1700 to 1799
The Nathaniel Miller house, built in 1681 at River End, Norfolk was enlarged. This was one of the original five houses built on the Indian Trail from Medfield to Wrentham.
Fifty householders resided in the general area. Law directed that this required that a school to be kept.
It was resolved that a school house, 20 foot long and 16 foot broad, would be built and finished by the next Mickelmus. This first school house was built in the area of the Wrentham Common.
The Boston New-Letter became the first successful newspaper in the colonies.
A 3 months school was established to rotate from the East end of town, to the school house, to Ebenezer Ware's (Wareland's) on a monthly basis. The first school house in North Wrentham was built in 1778 on the Northwest corner of Town Hill.
Ebenezer Ware's will of January 22nd references Henry Adams corn mill.
A school was provided for at "Poppolatuck". The schools were not permanently located as to a site at this time as the matter of placing them was a frequent consideration in town meeting.
The Morse's of the Mill at Morse's Pond, now Highland Lake, had a son Joseph born and died in infancy and around this same time the house at 18 Campbell Street experiencedd a fire and was rebuilt.
George Washington born in Virginia.
Benjamin Franklin publishes Poor Richard's Almanac, containing weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams, selling nearly 10,000 copies per year.
The bridge over the Stop River on what is Campbell Street today was called Morse's Brig at this time. The term brig being Scottish for bridge.
Benjamin and Sarah Blake Morse, of the Mill at Morse's Pond, now Highland Lake, had a son Nathan.
Paul Revere born in Boston.
May 29th, Adam's corn mill is still in existence as it is mentioned in the laying out of a surveyor's district.
On December 23rd, Governor Jonathan Belcher signed papers giving legal existence to the West Precinct of Wrentham, later to become Franklin.
Captain Oliver Pond was born.
England declares war on Spain. As a result, in America, hostilities break out between Florida Spaniards and Georgia and South Carolina colonists.
The saw mill, irons and mill pond were deeded to Benjamin Morse by his siblings.
Norfolk Cemetery was established at the corner of Main and Seekonk Street. At the time Wrentham referred to it as Cemetery #7 and one was also set up in Pondville referred to as Cemetery #8.
Elisha Ware, son of Ebenezer, married Phoebe Clarke of Easie Plains, Walpole who brings her bride's white rosebush to plant beside the door rock at their home , the Warelands.
On April 5th the Rev. David Avery was born in what is now Franklin, CT. After being dismissed by the Wrentham church he relocated to North Wrentham and conducted services in his home which was located on what is today Village Green near its intersection with Cleveland Street.
The Iron Act is passed by the English Parliament, limiting the growth of the iron industry in the American colonies to protect the English Iron industry.
Ebenezer Ware, on his deathbed, tells his wife and children that when the time comes for the North Parish (the future Norfolk) to have its own church, he wishes to donate 4 acres on the North Hill, from his farm, for a meeting house.
The Currency Act is passed by the English Parliament, banning the issuing of paper money by the New England colonies
In February, English General Edward Braddock arrives in Virginia with two regiments of English troops. General Braddock assumes the post of Commander in Chief of all English forces in America. In April, General Braddock and Lt. Col. George Washington set out with nearly 2000 men to battle the French in the Ohio territory. In July, a force of about 900 French and Indians defeat those English forces. Braddock is mortally wounded. Massachusetts Governor William Shirley then becomes the new Commander in Chief.
England declares war on France, as the French and Indian War in the colonies now spreads to Europe.
A new king, George III came to the throne of England.
British won the final victory in the French and Indian Wars which started in 1689. This war, known in Europe as the Seven Year's War, ends with the Treaty of Paris. Under the treaty, France gives England all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except New Orleans. The Spanish give up east and west Florida to the English in return for Cuba. The Proclamation of 1763, signed by King George III of England, prohibits any English settlement west of the Appalachian mountains and requires those already settled in those regions to return east in an attempt to ease tensions with Native Americans.
The Sugar Act is passed by the English Parliament to offset the war debt brought on by the French and Indian War and to help pay for the expenses of running the colonies and newly acquired territories. This act increases the duties on imported sugar and other items such as textiles, coffee, wines and indigo (dye). It doubles the duties on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies and also forbids the import of foreign rum and French wines. The Currency Act prohibits the colonists from issuing any legal tender paper money. This act threatens to destabilize the entire colonial economy of both the industrial North and agricultural South, thus uniting the colonists against it. In May, at a town meeting in Boston, James Otis raises the issue of taxation without representation and urges a united response to the recent acts imposed by England. In July, Otis publishes "The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved." In August, Boston merchants begin a boycott of British luxury goods.
The Stamp Act was passed by the English Parliament imposing the first direct tax on the American colonies, to offset the high costs of the British military organization in America. Thus for the first time in the 150 year old history of the British colonies in America, the Americans will pay tax not to their own local legislatures in America, but directly to England. Also in March, the Quartering Act requires colonists to house British troops and supply them with food. In July, the Sons of Liberty, an underground organization opposed to the Stamp Act, is formed in a number of colonial towns. Its members use violence and intimidation to eventually force all of the British stamp agents to resign and also stop many American merchants from ordering British trade goods. On November 1, most daily business and legal transactions in the colonies cease as the Stamp Act goes into effect with nearly all of the colonists refusing to use the stamps. In New York City, violence breaks out as a mob burns the royal governor in effigy, harasses British troops, then loots houses.
In March, King George III signs a bill repealing the Stamp Act after much debate in the English Parliament, which included an appearance by Ben Franklin arguing for repeal and warning of a possible revolution in the American colonies if the Stamp Act was enforced by the British military. On the same day it repealed the Stamp Act, the English Parliament passes the Declaratory Act stating that the British government has total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies in all cases whatsoever. In August, violence breaks out in New York between British soldiers and armed colonists, including Sons of Liberty members. The violence erupts as a result of the continuing refusal of New York colonists to comply with the Quartering Act. In December, the New York legislature is suspended by the English Crown after once again voting to refuse to comply with the Act.
In June, The English Parliament passes the Townshend Revenue Acts, imposing a new series of taxes on the colonists to offset the costs of administering and protecting the American colonies. Items taxed include imports such as paper, tea, glass, lead and paints. The Act also establishes a colonial board of customs commissioners in Boston. In October, Bostonians decide to reinstate a boycott of English luxury items. Voted in Dedham that inhabitants should purchase only goods produced and manufactured in the British American colonies, wherever possible and prudent.
In May, a British warship armed with 50 cannons sails into Boston harbor after a call for help from custom commissioners who are constantly being harassed by Boston agitators. In June, a customs official is locked up in the cabin of the Liberty, a sloop owned by John Hancock. Imported wine is then unloaded illegally into Boston without payment of duties. Following this incident, customs officials seize Hancock's sloop. After threats of violence from Bostonians, the customs officials escape to an island off Boston, then request the intervention of British troops. In July, the governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general court after the legislature defies his order to revoke Adams' circular letter. In August, in Boston and New York, merchants agree to boycott most British goods until the Townsend Acts are repealed. In September, at a town meeting in Boston, residents are urged to arm themselves. Later in September, English warships sail into Boston Harbor, then two regiments of English infantry land in Boston and set up permanent residence to keep order.
The Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre occured on March 5, at the intersection of Devonshire and State Street intersection in front of Old State house. It began when a young apprentice shouted an insult at a British officer. A soldier on sentry duty front of the customs house supposedly hit the boy with his rifle. The boy yelled for help, and a crowd of colonist looking for trouble gathered. As the mob continued to harass the British soldiers (who were in Boston to keep order, but the townspeople viewed them as spies and trouble) they fired their muskets pointblank into the crowd, killing three instantly, mortally wounding two others and injuring six. After the incident, the new Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, at the insistence of Sam Adams, withdraws British troops out of Boston to nearby harbor islands. The captain of the British soldiers, Thomas Preston, is then arrested along with eight of his men and charged with murder. In April, the Townshend Acts are repealed by the British. All duties on imports into the colonies are eliminated except for tea. Also, the Quartering Act is not renewed. In October, trial begins for the British soldiers arrested after the Boston Massacre. Colonial lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincy successfully defend Captain Preston and six of his men, who are acquitted. Two other soldiers are found guilty of manslaughter, branded, then released.
If you were living in Boston at the time, this is what you would have read in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal in its edition of Monday, March 12, 1770. The actual account as reported and published in the pages of that newspaper follows:
A few minutes after nine o'clock, four youths named Edward Archibald, William Merchant, Francis Archibald and John Leech, jun., came down Cornhill together and separating at Dr. Loring's corner, the two former were passing the narrow alley leading Mr. Murray's barrack in which was a soldier brandishing a broad sword of an uncommon size against the walls, out of which he struck fire plentifully. A person of mean countenance. armed with a large cudgel bore him company. Edward Archbald admonished Mr. Merchant to take care of the sword, on which the soldier turned round and struck Archbald on the arm, then pushed at Merchant and pierced through his clothes inside the arm close to the armpit and grazed the skin. Merchant then struck the soldier with a short stick he had; and the other person ran to the barrack and brought with him two soldiers, one armed with a pair of tongs, the other with a shovel. He with the tongs pursued Archbald back through the alley, collared and laid him over the head with the tongs. The noise brought people together; and John Hicks, a young lad, coming up, knocked the soldier down but let him get up again; and more lads gathering, drove them back to the barrack where the boys stood some time as it were to keep them in. In less than a minute ten or twelve of them came out with drawn cutlasses, clubs, and bayonets and set upon the unarmed boys and young folk who stood them a little while but, finding the inequality of their equipment, dispersed. On hearing the noise, one Samuel Atwood came up to see what was the matter; and entering the alley from dock square, heard the latter part of the combat; and when the boys had dispersed he met the ten or twelve soldiers aforesaid rushing down the alley towards the square and asked them if they intended to murder people? They answered Yes, by G-d, root and branch! With that one of them struck Mr. Atwood with a club which was repeated by another; and being unarmed, he turned to go off and received a wound on the left shoulder which reached the bone and gave him much pain. Retreating a few steps, Mr. Atwood met two officers and said, gentlemen, what is the matter they answered, you'll see by and by. Immediately after, those heroes appeared in the square, asking where were the boogers? where were the cowards? But notwithstanding their fierceness to naked men, one of them advanced towards a youth who had a split of a raw stave in his hand and said, damn them, here is one of them. But the young man seeing a person near him with a drawn sword and good cane ready to support him, held up his stave in defiance; and they quietly passed by him up the little alley by Mr. Silsby's to King Street where they attacked single and unarmed persons till they raised much clamour, and then turned down Cornhill Street, insulting all they met in like manner and pursuing some to their very doors. Thirty or forty persons, mostly lads, being by this means gathered in King Street, Capt. Preston with a party of men with charged bayonets, came from the main guard to the commissioner's house, the soldiers pushing their bayonets, crying, make way! They took place by the custom house and, continuing to push to drive the people off pricked some in several places, on which they were clamorous and, it is said, threw snow balls. On this, the Captain commanded them to fire; and more snow balls coming, he again said, damn you, fire, be the consequence what it will! One soldier then fired, and a townsman with a cudgel struck him over the hands with such force that he dropped his firelock; and, rushing forward, aimed a blow at the Captain's head which grazed his hat and fell pretty heavy upon his arm. However, the soldiers continued the fire successively till seven or eight or, as some say, eleven guns were discharged. By this fatal maneuver three men were laid dead on the spot and two more struggling for life; but what showed a degree of cruelty unknown to British troops, at least since the house of Hanover has directed their operation, was an attempt to fire upon or push with their bayonets the persons who undertook to remove the slain and wounded! Mr. Benjamin Leigh, now undertaker in the Delph manufactory, came up and after some conversation with Capt. Preston relative to his conduct in this affair, advised him to draw off his men, with which he complied. The dead are Mr. Samuel Gray, killed on the spot, the ball entering his head and beating off a large portion of his skull. A mulatto man named Crispus Attucks, who was born in Framingham, but lately belonged to New-Providence and was here in order to go for North Carolina, also killed instantly, two balls entering his breast, one of them in special goring the right lobe of the lungs and a great part of the liver most horribly. Mr. James Caldwell, mate of Capt. Morton's vessel, in like manner killed by two balls entering his back. Mr. Samuel Maverick, a promising youth of seventeen years of age, son of the widow Maverick, and an apprentice to Mr. Greenwood, ivory-turner, mortally wounded; a ball went through his belly and was cut out at his back. He died the next morning. A lad named Christopher Monk, about seventeen years of age, an apprentice to Mr. Walker, shipwright, wounded; a ball entered his back about four inches above the left kidney near the spine and was cut out of the breast on the same side. Apprehended he will die. A lad named John Clark, about seventeen years of age, whose parents live at Medford, and an apprentice to Capt. Samuel Howard of this town, wounded; a ball entered just above his groin and came out at his hip on the opposite side. Apprehended he will die. Mr. Edward Payne of this town, merchant, standing at his entry door received a ball in his arm which shattered some of the bones. Mr. John Green, tailor, coming up Leverett's Lane, received a ball just under his hip and lodged in the under part of his thigh, which was extracted. Mr. Robert Patterson, a seafaring man, who was the person that had his trousers shot through in Richardson's affair, wounded; a ball went through his right arm, and he suffered a great loss of blood. Mr. Patrick Carr, about thirty years of age, who worked with Mr. Field, leather breeches-maker in Queen Street, wounded; a ball entered near his hip and went out at his side. A lad named David Parker, an apprentice to Mr. Eddy, the wheelwright, wounded; a ball entered his thigh.
Dedham voted not to buy any tea.
Post coaches on the roads to deliver mail.
The Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party of which Few events in the history of America are as well known took place this year. On May 10, the Tea Act took effect. It maintains a threepenny per pound import tax on tea arriving in the colonies, which had already been in effect for six years. It also gives the near bankrupt British East India Company a virtual tea monopoly by allowing it to sell directly to colonial agents, bypassing any middlemen, thus underselling American merchants.
The East India Company had successfully lobbied Parliament for such a measure. In September, Parliament authorizes the company to ship half a million pounds of tea to a group of chosen tea agents. About 8000 Bostonians gather to hear Sam Adams tell them Royal Governor Hutchinson has repeated his command not to allow the ships out of the harbor until the tea taxes are paid.
On the night of December 16th, the Boston Tea Party occurs as a band of colonial activists (actually "Sons of Liberty") disguise themselves as Mohawk Indians then board ships in Boston Harbor and dump all 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor. The harbor ran brown for days afterward. A message had been sent. Why did they do this? Why tea? The English government was still in debt from the war it had fought against France and felt the colonies should help pay for it. England was also spending large sums of money for British soldiers stationed in the American Colonies. England raised taxes in America to try and get money to pay back its debt. Patriot leaders were against any internal tax they they did not consent to. John Adams was one of the staunchest leaders who fought against these taxes. He successfully argued against the stamp act a few years earlier. One of the taxes that England raised was on tea imported into the American Colonies. Tea was one of the most imported products in America and England hoped it could raise a lot of money this way. A few Americans were opposed to the tax and issued this as a protest.
Eyewitness account from George Twelves Hewes of Wrentham:
The tea destroyed was contained in three ships, lying near each other at what was called at that time Griffin's wharf, and were surrounded by armed ships of war, the commanders of which had publicly declared that if the rebels, as they were pleased to style the Bostonians, should not withdraw their opposition to the landing of the tea before a certain day, the 17th day of December, 1773, they should on that day force it on shore, under the cover of their cannon's mouth.
On the day preceding the seventeenth, there was a meeting of the citizens of the county of Suffolk, convened at one of the churches in Boston, for the purpose of consulting on what measures might be considered expedient to prevent the landing of the tea, or secure the people from the collection of the duty. At that meeting a committee was appointed to wait on Governor Hutchinson, and request him to inform them whether he would take any measures to satisfy the people on the object of the meeting.
To the first application of this committee, the Governor told them he would give them a definite answer by five o'clock in the afternoon. At the hour appointed, the committee again repaired to the Governor's house, and on inquiry found he had gone to his country seat at Milton, a distance of about six miles. When the committee returned and informed the meeting of the absence of the Governor, there was a confused murmur among the members, and the meeting was immediately dissolved, many of them crying out, "Let every man do his duty, and be true to his country"; and there was a general huzza for Griffin's wharf.
It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.
When we arrived at the wharf, there were three of our number who assumed an authority to direct our operations, to which we readily submitted. They divided us into three parties, for the purpose of boarding the three ships which contained the tea at the same time. The name of him who commanded the division to which I was assigned was Leonard Pitt. The names of the other commanders I never knew.
We were immediately ordered by the respective commanders to board all the ships at the same time, which we promptly obeyed. The commander of the division to which I belonged, as soon as we were on board the ship appointed me boatswain, and ordered me to go to the captain and demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles; but requested me at the same time to do no damage to the ship or rigging.
We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.
In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time. We were surrounded bv British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.
We then quietly retired to our several places of residence, without having any conversation with each other, or taking any measures to discover who were our associates; nor do I recollect of our having had the knowledge of the name of a single individual concerned in that affair, except that of Leonard Pitt, the commander of my division, whom I have mentioned. There appeared to be an understanding that each individual should volunteer his services, keep his own secret, and risk the consequence for himself. No disorder took place during that transaction, and it was observed at that time that the stillest night ensued that Boston had enjoyed for many months.
During the time we were throwing the tea overboard, there were several attempts made by some of the citizens of Boston and its vicinity to carry off small quantities of it for their family use. To effect that object, they would watch their opportunity to snatch up a handful from the deck, where it became plentifully scattered, and put it into their pockets.
One Captain O'Connor, whom I well knew, came on board for that purpose, and when he supposed he was not noticed, filled his pockets, and also the lining of his coat. But I had detected him and gave information to the captain of what he was doing. We were ordered to take him into custody, and just as he was stepping from the vessel, I seized him by the skirt of his coat, and in attempting to pull him back, I tore it off; but, springing forward, by a rapid effort he made his escape. He had, however, to run a gauntlet through the crowd upon the wharf nine each one, as he passed, giving him a kick or a stroke.
Another attempt was made to save a little tea from the ruins of the cargo by a tall, aged man who wore a large cocked hat and white wig, which was fashionable at that time. He had sleightly slipped a little into his pocket, but being detected, they seized him and, taking his hat and wig from his head, threw them, together with the tea, of which they had emptied his pockets, into the water. In consideration of his advanced age, he was permitted to escape, with now and then a slight kick.
The next morning, after we had cleared the ships of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable quantities of it were floating upon the surface of the water; and to prevent the possibility of any of its being saved for use, a number of small boats were manned by sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts of the harbor wherever the tea was visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles so thoroughly drenched it as to render its entire destruction inevitable.
– George Twelves Hewes
Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn his fellow patriots of the British arrival. The battles of Lexington and Concord were fought starting the Revolutionary War and General George Washington took command of the Continental Army in Cambridge.
Dedham raised a company of 60 Minute Men.
Elisha Ware was operating a small mill with a water wheel on Dirty Brook across the street from the Warelands.
On March 17th, British army and Loyalists evacuate Boston.
George Washington and a guard of soldiers spent the night at the Tavern of Josiah Ware in Norfolk (North Wrentham). The tavern later was known as the Mann's Store and was situated where the sovereign Bank is now located. His troops camped under the pitch pines then covering Town Hill. Miss Tilpka Smith drew water from her well on Back Street (now Lincoln Street) for General Washington as he passed her home.
On March 2nd, the West Precinct of Wrentham officially became an independent town. The name for the new town would be Exeter. The treaty of France, a project Ben Franklin had been working on for 3 years, had just been signed. Because of this, Jabez Fisher, a local patriot had the new town's name switched to Franklin, prior to its incorporation.
On June 10th, Foxborough incorporated.
The first permanent school house was constructed on the northwest corner of Town Hill. Prior to that time school classes were held in private homes.
Massachusetts adopted its own state constitution.
Major Eli Richardson was born in the area of City Mills.
After the Revolutionary War ended many farmers suffered economically. They could not pay their taxes or debts. Daniel Shay led a group of angry farmers to the courthouse in Springfield. Fighting broke out between the government troops and the farmers beginning Shay's Rebellion.
A donation of books from Ben Franklin to act as the start of a Franklin town library arrived in Franklin.
Joseph Robichaux died on Lovell's Island in Boston Harbor when his ship grounded in a blizzard and he froze to death.
The farmers surrendered and Shay's Rebellion ended.
The first cotton mill in the United States is built in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution. They became the sixth state to join the union.
Eli Whitney patents his spike cotton gin.
Reverend David Avery was dismissed by the Wrentham Church and took up residence in North Wrentham on the south side of Cleveland Street in the vicinity of what is now Village Green. He conducted services in his home there for his followers.
In January, a committee in Franklin was chosen to locate new schoolhouses and six districts were laid out, River End was mentioned first.
North Parish Association formed and $1244 pledged by its parishioneers to build a Meeting House in North Wrentham.
Elisha Ware and the heirs of Ebenezer Ware carried out their father's dying wish and legally deeded the four acres on the North Hill and a nearby woodlot to the newly formed North Parish Association.
Elisha Ware, carries out his father's charge and at 81, old and feeble, sitting on a chair on a nearby knoll, he watches the construction of the North Parish meeting house commence.
John Adams of Massachusetts became president of the United States.
Dr. Nathaniel Miller married Hannah Boyd of Franklin. Two of their three sons became eminent surgeons.
On July 10th, the Montgomery Lodge of Masons held their first meeting in the house of Dr. Nathaniel Miller. Paul Revere, patriot, as Most Worshipful Grand Master, signed the charter of the Montgomery Lodge and officiated at the chartering ceremonies.The Nathaniel Miller house originally built in 1681 at River End, Norfolk was enlarged. This was one of the original five houses built on the Indian Trail from Medfield to Wrentham.
Reverend John Cleaveland was named as the first Pastor of the newly formed North Parish in North Wrentham.