Frank Boyden of Deerfield

Captors and Captives

Deerfield: Old Pocumtuck Valley

The pioneer settler here was Samuel Hinsdell, of Medford. He had bought shares, and, impatient of delay in making the division, he became a squatter, and in 1669 turned the first furrow in the virgin soil of Pocumtuck. Samson Frary was a close second, if not a contemporary; “Samson Frary’s cellar” is mentioned in the report of the Committee, May, 1671.

The settlers increased rapidly. May 7, 1673, the General Court gave them “Liberty of a Towneship,” which is Deerfield’s only “Act of Incorporation.” Soon after, a rude meeting-house was built, and Samuel Mather served as a minister among them.

A loose sheet of paper has been found dated Nov. 7, 1673, with a record of a town-meeting. This was signed by the following, who must be called the earliest settlers:

Richard Weler
John Plympton
Joshua Carter
Samson Frary
Quinten Stockwell
Joseph Gillet
Barnabas Hinsdell
Robert Hinsdell
John Allen
Daniel Weld
Samuel Hinsdell
Experience Hinsdell
John Barnard
John Weler
Samuel Herenton
John Hinsdell
Ephraim Hinsdell
Moses Crafts
Nathaniel Sutley
John Farrington
Thomas Hastings
Francis Barnard
Samuel Daniel
James Tufts.

The action of this meeting was chiefly on the division of land, but it was voted that “all charges respecting the ministers sallerye or maintenance bee leuied and raised on lands for the present.” Another page shows a meeting November 17, 1674, when the plantation was called Deerfield. We have no clue as to why or by what authority it was so called.

Edited & adapted by Laurel O’Donnell.
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This page was last updated on 14 May 2006