Thursday, March 21, 2013


For seventeen years, starting in 1643, my ancestor Adam Hawkes had a less
than cordial relationship with the operators of the Saugus Iron Works over
damage done by a dam built and operated by the miners. In 1660 Adam had
finally reached his breaking point and he brought suit against company at
the Essex County Court:

"Mr. Adam Haukes v. Mr. William Paine and company of undertakers of the Iron
works of Lynn and Mr. Oliver Purchass, their agent. Trespass. For damming their
waters so high, which was the cause of floating his lands, well and bridge, to
his great damage for several years. ..."

In the testimony from various witnesses, evidence was given about the previous
agreements between Adam and the miners, as well as to the harmful effects the
overflowing dam had on the Hawkes farm.

"Writ, dated, 4mo: 1660, signed by William Longley for the court, and served by
Theophylus Bayley, constable of Lynn, by attachment of meadow on the west
side of the river to the Long Poynt, to the value of one hundred pounds.

Oliver Purchis" bill of costs. To Major Wm. Hathorne, Joseph Jencks, sr., Henry
Leonard, Jno. Vinton, Nicholas Pinnion, Macam Downing, Charls Phillips,
Thomas Browne, Daniell Salmon and George Darline, witness fees.

Thomas Wellman and John Knight, appointed to appraise the damage, reported
that it amounted to 10li . a year, for the meadow, plow land and in floating a bridge;
in the corn field, the corn had suffered much from the water; the wells were
sometimes floated with the waters of the Iron works, so that when the pond was
up with the waters standing in the wells, the well water was not fit for use on
account of the dirt that fouled it; the damage in the orchard, in the English grass
and in the tobacco lands was also great, etc. Sworn in court.

Charles Phillopes testified that he had kept the water at the Iron works since Mr.
Purchas came, and that the latter told him to keep it low in order that it might not
damage Mr. Haukes. This deponent did, and gained the ill-will of the workmen
thereby. Sworn in court.

Agreement, dated, Oct. 31,1652, between John Giffard. agent for the company of
the Iron works, and Adam Hawks: Whereas there was an agreement made, 20: 4:
1651, by Capt. Robert Caine and Capt. William Hawthorne, arbitrators for said Giffard
and Hawks, in consideration of oertain damages that said Hawks had received, from
the first erecting of the said works by raising a dam for the works, whereby he had
lost the use of three acres in one place and since then, six acres, besides the
overflowing of certain feeding ands, for all of which said Hawks was allowed eight
pounds; now in consideration of that causeway which should be made him good
by the company with sixteen loads of hay to be allowed him yearly, besides two
hundred cords of wood granted said Hawks to cut and carry away; also in consideration
of ten acres of ground now sold by Hawks to the Iron company, lying near the works
among those ten acre lots which lay near Thomas Errington's house, and in full
satisfaction for any future damage that may occur, the said Giffard conveyed to
said Hawks, that fresh marsh called Farmer Dextor's marsh, which adjoined the
house of Adam Hawks, which was in full satisfaction of the arbitration. It was further
agreed that for the future the water should be so kept that it would not ascend the
top of the upper flood gates in the pond or higher than a foot and a half from the
top of the great rock that lay in the middle of the pond before the gates. Wit:
John Jarviss* and Daniel Salmon.*

Joseph Jencks, sr., deposed that he spoke with Adam Hawks about the damage and
the latter told him that he had satisfaction from the old company, etc. Sworn in

Daniell Salmon, aged about fifty years, deposed that, being servant to the Iron
works under Mr. Geffards, he laid out the marsh given to Mr. Hauckes for damage,
and Hauckes was with him at the time, etc. Sworn in court.

Henorey Lenard, aged about forty years, Nicklis Pinnion and John Vinton deposed
that ever since Mr. Porchas came to the works, the water had been kept low by his
order, so low that it caused a great deal of difference between the workmen and
the water drawer; that the waste had been dug wider and deeper since he came, etc.
Sworn in court.

Francis Hutchinson deposed that the flowage of water over Mr. Adam Hauckes' land
made the ground unfit for use; that the bridge in front of the house, which was the
usual passage to and from the house for both man and beast, a herd of cattle passing
over twice each day, had been broken by the water and the timbers raised up ; that
the cattle were in danger of falling in and breaking their legs; that sometimes it had
been repaired, and then the water would break it so that horses going over had fallen
in, etc. Sworn in court. "

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, 
Volume 2  1656-1662
(Google eBook) Essex Institute, Salem Ma. 1912

Given the amount of damage to Adam Hawkes' land and to a bridge used by the 
general public, it would seem certain the jury would rule in Adam's favor.
I'll discuss the outcome of the trial and what happened afterward next.
To be continued...

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