Saturday, July 30, 2016


More about the accomplishments of my ancestor John Wiswall of Dorchester, Ma. Quoting again from David Clapp's book about a neighborhood there:

For the establishment of this Dorchester school and for the means of carrying it on, in addition to a trifling income from some School lands, a direct tax was laid upon the inhabitants, which is said to' have been the first tax ever imposed for the support of a free school. Part of the expense, however, was to be paid by individuals. One of the duties imposed upon the school wardens was to take care that every year, at or before the end of the month of November, which was as early in the fall, we suppose, as a fire was thought needful, "there bee brought to the schoolhouse 12 sufficient cart or wayne loads of wood for fewell, to be for the vse of the Schoole Master and Schollers in winter, the Cost and Charges of which sayd wood to be borne by the Schollers for the tyme beeing, who shalbe taxed forthe purpose at the discretion of the sayd Wardens." As nothing in the Dorchester records is found to show how long Deacon Wiswall held this office, it is probable that he served the town as school warden until his removal to Boston in 1659-60.

John Wiswall should also be remembered as one of the few who, at the time of the Quaker persecution in Boston, dared to show a more tolerant and forgiving spirit than was shown by those then in power. We are informed that he united with the fearless Nicholas Upsall in bearing public testimony against the cruel measures adopted by the authorities in regard to the sect of Quakers. He seems, however, to have escaped the punishment inflicted on Upsall for thus questioning the justice of these measures.-pp47-48

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 TheirEstate.

At this time Dorchester was still a separate town, and eventually John Wiswall would leave it for Boston.

To be continued...

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