Bidwell Lore – Agrippa’s Land in Stockbridge

Welcome you to Bidwell Lore number 152! This week we continue to discuss 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’s Land in Stockbridge 
Rick Wilcox, 2022

In 1789, Agrippa purchased four more acres of land for Six Pounds Current Money of the Commonwealth on the north side of Cherry Hill Road near Castle Hill Road from Peter Maynard. [1] That land originally belonged to Jonas Wanwohwunauwth, a Stockbridge Mohican, to whom the Mohican Proprietors granted the land. A bordering forty-acre lot had belonged to Jacob Naunaumpetunk, also a tribal sachem.

Peter Maynard was a free Black and the 1790 census indicates he was part of a family of five at that time. Peter is described as a Yeoman in the deed, which generally means someone who owns more than one piece of land. Agrippa, early in the process of acquiring land, is labeled Negro man and Laborer. The land in question is at the corner of Cherry Hill Road and Castle Hill Road, and would be the location for Agrippa’s second house and a farm [2]. Maynard purchased the land, his one land holding, from the Rev. John Sergeant, Jr., who was a bit of a land speculator. [3]

Today, this lot is part of a larger land purchase by Hans and Kate Morris of Stockbridge, who are in the process of restoring the Agrippa Hull house at that location. This particular parcel represented Agrippa’s second home lot and suggests that most of his time and effort was spent there, as it was likely better land for agriculture and livestock.

Below is a transcription of the Deed for Peter Maynard’s sale to Agrippa Hull in 1789:

Maynard, Peter to Hull, Agrippa, Book 28, page 434 (1789)
{Peter Maynard to Agrippa Hull} TO ALL PEOPLE to whom these Presents Shall Come Greeting – Know Ye That I Peter Maynard of Stockbridge in the Count of Berkshire Yeoman – For and in consideration of the Sum of Six Pounds Current Money of the Commonwealth aforesaid to Me in hand before the ensealing hereof by Agrippa Hull of said Stockbridge Negro Man and Labourer the Receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge and am fully satisfied content and Confirmed and by these Presents, do, freely, clearly and Absolutely give grant bargain Sell aliene release convey and confirm unto him the said Agrippa Hull his heirs and assigns forever –
One certain tract of Land lying in Stockbridge aforesaid bounded as follows (viz) Beginning at the Northeast corner of Jacob Naunaumpetaunk’s forty-acre lot now owned by Mrs. Judith Thayer thence running on said Jacob’s West Line Southwardly twenty- three rods to the Road thence running Northwardly on said Road or Highway so far West as to Contain four acres taking Account the South line from said Highway said Theodore Sedgwick’s South line.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the before granted Premises with the appurtenances and privileges thereto belonging to him the said Agrippa his heirs and Assigns to his and their own Proper use Benefit and Behoof Forevermore and I the said Peter Maynard for my Self heirs Executors & Administrators do Covenant Promise and grant unto and with the said Agrippa Hull his heirs and Assigns forever that before and until the Ensealing hereof I am the True Sole & Proper and Lawful Owner and Possessor of the before granted Premises with the Appurtenances And have in me Good right full Power and Lawful Authority to give grant bargain Sell aliene release convey and Confirm the Same as aforesaid and that free and Clear and Freely and Clearly executed acquitted and discharged of and from all manner and other gifts grants Bargains Sales Leases Mortgages, wills, Entails Jointures, Dowries Thirds Executions and Incumbrances, Whatsoever –
And FURTHERMORE I the said Peter for my self my heirs Executors and Administrators, do hereby covenant, Promise and Engage the before granted Premises with the Appurtenances unto the said Agrippa his Heirs and Assigns forever to Warrant Secure and Defend against the Lawful Claims or Demands of any Person or Persons Whatsoever.
In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my Hand & Seal this Second Day December in the year of our Lord 1789          Peter Maynard & Seal
Signed Sealed and Delivered in presence of Ephraim Williams, Theodore Sedgwick
Berkshire SS December 2nd 1789 Peter Maynard within Named acknowledged the within Instrument to be his Deed. Before Theodore Sedgwick Just Peace
December Received and Recorded from the Original by Moses Hopkins Regr.

What follows is the Deed from when John Sargeant sold this land to Peter Maynard:

John Sergeant to Peter Maynard, Book 28, Page 33 (11-12-1789)
{John Sergeant to Peter Maynard} KNOW ALL MEN be these presents that I John Sergeant of Stockbridge in the County of Berkshire and Commonwealth of the Massachusetts Clerk.
[5] In Consideration of the sum of three pounds ten shillings  Lawful money in had paid by Peter Maynard of the Town County and Commonwealth aforesaid Yeoman before the Ensealing hereof have granted Bargained and Sold and by these presents do Grant Bargain Sell and Convey unto the said Peter heirs and assigns One certain Tract or Parcel of Land lying in Stockbridge aforesaid and being bounded as follows (viz) beginning at the northeast corner of Jacob Naunaumpetaunk forty acre Lot now owned by Judith Thayer thence Running on said Jacob’s west line Southwardly 23 Rods to the Road – Thence Running Westwardly on said Road or highway so far west as to contain four acres taking account the North line from said Highway to Jehoiakim Mtohksin’s South line.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said granted premises with the said Maynard his heirs and assigns to his and their own Proper use and Behoof forever and I the said John for my self heirs Executors and administrators do hereby covenant with the said Peter his heirs and assigns forever that is to say that at the Sealing hereof I am the Sole Owner of the said Granted Premises have good right to Sell the Same as a foresaid that the said premises are free from all incumbrances and that I  & my heirs will warrant and defend the said granted premises unto the said Peter his heirs and assigns forever against the Lawful claims & Demands of all Persons Whatsoever – In Witness whereof I the said John Sergeant do hereunto Set my hand and Seal this 20th Day of May Anno Domini 1788 Signed Sealed and Delivered in Presence of Silas Pepoon, Silas Whitney. John Sergeant & Seal.
Berkshire SS May 15th 1789 the Rev. John Sergeant Acknowledged the above Deed to be his free act and Deed. Before Timo Edwards Justice Peace
Nov 12th 1789 Received and Recorded from the Original by Moses Hopkins Reg.

Maynard purchased the land for 3 pounds, 10 shillings from Sergeant, and six months later sold the same lot to Agrippa Hull for six pounds. It was the only piece of land in Berkshire County that Maynard bought and later sold. One has to wonder where Peter and his family lived after the sale.

Next week we will look at the actual house where Agrippa Hull lived, which survives to this day.

1. Peter Maynard to Agrippa Hull, Book 28, Page 434 (1789) Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield.
2. Now 26 Cherry Hill Road.
3. Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Book 28, Page 33.
4. Cherry Hill Road east of Castle Hill Road.
5. Cleric or pastor.