438 College Claim to Pasture in Rowley

    [ca. December 1736]

    College claim to half the warehouse Pasture in Rowley.

    The 10 of the 11, 1643. The whole of Warehouse Pasture was sold by the Town of Rowley to Thomas Barker, no. 1.

    Thomas Barker by Will (proved in court 25, 1, 1651) gives to his Wife Mary, half his Lands in Rowley, no. 2.

    After this, the Reverend Mr. Ezekiel Rogers of Rowley, married Mary the Widow of Thomas Barker; and as Rowley Town vote (April 13, 1664) says, paid for the one half of Warehouse Pasture, Mr. Barker his Wife’s former Husband having paid but for one half during his life, see no. 3.

    The Reverend Mr. Ezekiel Rogers by will (proved in Court March 26, 1661) gave his part of the Warehouse Pasture (conditionally, as appears in said Will) to Harvard College, no. 4.

    Mrs. Mary Rogers, Widow of the Reverend Mr. Ezekiel Rogers, by Will (dated April 28, 1669, though never proved by any thing that appears) gives the Warehouse Pasture to Thomas Lambert. See no. 5.

    The Reverend Mr. Ezekiel Rogers was buried Jan. 21, 1660.

    Mrs. Mary Rogers was buried Feb 12, 1675, see no. 6.

    [2] The Reverend Mr. Ezekiel Rogers gave his Rowley Lands to the Church and Town of Rowley, to enable them the better to maintain two teaching Elders among them forever, and willed, that when any such Elder was removed by death, or otherwise, if they did not within four years from such vacancy supply themselves with another Teaching Elder so as to have two of them at a time, then his said Lands in Rowley given to his Wife during her natural life (Warehouse pasture being expresly part of them) should be to the use of Harvard College, as plainly appears by his Will no. 4.

    The Reverend Mr. Phillips and Mr. Payson were contemporary teaching Elders in Rowley; the Reverend Mr. Phillips died in April 1690 (see no. 7). The four years being ended without two teaching Elders in April 1700. We find that Rowley Town April 14, 1701, vote the letting of their Lands left em by Mr. Rogers for that year, by the select men of Rowley, no. 8.

    The College Treasurer also June 4, 1701 gave a Letter of Attorney to Mr. Phillip Fowler of Ipswich to claim and sue for the College-Lands at Rowley given by the Reverend Mr. Ezekiel Rogers, see no. 4.

    [3] I should have inserted before the last preceeding Paragraph, that Mr. Thomas Brattle College Treasurer, did on March 29, 1701 write to Mr. James Steward, in his name and behalf to enter on, and improve for the College, the Lands given to the said College by the Reverend Mr. Rogers. This appears by the Treasurer’s Book fol. p. 4, 5. Accordingly I find in the Treasurer’s Book (folio, p. 76) that on March 11, 1702/3 the Treasurer received from James Steward one year’s rent for the year 1701 ending March 25. So I find from time to time in said book that the Treasurer received Rent for Mr. Rogers’s land in Rowley given to the College.

    And inasmuch as Warehouse Pasture had not been divided, Ezekiel Northend claiming one half (said to be sold by Thomas Barker in his life time, probably the only half he ever paid for) he the said Northend, and Phillip Fowler Attorney for the College, came to an amicable division of said Warehouse pasture, judging that each party viz. College and North-end had a just right to one half, No. 10, April 5, 1704. And the College has been in quiet possession of said Warehouse Pasture ever since, recieving Rent therefor, as well as for other Lands in Rowley given by Mr. Rogers to the College.

    And whereas Mr. Rogers, on certain conditions, gave Lands to the Church and Town of Rowley, and also to the College; and these had never come to a division of the Lands thus given so as to give quit-claim to each other; a Committee impowered by the President and Fellows of the College and a Committee impowered by both the church and town [4] of Rowley did on Nov. 20, 1735 come to a full and compleat division of said Lands, each party giving to the other quitclaims for the several parcels assigned to them, No. 11.

    And Thomas Lambert, who now sues for Warehouse Pasture, was one of the Committee both for the Church and Town of Rowley, and signed and acknowledged said instrument of partition, wherein Mr. Rogers part in Warehouse pasture is expresly set off and assigned to the College.

    How Mr. Lambert can answer this, I know not, unless he should say, as a Committee-man he acted in a publick capacity, but now in a private one.

    I would further observe that when the college offered to sell their Lands in Rowley, given by Mr. Rogers, soon after the foresaid partition Nov. 20, 1735, this Thomas Lambert Esq., agreed to buy of the College at a certain set price that part of Warehouse pasture he now sues for, and when the deed was finished according to his agreement he refused to accept it.

    Mr. Lambert can have no claim to Warehouse pasture, but by Mrs. Rogers her will; but it appears not that said will was ever proved (as the Law then in force, required it should be at the next Court in that County, if more than thirty days after the Testator’s decease, by two witnesses, see old Law-Book, p. 157, 8, printed, 1672) and therefore ’tis of no validity and could not convey any right.

    Mr. Lambert says in his writ, that his Father (as I take it) Thomas Lambert died seized of this Warehouse Pasture 1685. I never heard that he ever possessed, occupied or improved it. If [by] dieing seized, he means [5] a Right by Mrs. Rogers her Will, he might as well be said to have been seized of it from Mrs. Rogers her death, Feb. 1678. But said will having never been proved, is of no validity, as I said but now.

    I suppose, from Mrs. Rogers her death, 1678, untill April, 1700 (the first time after Mr. Rogers’s decease, that Rowley Church had been destitute of two teaching Elders at once) the Church and Town of Rowley improved all the Lands in Rowley given by Mr. Rogers, towards the maintaining of the Gospel Ministry among them. And when the church and town of Rowley, by being four years together destitute of two Teaching Elders, had forfeited their right to those Lands (in such case given by Mr. Rogers to the College) the College then made their claim, and by their Attorney took possession, and have quietly and peaceably enjoyed the same ever since. And though there have been some contests in the Law, between the College, and the Town and Church of Rowley, yet they both build on the same foundation, and pretend to claim and hold only by vertue of Mr. Rogers’s Will. I dont find, from Mrs. Rogers her death, 1678, untill this Writ of Mr. Lambert’s came, that any have claimed or sued for, the Lands given in Rowley by Mr. Rogers, unless the Church and Town of Rowley and the College, who pretend to hold only by his Will. So that these Lands given by Mr. Rogers have been quietly and peaceably possessed by those to whom he gave them from 1678 to this time, 1736, without any claim, let, Law-suit, or hindrance, till Mr. Lambert lately sues for Mr. Rogers’s his part in Warehouse pasture. So that the Law for quieting possessions, respecting the years between 1692 and 1704 must now fairly and intirely exclude Mr. Lambert from making any rightfull claim to Warehouse pasture which he now sues for.

    Rowley Lands Papers. The history of the ownership of the warehouse pasture, Rowley, is here traced, to support the College’s claim in the suit brought by Thomas Lambert.