Brookline Historical Publication Society

Early Notices Of Local Events
[Editor's Note: Published July, 1896.]

In Vol. I. of the printed Town Records, under the heading, "January, 1637, the great allotments at Muddy River," reference is made to William Townsend's eight acres as " bounded on the northwest with a swamp, by Mr. John Coggeshall's wigwam and William Dyneley."

This John Coggeshall was from Halstead, Essex, and became later one of the founders of Newport, R. I. For an extended notice see pages 80-87, "The American Monthly," January, 1896.

The Boston News-Letter.
Monday, September 5, to Monday, September 12, 1720.

"Ran-away the 7th Currant, from his Master Stephen Winchester of Brookline, an Irish Man Servant, Named Edward Coffee, about Twenty years of Age, middle Stature, full fac'd, down Look, flat Nose, a scar in his Forehead above his Right Eye ; he had on and carried with him a light coloured broad cloth Coat, a cinamon coloured Chamblet1 Coat, an Ozenbrigs2 Shirt, and a patch'd Holland Shirt, Cinamon coloured Breeches, with silk puffs tied at the Knees with Ferret Ribbon, gray yarn Stockings, and one pair of woosted, new round to'd Shoes with wooden Heels, a stuff Gown, a Castor3 and an old felt Hat, a Wig tied with a black Ribbon, a black leather Belt; he carried also away with him a chestnut Sorrel Horse, fourteen hands high, paces wells, a round skirted Saddle, with blue cloth Housing. Whoever shall take up said Runaway and Horse, or either of them&Convey to the above said Stephen Winchester at Brookline, or to the Prison keeper in Boston, so as his Master may have both or either again, shall have Forty Shillings Reward, and necessary Charges paid."

The Boston News-Letter.
From Monday, October 24, to Monday, October 31, 1720.

"A Small Farm in Brooklin, containing about Ten Acres of very good Land, a House, Barn, and a good new Orchard ; to be Sold on reasonable Terms. Inquire of Mr. William Sharp in said Town and know further."

The Boston News-Letter.
From Monday, November 13, to Monday, November 20, 1721.

Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, a native of Brookline, on the suggestion of Rev. Cotton Mather, introduced, 1721, inoculation for small-pox. At first it incited great opposition. One of his early patients was a nephew of Cotton Mather, one Nathaniel Walter, born 1711. He was a grandson of Rev. Increase Mather, and a son of John Eliot's successor. He married Rebecca Abbott of Brookline, and was Chaplain at Louisburg. His daughter, Sarah, married Sir Robert Hesilrige Bart, of Leicester, great grand-nephew of Cromwell's friend. Drake's History of Roxbury.
The following extract refers to the above Nathaniel Walter while under treatment for small-pox :

"To prevent wrong Representations that may be made of a late Awful and Tremendous Occurrence fallen out in Boston, it was thought fit to give this true and short account of it.

" At the House of the Reverend Dr. Cotton Mather, there lodged his Kinsman, a worthy Minister under the SmallPox, received and managed in the way of Inoculation. Towards Three of the Clock in the Night, as it grew towards the Morning of Tuesday the Fourteenth of this Instant November, some unknown Hands threw a Fired Granado into the Chamber of the Sick Gentleman : The weight whereof alone, if it had fallen upon the Head of the Patient (which it seemed aimed at) would have been enough to have done part of the business designed. But the Granado was charged with Combustible matter, and in such a manner, that upon its going off, it must probably have killed the Persons in the Room, and would have certainly fired the Chamber&soon have laid the House in Ashes ; which has appear'd Incontestible to them that have since Examined it. But the Merciful Providence of GOD so ordered it, that the Granado passing thro, the Window, had by the Iron in the middle of the Casement, such a Turn given to it, that in falling on the Floor, the Fired Wild-Fire in the Fuse was violently shaken out some Distance from the Shell, and burnt out upon the Floor, without firing the Granado. When the Granado was taken up, there was found a Paper so tied with a Thread about the Fuse, that it might outlive the breaking of the Shell : wherein were these words : ' Cotton Mather I was once one of your meeting; But the Cursed Lye you told of you know who ; made me leave you, you Dog, and Damn you. I will enoculate you with this, with a Pox to you?' This is the Sum of the matter, without any Remarks upon it."

The Boston News-Letter, Boston,
January 30, 1724.

"On Friday last the 24th Currant, Mr. Benjamin Child of Roxbury going with his Son and Cousin with a Sled into Brooklin Marshes for Hay, when he was there, (finding himself ill) he told 'em, he should take his leave of the Marshes, and immediately fell down on the Sled of Hay, they then help'd him off&he walk'd a little, but soon fell again ; then they laid him on the Stack where he fetch'd a Groan or two, and died." The following clipping suggests the size of the several holdings of that date :

The Weekly News-Letter, Thursday, April 13, 1727.

" A Farm in Brooklin containing an 120 Acres, lying on the Country Road, from Watertown to Boston, to be Sold ; Inquire of Mr. Cotton of Newton, and know further.
" N. B. There's a good Wood lot of more than 30 Acres belonging to it, and a very convenient place to build upon."

On the 5th of March, 1770, the British troops quartered in Boston, fired on the inhabitants in State street five of whom were killed and six wounded.

"History of the Boston Massacre"
The following extracts from "History of the Boston Massacre," Frederick Kidder, Albany, 1870, bear reference to Brookline :

Depositions of Witnesses.

"(No. 39) John Goddard, of Brookline, testifies and says, as he was passing the street on Saturday last, being the 3d instant, he stopped near the barracks in Water Street, and sold several of the barrack people some potatoes about five o'clock in the afternoon, and found by their discourse some of the soldiers had returned from a fray near the ropewalks, and a number of soldiers came out of the barracks [the 2pth was quartered in Water and Atkinson Streets,] he supposed about twenty, with clubs, seemingly much enraged ; and one in a profane manner swore he would be revenged on them, if he fired the town."
John Goddard.

Ibid. Trial of the British Soldiers, November 27, 1770.

" The prisoners being asked whether they would agree in their challenges, consented that Wm. Wemms should make challenges for them all. "

Challenged Peremptorily Nehemiah Davis, Brookline.

" Clerk. Cryer count these : Joseph Mayo, Foreman, Roxbury, Nathaniel Davis, Roxbury, etc."

Ibid. P. 114.

"The extraordinary conduct of the commissioners of the customs since the 5th of March, and their perseverance in it, make it necessary to bestow a few observations upon it ; and upon divers matters, with which it seems to be connected

" Mr. Paxton retired to Cambridge, four miles from Boston

" Mr. Hulton sometime ago purchased a place at Brooklyn, five miles from Boston, and has ever since resided there.

" Mr. Burch, with his wife, has retired to Mr. Hulton's, who, together with Mr. Burch (leaving their wives behind them) are now on a tour to Portsmouth, in the Province of New Hampshire, where the last account from thence left them. It is now about six weeks since a board of commissioners was held : and it is utterly uncertain when there will be another." [A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston. Edited by Fred'k Kidder, 1870.

Ib. P. 117.

"The commissioners obliged for their safety to quit the town. If one falsehood can be more so than another, this is the greatest yet mentioned, and is as ridiculous as it is false. Their conduct and such a declaration by no means agree. Would they in that case occasionally visit the town ? Would they trust themselves in the environs of it ? Could they think themselves safe at Cambridge and Brookline ? Could they think themselves safe anywhere in the Province, or indeed in America?"

Commissioner Henry Hulton's house stood on the site now occupied by Mr. Moses Williams, Walnut street.

June 5, 1780. It is alluded to in the printed Town Records as a forfeited estate.

Worcester County History. Hurd. Vol. I.

P. 27. "The members of the first Lancaster Committee [of Correspondence were] chosen Sept. 5, 1774 During the same month two four-pounders were at once obtained from Brookline, for which eight pounds were paid."

Drake's History of Roxbury

April 19, 1775. "The Roxbury women and children fearing the troops left their homes in many cases. Mrs. Greaton whose husband afterward became a general started in a cart for Brookline, the little ones inside, the rest walking."

Deacon Tudor's Diary. Boston, 1896

1775, April. "On the 29th My Daughter Savage with three of her Children took their flight from Boston to my House [in the] upper part [of] Cambg for Safety, two of my Daughter Thompson's [children] from Brookline was with us before, many others who can gett a pass are dayly leaving Boston, from those terable times, Good Lord deliver us."

The Deacon's second daughter, Mary, married William Thompson. Under December, 1782, it is stated "Jemmy Thompson came to live with us for som time in order to go to School in Boston&on the 1 1 Inst went to Mr. School in State Street." He was doubtless one of the children seeking safety.

Battle of Bunker Hill. Richard Frothingham, 1890
The following relate to the fort at Sewall's Point :

"Four companies were in commission June 17 [1775], and four more were commissioned June 22. Depositions June 16 station three companies at Chelsea, three at Cambridge, and two at Sewall's Point "

Of Colonel Gerrish's conduct, Swett says : ' A complaint was lodged against him, with Ward, immediately after the battle, who refused to notice it, on account of the unorganized state of the army. He was stationed at Sewall's Point, which was fortified ; in a few weeks, a floating-battery made an attack on the place, which he did not attempt to repel, observing, 'The rascals can do us no harm, and it would be a mere waste of powder to fire at them with our four pounders.' It was evening, the lights were extinguished, and all the British balls flew wide of the fort. For his conduct on this occasion, and at Bunker Hill, he was arrested immediately, tried, found guilty of ' conduct unworthy an officer,' and cashiered.' This was August 19, 1775. It vvas thought by the judge-advocate of the court that he was treated far too severely."

Worcester County. Hurd. Vol. II
The following relates to the fort at Sewall's Point :

" General Rufus Putnam, so well known in connection with the ' Ohio Purchase ' and Marietta, was born in Sutton, 1738. He entered the Revolutionary War as Lt. Col. of Col. David Brewer's regt. And was stationed at Roxbury, in Gen. Thomas's division of the Army soon after the battle of Lexington. When it was decided lines of defence should be thrown up, Col. Putnam's name was mentioned since he had seen some service in that line in the late war against Canada. Col. Putnam frankly told Gen. Thomas he had read nothing with regard to military engineering, but no denial would be taken, and he set about tracing lines in front of Roxbury, towards Boston, and especially at Sewall's Point. While thus engaged, Generals Washington and Lee came over to view the condition of the troops. They so highly complimented his works that he was encouraged to persevere. All the defences of Roxbury, Dorchester and Brookline were of his construction."

Elijah Fisher's Journal, published Augusta, 1880.

1781. " Dec. 4th I with Br. Abial Left Attleborough at five in the morning for Boston and on our way to Putney in the New State [i. e. Vermont] and Comes to Boston and Lays out thirty od Dollars for things to Carry with us then Left Boston we Comes to Landlord Baker in Brookline [Punchbowl] after the march of thirty saven miles. The 5th we Left Landlord Bakers at Six of the Clock and a bad storm we had which hendred us and at Nine at Evening we Come to Mr. Puffers in Sudbury and Lodged twenty two mild."

Boston Gazette and Country Journal, May 5, 1783.

"On Monday Night the 2ist Instant, was Stolen from Brookline, a Horse, Saddle and Bridle the Horse is 5 years old, trots and canters, his Mane hangs on both sides of his Neck is Something Hollow-back'd, was never known to pace a step, his colour is between Sorrel and bay ; The Saddle was pretty good, Had no Cruper, it had a strip'd blue and white Saddle Cloth. Whoever will take up said Horse and Thief, and give Notice thereof to the Subscriber so that he may have the Horse, and the Thief that Stole him, shall have Twenty Dollars Reward : But for the Horse, without the Thief, Ten Dollars.

Per Ebenezer Davis of said Brookline.

[1] i. e. * Camlet "A stuff either of hair, of silk, or of wool, or of all these materials in various combinations." - Costume of Colonial Times. EARLE.

[2] A linen originally made at Osnabrück, Hanover, and universally used. - ibid.

[3] Castor or beaver hats were largely imported. - ibid.

Printed in July, 1896