6 Various Grants and Deeds to Harvard College


    [A. 1646–1693]

    There is a Grant of the General Court of 800 Acres of Land made Oct. 19 1652 in the following Words viz:

    In answer to the Petition of the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the court doth grant them 800 Acres of Land and Liberty to employ such as they please to find out such place or places, as may be most commodious and convenient for them, and to return to this Court what they have done therein to the End it may be laid out and confirmed to them.

    There is no Article in the College Books respecting this Grant that I have seen; and I suppose nobody knows any thing of this Grant’s being taken up, or of any such farm any where belonging to the College, nor is there any return made of its being layed out to be found in the records of the General Court.

    There is a Grant of 2000 Acres of Land in 1652 found in the records of the General Court, and the return of the laying it out in 1658.

    These Lands were laid out as is supposed by the boundaries within the present Township of Stoningtown; which the Massachusets then held under their jurisdiction, but afterward comprehended by Charter within Conecticot Government after divers disputes between the two Governments about the Grants the Massachusets had made in those Pequod Lands, and particularly about the College Interest there. The General Court at Hareford May 14, 1674 upon hearing the Claimes of the College and others, do confirm all of the Massachuset’s Grants on the East of Pawcatuck River, and particularly that to the College, and order that what Lands were granted to the College and taken up by it on the West Side of the Pawcatuck not within New London bounds taken and enjoyed by the Inhabitants of Stoningtown, for these the Court propounds to Grant some recompence in some other place when asked for. I suppose the Long Neglect of asking for it, is founded on the old Proverb, “Every body’s business is nobodys,” together with the unsetled State of the College for a long Time.

    There is in the Old College Book Page 11th an article in the following terms

    December 10th 1646.

    I wholly and fully resign, grant, sell, and make over all that Farm of 600 Acres given me by the General Court lying near Andover by Merimack to the College at Cambridge for ever.

    by me Nathl. Ward1

    Acknowledged the day and year abovesaid before me.

    Jno. Winthrop Governour

    recorded the 22 (2) 1647 by Will Aspinal v. Recorder.

    In the thin parchment covered Book page 7th ’tis added to the record of this Farm, viz: that the Rev. Mr. Ward was allowed £20 due for his Sons Expences in College. This Farm is one article of the College Estate, mentioned in the Inventory of it which Mr. President Dunster gave in, Dec. 10th 1654. vid: thin Book pag. 32. It is again articled as purchased of Mr. Ward in an account of the College Estate, given by Mr. Treasurer Danforth—Feb. 1, 1668, pag. 41. since which I suppose it hath laid neglected, no farther mention being made of it that I can find.

    It may be proper that somebody should be desired to make Enquiry after this farm at Andover.

    There is an Article in Mr. President Dunster’s Inventory of the College Estate, given in to the Overseers Dec. 10th 1654 about which Time he resigned his presidentship.

    Item. Mr. Robert Cook2 of Charlestown his gift of a Grant of 800 Acres of Land made him by the General Court. May it not be proper to search the records of the General Court, and if such a Grant be found; treat with the Heirs of Mr. Cook, (if such are to be found) concerning the Gift.


    In the account of the College Estate then given in by Mr. Treasurer T. Brattle there is this Article.

    John Dodrige3 Esq. his Gift of £10 per annum paid to Feb. 1684.

    Again in Mr. Thomas Brattles account anno 1696. John Dodrige Esq.

    his Gift of £10 per annum paid to Feb. 1684.

    Since the above was written I have found that this donation of Mr. Dodrige is in the hands of Mr. Ackland of Barnstaple and is payable out of the tiths of the Parish of Tremington near Barnstaple.


    In President Dunster’s Inventory of the College Estate there is this Article.

    Two small Shops in Boston, the Gift of Major Sedgwick4 to the College which shops are made void by Mr. William Phillips5 at the Ship Tavern, and said Ship Tavern house is ingaged for the annual payment of 20 Shillings to the College for ever. Thin book page 32.


    In Mr. Treasurer Danforth’s account of receipts and disbursements given in anno 1663 There is this Article in the College Credit viz:

    By rent due from Mr. William Phillips 20 sh. per annum £9 was paid. After this in an account given in anno 1668 There is this Article in the College Credit viz: By rent due from Mr. William Phillips for a shop at Boston that was the Gift of Mr. Sedgwick at 20 sh. per annum for 5 years past £5 in a following account. There is again this article viz: Mr. William Phillips behind for rent £11. This account is dated Feb. 1st 1668. After this I cannot find the Ship Tavern mentioned in the College records. Nothing of this mentioned after 1668. Though there are after accounts of the College Estate and rents viz: 1682 delivered by Mr. Richards to Mr. Danforth and by Mr. Danforth to Mr. Nowel.

    Lands Papers, Miscellaneous, i. 8. When President Wadsworth entered the grant of October 19, 1652 in College Book III, he wrote beneath it, “I don’t find that this was ever pursued or laid out.” CSM Publications, xv. 284. The present document, written in a late eighteenth century hand, suggests that a subsequent investigator came to the same conclusion. In regard to the grant of 2,000 acres, the writer probably intended to write 1653 instead of 1652; the date of that grant by the General Court was May 18, 1653. For the College’s record of the laying out of this grant see CSM Publications, xv. 275–277.