~ Historical Excerpts ~
Our Early Families
By Dorothy McCann-Phillips
Phillips And Connected Families
Gleaned From Several Sources
The French Creek Presbyterian Church by Lois Pinneell
Historical Letters by Earle Amos Brooks
To begin this story, I would like to share a Letter written on August 23, 1943, by Earle A Brooks, in which he describes "The Old Bay Paths" which he excerpted from a book written by George Marlow. Earle starts by saying that it is full of interesting facts and gives us some suggestions in regard to the trails, or pioneer roads over which our ancestors must have made their way toward the south. "The Old Bay Paths" contains maps indicating most of the old trails used first by the Indians and later by the early white settlers. many stories are told of early events in the lives of the white man and Indian along these old paths.
The principal routes of those early days were the original Bay Path and the Connecticut Path. There are many references to them in the early records. One of the first, perhaps is in Governor Winthrop's Journal, in which he wrote on September 4 1633, that John Oldham and three companions went overland to Connecticut to trade. he records the distance as being 160 miles. J G Holland, in an old time novel called "The Bay Path" says the trail was marked by trees a portion of the distance, and clearing of the brush and thicket for the remainder. No stream was bridged, no hill graded, and no marsh was drained. The path led through the woods which bore marks of centuries. Few realize the full extent of the Indian occupation of New England. At the outlet of streams where they had their eel pots at salmon falls higher up, by the shores of ponds , by the shores of rivers, and near their cornfields, along the lowlands.....here were their favorite sites for their villages. Their presence was abundantly evidenced by the unearthing of stone implements and cooking utensils, arrow and spearheads, crude knives of flint, and other stone pottery and stone vessels.
As we try to follow in the footsteps of these now forgotten people, we become more and more impressed with their life before the coming of the white man and his complete absorption of everything that was theirs. In lonely and thinly settled districts, the old paths were often deserted. Old stone walls "pathetic monuments of vanished men", still mark their bounds.
There is a story of a battle with the Indians near "Brookfield", in August of 1675, during the time of "King Phillips" War. Here I give a quotation that helps us understand the early conditions at "Brookfield", where the YOUNGS and GOULDS, and others evidently met. Those who escaped with the aid of some Christian Indians reached Brookfield in time to warn some 82 settlers. For three days they were besieged. ..Every house but one was burned and there is where the settlers huddled. Once the Indians succeeded to burn that house, but a providential rain put out the fire.
I believe the GOULD family records say that Samuel Gould came to Brookfield between 1740 and 1747. Nathan, his son and one of out ancestors, was around 10 years old when the family moved from Boxford to Brookfield. As a little boy, Nathan Gould may have heard from old residents, the stories of the Indian Wars and the burning of the Village.
Earle A. Brooks
The following is an excerpt from another letter written by Earle A Brooks, on April 8 1925.
From Everett Massachusetts he writes:
To Dr O. Perry, Miss Laura Moore, and Mrs. Josephine Brooks.
Dear Cousins and Mother:
Charlemont is 125 miles from Boston. We took the Boston and Maine railroad to Shelburne Falls. We then took the train and went on to Charlemont . That little New England village is along the northern side of the Deerfield River and is a rambling, quaint village, has a strange intermingling of old houses, summer resort hotels. I should say the population is six or seven hundred. We visited the old cemetery. I found just one PHILLIPS grave, Franklin PHILLIPS. I found no GOULD graves, nor YOUNG graves, but was told that there was quite a colony of GOULDS on the other side of the river, and that they belonged to an old family there. Then I described some of the Gould characteristics to the young postmaster, and he said "you have it!".
The country is very beautiful and rugged and I can easily understand why our forefathers found it to their liking to settle among the hills of western Virginia. I took the time to go up the river a short distance ..to see the "great sycamore tree" which Moses RICE, the first settler, his wife and seven children slept the first night there. It is a huge tree, and well preserved. Within a stone's throw of the base of that tree, higher up on the bank are the graves of Moses RICE. his wife and the seven children. All of whom were murdered by the Indians one fatal night.
The GOULDs and the YOUNGS came into that country a little later. Yet I have seen in the records many accounts ...of the killing of many persons who bore some of the old ancestral names. I have no doubt that many of our kinsmen were thus killed.
About twenty miles north of this region is Halifax, the old BROOKS home. It was the home of some of the PHILLIPS family as I shall tell you in a future letter. A little farther to the West, following upstream along the Deerfield, one comes to Florida, Massachusetts, where the PHILLIPS family had their home for a while.
Earle A. Brooks
(more to follow)
The following is a continued history, and another Historical Letter, this one written by Blanche Brooks Von Tromp, March 8, 1948 and is listed as letter no. 68 It is written at the request of Earle Brooks and concerns the relationships between the Brooks, Gould, Young, and Phillips families.
Last summer, while looking through some papers in "The House on the Hill", I found an old notebook which had belonged to Fred BROOKS - Leafing hurriedly through it, I came upon the following, June 3 1876 Henry YOUNG was pressed into service on an English "Man of War", at the age of 17. He sailed for several years and was landed on "Martha's Vineyard". His father was a secretary to King _______ of England. His mother was a Scotch woman.
He made three attempts to go back to England, but failed to board the vessel each time. The three vessels were lost each time, and he married on Martha's Vineyard. He had four sons and four daughters. The sons were: Robert Young, William Young, Henry Young, and Freeman Young. The daughters were: Annie Young, Margaret Young, Cynthia Young, and Elizabeth Young.
Robert, the oldest son is the one who came to West Virginia and settled.
Old Henry Young was a schoolteacher and penman. He died about the year 1817 in the State of New York, after having lived a while at Martha's Vineyard, he moved to Charlemont, Mass.
Robert Young came to West Virginia in 1811. he married Lydia GOULD. he had nine children: Paschal P Young, Annie Young, Anson Young, Gilbert Young, Festus Young, Loyal Young, Louisa Young, Sophronia Young, and Freeman Young. Festus visited his relatives in New York twice.
Henry Young Jr. married Alvira _________ and had sons who were named: Columbus Young, William Young, Horace Young, Eugene Young, who all settled in northwestern New York. His daughters were: Ella Young, Evaline Young, Caroline Young, Sophia Young, and Nancy Young.
Without a doubt, Grandmother Sophronia YOUNG-PHILLIPS - at that time in her 84th year had given these notes to Fred, and he had hurriedly written then down.
The next letter by Earl A Brooks will concern The Town of Dedham and Nicholas Phillips.
It is listed as letter no 25 in the book.
Dedham is on the Charles River and flows by its meandering course through the Newtons, Watertown, and on into the Atlantic. Just why the early settlers chose the Dedham region I can not say, as it is swampy and not very attractive. The general region is rather level, now well settled with scattered groups of scrubby trees and swamps in between the houses and occasional little farms. Now, as there has been for a number of years, there is quite a town in the center of Dedham Township. A thriving and cultured place. There is a museum there where many antiques are displayed, also valuable books. In the museum I looked up a number of old records and went also out to see the place where "Deacon Nicholas PHILLIPS lived. The keeper of the museum gave me a map of old-time Dedham on which the land of Deacon PHILLIPS is marked. He owned 12 acres bordering on the Charles River. It is now in the center of town, and bordering what is called "The Ancient Burying Ground". As Deacon Nicholas PHILLIPS did not live very long in Dedham, his land was taken over by forfeiture by John ALLIN.
Deacon PHILLIPS had first come to Dedham in 1635-36. he signed the original covenant of the town and attended the first town meeting. he was also a charter member of the Church. In 1650 he sold some land in Dedham to Henry PHILLIPS, who was probably his brother. It appears that Nicholas PHILLIPS lived only 5 or 6 years in Dedham before going eastward to Weymouth, Mass. where the family lived for several generations.
Dedham was laid out as a town on September 3, 1636. At first the name was spelled Deddam, though in the record I find the name "Contentment"as the first name of the town. Dedham is above the "Falls of the Charles" in the midst of a region of meadowland. It was protected by swamps from the Indians. Among the early residents were many people bearing WELSH names, such as Phillips, Ellis, Richards, etc. This might indicate that a colony from WALES may have settled there.
Weymouth is now a large town lying on a line directly between Boston and Plymouth. Deacon Nicholas PHILLIPS died in Weymouth Mass. at the age of 60 years in 1672. Our ancestor, next in line was Ensign Richard PHILLIPS, who was probably born in the town of Dedham Mass in 1641. He died in Weymouth in 1695.
Nicholas is last mentioned in Dedham records as of Feb 1650. He was made a "freeman" in the Mass. Bay Colony on May 13 1640.
Earle A Brooks
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