Concise Notices of some of the First Inhabitants, and others who settled in town before the revolution
Israel Towne was one of the founders of the church. He died in 1791, in his 87th year. He, with two brothers, Jonathan and Elisha, were among the first settlers. He had five sons, Thomas, Israel, Moses, Archelaus and Gardner, Jonathan had two sons, Jonathan and Aaron. Elisha had two, Bartholomew and Thomas.
John Washer, who was one of the first inhabitants, came from England at the age of ten years. He married Hannah Wilkins, of Middleton, Massachusetts, who died at Mont Vernon in 1808, aged 89, leaving her fifth generation. He was the first and only man of his name in this country; and their descendants, in the male line, are all of the name now known in the United States. (The Farmers' Cabinet, Vol. VI. No. 20.—1808.)
William Peabody, one of the original proprietors, was here as early as 1742, perhaps earlier. He was one of the selectmen, and captain of the militia. He was father to Col. Stephen Peabody, who died at Mont Vernon, and of William Peabody, Esq. of Milford.
John Shepard came from that part of Concord near Acton. He settled here about 1741. He was a lieutenant colonel of the ninth regiment of foot under Col. John Goffe in 1767; and was afterwards colonel. He left five sons; John, who was a Justice of the Peace and of the Inferior Court, and who died in 1801; Benjamin, who died in 1810, aged 71; Samuel, who is living; Jotham, who died at Boston, in 1815; and Daniel, who died at Milford.
Ebenezer Ellenwood was among the first inhabitants. It appears from the town records that he was here as early as 1739.
John Beaton, with his three sons, emigrated from Ireland, and came to this town from Andover, Mass. Ha died here at an advanced age. His son John was here as early as 1744. He was a deacon of the church from 5 Jan. 1774 to his removal from town. He died in April, 1793, at Washington, in this State. Samuel, was one of the selectmen, and died about 1796. James, was a resident here, and died before his other brothers.
Robert Stewart, with two sons, John and Samuel, settled here as early as 1749. He came from Glasgow, in Scotland, lived a while in Andvor, Massachusetts, from whence he came to this town.
William Bradford was here about 1743. His brother, Capt. Andrew Bradford, who died at Milford in 1798, aged 80, was here perhaps as early. The widow of Andrew, Hannah Bradford, died at Milford, 14 December, 1819, aged 96,leaving a numerous posterity. William was father of the late Major William Bradford.
Benjamin Kedrick came from Newton in Massachusetts, and settled here in 1749, where he resided till his death, 13 November, 1812, in the 89th year of his age. He was great-grandson of John Kenrick, (as the name ought to be spelt) who came from England, and settled at Newton, where he died 29 August, 1686, aged 82. His intermediate ancestors were John and Caleb. Of the latter, he was the second son, and born 30 January 1724.
Josiah Crosby was a native of Billerica, and descended from Simon Crosby, one of the early inhabitants of that place. He was one of the selectmen, a representative to the General Court, two years, and commanded a company at Bunker Hill Battle in l775. He died in October, 1793, aged 63.
Hezekiah Lovejoy was an inhabitant as early as 1751. He was a captain of the militia, and held several town offices. He died 6 April, 1793. His mother, who lived to be almost one hundred and two years of age, died in this town, 1 December, 1805, having had 336 descendants.
Robert Read was originally of Westford, but came last from Litchfield to this town, in which he was one of the early settlers. He was one of the selectmen, and a colonel of the militia. He died 13 September, 1803, aged 83.
Nathan Kendall was son of Nathan Kendall of Litchfield, and a descendant of Francis Kendall, who settled at Woburn, 1644. He was an inhabitant of Amherst as early as 1754; was one of the selectmen and captain of the militia. He died 19 September, 1791, aged 66, leaving six sons, all of whom are living.
Solomon Kittredge, from Tewk,bury, was a descendant from John Kittredge, one of the early inhabitants of Billerica, who died 18 October, 1676, leaving five sons, from whom all of the name in New England, and perhaps in the United States, are descended. He lived in that part of Amherst which is now Mont Vernon, where a number of his posterity reside.
Peter Woodbury, though an early settler, was not one of the first inhabitants. He came from Beverly to this town. He was chosen a member of the General Court, and was one of the selectmen several years. He died in Antrim in March, 1819, aged 81. His sons were Levi, Jesse, Peter, and Mark, of whom Peter is the father of the Hon. Judge Woodbury.
William Fiske was son of Deacon William Fiske of Wenham, and probably descended from the same family with the Rev. John Fiske, who was born about the year 1601, in the parish of St. James, Suffolk in England, and was the first minister of the towns of Wenham and Chelmsford, Massachusetts. The ancestor of this distinguished clergyman was one of the six brethren in the reign of Queen Mary, 1555, of whom three were papists, and three were protestants. The curious enquirer is referred to Mather's Magnalia for a further account of his family. Mr. Fiske, first mentioned, died about 1777 and some of his posterity,which principally reside in this State, Vermont, and in New York, have held honourable and important offices.
Reuben Mussey, one of the first selectmen chosen in town, and a representative to the General Court in 1778, was father to Dr. John Mussey of Peterborough, and Mr. Reuben Dimond Mussey who died in 1819, aged 66, at Pomfret in Vermont.
Jonathan Smith came from Danvers, and settled here several years before the revolution. He died in March, 1795, leaving two sons, Jonathan Smith Esq. who was Register of Deeds from 1790 to 1802; and Hon. Jedidiah K. Smith who has been a member of Congress, Counsellor and Senator of this state, and is now one of the Justices of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas.
Joshua Atherton was descended from an ancient family in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He settled here before 1775. He was a representative of the General Court in 1792; a Senator in 1793, and subsequently Attorney General of the State. He was a gentleman of liberal education, and graduated at Harvard College in 1762.
Francis Elliot came from Middleton, and settled here as early as 1755. Nathan Fuller, as early as 1758. Edward Lyon was one of the first settlers and died 4 January, 1798, aged 88. Many others, who well deserve notice as the early inhabitants of the place, the writer will be obliged to omit, as he has not authorities at hand which he can cite with perfect confidence.
Source: An Historical Sketch of Amherst, in the County of Hillsborough in New Hampshire.
Author: John Farmer
Submitted by: Helen Coughlin
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