John Lockwood, Westfield and Its Historic Influences 1669–1919, volume 1
[References on pp 58, 62, 63, 80, 87, 91, 101, 179, 183, 217/8, 226-8, 231 are to John Sackett 1632–1719, son of Simon Sackett & Isabel Pearce.
References on pp 101, 169 are to John Sackett 1660–1745, son of John Sackett & Abigail Hannum.
References on pp 346/7 are to David Sackett 1696–, son of John Sackett & Deborah Filley, and to Isaac Sackett 1703–1773, son of John Sackett & Mahitable Danks.]
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
p 86 [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 p 86.]
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?]
p 101 [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 —
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
* * * * *
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
Schools and Teachers
At a Legall Town meeting Desember ye 13th: 1703 ye Towne voted to hire some man in ye Town to keepe Schoole.
:Att ye same meeting ye Towne votted ytt ye Children ytt goe to school should pay (viz) Riters att 3d pr weeke & Readers att 2d per weeke.
At ye same meeting ye severall persons whose Names are hereafter mentioned enter there Desents from ye vote above mentioned namely ytt Vote 3d pr weeke for Riters & 2d pr weeke for readers [names include John Sackett].
Queen Anne’s War
March 21, 1700.
The inhabitants especially those that live on the Town plot had a meeting to consider about fortifying for thar security, did agree and vote that four houses should be securely fortified and Mr Taylors Fort repaired if needed. The four houses agreed upon were John Wellers, Stephen Kelloggs, John Sackets and Benjamin Smiths, and also Consider Moseleys.
Father Rale’s War
In November the Governor ordered Lieut. Kellogg to raise a company to be partly stationed at Northfield and partly utilized for scouting, and sent him a captain’s commission. The muster roll of this company which served from Nov. 20, 1723, to May 30, 1724, contains the names of four Westfield men, David King, John Beamon, Jacob Wheeler and David Sackett.
In the spring of that year, 1724, Capt. Dwight reorganized his company, and among the additions to it was Isaac Sackett of Westfield.
King George’s War
In June, 1748, Captain Humphry of Springfield was ordered to go from Charlestown, through the woods, to Fort Shirley, with a force of forty men. When they reached the present location of Marlborough in Vermont, about twelve miles northwest of Fort Dummer, he halted to rest his men. They were refreshing themselves on a piece of ground on which grew alders and many large trees, through which a rivulet flowed, when the guard posted by Hobbs on the trail was driven in by a large body of Indians, commanded by a chief named Sackett, a half-breed descendant of a captive taken at Westfield in an earlier war. Though startled by the sudden onslaught, and totally ignorant of the strength of his opponents, Hobbs and his company immediately prepared for action, each man selecting a tree for cover. The English had learned much about frontier warfare since the days of Bloody Brook in Philip’s War. Hoyt’s account says:
Confident of victory from their superiority of numbers, the enemy rushed up, and received Hobbs’ well directed fire, which cut down a number and checked their impetuosity. Covering themselves also with trees and brush, the action became warm, and a severe conflict ensued between sharpshooters. The two commanders had been known to each other in time of peace, and both bore the character of intrepidity. Sackett, who could speak English, in a stentorian voice frequently called upon Hobbs to surrender, and threatened, in case of refusal, to rush in with the tomahawk. Hobbs, in a voice which shook the forest, as often returned a defiance, and urged his enemy to put his threats in execution. The action continued with undaunted resolution and not unfrequently [sic] the enemy approached Hobbs’ line; but were driven back to their first position by the fatal fire of his sharp-sighted marksmen; and thus about four hours elapsed, with neither side given up an inch of their original ground. At length, finding Hobbs determined on either death or victory, and that his own men had suffered severely, Sackett ordered a retreat, carrying off his dead and wounded, and allowing his antagonist to continue his march without further molestation. (Indian Wars, p.250.)
The size of Sackett’s force is estimated by Hoyt at fully four times that of the English. Later in the same summer a part of the same band killed and wounded several settlers in the region of Fort Dummer and Northfield. This half-breed chief was probably familiar with the region about Westfield. Doctor Davis, in his historical sketch of Westfield, the only copy of which known to be extant is carefully preserved in the Westfield Atheneum, says, referring to an earlier period, “A daughter of the second wife of a Mr. Sackett (her name I do not know) was taken captive by the Indians and carried captive to the northwest part of New York, married an Indian and remained among them as long as she lived. Her descendants have been here to see their mother’s friends several times since the French war. Previous to that they used some exertions to make others of the Sackett family captives but did not succeed.
The Third Pastor
The third minister of the Congregational Church in Westfield, Rev. John Ballantine, maintained a journal throughout his life there. The following are extracted from his journal.
[Jan. 25, 1759]
Visited Wm Sackets negro boy Ætat. 11, in a consumption and Dropsy, in great distress and pain, a little while ago firm and strong. Youth and health don’t secure from Death. I see from his distress that a sick bed is a poor place to prepare. The lad was dear to the family. They would give much that his life might be spared. Psalms 49:6-9. How sad ye consequences of Apostasy, how foolish to persist in sin.
[Jan. 26, 1759]
26. Caesar, Wm Sackets negro died, how many warnings have youth, how inexcusable if they neglect to prepare on presumption that they will live to be old, earthly enjoyment uncertain.
[Nov. 30, 1760]
30. Preached. Thanks, requested by Capt. Shepard, Oliver Root, and Ozem Sackett, returned from ye War. Prayers requested by Sergt. Isaac Stiles & Wife, that the death of her sister, Adams of Suffield, who hanged herself with a wheel band just having been under disorders of body and mind, might be sanctified.
James Stevenson prayers for his child burnt. William Sackett & Wife, thanks for recovery from child bearing, prayers desired by widow Noble that Ensign Graves death might be sanctified.
[Dec. 10, 1760]
10. Mr. Eliakim Sacket gave me piece Beef and suet.
Jan. 6, 1761. News of the death of King George II, in the 77th year of his age, and the 34th of his reign. He died suddenly. The surgeons who opened his body, judged that his death was occasioned by a rupture of the right ventricle of the heart.
[Feb. 27, 1761]
27. Ensign Ingersol gave me 2 qts. Rum. Elisha Root 1 qt. Erastus Sacket 1 qt. Simeon Stiles 3 Doz. Eggs.
July 4, 1764. Visited Eliakim Sackett, in a very dangerous condition, a Tumor on his head, it has struck in at times, he appears in great distress and stupor, has been opened.
[Apr. 3, 1768]
Apr. 3. Sunday. Sent for by Adnah Sackets wife who hath been in travail since ye first inst. prayed with her. Preached. Prayers. Aaron Bush bereaved of his wife. Widow Mary Ashley of a daughter, Simeon Ashley & wife, and Bethia Ashly of a sister. Thanks Capt. Moseleys wife d l d. visited Sackets wife gave thanks for the delivery (additional proof of the assurance the ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’).
Oct. 16, 1769. Mrs Parks 1 Gallon Rum. Capt. Moseley 2 qts of Rum. Deacon Shepard a Breast of Mutton, Mr. Bildad Fowler, a Loin of Mutton, Mrs. Clap 1 qt Rum. Thomas Root 2 qts Brandy, Mr. Matthew Noble Flour & Suet. Ensign Noble, Butter, Clarke King a pig, Ensign Ingersol 2 qts Rum, Mrs. Margaret Ashley a Loyn of Mutton, Mr. John Kellogg, Cranberries, Mr. Seth Sacket Cranberries, Mr. David Mosely a Pigg, 3 Fowls & Suet, Mr. Nathanael Weller, Piece of veal & suet. Ensign Weller apples, flour & suet, Mr. Ford cabbage & potatoes. Mr. Stephen Noble 2 Fowls & Pork, Deacon Root 2 qts Brandy.
[Apr. 22, 1773]
22. Was at Deacon Shepards, at his son Johns, Married his daughter Lucretia to David Sacket. Lucretia has just entered her 16th year. Received 6/-.
[Oct. 31, 1773]
31. Preached. Messrs. Lyman & Hunt of Northampton attended. Prayers that death of Isaac Sacket may be sanctified to Ezekiel , Adnah & David Sacket & their Wives, also to Danl Sacket, Deacon Shepard & their Wives.
Thanks. Joseph Ashleys wife d—d. and Gad Deweys wife recovered.
Attended Isaac Sackets funeral, age 70, people met at Deacon Shepards.
John Lockwood, Westfield and Its Historic Influences 1669-1919, volume 1, published by the author (1922). (Researched by Patty Sackett Chrisman).