Swansea Historical Society

Petition to Separate from Swansey, 1724


Province of Massachusetts Bay

In the House of Representatives.

Nov. 17, 1724

   It is voted and ordered, that the inhabitants of the tract
of land called and known by the name of Shawamet together with
all the lands circumscribed within the bounds thereof be and
hereby are annexed to and shall be accounted as a part of the
town of Swansey, and have and exercise and enjoy equal privileges
with the other inhabitants of the said town until the Court
shall take further order about them.-

Extract from the Records of the General Court
Vol. 7, Page 241.




(sidebar) Action of the General Court on the Petition

   Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the House of Rep-
resentativos. January, 15, 1790.

Ordered that the petitioners: serve the town clerk of the
town of Swansey with an attested copy of their petition and
this order.
That the said town may shew cause, if any they have, on
the second Wednesday of February next why the prayer thereof
should not be granted."
Sent up for Concurrence,
David Cobb, speaker.
In the Senate--Jan. 16, 179D.
Read and concurred with amendments to it. A. B. C. D. Sent
down for concurrence-Sam. C. Phillips Jr. Pres.

A. Insert—"0n the Petition of David Bowers and others. In-
habitants of the town of Swansey. B. Insert--"Twenty days
previous to the second Wednesday of "February next. C.In-
sert. them. D.Dage from D to E.
In the House of Representatives, read and concurred Jan. 16
1790. David Cobb, Speaker.

   To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts convened at Boston on the
Second Wednesday of January A. D. 1790.

   The petition of the Subscribers Inhabitants of the town of
Swansey. Respectfully showeth that most of your petitioners
live in that part of the town of Swansey known by the name of
Shawamet which was originally a separate purchase, but in the in-
fancy of the country was annexed to the town of Swansey by their
own choice, arising from the coarcity of inhabitants; But at the
same time conceiving that they had a right to withdraw and dis-
connect themselves whenever they should think proper. There is
one hundred and twenty dwelling houses now in Shawamet;
But as your petitioners are sensible that its form is rather
inconvenient for a township, and that by taking a small part of
what was originally it may be separated by such a known
line that little or no expense will ever he necessary for peram-
bulation. And will leave about three fifths of the whole Town to
the Town of Swansey.    Under our present circumstances we labor under great incon-
venience which would be remedied by a division. (vis) The Town
Meetings are generally held nearly eight miles from many of the
inhabitants in Shawamet, which are tradesmen and mechanics and do
not keep horses and of course are deprived of exercising the
rights of Freemen and subject to binders that in our present
situation we receive no benefit from. That for several years
(??) has subsisted between the Eastern
and Western part of town, which has been productive of dispense
of time and money to avoid what in future we supplicate the Hon-
orable Court to take our case into their own consideration and
grant us relief by separating it into a separate Township by
the following boundaries (vis) Easterly by Taunton Grand River,
Southerly and Westerly by Lee’s River and Westerly by a lane be-
ginning at Eddy’s Hill up called at the head of Lee’s River and
into Mattapoisett Neck, thence Northerly on said way until it
comes to the road that leads to Taunton and to the Westward of
Col. Peleg Slaid’s Richard Hale’s & John G. Bryant’s; thence
by said line until it come to the Shawamet, from thence Norther
ly on said line until it come to the South line of the town of
Dighton. Your petitioners as well as many of the judicicas In-
habitants of the County do conceive that should the Hon. Court
grant our request it will not only contribute much to the peace
and harmony of the inhabitants of the town of Swansey, but place
upon us such a situation as to enable us to be more beneficial to
ourselves and the Government at large.

As in duty bound shall ever pray

This petition was signed by

Remonstrance of the same inhabitants with the proposed
new town

“To the Honorable etc.

(sidebar) Demon-strance against Division

   We your petitioners Humbly showeth that whereas a petit-
tion is proposed to the General Court by David Boewars and
others respecting the Dividing of the Town of Swanzey and
we your petitioners being Inhabitants of that part of Swanzey
which is prayed for in said petition to be set off, Shawamet
to be incorporated into a township by itself And as the town
of Swansey is a small town already and much In debt occasioned
by the late war which our Town are not able sac yet to Dis-
charge and Dividing the town will still Increase the Debt by
reason of Town Officers and Many other Expenses which will
accrue from said Division.
And as the Town is Already Divided into Districts in or-
der to support schools the division as prayed for will be at-
tended with difficulty, and as we have been a town for above
one Century of Years we pray Your Honors to take our case into
your wise consideration. And that we may Not be Set off from
the old Town of Swansey.

As in Duty Bound shall ever pray."

January the 25. 1790.

Daniel Luther.
Daniel Chase.
Benjamin Earl.
Elizabeth Gardner.
Philip Slead, Jr.
and 24 others.

"Certificate of the Non-inhabitants of some
of Bowers Petitioners."

(sidebar) Non-resi-dence of certain Pe-titoners

   "To the Honorable Senate and to the Honorable House of
Representatives in General Court Assembled.

We the Subscribers
Selectmen of Swansey

Humbly, shueth that whereas there is a Protision preferred
to the General Court by David Bowers and others respecting a
Division of the Town of Swansey These are to inform Your Hon-
ors that the following Persons Named in said Protision are
not inhabitants of the town of Swansey."

The statement is dated
Swansey, January 25 A. D. l790.
Signed by
Joseph Slead
Isaac Mason
Aaron Wood.
And they give the names of twenty-nine persons.

Petition in favor of Division by Citizens of the County.

&To the Honl. etc.,

February 4, 1790.

   “The Subscribers Inhabitants of the County of Bristol beg
leave humbly to represent to your Honors their Opinion rel-
ative to the proposed division of the Town of Swansey.

   From their acquaintance with the town of Swansey and the
disputes and Contentions which have for many years subsisted
in that place the subscribers are of opinion that a Division
cannot on any account be injurious to the town, but on the con-
trary as it will tend to restore peace and put an end to dis-
sentions will be highly advantageous to it and are moreover
of the opinion that the County will be finally benefited by
the proposed division and the Commonwealth at large, as there
is not the least doubt but the band of Government will be
strengthened thereby."

Seth Padelford        John Smith
Jonathan Cobb        Rufus Whitmarsh
Josiah Crocker        William Baylies
Nicholas Tillinghast   Silvester. Richmond
David L. Barnes       Thomass B. Richmond
Simeon Tisdale       Silvester Richmond 2nd.
Joseph Barney        Matthew Whitmarsch
Joseph Tisdale        John Whitmarsh
Zephaniah Leonard      David Whitmarsh.
Amos Leonard         William Brown
Ezra Richmond         Samuel Leonard

(sidebar) Reply of the Town

   “To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the great and General Court of the Assembly of the Common- wealth of Massachusetts to be holden at Boston on the tenth day of February, A. D. 1790.

The petition of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of
that part of Swanzey known by the name of Shewamott, must re-
spectfully showeth that whereas, we are Informed by your Honors
that a petition hath been presented to the Honorable Court
for a division of said Town of Swanzey into two Separate Town-
ships, and as your Honors have called upon us to show our rea-
sons why said petition ought not to be granted, for which favor
we return our grateful acknowledgements, The reasons against
the Proposed Division we Cordially present for your Honors
Consideration is as follows--

That our Town is small and a Division thereof we cannot
suppose will be of public utility, but greatly prejudicial
to our Town, both in respect to its form (which we doubt not
will be laid before your Honors), as also that the same will
be attended with charge, not only so, but an additional charge
to us hereafter, and that we are much in debt already, by be-
ing obliged to keep a Guard on our Shores in the late un-
happy war with Britain, to prevent the Incursions of the Enemy
when they occupied Rhode Island, for if Your Honors should
favor the proposed division we humbly conceive will be addition
to our former burthens which we have not been able, as yet
to Discharge). It's with regret that we have occasion to
mention to your honors the uneasiness that has subsisted in
our Town, in respect to the Choice of Town Offices. Your
Honors would not have been troubled with our petitions in this
affair. We supplicate that you will be pleased to take our
case into your Consideration and act therein, as in Wisdom
you shall see mete, which favor will be gratefully acknowledged
by your petitioners—"

James Buffinton.
Joseph Buffinton.
Jonathan Buffinton.
Ben Read.
Obadiah Chase.
Stephen Manchester.
Moses Buffington, Jr.
Philip Slead.
Samuel Slead.
David Peirce.
Daniel Chase.
Peleg Sherman and 30 others,

   "Whereas Colonel Jerathiriel Bowers has represented
that the agent on the part of Swanzey was willing that the
part of Shawamet that is petitioned for to be incorporated
statement of the train agent into a town should be set off, these are to certify that I
the agent did not consent to have it set off as it will
literally ruin the other part of Swanzey by reasons that are so obvious that I will not pretend to say any more than the papers will inform."

David Brown
Agent of Swanzey.

Boston Feb. 12th, 1790.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Secretary's office, Boston, Feb. 17, 1790.

(sidebar) Polls and Residences In Swan-zey

“This may certify that the whole number of Polls as
returned by the Town of Swanzey in the last valuation amounts to five hundred forty-two.
John Avery Jr., Secretary.

This may further certify that there is 128 dwelling
houses in Shewamet and 243 in the Remains of Swanzey and that
it was declared on oath on the floor of the house by Edward
Slead that he applied to the Assessors of the town of Swanzey
for the Rate bill of the last year but received for answer
that note was lodged. The same person applied to the town
clerk and received the same answer."
Jerathiriel Bowers.

"This may certify that the town of Swanzey's valu-
ation is 3651L 128 6d as per rate in 1786.”
John Avery.



Commonwealth of Massachusetts
In the year of our Lord.
One thousand seven hundred and ninety.
"An act for incorporation that part of the tours of
Swanzey known by the name of Shewamett in the County of Bristol
into a separate town by the name of Somerset.

Be it enacted by the House of Representatives in
General Court assembled and by the authority of the same that
the lands hereafter described and bounded as follows: vis:
Northerly, partly on Dighton and partly on the antient Swan-
zey line. Easterly on Taunton Great River so called, Westerly
partly on Lees River and partly on the antient line of Swan-
zey including all the lands formerly known as Shewamet purchase
however otherwise the same may be bounded with all the Inhabi-
tants thereon be and hereby are incorporated into a town by
the name of Somerset and the said town is hereby invested with
all the powers and privilege and immunities to which towns
within this Commonwealth are intitled agreeably to the Consti-
tution and Laws of this Commonwealth.

And be it further enacted by the author aforesaid
that the Inhabitants of the said town of Somerset shall pay
all the arrears of Taxes which have been assessed upon them
together with their proportion of a11 debts now due from the
said town of Swanzey and, so in the proportion, shall receive
all dues and town stock whatsoever from the said town of Swan-
zey and that all persons who were born in the said Shawamet
purchase who may hereafter become chargeable for support and
have not gained a legal settlement in any other town shall be
the proper poor and charge of the said town of Somerset and
charges together with the poor now at the charge of Swanzey
the same shall be divided according to the proportion in the
present valuation.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid
that the Inhabitants of the Town of Somerset shall forever
hereafter support and keep in good repair their proportionable
part of a bridge known by the name of Mile’s Bridge in the
same proportion that the Town of Swansey and the Town of Somer-
set now pay on the present valuation.

And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that
Samuel Libey Esq. be and he is herby empowered to issue his
warrant directed to some principal inhabitant, requiring him
to warn and give notice to the inhabitants of said Town of
Somerset to assemble and meet at some suitable place in the
said town to choose all such town officers as towns are re-
quired to choose at the annual Town meetings in the Months
of March and April Annually.”

In the House of Representatives
Feb.y 18th, 1790.

This bill having had three Several Readings passed to be En-
Sent up for Concurrence
David Cobb
In Senate Feby. 18, 1790.

This bill having had two several readings passed in
concurrence to be Engrossed.
Thomas Dawes, President, Pro Tem.

   “As a town meeting legally warned and held in Swanzey
on the 30th day of November 1789—in order for the town to
show their minds whether the town will set the easterly part
of the town for a separate town."

Voted not to divide the town, by a large majority."

A true copy, Attest
Jonathan Kingsley,
Town Clerk.



Request for Arms

(attempted translation)
Honored Governor
We are a dispersed people we have nothing saved from
the army we [sense ] the enemy is dispersed through the
wilderness, they are as we judge round about us this morn
-ing three of our men are slain Close by and of
Our [ condos] [cortes] of yard houses burn ! in our sight and
[Man being so ] boosh and so few
of them [ ] not John out And I hass sent to Governor
Loveret for 40 or 50 men and arms and forsed to
Coup [keep ?] condos of yard and our we not capable to
stand the Enemy though[we see houses burning before Our eyes I
pray send some arms to us if you can and Some to our southern
towns Eastham has as I think not
20 good aims in it I pray send them instruction how to
Manage things for their security for they much want
Help. We expect this night to be further surprised by
The Enemy we are is not to
the army but to hope Arms about the woods to
Wait on us and our arms as they have advantage. I judge
Should be what Indians may be engaged in the quarrel
For us which must hunt them out for us or else our English
Will be disheartened to travel about in the woods
And get nothing. But a clap with a bullet out of ambush
The Lord humble us for our sins which are the
Procuring causes of God's judgements and remember mercy
And bestow it on us is the prayer of your unworthy servant
Sent on the 3rd of June ? 1675
John Freeman

I have received yours with much thankfulness hoping we
Shall improve ? your instructions

The men that was John Sr. of Taunton and Samuel Adkins of
Easton John and James Gills house Walkins as Judge