A brief description about the Poole manuscript and where it is located may be found on my post called, "Manuscripts at the New England Historic Genealogical Society." The below was typed by Barry Briggs. The first 25 pages out of 257 pages are shown, other pages to follow in the future.
This is a transcription of the Poole Family Manuscript. Written by Charles H. Poole. The manuscript resides at the New England Historic Genealogical Society at 99 Newbury Street, Boston. The document is in fragile shape and only available through the efforts of Barbara Poole. It was transcribed by Barry Briggs. My (Barry's) notes are in brackets: .
The front cover is simply POOLE printed by hand with the date Dec 27 1945 stamped in the upper right corner. The Endpaper has a New England Historic Genealogical Society sticker crediting donation by William P. Greenlaw of Winthrop, Massachusetts, February 14, 1916, and “Property of Society Dec. 27, 1945 on death of Mr. Greenlaw”.
[ This was originally written by Charles H. Poole about 1876 (see page 134). Charles Hubbard Poole was born Dec. 12, 1835 died ???]
The flyleaf is as follows:
P O O L E F A M I L Y
And particularly the descendants of
JOHN POOLE of READING
STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
By Charles H. Poole.
[there are handwritten notes on this page]
Of Cambridge and Reading, and his descendants.
The earliest record we have of John Poole in America is that he was an inhabitant of Cambridge, then Newtown in 1632. Holmes says, “The Deputy Governor, Dudley, Secretary Bradstreet and other principal gentlemen in the spring of 1631, commenced the execution of the plan of building a town at Cambridge, (then named Newtown)”. No list of the inhabitants is found until after the “Braintrey Company” arrived in the summer of 1632, except this memorandum on the title page of the Cambridge Town Records: “The Town Book of Newtowne: Inhabitants there: Mr. Thomas Dudley, Esq., Mr. Lyneon Bradstreet, Mr. Edwards Lockwood, Mr. Daniel Patricke, John Poole, Wm. Spencer, John Kirman, Lyneon Sackett”. But this book of records was not commenced until 1632, several months after Dudley and Bradstreet performed their promise to “to build houses at the New Town”. John Poole probably remained here only a few months, as he is not named in the list of proprietors in 1633. He doubtless removed to Billerica in the autumn of 1632. Joseph Champney settled there at about this time, and there is strong probability that Mr. Poole was allied to him by marriage. The Braintrey Company, alluded to, first settled at Mount Wollaston, near Dorchester, but removed
“by order of court” to New Town, on Charles River with Rev. Mr. Hooker, who with most of his associates became dissatisfied with the lack of sufficient land granted them, and emigrated to Connecticut. Rev. Thomas Shepard with a new Company, arrived from England and purchased the land and houses of those who left. He came from Harwich in the “Defence” having with him “Brothers Champney, Frost, Goffe, and divers others most dear Saints”. They landed Oct. 3, 1635. John and Richard Champney, who were of this company, were probably brothers of near relations of Joseph Champney of Billerica, the settler of that place three years before. It is probable he was one of the company which came over with Governor Winthrop in 1630 – l, of whom a considerable number who had previously landed at Salem, proceeded to a place on Charles River, at the present site of Cambridge, and established there a permanent settlement. He resided here, or a Billerica, a few miles north of Cambridge, until his removal at some time previous to 1635 to Lynn, which then with its outlying territory embraced the towns of Reading, Wakefield, Lynnfield and parts of Saugus, Woburn and Chelsea.
A house now standing on the road from Saugus to Lynnfield, (1876) not far from Saugus River bearing marks of great antiquity, is believed to have been built by John Poole in 1636, not far from the place where Adam Hawkes, the first settler in the wilderness, had
settled according to the tradition in the year 1630, and on a map by Alonzo Lewis of 1829 the two houses are represented bearing those dates, being situated in North Saugus, then a part of Lynn, (see map).
In 1639 some of the inhabitants of Lynn petitioned the colonial authorities for a grant of lands for a plantation “at the head of their bounds”, and in response to their application were allowed a tract four miles square on the condition “that a village may be established fit to contain a convenient number of inhabitants which may in due time have a church there”. The settlement was at once commenced under this authority and was named “Lynn Village”, and was so designated until 1644, when by order of the general court it was called “Redding”. “The town of Reading was originally so named from the City of Reading in England (County of Berks) for that reason, it is said, that John Poole, one of our earliest and wealthiest settlers came from that city. This John Poole, in honor of those whose birthplace the name of Reading was adopted, was the first settler upon that identical spot now (1871) owned by Cyrus Wakefield, Esq., his successor, in honor of whom we this day assume our new name (Wakefield) and is the place now occupied by the extensive “rattan factory”. This John Poole built the first grain and saw mills of the town and like his latest successor, was its richest citizen” – Eaton’s Wakefield Address.
Five years after the grant was made, there being the requisite number of seven resident families, provided with substantial habitations, and a small church or meeting house erected, the village became an incorporated town under its new name, and John Poole, being one of the seven heads of families, and also one of the most enterprising and the wealthiest member of the little community, naturally exercised a controlling influence in its affairs. He devoted his energies to the material prosperity of the new settlement, erected mills for the use of the inhabitants, and besides the grants of land which he received in recognition of his services to the town, was the recipient of various privileges which enabled him to add greatly to his wealth. His landed property at Lynn was considerable, the records of that town showing that in 1638, the following persons, among others receiving smaller amounts were granted lands.
Rt. Hon. Lord Brock 800 acres.
John Poole 200 acres
Widow Bancroft 100 acres
Thomas Halsye 100 acres.
Thomas Townsend 60 acres
Godfrey Armitage 60 acres
Joseph Armitage 60 acres.
William Cowdery 60 acres.
In the same year in the list of tax payers of Lynn includes his name, his tax amounting to one pound
fifteens shillings sterling, levied probably upon his dwelling and personal property, and not upon the above grant. The tax levy was eighty pounds and his was the largest tax paid.
In the oldest existing town records of Reading are the minutes of an agreement made between him and the inhabitants, whereof this is a verbatim copy.
[in this section quotes were used at the beginning of each line – I think to indicate continuation of a quoted section – see original. Since the formatting of the page of the original is different, I have put the quote mark at the beginning of each paragraph only.]
“1644. Agreement with John Poole to set up a corn miil.. [sic.]
“Articles agreed upon at Reading the 12th of the 1st Month, 1644, between the Town on the one part and John Poole on the other part for the erecting of a Water Mill for the Use and Service of the Towne.
And first: The aforesaid John Poole is to build the Mill and sett it on the end of Sargent Marshall’s lott by the Marsh Meadow, the same to be so made fit and serviceable to do the Towne’s work, betwixt this and the 15th of August next Summer.
Secondly, the said Poole is to continue and maintain the said Mill serviceable and sufficient for the Town’s use from time to time, he or his assigns. And he repairing the same at his own proper costs and charge.
Third, the Towne of Reading hath given and granted unto John Poole the liberty to bring the River out of its natural Course, to and in such a convenient place as may be most meete, without trouble or disturbance.
The Town hath also given liberty to John Poole to choose and take such Trees for the erection and building such Mill as shall be needful for the same in any lott or place about the Towne.
The Town hath also convenanted with said John Poole to bring their corn to the Mill 2 or 3 days in the Week for grinding their Grists, and not have him attend the whole week except more days are required to do the work.
They do likewise covenant neither to set up nor allow to be set up any other Mill within the bounds of Reading, to hinder the custom of the said Mill, so long as the sail John Poole, his heirs or assigns shall well and sufficiently Grind and service the Towne use.”
In acknowledgment of the service thus performed or covenanted to be executed by him within the specified period, “At a generall Towne Meeting held upon the 6 of the 11 month 1644 there was then given to John Poole a parcel of land laying on the East side of the Towne Meadow, and bounded on the North side with the Lot of “Thomas Newell of Lynn, and on the South East with the Lot of John Fuller. This is the boundary of the parcel of land containing 26 acres given to John Poole.”
Three years afterwards another tract of land was granted him with others, in the terms following:
“The 20th of the 8th month, 1647 given to those men under named all the Land laying on the North side of
Goodmans Smith’s farm, near to the Water Mill, upon these terms; that they shall fence against the Meadow, that great Cattel come not in. To John Poole is given two parts, to William Cowdry two parts, to Sergeant Marshall two parts, to Robert Duncan one part, to John Pearson one part, to Samuel Dunton one part.”
The next year, 1648 he was chosen surveyor of highways, with Wm. Martin, Henry Felch and John Pearson.
In a list of names of members of the church under their first pastor Rev. Henry Green, who died this year and was immediately succeeded by Rev. Sam’l Haugh, was the name of Judith Poole, who was most probably a sister of Mr. John Poole.
Mr. Joseph Armitage, to whom, as above noted, was granted 60 acres of land in 1638, situated in Lynn, was a brother in law of Mr. John Poole, the latters sister Jane being his wife, and lived on Lynn Common, opposite the spot since occupied by the Lynn Academy, his landed property extending to Strawberry Brook. His original occupation seems to have been that of a clothier, being as such admitted a freeman of the town in 1637. Some years afterwards he became the Proprietor of a corn and slitting mill on Saugus River. In 1643 he kept a tavern or ordinary on the West side of Saugus River, and becoming pecuniarily involved (as indeed he well might in view of his varied occupations) his wife petitioned the General Court for permission to keep the
said ordinary, the petition being signed by the two ministers of the town, and the principal inhabitants. The request was granted, and it was ordered that Joseph Armitage also, should be allowed to “keep the ordinary but not to draw wine”.
By deed dated in 1651 Joseph Armitage and his wife Jane conveyed to (Gov.) Linion Bradstreet the tavern and several parcels of land. There is also on record the following agreement:
“Indenture between Jos. Armitage of Lynn and the Inhabitants of Lynn:- In consideration of so much wood as groweth on 6 acres of land on Nahant, near where Thomas Graves house stood, x x he sells unto Thomas Wheeler and Andrew Mansfield as being appointed by ye town to layout and deliver ye said wood unto said Armitage, as also to draw up a deed of sale about ye town’s agreement with him: A certain Parcell of land containing 6 acres which was formerly given by the town of Lynn unto John Poole; which land lyeth and is scituated in the bounds of ye sail town on ye Plains next unto Hugh Burt’s house lott, bounded by ye Fresh Pond and ye land of Mr. Holliock.” Dated 19: 1: 1656. Acknowledged 29: 4: 1669.
The tavern kept by Armitage was the first established in the town and was called “The Anchor” situated on the road leading to Boston a little West of the river, and being just half way between Salem and Boston, the two most important towns in the province, was also known as
the Half Way House. Here he died June 27, 1780, aged 80, but the tavern was kept as a house of entertainment long after his death, and for 170 years was the most celebrated in in the County of Essex.
His children were John and Rebecca Armitage, the later the wife of Samuel Tarbox of Lynn, to whom she was married in 1665. The mother, Jane Poole Armitage, died March 3 1677.
Godfrey Armitage, brother of Joseph, was a farmer (yeoman) and as such admitted a freeman in 1638, and received a grant of 60 acres of land.
In 1641 we learn from the Mass. Records (Vol. 1. p. 337) that Edward and Timothy Tomlins and John Poole were admonished “not to go to the Dutch because of Scandal and offence”. At this period it seems that some differences had arisen on church matters in Lynn, for Mr. Edward Tomlins in April of that year was “discharged, having retracted his opinions against singing in the churches". Savage states that Mr. Tomlins went to Long Island, then settled by the Dutch, for the purpose of instructions as to the migration from Lynn which probably contemplated by numbers of settlers, attracted the notice and called forth the admonition of the General Court. Both Edward and Timothy Tomlins were prominent in Lynn, and one or the other of them was always a member of the legislature from 1634 to 1644. The former returned from his Long Island trip before
the latter year, as he was a member of the court at that date.
Whether he was accompanied by John Poole or not is not known. Upon the petition of John Poole and others to the General Court in 1645 “owing to the removal of so many families to Long Island and other places” their taxes in Lynn were abated. We learn from Thompson’s History of Long Island that the first settlement at Brookhaven in Suffolk County was made at Setanket on the bay of the same name on the north shore, by a colony of 47 persons from the neighborhood of Boston, Mass.in 1655. The family names of these settlers include that of Poole.
The list of these is as follows: Avery, Akerly, Briggs, Brewster, (Rev.) Brooks, Budd, Bayliss, Burnet, Combs, Davis, Dayton, Elwine, Fancy, Floyd (Col.), Frost, Gibb, Garlick, Helme, Hawkins, Jenner, Lane, Longbotham, Moyer, Mapes, Muncy, Poole, Pierce, Perring, Rogers, Roe, Satterley, Saylor, Seward, Smith, Sharp, Thomas, Thomson, Thorpe, Tooker, Wade, Whitehaire, Woodhull (Gen.), Ward, Williams, Wooley, Waring and Ware.
The emigrant named Poole in the above list was probably a William Poole of another family, possibly the William Poole who came to New England in the services of Gov. Endicott in 1628, whom we find an inhabitant at Brookhaven in 1680 and from whom the Long Island family of Pooles, now quite numerous, have probably
The infant town of Reading attracted attention from its lovely situation and settlers were constantly arriving. As early as 1650, a publication since become rather famous from and elegant reprint edited by Wm. F. Poole, called Johnson’s “Wonder Working Providence of Sion’s Savior in New England” thus speaks of it. “About the year 1645 the Town of Reading had her foundation stone laid; this and the town of Woburn were like the twins in the Womb of Tamer, Reading thrusting forth the hand first, but her sister Woburn came first to the birth. Reading is well watered, and situate about a great Pond; besides it hath two Mills, the one a Saw Mill, the other a Corn-Mill, which stand on two several streams: her habitation is fallen in the very centre of the Country; they are well stocked with Cattel for the number of the people.”
The mills alluded to were those erected by Mr. John Poole.
On Dec. 5, 1650, by order of the town there was “given to John Poole a little Meadow for that which he had short in his dividend laying between the Great Swamp and the Meadow called the Temple Meadow”. On Jan. 24, 1655, he was 3d in the list of 39 others who were allotted portions of “the meddow from Jeremy Swaine’s Meddow down below the falls.”
In 1652 the town ordered a division of lands at “Pine Playne” and “Birchen Playne” among 34 inhabitants of which John Poole with 5 others was awarded the considerable proportion of 20 acres each.
In 1658-9 another assignment of lands was made on the north side of Opswich River in lots of from 40 to 300 acres. John Poole was awarded 206 acres and his son, Lieut. Jonathan Poole, then in his 25th year, 145 Acres and 36 Rods. The order passed by the town directed that John Poole and Messrs. Smith, Cowdrey and Brown, lay out the 2 and 4 mile grant beyond the River.
One of the friends and neighbors of John Poole was Deacon William Cowdrey, who was successively Clerk of the writs, selectman and representative; and most of the records, deeds, and notarial papers of the town for over 30 years were from his pen. Though a most influential and useful citizen, the composition and chirography [handwriting] of his papers show that his early education had been somewhat neglected; and from 1649 to a period near his decease in 1687, the town records exhibit a wonderful diversity and ingenuity of spelling which will remain a monument of his skill in translating oral sounds so long as those venerable pages shall endure.
Deacon Cowdrey was often associated with Mr. Poole in public matters, and in 1665, they with Messrs. Smith and Brown, were commissioned to divide the tract of land known as the “Great Swamp” among the settlers according to the tax which each paid the preceding year. The name of John Poole was third in this list, numbering 57 tax payers, but his son Jonathan with several others similarly situated received no allotment on the partition
having previously obtained special grants. The town however gave to the Commissioners who divided the lands “all that strip or trace of land between the line “of Gov. Bellingham’s estate and that run by Major Hawthorne and Ensign Havlett”, which proved a considerable addition to their former grants.
In the account of early settlers of Reading, given by Hon. Lilley Eaton, (History of Reading) is the following:
“John Poole, came here from Lynn; was at Cambridge in 1632: was one of the earliest settlers of Reading, and probably the wealthiest. He lived on the present site of Wakefield’s rattan factory, where he built the first grain and fulling mill of the town. He also owned much land at the north end of the Great Pond, (Lake Quonapowitt) including the farm lately owned by Deacon Caleb Wakefield, and extending easterly, including the late Newcomb Mill, where Mr. Poole erected the first Sawmill, and included also the present farm of the heirs of Benjamin Cox of Lynnfield.” His estate was divided between his son Jonathan, his daughter Mary and his grandson John, by his will, which, drawn up by his friend Dea. Cowdrey, is herewith given entire verbatim.
John Poole’s Will, 1666
The Laste Will and Testament of John Poole Seinor. Though Weake in Body yet ppfett in Mind and Memory, this Fowertenth of the Twelfth Mon: 1666:
1. fferste, I give my Soule unto God that gave itt: And my Body to be buried desently by My Christian friends in Hope of a Joyfull Resurrection att the Last Day.
2. I Make my sonn Jonathan Poole My Heire and Executor of all My Goods and Chattels that I shall dey seased of, and to pay theas Legalis following:
3. I give unto My Daughter Marey my farme beyond Ipswidg River, boath upland and Meddow, and to bee att her despose att her dessease to her Children.
4. I give unto My Daughter Mary halfe Mr household stuff, excepting the Tabell in the Chamber, And the Bedstead below. They are to bee standers to the house.
5. I give unto My Sonne Matthew Edwards that peece of Land that Leyeth one the Top of the hill, Adhoyning to Mas. Brockes’ Land, if hee change with Mas. Brocke or else not: further More my Will is that my sonn Mathew Edwards & My Daughter Marey his wife shale have the use of halfe My Twenty-six ackers of Meddow in Beare Meddow, soe long as either of Them shale live.
6. I give unto My Grand Child John Barret fifteen pounds to bee payd him between this & the time hee comes to be fowerten years of Agge.
7. I give unto My grand Child Lidda Barret Twelve pounds to bee payd her between this & the time shee comes to bee of fowerten years of Age.
8. I give unto My grand Child Marey Edwards and My grand Child Sarah Edwards & to My grand Child Elizabeth Edwards eight pounds apeese, to bee payed to them between this and when they Com to bee fowerten years of Age.
9. I give unto my grand Child John Poole one fift part of the saw Mill farme when hee Comes to the age of sixten years or Eighten wch My sonn Jonathan shale please.
10. I give unto My grand Child Sarah Poole Tenn pounds to bee payd to her betwen this and the time shee shall com unto the Age of fowerten.
11. I give unto My grand Child Mary Poole eight Pounds to bee payd to her between this and the time shee comes to fowerten years of age.
12. I give unto My Brother Armitage that forty seven shillings that is in Captain Marshals hands, of which hee is to give unto his Three Sonnes, five shilling apeese.
13. I give unto My Sister Armitag if shee bee lefte a widdo fower pounds, to be payd her Twenty shillings A year for fower years.
14. I give unto my cossen Godfery Armitag and to his wife and to his two Children five shilling apease.
15. I give unto Mas. Dane of Andiner Twenty Shillings of wch there is Tenn Shillings alredy payd and to Mr. Dane I give halfe a dosen of Napkins and a Pinte Pott. [A pinte Pott is a pint pewter mug]
16. I give unto My sonn Jonathan’s wife if My Sonn dey and Leave her a widow, the use of the Saw Mill farms soe Longe as shee keeps her a widow and to take of what shee shale soe one the ground Before shee Maries.
17. I give unto Mas. Brocke Twenty Shillings.
18. further More My will is that if my sonn Jonathan should neglect to paye Any of theas Legasis when thay Com to bee dew, That then they that Com to demand them shale give him Three Monthes time to paye itt in.
19. further more I give unto My Sonn in Law William Barrett, Twenty shillings.
20. further more my will is that Lande that I give unto my sonn Jonathan, hee shale give it unto his children as hee shale see good.
Signed & Sealed in the presents of us
William Cowdery ___________________________
ffurther More I doe Apoynt & Constitut my Trusty and well beloved frinds William Cowdery and John Brown Juner to bee my over See-ers to see that this my will be ppformed.
The Probate Records also give the following list showing the number, quality and appraised value of the effects of the deceased, including real estate –
An Inventory of the goods of John Poole of Redding who died the firste of the Second Mon: 1667.
The dwelling house and Barne
£ 40 00 00
30 00 00
The Orchard and five Ackers of ground
25 00 00
The Land in the Neck Broken and un Broken :
the quantity aboute one hundered Ackers :
70 00 00
The Saw Mill farme Upland & Meddow
130 00 00
A parsell of Land Uppon the hill and :
swamp Adjoyning tharto :
10 00 00
in the Mill Meddow Three Ackers
09 00 00
in the Saw Mill Meddow 15 Ackers
60 00 00
one Acker of Meddow in the Reedy Meddow
01 00 00
Fowerten Ackers of Meddow
Fowerten Ackers of Meddow in Mas. Belling- :
ham’s Meddo :
28 00 00
one Acker of Meddow in the great Meddow
02 00 00
in Beare Meddow 26 Ackers
52 00 00
Twenty Ackers of Upland in the playne
26 00 00
fower Ackers of Meddow More
03 00 00
The farme Beyond the River upland and :
Meddow beeing 213 Ackers :
42 00 00
21 00 00
Twenty two Cowes att
92 00 00
for 28 Busheles of Indian Corne
£ 04 04 00
A fether Bed our old Rugg & Blankett and an :
old Bolster & two pillows att :
04 10 00
A payer of smale sheets
00 01 00
one Iron Kettel & old Bucket and a hake
00 18 00
an old Chamber Pott
00 01 06
for a lettel Kettel & a lettel Pot of :
Brass & a Tramel and a payer of Pot :
houkes and an old fryng pan :
00 11 00
for Three Pillow Beeres
00 12 06
for fower white Apernes
00 15 00
for waving Linnan
01 00 00
for a dozen and a half of Napkins
01 14 00
for a Tabell Cloath
00 09 00
for Three Payer of Sheets
04 00 00
for Six puter dishes
01 08 00
for two Candell sticks a pint pott and a :
Bassen and old salt Sellar :
00 09 00
for a warming pan and an old putter dish
00 04 00
for 3 chayers & six cushins & two dozen of :
01 00 00
for three chests
00 10 00
for Three trayes two wooden Platters
00 03 03
01 10 00
for Carpenters’ Tooles
02 10 06
for two great hammers and two beettel Rings :
and a Spad & Shouell And a grinde Stone :
00 17 00
for a Timber Chayne & two other Chaynes and :
Plow share & Coulter a Frow an adz :
£ 02 00 00
for two pitt sawes & 2 saw Mill sawes and :
two Cross Cutts sawse a hey spade a great adz :
02 02 00
for old Iron
01 05 00
for a peese of steel & a Curten Rod
00 06 00
for two Bedsteads & a Tabell
01 00 00
for for two lettel Tabells & two wheeles
00 14 00
for Curtenes and valients
01 05 00
for a lettel Bed and Bolster
00 08 00
for two Blankets & a fether Pillow
01 04 00
for a fether Bed & Boulster & two pillows A :
Rugg & a Coverled & three Blankets :
07 00 00
for Three payer of sheets and five pillow :
04 04 00
Beers and five Neck Clothes & two Shirtes :
02 10 00
A Brass Pot & a skillet and a spitt
00 15 06
for a putter Chamber Pott a quarte Pott a :
Bassen & a pinte Bottell & a poringer
00 08 00
A Sadell and a Drawing knife & a payer :
Of Belles :
00 12 06
In debtes that was owing to him
14 10 00
for his waring Apparell in generall
10 05 00
for a Carte & wheeles two setts of houpes :
& a yoak and other old Lumber with a rope :
03 00 00
The Total som is
£716 12 00
This 13th of the 2d Mon: 1667
This inventory of his property shows that besides personal property and the homestead, he held at his death in 1667, between six and seven hundred acres of the most valuable lands in Reading and vicinity, and also the two mills which he gave to his son Jonathan and grandson John. There are however on the County Records conveyances of sundry property in Lynn, sold after he established himself at Reading. “John Poole of Redding In the County of Middlesex, Yeoman, hath sold unto Geo. Keylar of Lynn in the Co. of Essex, Tanner, for five pounds, Sixteen Acres of Salt Marshe in Ramney Marshe, within the bounds of Lynn, in the County of Essex, as by deed dated the 28th of the 3d month 1650 appeareth.”: -
Essex Deeds Vol. 1, p. 25.
John Poole of Reading, Miller, for 22 pounds 105 sells to Allen Breed of Lynn a dwelling house commonly called the Cora House, late in possession of said Poole in Lynn, and 9 acres upland in the Reeds. Hill, Vol. 2, p. 105.
The Saw Mill on the north of the great Pond, on Saugus River, is thus alluded to by Hon. Lilley Eaton in his rhymed address delivered at the Reading bicentennial celebration of May 29, 1844:
“And to the North on Saugus River,
“Where Mr. Newcomb is now the liver,
“I find the ancient Sawing Mill,
“First built and worked by our John Poole;
“And where soon after, one for corn
“Was placed, that now is seems is gone;
“This Mr. Poole first owned the land
“Where Deacon Wakefields’ buildings stand,
“His son whose name was Jonathan,
“Was second Captain, Selectman.”
In the absence of any detailed narrative or description of the hamlet, the farmhouses, or the inhabitants of those early dwelling places in the wilderness, we can form an idea of them only by referring to the worn and time stained papers and records from which the will and inventory above have been copied.
By these we are enabled to picture the old farm homesteads situated on the sunny slopes near Reading Pond, surrounded by fruitful orchards, yellow corn land, verdant meadows, and pastures dotted with the “fower oxen and twenty-two Cowes” all like Wordsworth’s forty, “feeding like one”, the stout timbered Mill, and the “Mill meddow of 15 Ackers” beyond, the woodlands adjacent, and the “hundred Ackers Broken and onBroken Land” at the Neck, with broad stretches of swamp and upland, the whole bounded and hemmed in by the primeval forest. In fancy we can people the scene with the sturdy father and the active son, the venerated mother of the flock of ten future generations that in our day, two hundred and fifty years after, were to succeed them, a group of grandchildren belonging to the household of perhaps paying a periodical visit to the old house, welcomed by the sire, according to the time honored usage of grandfathers,
“They had no Snuffers on ye Shelf,
“The Dresser too had flown,
“No pewter Plates well scoured and neat,
“In order brightly shown.
“No brimstone Match, no tinder-Box,
“No Latch outside ye Door,
“No Settle by ye Kitchen Fire,
“No sand upon ye Floor.
“I walked into a meeting House,
“Just as ye Psalm was read,
“The Parson had no Surplice on,
“No Wig upon his Head.
“I saw no trace of Sounding Board,
“No hour glass had they there
“To prove ye Sermon two Hours long
“And measure off ye Prayer.
“No Chorister with tuning-Fork,
“No Tything man so grim,
“No Body in ye Deacon seat
“To Deacon Off ye Hymn”.
The Church records of Reading do not show that John Poole was ever connected with any religious organization nor does it ever appear that he was admitted a freeman by the General Court.
After the arrival of Governor Winthrop and Company in 1631 no persons were admitted to the freedom of the body politic who were not church members, though at the first General, held the previous year, a number
had been admitted to the privileges of freemen, who were not in communion with the churches. Thereafter none such were allowed to share in the administration of Civil Government, or have a voice in any election.
Though he emigrated from England with a large body of the sect of Puritans, he seemed not to have been identified with them, in their peculiar theological views, and in consequence was not honored by them with any political preferment, though his influence must have been great among his townsmen owing to his wealth and social position. Whether a portion of the residents of his neighborhood were inimical to him through religious differences, cannot now be known, but it is certain he was once upon their complaint made to pay a fine for chastising a servant (Mass. Historical Records), and that afterward, possibly in retaliation he entered an action for trespass against sundry parties for attempting to deprive him of his firearms (Essex Co. Court Records). That he was careful, shrewd and able in the management of his business affairs cannot be disputed, from the fact of his leaving so large an estate for the period, as his will attests.
His friendship for the Rev. John Brock, the minister of the Parish, is shown by the gift in his will, and Mr. Dane of Andover, a prominent man of his day, was also a friend to whom he leaves a remembrance in the form of a small bequest. His connection with Edward and Timothy Taubins of Lynn has already been noted. Of his wife
Margaret, whose death took place five years before his own, it may be inferred from the religious bias of the children, that she was a pious and exemplary woman. She was probably a connection of the Champneys of Cambridge and married Mr. Poole while he was a resident there or at Bellerica, about the year 1632 – 3.
There is no record of any other children than Jonathan, who married Judith, Mary who married Matthew Edwards, and Sarah, who married, first, Joseph Champney of Bellerica, and afterwards William Barrett of Cambridge.
In the Genealogical Dictionary of Savage, it is attempted to be shown that Sarah was not the daughter of Mr. John Poole but of Richard Champney [corrected typo Champnye] of Cambridge, but the language of the will is so explicit that there can be no doubt whatever that she was his own daughter by his wife Margaret, and that her children John and Lydia Barrett were his grandchildren.The town records of Cambridge seem to testify that William Barrett married Sarah, presumably daughter of Richard Champney, 19 Aug. 1656, and that the issue of the marriage was Lydia b. Sept. 1657, and John b. 6 Feb. 1660. In explanation of the conflicting statements of the will and record, Mr. Savage suggests that Mr. Poole must have married Sarah Champney’s mother, a widow, but this is evidently and error, for by the same records Rev. Rich’d. Champney is stated to have died in 1669, two years after the death of Mr. Poole, and therefore during the latter’s life, Mrs. Champney never was a widow: When we come to
the record of Mr. Joseph Champney, a nephew of perhaps a younger brother of Rev. Richard, we find him admitted a freeman in 1654, at Cambridge, afterwards removing to Billerica and dying there in 1656, shortly after his marriage to Sarah, dau. of John Poole. She soon returned to Cambridge as the wife of Wm. Barrett, and the latter appears accordingly on the record as having married, 19 August 1656 Sarah Champney. Richard Champney, (called Revd., although he seems to have been only a ruling elder) was probably a brother of John and perhaps Joseph Champney, and came to America in the ship Defence in 1635 with his wife Jane and child Ester, in the company of Rev. Thomas Shepard, and was admitted a freeman 25 May, 1636. He owned an Estate in Billerica, then a part of Cambridge. His children are said to have been Mary, who d. an infant, born a twin with Samuel, Sept. 1635, Sarah b. May 1638, Mary b. Nov. 1639, John b. 28 May 1641, Lydia (no date), and Daniel born 9 March 1645, Rev. Richard d. 26 Nov. 1669. His will dated June 30, 1669, names his wife, two sons and four daughters, and gives 40 acres of land near the falls on Charles, river to Harvard College. Ester m. 26 March 1651, Josiah Converse of Woburn, Samuel m. Sarah Hubbard, “of Billerica” and had 7 children, Sarah whose marriage is not mentioned by Paige in his history of Cambridge, in Savage is stated to have married William Barrett; Mary m. 22 Sept. 1665, Jacob French, and d. 1 April 1681; John, no marriage recorded; Lydia m. 20 May 1668, John Hastings (his 2d wife) and d. 23 Jan. 1691; Daniel m. Jan. 1665,