Thursday, July 28, 2016


Week 28 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks brings me to 9x great grandfather John Wiswall. I found the following in a history of Dorchester, Ma:

John and Thomas Wiswall were early residents in Dorchester. John's name is found as early as 1634; he was a member and deacon of the church in 1636, and was made freeman in 1639. He became a Ruling Elder, and kept the church records; was a selectman many years, clerk of the writs, a deputy, and went to England on business in 1652. He returned to Dorchester and lived in that part of the town now called Canton, near Dedham, then described as "beyond ye Blew Hills." He was also one of a commission to treat with the Indians about lands. In 1659-60 he moved to Boston, was chosen Elder of the First Church there, and died Aug. 17, 1687, aged 86 years. He retained much of his landed property in Dorchester after his removal to Boston. In the year 1671 he sold, for £40, two parcels of land, comprising 5| acres, to Sergeant Samuel Clap, oldest son of Capt. Roger- Clap. The deed of transfer is dated Jan. 30 of that year, and describes the first parcel as follows: "A field commonly called the burial-place field," bounded "Northerly and Westerly with the highway leading from the meeting hous [then near the easterly end of Cottage street] to the burying place; Easterly, part with the land in the tenure of Joseph Long, being the lot of Joseph Farnsworth, and p'tly with the land of Isaac Jones—the southerly end butting upon the land of Mr. Flint, which was formerly land of William Clarke." This lot sold by Wiswall we suppose to be the northerly portion of what now lies between Boston and Sumner streets, near the Five Corners. The Joseph Farnsworth mentioned was an early resident, probably having come to Dorchester in 1635. He died there in 1660. He married for his second wife the widow Mary Long, one of whose children, Joseph, by her first husband, seems to have been in possession of the land on the easterly side of the lot above sold.

The other parcel sold by Elder Wiswall was evidently a portion of Jones's Hill. The deed describes it: "Lying in the hill field bounded Easterly with the land of henery Ware, wch was formerly William Blake, sen'r—Westerly with the land of Augustin Clement —Southerly with the land of Mr. fflint, wch was formerly land of William Clarke—and Northerly with highway [Stoughton street] leading from the burying place towards Mr. Stoughton's." The Augustin Clement here mentioned, it appears, was one of the hill proprietors, although we have not found his title to land there anywhere recorded. In 1671, when the town was trying to purchase Mr. Clarke's estate above alluded to on the south side of the hill for a habitation for their new minister, Rev. Mr. Flint, Mr. Clement made proposals to assume part of the risk of the purchase. Probably he was already owner of the lot adjoining, which is mentioned as the westerly boundary of Wiswall's lot to Clap. Mr. Clement was in Dorchester as early as 1635, and with his wife Elizabeth signed the church covenant in 1636. He was a painter by trade. In 1652 he was in Boston, where he owned a shop and land. He went back to Dorchester and died there in 1674. His daughter Elizabeth married William Sumner of Dorchester, and a granddaughter, Rebecca, daughter of Samuel, in 1695 was wife of Daniel Collins, and only surviving sister of her deceased brothers, Samuel and Augustin.

Elder John Wiswall, who made this transfer of land on the "hill field," owned an interest in the mills early erected on Neponset river. He deserves to be remembered by the people of Dorchester as one of its three citizens who as early as 1645 were appointed to the oversight and management of its first public school. In that year a carefully prepared series of rules and orders concerning the school then lately established were adopted by the town, one of which was that "three able and sufficient men" shall be chosen to be wardens or overseers o  f the school above mentioned, "in such manner as is hereafter expressed, and shall continue in their office for the term of their lives respectively, unless removal from the town or other weighty reason shall prevent." The men first chosen for this important duty were Deacon John Wiswall, Humphrey Atherton and Robert Howard.  pp47-47.

The Ancient Proprietors of Jones's Hill, Dorchester: Including Brief Sketches of the Jones, Stoughton, Tailer, Wiswall, Moseley, Capen and Holden Families, the Location and Boundaries of Their Estates, EEtc

To be continued..

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