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.

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