1663: 8 May. The names of Freemen in Springfield this day: (another census substitute):
Captain John Pynchon
Leiut. Elizur Holyoke
Ensigne Thomas Cooper
Mr. Pelatiah Glover
Deacon Samuel Chapin
Before 1664: Elizabeth Harmon, widow of John Harmon, married Anthony Dorchester. I have not been successful in discovering when Anthony emigrated. In Pioneers of Massachusetts, Pope states that Anthony was from Windsor when he removed to Springfield abt 1649. He was also a town officer in Springfield. Anthony ran a ferry in Springfield.
Anthony's first wife was Sarah (surname unknown) and by her he had three children: John Dorchester, born 5 Nov 1644 at Windsor, Hartford, CT; Mary Dorchester b. abt. 1645; and James Dorchester b. 1648. Sarah, his wife, died 9 Nov 1649 at Springfield, leaving Anthony with three little children ages 1, 4, and 5. The History of Springfield states that "Anthony Dorchester and his wife, Sarah, came to Springfield from Windsor and brought three children: John, James, and Mary. Wife died in Springfield 9 Nov 1649; he maried widow Martha Kritchwell 2 Jan 1651. Martha had a young daughter named Martha. She was probably about ten years old at the time of her Mother's marriage to Anthony. Martha had a son, Samuel who died soon after her marriage and was buried 9 (4) 1651 (9 June).
Martha Kritchwell Dorchester's first husband, Samuel s from Hartford. Martha bore three children to Anthony Dorchester, namely: Benjamin Dorchester born 1651; Sarah Dorchester born 12 Nov 1653 and Hester Dorchester born 1656 all in Springfield. Martha and her daughter Hester both died in 1662. At this time, Anthony was left with five children still at home: John, age 18, Mary age 17, James age 14, Benjamin age 11, and Sarah age 9. His wife, Martha's daughter, Martha, had married Abel Wright on 1 Dec 1659.
Sometime prior to December 1664, Anthony Dorchester married the Widow, Elizabeth Harmon, in Springfield. DATE? They had eleven children between them; plus Martha Kritchwell Wright, Anthony's step-daughter.
1664: Dec Upon the request of Anthony Dorchester, there was granted by the town of Springfield to his own and to his wife's sons thirty acres of land each.
1668/69: 7 Jan. Elizabeth's son, John Harmon married her step-daughter, Mary Dorchester in Springfield. John was about 27 at the time of his marriage; Mary was abt 23. Mary was the daughter of Anthony Dorchester and his first wife, Sarah.
1668: 11 Jan "To Samuel and Joseph Harmon for killing 6 wolves this summer past 3 pounds."
1670: Samuel and Joseph Harmon were required to furnish one load as their part of the minister's wood.
1670: 14 Jan The settlement of Suffield, CT was begun by the grants of land to Samuel and Joseph Harmon, Benjamin Parsons and others.
1670: Dec "To Samuel & Joseph Harmon for killing 4 wolves 2 pounds."
1674: 27 Apr. A court complaint against Charles Ferry is quite interesting--mostly because it gives a clue to the occupation and personality of Charles Ferry and perhaps where Nathaniel, my ancestor, learned his trade of weaver: "David Morgan, Plaintiffe, against Charles Ferry for not weaving linnen yarn into cloth according to agreement; David affirming that Charles engaged to pay him for work in building Charles a shop; thirty shillings in weaving cloth which now Charles refused to do; being to the Plaintiff damage 40 s. The testimonies in the case produced being sworn are on file. I find for the Plaintiffe that Charles Ferry make good the thirty shillings in weaving or otherwise pay him thirty shillings in current pay; together with costs of court 3s6d.
1675: July. Danger came to the Connecticut Valley in the form of King Phillip's War. He and his Wampanoag warriers were a formidable foe. No longer were their weapons only tomahawks, arrows, and knives. They had "white man's weapons" of firearms, powder and ball which they had learned to use very effectively.
The Indians attacked the river settlements of Northfield, Deerfield and Hadley. Settlers were cut down in their houses and meadows, their cattle slaughtered and grain burned. As September rolled around each day brought more ominous tidings. Finally came "the saddest day that ever befell New England," with the massacre of one hundred soldiers and over twenty ox cart drivers at Bloody Brook just south of Deerfield.
Bands of Indians began to work their way southward. In Northampton houses and barns were burned; farmers gathering crops were fired upon and killed. The city of Springfield was burned. Even the Agawam Indians who had long been the staunchest friends of the settlers succumbed to the persuasion of King Philip and allowed some three hundred of his warriors into their Long Hill fort. In order to involve the Mohawks in his crusade against the English, Philip caused a number of his own braves to be killed and then accused the English of their murder. The plan backfired when one of the victims revived and returned to his people and told the story of what happened.
The Mohawk tribe then turned on Philip and defeated him and drove his tribe from the valley. Some of the Agawams lingered on, but they no longer caused the settlers any problems. The war was over on 11 Aug 1676. But what a terrifying time it must have been for our family!
1676: Samuel and Joseph Harmon were two of several persons desiring grants of land at, towards, or about Stony River on the west side of the great river toward Windsor; and the selectmen granted to the Harmons "30 acres of land apiece there and six acres of wet meadow." In the Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford Co., Connecticut pg. 993 is a history of John's son, Nathaniel: "He (Nathaniel) and his brother, Joseph became interested in trading with the Indians, and for many years were the principal partners of that noted trader, Col (John) Pynchon, the original proprietor of the site of Springfield. They had routes through the forest in all directions, and collected large quantities of fur, their sheds in Suffield always being covered with skins stretched for drying. Their land lay near the brook west of the village, and they also bought land at Warehouse Point, where they established a storage place for furs."
1681: 15 Apr. "Widow Margarite Bliss and Samuell Bliss Senior, Guardians to Samuel Bliss: Samuel Bliss, the son of Lawrence Bliss, being brought before me by his father-in-law (meaning current husband of his mother), John Norton, for disorderly going from him. It appearing that he was not settled with him andthat at his coming to him from Goodman Dorchester (Anthony). He was to be at liberty to go away when it should be judged meete and John Norton not insisting upon his continuance with him longer. The lad is left to the care and disposute of his Guardians; and he being about 18 years of age hath made choice of and doth here publically declare his choice of his Grandmother Widow Margarite Bliss and his Uncle Samuel Bliss to be his guardians who appearing also and accepting thereof are accordingly allowed and declared the guardians of Samuel Bliss, the son of Lawrence Bliss, who are to take care to dispose of and settle the lad in some good honest service or trade. Some debate being about the new clothes bought him by Goodman Norton. It is determined and agreed to that the lad shall have all his clothes. Only that his hat bought og Bracy Goodman Norton shall be paid for and have 20s more allowe to him out of that 40s which Goodman Norton is to allow him for the mare." My question: Where does Anthony Dorchester fit into this picture. Is Samuel Bliss a relative? Are the Nortons relatives? Who is Widow Bliss?
1681: "A Negro who says his name is Jack, being sent for and examined saith that he came from Wethersfield and is run away from Mr. Samuel Wolcot because he always beats him sometimes with 100 blows so that he hath told his Master that he would sometime or other hang himself. He says he ran away from him one week and a half since. He says he stole a gun at the next towne viz Springfield and hath left it in the woods. He laid it down in a path because it had noe flint in it. Anthony Dorchester saith that today about noon this Negro came to his house and after asking for a pipe of tobacco which I told him there was some on the table, he took my knife and cut some and then put it in his pocket; and after that took town a cutlass and offered to draw it; but it coming out stiff, I closed in upon him and so bound him with the help of my wife and daughter. When scrambling in his pocket I suspected me hight have a knife and searching him found my knife naked in his pocket which he would fain have got out but I prevented him and took it away; I committed the said Negro to prison there to remain and be safely secure till discharged by Authority."
1683: 30 Apr. Nathaniel Horton came before Pynchon presenting a paper for his choice of Samuel Marshfield and Charles Ferry for his guardians.
1683: 28 Aug Death of Anthony Dorchester. Anthony was survived by his wife, Elizabeth to whom he had been married about twenty years or more; his sons, John Dorchester and James Dorchester; and his daughters Mary Dorchester Harmon and Sarah Dorchester Stebbins; and a step-daughter, Martha Kritchwell Wright. He was preceded in death by two wives, Sarah who died in 1649; Martha who died in 1662; and three children: Benjamin died in 1675; Hester died in 1662; and a step-son, Samuel Kritchwell who died in 1651.
Inventory of Anthony's estate was presented in 1683 by his son, John. An agreement was made between sons John and James; grandchildren: Benjamin; daughter, Mary, wife of John Harmon; daughter Sarah, wife of Joseph Stebbins; and his step-daughter Martha, who was the daughter of his second wife, Martha Kitchell and married to Abel Wright--who claimed something for what her mother, the widow of Samuel Kitchell (Kitcherell) once of Hartford, brought to the late Anthony Dorchester.
1684: 13 Oct. Charles Ferry (married to Elizabeth's dau, Sarah Harmon) plaintiff against John Dorchester (married to Elizabeth's dau, Mary Harmon): "According to summons for that said Dorchester took away a load of Charles Ferry's hay which is to his damage as shall be made appear. Charles Ferry says he mowed and made the hay and set it by Agawam River side on his own land as per testimonies of John and Charles Ferry; John Dorchester says I know no hay of Charles Ferrys that I fetched away and can own no such thing. I carried away hay of my own and none but what I took for my own. I own fetching hay of my own and none but what was my own. Charles Ferry's proof falling short, I find for the Defendant. Costs of court viz entry 8s; summons 3s. John Dorchester after Charles was gone, demanded 2s costs."
1684: "Charles Ferry, Plaintiff, against John Dorchester, Defendant, on review of the case about a load of hay which John Dorchester took from Agawam River side in September last which Charles Ferry challenges and is said to his said Ferry's damage as he shall make appear. Charles Ferry says, "That hay was mine. I mowed it and made it upon my own land as per the testimonies on file." John Dorchester says that the land was accepted Charles Ferry as buying it of Widow Harmon, (Elizabeth) but Charles Ferry sold it to my father (Anthony Dorchester) 16 years ago and we have had it in possession ever since without molestation till now and therefore land and hay is mine. Putting it to Goodman Ferry why he let them enjoy it 16 years, he, the said Charles, said He did not know who improved the land or who had it and produced a deed that he bought the land of Widow Harmon. To which John Dorchester replied that that might well be and afterward he might sell it to his father, and did so; and hath owned it. That he Let my father have it; The hay Goodman Ferry's two sons that made it say it was as they guessed a good load and John says it was 24 cocks. John Dorchester ownes it to be about 14 or 15 cocks and was course hay. Upon the pleas and evidences in the case, I find for the Plaintiff, Charles Ferry. In case the land be his on which the hay was made and do so appear then I find for the plaintiff 15 cocks of hay or 15s and costs of court. In case the land be John Dorchesters then I find for the defendant costs of court 3s 6d. After judgment declared as above each party agreed about the Title of the Land as follows: The land being about an acre: Though John Dorchester says his father bought it of Charles Ferry, yet not producing any deed and Charles Ferry saying he knows not that ever he sold it, John Dorchester relinquiahes all his future right to the land and allows Charles Ferry for mowing and making the hay ten shillings; and Charles Ferry is to bear and allow all costs of court and to this agreement each party are consenting and desired this record to be made accordingly as a final issue of all matters concerning the hay and land; and agreed that it should so stand on record under my hand. John Pynchon, Assistant.
1685: Action against Charles Ferry for defaming Benjamin Knowlton's wife by false reports, etc. Had to publically make ammends and apologize.
1685: May 2. An acquittance of John Harmon (Jr.)--husband of Mary Dorchester, to her brothers, John and James Dorchester stating that he had already received the forty pounds due him upon the death of Anthony Dorchester who died intestate:
These gentlemen testify by oath that whereas Anthony Dorchester, deceased [died intestate] under which consideration the ... Corte [held in Springfield the 3rd of September Anno Dom 1684] made a distribution of the estate of the deceased Anthony Dorchester [awarding to his surviving children] according to law, and made his two sons, John Dorchester and James Dorchester administrators of the said estate of which estate the said Corte gave to me, John Harmon of Springfield and son-in-law to the said Dorchester deceased] forty pounds, which forty pounds I have already received of John and James Dorchester to my full satisfaction; therefore, I, John Harmon, do by these presents for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns acquit and forever discharge the said John and James Dorchester, their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns of all legacies, ... .... or ... due to me or my ... from the said estate. Witness my hand.
John Herman X (his mark)
In the presence of us:
Thomas Vigers (his mark)
John Herman above subscribing his mark came personally and acknowledged the same that he was fully paid and did discharge and acquit John and James Dorchester formal payments as above said and make acknowledgment whereof and of this, his full acquittance, Sept. 18th, 1685.
Before John Pynchon
The above acquittance entered into the records on October 9, 1685 by John Holyoke.
1699: 16 May. Death of Elizabeth Harmon Dorchester at Springfield. Elizabeth Harmon Dorchester spent the last sixteen years of her life as a widow. Where did she live? Some records claim she was ninety-one years at the time of her death