Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Massacre at Hurtleberry Hill

     Current town boundaries in Middlesex County, Massachusetts are considerably smaller than they were in the the seventeenth century.  Concord boundaries extended farther south.  Mt. Misery and part of the town of Lincoln were originally part of Concord. 
     The Goble family moved from Charlestown to Concord sometime around the middle of the between 1652 (records showing Thomas Goble in Charlestown) and 1657 (Thomas Goble's will).  The Goble house, still standing in 1904, was described as being on the edge of Walden Woods on the road leading west from the Village of Lincoln.  This description would put the Goble farm about a half-mile from Mt. Misery and Walden Pond(see map below1).
     Current day researchers believe that Mt. Misery was called Hurtlebery Hill during the seventeenth century.
     Metacom, a Native American leader, known to the colonists as King Phillip had come to the conclusion that the settlers were dishonest and the only solution was to drive them from his land.  The war lasted only about two years (1675-1676) but was particularly bloody.  Ten percent of the adult male colonists were killed along with many women and children.  Two-thirds of the English towns in Massachusetts were attacked.  The Native American population fared even worse.  Those who were not among the thousands who were killed, were captured and shipped off as slaves to the sugar plantations in the Caribbean.
      Life was just a precarious for those Indians who fought as allies of the English. Since some Indians had at times switched sides, the settlers decided that Native Americans couldn't be trusted.  Laws were passed which allowed the English to kill Indians who were not in their designated area.  
      A short time before the end of the war, three Indian women and three children were given permission to leave their assigned location to gather berries near Hurtleberry Hill. It seems that hurtleberry can be used interchangeably with whortleberry, huckleberry and even blueberry.  A local militia unit came upon the six indians.  A short while later four of the soldiers returned.  Daniel Hoar, Daniel Goble, Stephen Goble, and Nathaniel Wilder shot and hacked to death all six Indians2. Numerous similar incidents were known to have occurred but this was the only incident where the men were convicted.  They were all sentenced to death. Stephen Goble was hung first.  A week later Daniel Goble was hung.  The other two men appealed their conviction on the basis that they were young and didn't participate.  They were released after paying a fine.  It probably didn't hurt that their fathers were upstanding members of the community. 
     Daniel Goble was married and left a wife and four children.  His wife remarried and ironically years later she and her second husband and their child were killed in an Indian attack.  
     Stephen Goble was unmarried.

 Note: Daniel Goble was the brother of my 8great-grandfather, Thomas Goble Jr.  Stephen Goble was a son of Thomas Goble.  Ruth Goble, a daughter of Thomas and brother of Stephen, was my 7great-grandmother.  Ruth Goble married Samuel Stratton.   

1.   Google Maps Engine, Google Imagery 2013 Digital Globe, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency.
2. Pulsipher, Jenny Hale. "Massacre at Hurtleberry Hill: Christian Indians and English Authority in Metacom's War." The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, July 1, 1996, 459-86.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lying Rascal

     Do you have a troublesome neighbor?  I suspect that throughout history there have been neighbors who haven't seen eye to eye. But have you ever called you neighbor a 'lying rascal' and then been sued.

     On 25 March 1650, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, John Goble was served with a summons1.  Richard Temple had filed a complaint that John had called Richard a 'lying rascal'.  This was just one of a series of differences between the Goble family and Richard Temple. 
     There was an incident with a loose goose.  Evidently, Goble's goose had wandered onto Temple's land and Temple warned Goble not to trespass.  It seems that there was a scuffle with John's father, Thomas Goble, involved. John's mother, Alice grabbed her son's goose. There must have been some bad blood between the neighbors prior to this.  As Roger Thompson suggests in From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown 1629-1692, Richard Temple was probably scared for his physical well-being.  At the same time Thomas Goble may have suspected Richard Temple of supernatural recriminations.
     The situation had been serious enough that both parties had been summoned to Rev. Zechariah Symmes's house along with several leaders of the community.  The failure of this mediation led to the summons. The first court appearance was a short-lived victory for Goble (possibly as a result of the fact that Goble was a freeman and church member in Charleston whereas Temple was not). Later a jury found that Goble had indeed libeled Temple and Thomas Goble was fined 20 shillings and John Goble was fined 40 shillings. The Goble family was forced to put up a bond of £20 to keep the peace.  
     Problems continued for a few more years but eventually things quieted down and problems ended in Charlestown between the Gobles and Temples. Things could have quieted down because Richard moved to Concord.  
     Both Richard Temple and Thomas Goble died in 1657, and at that time they both lived in Concord.

1.  Thompson, Roger,  From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, 1629-1692, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston 2012

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Annotated Picture

     As Jayme and I were departing from Boston Logan Airport last November, we snapped a picture out of the window of the plane.  Some time after returning, when I got around to examining our photographs, I realized that this picture showed many of the places that were important to our trip and also my family research.
     We had spent a week at the Marriott Custom House, and from there we had visited many of Boston's points of interest. It was a short walk to the North End, Faneuil Hall, and the Boston Freedom Trail. We had visited "Old Ironsides" in Charlestown.  
     We had also visited Watertown, where Samuel Stratton had lived. It is likely that Samuel and his son, Richard, are buried in the cemetery that was active at that time. Samuel had owned several lots in Watertown.  
     Another ancestor, Thomas Goble, had settled in Charlestown. In the early days of colonization, Charlestown was much larger than today. I know that Thomas Goble worked the "Line Field" in 1649.  He owned several lots in Charlestown.

On the map shown below1, the blue line represents the approximate boundary of seventeenth century Charlestown.  The red pin shows the area of the "Line Field". The other pins show the location of Fresh Pond and the Old Burying Place.

1.  Google Maps Engine, Google Imagery 2013 Digital Globe, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thomas was a Hog Reeve

    While preparing for our trip to New England last November, I decided to look into info on the Goble family. I knew that Samuel Stratton, son of Richard Stratton and grandson of the Samuel Stratton who settled in Watertown had married Ruth Goble in Concord, Massachusetts. But I hadn't spent any time researching the Goble family.  I had just kept putting off that part of my research.
    It turns out that several books have been written on the Goble family and Thomas Goble and his sons are mentioned in several additional books including the Great Migration series1. The information appears to be solid but I will eventually verify the sources.  In the meantime several facts about the Goble family stand out.
    Thomas Goble was baptised in 1591 in 
Aldingbourne, West Sussex, England   He was a elected a freeman in Charlestown on  September 3, 1634.
    Roger Thompson is emeritus professor of American Colonial History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. I possess two of his books. I have used his book on Watertown as a reference for my research into my Stratton ancestors. Another book, From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, 1629-1692 mentions Thomas Goble2 several times.  In this book Professor Thompson includes lists of office holders of Charlestown which had not been previously published.
    In 1649, Thomas Goble serves the townspeople as a Hog Reeve2.  I didn't know the definition of a hog reeve so a search was necessary. A hog reeve3 is one who rounded up stray hogs and assessed the damage caused by the hog.  The owner of the hog was then required to pay a fine when he retrieved the hog.
     Also in 1649, Thomas served the town in two other positions. He was a Fence Viewer and a Field Driver. A fence viewer made sure that settlers followed the rules about fencing in animals and certain crops.  The fence viewer also attempted to settle disputes arising between adjacent landowners. A field driver took stray animal to the pound to prevent damage to crops. Both Fence Viewer and Field Driver are positions still included in Massachusetts law4.
     In the early days Charlestown included much of the land that is today Somersville and Arlington. Thomas was a field driver in the 'Line Field'. The line field was near Mystic Ponds (Lakes) about where Highway 60 intersects Broadway in Arlington. At that time the boundaries of Watertown Cambridge and Charlestown were much different than today.  Thomas Goble probably lived fairly close to the line Field.  This happens to be close to where the Strattons lived in Watertown.
     Ruth Goble and Samuel Stratton are my seventh-great grandparents.

The map5 below shows the approximate location of the Line Field (red), area where the Strattons owned land (orange), and Charlestown Today (pink).

1. Anderson, Robert Charles 
Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume III, G-H New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston 2003

2. Thompson, Roger Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, 1629-1692, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston 2012
3. Janice Brown, “New Hampshire Glossary: Hog Reeve,” Cow Hampshire, 8 April 2006 <>.

4.  "General Laws: CHAPTER 49 -" 2013. 4 Mar. 2015 <>
5. Google Maps Engine, Google Imagery 2013 Digital Globe, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency.