Pembroke, Plymouth County,
By V. Collamore, M. D.
Not much is known concerning what is now Pembroke, prior to its
incorporation. Previous to 1712, all the territory that the limits of Pembroke
now embrace was Duxbury, except a small portion below Robinson's Creek. The
western part of what is now Pembroke, was called Namattakeeset.
In March, 1641, the bounds of Duxbury were fixed at a court.
Ordered, That the bounds of Duxburrow Township
shall begin where Plymouth bounds do end, namely at a brook falling into
Blackwater, and 80 along the Massachusetts path to the North River. This path
was the regular line for travel between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Colonies.
Tradition says it crossed the Indian Head River near where Curtis's Iron
Works now stand. It was at this place that James Ludden, an early settler of
Weymouth, acting as guide to Gov. Winthrop and Rev. Mr. Wilson, while on their
journey to Plymouth, in 1632, had the honor of taking their honors over the
river, pussback. From this fact, the Gov named it Ludden's Pond. This name is
now Lowden. That portion of Pembroke below Robinson's Creek, was included in the
Two Mile purchase made by Mr. Hatherly and his associates of Scituate, of the
Indian chief Josiah Wampatuck. In 1661, a grant was made to the towns of Duxbury
and Marshfield, of a tract of land between Jones River and Indian Head River.
This was known as Marshfield upper lands. The "Major's purchase," an earlier
grant to the town, included the Great Cedar Swamp, in the limits of Hanson now.
Both these grants were included in the limits of Pembroke, at one time.
The tradition of the Barker family, is that in 1628 or 30, Francis Barker,
and his brother, who were among the Plymouth adventurers, took a boat and
coasted along the shore till they came to the North River, which they ascended
as far as it was navigable, that they landed on a rook near the site of the
present Herring weir and went in pursuit of a good place to locate. They built a
house of brick, containing one room, and one story high. This, with the
additions that have since been made, is the old garrison house, said to be the
oldest house in the United States. In 1679, this dwelling-house was converted
into a garrison and was a place of refuge for those who feared their savage
Pembroke, at its incorporation, was bounded on the North by Scituate and
Abington; on the East by Robinson's Creek, (separating it from Scituate), by
Marshfield and Duxbury ; on the South by Duxbury and Plymouth, and on the West
by Bridgewater. It contained fifty-four families.
There were two places of public worship, one on the site of the present
Unitarian Church, and the peaked meeting-house erected by' the Friends.
The first Congregational meeting-house was erected in 1703, the Friends'
meeting-house in 1706.
Pembroke was incorporated in 1711. The prayer of the petition was that the
new town should be called Brookfield. Why it was called Pembroke does not
appear. It was probably named for Pembroke in England.
The Indians that lived in this vicinity belonged to the Massachusetts, at one
time a powerful tribe, numbering 3000 warriors and occupying the whole country
from Neponset to Duxbury, and extending back from the shore to Bridgewater and
A large portion of this tribe were converted to Christianity and were known
as praying Indians, At the breaking out of Philip's war, many of them were
Conveyed by Government to Clark's Island, where they might be secured from their
hostile brothers. Chicatabut was their sachem. His father, Josiah Wampatuck,
sold Scituate to Mr. Hatherly and his associates, for £14.
In 1684, there were about forty at Namattakeeset. The particular sub-division
of this tribe that lived near the Indian ponds was called Mattakeeset, and from
these are descended Joseph Hyatt, Martin Prince, and William Joel.
David Fuller was descended from the Tumpum tribe. This was probably a family
or patriarchal name.
It seems that Pembroke was not always considered out of the world. Indeed it
was thought to be the very hub of Plymouth County, for in the year 1726, and for
a number of subsequent years, endeavors were made to effect the removal of the
county buildings here, and constitute it the shire town. If the Puritans had
landed at Seabury Point instead of Plymouth Rock, it might have been.
It is a matter of history, that Pembroke was the first town in the Colonies,
that publicly rebelled against the British Crown.
In 1740, the town protested against the efforts of the Prince to sup-press
the emission of bills of public credit, which had become depreciated on account
of the large export of silver. The following is a very brief extract from the
protest: "Which instructions from the Crown are we presume a manifest infraction
of our charter rights and privileges as well as that of our invaluable national
constitution, so long enjoyed as well as so dearly obtained, whereby the people
have a right of thinking and judging for themselves, as well as the Prince. And
the representative shall be directed at all times strictly to adhere to the
charter, rights, and privileges, which we are under, as also that of our English
rights, liberties and constitutions, any royal instruction from his Majesty to
the contrary notwithstanding."
Pembroke was noted for its patriotism. There was scarce a Tory in the town.
The town records are full of patriotic resolves passed by the town all along
through the "times that tried men's souls."
In 1772, Dec. 28th, the following among other resolves, was passed. Resolved,
"That this Province, and this town as part of it, hath a right whenever they
think it necessary, to give their sense of public measures, and if judged to be
unconstitutional and oppressive, to declare it freely and to remonstrate or
petition as they may deem best."
Conspicuous among the leading spirits of those times were Josiah Keen, Esq.,
Dr. Jeremiah Hall, John Turner, Eleazer Hamlen, Seth Hatch, Josiah Smith, Capt.
Freedom Chamberlain, Abel Stetson, Aaron Soule, Israel Turner, Capt. Ichabod
Thomas, Asaph Tracy, Consider Cole, Asa Keen, and Nathaniel Stetson. Of these,
Dr. Hall, Capt. Seth Hatch, Asa Keen, and Nathaniel Stetson had served in the
French war. Dr. Hall was a Surgeon in the French war. Capt. Seth Hatch,
commanded a supply ship, and at one time run the blockade of the St. Lawrence
and furnished supplies to Gen. Wolf, and his army. For this he was publicly
thanked by the General, and after the .battle of Quebec, lie was presented with
some articles of the General's tent furniture.
John Turner, Dr. Hall, and Capt. Edward Thomas were members of the Provincial
Congress. While attending this Congress, Dr. Hall was chosen on many important
committees of that body. He was quite intimate with Dr. Joseph Warren, and thus
described to a friend his last parting with him. "Being both members of the
Provincial Congress, we left Concord at the dawn of day, June 17, 1775, and rode
in company till our paths diverged, (Dr. Hall was going to the head-quarters of
the American army at Cambridge). Dr. Warren, at this interview, informed him
that he had a Major General's commission in his pocket, but that he should not
use it." Dr. Hall was afterwards Colonel of a Rhode Island regiment. He was a
noted Surgeon. He held many public offices in the Colony. He had a son Jeremiah,
who died while a soldier at Cambridge, according to the inscription placed on
his tombstone by his patriot sire, "in the service of his country, opposing
British tyranny and Britain's tyrants." Eleazer Hamlin, mentioned above, was
grandfather to the Hon. Hannibal Hamlin.
Pembroke furnished one hundred and sixty-seven men for the war of the
Rebellion, twenty-nine more than all its quotas. Of these the names of those who
were killed or died in the service, are as follows:
Ansel F; Bonney, Co. E, 18th Reg't, wounded in the
battles before Richmond, June 3d, and died July 14th, 1864, at Washington, D. C
Jacob Curtis, Co. E, 18th Reg't, wounded at Laurel Hill, and died ar Washington,
D. C, May 26th, 1864
Alfred G. Howe, Co. H, 18th Reg't, killed in the battle of the Wilderness, May
Abel O. Stetson Co. D, 38th Reg't, at Port Hudson, La., 1863
Hiram F. Stevens, Co. D, 38th Reg't, at Hampton Hospital, Va., Jan. 2d, 1863, of
Ansel W. Brown, Co. B, 40th Reg't, at Folly Island, S. C, Nov. 18th, 1863, of
James T. Cummings, Co. B, 40th Reg't, wounded at Coal Harbor, Va., and died at
Washington, D. C. June 21st, 1864.
George M. Witherell, Co. I, 4th Reg't, at Baton Rouge, La., March 28th, 1863, of
John Bones, Co. I, 4th Reg't, June 11th, 1863, at Brashear City, La
James B. Curtis, Co. I, 4th Reg't, April 29th, 1863, at New Orleans, La
Alden Howard, Co. I, 4th Reg't, July 15th, 1863, at New Orleans, La.
Edwin Bosworth, Co. I, 4th Reg, Aug. 3d, 1863, at New Orleans, La., of chronic
Robert Henry Cornell, Co. I, 4th Reg, April 21at, 1863, at Carrollton, La.
Marcus M. Reed, Co. I, 4th Reg't, at Brashear City, La., June 8th, 1863, of
Charles C. Clark, Co. I, 4th Reg't, at New Orleans, La., July 16th, 1863
George H. Ford, Co. I, 4th Reg't, at New Orleans, La., July 17th, 1863
Henry T. Stevens, Co. F, 28th Reg't, at Andersonville, Ga., Sept. 6th, 1864
Calvin S. Magoun, Co. A, 23d Reg't, died June 19th, 1862, on the cars between
New York and Boston, of typhoid pneumonia
Marshall M. Chandler, Co. 29th Reg't, died at Philadelphia, Penn., July 6th,
1862, of typhoid fever
Nathaniel B. Bishop was killed June 2d, 1864, at Coal Harbor, Va., Co. B, 40th
Notes About Book:
Source: Plymouth County Directory and Historical Register of the Old Colony,
Middleboro, Mass: Published By Stillman B. Pratt & Company, 1867.
Notes about Online Publication: This manuscript has been ocr'd and heavily
edited. Many of the Native American words have been reproduced as clearly as
online publication will allow us, but not all are exactly the way they were in
the original work. The structure of this manuscript has been changed to allow
better online presentation.