Sunderland — Early Settlement

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The origin of the town of Sunderland may be given from an early entry in the records now in the keeping of the town, and reading as follows:

      "At a General Court for election held at Boston, 7th May, 1673. In ansr to the petition of sundry inhabitants of Hadley, the Court judgeth it meet to grant the petitioners' request,—i.e., the quantity of sixe miles square in the place desired; i.e., lying nere to the northward bounds of Hadley; i.e., provided that within seven years or sooner, if may be, there be a competent number of familys settled here, and provide themselves of an able and orthodox minister; and for their encouragement in so good a works, this Court orders and impowers and appoints Maj. John Pynchon,* Left. Wm. Clarke, and Mr. Wm. Holton to be a committee to order in the meantime their prudential officers, granting of lofts, and otherwise reserving in some convenient place two hundred and fifty acres of land for a farm for the country's use and disposall."

      As a first step toward a settlement of the tract, the proprietors intrusted to Maj. Pynchon the task of securing an extinguishment of the Indian title. Two Indian deeds, both of date April 10, 1674, conveyed this title to Maj. Pynchon on behalf of the purchasers. One of the deeds reads as follows:

      "Mishalisk, an old woman, the mother of Wattawchinksin, deceased, doth hereby bargain, sell, and alienate a Tract of Land to John Pynchon, of Springfield, acting for and in behalf of Robert Boltwood, Joseph Kellogg, John Hubbird, and Thos. Dickinson, of Hadley, and their associates, . . . which land begins at ye southerly end of it, at ye brook Nepeasonneag, . . . taking in all ye land on ye northerly side of it. It runs up by Quinnetticott river to ye brook called Sawwatapskechuwas and Mattamooash, where other Indians have sold . . . the whole tract of land from Nepeasonneag on ye South, next Hadley bounds, to Sawwatapskechuwas on ye North, and beyond at Mattamooash, and from Qunnetticott out into ye woods Eastward six miles from the said river Quinnetticott."
      For this tract the old woman Mishalisk received "a debt or deed from her son Wattawchinskin to John Pynchon, of Springfield, as also for and in consideration of one Large Indian Coat, and several other small things."

      The second deed reads as follows:

      "These presents testify that Mettawompe, alias Nattawassawet, ye Indian for himself, & in the behalf of other Indians, viz.: Wadamummin, Squiskheag, & Sunkkamamachul & for & in consideration of eighty fathom of wampum, & several other small things to him & them in hand paid, & fully secured, by John Pynchon, of Springfield, in ye behalf & upon the acct. of Robt. Boltwood, John Hubbird, Joseph Kellogg, & Thos. Dickinson, of Hadley: Hath Bargained and sold, & Do by these presents Give, Grant, Bargaine, & sell unto ye sd Robt. Boltwood, Jno. Hubbird, Jos. Kellogg, & Thos. Dickinson, a certain Tract of Land lying on ye East side of Quinnetticott River, about 7 or 8 miles above Hadley, adjoining to a parcell of laud the sd Boltwood & Company bought of Mishalisk, from that parcell of Land & Brook, Sawwatapskechuwas [Mohawk Brook], up by ye Grt. River Quinntetticott, northerly to a little Brook called Papacontuckquash & Coroheaggan, lying over against ye mouth of Pacomptuck River, Mantahelas. The sd Mettawompe, alias Nattawwassawet, Doth Give, Grant, Bargain, & sell unto ye sd Robt. Boltwood, Jno. Hubbird, Jos. Kellogg, & Thos. Dickinson, & their successors & Company, & to their heirs & assigns Forever, hereby resigning to them all the Right, Title, & Interest in the forementioned Lands Called Mattampash, from Sawwatapskechuwas, Anquepinick, Sankrohokcun, Lemuckquash, & Papacontuckquash, Corroheaggan, & to Mantahelas, & so out into ye woods six miles Eastward from ye Great River Quinnetticott. To Have and to Hold all ye sd land to ye proper uses & behoof of ym ye sd Robt. Boltwood, John Hubbird, Jos. Kellogg, Thos. Dickinson & Company, & their heirs & Assigns forever, with all the Profits, Commodities, & advantages thereof & thereto belonging whatsoever & yt forever. And ye said Mettawompe, alias Nattawassawet, doth hereby covenant & promise that he will save harmless ye sd Robt. Boltwood, John Hubbird, Jos. Kellogg, Thos. Dickinson, & Company & their heirs & assigns, of and from all manner of Claims, Rights, Titles & Interest of any person whomsoever, in & to the sd Lands, and from all incumbrances of Indian's Rights to all or any part thereof, having full power & Lawful Right thus to Doe. And in Witness hereof affixes his hand & seal this 10th day April, 1674. The mark of Mettawompe: X.

"This don & delivered in presence of us.          
"Isaac Morgan.
"Henry Rogers.
"the mark of an Indian.

      "Mettawompe, alias Nattawassawett, acknowledged this Instrument to be his act & deed, Relinquishing & Resigning up all Right and Interest in the premises to the English within named 10th of April, 1674, before me,

      "John Pynchon, Assist.

      "This 17th of April, 1674, Squiskheag came and acknowledged the sale of ye Land mentioned on ye other side, sold by Mettawompe, & doth hereby confirm ye sale thereof, having rec'd part of ye pay, viz., Thirty Fathom; whereupon Squiskheag, for himself and his Brothers Sunckkamamnchue & Wadamummin, sell, & by sale forever pass away all ye Land mentioned on ye other side, namely, ye Land on ye East side of Quinnetticott River, from Sawwatapskechuwas on the south, northerly to Right against the mount of Pacomtuck River, called Mantahelas. To have and to Hold all ye sd Land from ye Grt River six miles out into ye woods Eastward to Robt. Boltwood, John Hubbard, Jos. Kellogg, & Thos. Dickinson, to them, their heirs & assigns, forever, & in witness thereof subscribed his hand and seal this 17th April, 1674.

      "The mark of Squiskeag: X. [Seal.]
In presence of us,                                    
      "John Pynchon.
      "Jos. I. T. Thomas, his X mark."

* Of Springfield.

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