1664.
"Whereas wee whose names are underwritten were chosen & appointed a Committee by ye County Corte at Northampton ye 29th of March last past, to survey & lay out the highwayes of ye County, as namely, betwen Hadley & Windsor, being ordered by the Corte to take the first opportunity thereof, have on ye 16th day of this present May begun to attend our said work in surveying & considering ye same & doe agree & determine.
"That ye highway from Hadley Townes end on ye East side of ye great River to ye fort meadow gate, running as it now lyes, be in breadthe six rodds; and from thence to ye towne end of ye sd meddow in breadth two rodds; and from thence (ye way lying still as it doth) to ye end of Mount Holyoke, in breadth ten rodds, & from thence to Scanunganunk, as ye cartway now runs, in breadth twenty rodds & from thence to Springfield to the upper end of ye Causey (causeway) going down into ye Towne, six rodds; & from ye lower end of Springfield to long Meddow gate, running where it now doth, in breadth ffour rods & from ye long meddow gate to the bridge ye lower end of by the Rivers bank shal be in breadth two rods & from ye lower end of the Said Meddow into fresh water River, soe called, as the way now runs, ffourr rodds & from thence to Namerick, where John Bissell had a barne standing, as now ye way runs twenty rods, & from thence to Namerick brook where will best suite for a bridge, two rodds & from thence to ye dividing lyne between the Colonies, where ye house way now lyes, two rodds; and from the said dividing lyne on the West side of ye River, towards Waranoak in ye way that is now improved, comonly called ye new way, (that is to say) to two miles brooke, fourty rodds & from thence to Waranoak hill where the trading house stood, twenty rods & from thence to ye passage of ye River where ye way now lyes, six rodds & from thence thorough ye other Meddow to ye great hill as the way now lyes, six rodds & from thence to Munhan River, forty rodds, & from Munhan River to ye lotts now laid out neere ye Mill River, fourty rodds, & from thence to the Town of Northampton ffoure rods, & from Northampton along
by the common fence side unto ye great River, six rods in breadth & from ye River side just opposite on ye last side, to run cross to ye middle way yt leades to ye Centre of Hadley Towne, two rodds & soe to Hadley Towne two rodds; allowing for the conveniency of landing places an acre of land on each side of the River, to be in length twenty rods & in breadth eight rodds, viz: on Northampton side opposite ye River from ye fence, & on ye other side up & down the River each town to make its own landing place. The ferry to be appoynted by the next County Corte & in ye meanetyme yt the way through Northampton may be improved accordingly. And further we judge & determine that the towne of Hadley shall make & maintayne all ye highwayes & bridges from their Towne to Scanunganunk to ye foot of the falls, & in case it appeares to be our colonies right over Namerick brooke, that the way be made & maynteyned by Hadley & Northampton mutually: and further wee determine yt if Hadley and Northampton either or both of them shall at any tyme hereafter see cause to dissert ye highway they now use, & shall make the way through Springfield their common roade to Windsor for carting, then either or both shall contribute to ye mending the bridge at Long-meddow: and for these Severall wayes & bridges to be made & repaired sufficient for travell with carts, wee determine that they be done by the Severall Townes respectively, at or before the Sixth day of June next, as also yt such stones as are moveable in Scanunganuck river be turned aside out of the Cart way & ye charge thereof to be paid by the County Treasurer.Aaron Cooke
(x) Andrew Warner's mark
A brief summary of interesting events in the history of Springfield and to some extent that of other localities, which have a contemporaneous interest, will be found in the following pages. The early settlement of Springfield followed closely the first founding of the towns in New England, that it has a wider historical interest than those towns which have a much later origin. That the dates of settlement of other towns may be brought into connection and more readily kept in memory, the following table is here inserted:
Plymouth settled in 1620 Salem under Endicott 1628 Charlestown 1629 Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury & Watertown, from Winthrop's Mass. Bay Co. 1630 Cambridge 1631 Wethersfield, CT., from settlers at Watertown, Mass. 1635 Windsor, CT., in June under Hooker and Stone, from Cambridge 1636 New Haven, Connecticut 1638 Northampton from Windsor, Hartford and Springfield 1654 Hadley from Hartford ad Wethersfield 1659
May 14, 1636. Settlement of Springfield begun by William Pynchon, Matthew Mitchell, Henry Smith, Jehu Burr, William Blake, Edmund Wood, Thomas Ufford and John Cable.
May 16, 1636. The agreement under which the settle-
was made signed this day by the above named persons.
July 15, 1636. A rate of £40 agreed upon to build a house for the minister, George Moxon.
March 30, 1638. Ordered that future inhabitants should bear a share of the cost of the minister's house.
January 3, 1639. It was agreed at a general meeting that William Pynchon, Jehu Burr, Henry Smith, John Cable, Richard Everett and Thomas Mirick should set the bounds on the Plantation up the river on both sides of it. On the West side the bounds were fixed at a brook above the great meadow, a quarter of a mile above the mouth of Chicopee River.
March 26, 1639. John Cable and Samuel Hubbard were given power to lay out the lots in the Plantation on both sides of the Connecticut River. For "theyr payns they are to have 2 pence an acre for homelots and 1 pence for greater lots."
November 14, 1639. The excercise of training shall be practiced one day in every month.
April 16, 1640. "It is ordered that the Plantation be called Springfield.
January 26, 1642. Henry Smith, Elizur Holyoke, Henry Burt, Samuel Chapin, Richard Sikes, and Thomas Mirick, shall have full power to lay out the lands both of upland and meadow on the west side of the Connecticut.
February 2, 1655. Land was purchased by the town of Thomas Stebbins, and Francis Ball, in "theyr homelots next to the river," for a burying ground, - an acre and a half of Stebbins and an acre of Ball. This was the first cemetery in the town, which was also used as a training field.
September 26, 1644. First board of Selectmen chosen, consisting of Henry Smith, Thomas Cooper, Samuel Chapin, Richard Sikes and Henry Burt.
January 10, 1645. Six rods square having been reserved, out of the lot which was Henry Gregory's then owned by Thomas Stebbins, now that part of Court Square which faces Elm
street, "it was mutually agreed by the inhabitants for the speedy carrying on of a meeting house, and that every inhabitant shall afford 28 days' work, when he shalbe required by him who shal undertake the building of it, providing he shall not require but 6 days at a tyme."
February 28, 1645. An agreement was made with Thomas Cooper to build the meeting house. "It is to be 40 feet long, 28 feet wide, 9 feet between joints, have 4 large windows, two on each side, and one small one at each end, one door at the south side and two small doors as shall be thought convenient." This was the first building devoted to religious meetings and public uses, erected within this State west of Boston and its vicinity.
March 26, 1645. This bargain with Thomas Cooper was acknowledged by the town to have been fulfilled.
May 7, 1645. It was voted that all the inhabitants who shall absent themselves from town meetings shall be lyable to a fine of a half bushel of Indian corn.
January 8, 1646. It was agreed with John Matthews to beat the drum for the meetings at 10 of the clock on lecture days and at 9 of the clock on the Lord's days, in the forenoon only, from Mr. Moxon's to Rowland Stebbins - from near Vernon Street to Union Street, and for which "he is to have 6 pence in wampum, of every family, or a peck of Indian corn, if they have not wampum."
January 8, 1646. George Colton and Miles Morgan were appointed "to do theyr best to get a smith for the town."
September 4, 1646. A bargain was made with Francis Ball for a shop for the smith, which "is to be 12 feet wide, 16 feet long and six feet stud between joints."
January 29, 1647. It was voted that the £30 due to Mr. Pynchon for the purchase of the lands from the Indians shall be raised by a rate on lands.
March 11, 1647. It was voted that any man who shall kill a wolf within five miles of the town shall have 10 shillings to be raised by a rate on cattle.
January 2, 1648. It was ordered that every inhabitant
p.146 shall repaire to the Recorder and have all his lands recorded, and that if any man neglect to have his lands recorded for six months he shall be liable to a fine of 20 shillings.
December 27, 1649. It is ordered that no inhabitant shall sell or in any way pass away his house or lot to any stranger before he has made the Selectmen acquainted who his chapman is, and they allow of his admission, under penalty of 20 shillings.
1651. Hugh and Mary Parsons examined before William Pynchon in Springfield for witchcraft.
1651. Hugh and Mary Parsons appeared at Boston for trial for witchcraft.
1651. William Pynchon appeared before the General Court to answer the charge of heresy. His book burnt in the market place by the order of the General Court.
1652. William Pynchon and wife, and Rev. George Moxon, the first minister of Springfield, and family, returned to England.
September 14, 1652. John Pynchon, Henry Burt, Samuel Chapin and Thomas Cooper, appointed a committee to treat with Mr. Moxon for the purchase of his house and lands, and accordingly they did agree with him for his house and lands to remain for the use of the ministry forever.
1653. Henry Smith, William Pynchon's son-in-law, returns to England.
February 20, 1656. It was voted that the toll of the miller shall be the eleventh part of a bushel.
November 4, 1656. "It is agreed that these four men, Deacon Wright, Deacon Chapin, Mr. Holyoke and Henry Burt should be allowed £12 by the town for their labors spent among us in the Lord's work on the Sabbath. It was further voted that the inhabitants would allow £50 per year to such as did labour in the same work amongst us, in the future, till such times as we shall have a settled minister."
November 9, 1657. Mr. Holyoke is made choice of to carry on the work of the Sabbath once every day, which he accepts of. Mr. John Pynchon is made choice of for one
part of the day once a fortnight, which he will endeavor to attend sometimes by reading notes and sometimes by his own meditations, till March next. Deacon Chapin and Henry Burt are made choice of to carry on the other part of te day once a fortnight, for which their payns they are allowed forty pounds a year."
January 10, 1658. It is ordered that all sorts of cattle belonging to this town shall be marked with some distinctive mark, which every owner shall repair to Mr. Pynchon and from time to time to the recorder to take and keep on record each man's particular mark.
Decembe 31, 1660. It is ordered that every proprietor of land which is not fenced, but lies in common with others, shall before the last of April next set on each side of his land two good stones, full one foot above ground, or in their stead make a trench of three feet long and two feet deep, near the fron and rear of his lot.
February 12, 1661. It was voted that the raising of rates bor bearing public charges shall be raised on houses, lands and live stock, according to their worth.
February 15, 1661. It was voted to petition the General Court to settle the bounds of the town which desires that the northerly bounds meet the bounds of Northampton on the west side of the river, and New Town (Hadley) on the east side. The southerly bounds to extend 20 poles below the place where Mr. Pynchon had a warehouse, to run east five miles from the Connecticut river and west as far as Woronoco is from Springfield.
February 26, 1662. More room for seating in the meeting house being needed it was voted to built a gallery.
January 9, 1663. The Selectmen having agreed with Goodman Buell to "set up the gallery," Capt. Pynchon engageth to defray all the charges for which he shall be paid by such as shall be seated there - 4 shillings a person.
February 3, 1663. It was ordered that there shall be three days warning given to all in-habitants for holding ordinary town meetings, and that Hugh Dudley will leave word at men's houses or places of usual abode, and if not at home he is to leave word for them at the next neighbor's.
May 11, 1663. It was voted that if any persons entertain an inmate after he as been in town one month without consent of the Selectmen they that so entertain shall be liable to a fine of 20 shillings. An inmate was one who had no established abiding place, and had not been admitted by the Selectmen as an inhabitant.
December 8, 1664. The bounds of Enfield fixed by the town and to be accounted a part of Springfield until the General Court otherwise order.
January 14, 1670. Settlement of Suffield begun by the grants of land to Samuel and Joseph Harmon, Benjamin Parsons and others.
April 15, 1674 - At a town meeting it was decided to build a new meeting house and it was "voted that Serjant Stebbing (Stebbins) should be treated with that it might be sett up in his house lott on the hill by his pasture,"and that "the house shall be made fifty foot long & fourty foote & halfe wide, & that the house shall be underpind with stone two foot & halfe above ground." It was "voted & concluded that the house shall be built so high as that it may be accomodated for galleryes when the town shall see need." It was further voted "that Major Pynchon, Elizur Holyoke, Nathaniel Ely, Anthony Dorchester & Jonathan Burt shall be a committee to agree with a workman or workmen for the building of such a new house."
May 13, 1674. This being a lecture day the committee chosen to build a new meeting house asked "that there might be liberty allowed by the town that the work might lye till October next in respect to felling timber for the work, and
liberty for that was granted." It was further voted that "Lieut. Thomas Cooper shall be added to the committee chosen to order matters for building a new meeting house."
February 2, 1675. Voted to give Sergeant Stebbins four acres of land, "meddow & upland which lyes on the North side of ye round hill," in exchange for the land taken for a meeting house, out of his homelot.
October 5, 1675. Springfield burned by the Indians. Three persons killed. Thomas Cooper, Thomas Miller and Pentecost Mathews.
August 24, 1676. At a town meeting it was "ordered that Ensign Cooley & Samuel Marshfield be added to ye Committee for ye meeting house affaires, some of them being dead." Lieut. Cooper had been killed on the 5th of the previous Ocober by the the Indians an Elizur Holyoke had died a few days after the town meeting in the preceding February.
February 6, 1677. At a town meeting held this day the committee for building the meeting house reported that Thomas Stebbins, Sr., and Thomas Stebbins, Jr., have granted five rods square to "set ye new meeting house on, & having added a rod more in breadth to the way that leads up to ye new meeting house, now ye committee have granted them ye said four acres," on the north side of Round Hill. "And it being further considered about ye townes land where ye old meeting yet stands, how easily by exchange with Thomas Stebbins, it may ly together up to the new meeting house which being propounded to ye said Stebbin, he also agreed to give him the land which lies next to him, two rod in breadth where it fronts on ye street easterly, the town reserving to themselves four rod broad at ye front or high-way or street, eastward & from thence to run back westward through ye said Stebbin, his land, up to ye new meeting house land aforesaid, a little slant, so as to range strait with ye outside or north side of ye second stud beyond or to the northward of ye east door of ye new meeting house, where by this four rod broad of ye towns land, where it fronts on ye street eastward will & is to to gain a little more in breadth by
it, running a little aslant into Thomas Stebbin his land as aforesaid, so that the breadth of it toward ye Westward end next ye meeting house will be full four rod & an half thee & something better. In full satisfaction the town granted to Stebbins out of the Town land in the training field one rod & half of ground next to Stebbin's lot and in rear of it all that breadth of his lot." This location of the second meeting house must be the site, or near it, of the present First Church. The builder was John Allis, and the last accounts concerning the building of the meeting house were approved in February 1683. The cost of the building was £400. 5 shillings.
June 2, 1679. A bargain was made with Thomas Stebbins Jr. to build a school-house to be 22 feet long, 17 feet wide and 8-1/2 feet stud, for which he is to have £14. This was the first building to be used exclusively for school purposes. Location, on the lane to the upper wharf, now Cypress Street.
The dates relative to the formation of the four western counties and of the towns in Hampden County, are given in the following, as found in the manual of the General Court:
Hampshire County Incorporated May 7, 1662. Berkshire County Incorporated April 21, 1761. Franklin County Incorporated June 24, 1811. Hampden County Incorporated February 25, 1812.
Springfield - founded in 1636. Westfield May 19, 1669. Brimfield August 16, 1722. Blandford April 10, 1741. Palmer "The Elbows" Jan 30, 1752. Granville Jan 25, 1754. Monson April 28, 1760. Wilbraham June 15, 1763. Southwick Nov 7, 1770. West Springfield Feb 23, 1774. Ludlow Feb 28, 1774. Montgomery Nov 28, 1780.
Chester Feb 21, 1783. Holland July 5, 1783. Longmeadow Oct 13, 1783. Russell Feb 25, 1792. Tolland June 14, 1810. Wales Feb 20, 1828. Agawam May 17, 1855. Chicopee April 29, 1848. Holyoke March 14, 1850. Hampden March 28, 1878. East Longmeadow July 1, 1894.
GOVERNORS CHOSEN UNDER THE FIRST CHARTER.
John Endicott April 30, 1629. John Winthrop May 18, 1642. Thomas Dudley May 14, 1634. John Haynes May 6, 1635. Henry Vane May 25, 1636. John Winthrop May 17, 1637. Thomas Dudley May 13, 1640. Richard Bellingham June 2, 1641. John Endicott May 29, 1644. Thomas Dudley May 14, 1645. John Winthrop May 6, 1646. John Endicott May 2, 1651. Richard Bellingham May 3, 1654. John Endicott May 23, 1655. Richard Bellingham May 3, 1665. John Leverett (acting) December 12, 1672. John Leverett May 7, 1673. Simon Bradstreet May 28, 1679-1686.
GOVERNORS APPOINTED BY THE KING UNDER THE SECOND CHARTER.
Sir William Phipps May 14, 1692. William Stoughton November 17, 1694.
Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont May 26, 1699. William Stoughton July 1700. The Council July 7, 1701. Joseph Dudley June 11, 1702. The Council February 15. 1714. Joseph Dudley March 15, 1714. William Tailer November 9, 1715. Samuel Shute October 4, 1716. William Dummer December 27, 1722. William Burnet July 13, 1728. William Dummer September 7, 1729. William Tailer June 30, 1730. Jonathan Belcher August 8, 1730. William Shirley August 17, 1731. Spencer Phips September 25, 1756. The Council April 4, 1757. Thomas Pownal August 3, 1757. Thomas Hutchinson June 3, 1760. Sir Francis Bernard August 1, 1760. Thomas Hutchinson August 1, 1769. Thomas Hutchinson March 1771. Thomas Gage May 13, 1774.
ENGLISH SOVEREIGNS DURING THE COLONIAL PERIOD.
James I. 1603 - 1635 Charles I. 1625 - 1649 The Commonwealth 1649 - 1653 Cromwell as Lord Protector 1653 - 1660 Charles II. 1660 - 1685 James II. 1685 - 1688 William III and Mary II 1688 - 1702 Anne 1702 - 1714 George I. 1714 - 1727 George II. 1727 - 1760 George III. 1760 - 1782.
RECORDS OF THE TOWN OF SPRINGFIELD.
The official records of the Plantation and later of the Town of Springfield were opened on p. 9 of the original book and were continued in regular order. The blank pages at the be-ginning were at a later time used for various entries without regard to chronological order
Under date of 28th of March, 1638, there is this record: "There was a free choyce accord-ing to anorder from Mr. Ludloe by the plantation of two Goodmen, Commitys for the Generall Court to be at Hartford the 4th of April, 1638. The partys chosen are Mr. George Moxon and Jehue Burr." This election took place when it was supposed that this plantation was to be under the jurisdiction of Connecticut.
Here follows the estimate of the value of Goodman Gregory's estate which the town purchased and subsequently sold to Thomas Stebbins:
3 acres broken up £3. 11 rod fencing at 2 shillings 6 pence 1. 7s. 6p. 29 rod fencing at 14 pence 1. 14s. 0p. ye house 3. 00s. 0p. 9. 01s. 6p.
When John Cable was about to leave Springfield he sold his house and lands to the town. The agreement is as follows:
"These P'sents doe witness the tenor of a bargaine betwixt John Cable on the one party and the inhabitants of Springfield on ye other party, touchinge the sale of ye sd John Cables lott to the Inhabitants above sd or theyr Assigns in forme & manner followinge.
"The sd John Cable doth by these P'sents sell and pass over all his right in his lott house & grounds broken up or unbroken
up, alsoe all his right in future dividents. In concideration whereof the sd Inhabitants doe agree & covenant to pay unto ye sd John Cable or his assigns the some of £40 at 3 severall payments, viz: ten pounds in hand already payd, and £20 more at ye 29th day of the 3d mo. 1642 which 2 payments the sd Inhabitants do covenant & P'mise to pay in money if they can Procure it, if not, then in such goods or comoditys as ye sd John Cable & ye sd Inhabitants can agree upon: In case they differ in price about ye goods or commodities then two Indifferent men are to Judge between _________In Witness of the P'sents above sd the sd Inhabitants ____ ____ excepted & ye sd John Cable have set to theyr hands ____ ______.
Memorandum: It is agreed that if the sd John Cable doe conclude to take corne for payment above sd, then he is to have it delivered at Windsor, as the ordinary price at that tyme shall be of _____in the Plantation uppon the River.
Aprill 2d 1641.
JANUARY 27TH 1642.
"It is agreed between the Inhabitants of Springfield on the one party and Thomas Cooper of Windsor on the other party viz: The Inhabitants of Springfield doe sell all the Land and housinge which they bought of John Cable to the sayd Thomas Cooper his yeyres and assigns for and in consideration of £25 to be paid as followeth: the first yeare after the date herof the sd Thomas Cooper doth binde himselfe & executors to pay £10 in Corne and the 2nd year £15 in corne or worke as the Inhabitants shall desyre, and the sd John Cable doe at this P'sent asigne and set over to the sd Thomas Cooper the dwelling house and four acres meddow, ore or less appertayning to the house and foure acres & about halfe of the wet marsh before his house, and one acre and a halfe on the (three) corner meaddowe fence, and seven acres just over agaynst it on the other side of the river, and in future dividents according to a single lott of 4 acres to a house lott.
In witness whereof the sd Thomas Cooper hath here set to his hand, the daye and yeare above sayd.Thomas Cooper.
______to the assignment
______in ye behalf of the
The town sold the above property to Thomas Cooper. The agreement of sale according to the record bears date of "January 27th, 1642." According to present reckoning the year should be 1643. Both of these agreements as entered in the record, are in the handwriting of Henry Smith. The signatures as principals, Cable and Cooper, and the witnesses, Pynchon and Smith, are autographs in the original.
The transcriber of the records has preserved the original page numbers which are here in-closed in brackets; for instance, [I-20] will be understood as volume I, page 20.
The abbreviations in the records which have been preserved were in general use in all records for many years, but not printed books of the same period. The letter "y" which stands for "the" is said to be a contraction of the Saxon character for "th." Bearing this in mind the casual reader will easily understand that ye is "the", yt is "that", ym is "them" ys is "this", yr is "their", wt is "what" or white. Which is often written "weth."
Other contractions will be easily understood. Contractions, orthography, punctuation and capitalization have been literally followed in this volume. It has been the purpose to pre-serve the custom in this regard which then prevailed and also the archaic character of the period. The completeness of all records in every particular, depended very largely upon the qualifications of the various recorders, and to them we are indebted for the facts which bear upon the first settlements of New England.
The opening of the original record of the plantation of Springfield begins with the following:
IN THE HANDWRITING OF HENRY SMITH.
[I-9] May the 14th, 1636.
Wee whose names are underwritten beinge by Gods p'vidence ingaged to make a Plantation and over agaynst Agam upon Conecticot, do mutually agree to certayne articles and orders to be observed and kept by us and by our successors, except wee and every of us for our-selves and in our owne p'sons shal think meete uppon better reasons to alter our p'sent resolutions:
1ly. We intend by Gods grace as soone as wee can wth all convenient speed to p'cure some Godly and faithfull minister with whome we purpose to Joyne in Church Covenant to walke in all the ways of Christ.
2ly. We intend that our towne shall be composed of fourty familys, or if we thinke meete after to alter our purpose yet not to exceede the number of fifty familys, rich and poore.
3ly. That every inhabitant shall have a convenient pportion for a house lott as we shall see meete for every ones quality and estate.
4ly. That every one that hath a house lot shall have a pportion of the cowpasture to ye North of Endbrooke lying Northward from the towne: and also that every one shall have a share of the hasokey Marish over agaynst his lott if it bee to be had, and every one to have his pportionably share of al the wood land.
5ly. That every one shall have a share of the meddowe or planting ground over agaynst them as nigh as may be on Agaam side.
6ly. That the long meddowe called Masacksic lyinge in the way to Dorchester shall be distributed to every man as wee shall thinke meete except we shall find other conveniency for some for theyer milch cattayls and by other catayle also.
7ly. That the meddowe and pasture called Nayas toward Patuckett on ye side of Agaam lyinge about foure miles above in the river shall be distributed to foure five or six at most
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