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It is a duty, which men owe to their posterity, to transmit the knowledge of their ancestors. Minute and circumstantial accounts of our friends, fathers and progenitors acquire an interest in our feelings and impart a joy to our hearts, which the stranger intermeddleth not with,
Under this impression the following history has been written with a minuteness and particularity, admisible only in local and private histories, designed for family connections and friends. It has been the great object of the author to state facts with chronological accuracy ; that he might furnish authentic documents for the future historian. He has given to the whole the form of Annals, that it might be more convenient as a book of reference,
He tenders his thanks to Maj. Nathaniel Howard, TownClerk, for his assiduous attentions in accommodating him with the records and documents under his care ; to many individuals for the use of their family records and private papers ; particularly to Mr. John Farmer of Amherst, N. H. a native of this town, for kindly furnishing him with sundry articles of importance to this work.
He also deems it a tribute justly due to the seca retary of the Commonwealth, Alden Bradford, Esq.
and to the other gentlemen, employed in the secretary's office, to acknowledge with gratitude their kind attentions and civilities in furnishing him with such
papers and records, relating to the origin and first settlement of the town, as are deposited in that office.
WILKES ALLEN. Chelmsford, Jan. 12, 1820.
THIS VOLUME Is most respectfully dedicated to the inhabitants of the town of CHELMSFORD, with the best wishes of the Author for their growing prosperity.
HISTORY OF CHELMSFORD.
THERE is a sublime pleasure in tracing the footsteps of past existence, in walking over the ground, cultivated by former generations, in reviewing the records of their deeds, and in examining the monuments of their industry, wisdom and piety.In these acts we seem to become familiarly acquainted with those, whose voices and countenances are unknown to us, and feel interested in those scenes, which once engaged their active spirits and excited their liveliest interest.
The propensity, so strong and universal, to dwell upon the virtues of ancestry, finds ample gratification in the learning and piety, patience and fortitude of the first settlers of Massachusetts ; the leading features of whose character were visible for
many years in the inhabitants of this town.
The unmolested enjoyment of religious worship and ordinances in their primitive purity, which was their leading object in visiting and subduing this wilderness, was constantly kept in view and made the governing principle of their conduct. Agreeably Mr. Higgimon in his Election sermon 1663 observes, “ that it concerneth New-England always to remember, that they are a plantation religious, not commercial. The profession of pure doctrine, wor. ship and discipline is written upon her forehead. Worldly gain was not the end and design of the people of New-England, but religion. If then any man among us make religion as twelve and the world aš thirteen, such an one hath not the spirit of a true New-England man.
WE are pleased to find that the eară ly inhabitants of this town bore a strong resemblance to their pious ancestors.
About twenty, per sons from Woburn and Concord at the last session of the General Court in 1652, petitioned for liberty to examine a tract of land, “ lying on the other side (west) of Concord river. The Court accepted and granted their request. Having by a joint committee examined and viewed the aforesaid tract of land, and having also found sundry others, to the number of thirty nine in all, desirous of uniting with them in 1653
erecting a new plantation, they jointly pp
titioned the legislature for a grant of land, * bordering upon the river Merrimack, near to Pawtuckett.' They stated that, there was a very comfortable place to accommodate a company of God's people upon, who may with God's blessing do good in that place for church and state. They requested that the said tract of land might begin on Merrimack river at a neck of land next to Concord river, and so to run up by said river south and west into the country to make up a quantity of six miles square. About the same time a petition was presented to
* See Appendix No. 1.
† This word is spelt by modern writers Pentucket, Pantucket, and Patucket--I have followed Gookin and other ancient writers, who doubt. legs had the right spelling.