Plan for a Massachusetts Town, 1636

From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. xii: 4 (1859). 295-297.

May the 14th 1636.

Wee whose names are underwritten beinge by Gods P'vidence ingaged togeather to make a Plantation at and over agaynst Agawam upon Conecticot, doe mutually agree to certayne articles and orders to be observed and kept by us and by our successors, except wee and every of us for our selves and in our owne p'sons shall thinke meete uppon better reasons to alter our p'sent resolutions:
1ly. Wee intend by Gods grace assoone as wee can wth all convenient speede to p'cure some Godly and faithfull minister with whome we purpose to joyne in Church Covenant to walke in all the ways of Christ:
2ly. Wee intend that our towne shall be composed of fourty farmilys or if wee thinke meete after to alter or purpose yet not to exceede the number of fifty familys, rich and poore.
3ly. That every inhabitant shall have a convenient p'portion for a house lott as wee shall see meete for every ones quality and estate.
4ly. That every one that hath a howse lott shall have a p'portion of the Cow pasture to ye North of Ende brooke lyinge Northward from the towne: and alsoe that every one shall have a share of the hassokey Marsh over agaynst his lott if it bee to be had, and every one to have his p'portionable share of all the woodland.
5ly. That every one shall have a share of the meddowe or plantinge ground over agaynst them as nigh as may be on Agaam side. . . .

8ly. That all rates that shall arise upon the Towne shall be layed upon Lands accordinge to every ones p'portion aker for aker of howse lotts and aker for aker of meddowe both alike on this side and both alike on the other side and for farms that shall lye further off a less p'portion as wee shall after agree: except we shall see meete to remitt one halfe of the rate from land to other estate:
9ly. That wheras Mr William Pynchon, Jeheu Burr and Henry Smith have constantly continued to p'secute this plantation when others fell off for feare of the difficultys, and continued to p'secute the same at greate charges and at greate personall adventure: therefore it is mutually agreed that fourty acres of meddowe lyinge on the South of End-brook under a hill side, shall belonge to the sd partyes free from all charges for ever: that is to say twenty akers to Mr William Pynchon and his heyrs & assigns for ever: and ten Acres to Jeheu Burr, and ten acres to Henry Smith and to theyr heyrs and assigns for ever: which sd 40 acres is not disposed to them as any alotments of towne lands but they are to have theyr accommodations in all other places not wth standinge.
10ly. That wheras a howse was built at a common charge which cost 6L: and alsoe the Indians demaund a greate some to buye theyr right in the sd lands and alsoe 2 greate shallopps [large boats] which was requisite for the first plantinge: the valeu of which engagements is to be borne by inhabitant at theyr first entrance as they shall be rated by us, till the sd disbursements shall be satisfyed: or else in case the sd howse and boats be not soe satisfyed for, then soe much meddowe to be sett out about the sd howse as may countervayle the sayd extraordinary charge.
11ly. It is agreed that no man except Mr William Pynchon shall have above 10 acres for his house lott: . . .

13ly. Wheras there are two Cowe pasturs the one lyinge toward Dorchester, and the other Northward from End brooke It is agreed that both these pasturs shall not be fed at once, but that the towne shalt be ordered by us in the disposinge of for tyms and seasons till it be lotted out and fenced in severally.

May 16th, 1636.

14. It is agreed that after this day we shall observe this rule about devidinge of plantinge ground and meddowe in all plantinge ground to regard chiefly persons who are most apt to use such ground: and in all meddowe and pasture to regard chiefly Cattell and estate, because estate is like to be improved in cattell, and such ground is aptest for theyr use: and yet wee agree that no p'son that is master of a lott thoe he have noe cattayle shall have less than three acres of mowinge ground: and none that have cowes Steeres or yeare olds shall have under two akers a piece and all horses not less than fower akers and this order in deviding meddowe by cattell to take place the last of March next: soe that all cattayle that then appeare, and all estate that shall then truly appeare at 20L a Cowe shall have this p'portion in the medows on Agawam side, and in the longe meddowe Masacksick, and in the other longe meddowe called Nayas, and in the pasture at the North end of the Towne called Endbrooke.
15. It is ordered that for the disposinge of the hassaky marish and the grantinge of home lotts these five men undernamed or theyr deputys are appointed to have full power, namely Mr Pynchon: Mr Michell, Jehue Burr, William Blake, Henry Smith: It is ordered that William Blake shall have sixteene polls in bredth for his home lott and all the marish in breadth abuttinge at the end of it to the next high land and three acrs more in some other place.
Next the lott of William Blake Norlhward lys the lott of Thomas Woodford beinge twelve polles broade and all the marish before it to ye up lande.
Next the lott of Thomas Woodford lys the lott of Thomas Ufford beinge fourteene rod broade and all the marish before it to ye uplande.
Next the lott of Thomas Ufford lyes the lott of Henry Smith beinge twenty rod in bredth and all the marish before it, and to run up in the upland on the other side to make up his upland lott ten acres.
Next the lott of Henry Smith lys the lott of Jeheu Burr beinge 20 rod in bredth, and all the marish in bredth abuttinge at the end of it: and as much upland ground on the other side as shall make up his lott ten acres.
Next ye lott of Jeheu Burr lyes the lott of Mr William Pynchon being thirty rod in bredth and all the marish at the east end of it and an aditior, at the further end of as much marish as maks the wholl twenty fower acres, and as much upland adjoyninge as maks the former howse lott 30 acres, in all togeather fifty fower acres. . . .

It is ordered that for all high ways that shall be thought necessary by the five men above named they shall have liberty and power to lay them out where they shall meete though it be at ye ends of mens lotts givinge them alowance for soe much ground.
We testifie to ye order above said being al of us first adventurers and undertakers for ye sd Plantation.

Houghton Mifflin Company