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Some years since, many of the inhabitants felt desirous of affording their children more abundant opportunities of instruction, than could be obtained at the public schools, which, it cannot be expected, will ever be kept the year through in the various districts. In order to secure a permanent school, a number of gentlemen from this and the neighboring towns, associated together, and established an Academy early in the summer of 1815. Few institutions of the kind have probably ever done more good. Many have already been taught there,* who, but for its establishment, would have been much less favored, in their opportunities for learning. The building used for the school being inconveniently situated, at some distance from the centre of the town, an effort was made in April last, to obtain a subscription to erect a new building, in the centre of the town. A large and ample sum was obtained in town for this purpose, with but little difficulty. The land just south of the church was given by Messrs. Horatio and George Carter, who, with their brothers, have also subscribed most liberally, to the undertaking. A new and very tasteful building of brick, two stories in height, with a cupola and beh, is nearly completed. The situation is well chosen : a fine common in front is thrown open, and a beautiful view of the valley and rising grounds, particularly to the west, renders the spot delightful. It is intended to add to the present school, a distinct and permanent school for females, in the second story of the building. This indeed is a highly important part of the new plan; for it is believed, that if society is to make great advances in future, it must be by improving the means of female education and that the progress of society in learning, refinement and virtue, is in proportion to the cultivation of the female mind. An act of incorporation has been applied for; a bill for that purpose passed the Senale at the last session of the General Court, and, without much question, will pass the House, next winter. The Academy thus far has had the advantage of able instructors : the following are their names, viz.
SILAS HOLMAN-M. D. Cambridge, 1816, now a physician in Gardiner, Maine. He kept but a few months in the summer of 1815.
* Mr. Frederick Wilder a graduate at Cambridge, in 1825, and son of Mr. Jonathan Wilder of this town, was educated at this academy. He died at Northampton, in the winter of 1826. He was full of promise ; he possessed a mind of a high order and a heart filled with every good feeling and virtue. No one was ever more generally beloved ; the highest rank seemed to a fait him, whatever path of study he might incline to pursue. Death has destroyed bright prospects and deprived the world of the good influences that a leading and pure mind ever exercise in society.
JARED SPARKS, Tutor Harvard University, 1817 to 1819, afterwards clergyman in Baltimore. Now editor of the North Ameri. can Review, in Boston. Graduated at Harvard University, 1815. He was the preceptor from the summer of 1815, one year.
John W. PROCTOR, Preceptor from summer of 1816, one year; graduated at Harvard University, 1816; now Attorney and Counsellor at Law, in Danvers.
George B. Emerson, From summer of 1817, two years ; graduated at Harvard University, 1817, and Tutor from 1819 to 1821'; for some time Preceptor of the English Classical school, and now of a private school, in Boston.
Solomon P. Miles, from 1819 to 1821, August two years ; graduated at Harvard University, 1819, and Tutor 1821 to 1823, now preceptor of the high (English Classical) school, in Boston.
NATHANIEL Wood, from 1821 to 1823, two years ; graduated at Harvard University 1821, Tutor 1823 to 1824, now a student at law, in Boston.
Levi FLETCHER, from August 1823, to the fall of 1824; graduated at Harvard University, 1823, now Chaplain on board the United States frigate Macedonian.
NATHANIEL KINGSBURY, from the fall of 1824, of the class of 1821 ; left college during the third year and went to the island of Cuba. He is the preceptor at this time.
Under the present preceptor, the Academy sustains a bigli character for discipline and instruction. By the new arrangement, the inconveniences that are too apt to occur by the frequent change of teachers will be avoided. The situation of principal of the Academy, is to be a permanent one, as far as is practicable.
Poor.-The support of the poor, formed for some years no inconsiderable part of the annual tax. They were dispersed in different families, in various parts of the town, among those who would support them at the least expense to the town. Too often, and as a natural effect of this wretched system, the lot of these unfortunate persons was cast among individuals, themselves but little removed from absolute poverty. The system too, if such it could be called, was clumsy extravagance ; the highest price was paid for the support of the poor, and the treatment of poverty appeared like the punishment of crime.* In view of these things,
* Various attempts, from the year 1763, to the present century, have been made, to estáblish a work-house, but without success, till the late ef fort,
Elisha, 90 Making an average of eighty years, seven months and six days. A few other remarkable ages may gratify the curious.
DIED. Adams Sarah 1802 81 Phelps Edward 1784 90 Atherton Israel Dr. 1822 82 Priest Elizabeth 1798 84 his wife, Rebecca 1823 86
1798 83 Baldwin Keziah 1815 91 Pollard John
1814 85 Divol Manassah 1797 82 Rugg John
1799 85 6 Ephraim 1798 84
1805 93 Divoll Elizabeth 1813 93 Robbins Bathsheba 1805 85 Fletcher Mary 1813 86 Rugg Zeruiah 1807 56 Fletcher Joshua 1814 90
1807 91 Fletcher Rebecca 1820 92 Sawyer Josiah 1801 82 Fuller Edward 1802 85 Simmons Micah 1817 83 Houghton Elij. Capt. 1810 82 Stone Isaac
1816 93 Alice 1808 83 Tenny Rebecca 1802 81 Joslyn Mary 1825 88 Thurston Priscilla 1811 83
Samuel 1826 88 White John Capt. 1797 83 Jones Mary
1805 85 Wheelock Martha 1802 94 Leach Mary
1818 86 Wilder Martha 1811 94 Nichols Joseph 1826 82 Wilder Samuel 1821 81 Phelps Asahel 1812 86 Willard Simon 1825 97 Priest John
1797 88 Wilder Ephm. Capt. 1769 94 Phelps Josbua 1784 84
Civil History.---The first settlement of Lancaster goes far back in the early history of Massachusetts. It was the tenth towo, incorporated in the County of Middlesex, and precedes, by many years, every town now within the limits of the County of Worces. ter. Indeed, no town, so far from the sea coast, was incorporated so early, excepting Springfield ; Northampton was in 1654: Chelms. ford, Billerica and Groton, in 1655, Marlborough, in 1660, and Mendon, in 1667.
According to Winthrop, an incontrovertible authority in these things, the plantation at Nashaway was undertaken sometime in
1643.* The whole territory around, was in subjection to Sholan, or Shaumaw, Sachem of the Nasbaways, and whose residence was at Waushacum,t now Sterling. Sholan occasionally visited Watertown, for the purpose of trading with Mr. Thomas King, who resided there. He recommended Nashawogg to King, as a place well suited for a plantation, and invited the English to come and dwell near him.
From this representation, or from personal observation, that nature had been bountiful to the place, King united with a number of others, and purchased the land of Sholan, viz. ten miles in length, and eight in breadth; stipulating not to molest the lodians in their
*Gov. Winthrop's history of New England, date, 3d month, (May) 1644, and relating events that preceded that time. I have cited the passage, see post-Rev. Mr. Harrington states the purchase to have been made in 1645 : but the authority of Winthrop is not to be questioned. Rev. Dr. Holmes gives the same year as Gov. Winthrop.
+ The orthography of this word is very various. Harrington spells it as in the text; in other parts of Worcester Magazine, it is different: Gookin in his historical collections of the Indians, writes " Weshakim.” i Mass. Hist. Col. I Vol. “ Wechecum” says Roger Williams, is the Indian for sea. Key to Indian languages, Chap. 18.
A. D. 1643. Winthrop says that “ Nashacowam and Wassamagoin two Sachems, near the great hill to the west called Warehasset, (Wachusett,) came into the court, and according to their former tender to the Governor, desired to be received under our protection and government, &c. so we causing them to uuderstand the ten commandments of God and they freely assenting to all, they were solemnly received and then presented by the court with twenty fathoms more of Wampum, and the court gave each of them a coat of two yards of cloth, and their dinner; and to them and their men, every of them a cup of sack at their departure, so they took their leave and went away very joyful.” Coats and dinners and sack, were wonderful persuasives with the Indians. Was not “ Nashacowam,” the same with Sholan?
† John Prescott, Harmon Garrett, Thomas Skidmore, Mr. Stephen Day, Mr. Symonds, &c. Here Mr. Harrington in his century sermon stops. Who are meant by &c. it is impossible to ascertain ; perhaps, they may be Gill, Davies and others, mentioned subsequently in the text. Of those first mentioned, a few gleanings may not be without interest. Prescott came from Watertown: Garrett probably from Charlestown. He never moved to Lancaster. Two thousand acres of land, were mortgaged to him by Jethro the christian Indian, and laid out to Garrett, near Assabeth river, in 1651. There were two or more of the name of Garrett at this time in New England. Where Harmon lived, I do not discover. An Indian of the same name, lived in Rhode Island.' 3 Mass. Hist. Col. I. 221. Skidmore is mentioned in Boston Records, as of Cambridge, in 1643. Day was of Cambridge, and the first Printer in America. In 1639, he set up a printing press at Cambridge, a: the charge of Rev. Joseph Glover, who died on his passage to this country. The press was soon after, under the management of Samuel Greene. Day occasionally visited the plantation at Nashaway. He was of Cambridge in 1652– 53, and in '57. In the last, year the General Court, on his complaint that he had not been compensated for his printing press, granted him three hundred acres of land. Also, in 1667, they allowed him to procure of the Sagamore of Nashaway, one hundred and fifty acres of upland, and twenty of meadow. If he ever lived at Nashaway, he probably came in 1665. The
hunting, fishing, or planting places. This deed was sanctioned by the General Court.* It was probably not a common tbing for towns to be settled under such favorable circumstances; not only was there a fair contract made, satisfactory on all sides ; but a previous invila. tion, in the feeling of friendship, was given to induce the English, to extend their population, to the valley of the Nashaway. The precise time of the removal to Lancaster, cannot be ascertained. The first building was a trucking house, erected by Symonds and King, about a mile southwest of the church, and a little to the north west of the house of the late Samuel Ward, Esq. King never moved up, but sold his interest to the other proprietors, who covenanted with each other, to begin the plantation at a certain time. To secure their purchase, they directed certain individuals,t to whom lots were given, to commence the settlement immediately, and make preparations for the general coming of the proprietors. Winthrop gives the following marked account of the first settlement. “3d mo. (May) 1644. Many of Watertown, and other towns, joined in the plantation at Nashaway; and having called a young man, a uni versal scholar, one Mr. Nocroff (quere Norcross ?f) to be their minister, seven of them, who were no members of any churches, were desirous to gather into a church estate ; but the magistrates and elders, advised them first to go and build them habitations, &c. (for there was yet no house there,) and then to take some that were members of other churches, with the consent of such churches, as had formerly been done, and so proceed orderly. But the persons interested in this plantation, being most of them poor men, and some of them corrupt in judgment, and others profane, it went on very town, in Feb. 1654, O. S.-1655, N. S. granted “Master Day" one hundred acres of upland, twenty of it for a house lot. Symonds never resided here. He was, perhaps, Mr. Samuel Symonds, for some years an assistant; the title “Mr.” not then universal, but confined to particular persons, somewhat strengthens this suggestion. King was a proprietor of Marlborough, in 1660.
This deed, I believe is not, in rebus existentibus. I have diligently searched in Middlesex, and Suffolk records, and in the office of the Secretary of State, without success.
+ Richard Linton, Lawrence Waters and John Ball.
# This spelling is taken from the old edition of Winthrop; the new edition with its corrected text, and learned notes, by Mr. Savage, does not es. tend so far. The second volume, however, which will be published in a few months, will reach nearly to the time of Gov. Winthrop's death. Norcross, is an early name in Watertown. Nocroff,” I have never met with.
Mr. Savage says the conjecture is right; he also says, that in the same para graph of Winthrop ; “Universal scholar" should be " University scholar."
This number was necessary, according to Johnson's wonder working providence, to constitute a church, in the colony. 2 Mass. Hist. Col. II. 71.