In the following information all the names, dates and other essential particulars which appear in the returns to the Court in the County of Worcester during the entire period – a full half-century, from 1737 to 1788 – in which these entries were made, are given. The returns from each place have been brought together and arranged under the name of the town or district, in this case Brookfield Massachusetts.
Being a history of the descendants of Richard Dexter of Malden, Massachusetts, from the notes of John Haven Dexter and original researches. Richard Dexter, who was admitted an inhabitant of Boston (New England), Feb. 28, 1642, came from within ten miles of the town of Slane, Co. Meath, Ireland, and belonged to a branch of that family of Dexter who were descendants of Richard de Excester, the Lord Justice of Ireland. He, with his wife Bridget, and three or more children, fled to England from the great Irish Massacre of the Protestants which commenced Oct. 27, 1641. When Richard Dexter and family left England and by what vessel, we are unable to state, but he could not have remained there long, as we know he was living at Boston prior to Feb. 28, 1642.
Upon the very threshold of this historical sketch we find ourselves quite destitute of early public records for Swan’s Island. For over half a century from the settlement of this island until its organization as a plantation no municipal records were kept. But we are fortunate that H. W. Small saw purpose in bringing to light many private family records, old deeds showing what lots were occupied by the pioneer settlers; and written mutual agreements, which seem to have been often the result of arbitration on any disputed point where different claims to land conflicted with one another.