Bidwell Lore – Agrippa Hull Becomes A Landowner

We are back after a two-week hiatus and want to welcome you to Bidwell Lore number 151! This week we begin to share Agrippa’s experiences as a landowner.

Don’t forget that the Bidwell House Museum is open for guided tours, by appointment, through October. For more information about how to book your tour, click HERE

Portrait of Agrippa Hull, unknown artist, unknown date. Acc# 47.002. Courtesy of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives. Painted from an 1845 daguerreotype taken by Anson Clark in West Stockbridge, also in the collection of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives.
Agrippa Hull Becomes a Landowner
Rick Wilcox, 2022

On August 17, 1784, a year after his discharge from the military and just five months after his 25th birthday, Agrippa acquired his first parcel of land in Stockbridge, one that had a complicated history. It was originally part of a larger plot belonging to John Konkapot, who acquired the land in 1739 as part of an early division of interval land. It is possible that that land was part of the original Mohican village Wnahktukook [1] under the leadership of Konkapot.

By 1764, Konkapot was in poor health and had petitioned the Colonial Government for assistance. He died, sometime before September of 1765, without having the deed for his land recorded. [2] The property was then purchased by Joseph Woodbridge, brother of schoolmaster Timothy Woodbridge. There is some indication that it was Konkapot’s home or settle lot, which under proprietor regulations would be protected from sale for the payment of debt. The resolve to Konkapot’s petition suggests the colonial government made Konkapot whole. [3]

Agrippa’s 1784 purchase was on the south side of Konkapot Brook, at what is today 1 Goodrich Street, and included a parcel of ½ acre with “a small house” on the lot. This plot of land was acquired from Phineas Pease [4] for nine pounds [5]. Pease was a cordwainer (a maker of shoes, not to be confused with a cobbler who repaired shoes) and according to the 1800 census, had 14 people in his house. Four free white male children from 0-10 years, one free white male from 10-16, two free white males from 16-26, and one free white male from 26-40. Free white females included one from 0-10, three from 10-16, one from 16-26, and one from 26-45, suggesting more than one generation was calling it home.

Pease himself appeared to be a bit of a land speculator. [6] Peter Pohquonopeet, Gentleman, [7] sold Phineas Pease two acres on the river off East Main Street for thirty pounds. [8] Peter Pohquonopeet and Andrew Waumkewey sold to Phineas Pease ½ acre on Yale Hill on the east side of the brook opposite Moses Barnum’s Fulling Mill, for 17 pounds. The value of the land was based on access to the brook for use with a mill and not the size of the plot. [9] Andrew Waumkewey sold one acre to Phineas Pease for ten pounds in the same general area. [10] In the first transaction, Pease was listed as a farmer, and in the last he was listed as a Tanner. That amount of land on Kampoosa Brook would enable him to conduct a tanning business, which required large amounts of water and hemlock trees for the tannin to make tannic acid. Hemlock bark in the northeast had a tannin content of 10-12 percent. Tannins bind the collagen proteins in the leather, making them less water-soluble and more resistant to decomposition. [11] It may be that Pease tried to set up a tanning operation on Konkapot Brook and finding it not to his liking purchased land on Yale Hill Road instead, where Kampoosa Brook, on its downhill journey, produced a stronger current. Between 1784 and 1828, Pease purchased 12 plots of land, most along the Kampoosa Brook. [12]

Below is a transcription of the Deed when Agrippa purchased his first plot in 1784:

Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Book 19, Page 452 (1784)
Phineas Pease to Agrippa Hull} KNOW ALL MEN by these Presents that I Phineas Pease of Stockbridge in the County of Berkshire & Commonwealth of Massachusetts Cordwainer
[13] In Consideration of the first Sum of Nine Pounds Lawful Money to me in hand paid by Agrippa Hull the town County & Commonwealth aforesaid have given granted bargained & Sold & by these Presents do give Grant bargain Sell aliene & fully freely & absolutely Convey and Confirm to him the said Agrippa his heirs And assigns forever One Certain piece or parcel of Land lying in Stockbridge aforesaid & lying South of the Brook called Konkapot brook [14] & is bounded as follows (viz.) West on the County Road South on Land of John Taylor Easterly on the aforesaid Brook Containing half an acre and is the Same Land that the said Phineas bought of Solomon Fanney [15] TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said Granted and bargained premises together with all the appurtenances free of all imcumbrances Whatsoever to him the said Agrippa his Heirs and assigns as an absolute Estate of Inheritance in fee Simple forever & I said Phineas for my Self my Heirs Executors and administrators to Covenant & Engage the above demised Premises to him the said Agrippa his Heirs & assigns against the Lawful Claims & Demands of any Person or Persons Whatsoever forever hereafter to Warrant Secure & Defend by these Presents In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Seal this 17th Day of august AD 1784 [16]
Signed Sealed and Delivered in Presence of Jahleel Woodbridge} Stephen Woodbridge} Phineas Pease & Seal  Berkshire SS August 17th 1784 Personally appeared Phineas Pease Signer and Sealer to the within Instrument and acknowledged the same to be his free act and deed. Before me Jah Woodbridge Justice Peace July 30th 1785 Received and Recorded from the original By Moses Hopkins Regr.

A portion of the Woodbridge deed that follows indicates that John Konkapot and his son Robert were the original owners of the land that Agrippa acquired from Phineas Pease. The land was part of a 1739 division of land on what is now the Stockbridge Golf Course and then land along Konkapot Brook at Goodrich Street. Prior to the construction of South Street (Route 7) in 1954, it would have continued into the field opposite 1 Ice Glen Road, then owned by Ashburner. A map of the larger plot will be seen below:

Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds Joseph Woodbridge to John Taylor, Book 6, Page 42  (1764)
{Joseph Woodbridge to John Taylor} TO ALL PEOPLE to whom these presents shall come I Joseph Woodbridge of Stockbridge in the County of Berkshire yeoman Greeting Know Ye that I the said Joseph Woodbridge in consideration of Twelve pounds lawful Money paid me by John Taylor of the same Stockbridge yeoman, have Remised, Released, & forever Quit Claimed & by these presents for myself, & my Heirs do remise, release, & forever Quit Claim unto him the said John Taylor his Heirs, & assigns forever “One certain Tract of Land
[17] situate Lying & being in Stockbridge aforesaid containing Six acres by estimation be it more or less, and is that Tract lying on ye East side of the county Road between the Meadow Gate [18] and the Brook called Konkapot Brook bounds Westerly on said Road northerly & Easterly on said Brook and Southerly on John Taylors own Land, and contains all the Land that formerly belonged Robert Nungkauwaut [19], and John Pophnehannuhwoh [20] lying between said Brook and said Taylor Land, which Land I the said Joseph Woodbridge purchased of said Robert Nungkauwaut & John Pophnehannuhwoh, together with all the Estate Right, Title, Interest, Use, Property Claim & Demand whatsoever of me the said Joseph Woodbridge  which I  now have or at any time heretofore had in and to the aforementioned premises with the appurtenances or to any part thereof or which in any time heretofore has been held, used, occupied or enjoyed as part or parcel of the same.   In witness whereof I the said Joseph Woodbridge have hereunto set my Hand & Seal this Thirteenth Day of January Anno Dom 1764 & in the fourth year of his Majesty’s Reign. Joseph Woodbridge & Seal. Signed, Sealed & Delivered in presence of Jahleel Woodbridge, Lucy Woodbridge [21].
Berkshire SS March 17: 1767. Personally, appeared the within named Joseph Woodbridge Signer & Sealer of the within Instrument & acknowledged the same to be his free act & Deed. Coram
[22] Tim Woodbridge Just Peace Oct: 28: 1767 Recd. and Recorded from the original. Attest M. Hopkins Reg.

The bottom left of the 1739 map shows two plots of land given to Concopot (John Konkapot). On the left edge of his property is Taupaugoh Brook, which flows north into the Housatonic River. The island in the river no longer exists. The south part of the two plots end in the area of 1 Goodrich Street, part of which later became the land of Agrippa Hull.

Next week we continue the story of Agrippa’s land holdings.

1. Translates as “bend in the river.”
2. It is the responsibility of the grantor (seller) to have the deed recorded at the Registry of Deeds.
3. A portion of that land is now part of 1 Goodrich Street.
4. Phineas Pease to Agrippa Hull, Book 19, Page 452, Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield.
5. Goodrich Street was a “high rent area” where the Goodrich and Willard families owned large parcels. It was also the second home lot of schoolmaster Timothy Woodbridge.
6. BMRD Book 17, Page 296 (12784).
7. Peter (Jr.) attended Dartmouth College and was a deacon of the Congregational Society of Stockbridge. He was considered a sachem by the English, hence giving him the title of Gentleman.
8. BMRD Book 16, Page 384 (1784).
9. BMRD Book 14, Page 133 (1782).
10. BMRD Book 16, Page 66 (1783).
12. Stockbridge Indians Book 16, Page 384 ½; Stockbridge Indians Book 17, page 296; Joseph Woodbridge, Book 21, page 10; Stockbridge Indians, Book 20, page 157, David Pixley Book 24, Page 389; Benjamin Pepoon Book 30 Page 333; Timothy Edwards, Book 38, Page 118; Theodore Sedgwick Book 39, Page 38; Timothy Edwards, Book 39, Page 46; Solomon Finney, Book 13, page 439; Jeremiah Vallet, Jr. Book 41, Page 439 and Henry Lincoln, Book 70, Page 602.
13. Maker of shoes (cobblers repaired shoes). Pease owned a large amount of land on and near Yale Hill, which he purchased from Stockbridge Mohicans. There were a number of cordwainers in Stockbridge at that time and fewer tanners, which may have motivated Pease to change professions.
14. Also called Peggy’s Brook after Agrippa’s second wife. The Mohican name was Taupaugoh Brook.
15. The home lot of Agrippa Hull, now 1 Goodrich Street.
16. Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Book 6, Page 42.
17. On the east side of Goodrich Street and also under Route 7, South Street.
18. Elm and Main Street.
19. Son of Chief John Konkapot.
20. AKA John Konkapot.
21. Daughter of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, wife of Jahleel Woodbridge.
22.  [Latin, Before; in the presence of.] The term coram is used in phrases that refer to the appearance of a person before another individual or a group. In this case, a Justice of the Peace. To witness.