Bidwell Lore – Selectmen’s Records, 1792-1830

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 162! This week we shift gears and take a look at some of the Stockbridge Selectboard records from 1792-1830.

If you love history as much as we do and have not yet visited the Bidwell House Museum, there is still time to book your tour! We offer guided tours by appointment until the end of October. It is a beautiful time to visit the house: click HERE for details about scheduling your visit.

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.

Selectmen’s Records 1792-1830
Rick Wilcox, 2022

Selectmen’s Records 1792-1830
This week and next, we are going to share some information from the town of Stockbridge, Agrippa’s home. Selectmen’s Records from this period are presented in a ledger book and are, for the most part, a record of payment to individuals in town for services rendered. Stockbridge, not unlike other cities and towns in the Commonwealth, had a welfare system, and Agrippa shows up frequently in the list below as one of the residents who provided services for indigent townspeople. The mention of Westfield pauper or a state pauper indicates the town would seek reimbursement from that town or the Commonwealth.

In the list below, we have bolded the entries pertaining to Agrippa and other people of interest. Each series of numbered entries follows a meeting date containing the following language: At a meeting of the Selectmen of Stockbridge on the 3rd Day of June 1793 the following orders were drawn on the Town Treasurer.

47. Doct. Oliver Partridge [1] 1 L 10 shilling
1794 3rd day of March Agrippa Hull 7 L, 1 ½ shilling
1794 June 2, .74 Doct Oliver Partridge 6 L 6
7 March 1796, #130 Doct Oliver Partridge 8 L 6
4 July 1796 #9 Agrippa Hull 42.00
27 March 1797 #29 Oliver Partridge acct. #34 O.P. Acct. 15.33
29 May 1797 Agrippa Hull for boarding Matt Leese 23.30
Monday 4th of September 1797 Thankful Ashley boarding Peter (Negro man) 56.33
March 5, 1798 #48 Oliver Partridge visits and meds for Mrs. Kimball 1.82
#53 Thankful Ashley for boarding Peter (Negro man) 43.33
Year 1797 wood for Rev. Dr. West, #3 Oliver Partridge for wood 9.33
1798 4th June
#6 Thankful Ashley for boarding Peter Negro 16.25
#8 William Nelson for boarding Prince a Negro State pauper 3.64
1790 4th June #16 Thankful Ashley for boarding Peter (Westfield pauper) 18.25
15 Oct 1790 #22 Joseph Dwight for sundry for Prince – state pauper 2.64
#33 Matthew Cadwell boarding Grant (State Pauper) 13.00
#39 Oliver Partridge for seating the meeting House 3.00
2nd day of December 1799 #24-27 Doctor Oliver Partridge for sundry help including two paupers 6.47
3 March 1800 #45 Barnabas Bidwell for services as town agent 6.00
#51 Isaiah Byington for keeping Mrs. Hoxey’s [2] cow 4.00
Monday 30th March 1801 #47 Agrippa Hull for keeping Jenny Collins to 28 Feb 2.68
Monday 1st June 1801 #29 Doct Oliver Partridge for medicine for Sarah Nancy 2.97 DO for surveying roads and seating meeting house 3.17
#45 Isaiah Byington for keeping Mrs. Hoxey’s cow 3.78
#48 Samuel Addis for boarding & nursing Clarissa Parker a state pauper while she had smallpox.1440
Monday Dec 6, 1802 orders were drawn on the town treasurer in favour of the following purposes (viz) #20 Oliver Partridge for state paupers 17.30
Oliver Partridge for 10 days ascertaining the town square 1.00
#27 Isaiah Byington for burying Hannah Nancy state pauper .50
Dec 5, 1803 #15 Doct Partridge acct. for sundry services 11.00 #16 Doct Oliver Partridge acct. for attendance on Joseph Grant pauper .67
20th of March 1805 #53 Henry Brown for repairing the steeple to the meeting house 250.00
#56 Asa Bement for taking care of the meeting house and repairing door 17.00
3 June 1805 – Sept 2, 1805 #7 Elijah Brown, Jr. for repairing steps to meeting house 35.70
Sept 2, 1805 Oliver Partridge #24 for attendance and medicine 2.25
#39 John Whiton for coffin for J Grant 2.27
#40 Stephen Tucker for digging grave for J Grant 1.33
#53 John Whiton for repairing meeting house 1.96
#58 Asa Bement for ringing the bell 35.00 [3]
1 Dec 1806
#26 Oliver Partridge for sundries for paupers 4.31
#30 Stephen Tucker for repairing Burying Yard fence 3.75
#33 Enoch Humphrey for boarding Jeremiah Elkey 4.50
#34 John Whiton for making coffin for Samuel Lucy 2.17
#35 John Whiton for making coffin for Lucitris Dewey 2.00
#48 John Whiton for mending meeting house window 2.22
#57 Asa Bement for ringing bell 39.00
On the first day of June 1807 at a meeting of the selectmen on the orders drawn on the town in favour of the following persons (viz)
7th day of Dec 1807 #17 Jonah Humphrey for supporting James & children 21.67
#19 Enoch Humphrey for Jeremiah Elkey 7.50
March 7 1808 #28 Enoch Humphrey for boarding and boots for Jeremiah Elkey 8.00
Fourth day of December 1809 #14 Oliver Partridge services as a committee seating meeting house 3.50
April 13, 1810 #3 Agrippa Hull for boarding William Ohana 3.00
June 4th 1810 John Whiton coffin for Humphrey H 2.42
Dec 3 1810 #15 Agrippa Hull for supporting Levi Cromwell 20.63
March 4 1811 #25 Oliver Partridge medicines for paupers 2.96
#26 DO [4] for services 5.00
#34 William Lynch for wood for widow Humphrey 1.67
#35 Nathan Carter for wood furnish Humphrey 3.34
#38 Peter Perry for wood for Humphrey 7.50
March 6, 1812 Nathan Roberts for supporting Frank Duncan 9.00 [5]
Sept 7 1812 Enoch Humphrey for supporting Frank Duncan 31.00
Dec 7th 1812 #21 Oliver Partridge for seating meeting house 1.50
#36 Plumb & Bennett for repairing burying ground fence 5.00
June 7 1813 #2 Anson Hager for supporting Mercy Dowd providing articles for her funeral 6.75
#3 Stephen Tucker for digging a grave for Mercy Dowd 3.50
#21 Elijah Brown & co for printing surveyors warrants 5.00
Luther Plumb for article furnished Frank Duncan 5.98

We will continue with the list, beginning in 1814, next week.

1. Dr. Oliver Partridge (1751-1848) was the second doctor in Stockbridge and lived with his sister Elizabeth Sergeant and her husband Dr. Erastus Sergeant, son of the Rev. John Sergeant in the so-called Mission House on Prospect Hill Road.
2. Also spelled Hoxie, she lived at what is now 8 Main Street.
3. Asa Bement lived across North Church Street from the Meeting House.
4. Ditto.
5. Frank Duncan was a slave of Elijah Williams youngest son of Ephraim Williams, Sr. Duncan served in the Revolutionary War. After he was freed, by court decision, Duncan lived in Stockbridge, while Williams lived in West Stockbridge. After Williams did not meet his obligations to Duncan the Town of Stockbridge sued the Town of West Stockbridge for the cost of his care. The Inhabitants of Stockbridge, Plaintiffs in Review, versus The Inhabitants of West Stockbridge. A deed more than thirty years old may be given in evidence, without proof of its execution, when found in possession of the party claiming under it, and possession of the thing conveyed has followed the conveyance. The conveyance of a slave by the deed of an agent, authorized in writing only by the owner, was held sufficient to transfer the property in the slave. And a slave so covered was held to have been a slave of the purchaser notwithstanding his determination and promise not to hold him more than ten years. [5] Massachusetts Reports, Supreme Judicial Court, September Term 1817, Volume 14, pages 256-261.