Nantucket Lands And Land Owners
Henry B. Worth.
Nantucket Historical Association, 1901.
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
The Nantucket Group and Their Early Names.
This group comprises Nantucket, whose area is about 30,000 acres ; Tuckannuck, 1260, and Muskeget, 300 acres ; together with some small islets between the two latter called Gravelly Islands.
The longest line east and west that can be drawn on Nantucket is twelve miles, from Madaket to Siasconset ; and the longest north and south is six miles, from Tom Nevers Head to Wauwinet. The outline of the island is very irregular, its coast line being eighty-eight miles in length. The highest point is ninety-one feet above the sea level, and is located in Sauls Hills. There are over twenty fresh water ponds, of which the following exceed twenty acres in area :
Hummuck, called Waquittaquay by Indians, . . . 320
Sachacha, called Sesagasha by Indians, . . . 310
Long, . . . 215
Myacomet, . . . 45
Gibbs, . . .31
Capaum [once a harbor], . . . 23
The name "Nantucket" appears for the first time in 1641 in the deed from Forrett to Mayhew. It is spelled differently before and since. On the map of De Laet, 1630, it is spelled "Natocks." Tuckannuck is given Pentockynock and Muskeget as Kotget. On a French map in 1650 is given "Isle de Nantockyte." On Janssen's map, published in 1644 in Amsterdam, the names are spelled the same as by De Laet. On the map of Lamb Fengr, 1665, is given "Nantock" and the other names as given by Janssen. On a map published in New Amsterdam in 1673, while the same names of the small islands are retained, the larger island is named "Vlielant-at-Natocke." It is clear that these maps were based on that of 1630. In 1697 Cotton Mather gave the name Nantoket. Since which time it has remained without change as conveyed to Mayhew.
Tuckannuck and Adjacent Islands.
In the deed of Nantucket to Mayhew are named "the two small islands adjacent." But there can be no doubt that Gravelly Islands were intended to be included.
Tuckannuck comprises about 1260 acres, and was conveyed by Mayhew October To, 1659, to Tristram Coffin, Peter Coffin, Tristram Coffin, Jr., and James Coffin for the sum of £6. This title was confirmed by the patent from Lovelace June 29, 1671, in which the island is called Tuckanucket. The Indian Sachem of Tuckannuck was Pottacohannett and he had a reputed son called Lame Joseph, from whom a deed was obtained of his interest in Tuckannuck by giving him twenty acres on the Island of Nantucket. This Sachem had two other sons, Jacob and Ackeawong, from whom a deed was procured covering their interest in Tuckannuck, March 6, 1681, for forty acres of land on Nantucket and £5 in money.
When counties in Massachusetts were first established the single Island of Nantucket constituted Nantucket County, while all the other islands south of Cape Cod were included in Dukes County. It would have seemed to be more natural to include Muskeget and Tuckannuck with Nantucket.
In 1713 Tuckanucket was transferred to Nantucket County and was called Tuckanug.
In 1678 Tristram Coffin conveyed to each of his grandchildren, nearly seventy in number, ten acres of land on Tuckannuck. It will be seen that his quarter interest of the island was not sufficient. For over a century this island was held in common largely by the Coffin descendants. In 1780 the owners of the island were ascertained for purposes of partition. They estimated the island at an area of 1257 acres and they considered each acre one common or share. The following were then the owners and their shares. The fractions of shares are omitted.
John Coffin, 132 shares.
A partition was obtained according to a plan that was duly recorded. In 1822 the owners had become much changed and a new division of the island was desired. James Norton had purchased nearly one third. The owners at that time were :
Hope Barnard, 24 shares.
Joseph Coffin, 33 shares.
Cromwell Coffin, 23 shares.
Love Coffin, 26 shares.
Benjamin Coffin, 3d, 36 shares.
Dinah Folger, 36 shares.
Josiah Coffin, 104 shares.
Hepsah Barnard, 12 shares.
Nathan Macy, 52 shares.
Peter Coffin, 26 shares.
Hepsabeth Coffin, 2 shares.
Daniel Coffin, 60 shares.
Robert Coffin, 23 shares.
James Coffin, [bracketed with Robert.]
Benjamin Coffin, 38 shares.
Grafton Gardner, 13 shares.
Judith Gardner, 15 shares.
Zacheus Macy, 103 shares.
Caleb Macy, 33 shares.
Peter Coffin, 156 shares.
Jacob Alley, 103 shares.
Paul Gardner, 6 shares.
Caleb Bunker heirs, 24 shares.
John Coffin, heirs, 16 shares.
Josiah Barker, 66 shares.
P. Coleman, heirs, 6 shares.
Mary Gardner, heirs, 6 shares.
Abigail Fitch, heirs, 7 shares.
Peter Jenkins, heirs, 2 shares.
Uriah Gardner, heirs, 2 shares.
Hepsey Hathaway, heirs, 6 shares.
Mary Thurston, heirs, 13 shares.
Jethro Starbuck, heirs, 6 shares.
Richard Coffin, heirs, 46 shares.
This island has always been used for sheep grazing. In 1891 there were thirteen owners, of whom John B. Brooks, William S. Bigelow, George B. Coffin, James G. Smith and the Dunhams owned all but three acres.
Ebenezer Dunham, Tristram Jenkins,
On some of the old maps two are deliniated, and on others three. On Dr. Ewer's map, published 1869, there are marked two islands, and near by are several very small islets that are scarcely more than shoals. The first mention of these islands was in 1771, when Dr. Samuel Gelston, a physician residing in Nantucket, introduced a novel cure for small pox, by which it was claimed that men could secure immunity from the dread disease when travelling in other countries where it prevailed. It was by inoculation, which was a process by which the patient was infected with the disease at some locality remote from any settlement and there treated in a hospital until recovery. Dr. Gelston selected Gravelly Islands for the purpose and there erected his hospital. This method of treatment met with positive and vigorous opposition from the Quakers, and by their influence in 1778 the town arranged with Dr. Gelston to purchase his hospital buildings for a thousand lbs. It is said they were then destroyed, being the only buildings ever erected on these islands.
In the only deed covering this section, dated June, 1838, William Mayhew conveyed his interest as heir of the first purchaser to a relative named Thomas Mayhew. These islands belonged to the descendants of the first Thomas Mayhew.
This island is the westernmost of the Nantucket group. It has no value except for fishing and hunting. Its title is very obscure because of the error in the record of deeds. Until 1887 this island belonged to Dukes County, and consequently the proper registry was in Edgartown. But many of the deeds were recorded in Nantucket. This probably made them invalid. Like Tuckannuck, this Island was first conveyed to Tristram Coffin and certain members of his family. Only a few transfers by deed can be found, and the only known interests in 1895 aggregated only one undivided seventh of the island.
The William Mayhew above mentioned, July 1, 1839, conveyed his interest as an heir of the original Thomas Mayhew to the same person to whom he sold his interest in Gravelly Islands. No claim was ever made under either of these deeds.
Muskeget was resorted to for fishing and hunting by sportsmen as though it was public property until in the 80's the Muskeget Club was incorporated. Having purchased all ascertainable interests, a club house was built on the east end of the island. This act was resented by persons who had always had free use of the island. They interpreted the methods and proceedings of the club as being undertaken with a purpose to acquire exclusive control of the island and prevent its use by any persons except club members. An application was consequently made to the Legislature that so much of Muskeget as was not held by individuals that could be known and ascertained should be set off and held as a public park. Such an act was passed in 1895. Under this act, Nov. 25, 1895, the Selectmen of Nantucket divided the island by a north and south line beginning at Jenkins Point, so called, and took possession of the section west of this line and laid out the same as a public park or reservation, which is used by the public and on which is maintained the life saving station. The Muskeget Club controls the section east of said line. Except as above mentioned the only buildings on Muskeget have been small houses used in hunting and fishing.
The Settlers and Their Homes.
Richard Gardner built his house on the west side of Sunset hill in 1665, and it was the easternmost of that date. To the west, dotted over the landscape were the homes of the other settlers.
The deed from Mayhew to the first purchasers was dated July 2, 1659. The consideration to be paid was 30 lbs. in money and two beaver hats which, for convenience, may be valued at £5 each. Then the twenty purchasers would have to pay £2 each, for 1,500 acres at the rate of slightly over a farthing per acre.
It will be observed that the date is July 2nd, 1659. But in February of that year three purchasers were holding meetings in Salisbury and enacting regulations about their island purchase.
"At Salisbury, February, '59.
At a meeting of the sd purchasers or the major pt of them appved and alowed by the rest together with some others that were owned for associates as will hereafter appe, it was agreed and determined and app'ved as followeth : that these ten owners will amitt of ten more ptners who shall have equal power and interest with themselves : And that either of the purchasers forementioned shall have liberty to take a ptner whom he please not being justly excepted against by the rest : At that meeting Robbert Pyke was owned ptner with Christopher Hussey ; Robert Bernard was owned ptner with Thomas Bernard ; Tristram Coffin Jun. ptner with Stephen Greenleafe and James Coffin ptner with Peter Coffin.
At the same meeting it was mutually and unanimously agreed upon determined and concluded that no man whatsoever shall purchase any land of any of the Indians upon the sd island for his owne or other private or particular use ; But what whatsoever purchase shall be made shall be for the generall accompt of the twenty owners or purchasers ; And whatsoever P'son shall purchase any land upon any other accompt it shall be accompted voyd and null except what is done by licence from the said owners or purchasers.
At the same meeting it was ordered and determined that there be ten other Inhabitants admitted into the plantation who shall have such accomodations as the owners or purchasers shall judge meet : as namely necessary tradesmen and seamen.
At a meeting of the owners of the Island of Nantukket Salisbury it was debated and after debate determined and concluded that as ther had bin a former meeting in Salisbury at the house of Benjamen Kemball in Feb. 6 :59 in which meeting an order was made for ye p'hibitting of any p'son from the purchaseing of any land from any of the Indians upon the Ile of Nantukket except for the use of the twenty owners or purchasers : the order shall stand inviolable and unalterable, as that which is also lately necessary to ye continuance of the well-being of the place and the contrary that which tends to ye confusion and ruine of the whole and the subverting of the rule and order already agreed upon and the depriveing of ye sd owners of their just rights and interests. Also it was ordered at the same meeting that all the lands that is fit for Areable land convenient for houselots shall be forthwith measured that the quantity thereof may be known, which being done shall be divided by equal pportion ; that is to say four fifths pts to ye owners or purchasers and ye other fifth pt unto the ten other Inhabitants, where of John Bishop shall have two pt or shares that is to say of that fifth pt belonging to ye ten Inhabitants.
Also at the same meeting it was ordered that Tristram Coffin,Thomas, Macy, Edward Starbuck, Thomas Bernard and Peter Ffoulger of Martha's vineyard shall have power to measure and lay out the sd land according to ye above sd order and whatsoever shall be done coiicluded in ye sd case by them or any three of them Peter Ffoulger being one shall be accompted le all and valid."
The only explanation of these proceedings is that Macy and Coffin made a contract in 1658 to buy Nantucket from Mayhew, but refused to accept the deed until the latter had obtained a conveyance from the Indians. Mayhew succeeded in procuring a grant from the sachems, June 21, 1659, and within two weeks, the English purchasers had their deed.
An inquiry always arises why did Macy, Coffin, Starbuck and their associates purchase Nantucket ? The fanciful story about Macy escaping from the banks of the Merrimac in an open boat and drifting to Nantucket is without basis of fact.
The records indicate that the three men above named, found their environment in Massachusetts Bay, far from congenial. Starbuck was an elder in a church in Dover, where he had trouble on account of his views concerning baptism. Macy had been arrested and charged with violating town regulations in Salisbury, and so had Coffin's wife. It is likely therefore, that they were ready to remove to a more liberal neighborhood. Mayhew had all the land he needed at the Vineyard and was ready to sell Nantucket, where he had occasionally tarried to preach to the Indians. This was likely the moving cause that suggested the purchase of Nantucket.
When it was discovered that sheep raising could be conducted profitably, the Colemans were asked to join the company on account of their experience with sheep. The records give no intimation why the Swains and Barnards were invited. But all the others were related to one or more of the leading six. Macy was a cousin of Mayhew and may thus have learned of Nantucket.
When the first Indian deed was given, Macy and Edward Starbuck were on the Island, and the latter was there the next winter.
Some errors have been allowed to pass for fact in relation to the locality where the English established their houses. Dr. Ewer's maps states that the Town was first settled at Maddaket. The records clearly indicate that the facts were otherwise. There are two references to an old cellar of Edward Starbuck near Long pond, one in 1670 and the other in 1674. This cellar was located just where Dr. Ewer designates the site of the first town. The reader will agree from what will immediately be shown, that in the early summer of 1661, the settlers left Massachusetts Bay and selected houselots along the chain of ponds from Cappam Harbor to the sea They never selected houselots nor built houses at Maddaket. The fact undoubtedly is, that the old cellar had a house over it where Starbuck and other settlers lived when they were on the Island until the arrival of the "company."
The names of the first ten purchasers are given in the following record :
The 2d of July, 1659.
These ptyes after mentioned did buy all right and Interest ____ of the Iles of Nantukket that did belong to Sir Fferdinand Georges, and the Lord Sterling. Mr. Richard Vines steward gen: to Sir Fferdinando Georges ; and James Fforrett Steward to the Lord Sterling, which was by them sold unto Mr. Thomas Mayhew of Martha's vinyard ; these aftermentioned did purchase of Mr. Thomas Mayhew these rights : namely the pattent right belonging to the Gentleman aforesaid and also the pcel of land which Mr. Mayhew did purchase of the Indians, at the west end of the Ile of Nantukket, as by their graunt or bill of sale will largely appear : with all the priviledges and appurtenances thereof: the aforementioned purchasers are Tristram Coffin Sen ; Thomas Macy, Richard Swaine, Thomas Bernard, Peter Coffin, Christopher Hussey, Stephen Greenleafe, John Sawine and William Pile, the said Mr. Thomas Mayhew himself also became a Twentieth pt purchaser : so that they viz : Mr. Thomas Mayhew, Tristram Coffin Sen. Thomas Macy, Richard Swaine, Thomas Bernard, Peter Coffin, Christopher Hussey, Stephen Greenleafe, John Sawine and William Pile had the whole and sole interest, disposal, power and priviledge of the sd island and appurtenances thereof."
The first ten purchasers were allowed, each to invite a partner in the enterprise. William Pile sold his interest, one-half to John Bishop and the other to the Bunker children, whose mother had married Richard Swain. When this arrangement was completed the twenty owners were as follows :
The following records indicate that the removal to Nantucket took place between May 10 and July 15, 1661.
Tristram Coffin, Jr.
"May 10, 1661.
At a meeting at Salisbury it was ordered and concluded that the fore mentioned ptyes : viz. Tristram Coffin Sen. : Thomas Macy, Edward Starbuck, Thomas Bernard and Peter Ffoulger shall all measure and lay out all the rest of the lands both meadow wood and upland that is convenient to be appropriated within the bounds of the first plantation or township : also it is determined that ye above mentioned psons together with Mr. Mayhew, Richard Swaine, John Bishop or whatever other of the owners or purchasers that are there pr sent shall have power to determine what land is convenient to be imp'priated and lay'd out and what shall remaine common ; and also to lay out the bounds of the town and record it p'vided always that the land being measured : they shall first lay out a convenient quantity of land with suiteable accomodations of all sorts which shall be p'etually reserved for publique use of the Town.
At the same meeting it was ordered that for ye Pticular appointing which lot every man shall have it shall be done by cutting lots excepting only these psons that have already taken up their lots : as namely Thomas Macy, Tristram Coffin Sen : Edward Starbuck and Richard Swaine.
At the same meeting Robert Pyke was appointed to keep ye records concerning the Ile of Nantukket at Salisbury and Thomas Macy to keepe the records at the yland as in the above sd order expressed : at pr sent untill farther order be taken by the owners or purchasers.
July 15, 1661 :
At a meeting on Nantukket of the owners purchasers inhabiting Mr. Thomas Mayhew being pr sent and Peter Ffoulger it was agreed and concluded that each man of the owners or purchasers shall have liberty to chuse house lot on any place within ye limits not formerly taken up and that each house lot shall contain sixty square to a whole accomodation or share or the value of it."
These house lots comprised over 20 acres.
When the English settled on Nantucket they had the Mayhew deed and Indian deeds, that gave them the section west of Hummock Pond and north of a tract drawn from the north head of this pond to Monomoy. The section they selected for their house lots was near and on both sides of the chain of ponds from sea to sea.
At three periods in the early history of Nantucket it is possible to decide quite closely who were the inhabitants.
I. In July, 1661, when the settlers were drawing lots for house lots.
List of June 23, 1665.
2. June 23, 1665, when all the sheep owners were ordered to select ear-marks for purposes of identifying sheep.
3. In August, 1678, when most of the inhabitants worked on the wreck of the French ship.
A list of sheep owners dated Sept. 3d, 1672, in addition to the above contains the names of John Hussey and Nathaniel Holland.
John Swain, Jr.
Tristram Coffin, Sr.
Tristram Coffin, Jr.
Edward Cotter (Cottle?)
The list of those that worked on the French wreck in addition to names already mentioned are the following :
When the purchasers were making arrangements to remove to Nantucket, they recognized the necessity of having the assistance of tradesmen who were skilled in the arts of weaving, building, milling and other pursuits.
They secured the following :
Peter Folger, joiner, miller, interpreter.
To each of these was granted a half share of land, providing they would reside at Nantucket and carry on the trade for not less than three years.
Eleazer Folger, shoemaker and blacksmith.
Thomas Macy weaver.
Joseph Gardner, shoemaker.
Samuel Streeter, tailor.
William Worth, Joseph Coleman, John Gardner, Richard Gardner, and Nathaniel Holland, seamen.
In the beginning, it should be understood that in giving the locality of the house lots of the early settlers, no more can be done than indicate a section more or less indefinite of dimensions over 1000 feet square, somewhere in which was located the homestead house. The difficulty in defining the limits is due to the fact that the bounds given in the early layouts cannot be identified. Where the bounds are "swamp," "house," "fence," "rock," "hill," it is impossible to get a starting point. Frequently the relations of the lots to each other when examination of the map is had may suggest the location. This is the only way that the first house lots can be grouped around the swamp west of Hummock Pond. The fact should be kept in mind that the ownership of a house lot is no guarantee that there was always a house theron. Houses were built almost anywhere by men who owned no land. And a man like Mayhew or Greenleaf who did not live on the Island had no use for one.
Robert Barnard went from Amesbury. His wife was Joan Harvey. He never held any office ; in 1668, he sold his Nantucket interest to his son John. He died in 1682 leaving two sons and three daughters.
Thomas Barnard was brother of Robert. His wife's first name was Eleanor. In 1675, he sold his Nantucket lands to his son Nathaniel. He died probably in Salisbury in 1677, sixty-five years old. While he was a resident of Nantucket for some years, he never held office and is not mentioned as being present at any of its meetings.
Nathaniel Barnard, son of Thomas, married Mary, the daughter of Robert. He died in 1719, leaving eleven children and the largest estate that had been reported, being over £3000. He was very prominent in town and public affairs, having been chosen many times to serve in all the important offices.
He was a trader, and the court records show that he was fined in 1709 for selling liquor to the Indians.
East of the Elihu Coleman house is the Mill-Brook, and a short distance further east, on the south side of the road near a cluster of Willow trees, was once a house which was the homestead of Thomas Barnard. Directly across the road lived Nathaniel Barnard. The present road was merely a path for many years later. The house lot of Thomas Barnard on which the house of Nathaniel was located was about 1000 feet square, and southwest of it was the lot of Robert Barnard. These lots extended northeast and southwest, and comprised 20 acres each. The house of Robert cannot be exactly located, neither can the bounds of the lots be identified. But the high land between the mill-brook swamp and the Indian Boundary line was substantially comprised within the two Barnard lots.
Samuel Bickford is mentioned in the court records as keeping a disorderly house. He was a land owner by purchase in 1676, in the region near No Bottom Pond. He was a field driver in 1676.
In 1678 he was fined for leaving his house first day and going off in company "adrinking."
He sold his land in 1679 to Tobias Coleman and his name is not again found in the records.
John Bishop was a carpenter and went to Nantucket from Newbury. In 1677 he sold his house lot and share of land to Peter Coffin, and moved to Woodbridge, N. J. This first house lot was near the Lily Pond, but this he sold to Richard Gardner. Then he had a house lot containing about 20 acres on the west side of Reed Pond, and west of the house lot of Thomas Macy. He was one of the first twenty purchasers, and was probably associated with them on account of his trade. He never held any town office.
George Bunker and his wife Jane were of French origin and lived in Dover, N. H. He died May 16, 1658, leaving five children, and his widow, the next year, married Richard Swain, and the entire family moved to Nantucket.
William married Mary, daughter of Thomas Macy.
William Bunker was born 1648 and died in Nantucket in 1712, leaving eleven children. In the first layout of house lots, being a minor, his part was included in the portion allotted to Richard Swain ; but a few years later he was given ten acres north from No Bottom Pond. It was bounded on the north by the road which is West Chester street extended, and was the first road established, and on the west by land of William Worth. After William Bunker died, the proprietors gave his heirs land in place of that taken for a town house. This indicates that the localities marked for church, town house and jail, were correct. These three public buildings were placed on the hill north from No Bottom Pond. At the west end of this hill was erected the first schoolhouse mentioned in the records. In 1686, William Bunker was appointed to keep the jail. He was a selectman twice and was given the work of building a mill in which he failed, and the job was finished by Tristram Coffin.
Elizabeth married Thomas Look.
Mary married Stephen Coffin, son of Tristram.
Ann, married Joseph Coleman, son of Thomas.
Martha, married Stephen Hussey.
Thomas Carr came from Salisbury but was not a land owner. His name does not appear in any subsequent proceeding. Over sixty years later a man of the same name died at Nantucket, but the records do not indicate whether they were related.
Edward Cartwright came from New Hampshire and settled at Nantucket about 1673, when he purchased the interest of William Worth on Pacomo, which was afterwards confirmed by an Indian deed. He married Ruth and died 1705, leaving five children.
He never held any office and was often fined for drunkenness, assault, disturbing the peace, selling rum, and for controversies with his Indian neighbors. Cartwright lived in 1680 on the harbor southwest of John Swain's.
Reference may be had for the history of this family to the excellent work of Allen Coffin, Esq.
Tristram Coffin's house lot was a tract of the usual dimensions, bounded on the north by Cappam Harbor. He called this region Northam or Cappamet. The spot where his house was placed is marked by a stone monument.
Tristram Coffin, Jr., was not connected with the history of Nantucket, but lived and died in Newbury. His house lot was directly west of his father's.
Peter Coffin, son of Tristram, by original grant and by purchase from John Bishop, finally owned the tract bounded by Thomas Macy's lot on the east and Tristram Coffin's on the west and extending to the sea. In 1664, by a vote of the inhabitants, he was licensed to carry on trading with the islanders, and all others but "Nick Davis," who lived near the Atheneum were prohibited.
Lieut. John Coffin, son of Tristram, in 1677, was given, by his father, an interest in Nantucket. While at Nantucket he lived on his father's lot and at the death of the latter he removed to Marthas Vineyard where he died.
James Coffin was a man of high order of intellect, as is shown by the fact that he was over a dozen times elected selectman, was an assistant Magistrate, Judge of Probate and twice elected assessor, and was representative to the General Court. He had a warehouse east of the present Federal street. His house lot was on the hill to the westward of the Maxey's Pond. His house could be seen from the Parliament House about north. On the south of his house lot was that of Nathaniel Starbuck ; according to the custom of those days, several of his children lived in houses near his own.
Stephen Coffin was a selectman over ten years, and received from his father in 1677 a deed of half of Tristram's land. He finally owned the whole of his father's house lot at Cappam Harbor. He was Pound Keeper probable because he lived near by. He was to have 2d each time he turned the key to lock or unlock the gate. His house was one of the two built by his father.
The following is from the records in Newbury in November, 1635. "Whereas Thomas Coleman was connected with Richard Saltonstall and other gentlemen in England and here for the keeping of horses and sheep in a general place for the space of three years, and now since his coming thither has been negligent in discharging the trust committed to him, absenting himself for a long time from the said cattle and neglecting to provide for them by reason whereof many of said cattle are already dead and more damage likely to come to said gentlemen, it is therefore ordered that it shall be lawful for the said gentlemen to decide the oats and hay provided, among said cattle among themselves, and every one take care of their own during the winter."
Coleman moved from Newbury to Hampton, New Hampshire and afterward to Amesbury. He was probably invited to go to Nantucket because of his knowledge of sheep raising. Neither he nor his sons ever held any town office, but they were frequently directed by the town to take in charge matters relating to sheep and cattle.
His wife was Susanah. He died 1687, 85 years old, and left Tobias, Benjamin, Joseph, John, Isaac, Johanna, and Mary.
His house lot was 1000 feet square, bounded on the north by the lot of Christopher Hussey, on the east by the Long Woods and on the south by the lot of Capt. Pyke. Upon his decease, this house and lot descended to his son Tobias. This house lot was about half a mile southwest from the north head of the Hummock Pond, "Long Woods" nearest Trotts Swamp.
Joseph Coleman, son of Thomas was born 1642 and died 1690, leaving a daughter Ann who married Edward Allen of Piscataqua. Coleman married Ann Bunker, daughter of George. His house lot was located at the "High Cliff," which probably meant the section to the westward of the house of Charles O'Connor.
Tobias Coleman, son of Thomas, married Lydia, daughter of Margery Osborne. Upon the death of his father he returned to Newbury, where he died. While at Nantucket he occupied his father's house lot.
John Coleman, another son of Thomas, married Joanna, daughter of Peter Folger and died 1715, at the age of 71, leaving eight children. His house lot was a little west of Elihu Coleman's house and extended southeast to Robert Barnard's, and comprised ten acres.
Edward Cottle came from Salisbury but was not included among the land owners.
John Challenge was frequently before the court for fighting in 1678. He bought part of a house lot of Tobias Coleman in 1685 and died shortly afterward. His wife was Jane, daughter of William Bunker.
Reference may be had to the chapter on the Insurrection for much about the Folger family. Peter always wrote his name Peter ffolger. He died 1690, about 73 years old, leaving nine children.
He had a share of land granted to him in 1663, as a tradesman. His house lot is identified by a fountain erected to the honor of his daughter Bethia, the mother of Benjamin Franklin. It is on the extension of Main street, nearly two miles west from the bank. He was interpreter of the Indian language, miller, joiner and preacher.
Eleazer Folger was well versed in the Indian language. Several documents are on record in his handwriting in the language of the Indians. He married Sarah, the daughter of Richard Gardner. He died 1716, 68 years old, leaving seven children.
His house was located a few yards east of the Jethro Coffin house and was built not far from 1699. Jan. 3, 1699, he had a part of some swamps north of his house lot, set off to him.
John Folger was a son of Peter, and married Mary, daughter of Nathaniel Barnard. He was born on Marthas Vineyard, and died at Nantucket, 1732, leaving nine children. His home was at Polpis on the Fulling Mill Brook.
Thomas Gardner settled at Salem, Massachusetts, about 1624.
His sons Richard and John became famous in the early history of Nantucket.
Richard Gardner married Sarah Shattuck and died 1688, leaving nine children. His house lot was around Wesco now called Lily Pond, so irregular in form as to be called the "Crooked Record." His house was on the west end of Sunset Hill, where is now the residence of Eben W. Francis. He was chief magistrate in 1673 and held other town offices. None of the old records are in his handwriting, from which it may be inferred that he was not educated. His signature is that of an unskilled person. He came to Nantucket as a seaman in 1665, and his house was probably the easternmost of that day.
Joseph Gardner had a half share of land as a shoemaker, and settled in Nantucket in 1667. He was constable, assessor and selectman each once. He was a son of Richard and died 1701, leaving seven children. His wife was Bethia, daughter of Thomas Macy. He probably lived within the limits of the "Crooked Record."
John Gardner, called Capt. Gardner, married Priscilla Grafton. He died 1706, 82 years old, and left a widow and 12 children.
His house lot was on the north side of the road which is now called North street, and included 30 acres, and extended from the road to the cliff. It was west of the Hamblin house. The characteristics of Capt. John are described in the chapter on the Insurrection.
William Gayer was a master mariner and married Dorcas, daughter of Edward Starbuck. He died in 1710, leaving two daughters, Dorcas who married Jethro Starbuck, and Damaris, wife of Nathaniel Coffin. His will mentions a son by a former marriage.
Gayer was many times selectman, magistrate and assessor. His penmanship is a model. He came from the nobility of England. His first house was at the north head of Hummock Pond, where his father-in-law had conveyed him a lot. In 1683, he bought the tract bounded by Ash, Center, Chester streets and the bank, and built a house near Chapman avenue.
Stephen Greenleaf married Elizabeth, daughter of Tristram Coffin, and lived in Newbury. In 1683 he sold half his interest to John Rolfe and the other half to Nathaniel Starbuck. The house lot drawn by him was north of Trott's Swamp.
Nathaniel Holland went to Nantucket in 1670 as a tailor. After staying there two years, he sold his estate to Capt. John Gardner and removed to Watertown.
Christopher Hussey lived and died in Hampton, N. H. Although one of the first purchasers, he never lived at Nantucket, and about 1671 he sold his lands to his sons John and Stephen.
John Hussey lived and died in Hampton in 1711, he sold his Nantucket lands to his brother Stephen.
Stephen Hussey was born in 1632 and died at Nantucket in 1718, leaving seven children. His wife was Martha, daughter of William Bunker. He received a good education and naturally took to law. Although it is not known that he was an admitted attorney. From the date when the Court records begin to his death there was seldom a session when he was not party or attorney. He lived in continual turmoil, although, singular to relate, he was one of the petitioners for a Friends Meeting, but he engaged in litigation with some of the members and was disowned in 1717.
He was a master mariner, and sailed between Nantucket, Boston and New York. He was three times a constable and once selectman and assessor. He was convicted of smuggling ten gallons of rum, and his ten reasons of appeal show a very ingenious mind. He never failed to assert that justice could not be had on Nantucket because neither Judge nor Jury were entirely impartial.
He acquired the interest of his father, Robert Pike and others, and was the largest land owner of his day. The house lots assigned to Christopher Hussey and Robert Pike were on the west side of Trott's Swamp, but Stephen Hussey built three houses for himself and family, one on Federal street near Chestnut, another at Monomoy and a third at Shimmoo.
Thomas Look married Elizabeth, daughter of George Bunker. In 1677, Richard Swain sold to him his house and lot to take care of him.
Look never held any town office. About 1681 he sold all his lands at Nantucket and settled on Marthas Vineyard.
Thomas Macy selected his house lot on the east side of the Reed Pond, which was then a creek, and extended from the north shore south to the road. At his death this lot was occupied by his son John. Eastman Johnson is now the owner of this section.
Macy left an estate worth £71 but claims against it were established so that it was insolvent.
The genealogy of the Macy family contains further information.
Thomas Mayhew was born in 1591, and died at Edgartown 1681. He had one son Thomas who was lost on a voyage on his way to England in 1657. All his lands were sold to his daughter Bethia Way, who sold the same to William Vaughn. Although Governor Mayhew exerted a powerful influence on the early history of Nantucket, he never lived there and had no habitation on the island. The house lot assigned him was north west of Trott's Swamp.
William Pile was the name of one of the original purchasers, and he is described as living in Dover, N. H. Shortly after the organization of the Nantucket settlers he conveyed his interest to Nathaniel Boulter, who at once deeded the same, one half to John Bishop and the other half to the children of George Bunker. The name "Pile" cannot be found in the Dover records or elsewhere, and it may be that he was a Frenchman and the name as above given was not correctly spelled.
Richard Pinkham came from Dover, N. H. He died in 1718. He married Mary, daughter of James Coffin, and lived on land owned by his wife's father. His house was near Maxey's Pond and later on Federal street, near Pearl. He left nine children, of whom eight were sons.
Major Robert Pike who was a strong man in the History of Salisbury, was one of the first twenty owners of Nantucket but he never resided on the island. The house lot assigned to him was on the west side of Hummock Pond.
After an unsatisfactory experience with Tristram Coffin and Christopher Hussey in 1703, he sold his interest in Nantucket to Stephen Hussey.
"In the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England :
To whom these presents may come, Robert Pike of Salsbury as above sendeth greeting ; know ye that whereas there hath some differanse arissen betwixt Stephen Hussey of Nantucket and myself concerning a Share of land upon nantucket which I formerly contracted with his father Christopher Hussey of hampton about When the first proceeding about the settling of the Iland nantucket were carrying on, Capt. Christopher Hussey at that time being about the year 1659 or 1660 or 61, did admit and take me in as partner with him in what then claime he had of the island of nantucket and the condition of our agreement__ made betwixt us was that if I the sd Robert pike should well and truly pay or discharge the sd Capt. Christopher hussey eight pounds being the charge which the sd hussey was out for one share or half what claime in nantucket he then made which was two shares or the tenth or leaveneth part of sd iland that then I should have hold posess occupy and for ever peaceably enjoy as of my demesne in fee or share of lands as above in order to the payment of which eight pounds I payed three pounds to the company's order and I did think that I had answered the other five pounds howbeit Trustion Coffin, Senr, of Nantucket, as I came lately by Stephen Hussey to understand did sometime within three or four year after the English were settled upon the sd Iland of Nantucket take by way of distress from Capt. Christopher Hussey's Estate the sum of five pounds and did never so much as inform either my self or Capt. Hussey in his life time, whereby I had no opportunity so much as to distrest Capt. Hussey before he had conveighed his land out of his hand ; Trustrom Coffin then declairing that he took the sd five pounds from Capt. Hussey for my debt, as I was partner with him the sd Hussey ; So that as I never payed five pound of the eight so neither did Capt. hussey know anything but that I had payed the money, whereby I was made to forfit my condition made about the sd share of land above sd and neither Capt. hussey nor myself know of it and I can claime no more neither in law or equity then the proposition of what I payd and in Capt. Stephen hussey who I understand hath brought his father's right will acquit his claime in halfe a share and suffer my assigns quietly to possess and enjoy it : I shall set down there with content demissing, releasing and acquiting any claime made by me, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns to anything relating to Nantucket or anything that hath bin depending betwixt his father and myself as touching any bargains covenants conditions alinations or partnershipp what so ever, to the day of the date of these presents relating to what is above written ; to all which that is above written. I have set to my hand and affixed my Seal in the Second year of her Majestie's Reigne and in the year of our Lord 1703 or the 28th day of august one thousand Seaven hundred and three as before.
Robert Pike. (Seal)"
John Savage was granted half a share of land as a cooper in 1672. He sold his land to Wm. Worth and moved away in 1674. His house lot was between No Bottom Pond and Crooked Lane.
William Rogers married Martha, daughter of Robert Barnard who conveyed to him 10 acres of land in 1678. He never held any office, and about 1678 sold his lands on Nantucket and his name does not again appear on the records.
John Rolfe came from Salisbury and owned half a share of land from Stephen Greenleaf.
In 1678 he sold his land to James Coffin and left the island. His house lot was adjoining Thomas Macy's on the east.
John Smith had a house lot between that of Tristram Coffin, Jr. and the North Cranberry Swamp. In 1674 he sold half his land to Stephen Hussey and half to John Coffin and moved away to Taunton. He was a brother in law to Stephen Hussey.
Edward Starbuck came from Dover, N. H. He was an elder of the local church and was disciplined on account of his views on the subject of baptism. Thomas Macy who was also in discord with the local church took Starbuck as a partner. The latter was at Nantucket during June and July 1659, and assisted in procuring the first Indian deed. He was on the island at times during the next two years and occupied a house which he had built at Maddaket. This gave rise to the story that the first site of the town was at the west end. He was a man of considerable influence, and was once candidate for Chief Magistrate. He was born in 1604 and died in 1690. His wife was Catharine Reynolds. He left four children , only one of whom was a son. Edward Starbuck's house lot was about 1000 feet square, extending northward from the head of Hummock Pond to Maxey's Pond. His other children were :
Dorcas married Wm. Gayer.
He seems to have been held in great esteem among the inhabitants.
Sarah married Benjamin Austin.
Abigail married Peter Coffin.
In 1685 he conveyed half his lands to his son Nathaniel and the other half to his son in law, Wm. Gayer.
Nathaniel Starbuck, only son of Edward, was born 1634 and died at Nantucket 1719, leaving ten children. He married Mary, daughter of Tristram Coffin.
He was one of the strong men among the settlers and would have received more credit but for the superior intellect of his wife,—the great Mary Starbuck, who was certainly the founder of the Friends Meeting on Nantucket. Although her husband was "a man of no mean parts, she far exceeded him in soundness of judgment, clearness of understanding and in an elegant and natural way of expressing herself."
There is no character in the early history of Nantucket that so appeals to the imagination. But little remains except a single letter and the testimony of the pioneer Friends Ministers.
She died in 1717, having beheld the formation of the Nantucket monthly meeting of Friends.
The house of Nathaniel and Mary Starbuck was erected near his house lot but on a spot a short distance south east which was afterwards set off to him. It was a large house of capacity sufficient for meetings, both religious and municipal, and was called the "Parliament House." It was located a few feet west of the present Cornish Barn and was placed near the spring. The house lot of Nathaniel Starbuck was on the north west of the swamp, bounded north by that of James Coffin and south by the swamp and south west by the lot of Thomas Mayhew. By purchase from Greenleaf and others and by set off, Nathaniel Starbuck acquired a large tract around the north head of Hummock Pond. It is now comprised in the Cambridge farm.
Samuel Streeter come from Gloucester as a tailor. He was appointed in 1669 to transact some business with the Indians. A man by this name was drowned shortly afterward at the Vineyard and his name disappears from the records. His house lot which was granted to him was probably forfeited as he did not reside three years on the island.
Richard Swain come from Dover, N. H., where he had married Jane Bunker, widow of George. He was born 1601 and died 1682. He was not an educated man and his signatures are by mark.
His house lot was on both sides of the cove formed by the north westerly extension of Hummock Pond. He never held any town office but performed labor for the town in relation to sheep and cattle. He was married before coming to America and had four children by that marriage. The wife Jane, had two children, John and Richard. The latter it is said moved to New Jersey but he was administrator of his father's estate.
John Swain, son of Richard, was born 1633 and died 1717. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel Wyer. He was once highway surveyor, four times assessor and once assistant magistrate. His house lot was on the north of his father and he probably lived there until his father's death, although he had a house at Polpis in 1677.
In 1680 he had bought land of the Indians at Poatpes, now called Polpis which was confirmed by the Governor at New York in 1684. He sold all his land near Hummock Pond including his house in 1687. His children were :
Mary married Joseph Nason who had built a house on Swain's west share in 1682.
John Swain was licensed by the town in Oct. 1677 to operate a Filling Mill near his house at Poatpes.
Stephen married Experience, daughter of Peter Folger.
Sarah married Joseph Norton.
Joseph married Mary Sibley.
Elizabeth married Joseph Saville, also spelled Chevalier.
Benjamin married Mary Taylor.
Hannah married James Tallman.
Patience married Samuel Gardner, son of James.
John Trott bought land at Nantucket in 1682. He. owned land in the Long Woods. He died 1728, leaving Tabitha, Joseph, Rachel, John, Benjamin, James, Mary, Abigail, and Priscilla. He never held any town office.
William Vaughn was always called Major. He took no active part at Nantucket and never lived there. He belonged at Portsmouth, N. H., and was in the Indian war with Capt. Pike. He retained his Nantucket lands until his death in 1720, when they were sold by his heirs. His house lot was bounded east by that of Nathaniel Starbuck and was that which he bought from Thomas Mayhew.
The usual tradition about three brothers coming over is true of this family. Lionel and William went to Salisbury and the other to that part of New Jersey along the Raritan River. William was born about 1640 and went to Nantucket where he married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Macy. They had one child John. After her death, William Worth married twice, but had no other children. He died 1724, having been five times selectman, three times assistant magistrate, four times assessor and. many years Clerk of the Court.
John Worth, born 1666, married Miriam Gardner, daughter of Richard, and from this marriage came the Nantucket Worths. After her death he married two Vineyard women and from them came the other branch. He died in Edgartown, 1731.
He came to Nantucket as a sailor and received a half share of land as a tradesman in 1662. He had a fair education as will appear from the early records, much of which is in his writing. There were no clergymen at Nantucket during the first half century after it was settled and marriages were solemnized by Justices of the Peace. William Worth is reported to have been the magistrate at most of the marriages for many years before his death. Thomas Macy sold him 1-4 of 1-2 a share of land in 1676.
His house lot was in the No Bottom Pond section, and bounded north by the Old Road, west by Crooked Lane. This lot extended from the Old Road south to the Main street extension. Grove Lane was cut through later.
Nathaniel Wyer who was called Goodman Wyer married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Swain. He never took any part in the affairs at Nantucket. He died March 1, 1681, fifty years old, leaving an estate which was the first ever inventoried on the island. Sarah Wyer was appointed administrator. The inventory of the estate was £35, and among the articles were 1 Bible and 5 other books. His real estate was valued at £5.
His land was five acres in extent on the west side of Goodman Wyer's Pond, which is probably the present Maxey's Pond. Also five acres on west side of John Swain's lot, west of Hummock Pond. His daughter Mary married John Swain. This name was spelled in a variety of forms : Wyer, Wire, Waer, Ware, Weare, Weir, being the same name.
If a north and south line be drawn through Wesco, now called Lily Pond, the section east was divided into three sections, known to the early settlers as follows : The part north of West Chester street was called North Shore, that further south to the present location of the Town House was known as Wesco and the section still further south was named Monomoy. The meadows between Union street and the Asylum were called Quausue.
The locality near Thomas Macy's place was called Wannacomet. Tristram Coffin named his locality Cappam or Northam, and the Starbuck farm was called Waquittaquage.
It is an interesting and difficult question to decide when a majority of the land owners moved from the Pond Country to Wesco. Richard Gardner and his family always lived around Wesco Pond.
The records indicate that while in 1682 Cappam Harbor was open and the account of a Quaker visiting the island intimates that this condition was existing in 1701, yet in 1720 a plan of the Tristram Coffin house lot shows that it was then Cappam Pond. During the interim the harbor has been separated from the sea. As the leading motive in settling at Cappamet was to be near a harbor, when this ceased to exist there would be a strong inducement to remove to the other harbor. About 1717 there was considerable activity in land transfers around the west end of the harbor, indicating the commencement of the change.
In 1678 Wesco Acre lots were set off. This section comprised 20 acres bounded by Federal, Liberty, Quince, Gay and Broad streets. This section was divided east and west into twenty strips, 80 rods long and 2 rods wide. This gave each strip an end on the harbor.
Center street was laid out when the division was made. The streets Quince, Hussey, Pearl and Rose Lane were laid out many years later. When this division was made Stephen Hussey had a house between Federal and Center streets near Chestnut and Nic. Davis had a house on Federal street farther south. The water extended to Federal and North Water streets.
When Wesco Acre lots were divided the section bounded by Broad, Center, Chester and North Water streets were allotted south to Thomas Macy : then next north William Worth : then John Gardner to Chester street.
In 1683 the William Worth and John Gardner interests were deeded to William Gayer and the latter built near the location of the Veranda House.
From this date until 1717, there is no indication of purchases in this section. But about this time and during the next few years, all the land included in the present town limits was divided, and this is probably the time when the great number of inhabitants settled around the harbor. The Fish lot section, bounded by Union, Main, and Pine streets was laid out in 1722 and Monomoy, next south, was laid out in 1726.
Owing to the fact that there was a change from Cappamet to Wesco about 1720, there are in the latter locality few houses built before that time except such as might have been erected on the land of Richard or John Gardner.
The Jethro Coffin house built in 1686 was on land that belonged to Capt. John Gardner. The Eleazer Folger house near by was built not far from 1699: and the house of Richard Gardner 3d now owned by Peter Brock about 1725.
The Drew house on Hussey street was built by Abel Gardner about 1733.
The Nye house on Liberty street was built about 1743 by Silvanus Allen a son in law of Jethro Starbuck.
The Josiah Coffin house at North shore was erected in 1724 by Capt. Josiah, and has remained in the family since.
Wesco, Fish-lots and Monomoy were rapidly built up subsequent to 1720. The houses in the locality first selected were destroyed or removed before 1800. A map drawn and filed in the Registry of Deeds, in 1821 delineates the roads laid out in that section directly west of the present town. Toward the west where the purchasers of Nantucket established their houses were only four, three of which, Jethro Folger's, Daniel Allen's and the Newbegin's, have since disappeared, the one remaining being that of Elihu Coleman's, and possibly none of which were ever seen by the first settlers. Houses are destroyed or removed and there is no trace left on the records.
Tradition says that material from Thomas Macy's house at Wannacomet is in the house which was erected on the corner of Liberty street and Walnut Lane and that of the Parliament House, the house of Mary and Nathaniel Starbuck was moved down to the corner of Pine and School streets and was owned by the late James Dustin. The sand storm and the rain have destroyed all marks of these houses and except occasional relics of brisk or glass or chance excavation disclosing an old foundation, all identifications have been lost.