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A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)

A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)

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Published by teamnickerson
A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)
A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)

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Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: teamnickerson on May 29, 2012
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This was his last purchase. He had already acquired a

splendid domain, embracing not less than 4,000 acres, with

which at his advanced age he might well be content. All of

the land within the present limits of Chatham, lying west of

a line from Frostfish Creek to the head of the Oyster Pond

and thence to the head of the Mill Pond, and all the meadow

around Tom's Neck belonged to him, save only what he had

conveyed to his children and a few others. Few, if any, of

his fellow colonists could claim such an area as their own.

Regarding his controversy with the Court, it seems clear

that he prolonged it, because he believed that the Court

was dealing too harshly with him. This would seem to

have been the feeling of Col. Xieolls. During and after

his time, there were many other eases similar to his, which

wore generally compromised by giving the illegal purchaser

of the Indian rights a considerable proportion of his pur-

chase, sometimes as much as one-half. Had Mr. Nickerson

been thus dealt with, the controversy would probably have

been a short one, and the family less exasperated;

It is to be regretted that there is so little on record

regarding the Nickerson side of the case. The statements

of the Colony Court must, therefore, betaken by the reader

with due allowance.

known by ye name of Tom's Neck, that Is in ye possession of ye Sagamore's daughter

that was Cousins squa, ye upland ye Sagamore did give his Daughter &be did give his

son John Quason alias Tosowet to dispose oi ye meadow with Mattaquason & John

Quason have sold unto William Nicarson senr of Monamoyas it is above expressed.''

"With a convenient way to ye meadow through ye neck to fetch out ye hay or creek

stuff." Plym. Col. Deeds V, 508. Pamuet ami Pimpnuet are probably one and the

same locality.




\Y/IIEN William Nickerson settled at Monomoit, he

* *

found the locality far more picturesque in its natural

features than it is today. Forests of huge oaks and pines

adorned the hills now bare and infertile, while the swamps,

now cleared for the cranberry, were almost impenetrable

thickets, out of which rose a rich growth of towering


Near the shore, indeed, were to be found frequent

clearings, where the Indian had pitched his wigwam, but

these open areas, although considerable, could scarcely have

been so extensive as to mar the general beauty of the scene.

The red men were far less destructive of the forest than

their more enlightened successors.

The difficulties attending the first settlement may be

easily imagined—the felling of trees, the hewing of timber,

the framing of the rude cottage, its slow construction, and

then the bringing of the household goods over the Indian

trail from Yarmouth. It was a lanre undertaking for a man

of sixty winters and, when we consider that he had no deed

of the land and was by his action prolonging a contest with

the colonial authorities, we can appreciate the iron will and

restless energy of this remarkable pioneer. There is no

written record showing the location of his house, but a well-

defined tradition places it near the old burying place which

crowns the hill near the head of Ryder's Cove. Mr. Josiah

Paine of Harwich writes: "I have been told that his house

1. From the statement of aged citizens wbo could remember the huge logs burned

in the fireplaces in their youth The cedar swamps have not yet w holly disappeared.



stood near where Kimball Howes lived, but was never shown

the precise spot, and th:it he was buried on the hill above

his house." The late Rufus Smith, Esq., a lifelong resident in

the vicinity, informed me that the exact site was about half

way between his residence and the head of Ryder's Cove, thai

spot having been pointed out to him many years ago by

Christopher Rj'der and Kimball R. Howes, both of whom

lived near the place all their lives and their fathers and

grandfathers before them.2

Mr. Smith afterwards pur-

chased the lot of land, whereon the old house is said to have

stood and, in cultivating it, ploughed up the foundation

of a chimney and found relics of the past. The farm, on

which Mr. Nickcrson lived, is described by him in 1(587 as

bounded "outward from the uttermost corner of a pond

called the Pasture Pond, 5

and from thence straight outward

to the head of a cove called the Muddy Cove and from

thence inward to Joseph Nickerson's bounds."4

The words

"outward" and "inward" are probably used with reference1

to the house on the farm and seem to confirm in a general

way the. tradition as to its location.

With the settlement of Monomoit arose the necessity of

providing for the government of its inhabitants. Accord-

ingly, in June 1665, the Plymouth Court passed an order

that the lands "att Mannamoiett" should "appertaine and

bee within the liberties of the township of Yarmouth, as the

lands between Bound brook"' and Stony brook'1

are, until

2. I am indebted, also, to Mr smith for the following Bgures, showing the precise

location :

from the front door of the bouse late of Christopher Ryder S. 51 decrees W,

l'.l 1 5 rods; from the front door of the house late of Kimball It. Howes S. (12 decrees E.,

291/8 rods.

3. This seems to he Stillwater pond. See a deed from Sarah Covell to Ephraim

Covell dated May 111, 1699, Files Superior Court of Judicature No. 3919

4. The farm of Joseph Nlckerson bordered on Pleasant hay and included the laud

around and east of the house ot Osborn Nlckerson, Esq. The easterly line of the farm

extended from Crow's pond across the neck to Pleasant hay See deed William Nlcker-

son Sen. to Joseph Nlckerson dated Feb 10, 1673-4. (Osborn Nickerson papers.)

5. Qulvet Creek, the present boundary between Dennis and Brewster, and former

boundary between Yarmouth and the "purchasers" lauds

6. Saaqaatuckett River in West Brewster.

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