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The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

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A. Conan Doyle

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Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

History of Windham County, Connecticut: 1600-1760

by Ellen Douglas Larned


f I THOUGH Windham County is Bo clearly within the limits of -■- Connecticut, t!ie northern part of this territory was long held by Massachusetts. The boundary between these colonies was many years disputed. The patent of Connecticut allowed her territory to extend northward to the head of Narraganset River, but the previous grant to Massachusetts restricted it to the southern bound of the Bay Colony—" three miles south of every part of Charles River." In 1642, Massachusetts employed Nathaniel Woodward and Solomon Saffery, characterized by her as "skillful and approved artists," to run her southern boundary line. A point on Wrentham Plain was adjudged by thorn to bo throo miles south of the most southorly part of Charles River, and .there they fixed a station. Tlioy then, according to Trumbull, took a sloop and sailed round to Long Island Sound, and thence up Connecticut River to the house of one Bissel in Windsor, where they established another station some ten or twelve miles south of that in Wrentham. The line joining these points was the famous "Woodward's and Saffery's Line," accepted by Massachusetts as her southern boundary, and maintained by her seventy years against the reiterated representations and remonstrances of Connecticut. By this deflection, the land now included'in the towns of Woodstock and Thompson was appended to Massachusetts, and as a part of the vacant Nipmuck Country awaited her disposal.

That colony was too much impoverished and weakened .by the war to be able at once to appropriate her acquisitions, and some years passed ere she attempted even to explore and survey them. The Indians, as they recovered from the shock of defeat, gathered again around their old homes and laid claim to various sections. In May, 1681, the General Court of Massachusetts appointed William Stough ton and Joseph Dudley, two of her most prominent publio men, "To take particular care and inspection into the matter of the land in the Nipmuck Country, and what titles were pretended to it by Indians and others." A meeting of claimants was accordingly held at Cambridge vill.-ige, in June, Mr. John Eliot assisting as Interpreter. Black James, the former constable at Chabougagum, now appeared as claimant for the 6onth part of the Nipmuck Country. The commissioners found the Indians " willing enough to make claim to the whole country, but litigious and doubtful among themselves," and allowed them till September to arrange some mutual agreement, and then spent a week exploring the country, attended by the principal claimants. They reported Black James' claim as "capable of good settlement, if not too scant of meadow, though uncertain what will fall within our bounds if our line be to be questioned," and advised "that some compensation be made to all the claimers for a full surrender of their lands to the Government and Company of Massachusetts." This advice was accepted, and Stoughton and Dudley further Empowered "to treat with the claimers, and agree with them upon the easiest terms that may ho obtained." In the following winter the negotiations were completed, mid February 10, 1082, the whole Nipmuck Country from the north of Massachusetts to Nash-u-way, at the junction of the Quinebaug and French Rivers, Connecticut—a tract fifty miles long by twenty wide—was made over to the Massachusetts government for the sum of fifty pounds. Black James received for himself and some forty followers, twenty pounds in money and a Reservation of five miles square.

This Indian Reservation was laid out iu two sections—one "at a place called Myanexet," east of the Quinebaug, now included in the towns of Dudley, Webster and Thompson,—the other at Quinnatisset, now the south part of Thompson. Five thousand acres at Quinnatisset and a largo tract at Myauexct, being a moiety or full half of the whole Reservation, were immediately conveyed, for the sum of ten pounds, to Stoughton and Dudley. A deed, subscribed November 10, 1682, by Black James and other "Indian natives and natural descendants of the ancient proprietors aud inhabitants of the Nipmuck Country," released all right to this land and constituted Stoughton aud Dudley the first white .proprietors of Windham's share of the Nipmuck Country. Dudley long retained his fine farm on the Quinebaug. The Quinnatisset land was soon made over to purchasers. The throwing of so large a tract of country into market, incited an immediate rage for laud speculation, and capitalists hastened to secure possession of favorable localities. June 1H, 1683, Joseph Dudley, for £250, conveyed to Thomas Freak of Ilamington, Wells County, England, two thousand acres of forest land in the Nipmuck Country, part of a greater quantity purchased of Black James, "as the same shall be set out by a surveyor." Two thousand acres in upland and meadow, "at a certain place called and known by the natives Quinnatisset,'' were also made over by Stoughton, in consideration of £20) current money, to Robert Thompson of North Newington, Middlesex, England—a very noted personage, president of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and a firm and devoted friend of the colonies. The land thus purchased was laid out in June, 1684, by John Gore, of Roxbury, under the supervision of Colonel William Dudley. Freak's farm included the site of the present Thompson village. The line dividing it from Thompson's ran through an old Indian fort on a hill a mile eastward. Five hundred acres south of Freak's wore laid out to Gore; five hundred on the north to Benjamin Gambling of Roxbiiry, assistant surveyor. These Quinnatisset farms are memorable, not only as the first laid out in the northern part of Windham County, but from their connection with the disputed southern boundary of Massachusetts Woodward's and Saffery's lino crossed the Quinebaug, at its junction with the French River, and thence ran on northeasterly to Rhode Island and Wrentham. It was intended to make this line the south bound of the Quinnatisset farms, but, by an unfortunate blunder, the greater part of Thompson's land and an angle of Gore's fell south of it, intruding upon what even Massachusetts acknowledged as Connecticut territory—an intrusion which occasioned much confusion and controversy. No attempt was made to occupy and cultivate these farms by their owners. Thompson's land remained in his family for upwards of an hundred years, and the town that subsequently included it was named in his honor.

a. Woodward's and 8affery'i< Line. 6. Freak's Farm. c. Gardner's and Gamuling's land. d. Thompson's land. «. Gore's laud. /. Old Indian fort.'

Twelve hundred acres of land between the Quiuebaug and French Rivers were sold by Nanasogegog of Nipmuck, with the consent of Black James, to Jonathan Curtis, Thomas. Dudley, Samuel Rice and others, in 1634, but other claimants apparently secured it. Five hundred acres, eaoh, allowed by the Massachusetts government to John Collins and John Cotton, were laid out east of the Quiuebaug in Quinnatisset. A thousand-acre tract, '' granted to the children of Mr. William Whiting, sometime of Hartford," was laid out south of Lake Chaubongagiun.

The whole Wahbaquasset Country was yielded by Massachusetts to the claim of Unoas, who, favored by the government and encouraged by interested advisers, assumed to himself a large share of eastern Connecticut. The tract confirmed to him as the hereditary territory of the Mohegans was bounded on the north by a line running from Mahmunsook on Whetstone Brook to the junction of the Quiuebaug and Assawaga at Aoquiunk, thence westward to the Willimantic and far beyond it. The Wabbaqnasset Country was held by him as a Pequot conquest. It extended from the Mohegau north bound far into Massachusetts, and westward from the Quiuebaug to a line running through the "great pond Snipsic," now in Tolland. This large tract was given by Uncas to his second son, Owaneco, while the land between the Appaqunge and Willimantic Rivers was assigned by him to his third son, Atanawahood or Joshua, sachem of the Western Niantics. Joshua died in May, 1676, from injuries received during the Narraganset war, and left a will, bequeathing the land between the Willimantic and Appaquage to Captain John Mason and fifteen other gentlemen, "in trust for a plantation." His estate was settled according to the terms of the will, the General Assembly of Connecticut allowing the Norwich legatees the lands bequeathed to them at Appaquage, which, as soon as practicable, was incorporated as the township of Wiudhain.

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