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II. History before the establishment of the Precinct.


Paige, History of Cambridge, 1630-1877, mentions farms granted to inhabitants of Cambridge in 1635, in the territory now embraced in Arlington and Lexington (p. 36). A ‘highway to Menotomy’ from the ‘Town’—now Old Cambridge—existed prior to 1636 (pp. 15,16); and a weir to catch alewives on Menotomy River in the bounds of this town was made in 1636 (p. 38).

In the Proprietors' Records of Cambridge-see Paige, 21-22— mention is made of the ‘new lots next Menotomy,’ as early as 1638. Instance William Cutter, who had one house and garden in the ‘town,’ of Mr. Santley; and had also ‘in the new lots next Menotomy,’ three acres planting land; highway to Menotomy, west. William Patten had also in ‘new lots next Menotomy,’ two acres planting ground at this period.

William Cutter was a wine-cooper and made freeman April 18, 1637, and member of the Artillery Company in 1638. He had estates in Cambridge and Charlestown, and resided at different periods in both places (see Paige, XVI. 487, 521, and Wyman, 260); and by 1653 returned to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in England, where he originated, and whence a letter he wrote to Mr. Henry Dunster, President of Harvard College in Cambridge in New England, in 1654, has been preserved (see Hist. Cutter Family of N. E., p. 368). He was appointed ‘assisting water-serjeant’ at Newcastle, Eng., and sworn June 23, 1657.—Brand's History of Newcastle, II. p. 24. His mother Elizabeth Cutter, widow, and brother Richard Cutter, cooper, both settled in Cambridge, and his sister Barbara Cutter married Mr. Elijah Corlet, the memorable old school-master in Cambridge. The brother Richard Cutter had many descendants here, but William probably left no posterity. Richard Cutter had four acres land in the Menotomy neighborhood, bounded John Brewer east, William Towne west, Charlestown line north, and Common south, in 1645. Mention is made of the Menotomy Bridge and Menotomy River in the Proprietors' Records, in 1642.

William Patten was an early resident of Cambridge, who agreed to take charge of a part of the town herd of cattle, and resided on the easterly side of North Avenue (in the present Cambridge), opposite the Common.—Paige. Some of his descendants have resided in the Menotomy precinct.



A road was laid out from Watertown line to Cooke's Mills at Menotomy.—Proprietors' Records of Cambridge.

This mill, probably erected in 1637, or the year previous, was the first erected in Menotomy, since Arlington, and the earliest, with the exception of a windmill—see Paige, 20—in Cambridge. Col. George Cooke, its owner, was slain in Ireland in the wars in 1652. His mill is now Fowle's, near Arlington Centre, long known as Cutter's Mill.1


The Proprietors' Records contain the statement that Capt. Cooke, or Mr. George Cooke, had imprimis, one dwelling-house, with mill and out-houses, with twenty acres of land; Charlestown line east, Common south, west and north, in 1642. This was outside of the ‘town’ proper. Capt. George Cooke had the grant of a farm of 600 acres from the town, in the vicinity of his mill, 1640 (Paige, 42); and mention is made in a deed of the Squa-Sachem (widow of the Sagamore) and Webecowit (her then husband) to the town of Charlestown, under date of 15 (2) 1639, of the ‘little runnet that cometh from Capt. Cooke's mill.’—Midd. Registry, i. 175.

Cooke came to New England in 1635, in the same vessel with Rev. Thomas Shepard, the minister of Cambridge. He was then twenty-five years of age, and he and his brother Joseph Cooke were registered as servants, as a disguise to enable them the more easily to leave England. Immediately on his arrival, he purchased, in connection with his brother, a large number of houses and lots in Cambridge, of those who were about removing to Connecticut. Mr. George Cooke was chosen captain for Newtown (now Cambridge) by order of the General Court in 1637 (Paige, 43). He was. Selectman, 1638, 42, 43; Deputy or Representative, 1636, 42-45, and Speaker of the House in 1645. He was one of the earliest members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1638-9, and its captain in 1643; and when a similar company was incorporated in Middlesex County, May 14, 1645, he was its first captain. In 1643 the town paid him for the charge he had been at for making a fence to secure the Indians' corn (Paige, 384).2 In 1643 Capt. George Cooke was one of the Commissioners—three in number—and Commander-in-chief of [7] the military force—forty men—comprising the guard to attend them, who were sent on an expedition to Rhode Island with authority and order to apprehend Samuel Gorton and his company, and to bring them (to Boston) if they do not give them satisfaction. In the House of Deputies he served on many of its important committees. In 1645 he was elected one of the Reserve Commissioners of the United Colonies. And shortly after his arrival in this country, he built the mill in Menotomy, which we have already mentioned, whose ancient dam still remains in the mill-pond of Samuel A. Fowle, and was used till the present century. He returned to England near the end of 1645, was a colonel in Cromwell's army, and sacrificed his life in the service of the Commonwealth—‘being reported to be slain in the wars in Ireland in the year 1652.’ Samuel Shepard, chosen ensign in 1637, when Cooke was chosen captain, returned to England with him, both being excused by the General Court in October, 1645, from further attendance as members, ‘being to go for England.’ Shepard was a major in Cromwell's army, very probably in Colonel Cooke's regiment, and was represented in Mitchell's Church Record, 1658, as then living in Ireland, where he probably died about 1673. In 1652 the inventory of the estate of Colonel George Cooke was accepted, and Mr. Henry Dunster and Mr. Joseph Cooke were empowered as administrators to improve the estate for the good and education of his daughter Mary Cooke.—County Court Records. The supposition is that she was placed in the custody of John Fownell, of Charlestown, millwright, as guardian or agent, who, in 1655, sold thirteen acres of land, which he recovered by law from the estate of George Cooke, colonel, for the education of his daughter.

Colonel Cooke's inventory, dated 8 mo. 4 da. 1652—of all the estate found in New England, of Colonel George Cooke, late in Ireland, deceased—names the dwelling-house at the mill, with all barns, outhouses, gardens, orchards and twenty acres of land thereunto adjoining and belonging. And also the mill-house, mill, and all things belonging unto it. Item, a farm in Cambridge, lying by the way to Concord, containing 500 acres. Item, nine acres of broken uplands in Charlestown fields; and the lot of meadow and pasture by Mystic Pond, containing by estimation about ten acres. Among other items is that of ‘one Iron crank for the Sawmill’; and ‘one pair of Rigging and hooks.’ An item specifying his indebtedness unto John Fownell, of Cambridge, is mentioned. Appraisers: Henry Dunster, Thomas Danforth, Edward Goffe. [8]

In 1655 John Fownell sold to Henry Dunster, thirteen acres of the above land in Charlestown, which he recovered by law, as we have already stated; being a portion of that land, which certain inhabitants of Charlestown, in 1646, granted to Mr. Henry Dunster, President of the College, in Winottamy or Menotomy Field-Cambridge bounds one side, and Mystic Pond and River and Menotomy Brook the other sides.—Midd. Registry, i. 104, 5. This property is now included in the town of Arlington. The present Mystic street3 is very near the former Charlestown line, which formed the eastern (or northern) boundary of Cooke's twenty acres, 1642-1652. See Wyman's Chs. 312.

George and Alice Cooke had in Cambridge, Elizabeth, b. 27 Mar. 1640, died Aug. 1640; Thomas, b. 19 June 1642, died 16 Aug. 1642; Elizabeth, born 21 Aug. 1644, married Rev. John Quick, of St. Giles, Cripple-Gate, London, England; Mary, born 15 Aug. 1646, or after her father returned to England—of the Parish of Martin's-in-the-Fields, London, spinster, in 1669—married Samuel Annesley, Esq., of Westminster, England—she, Mary Annesley, formerly Mary Cooke, wrote letter to Edward Collins, that she had lately married a younger brother of her mother, Sept. 12, 1681 (court files).—See Paige, 397-98, 513, 623, 653; Wyman, 22, 235.4

Persons cutting down trees in swamp or upland on the side toward the ‘town,’ of the Menotomy River—the Great Swamp only excepted—were liable to fine in 1647; and the same for cutting or taking away wood or timber on any land at Menotomy, on the side toward the ‘town,’ of the path which goeth [9] from the mill to Watertown (Paige, 54); the Great Swamp extended on both sides of Menotomy River (Paige, 55, note).

Fence viewers were first elected for Menotomy fields in 1649 (Paige, 56). The Great Swamp lying within the bounds of Cambridge, on the east side of Fresh Pond Meadow and Menotomy Brook, was divided into allotments by vote of the town, in 1658 (Paige, 96). A lawsuit about fishing in Menotomy River, established the right of Cambridge to take fish in that river, in 1681, which privilege has remained unimpaired to the present time (Paige, 97-8).

Edward Randolph, the ‘arch-enemy of the colony,’ attempted to obtain possession of seven hundred acres of land near Spy Pond, in 1688 (Paige, 103, &c.).

In 1656 Thomas Ross, a Scotchman, and a servant to Edward Winship, had liberty to mow the grass in the swamp anent the north end of Spy Pond (Paige, 646).

Andrew Beard was chosen hog-reeve for Menotomy, 1692 (Paige, 486). Jonathan Butterfield was field-driver for Menotomy fields, 1693 (Paige, 505). Jacob Chamberlin was chosen hog-reeve for Menotomy, in 1695 (Paige, 506). Offices once of greater significance than at present.

A transfer from Holden to Prentice of a large part of the Holden Farm, bounded south on Fresh Pond and east on Alewife Brook, being the former southeasterly corner of Arlington, occurred in 1729 (Paige, 631).

Justinian Holden had bought of Nathaniel Sparhawk's executors 289 acres, bounded S. on Fresh Pond and E. on Alewife River, in 1653 (Paige, 586).

John Adams bought of Mr. Joseph Cooke (brother of Colonel George Cooke) of Stannaway, co. Essex, England, by deed in the seventeenth year of King Charles II., 1664, thirteen acres meadow and upland lying by 'Notomy River, abutting on highway leading from Cambridge to Concord east; west the swamp-ground leading to Fresh Pond Meadow, south Menotomy River, north on said swamp toward Spy Pond. Edward Winship was attorney for Cooke, May 17, 1665.—Proprietors' Records. (See Paige, 513.)

John Adams's farm, 1664, is mentioned in the Proprietors' Records, laid out to a farm of one hundred and seventeen acres, by him purchased of Golden Moore, and is situated on the waste lands in the seventh mile, bounded northeast with Widow Russell's farm purchased of Richard Jackson, east with Alewive meadow, south Joseph Holmes, west with common land, northwest with Mr. Pelham's farm; with allowance for the great road or highway that leads to Concord. Surveyed by David Fiske, at the appointment of Lieut. Edward Winship, [10] by order of the town, and allowance for the highway that leads to Matthew Bridge's farm.

This John Adams, who was styled of ‘Menotomy Row in the Township of Cambridge,’ millwright, in 1677, lived in Arlington on the spot where the old house of Deacon John Adams formerly stood, near the present Railway Station at the Centre. His wife Ann is named as a member of the Cambridge church in a record commenced in 1658, and he himself was admitted a member of the same church May 18, 1666. John and Ann Adams had, born in Cambridge, Mary, 25 Oct. 1652; John, 1 May, 1655; Daniel, 8 Aug. 1657 (died soon); Joseph (baptized with the two first children, Mary and John, at Cambridge); Hannah (baptized 17 Jan. 1660), died 25 Feb. 1660; Daniel, born 12 Aug. 1662 (baptized 14 Sept. 1662), died 14 May, 1685. A daughter Rebecca (older than these), born and baptized in England, married Nathaniel Patten 24 Nov. 1669, and died 18 Dec. 1677 (Paige, 477; Newell's Camb. Church-Gathering, 62).

In 1697 John Adams, Senior, ‘millwright,’ conveyed the homestead and adjoining lots to his son Joseph Adams, husbandman, ‘chiefly because he hath been a loving and dutiful son to me, and his mother, and liveth with us, and is the staff of our old age’ (Midd. Registry, XII. 544).

This Joseph Adams married Margaret Eames, at Cambridge, 21 Feb. 1687-8, and died here 20 July, 1701. He was presumably the father of Joseph Adams, who died in Menotomy 18 Oct. 1774, aged 86, the ancestor of the Adams Family here.—See Genealogies.

In 1699 John Adams, Senior, and Ann Adams conveyed to William Patten, son of Nathaniel, Senior, ten acres, south by Menotomy River, south and west by John Dickson's meadow and Jonathan Butterfield's, southeast by said Adams, northwest by Adams's swamp, and northeast upon the country road (Midd. Registry, XVI. 438). William Patten was a grandson.—Paige.

John Adams, Senior, died in 1706, aged about 85. His will (dated 1 June, 1706) and inventory were sworn 7 Oct. 1706. In 1714 Ann Adams, relict, widow of John Adams, deceased, formerly of Cambridge, and John Adams, of Sudbury, yeoman, being the sole executors of his honored father, John Adams, aforesaid, deceased, sold four acres in Charlestown—the present Arlington Cemetery lot—southeast on highway leading from Menotomy to Medford, northeast on a range-way, northwest on land of William Cutter, southwest on land of Joseph Adams the purchaser (Midd. Registry, XVII. 59). Joseph Adams, the purchaser, was a grandson of John Adams, Senior, above.

The town of Charlestown granted John Adams four acres, 3 1/2 rods, in Menotomy Field, in 1658. He bought of Jonathan Bunker three acres in Menotomy Field, east Menotomy River, west Field, north Mystic River, 1677 (Wyman, p. 6).5

[11] In 1665 Capt. Cooke's mill-lane is named in a deed of John Brown, of Marlboroa, to Robert Wilson, conveying his dwellinghouse and barn with six acres of land, J. Adams east, Charles. town line north, Capt. Cooke's mill-lane west, William Bull south, Oct. 27, 1665. See Paige, 502.

This mill-lane was a portion of the road laid out from Watertown line to Cooke's Mill at Menotomy in 1638. The ‘mill-lane’ is now Water street in Arlington.


Sarah Hill, relict and administratrix of Jacob Hill, late of Cambridge (who died 12 Dec. 1690), deeds to William Cutter, carpenter, April 10, 1691, eight acres in Cambridge; north William Cutter, east the highway that leads from the mill-gate to Concord Road, south with Concord Road, and west with land of Mr. William Manning. The ‘highway that leads from the mill-gate to Concord Road,’ is the ‘mill-lane,’ once Capt. Cooke's, now known as Water street. William Cutter was the son of Richard Cutter, and the nephew of William Cutter mentioned in the first paragraphs of this chapter. The bargain for the above eight acres was made and possession given ‘about one year now past’—‘the sale being first made by said Jacob Hill before his death.’ It is interesting to state that the original deed is extant, as one of a parcel of old plans, deeds and will of William Cutter, who died here 1 April, 1723, in his 74th year, father of Richard, John, William, Samuel and Ammi Ruhamah Cutter, and four daughters of adult age. The ‘mill-lane,’ and its relation to the ‘Great Road to Boston,’ are shown in a plan of William Cutter's lands made about 1725.

1695. The highway to Cooke's mill, by Cutter's, was in litigation —specified as ‘from Concord Road to Capt. Cooke's Mill, now in possession of William Cutter.’—County Court Records.

The ‘Road from Cutter's Mill to Watertown’ is named in the Proprietors' Records of Cambridge before 1720.

In the same records mention is made, in 1689, of Samuel Bull and the land adjoining his house lot, alleging what great damage he should sustain, if the highway to the mill should be laid by his land, by reason of the great fall of water in winter time, which would hinder all passage to and from his house; Robert Wilson's heirs' houselot adjoined to said Bull, butting on Concord Road, and three poles at the other end next the mill; the highway to the mill being then laid between this land and Jacob Hill's, and is in breadth seven poles. Robert Wilson died probably about 1685 (Paige, 694). Samuel Bull was a party to the litigation of 1695.6 [12]

1724. ‘Voted that the road leading to Watertown be removed from the northerly to the southerly side of the land reserved for a burying-place, Mr. Jason Russell and the neighborhood thereabouts manifesting their desires that it might be so.’—Proprietors' Records.

The ‘Burying Place at Menotomy’ is again mentioned in the Proprietors' Records in 1767. When it was first designated for that purpose, we have not discovered, but it is probable there were no interments here before 1732, and very few before 1736, the date of the earliest gravestones.


Mary Cooke, of the Parish of Martin's-in-the-Fields (London, England), spinster, grants a letter of attorney to Mr. Edward Collins, to dispose of such land as was her father's Colonel George Cooke's, in New England, and now belonging to her, April 19, 1669 (Midd. Registry, III. 417).

1670. Edward Collins, of Medford, attorney of Miss Mary Cooke, of the Parish of Martins-in-the-Fields, to John Rolph (or Rolfe), of Nantucket Island in New England, planter, for £ 160, sells sundry parcels of land: viz., 600 acres in Cambridge, north by Woburn line, south by Herbert Pelham, Esq., east by land of Widow Russell, and Cambridge Commons westerly; 20 acres ditto, north by Charlestown line, and common lands of Cambridge elsewhere surrounding, with all the buildings and fencing to the same appertaining; also 2 acres in Charlestown limits—the brook northerly, Cambridge line southerly; these sometime the possession of Colonel George Cooke, the father of said Mary. Sept. 27, 1670. (Midd. Registry, IV. 39.)

John Rolfe was originally of Newbury, and married there Mary Scullard (daughter of Samuel), 4 Dec. 1656. Rolfe died suddenly at the house of his brother Benjamin Rolfe, at Newbury, 1 Oct. 1681, where he made a nuncupative will, and said he would, if he could write the next day, write his will, but in the meanwhile deceased before he could finish the same.

1681. ‘Granted to Widow Rolfe to make a dam above the old mill-pond to keep water in, for to accommodate the mill with water.’ —Proprietors' Records.

The ‘old mill-pond’ was at the mill established by Colonel Cooke. The above may be the origin of the dam at the privilege of the late Cyrus Cutter.

1683. Mary Rolfe, of Cambridge, widow and administratrix of John Rolfe, deceased, to Richard Gardner, for £ 20, sells one fifth of a farm of 600 acres at Vine Brook in Cambridge, called Cooke's farm, [13] and other lands; he, the said Gardner, being a joint purchaser with her husband John Rolfe, ‘of a farm of 600 acres, formerly Capt. George Cooke's, given him by the town of Cambridge, at a place commonly called Vine Brook.’ In consideration of the premises being all paid and done to the full satisfaction of her said husband in his lifetime, and the said Richard Gardner having no deed of conveyance of a one-fifth part of said farm, according to covenant while her husband lived, she conveys a portion of the above estate, Oct. 2, 1683. (Midd. Registry, VIII. 402.)

John Rolfe had born in Newbury, Mary, 2 Nov. 1658 (died 10 Dec. 1658); Mary, 16 Jan. 1660; Rebecca, 9 Feb. 1662.—Coffin, 316. Rebecca married William Cutter of Cambridge, son of Richard. Rolfe had born at Nantucket, John, 5 Mar. 1663-4; Samuel, 8 Mar. 1665-6; Sarah, 2 Dec. 1667; Joseph, 12 Mar. 1669-70; Hannah, 5 Feb. 1671-2.—N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg., VII. 181, &c. John and Mary Rolfe had born in Cambridge, Benjamin, 1 April, 1674; Henry, 26 Sept. 1678; Moses, 14 Oct. 1681.—Paige, 645-6.

John Rolfe's nuncupative will, Oct. 1, 1681, gives his son John Rolfe the land that he, the father, now lived upon in Cambridge, with the mill and houses upon it; excepting one acre of land ‘which I have given unto my son William Cutter.’ His farm he gave to his other sons, to be equally divided among them, they paying legacies to their sisters out of the estate (the legacies to the daughters being according to the discretion of his overseers). The overseers he appointed and ordered were Richard Doell [Dole], Benjamin Rolfe, George Little, Francis Moore, John Gardner. Dec. 16, 1681, Sarah ‘Halle,’ aged 45, and Apphia Rolfe, aged 40 [wife of Benjamin and sister-in-law of John Rolfe], testified to being ‘at Benjamin Rolfe's hous in nubery that night that John Rolfe deceased,’ and ‘heard him declare that he had appointed and did desire his two brothers Ri. Dowell and Benj. Rolf, and Geo. Little of nubery, and his cousin John Gardner of Oborne [Woburn], and his naybor Moore to be his overseers, and take care of his wife and children, and settle his estate as they thought best, giving this reason that he was in such extremity of pain that he was not able to settle things himself.’

The inventory of his estate, dated Dec. 19, 1681, mentions the ‘homeland and housing and orchard,’ and three quarters of the corn-mill and the meadow belonging to it—the meadow being in Charlestown bounds; also the ‘farm,’ containing 500 acres more or less. This was the property he bought in 1670 of Miss Mary Cooke.


John Rolfe, of Cambridge, husbandman, to William Cutter, ‘in consideration that my honored father John Rolfe, late of Cambridge, deceased, did in his lifetime give unto my loving brother-in-law William Cutter, of the same town, carpenter, one small piece of land at the west corner of his homestead to set a house on, and orchard, and the like; and the homestead being devised to me John Rolfe, for my portion of my father's estate; for as much as my said brother had no deed of the same, though put in possession by my father in his lifetime; [14] the overseers of my father's estate, in the division of the same, ordered me to give a deed hereof, unto my said brother William Cutter’—grants to said Cutter ‘one piece of land situate in the township of Cambridge, on the west corner of the aforesaid homestead, containing by estimation four acres; bounded northeast and eastwardly by the rest of the land of the homestead, and south and westwardly by Cambridge town common, with the house that he hath built upon it, and part of it within a fence that said Cutter hath set up; and the rest lyeth unfenced, adjoining to that which is fenced; with the liberty of making a dam for the convenience of the mill near the said Cutter's house7; as also a twelfth part of a sawmill upon Sergt. Francis Whitmore's land.’ Dated April 10, 1685, and signed ‘John Rolfe and seal’ (Midd. Registry, IX. 366). It is witnessed in part by the mark of Mary Rolfe, Jr.8


William Cutter to Edward Thomas, of Boston, ‘agent for Mr. William Metcalfe, of Newberry in Oxfordshire in Old England,’ sells, or mortgages, the four acres, with house on same, the allowance for a dam, and one twelfth of a sawmill, which were formerly part of the estate of his father-in-law John Rolfe, in Cambridge; also nineteen [15] acres, east division line Cambridge and Charlestown, north Cambridge common land, south partly by Cambridge common land and partly by land of Robert Wilson, and west by his own; together with the dwelling-house, barns, out-houses, fences, orchards, gardens, &c., pertaining to the same; with three quarters of the corn-mill, now standing on said land (the ‘nineteen acres,’ &c., comprising the ‘homestead’ devised to John Rolfe, Jr., in 1681); and three quarters of the house, stones, wheels, bills, and all other utensils and appurtenances, thereunto belonging; as also three acres meadow within Charlestown limits, east by Jonathan Dunster, north by the mill-brook, south by division line between Charlestown and Cambridge, Dec. 27, 1686. Mortgage discharged by the said Cutter, June 1, 1696 (Midd. Registry, x. 33).

From 1693 to 1698, William Cutter was subjected to lawsuits by the heirs of Colonel George Cooke, in the persons of Mr. John Quick, of London, and Elizabeth his wife, and Samuel Annesley, Esq., of London, and Mary his wife, by John Carthew, of Boston, their attorney, to recover possession of twenty acres of land in Cambridge, including the premises where said Cutter dwelt, a water cornmill on said twenty acres, and three acres meadow-land in Charlestown, being the real estate whereof the said George Cooke died seized. The twenty acres were described as bounded at this period by the land in the tenure of Matthew Abdee, on the east by Woburn highway, on the north by Charlestown line, and on the west by a lot of land lately purchased by said William Cutter. The premises claimed, occupied by Cutter, consisted of ‘one messuage house, wherein said Cutter doth now inhabit and dwell, and of one barn, garden and orchard and yard thereunto belonging.’ The piece of meadow in the bounds of Charlestown had the brook northerly, Cambridge line southerly, and Woburn highway westerly. The particulars of the controversy are entered on the County Court Records. In the records of the Superior Court, the suit Quick vs. Cutter appears January and July, 1696, also January, 1697, and January and July, 1698.

The following deposition of Major James Convers, Esq., of Woburn. concerning the old mill has been preserved:

James Convers, aged about fifty-two years, being sworn, doth say, that he very well remembers the mill that stood upon the brook, at a place called Menotomy in Cambridge bounds, which mill, when it was in being, was called Captain Cooke's Mill.

I, this deponent, also do know very well, that the said mill was demolished a considerable time before John Ralph [Rolfe] bought that place, and so were the other buildings; except some small ruins thereof were to be seen when said Ralph came there to live; and the said John Ralph built the mill that is now there standing, and the house and the barn; and the said Ralph bought the timber for the wheels, the irons for said mill, and the millstones, of this deponent's father and his uncle Josiah Convers; and that Lieut. Matthew Johnson, late of Woburn, built the said mill for said Ralph; that is to say, [16] he did the millwright work thereof; and this deponent did work at the said mill and dwelling-house, for the aforesaid John Ralph, who paid him honestly for the same; and this mill and house is the same, that is now in controversy between Mr. Cothoo [Carthew], attorney to Mr. Quick, and William Cutter.

Sworn in Court, January 28, 1697.
Attest, Addington Davenport, Clerk.

1704. William Cutter having a dam made over a brook, called Landing-Place Brook, near said William Cutter's house in Cambridge, otherwise called the Mill Brook, to raise a pond for his sawmill; he in that place flowed William Russell's lands in 1703 and 1704, and suit was brought 1704.—County Court Records.

This may be the same liberty of making a dam, conveyed to William Cutter in 1685, and granted to the Widow Rolfe in 1681. The dam was at Cyrus Cutter's privilege.

1718. William Cutter deeds to his son John Cutter, for helping and assisting to build and erect his cornmill and sawmill, standing on his houselot, one fourth part of both his mills.

1722. William Cutter by his will, dated June 1, 1722, divides his mills then standing on his homestead among his sons Richard, John, William and Samuel; confirming to his son John the fourth part which he conveyed to him by a deed, and devising to the other three sons each an equal quarter. Confirmed by deeds of the sons to each other in 1725.

Ammi Ruhamah Cutter, another son of William, made surveys and plans of his father's lands, about 1725, one showing the location of the ‘Mill-Pond, Dam and Yard,’ and the lands adjoining divided among the sons; also of upland and meadow ‘lying in the bounds of Charlestown, in a place called Menotomy Fields,’ abutting on the ‘Road to Charlestown’ and Menotomy River, and divided among the sons.

Richard Cutter sold his fourth of the cornmill and sawmill to John in 1731, and Samuel sold his fourth of the cornmill and sawmill to William in 1732.

John Cutter, on March 3, 1768, sold to Jonathan Cutter, only heir of the last William, one half of the ancient milldam, yard and pond, containing two and one half acres, shown in plan of the date of about 1725, being John's estate of inheritance in fee simple, and also the old mill-privilege originally belonging to Colonel George Cooke. Jonathan Cutter, on March 25, 1768, sold to Ammi Cutter the same premises, being described as ‘one certain ancient milldam, pond and yard,’ containing by estimation two acres and a half. These premises Ammi increased by the purchase of one and a half acres of meadow and upland of his father John Cutter, in 1770, immediately below the old milldam and yard, and now included in Fowle's lower pond; also by the purchase of three and three quarters acres more in the same direction below the dam, and extending to the Woburn road, of his cousin Samuel Cutter, in 1778, afterward Ammi's son's, Benjamin [17] Cutter's, of Charlestown, who sold a part to Ephraim Cutter, containing one acre and a half and 22 rods, in 1804, shown in a plan by Peter Tufts, Jr., dated 1803, and makes a part of Fowle's lower millpond, and the lanes formerly leading to Ephraim Cutter's mill. Ammi Cutter left ‘one Grist Mill, with a Bolt in the same,’ located on the ancient dam bought by him in 1768, which was assigned on the distribution of his estate, in 1795, as a part of the portion of his sixth son Ephraim Cutter, who built a new dam and mill below the old one, about 1800. On the distribution of Ephraim Cutter's estate at his death in 1841, the mill and privilege fell to the possession of his sons Benjamin and Samuel L. Cutter. In 1850 Benjamin Cutter, of Woburn, bought of his brother Samuel Locke Cutter, the undivided half of the mill and lands, which they had owned in common. The premises are now the property of Dr. Benjamin Cutter's son-in-law Samuel A. Fowle.

In 1743, John Cutter, above, sold to John Cutter, Jr., land joining on the country road to Lexington, William Russell's land being west, the land extending east on said road sixty rods, and the northeasterly corner of the land being at foot of hill near an old dam. On the distribution of the elder John Cutter's estate, in 1776, the ‘half of an old sawmill’ was set off to the above John Cutter, Jr., eldest son of the said John, deceased. The second John Cutter, in 1790, sold to Stephen Cutter, miller, lands including the home-lot and Hill's lot, bounded south on Concord road, together with house and barn, saw and gristmills, and all other buildings on said land (Midd. Registry, CII. 176). In 1827 Mary Cutter, the widow of Stephen Cutter, granted land to the Baptist Society for the erection thereon of a meeting-house, with the privilege of using so much of the mill-pond as necessary for the ordinance of baptism. The old way to Cyrus Cutter's dam from the main road is mentioned in town records in 1836. Cyrus Cutter bought the premises on Feb. 26, 1836, of Eli Robbins, who had bought the same of Mrs. Mary Cutter on April 30, 1835, being described in the deed to Cyrus Cutter, as ‘a certain mill-site, mill-privilege and water course,’ with land, &c.

Another mill-privilege above these on the same stream was that which Thomas Cutter and others, co-heirs of Gershom Cutter, to the same Stephen Cutter, quitclaimed their interest in 1778; described as ‘a certain gristmill in Cambridge, with all and singular the dam, blooms, mill-pond,’ &c. Stephen Cutter, miller, sold the above property and other lands to Ichabod Fessenden, miller, in 1795, specifying a house, barn and gristmill, dams, flooms, &c. (Midd. Registry, CXXV. 27, 28). This property was sold by Ichabod Fessenden to John Perry and Stephen Locke, millers, in 1809, with all buildings, the gristmill and privileges, dams, flooms, mill-ponds, &c. (Midd. Reg. CLXXXII. 256, &c.). The privilege is now the property of Charles Schwamb.

Gershom Cutter, who died in 1807, probably erected a mill on the privilege next east of this, and nearly opposite the old upper schoolhouse, for turning and grinding edgetools, where his son Aaron Cutter [18] had a mill previous to 1817. The privilege is now the property of Theodore Schwamb.

In 1805 Abner Stearns, of Billerica, bought land here of Ephraim Cooke, victualler, which Stearns, in 1808, sold to John Tufts, with a wool-factory thereon and machinery, and established himself on the site since Schouler's. Tufts sold these premises to Ezra Trull, of Boston, in 1817, with a mill thereon, and a raceway through land of heirs of Edward Blackington. He also conveyed to Trull, at same time, land occupied as a millpond on Baptist meeting-house lane, being part of the land bounded south on Concord road, and south and west on Baptist meeting-house property and lane, which John Tufts bought of Ephraim Cooke in 1809. A lane or road led to the mills formerly known as the ‘Tufts mills.’ The mills were destroyed by fire about 1831. Ezra Trull sold the premises to Cyrus Cutter, in 1831, with a mill-site thereon, ‘where the mills formerly known by the name of the Tufts mills stood, previous to the fire which destroyed said mills.’ Cyrus Cutter granted the above as a lease-hold estate for mill purposes, to William Welch and Charles Griffiths, both of Boston, sawmakers, and Charles Reeves, of West Cambridge, filecutter, in 1832, with buildings thereon standing, raceway through Blackington's land, &c. The lane by the ‘saw-factory’ was laid out as a town way in 1840.

Abner Stearns's first business was that of wool-carding, to which he added a gristmill, afterward used for grinding yellow ochre for paint. In 1810 or 1811, he erected a large building on the site since Schouler's, in which he had a fulling-mill and a spinning machine of 72 spindles, in 1812. The yarn spun was taken elsewhere and made into broadcloth. The peace of 1815 broke up the business, owing to the excessive importation of British cloths. Stearns left West Cambridge in 1816, and was of Bedford in 1817. Abner Stearns, of Billerica, gentleman, sold to James Schouler, of Lynn, calico-printer,9 land in West Cambridge, with dwelling-house, factory and other buildings, with a mill-site and mill-privileges, known by the name of the ‘Stearns Factory,’ on March 6, 1832.

A mill about to be erected by Ichabod Fessenden in 1816 was that at the privilege now the property of J. C. Hobbs. Samuel Lewis, of Dedham, bought of Stephen Robbins land with water-mill and dwelling-house in West Cambridge, 1839.10

Turning again to Paige, we find that in Nov. 1675, John Adams (a resident of Menotomy) was impressed as a trooper, [19] or cavalry-man (p. 398); on Nov. 26, 1675, Gershom Cutter (brother of William, and a Menotomy resident) was impressed with others from Cambridge, for service in Philip's or the Narragansett War (p. 399); the names of several private soldiers who served in this war, some of whom were probably from Menotomy, are given (Paige, 399); for instance: Matthew Abdy, Thomas Batherick, Samuel Buck, Samuel Bull, Jonathan Dunster, Justinian Holden, Jason Russell, William Russell, Gershom Swan, John Wellington.

A list of taxpayers in Menotomy, from a Cambridge list of persons and estates, taken in the month of August, 1688, given by Paige, 442-43, &c., furnishes the following names of persons who resided and had estate here at that date, and of some who had estate here, but were not resident. The names of those taxed for person and estate are Matthew Abdee, or Abdy, John Adams, Samuel Buck, Richard Cutter and his sons William, Gershom and Nathaniel Cutter, William Dickson and John Dickson, Jonathan Dunster (person and doom), James Hubbard, Israel Mead, Nathaniel Patten, Joseph Russell and his brothers William and Jason Russell, Jonathan Saunders, John Wellington, Edward Winship and Joseph Winship (sons of Lieut. Edward Winship). Those persons taxed for estate here only, were Thomas Hall, Justinian Holden, and Lieut. Edward Winship.

Sketches of all the above persons are given in the Genealogical Register of Paige's History.


The town granted Menotomy people a quarter of an acre of land, upon their common, near Jason Russell's house, near the highway, for the accommodation of a school-house (Paige, 373).

Some entries from the Proprietors' Records of Cambridge are here inserted, to show a few transactions of interest relating to this part of the town.

1689. The names of the inhabitants who are not proprietors, who have granted to them lands at Menotomy: Abraham Watson, John Dickson, Samuel Cooke, Philip Cooke, Joseph Adams, Gershom Cutter, William Cutter, Jonathan Dunster.

Ministry Lot, 1689. Forty acres for the ministry, bounded Concord Road northeast, the small farms northwest, common land yet undivided southwest, last range of lots, &c., southeast.

Jason Russell bought Mr. Pelham's lot of twenty acres in the first Division of the Rocks, and fenced the same for his particular improvement, 1689. [20]

William Russell having bought a lot laid out to Nathaniel Hancock; also a lot laid out to Owen Warland; with a lot laid out to his mother, the Widow Hall, he desired to make particular improvement, and applied, &c., 1689 (?). To the same, liberty to enclose a lot he possessed, laid out to John Sawtelle, was granted, 1694-5. William Russell survived his brother Jason Russell, and died at Menotomy, May 17, 1744, aged 89.—Paige, 647.

Sheds. Edward Winship, William Russell, Jason Russell, William Cutter, Joseph Winship, Samuel Kidder, Nathaniel Patten and John Dickson granted liberty for the erecting of a conveniency (against the college fence, northward of our Meeting-House) for the standing of their horses on Sabbath-days, 1703. This was the meeting-house of the First Parish at Old Cambridge, where the above persons, mostly residents of Menotomy, then worshipped.

Allotments on the north side of Menotomy River and at ‘Mills Ware,’ were made to citizens, 1707. Among whom were Mrs. Corlet, William Patten, Jason Russell, Gershom Cutter, John Dickson, Samuel Bull, R. Cutter, Solomon Prentice, Jonathan Dunster, College, Samuel Buck, Philip Cooke, &c. Sept. 2, 1715, William Cutter bought of his cousin Mrs. Champney (daughter of Mrs. Corlet), five acres in Cambridge, bounded north on a highway to a place called ‘Mills Ware’ (Midd. Registry, XX. 156). ‘Mills Weares’ are named in the town records of West Cambridge as late as 1811.

1724. Request of Jason Russell and others, that way may be stated from Thomas Fillebrown's to Spy Pond, and so to way to ‘Mills Weare.’ This Jason Russell was grandfather of that Jason Russell who was killed by the British troops on April 19, 1775. The senior Jason Russell died about 1736.—Paige, 647.

A. D. 1825. The Proprietors' Records of Cambridge mention the grant to Inhabitants of West Cambridge, of all the land within that town, which belonged to the Proprietors of Cambridge before the separation of the two towns.

1 Gov. John Winthrop and M. Cradock were granted by the General Court the wear at Menotomy, 1633-4. See Wyman's Charlestown, 246, 1043. This wear or fishing dam was in Mystic River, at outlet of Pond. The early transfers of land in the Charlestown part of Menotomy are particularly mentioned in the late T. B. Wyman's great work entitled the Charlestown Genealogies and Estates, 1629-1818 (Boston, 1879).

2 This was a fence of two sufficient rails in the town line (between Cambridge and Charlestown) about half a mile in length, beginning at the outside of Cooke's land, and running out northward to meet Capt. Gibbons's fence, and enclosed the land on the west of the two great ponds, called Misticke ponds, which the Squa-Sachem reserved for her use during her life from sale of lands to the towns of Charlestown and Cambridge, for the Indians to plant and hunt upon; extending, in Charlestown limits, from the south side of Mr. Nowell's lot, near the upper end of the ponds, to the brook from Cooke's mill. The reversion of this Indian reservation, together with the said ponds, was conveyed by the Squa-Sachem to Jotham Gibbons. In 1662 it was possessed and improved by Thomas Gleison of Charlestown, and the inhabitants of Charlestown had proceeded to lay claim to it. See Paige, 382—84; Wymat, 203, 283, 406,411; Midd. Registry, i. 173, 4, 5, 6; II. l; &c.

3 Otherwise the ancient road to Woburn from Cambridge. Capt. Cooke and others were appointed by the General Court to lay out the way from Cambridge to Woburn in 1643. This road leading from Woburn to Cambridge is described on the Woburn Records, in 1646, as ‘leading to Cambridge mill and town’ the one way, and to ‘Upstreet and Shawshin,’ in Woburn, the other way. In Woburn it was called Plain Street, from its going over the plain in the west side of what is now Winchester, where the same road now is.—See Sewall's Hist. Wob, p. 26. The laying out of this road from Woburn, and that also from Watertown, in 1638, show the importance of Cooke's mill to the early settlers of this region.

4 The History of the Reed Family, by J. W. Reed, p. 39, states, ‘There was a Dr. Samuel Read of Stafford in England, who, in 1646 (1636?), furnished one Cook with funds to build a gristmill in Cambridge, Mass, and took a mortgage of the same. Whether this mill was on Charles River, or on a small stream which is in West Cambridge, I have no knowledge; but it was a great enterprise for those days, and controlled the location of highways in that section.’

The mill was certainly that belonging to Colonel George Cooke, and long known as Cutter's, near West Cambridge—now Arlington—Centre. And the stream is the same that flows from the Great Meadows in Lexington, through the present Arlington, into Mystic Pond, near the head of the Mystic River. The privilege is at present owned and occupied in Arlington by Samuel A. Fowle. We have been unable to substantiate the statement of the historian of the Reed Family, regarding the above mortgage; but incline to agree with him, that the mill was ‘a great enterprise for those days,’ and ‘controlled the location of highways’ in this section.

5 It is probable the senior John Adams resided in Concord or Chelmsford previous to his removal to Cambridge.—See Shattuck Hist. Concord, p. 361, and Midd. Registry Deeds, i. 192.

6 In the plan of 1725 the millstream from the present Fowle's Mills to its outlet in Mystic Pond is shown under the name of ‘Bull's Creek.’ Samuel Bull sold twelve acres in Charlestown and Cambridge, lot late of Samuel Bull's William Godding, Mrs. Bull's portion, bounded north Mystic Pond, west Mill Brook, east Robert Wilson, south William Cutter, to Mary. Bathrick, alias Boyce, and Samuel Godding, 1724. S. Bull brought up Mary Boyce—his adopted daughter, per his will, 1723,—she marrying John Bathrick, 1724. A lot, formerly of William Bull (see Wyman's Chs. 149), came to S. Bull's possession in 1704-5. Part of S. Bull's estate came into John Cutter's possession, 1737-38; and Elizabeth Bathrick (John's dau.) sold Simon Holden another portion bounded north on Medford lower pond, 1746. See Wyman's Chs.; Paige's Camb. 504; and Goddin Family in Genralogies.

7 The same liberty probably that was granted the Widow Rolfe in 1681.

8 Probably the sister of John, who was born 16 Jan. 1660. John Rolfe, Jr., appears to have removed, as did the other sons of John Rolfe, to Woodbridge, N. J., where ‘John Rolf’—then resident in Massachusetts—received deed of lands in Woodbridge from Richard Dole 27 Apr. 1686. John Rolph and Sarah Moores were married at Woodbridge 18 July, 1688. Their daughter Sarah was born 27 Nov. 1689. Sarah, the wife, died 4 Dec. 1689. Their daughter Sarah died 23 Dec. 1689. ‘John Rolf’ was ‘ratemaker’ (assessor) in 1689. ‘John Rolph's. dwelling-house’ is named in the laying out of a highway 9 Feb. 1699. [He was dead in 1705.]

Samuel Rolph joined the church 3 Oct. 1710, Woodbridge.

Joseph Rolf was constable, 1696. Joseph Rolph was on ‘town committee’ (with general powers like board of selectmen) in 1706. In 1701 he was on committee of eleven—named as ‘the following influential men,’ to negotiate with Rev. Mr. Shepard for ordination as their minister. [He was millwright, of Woodbridge, 1706.]

Benjamin Rolph's lands’ are named in a description by boundaries in 1714. Benjamin Rolph and Margaret Hollon (probably Holland) were married 2 Dec. 1703. Their daughter Rebecca was born 26 Sept. 1704. Their son Benjamin, born 1 Jan. 1706-07.

Henry Rolph, in Sept. 1716, unites with nine others, inviting Rev. Mr. Vaughan of the Church of England, to hold services ‘on the Sabbath-days,’ on account of differences with Rev. Mr. Wade, so that they ‘cannot joyn with him in the worship of God, as Xtians ought to do.’ In 1714 Henry Rolfe was one of the four trustees of School lands. [Harry Rolfe's lot, in Cambridge, is mentioned in 1712.]

Moses Rolfe-town clerk and ‘Freeholders' clerk,’ 1712-1731; Justice of the Peace, 1714, and assessor, 1718.—See N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg., XXXI. 99. [Yeoman, of Woodbridge, in 1711.]

Long Island abounds in Rolphs descended from these New Jersey Rolphs.

James R. Rolph, Esq., of Huntington, L. I., is descended from a Moses Rolph, born in Woodbridge 20 April, 1718. He was probably a son of Benjamin, above-named.—Memoranda from Woodbridge, N. J., Records, communicated by Hon. Robert S. Hale, Ll.D, of Elizabethtown, N. Y.

9 James Schouler, born in Scotland 13 July, 1786, died Westchester, N. Y, 24 Feb. 1864, aged 77; Margaret C, wife of same, died 24 July, 1851, aged 63 —gravestones Arlington. Father of Adjutant-General William Schouler and of John Schouler, selectman 1844-46, 1853, 1874-77, representative, 1856.

10 The mill below the Wear Bridge in the Mystic River on the Menotomy side was embraced in a conveyance by Joseph Prout to Jonathan Dunster, 1710. Edward Collins sold the same in 1660. Collins bought of Thomas Broughton, 1669. See Wyman's Chs., 136, 312; Brooks's Medford, 393, 606.

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1683 AD (1)
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1660 AD (1)
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