Extracts from Lockwood: Westfield and Its Historic Influences
Beginnings of Settlement at Woronoco (the original Indian name of the region within which Westfield was established).
“At certain points it was necessary to establish gates to admit of passage into and across the large enclosed tract. At a meeting at Worronoco alias Streamfield, February 11, 1667, it was “ordered that a convenient Gate easy and handy shutting & opening shall by the proprietors of that field be set up by the last of March next, which gate is appointed to be set over the brook from Sackets house further into the meadow about a rod and a half further than formerly, and the fence to be made firm and good at both ends up to it.” A little later it was ordered that “the gate by Sackets be well hung for the security of the field by the 25th of this inst. March and after yt time who ever shall leave open or not shut the gate shall pay 5s to the use of the proprietors.””
“This Towne doth now therefore Order & appoynt mr James Cornish John Roote Thomas Dewey & John Sackett or any three of them to lay out the aforesaid graunt of land adjoyning to what is already allowed them from this Towne, or shalbe most to ye advantage of ye Inhabitants of Worronoco: only they are not to intrench uppon ye bounds fixt & Sett, or to be Sett as aforesaid between them & Vs.
“That this is a true copy taken out of the Town Records at Springfeild.
Feb. 16, 1669
Attest. Elizur Holyoke, Recorder.””
“Att a Town Meeting March 23d 1669-70 This Towne having formerly appoynted mr James Cornish John Roote John Sackett & Thomas Dewey or any three of them to lay out the quantity of Six mile square graunted to Westfeild by the Genrll Corte, and finding that ye aforementioned p'sons have hitherto soe neglected the said work that unless some speedy course be taken or other appoynted thereunto that shall more readily attend it, We shalbe altogether unable to render an account to ye next Genrll Corte leaving ye worke to our Town & that there may be noe further needless neglect on our part: This Town doth now order to appoynt Capt Holyoke Quartrmr Colton Rowland Thomas & Samuell Marshfeild to ye said work calling in & making voyd the power we conferred upon mr Cornish & the rest above said forasmuch as they have not done their work in their yeere.”
Mr. Harry Andrew Wright, in “Indian Deeds of Hampden County”, defines Indian place names, including:
“Tomhaumucke. - From aito-maham-uck, 'land on both sides (of which) water flows down', or 'the canoe man goes down'. The modern name is Sackett's Brook.”
“March the 12th 1667
“The Inhabitants of Waranoco spetially those that live at the Cellars judging it necessary that there should be a highway across the wett meadow under the hill for their passage to the pyne plains.
“The Committee doe determine order & appoint George Phelps & John Williams to lay out a high way where it is most convenient for the end aforesaid. And it is determined that if John Sacketts five acres over the brooke doe come within the common fence that then he shall fence for it proportionally with other men in the common fence.”
Early Settlers and Allotments of Land
p86 [The early records show the original allotment of land, comprising 163 acres (the Meadow Division), 44 acres (first plowland division), 75 acres (second plowland division), and 'the hundred acres', a tract of meadow south of Little River, to 13 settlers, the allotments being listed in detail on p86]
“The above lists do not include all those who were actual settlers at about the time that the town was organised. The records contain references to … , John Sacket, ….” [and about 20 others].
“John Sacket came from Cambridge to Springfield in 1653. He was born in 1632, three years after his father Simon Sacket and his wife Isabel came from England. John removed to Northampton about 1659, and thence to Westfield in 1667. He married 1656 Abigail Hannum in Northampton November 23, 1659. He lived to the advanced age of 87 years. She was the daughter of William and Honora Hannum. She died October 10, 1690.”
[is 1656 before Abigail above a reference number?]
p101 [gives a list of 42 settlers of Westfield who have taken the oath of allegiance to the King]
“The names of the Town of Westfield, who have tooke the oath of allegiance to his Majesty -
[list includes] John Sacket, Senr.
John Sacket, Junr.
The Pilgrim Pastor and His Meeting House
(Dec 1672) “Voted that the town will go on with building a meeting house
with all convenient speed as may be. The dimensions are as follows 36 foots square and
the form to be like Hatfield meeting house as the Committee chosen shall agree.
“Mr. Joseph Whiting, Deacon Hanchet, John Sacket, John Root & Aaron
Cook are chosen to manage all concerns about it for the best advantage to the town ...”
:”The sheet (contained in an undated letter from Rev. Samual Mather,
pastor of the church in Windsor, Conn. to “the Reverend Mr. Edward Taylor pastor of the
church of Xt in Westfield”) containing the note was folded twice and on the back of one
of the folds in very fine writing is a business account, a series of charges, against some of
Westfield's most prominent citizens, including (among a list of 15 “and others”) John
Sacket Jr. Most of the charges are for Rum, including a half pint to Sara Dewey. ...”
Matters of Dispute and Discipline
“Westfield 17 Aug. 1684. We whose Names are under written being desired by the Constable as a Jury according to Law, to give or Judgmt on the awful, amazing and untimely death of Eleezer Weller, after due notice taken , we al unanimously agree, that through the strength of temptation he became his own Executioner, by hanging himself, al signs and circumstances freely concurring therein, and nothing appearing to the contrary, to the best of or Judgmts, we suppose he might be dead twenty four hourse before it was known.
John Maudesley John Root Samuel Root Samuel Loomis Sr.
John Sacket Jacob Phelps Isaac Phelps John Ponder
John Williams Thomas Noble Josiah Dewey Thomas Dewey.”
“In his “Connecticut Historical Collections”, Barber says: “About this period (1644) tobacco was coming into use in the colony: the following curious law was made for its regulation or suppression -
“ 'Forasmuch as it is observed that many abuses are crept in & committed by frequent taking of tobacko:
“ 'It is ordered by the authority of this Courte, That no person under the age of twenty one years, nor any other that hath not accustomed himselfe to the use thereof, shall take any tobacko untill he hath brought a certificate under the hands of some who are approved for knowledge & skill in physick, that it is needful for him, and allso that hee hath received a lycense from the courte for the same. - And for the regulating of those, who either by their former taking it have to their own apprehensions made it necessary to them, or upon due advice are persuaded to the use thereof.
“ 'It is ordered, That no man within this colonye, after the publication hereof, shall take any tobacko publiquely in the strett, highways, or any barn yards or uppon training days in any open places, under the penalty of six pence for each offence against this order, in any of the particulars thereof, to bee paid without gainsaying, upon conviction by the testimony of one witness, that is without just exception before any one magistrate. And the constables in the severall towns are required to make presentment to each particular courte, of such as they doe understand, & can evict to bee transgressors of this order.' ”
“Several years later the two brothers, Thomas and Josiah Dewey, had a suit at law against John Sackett, Samuel Taylor, Joseph Pomeroy and Nathaniel Williams for infringing on their rights by setting another mill in their neighborhood, higher up on the brook. The matter was tried at Northampton, appealed to the General Court, and finally settled at the Court in Springfield in the autumn of 1685. The Deweys helped to move the rival mill to another location and were themselves renewedly established in their rights as sole proprietors of that portion of the stream. After much hard feeling the settlement finally reached seems to have been mutually amicable.”
The Indian Menace, Philip's War
“The people of Springfield had to depend upon the mills at Westfield for the grinding of their corn though the way there was long, rough, and precarious owing to the menace of skulking enemies. Rev. Mr. Taylor, writing of conditions during that frightful period (the autumn of 1675), says, “but summer coming opened a door unto that, desolating war began by Philip, Sachem of the Pakonoket Indians, by which this handful was sorely pressed, yet sovereignty preserved, but yet not so as that we should be wholly exempted from the fury of war, for our soil was moistened by the blood of three Springfield men, young Goodman Dumbleton, who came to our mill, and two sons of Goodman Brooks, who came here to look after the iron ore on the land he had lately bought of Mr. John Pynchon, Esq. who being persuaded by Springfield folk, went to accompany them, but fell in the way by the first assault of the enemy upon us, at which time they burnt Mr. Cornish's house to ashes and also John Sacket's with his barn and what was in it, being the first snowy day of winter; they also at this time lodged a bullet in George Granger's leg, which was the next morning taken out by Mr. Bulkley, and the wound soon healed. It was judged that the enemy did receive some loss at this time, because in the ashes of Mr. Cornish's house were found pieces of the bones of a man lying about the length of a man in the ashes.”
“The following pathetic and reasonable plea must have been granted:
“Worshipful Sir - together with the Hond Council.
“The allwise Providence of God having brought these desolating wars into our parts the summer past, & thereby calling us not only to the expense of a great part of our estate on public occasions; but also threatening ruin both unto the rest & to ourselves, it was a question with some of us whether we were in our way or not to abide the event. The which seems the harder to resolve when there came (from whence we well know not) a report that there would be no allowance for such charges as should be expended in quartering soldiers (the which should be a truth would most certainly break up our plantation & now undo the most here) but seeing neither equity in any such report or thing, and considering what as our judgment it is for towns to be laid desolate and made ruinous heaps, as also that our calling & livelihood lay in this place, the hand of God seemed to point out unto us some special duty of self denial, wherein we stood bound with respect to the public benefit and hereupon we adventured (not troubling you for advice) in keeping our station to draw out our estates in public uses & in the service of God & his people, in quartering of soldiers in maintaining of a garrison here, sometimes consisting of about 20, sometimes above 40 & near about 30 soldiers as also in quartering Hartford soldiers in their passing to & from, sometimes being more & sometimes less, sometimes leaving 40 or 50 or 60 Indian soldiers with them as also in sending posts &c from the latter end of August until this instant.
“Therefore having now expended a great part of our estate thus in obedience to the call of Providence we proceed to leave unto your consideration an account thereof & proceeding upon the common say, that things are with us, as for a man 4/ per week, for a horse 1/ at grass and 1/6 at hay, as for corn, wheat being at 3/6, Indian & oats 2/ per bushel, as for flesh meat, pork being at 3d and beef at 2d½ per pound. Also allowing a post 3d per mile he bearing all the charges (we say proceeding according to these rates of things) our public expenses on Hartford soldiers amounts to £124.16.7 from the latter end of August to the 19th of November and our public expenses from the 19th of Nov. to March 3d 1675-6 (being just 15 weeks) the which have been disbursed on the garrison soldiers left here by the Com. in Chief. Capt. Ap. amounts to £87.13.0. To which we add troopers arrearages 25/ and for killing 2 wolves 20/ which being added to the summers charges is £127.1.7 out of which subtracting the County rates last summer demanded which come to 36.0.8½ the remainder 90.13.6½ being that which we are still out on public credit, the which 90.13.6½ of our charges on Hartford soldiers being added to the 87.13.0 the total is 178.6.6½ that which we have still expended on public account which is believed to be a faithful account as we are able with the best diligence we could use to gather up. Only the last of the 3 county rates would not we judge have come to so much as is set down, being that the list of our estates did not arise to so much, as you may see; but not having at present to correct aright we let it go at present. Thus having faithfully laid down our expenses before you to your consideration & desiring the Almighty to give you in all your consultations unto such events as he of his grace shall bless to your good, & peace of his poor wilderness people, we remain your humble servts.
John Sacket, Constable
John Root, Commissary
[Mar. 15, 1676. Handwriting of Rev. E. Taylor]
(Judd Ms. Forbes Library.)”
“These operations [the Indian war] must have disturbed greatly the people of Westfield, and kept them in a state of perpetual alarm. This is pathetically evidenced by the following record in the town's archives:
“March 26, 1676.
“The town considering that the hand of God is upon us in having or letting loose the heathen upon us so that now wee cannot carry on our occasion for lively hood as formerly & considering that it is not a time now to advans our estates but to deny ourselves of our former advantages that so wee may carry on something together for the good of the whole, that so by God's blessing on our labours we may be in a way of getting food for our familyes, therefore in case the honored counsel did not cost * * * we agree to carry on as followeth -
We agree to fence only the northeast field and
* * * * * * * * * * *
and we agree to plow and sow and carry on the improvement of this land in general, that is such as shall agree thereunto as it shall be ordered by some men we shall appoint, who shall go out to work and who shall tarry at home from day to day, and if it shall please God to give opertunity to rattfy the long fit of our labors each man shall receive an equal proporson according to his family; necessary publick charges being first cleared and the rest if any man sowes more seed than his proporson he shall receive that again in the first place.
“The men chosen to order the whole matter for service and fencing are goodman Ashly Senr & goodman Gun. We who agree here unto do promise & engage to submit ourselves to the said propositions thereof as
“Witness our hands
“George Phelps Josiah Dewey
Thomas Gun Nathaniel Weller
Samuel Loomis Thomas Dewey
Isaac Phelps John Sacket
David Ashley Edward Neal”