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brothers' early experiences. One of them was troubled by a wolf, which caught his poultry and otherwise injured the farm. He set a trap, digging a long trench in the ground,1 and covering it with boughs and bushes so that it was entirely concealed. One morning he found in one part of the trench a wolf, and in the other part an Indian. He soon killed the wolf, and after an examination he found the Indian was on his way from Nemasket to Plymouth upon legitimate business, so he was released and allowed to continue on his journey.
Isaac Soule, a grandson of James, born about the year 1732, was an astrologer, or as then called, a conjurer, telling future events by the stars. His predictions were quite remarkable, and gave him an extended reputation ; he was visited by many people from a distance, who came to inquire into their future.
One of the prominent men a century ago was William Soule, a great-grandson of the pioneer James. He was a man of stern principles, active in his religious duties. In different sections of the country there are many who claim James and John as their ancestors, but there are few of that name now living in Soule neighborhood.
Aside from the farming here, there are now some shingle and box-board mills; formerly there were two blacksmith shops, a brick kiln, and a tannery.
"At a town meeting September 17, 1733, the town by vote so far granted the petition and request of Mr. Thomas Thompson, John Drew, John Drew, Jr., Ebenezer Fuller, John Fuller, John Thompson, Ephraim Thompson, Jacob Thompson, Francis Thompson, Ichabod Standish, Isaac Tinkham, Ebenezer Cobb, Timothy Wood, and Barnabas Thompson as to set off all the said petitioners and inhabitants that lie on the northeasterly side of Winnetuxet River in said town with their estates lying on the said side of the river to join with the adjacent parts of the towns of Plympton and Pembroke into a separate township, also the town chose Captain Ichabod Southworth,
1 This was the usual method of catching the wolves which caused the early settlers so much trouble.
Benjamin Wood, Esq., and Mr. Thomas Nelson a committee to enquire into the circumstances of those of the said petitioners that lie on the southwesterly side of the said Winnetuxet River respecting their joining with those on the north side of said river with the adjacent parts of Plimpton and Pembroke as aforesaid and the said committee to view the land by them requested to be set off on said southwest side of said river as aforesaid and to run and stake such lines and bounds as they shall think proper for setting off them or any part of them with their estates if the committee think reasonable, Jacob Thompson as surveyor to assist said committee in running the lines, the said committee or any two of them to make report of their doings and concur therewith if they think reasonable."
As a result of this petition, in 1734 a small portion of the northerly part of what was formerly known as Middleberry was incorporated to form a part of the town of Halifax. Before this the boundary of the town extended to the Winnetuxet River. It was almost an unbroken wilderness,1 but well adapted for agricultural purposes, as the soil was naturally rich. As the early settlers of the country depended entirely upon their farms for support, this portion of the town was considered most desirable. From the earliest time there have been large and valuable tracts of timber land, and the sawmills were among the first erected in this section. In the early part of the last century a large amount of ship timber was taken from here for the construction of vessels built in Kingston by the late Joseph Holmes.
Jacob Tomson was the son of John Tomson, and lived near his father. He was born April 24, 1662, and died September 1,
First Church, and selectman from 1697 to 1701 and again from 1706 to 1726, except in 1710, and representative to the General Court, 1716 and 1719.
In the local militia he was ensign in 1700, and in 1708
1 Much of this territory was included in the purchase made by Lieutenant John Tomson of William Wetis-pa-quin, sachem of the Neponsets, and included, with other purchases, about six thousand acres of land. Upon this land stood the log house built by John Tomson.
1726, aged sixty-four. He was one of the original members of the became captain. From 1720 he held a commission as justice of the peace, and was town clerk from 1706 for several years. His son Jacob, born in 1695, was town treasurer for several years and held various offices in town. His name is sometimes confused with that of his father in the early records.
In 1703, at the time of the dissension on account of Rev. Mr. Palmer, he became dissatisfied and left the church for some time, desiring a recommendation to join the church in Plymouth.1 It occasioned much sorrow and hard feeling, and, as a result of a council, he and his family asked the forgiveness of the church and were dismissed with great regret. He seems to have taken the lead in the deposition of Mr. Palmer and the conduct of the church in relation thereto.
He was distinguished throughout the old colony as a surveyor, and as a most excellent and upright magistrate. He bought into the Twenty-six Men's Purchase before the war, and surveyed and divided it among the proprietors in lots; he also surveyed many of the other purchases from the Indians and settled many estates in this and adjoining towns. He was a man who had the respect, not only of the town but of the colony.
Upon the death of Lieutenant John Tomson, in the division of his estate, his homestead with about seven hundred acres of
1 "1703. The Church of Christ in Middleboro having laid Lent, Jacob Tomson & his wife (who upon some scruples & dissatisfaction withdrew from ye communion of ye church & desired a dismission to ye church in ye New Society in plimouth that being nearer to yr dwelling &c) undr publique censure for y's* withdrawing & refusing to grant ym sd dismission he & his wife sent to this church to send ye pastors & messengers to Joyn in Councill w"1 y" Elders & messengers of y" churches of weymouth bridgewater & Taunton (whom he had sent to) to be attended on y* 26 Oct. 1703, ye church made choice of our brother William Shertleff & our Brother Nathaniel Morton to Go wth y" pastor & Eldr to y« service. It must also be observed yl ye Sabbath before y" Councill was to meet ye church in Middleboro also sent Letters to us to be w,h ym (they Joyning w"> Leut. Tomson in Councill) & sent also to ye chchs of Barstable and Sandwilch — r sd Councill was attended on y" time abovs* & Came to a result y* Leutenant Tompson & his wife should make an acknowledgment for y* Irregular withdrawing from ye Communion of ye church and upon y' y" church should give ym a dismission to y* church in y* New Society in plimouth wch were both Complyed with and attended."
land fell to his son Thomas, who was born October 19, 1664. Among his intimate friends was John Morton. There is a tradition that Mr. Morton often urged f\ s him to marry, saying that he had
"I will marry that daughter of yours" (pointing to his infant child Mary, then lying in a cradle) "when she is old enough." He evidently waited, for we find the record of his marriage to Mary Morton when she attained the age of twenty-five years. Thomas Tomson was a farmer and glazier, setting the diamond-shaped panes of glass in lead,1 and after the glass had been so prepared, adjusting it to the sash and window frames. At the time of his death, which occurred October 26, 1742, he was reputed one of the wealthy men in town, and was noted for his piety, large generosity, and wisdom in adjusting the various difficulties which arose among his neighbors. John Cotton said of him, "He was the wealthiest man in town, but what was more to his honor, he was rich toward God." 2
Among the other early settlers was Isaac Fuller, a son of the first pastor and a distinguished physician.
In October, 1734, nineteen members of the First Church were dismissed to form a church in Halifax. (See chapter on Ecclesiastical History.)
1 Brown paper saturated in oil was at first used for windows. (See chapter on Early Settlers.) Afterwards small panes of glass set in lead took its place for about one hundred years until the wooden sash was introduced.
2 Descendants of John Thomson, p. 30.
arrived at a proper age, then being twenty-five years old. He replied, CHAPTER XXII
NDIAN names and traditions still linger about this place and give it a peculiar charm in its association with the past. The first comers gave it the name of Muttock, from Chesemuttock, one of the last of the Nemasket tribe of Indians, who resided upon the brow of the hill, now known as Oliver's Walk. The Indian name of Muttock was Pau-wa-ting, meaning "a swift river running between hills."
This was one of the favorite resorts of King Philip before the Indian War, the residence of Wettamoo, the queen of Warnsutta, from which, towards the close of the war, she fled. Her body was found near Mattapoisett, stripped of regal attire. Near this place Mary Rowlandson first met King Philip in her captivity after the destruction of her house and family, and here the Indian chief received her kindly and took good care of her. It was here, in all probability, that the deputation sent out in 1621 from Plymouth Colony to meet the great sachem Massasoit first stopped on their journey.
On Muttock Hill, a few rods northwest of the house recently owned by Cornelius B. Wood, was the burial-place of the tribe, reserved in the Little Lotmen's Purchase. In this immediate neighborhood, west of the site of the wigwam of Chesemuttock, was probably the meeting-place for the forty praying Indians in 1660.
In 1734 the Indians then living upon this reservation petitioned the General Court for leave to sell their land, which they alleged had become unprofitable by reason of long cultivation, while game in the immediate vicinity had become scarce. The petition was granted, and the Indians, after selling the land here, moved to Titicut.