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There are few employments of industry more humble than in the compilation of local annals. It should be permitted to him who has finished his task, to explain why it was undertaken, and how it has been accomplished.
In 1792, a memoir of four pages, by Timothy Paine, William Young, Edward Bangs, and Samuel Stearns, relating to Worcester, was communicated to the Massachusetts Historical Society, and published in the volume of their collections for that year. The materials furnished by these gentlemen, were transferred by the Rev. Peter Whitney to his History of the County. The sermons of the Rev. Dr. Bancroft in 1811, 1825, and 1836, and the Address of Hon. John Davis, May 2, 1825, with their appended notes and documents, contain many facts illustrative of civil and ecclesiastical condition. These were the only printed narratives of the settlement and progress of Worcester. It seemed desirable, while it was yet possible, to gather the fast fading traditions and scattered records of the past, and preserve more full view of our local history, than was permitted by the limits of religious discourse and festival address, or accorded with the plan of former writers.
To accomplish this object, the files and records of the colonial and provincial governments; of the original proprietors ; of the town, and its parishes, churches, and societies; of the county courts and registries; and the series of newspapers from their commencement, have been examined: private journals and papers, the recollections of the aged inhabitants, the treasures of the garrets, and the knowledge of the race in active life, have been collected, with some labor. In the execution of the work the result of these examinations, there has been no effort for literary excellence, and none can be expected. The primary purpose has been accuracy. In the multitude of facts and dates there will doubtless be found many and great errors : it will be consolation when they are discovered, that they have not resulted from want of disposition or exertion to be correct. Reliance has seldom been placed on tradition, when it was not confirmed by better evidence, or corroborated by the concurrent testimony of records. Wherever it has been practicable, reference has been made to the authority for statements, that their truth might be tested.
The work has been extended diffusely, and probably tediously and unprofitably. The events of the history of the town werefclosely interwoven with those of the county, and seemed to demand detailed notice from this connection: and at every step, matters of curious interest, which it seemed impossible to reject, arose to seduce from the direct path of narrative: until the annals of the village have become as voluminous as the records of an empire.
The language of original papers has been constantly preferred, wherever it could be used, to the words of the compiler; lest by changing forms of expression, something of the fidelity of delineation and vividness, of description of the actors in the scenes of the past, should be lost. The modes of spelling, which were erroneous in the days when they were used, have not been retained: but the ancient documents transcribed, except those copied in the appendix, have been made to conform to modern orthography. Names of persons and places have been printed as they were found written in the manuscripts consulted, or books quoted: although by following this rule, the same word has been made to assume various and sometimes strange forms, on different pages.
The general plan of arrangement, affording convenience in tracing the course and connection of events, and facility of reference, has been imitated from Mr. Shattuck's History of Concord. It would have been greatly desirable that the excellence of this model could have been more fully copied.
The comparative length of the biographical memoirs will be found sometimes to have been determined more by the means of information than the merits of the subjects of the sketches. In relation to living persons, the dates of birth have, with few exceptions, been intentionally omitted.
The pleasant duty of acknowledgment for kindness remains. Some, to whom heavy debt of gratitude was due for aid, have gone down to the grave while these sheets have been in preparation, with the rich mines of their recollections unexhausted.
There is scarcely an individual named in the succeeding pages, who has not contributed good wishes or useful information. The compiler has been under great obligations to Rev. Dr. Bancroft, Mr. Thomas Rice, Edward D. Bangs, Esq. Hon. Nathaniel Paine, Samuel Jennison, Esq. Dr. John Green, Isaac Davis, Esq.; to the clerks of the town and parishes; and to Joseph Willard, Esq. Mr. Samuel G. Drake, and Rev. Joseph B. Felt of Boston, for many courtesies, communications, and valuable papers.
A notice of the errors of the pen and press which have escaped correc- . tion will be found at the end of the book. Some, which will be readily detected by the reader, not affecting the meaning of the text, have been omitted in the list.
Page. CHAPTER I. First Period, from 1664 to 1675: first settlement, Grants to In
crease Nowell and Thomas Noyes. Report of exploring Committee, 1668. Petition of Committee of settlement, 1669. Project for settlement. Difficulties with Ephraim Curtis, 1674. Indian deed. Grants of lands to settlers, 1675. View of the plantation, in 1675. Hostilities with the Indians. Seulement
abandoned. CHAPTER II, King Philip's war, 1675, 1676. The Nipmuck country. Indian
Settlements. Visit of Gookin and Elliot. Attack on Quaboag. Ephraim Curtis. Phinehas Upham. Henchman's expedition. Quinsigamond burnt. Henchman's second expedition. Sagamore John surrenders. Matoonus shot.
Executions in Boston. Destruction of the Indians. CHAPTER III. 1677 to 1713. Second settlement. Indian deed, 1677. Meeting
of Planters, 1678. Henchman's agreement, 1684. Citadel. Survey. Mills built. Name of Worcester. Lots laid out. New Committees, Capt. Fitch's létter. Queen Anne's war. Town abandoned. Digory Serjent killed, Elisha Ward. Indian Hostilities. Petition for resettlement refused, 1709.
28 CHAPTER IV. 1713 to 1722. Third settlement to incorporation. Petition, 1713.
New Committee. Report, 1714. First Settlers. Jonas Rice. Gershom Rice. Nathaniel Moore. Garrisons. Mills. Roads. View of the town, 1718. Grants
to proprietors. Scotch and Irish emigrants. Town incorporated, 1722. CAAPTER V. 1722 to 1765. Lovell's war and French wars. Selectmen's peti
tion, 1724. Gershom Rice's letter, 1724. Uriah Ward. Col. Chandler's orders. Seléctmen's petition, 1725. Capt. Wright's letters, 1725. Benjamin Flagg's letter, 1725. County established, 1731. Gov. Belcher's visit, 1735. Soldiers. Excise, 1754. French neutrals, 1755. Military exertions, 1756. Col. Chandler's report, 1757. Men in service during French wars. Division of the Coun
ty and removal of the courts opposed. CHAPTER VI. 1765 to 1775. American Revolution. Instructions, 1766, 1767.
Resolutions, 1768. Covenant, 1768. Tea. Votes, 1773. Committee of Cor. respondence, 1773. Political Society. Peter Oliver. Address of Grand Jury, 1774. Report on grievances, 1774. Instructions. Protest of royalists. Town Meeting. "Record expunged. Non-consumption covenant and bath. Mandamus connsellors. Assembly of the people. Alarm. Minute men. Courts stopped. County Convention. Sheriff Chandler. William Campbell. Instruc.
tions. Blacksmith's Convention. Depot of military stores. CHAPTER VII. 1775 to 1783. American Revolution. Preparations for war.
Instructions, 1775. Survey of British officers. Commencement of hostilities. Alarm of April 19. March of minute men. Tories disarmed. Memorial of officers. Royalist confessions. Clark Chandler. British prisoners. Poor of Boston. Military requisitions. Fourth of July, 1776. Regulation of prices. Detail of levies of troops, contributions, exertions, and proceedings, during the war. County conventions. Constitution, Excise. Peace restored. Proceedings as to refugees.
104 CHAPTER VIII. 1782 to 1787. Insurrection. Distresses of the people. County
Conventions, 1782, 1784, 1786. Court stopped, Sept. 1786. Spirited conduct of Judge Ward. Proceedings of the insurgents. Convention, Sept. 1786. Town meeting, Oct. 1786. Court of Sessions interrupted. Sheriff Greenleaf. In
surgents occupy the town, Dec. 1786. Militia of Worcester appear in arms for