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HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF WORCESTER.
HISTORY CONTINUED. In 1702, hostilities again commenced between England and France. This noted conflict in which so many distinguished heroes acquired their fame, is known by the name of Queen Anne's war, which continued eleven years. The subjects of the Gallic monarch in Canada again“ let slip the dogs of war” upon our frontiers. During this period but little progress was made, in settling the waste lands of the interior. The few planters that were fixed here were called again to driok deeply of the cup of misery. This year (1702) the town of Worcester was entirely depopulated, and contioued desolate until after the peace, when a single family took up its residence here. They were not joined by other settlers until 1715. Lancaster was once more doomed to feel the united vengeance of French and savage ferocity, in the death and captivity of many valued citizens, and in the burning of their meeting house and many dwelling houses. In this war as well as the last, they were called to lament the loss of a beloved Clergyman. Brookfield likewise again suffered, but the year 1710 is the latest date when this barbarous warfare was carried home to either of those ancient settlements. In this war settlements at Westborough and Northborough, that then constituted parts of Marlborough, were visited by like calamities. Two of the principal settlers were carried captive into Canada. The year 1707 is rendered memorable by a savage incursion in what is now Northborough, from whence the Indians were pursued, and a bloody battle was fought in the westerly part of Lancaster, now Sterling : the spot has ever since borne the name of the Indian fight."
The peace of Utrecht in 1713, caused a cessation of hostilities. There had been little progress made in the plantations for many years. AH was trepidation and alarm. The colonists were called upon to partake largely of the sufferings of the war. They were loaded with a heavy debt occasioned by acquiring their country and maintaining their possessions. The mother country afforded them po relief. It was computed that the losses of the Colonies from 1675 to the peace of 1713, amounted to nearly 6000 men.*
During this peace, Sutton, Westborough, and Leicester, were incorporated into towns. In 1722, the eastern Indians, exasperated
* Hutchinson II-183.
by some supposed encroachments upon their lands, again took up the tomahawk. The war was carried on in a manner peculiarly bloody in the settlements within New Hampshire and Maine. It is known by the name of Lovewell's war, from the circumstance of the famous battle between the Indians and the heroic Captain of that name, near the Saco river. This was one of the most fierce and obstipate battles ever fought with the savages. Our men were overpowered by superior numbers, but the survivors maintained the fight with such fury that their opponents left the field. Such is the peculiar characteristic of the savage temper, that neither time nor distance mitigates the spirit of revenge for supposed wrongs. Rutland, in this County, although far removed from the scene of action, felt tbe fury of their vengeance. In the two succeeding yoars, they continued to receive the most violent assaults from the barbarians. Several of the inhabitants were killed or captured,
the former their minister. Oxford was also attacked, but the enemy were vigorously repulsed by the enterprise of a courageous female.* ; , in
This war is also identified with the history of Father Ralle, a noted French Jesuit, and for nearly forty years a missionary among the Indians, submitting to an uorepining conformity to all their privations, hardships and wanderings. : He was a learned scholar, and a sensible man.. There is some evidence that he countenanced, if he did not instigate the savages to many of their barbarities upon our settlers. He was sláin by our men, in their attack upon the Indians at Norridgewock, August 23, 1724. Among many other interesting documents belonging to this learned man, that fell into the possession of our soldiers, there was found a voluminous Dictionary of the Abenaki language, translated with unwearied perseverance into Latin. It is now in the Library of Harvard College. . Whatever may have been the demerits of this interesting man, his self immolation and devotedness to the cause of bis religion and his country, ought to shield his memory from a multitude of reproaches.t la 1726, the war was closed by an honorable and equitable
* Hutchinson 11-279. + Ibid II--282. Belknap's New Hampshire Il-50. The elegant writer of Father Ralle's panegyric, Hist. Col. VIII—250, is referred to Capt. Har man's testimony on oath, for the evidence of the base act charged upon the Priest, in the last moments of his life. Is.it right to reject the testimony of Capt. Harman and Moulton, who were eye witnesses of the facts, and to receive that of Charlevoix, with all its ornaments, or that of Pere de la Chasse, with all his indignation ?
peace, and since that period, the villages of this County bave been but little disturbed by the sound of the war whoop or the yells of prowling savages. It is true that great alarms were excited in the subsequent French wars, but the mischiefs resulted in a few solitary deaths at various intervals. The settlements now advanced with great rapidity. Lancaster bad extended her borders; and a grant of land made to her inhabitants in 1713, began to be occupied at this period. This was the foundation of Leominster and Sterling. Uxbridge, Southborough and Shrewsbury were incorporated in the year 1727; and the next year Turkey bills adopted the name of Lunenburgh.
The inhabitants being subjected to great inconvenience in attending Courts, were bow desirous of being established"into a County. Fight of the towns then belonged to the County of Middlesex, five to Suffolk, and Brookfield was annexed to Hampshire County.
The Act incorporating the County of Worcester," passed April 2, 1731.
“ An act for erecting, granting, and making a County in the inland parts of this province, to be called The County of Worcester, and for establishing Courts of Justice within the same.
"Be it enacted by his Excellency the Governor, Council, 'and Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That the towns and places hereafter named and expressed, that is to say, Worcester, Lancaster, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Leicester, Rutland, and Lunenburgh, all in the county of Middlesex; Mendon, Woodstock, Oxford, Sutton, including Hassanamisco, Uxbridge, and the land lately granted to several petitioners of Medfield, all in the county of Suffolk ; Brookfield, in the county of Hampshire, and the south town laid out to the Narraganset soldiers ; and all other lands lying within the said townships, with the inhabitants thereon, shall, from and after the tenth day of July, which will be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty one, be and remain one entire and distinct county, by the name of Worcester, of which Worcester to be the county, or shire town: And the said county to have, use and enjoy, all such powers, privileges, and immunities, as by law other counties within this province, have and do enjoy.
6 And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be held and kept within the said county of Worcester yearly, and in every year, at the times and place in this Act hereafter expressed, a Court of General Sessions of the Peace, and an Inferior
Court of Common Pleas, to sit at Worcester, on the second Tuesdays of May and August, and the first Tuesdays of November and February, yearly and in every year, until this Court shall otherwise order :- Also, that there shall be held and kept at Worcester, withio the said county of Worcester, yearly and in every year, until this Court shall otherwise order, a Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Goal Delivery, to sit on the Wednesday immediately preceding the time by law appointed for the holding the said Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Goal Delivery, at Springfield, within and for the county of Hampshire :-And the Justices of the said Court of General Sessions of the Peace, Inferior Court of Common Pleas, and Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Goal Delivery respectively, who are, or shall be, thereunto lawfully commissioned and appointed, shall have, hold, úse, exercise and enjoy all and singular the powers which are by law given and granted unto them, within any other counties of the province, where a Court of General Sessions of the Peace, Inferior Court of Common Pleas, and Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Goal Delivery, are already established.
“ Provided, That all writs, suits, plaints, processes, appeals, reviews, recognizances, or any other matters or things which now are, or any time before the said tenth day of July, shall be depending in the law within any part of the said County of Worcester : -Add also, all matters and things which now are, or at any time before the said tenth of July, shall be depending before the Judges of Probate within part of the said County of Worcester, shall be heard, tried, proceeded upon and determined in the counties of Suffolk, Middlesex, and Hampshire respectively, where the same are or shall be returnable or depending, and have, or shall baye day, or days.
- Provided also, That nothing in this act contained, shall be construed to disannul, defeat, or make void any deeds or conveyances of lands, lying in the said County of Worcester, where the same are, or shall be, before the said tenth of July, recorded in the Register's office of the respective counties where such lands do now lie; but that all such deeds or conveyances so recorded shall be held good and valid as they would have been, had not this act been made.
" And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Justices of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, at their
* first meeting in the said county of Worcester, shall have full pow
er and authority to appoint some meet person, within the said counthe ty of Worcester, to be Register of Deeds and conveyances within
the same, who shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of his trust it in the said office, and shall continue to hold and exercise the same
according to the directions of the law, until some person be elected
by the free bolders of the said county of Worcester, who are heredie by empowered to choose such person, on the first Thursday of
September next ensuing, by the methods in the law already pre*scribed, to take upon bim that trust. And until such Register shall
be so appointed, by the said justices, and sworn, all deeds and conS reyances of lands, lying within any part of the county of Worces
ter, which shall be recorded in the Register's office of the respective counties wbere such lands do now lie, shall be held and deemed good and valid to all intents and purposes as to the recording thereof.
“And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That kes the methods, directions and proceedings by law provided, as well
for the electing and choosing a Register of Deeds and conveyances, as a county Treasurer, which officers shall be appointed in the same manner as is by law already provided, on the first Thursday of September next, and also for the bringing forward and trying
any actions; causes, pleas or suits, both civil and criminal in the sevali eral counties of this province and Courts of Judicature within the * same, and choosing of Jurors to serve at the Courts of Justice, shall
extend, and be attended, observed and put in practice within the
said county of Worcester, and by the Courts of Justice within the og same : Any law, usage or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.
“Provided always, That the inhabitants of the several towns and places herein before enumerated and set off a distinct county, shall pay their proportion to any county rates or taxes already made and granted, in the same manner as they would have done, had not this act been made."
Having now completed the general survey of the County, we shall proceed to furnish, in the successive numbers, a particular and minute account of the individual to- .s, embracing all those items which may be interesting to the ; .esent generation, or proper as matter of useful record for the information of posterity.