Bidwell Lore – Agrippa Purchases More Land

Welcome you to Bidwell Lore number 153! This week we continue to discuss Agrippa’s land purchases in Stockbridge.

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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 Purchases More Land
Rick Wilcox, 2022

As we have discussed over the last couple of weeks, Agrippa Hull was able to make a number of land purchases in Stockbridge. While researching all of this, I discovered that there was even more information to be found in the online database Massachusetts and Maine: Direct Tax, 1798. The database provided a general list of all dwellings/houses in Stockbridge, on lots not exceeding two acres, which were owned or occupied on October 1, 1798, and exceeding $100 in value [1].

What was particularly helpful was that the two pages found contained the names and property descriptions of eight Stockbridge homeowners or possessors of land and buildings. The second element of serendipity in looking at that list was that Archibald Hopkins, owner of Cherry Cottage at what is now 24 Cherry Hill Road, and Agrippa Hull, who by then was probably living at what is now 26 Cherry Hill Road, are listed one after the other on page 424 and both show land valued based on 40 Perches. [2] Both also show under Number of Dwelling-Houses, etc., subject to and included in the Valuation, listed with one Dwelling House. Under Valuation as determined by Principal Assessors, [3] Hopkins house is valued at $260. Hull’s house is valued at $140. Under Rate per Centum [4] of …. Preferred by the Commissioners all listed were rated a 5. Finally, under Valuations revised and equalized by the Commissioners, Hopkins dwelling and land values were revised down to $247 and Hull’s land and dwelling were revised down to $133.

The house of Agrippa hull. White clap board with peeling paint. One and a half stories. A front porch runs along the front.

This above photo of the Agrippa Hull house at 26 Cherry Hill Road was taken just prior to its move up the hill to dryer ground in 2022. A garage had been removed from the right side of the building. The addition on the left side is probably 20th century. The bow window on the right also would not have been part of the original house. The small under-eave windows, sometimes called eyebrow windows, allowed light into the half-story. As houses were taxed by stories, a story and one-half like Agrippa’s would have been taxed as a one-story house. The dormers were added on as well and would not be found in a Country Greek Revival house. [5]

Cherry cottage, a gray house with a gambrel roof. The brown front door is at center and is flanked by a single window on either side. There are 2 windows on the second floor and a chimney can be seen coming out of the center of the roof. A porch roof is visible at the left.

Above is an image of Cherry Cottage, at what is now 24 Cherry Hill Road. Once the home of Archibald Hopkins (1766-1839), who was a neighbor of Agrippa Hull. Archibald was the son of Colonel Mark Hopkins (1739-1776) and Electa Sergeant Hopkins (1740-1798). Electa was the daughter of the Rev. John Sergeant.

Going back to December of 1789, Agrippa purchased two acres on what is now Cherry Street from Amos Hager for four Pounds Current Money of the Commonwealth. [6] Hager appears to have been somewhat of a land speculator. Hager owned nine acres on Mohawk Pond, which he sold to Oliver Partridge, who was also a land speculator. Mohawk Pond [7] was called Hager Pond for a number of years. “A certain tract of land lying in Said Stockbridge and is part of the Same on which Johannis Mtohksin late of Stockbridge Deceased lived and is Part of said Farm that the said Johannis gave to his Daughter Jane by his last will and Testament.” “ Mtohksin died in 1779 and left a will giving to ‘my daughter Jenney [Jane] out of my home lot two acres lying in paster [8] [sic] lot so called west of my said house also four apple trees heretofore called Jenny’s apple trees.” [9]Jane Mtohksin was married to John Konkapot, grandson to the early chief of the same name, and she and her husband sold her lot to Amos Hager in 1785.”[10]

Agrippa sold the land in 1792 to Theodore Sedgwick [11]. Lion Miles wrote that the two acres were surrounded on three sides by the land of Theodore Sedgwick and a distance away from  Agrippa’s farmland on Cherry Hill Road, likely providing Agrippa with the motivation to sell the land. Next week we will share the deed chain from John Konkapot and his wife Jane Konkapot to Hager, to Agrippa, to Theodore Sedgwick. In that post, we will also include Johannis Mtohksin’s will. Johannis was a tribal leader and worked as an interpreter between the Mohicans and the English. In his leadership role, he was granted a number of tracts of land by the Indian Proprietors. Reading his will gives you a sense of how one person assimilated into the English world and lived without losing his home lot as the result of debt. Perhaps, most sad, was the loss of a way of life and the loss of culture. Mtohksin’s daughter Jane and her husband John Konkapot sold a portion of his land in 1785. Jane’s brother Jehioakim Mtohksin would end up selling his land as well, both part of a final dispossession of land as the tribe was forced west to New Stockbridge, New York, to live among the Oneida.


Next week we will share the text of the land deeds mentioned above.

1. Massachusetts and Maine: Direct tax, 1798 (Online database. American, New England Historical Genealogical Society, 2003) Original manuscript: Direct Tax list of 1798 for Massachusetts and Maine, 1798, R. Stanton Avery Special Collection, pp 423, 424. Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives, Agrippa Hull Collection.
2. As a unit of area, a square perch (the perch being standardized to equal 16+1⁄2 feet, or 5+1⁄2 yards) is equal to a square rod, 30+1⁄4 square yards (25.29 square metres) or 1⁄160 acre.
3. Assessors for the Town of Stockbridge. In 1798 Asa Bement, Elisah Brown, Jr., and Silas Whitney were the town assessors. Town Book 1760 – 1825, page 304.
4. The number was simply described as hundred and translated into Latin in Germanic-speaking countries as centum (Roman numeral C), but the qualifier “long” is now added because present English uses the word “hundred” exclusively to refer to the number of five score (100) instead.
5. The American House, Mary Mix Foley, 1980, Harper & Row, Publishers. Mrs. Foley was a long-time Stockbridge resident.
6. Amos Hager to Agrippa Hull, Book 28, Page 436 (1789) Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield.
7. Mohawk Pond was spelled Mohock Pond in early records. When the Indian School was in operation, there was a large contingent of Mohawk children attending the school at what is now 1 Glendale Middle Road. The Indian Proprietors granted 200 acres for the school and the Mohawk families lived on the land while their children attended school. One can only speculate as to whether or not some families lived at Mohawk Pond as well.
8. Pasture.
9. Berkshire County Probate Court, Pittsfield, Mass., Docket 983. Agrippa Hull’s Landholdings, Lion Miles, Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives collection.
10. Agrippa Hull to Theodore Sedgwick, Book 37, Page 206 (1792) Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield.
11. Agrippa Hull to Theodore Sedgwick, Book 37, Page 206 (1792) Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield.