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History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts
edited by Simeon L. Deyo.
1890. New York: H. W. Blake & Co
CHAPTER XXI.pages 707-719
TOWN OF MASHPEE.
Location and Description.—Natural Features.—Early Events.—Incorporation as a District.—Civil History.—Town of Mashpee.—Church and Parish.—Schools.—Mashpee Manufacturing Company.—Military Service.—Some Prominent Representatives.— Industries.—Biographical Sketches.
THIS town, lying on the Vineyard sound twelve miles southwest of the court house in Barnstable, is bounded west by Falmouth, north by Sandwich, and east by Barnstable. It is 8.5 miles in length, and four in width. It originally contained about six square miles more of land than is now included; but in the year 1700 a large track on Waquoit bay was annexed to Falmouth. Another tract was later added to Sandwich, and still another at Cotuit was added to Barnstable, reducing the town to its present limits. The name is written Mashpee, but in colonial days names of similar euphony were used—Marshpee, Massapee, Mashpoag, and once, at least, Maktepos. It is south of a chain of hills extending along the north side of the Cape, and is generally covered with wood. The soil is a sandy loam, and, although generally as fertile as any on the Cape, is less cultivated. At the beginning of the present century only twelve hundred acres were cleared. More has been since cleared, but it contains now relatively much more wood land than neighboring towns.
Popponesset bay on the eastern boundary and Waquoit bay on the western, furnish the town with two harbors in connection with the sound. Cotuit river separates the town from Barnstable and is a tributary of Popponesset bay. Mashpee river, two miles west of and parallel with the Cotuit, rises in Mashpee pond and empties into the same bay. These, with the inconsiderable stream called Quashnet river, or brook, flowing into Waquoit bay, comprise the rivers of the town. Mashpee has many ponds, the largest being Mashpee, a beautiful sheet of water two and a half miles long and divided into two parts by Canaumet neck, the northern portion being known as Wakeby pond. There are a score of other ponds of less importance known as John's, of 240 acres, Ashumet, 226 acres, Santuit, 170 acres, and Pimlico, Moody's, Jehews, Flat, Fresh, Salt, Wells, Deans, Wills and Bottles, each of lesser area. It contains others, but none of
geographical importance. In Popponesset bay is an island containing forty acres of excellent land, and in Waquoit bay there are two ; between these bays is Great neck, once a favorite resort of the Indians. Some extent of salt marsh is found near the bays, and the best lands are near and around the large ponds.
That this territory was early sought and had long been the home of the natives has been proven in many ways. Mr. Hawley, who labored here as a missionary said : "There is no place I ever saw, so adapted to an Indian town as this." And the state commissioner in a later report said: " It is hardly possible to find a place more favorable for gaining a subsistence without labor, than the territory of Mashpee."
The settlement of a boundary line between the proprietors of Barnstable and the natives was effected in 1658 by the assistance of Richard Bourne, who by his untiring efforts soon after obtained for the Mashpees a patent of these lands from the South Sea Indians, as they were styled in the deeds of that day; he considering it vain to undertake the propogation of Christianity among any people without a home when they might remain on their own soil—a view of the case which has been amply justified. No lands at this time could be sold by the natives without license from the general court, or court of assistants. This early enactment of 1685, and the natural characteristics of the territory, tended to the crystalization of the native element here, which has since been possessed and occupied by them. The same year there were 141 praying Indians.
In 1693 the state appointed guardians who in turn were subject to commissioners, which manner of rule was endured until 1763, when Mashpee was constituted a plantation. In 1760 a Mashpee, Reuben Cognehew, went to England and in person presented to the King complaints against the colonial government, which resulted in the permission to elect their own officers. By an act, January 25, 1777, permission was given to sell certain lands for the poor fund of the district, and eight thousand dollars was thus realized for that purpose. The dissatisfaction of the Mashpees with the oppressive condition of affairs, assumed in 1833 a determined and formidable aspect. Petitions had been addressed to the governor and council in vain; but Ebenezer Attaquin, Daniel B. Amos, Ezra Attaquin and others resolved once more to seek redress. Accordingly May 21, 1833, a council in Mashpee framed and sent to the legislature a set of resolutions strongly asserting the right of self-government. The leaders in this move were arrested and imprisoned during the summer of 1833 for assuming to practice the rights claimed; but so energetic and persistent were the Mashpees that their memorial, signed by 282 males and females of the plantation, was favorably considered, resulting in the act of March 31, 1834, incorporating Mashpee as a district. They
could now choose their own officers to manage their own affairs, to be assisted only by a commissioner appointed by the state, to which position Hon. Charles Marston of Barnstable was appointed for many years, much to the satisfaction of the Mashpees.
Under the act of 1834, that restored to them these rights, the first selectmen and school committee were chosen, and from this event the Mashpees date their release from civil bondage. The office of commissioner was abolished by the legislature of 1853, and that of treasurer created. The rights of the people in the meantime gradually enlarged, perhaps as fast as they desired; and by the provisions of chapter 72 of the laws of 1842, their lands, which heretofore had been held in common, were partitioned among the proprietors—sixty acres to each—and the deeds duly recorded. This allotment was made in open meeting, embraced all the residents, and conveyed all rights in fee and of sale and conveyance, except to persons not inhabitants. These proprietors then owned their several parcels of land to enjoy all the civil and political rights of citizens of the Commonwealth except that they were not taxed nor represented in state or county government.
The act of 1834 incorporating the district provided that the first election of officers should be held in the meeting house and that the selectmen chosen then, and annually thereafter, should also be the overseers of the poor, surveyors of the highways, and committee of the schools. Ezra Attaquin, Isaac Coombs and Israel Amos were elected selectmen at this first meeting, and between that time and the date of the town's incorporation, Ebenezer Attaquin, first elected in 1835, was selectman 8 years; his son, Ebenezer, 1 year; Isaac Coombs 3 consecutive years; William Mingo, 2 years; Solomon Attaquin, 15 years; beginning in 1837; Daniel B. Amos, first elected in 1840, served 7 different years; Peter S. Foller, first elected in 1842, served 2 years; Moses Pocknett, 1837, 7 years; Matthias Amos, 1840, 7 years; James Amos, 1841, 2 years; Oakes A. Coombs, 1842, 9 years; Nathan S. Pocknett, 1843, 10 years; David Wilber, 1847,1 year; Joseph Tobias, 1848, 1 year; William James, 1849, 3 years; Elijah Pocknett, 1851, 3 years; Joshua Pocknett, 1852, 1 year; Isaac Jones, 1853, 2 years; Sampson Alvas, 1854, 4 years; William H. Simon, 1856, 7 years; Nicholas P. Keeter, 1857, 3 years; Timothy Pocknett, 1864, 1 year; Walter R. Mingo, 1866, 4 years; Foster Pells, 1866, 4 years; Watson F. Hammond, 1869, and Silas P. Pells, 1870, each 1 year.
Charles Marston, commissioner and treasurer until 1853, was also treasurer until 1865, when he was succeeded by Solomon C. Howland for six years.
The clerks elected by the district were: Daniel B. Amos, elected 1834; James Amos, 1838; Ebenezer Attaquin, 1839; Solomon Attaquin,
1843; William Mingo, 1845; Ebenezer Attaquin, 1846; Solomon Attaquin, 1847; Joseph Tobias, 1848; James Amos, 1849; Ebenezer Attaquin, 1850; Nicholas P. Keeter, 1853; James Amos, 1857; Nicholas P. Keeter, 1859; Solomon Attaquin, 1860; James Amos, 1861; Solomon Attaquin, 1862; Elijah W. Pocknett, 1865; and Benjamin J. Attaquin, in 1866—each of whom served until his successor was elected.
Since the town was incorporated its change of officers has been less frequent. The selectmen have wisely administered its local affairs. Solomon Attaquin served as selectman of the town 2 years; Walter R. Mingo, 8 years; Silas P. Pells; 10 years; Darius Coombs, 7 years; Matthias Amos, 3 years; Foster L. Pells, 1 year; Nicholas P. Keeter, from 1878, for 8 years; William F. Mye and William H. Simon, from 1879, each 7 years; Horatio H. Amos, from 1886, 3 years. The selectmen for 1889 were Darius Coombs, Lysander Z. Amos and Silas P. Pells.
The list of town treasurers, each serving until the election of his successor, includes the names of Matthias Amos, elected in 1871; Virgil B Collins, in 1873; George R. Coombs, 1877; William H. Simon, 1879; Solomon Attaquin, 1884; Horatio H. Amos, 1887; and Walter R. Mingo elected in 1889.
The town has had but three clerks: George R. Coombs, the last clerk of the district, was continued in office until 1879, when Oliver F. Jones was elected and served four years; and the present efficient clerk, Charles F. Hammond, was first elected in 1883.
The present boundary line between Mashpee and Falmouth was adjusted June 18, 1885; and that between Mashpee and Sandwich on the 27th of May, 1887, leaving the Mashpees the present town of considerable importance, and the well-deserved privileges its people had enjoyed since the incorporation, May 28, 1870. The valuation of the town for 1889 was $158,190, upon which was raised by taxation $1,800. The number of polls assessed was seventy-five, the town containing sixty-seven dwellings. The sum of $2,729.41 was disbursed during the year for roads, schools, and other town purposes. Notwithstanding the long years of surveillance and oppression by the Commonwealth rendering the Mashpees distrustful of their own capacity for self-government, the affairs of the town are now as wisely administered and its books as well kept and arranged, as in those adjoining.
The allotment of 1842, already mentioned, did not include all the lands of Mashpee. Five thousand acres remained as the common property of the proprietors until after 1871, when these common lands were reduced by division and sale to individual ownership. On the eighth of April, 1871, Chief Justice Lincoln F. Brigham, in superior court at Barnstable, under the authority of the act of May 28, 1870, appointed Wendell H. Cobb, Cyrus Cahoon and Asa E. Lovell to make
a description and record of the titles and bounds of lands rightfully held by individual owners under the "set-off" to the proprietors of the district in 1842. The Commonwealth had already made extensive and costly surveys of these lands, and the records provided for by Judge Brigham's order are now on file in the office at Barnstable, constituting the basis of all subsequent titles to these lands.
The lands of the Mashpees were in common formerly, and not until their rights to civil and religious liberty were bestowed, could much be expected. Not until 1725 were they permitted to employ persons to build houses on the reservation, and in 1767 there were twenty-one shingled houses, being about one-third of the residences. In 1800 there were eighty houses and a still larger proportion were of the better class. Wigwams had almost entirely disappeared. Thus they improved as soon as the shackles of what they considered slavery were removed.
Four years after the incorporation of the town the population was 278, and in 1880 had increased to 346. The census of 1885 showed a population of 311, of whom 79 were voters.
Happily for the good name of Puritan New England, and happily for the fate of the Aborigines, the most conspicuous relations between the two races grew out of and clustered around the Godly efforts of Godly men to bring the white man's religion to the Indians of the South sea, which civilizing influence was early brought. In 1661, when settlers came to Falmouth, they soon learned to bound their lands on the east by the " Christian Indians' " land. The gospel was preached first among them in 1658, by Mr. Richard Bourne of Sandwich, who earnestly turned his attention to the work of evangelizing the Mashpees, sometimes then called South Sea Indians. This term of South Sea Indians was applied formerly to those occupying the south part of the Cape; they were in different precincts and under sub-chiefs, with the principal chief living at what is now Hyannis.
On the 17th of August, 1670, Mr. Bourne was ordained pastor of an Indian church gathered from his own disciples and converts. The services were performed by the famous Mr. Elliot, assisted by Rev. Mr. Cotton, who came from Plymouth, and others from neighboring churches. Forty years of pastoral duty was then performed by Simon Popmonet, an Indian. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Bourne, ordained November 26, 1729, who was led to resign in 1742, when Solomon Briant, an Indian, officiated as pastor for sixteen years, with much opposition to his settlement, but doing much good. Rev. Gideon Hawley succeeded Mr. Briant, April 10, 1758, as missionary and pastor. In 1792 the only Indian church in the Commonwealth was at Mashpee. In 1811 Rev. Phineas Fish of Sandwich succeeded Hawley, and was ordained September 18, 1812. William Apes, a
regularly ordained preacher of the Pequot tribe, in 1833 was adopted by the Mashpees and invited occasionally to preach, which he did until after their incorporation as a district. In 1830 Blind Joseph had organized a religious society of the Baptist persuasion, to which there were many adherents, and which has since represented the prevailing religious sentiment of the people.
In consideration of the permanent organization of a church society, and wishing to control the church property, to which the society had no claim only by legal action, the citizens, under the act of March 21, 1840, proceeded to take the required measures to control their own religious affairs.
Prior to 1834 the Mashpees had the minister furnished for them without consulting their wishes. Rev. Phineas Fish had been quartered upon them, much to their dissatisfaction. The proper warrant for the organization of a parish was issued to William Mingo by Charles Marston, July 10, 1840, to meet at the church on the 20th, and a parish was then formed. At this meeting very strong resolutions were adopted; one was that " Mr. Fish never was settled here as a missionary or minister by any act of the Indians or proprietors;" another, " that Mr. Fish's term ended with the term of the overseers; that we have been trying to get rid of Mr. Fish since we got our liberty in 1834." It seems that a suit in equity was then pending against Mr. Fish to obtain possession of the church property of the parish, the inhabitants having discharged him in 1837. Mr. Fish was present at the meeting. Charles Marston was the moderator and James Amos clerk. Solomon Attaquin, Daniel B. Amos and Matthias Amos were chosen a prudential committee. Among other resolutions there voted was one to " put a new lock upon the meeting house and take possession of the same, and the men. who change the lock be safely guarded during the act—". Mr. Fish was forcibly ejected when the meeting adjourned. Rev. David Culver was selected as missionary at the meeting; Rev. Henry Coombs was chosen missionary April, 1841.
In 1842 the parish, in legal assembly, voted again strongly against Mr. Fish, who was yet present in the flesh if not in the spirit. The Mashpees, now managing their own spiritual affairs, were prosperous and united as a parish. Rev. David M. Burdick was chosen as missionary September 3, 1843. It was agreed, in the meeting of 1844, to settle with Mr. Fish " when the next third is allowed them from the Williams fund." Mr. Burdick continued his labors for several years, but some division of interest appeared in a vote in 1847 " to pay Mr. Burdick $80 on condition that the next meeting allow Joseph Amos $80." In 1848 Joseph Amos was voted $20 to date, and the parish seemed harmonious.
Rev. Thomas Wakefield was chosen in 1850, and was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Chapman in 1851. Stephen Coombs was chosen missionary in 1854 and remained until 1859, to be succeeded by Rev. D. S. Hawley. A subscription for a Sunday school library was circulated in 1859, resulting in a hearty response and great benefit. In 1861 E. A. Edwards was chosen missionary, filling the desk until 1865, then was succeeded by Rev. John E. Wood, who remained several years. In 1878, by vote, the committee was authorized to pay six hundred dollars for a missionary, also to repair the meeting house. Rev. William Hurst was chosen in 1886 for one year, and Lemuel G. Waldron, chosen in 1887, was continued through 1889. The chosen faith of the Mashpees is that established by Joseph Amos in 1830, who led the people to the Baptist belief. The Williams fund in charge of Harvard College had been left in 1711 " for the blessed work of converting the poor Indians," and has since been paid to the parish in needful sums for the support of the gospel. The intention of the donor, a clergyman of London, was not to support a Baptist society, but the old orthodox, and upon this Mr. Fish based his claim; but, as we have said, the Baptist faith prevails, and the parish has its yearly meetings, electing officers and voting for preaching, which entitles them to the income from the fund; two-thirds of which they apply to the support of a chosen preacher.
The people met at the house of Joseph Amos, January 4, 1838, and established the present Baptist Society of Mashpee, many of its members previously belonging to the church at Hyannis and elsewhere. It is a strong and prosperous religious society, to which the best citizens are strongly devoted. The parish meetings are regularly held, with Lysander Z. Amos, clerk. The parish has for many years retained W. F. Hammond as clerk. A meeting house had been erected in 1684 in the east part of the town, on the road from Cotuit to Sandwich, and it had been repaired in 1717 by an appropriation of five hundred dollars, and later by other smaller ones; but it still bore the same old style of one door and small windows. In 1854 the house was moved to its present site, near the center of the town, and remodeled.
The people of Mashpee are earnest in the work of temperance, and May 4, 1885, a lodge of Good Templars was organized with twenty members, which had increased to ninety in 1889. A lodge of Juvenile Templars of thirty members is also in successful operation. The hall, library, reading room and the Juvenile organization are all under the control of the elder members of the Good Templars' lodge, and the best results may be expected. The presiding officers of this lodge have been selected from the citizens active in the work, and this combination of social societies is a strong factor for good.
Co-existent with the march of religious teachings the schools have kept pace. One school had been kept prior to 1831, when the legislature appropriated four hundred dollars for the erection of two school houses—one at the North village and one at the South. In 1834 the state appropriated one hundred dollars from its school fund, and from 1835 this was made an annual appropriation. In 1855 there were 105 school children in the two districts. The condition of the state's appropriation was, that the inhabitants should raise annually, by tax, seventy-five dollars, to be used for the same purpose; and this sum or more was thus assessed and raised annually. The year's expenditures for schools, as reported by the committee on accounts, in April, 1889, was $435.14.
The simple tastes and natures of their fathers were for the wilderness and the solitudes, and formerly hunting and fishing were their chief avocations; but since 1834 attention here has been turned to farming, and the fine farms of the proprietors compare favorably with those of other towns. A company was incorporated under the title of the Mashpee Manufacturing Company, with suitable buildings on the Santuit river, through the instrumentality of Rev. Joseph Wood, then pastor of this people. The object was the manufacture of brooms, which did not prove as profitable as was anticipated, and the right to cultivate cranberries was added to the privileges of this company two years later. Others then took stock in the company; the ponds were converted into cranberry bogs, other lands were added for that purpose, and the company, under the original title, now cultivates nearly fifty acres. In 1872 Captain S. L. Ames purchased the building which is used as a cranberry house. Cranberry culture has proved very profitable, not only to this company, composed now wholly of nonresidents, but to the people of Mashpee, who, stimulated by this success, have since largely and successfully engaged in the culture of this fruit in various parts of the town.
This people have been hospitable from their earliest history; and, although owing him fealty, Massasoit, in the war of 1675, 1676, could not induce them to commit any overt act of hostility toward the English. During the revolutionary war the Mashpees were ready and valiant soldiers, doing much service. Rev. Mr. Hawley stated, in 1783, that there were no less than seventy widows in the plantation—the result of that war. A single regiment, raised in 1777 for the continental army, had the following twenty-six warriors out: Francis Webquish, Samuel Moses, Demps Squibs, Mark Negro, Tom Caesar, Joseph Asher, James Keeter, Joseph Keeter, Jacob Keeter, Daniel Pocknet, Job Rimmon, George Shawn, Castel Barnet, Joshua Pognet, James Rimmon, David Hatch, James Nocake, Abel Hoswitt, Elisha Keeter, John Pearce, John Mapix, Amos Babcock, Hosea Pognet, Church Asher
and Gideon Tumpum; of whom only three returned. In the war of 1812 but few enlisted. In the civil war, 1861-5, there were many enlistments, among whom, in the army, were Azariah Brown and Lewis F. Mills, brother of William J. Mills. In the navy at the time were John Sylvester Keeter and his brother Edmund, Darius Coombs, James Dennison, Lysander B. Godfrey, Alonzo Godfrey and James M. Godfrey, three brothers; Lewis Attaquin, James and John Coet, Jacob and Samuel Cowett, Thomas L. Hicks, David Robins, Charles Alvis, John H. Spencer and John H. Thompson.
During the present century there have been born in Mashpee some remarkable men. The wonderful genius of the blind preacher, who, for so many years shone in his glorious power, converting hundreds by his preaching and singing, and to whom the present church of the town looks as its patron saint, will not be forgotten. His descendants, and those of other prominent natives now fill the offices and business positions in the town. Some names have become entirely extinct, with the blood. Poppononett was a chief of the south shore Indians, from whom Nathan S. Pocknet was a descendant. Nathan S. lived on the hill northwest of the west end of Ockway bay. None of the name are left.
Solomon Attaquin.—The ancestors of this aged native were born in Mashpee, and were counted in the number of Christian Indians. His father, Ezra, and grandfather, Solomon, were prominent in the affairs of their people and have long slumbered in the Attaquin burying-ground, west of Mashpee pond. His mother was Sarah Jones, an earnest member of the Baptist church. He was born January 28, 1810, in the southwestern portion of the town, near Waquoit, and at the early school in the latter place acquired the rudiments of reading and writing. At the age of twelve he shipped as cook on a fishing voyage to the Grand Banks, serving in this capacity two seasons. At fourteen he shipped on board a whaling vessel, making two long voyages, and at the age of twenty was able to go before the mast in a merchantman. He visited Europe, the West Indies and many southern cities in his voyages, and rose to the rank of mate. In 1834, when Mashpee was incorporated as a district, he retired from a steady seafaring life and assisted the people in their municipal affairs. He was elected one of their first selectmen, an office which he filled, at various times, a period of twenty-two years.
In 1836 he married Cynthia Conant, of Plymouth county, who still survives. Of their two children, one died in childhood, the other married Samuel Jones, and died at the age of thirty-nine.
In 1840 Mr. Attaquin erected the building which, with suitable additions, has since been known as Hotel Attaquin. Several years after this hotel was built, the best of fishing, in close proximity,.
induced sportsmen to visit the town, and the Hotel Attaquin became a favorite resort. This property he sold in 1888.
After his retirement from long voyages he, for several years, coasted during the summer between Boston and Albany, as master or mate. In the winter seasons he was often sent to the general court in the interest of his people. While the territory was a district and after it attained the rank of a town he served as town clerk and treasurer, and in other positions wherein his superior judgment and mature years would benefit his people. He is a republican in matters of state, and was appointed the first postmaster of Mashpee in 1871, which position he filled until 1889. While active in secular life, he has been mindful also of the interests of the Baptist church of which he and his wife have been members for the past twenty years. Venerable in his four-score years, he of all others of his people now living, has passed through their comparative slavery, then along the line of their improvement to the full enjoyment of the rights of citizenship. The present generation in their prosperity may well revere the name of Solomon Attaquin.
Sixteen years after Mashpee was incorporated it was, as it still is, a part, of the first Barnstable district. In 1885 Watson F. Hammond, a native of Mashpee, was nominated by the republicans, and was elected to represent this district in the legislature, taking his seat as the first one of his people ever elected to the general court of this Commonwealth. He was born here May 24, 1837, and is the son of John Hammond, whose father, John, was originally of Sag Harbor—probably descended from a Montauk Indian. Mr. Hammond's wife is Rebecca, a daughter of Joseph Amos, the blind preacher. Their six children are: Charles H., Nellie W., Alice C, Lorenzo T., Edith L. and Carrie F. The oldest son, Charles H.,was born in 1861, and when twenty-one years old began teaching in the South district, and has taught also in the North district. In 1883 Charles H. was elected town clerk, an office which he continues to ably fill. His wife, Mary E., is a daughter of John H. Pompey.
The longest line of descent accurately traceable here is in the Coombs family. Two brothers, now living, both substantial citizens of the town, are George R., born in 1843, and Darius, born in 1845. Their father, Oakes A. Coombs, was a son of Isaac and a grandson of Joshua Coombs—all born in Mashpee. George R. engaged in the farming, cranberry and oyster business. He was elected clerk of the district and served until after the town was incorporated. He has been a member of the school committee about three years, also town treasurer. His wife, Elizabeth S., is a sister of William J. Mills of this town. Darius Coombs has been chairman of the selectmen since 1885. He served in this capacity a period of four years, prior to this.
He has run the daily mail stage from Mashpee to Sandwich since 1877. He was tax collector from 1871 to 1877. His wife, Martha A.,. Mye, is the daughter of John and Lydia (Pocknet) Mye.
Deacon Matthias Amos, who died in 1885, was all his life a resident of this town, where his father Israel, a seafaring man, was born and lived. The deacon left a snug property for his widow and children. His two sons—Horatio H., born in 1852, and Lysander Z., born in 1858—are enterprising and substantial citizens of the town. Horatio H. went to sea at fourteen years of age, and continued until 1886. Since then he has been selectman, as his father had been, and also town treasurer, two years. His wife is Ella F. Gardiner. Lysander Z. Amos, at twenty-two years of age, was elected collector of taxes and has held the office to the present time. In 1883 he was commissioned by Gov. Benjamin F. Butler as a justice of the peace of the Commonwealth for seven years. In 1887 he was one of the school committee of the town and for the last two years has been treasurer and clerk for the parish. His wife is Flora E., daughter of Nathaniel D. Bearse.
This people had the facilities of a mill for grinding corn as early as the people of plantations adjoining. Papers in the hands of the state's Indian commissions in 1870 show that in 1684 Shearjashaub Bourne purchased of Quitchatassett, the principal chief and others, all the swamp land from Great pond (Mashpee pond) southward to Coleman's bridge, including the present bogs in the Mashpee river valley for one-half mile southerly from the pond. For this grant of land Mr. Bourne agreed to build a meeting house for the Mashpees. After the purchase of the lands Mr. Bourne built a grist mill south of the road, near where stands the ice house of O. M. Holmes, and the present dam north of the road was constructed for the use of this mill. Still later a saw mill was erected on the same dam, which mill was abandoned early in the present century. The grist mill was used until after 1820. Hezekiah Coleman had a mill for grinding corn, situated on the river where the road crosses it north of W. R. Mingo's. This mill was erected before Mr. Bourne's, for tradition says Coleman was compelled to discontinue grinding because the water was held back by Bourne.
The business of the town has recently grown rapidly in importance. Cotuit was a former trading place; but the wants of the people are now supplied within its own borders. Virgil B. Collins prior to his death in 1875, also Captain Seth Collins, his brother, of Waquoit, kept stores. Among the active merchants were George R. and Darius Coombs. Lysander Z. Amos began his store, now the only one here, in September, 1883; he had been engaged in making cranberry barrels for the four years previous.
There has been a post office at Mashpee since 1870, mail being supplied by a stage line from Sandwich. It was run tri-weekly for three years by James Amos, and for four years by Seth Collins, and since 1877, daily by Darius Coombs. Solomon Attaquin served the public as the faithful agent of the government until the spring of 1889, when he was succeeded by O. M. Holmes, who added a nice set of mail boxes to the office. The hotel kept by Mr. Attaquin so long, now by Mr. Holmes, is a famous resort for sporting parties. There are two halls at the north village; the finished one was built in 1888 by a company composed of George R. Coombs, Watson F. Hammond, Alexander Booker, Charles H. Hammond, W. R. Mingo, W. H Simon and J. H. Thompson. The library reading room was opened June 2, 1889. The officers of the hall and library association are: W. F. Hammond, pres.; C. H. Hammond, sec; W. H. Simon, treas.
The excellent fishing in the ponds, bays and streams has given the town preference for real sport. Pickerel, eels, bass, bluefish, flounders, cunners, smelt, frost-fish, scup, clams, and other fish are plentifully caught. The Mashpee trout frequently sell for one dollar a pound, when those from other places in New England are quoted at only one-fourth that price. Oysters are a specialty on the southern borders of the town.
The Popponesset bay, between Mashpee and Barnstable, contains some of the finest oyster ground on the southern shore of Cape Cod. The oysters known as " Pells' Best" are grown here. The proprietor of the beds is Silas P. Pells, who was born here in 1838. Besides being a successful business man, he has served acceptably in his town as school committee, constable, and several years as selectman. His wife, deceased, was Lydia Thompson. His present wife, Annie Mye, is of Mashpee.
Oliver M. Holmes was among the Boston people who were attracted to Mashpee by the hunting and fishing as early as 1860. In 1870 he, with his uncle, Levi Morse of Boston, invested quite largely in a cranberry enterprise here, now representing about twenty-seven acres. His house—" Hotel Attaquin "—is a well kept resort, headquarters for the fishing parties frequenting the trout streams and ponds of Mashpee.
William J. Mills was born in Nantucket in 1842, where his father, Joseph Mills, resided. His mother was Dorcas Webquish of Mashpee. He followed the sea, coasting and fishing, from boyhood until 1880. His wife is Adaline B. Gardner. His business is farming and fishing, at which he has acquired a fair property.
Walter R. Mingo.—As a representative factor of the agricultural importance of Mashpee, this citizen is one of the most prominent. His beautiful residence is located on the rise of land just south of the
RESIDENCE OF WALTER R. MINGO,
village. William Mingo, his ancestor, went to California in 1849, where he died in 1851. He was an active valuable man in the affairs of the plantation prior to his removal.
Walter R. Mingo was born in Mashpee, July 6, 1838, and at the age of fourteen engaged in coasting between the cities of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. He followed the sea thirteen years, before his retirement in 1865. He married, January 20, 1856, Frances C, daughter of John and Catherine Hammond, and sister of Hon. Watson F. Hammond, of Mashpee. Their children are: George H., Walter R., jr., Ella F., Herbert C, Katie M., Russel B., Thomas S. and Laura A. Mingo. Mr. Mingo's fourth child, Nelson D., died before attaining his majority. The eldest daughter, Ella F., was married July 4, 1883, to Isaac Simon, son of W. H. Simon, one of the largest landholders in the town. Isaac Simon, the grandfather of William H., was the last of the natives who could speak the original language. By this marriage of his daughter, Mr. Mingo has four grandchildren: Edward R., Nelson D., Eva M. and Zephaniah E. Simon, who reside near the Mingo homestead.
Although he has the personal supervision of a large farm, and several acres of cranberry bog, Mr. Mingo has found time to serve the town as selectman eleven years, during a period in the history of his town that covers its emergence from a plantation to a corporate body, and in the spring of 1889 he was elected to the office of treasurer. He was one of the original members of the Mashpee Manufacturing Company for the first four years of its incorporation, and his name is found among those who desire the advancement of the best interests of the town. Politically he is a strong element in the republican ranks and in the full tide of life is in every manner the representative man of to-day for his progressive people.
David Lovell was born in Mashpee in 1825. He is a son of David Lovell, also born here, and a grandson of Silas Lovell, who was born in Osterville. David Lovell married Mary A., daughter of Prince P. Gifford. They have had six children—four of whom are still living: Gideon, Abram L., Mary and Almira W.
Captain S. M. Godfrey, born in 1821, came to Harwich when nine years of age. He early in life went to sea in a privateer. In 1841 he settled in Mashpee and married a Mye. He was a partner of Solomon Attaquin in vessels, and has been an active business man. He had eight children, three of whom were in the navy during the war of the rebellion and one since. Lysander, Alonzo and James were the first to enlist, and later Samuel.