In the middle of the last century Jacob Perkins, a blacksmith, acquired a fortune of from seventy-five to eighty thousand dollars by careful savings and wise investments. He died in 1846 at the age of eighty years.

Abraham Perkins, brother of Elijah E. Perkins, was an able business man and a prosperous farmer.

Solomon White and his son, Solomon White, Jr., were respectively clerks of the Congregational Church from 1834 to 1894. Calvin, Ebenezer, and Zephaniah Shaw were among


the early carpenters of this neighborhood, and lived on the westerly side of Pleasant Street.

The Pratt Free School, founded by Enoch Pratt, is near the Green.1

Jared Pratt was born in Bridgewater, July 27, 1792. His parents were Josiah Pratt, a farmer, and Bethiah Keith Pratt. After receiving a good education in the

Jared Pratt public as well as in

private schools, he taught in Taunton when he was nineteen, and then went into business there. He was at first clerk in the nail factory of Crocker & Richmond, but later worked with other manufacturers. On January 1, 1818, he was married to Jemima Williams, daughter of Job King of Taunton. They made their home in North Middleboro, where he began business as proprietor of a general country store in partnership with Isaac Pratt. In 1819 this firm, I. & J. Pratt, carried on business 1 See chapter on Education.

in different lines at Wareham, where they owned a forge, a "bloomery." The business gradually outgrew its modest proportions, and became the large manufacturing establishment known as the Wareham Iron Company. The growth and extent of this industry were due largely to the financial ability and shrewd business management of Mr. Pratt, who, as treasurer, conducted the monetary affairs with great skill. In 1824 it was necessary for him to move to Wareham ; and in 1836 he went to Harrisburg, Pa., and established extensive iron works, where nails, bar-iron, plates, etc., were made. In 1842 his son Christopher was associated with him under the name of J. Pratt & Son.

In 1859 he retired from business and settled in his North Middleboro home. Aside from his remarkable business ability, Mr. Pratt was a valued citizen of Middleboro, doing much to assist in the growth and improvement of the town. From his wide experience his advice on all matters was much sought after. He served as sergeant in Captain Keith's Company of East Bridgewater in the War of 1812, and later held a commission as captain of the militia, by which title he was well known. He died July 4, 1864.

Isaac Pratt was born March 6, 1776. ISAAC PRATT

His father, the sixth

generation from Phineas Pratt, was a farmer of Titicut, who married Mary King, of Wareham.

He was educated in the schools of Middleboro at a time when the schooling did not exceed two or three months in the year. He married Naomi Keith of Bridgewater, May 19, 1804. He early became interested in the manufacture of nails, and with his nephew, Jared Pratt, before mentioned, he carried on an extensive business. When the Reed nail machine was perfected, this firm purchased the right to its use, gave up the store in Titicut, and moved to Wareham. Here they erected a mill, which was known as the "Parker Mills," for rolling iron into nail -plates and then cutting the plates into nails. This firm was among the first in the United States to manufacture cut nails upon a large scale. In 1829 their establishment was incorporated under the name of the Wareham Iron Company, with a capital of $100,000. Although this was a corporation, it continued under the name of the firm until 1834, when the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Pratt returned to his farm in North Middleboro. He died December 3, 1864, at the age of eighty-nine years.


The Boston " Evening Traveller," at the time of his death, said :—

"He was industrious, frugal, and unostentatious; benevolent and hospitable; a patron of educational interests, a kind neighbor, a devout Christian, and a public-spirited citizen. For more than seventy years, he was an exemplary member of the Congregational Church. Although he adhered to the tenets of his faith with steadfastness characteristic of his Puritan ancestry, he was neither bigoted, dogmatical, nor ascetic. He was conservative, but liberal in his views. He will be remembered as a fine type of a class now rapidly passing away, — the sturdy, honest, liberty-loving farmers of the early days of the Republic."



| AKEVILLE, incorporated as a separate town in 1853, comprised originally about one third of the western portion of Middleboro; it took its name from the number of ponds in this vicinity: Assawampsett, the largest body of fresh water in Massachusetts, Long Pond, Great Quittacus, Little Quittacus, Pocksha, Elder's, Loon, Clear, and Dunham. This region has always been noted for the natural beauty of meadow and forests, hills and valleys, about these inland lakes. Here was one of the settlements of the Indians, and

here a few continued to live long after their lands in other parts of the colony had been purchased or occupied by the whites; the last fullblooded Indian died in 1852.

We are, however, concerned only with its history before its separation from the town of Middleboro. As before stated, this was included in King Philip's domain, and was under the rule of a sub-chief, Pamantaquash, or as he was



known to the whites, the pond sachem. His rule extended over all of the neighboring tribes, his seat being probably at King Philip's Lookout, Shockley Hill. At the close of King Philip's War, the General Court at Plymouth, in 1679, passed an act "that all lands formerly belonging to John Sassamon in our Collonie shalbe settled on Felix, his son-in-law." This land so conveyed has ever since been owned by Indians, and at the present time is occupied by two half-breed women, the last of the once powerful and numerous tribe which for so many centuries have had their homes about these picturesque ponds. It was not until other parts of Middleboro had been settled for more than a generation that the whites found their way to these Indian lands.

Thomas Nelson, son of John, perhaps the first white settler in Lakeville, purchased what is known as the Thomas Nelson

1675, and when an infant was taken by his mother from his father's house (the Bennett place) to Plymouth to escape the horrors of the Indian War.

After he became dissatisfied with the conduct and preaching of the Rev. Mr. Palmer, pastor of the church at Middleboro, and moved to Assawampsett, he joined the Swansea Baptist Church. Every Saturday he travelled the twenty miles with his family, and returned on Monday morning; while there he occupied a small house which he had built for this purpose. He is said to have been the first member of a Baptist Church in Middleboro. His farm, portions of which have always been held by his descendants, was between Long Pond and Assawampsett, the land on the other two sides being owned and occupied by Indians. His house stood near an apple-tree, opposite that now owned by Sydney T. Nelson, near the Perry place.

Mr. Nelson married Hope Huckins, or Hutchins, of Barn

1 The date is taken from the History of Plymouth Colony, but in the manuscript of descendants of William Nelson we find that he was born May 17.

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »