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Determination of Inhabitants of the ATPM Site and Original Location of the Trading House
Identification of the Original Inhabitants
Who actually lived at the site which has been the focus of our current excavations? The land on which the museum today sits can be traced generally back to the early founding of Sandwich. Two years after the 1635 hurricane, the town of Sandwich was founded by the "10 men of Saugus" (Keene 1975:18). The first settlement in Sandwich was along the banks and shores of the Shawme river, near the center of present day Sandwich. Manamet was initially the southwestern frontier of Sandwich where no colonists lived. But as early as 1652 the people of Sandwich were granted tracts of land in the Manamet area. At the time Manamet was a term covering the entire area from present day Bournedale, at the head of the Manamet river, down to its mouth approximately seven miles away. The grants appear to have initially been around the Herring river in present day Bournedale and they quickly extended down the river.
The best way to best determine the owners and the history of the land on which the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum stood is to trace the titles to the land back through its various owners. This was accomplished in 1994 using the land transfer records at the Barnstable County Court house for the years 1785 to 1922. The land passed through the hands of various members of the Perry family and was traced through the wills of the various family members. The title was traced back to Ezra Perry who died in 1689 through this means. It was further traced back to Thomas Burgis, Ezra Perry's father-in-law, through the use of the court records of Plymouth Colony.
The Bourne Historical Society, who currently owns the land and manages the Museum, purchased the land in 1923 from Mrs. Helen Dykes and Mrs. William Knowles who had inherited it from their mother Harriet (Collins) Dykes (BCR 1923: 401/ 108). Harriet Dykes had inherited the land after her father Reuben Collins' death in 1877. Reuben Collins had purchased the land from Benjamin Perry in 1870, at which time it was stated that there was a homestead on the land (BCR 1870: 102/ 305). Unfortunately, I was not able to find the records that transferred the land to Benjamin Perry. Fortunately, Lombard had traced the land in 1931, and I shall rely on his title search for the next owner. According to Lombard, Benjamin Perry purchased the land from the heirs of his cousin Elisha Perry II in 1852 (Lombard 1931: 1). Elisha Perry had acquired the land upon his mother's death in 1829 (BCR 1824: 2/ 395). Elisha Perry the elder had received the land from his father Timothy the second in 1815 after he had paid off the debts that his father owed in 1785 (BCR 1815: 2/363). When Elisha Perry Sr. acquired the land in 1815 it was noted that it was the land where the old house of Timothy Perry stood but burnt after his death in 1785.
The next link in the title to the land relies on speculation only at this time. I know whom the land belonged to before it belonged to Timothy, and I know it belonged to Timothy, but connecting the two, as I say is speculation. Samuel Perry, Timothy's uncle, may have sold or given the land to him at sometime after 1730, but it is not known when. Samuel Perry is recorded as having received this land in 1630 when his father Ezra Perry II died. It is recorded in Ezra II will (see appendix 8) that to Samuel Perry he left " ...all my homestead where I now dwell..." (BCR 1730 4/516). His sister Patience was to "...have the use and improvement of my new dwelling house and half my barn and one acre of land and the orchard at the northeast of my house and meadow..." (BCR 1730 4/516). This does not mean that there were two dwelling houses though. In the period, often when "new dwelling house" was used it referred to an addition to an existing house and it is in this instance that this is probably what it means. Patience was only to use this portion of the house until she was married. She may have married Moses Hatch after 1730 at sometime (Perry 1975: 78). This would have left an empty house. As will be shown, this corresponds well with what was found archaeologically.
Betsy Keene reports that Ezra Perry II house was dismantled by his grandson Samuel (Keene 1975: 56). I am not sure where this information comes from. I have not found any historical record that supports it. Perhaps the house was dismantled, but Timothy did this when he acquired the land from his uncle Samuel. As will be seen, though, there is archaeological evidence that the house burned, at least partially.
Ezra Perry II indirectly acquired the land after his father's death in 1689. It appears from Ezra II's 1730 will that all of his father's land was held in common by he and his three brothers. In his will, Ezra I does not mention any of the land which he owned, but Ezra II mentions twice the land which "...I lately partitioned with my bretheren." (BCR 1730 4/ 516). He also mentions that his father had given him land further down the Manamet River near its mouth. His father probably had divided up some of his land for his sons and they were married and as a result they all lived within a short distance of their father. So Ezra II may have acquired his land upon his marriage to Rebeckah in 1673.
Ezra Perry arrived in the Scusset section of Sandwich with his father sometime between 1640-1644 (Keene 1975:53). He married one of the daughters of Thomas Burgis circa 1651 and by 1652 moved to part of the tract of land that was granted to Burgis by the Herring River (Keene 1975:53). Their first son, Ezra Jr. was born in 1653, their first daughter Deborah was born in 1654 and their son John was born in 1656. The Plymouth Records show that in 1652 he was living on land "at Manomett" (PCR 1652: 2/1/37). When other land deeds for Ezra I and his father-in-law Thomas Burgis are looked at, identified present day Bournedale as part of Manomet. This was probably used before anyone had settled at present day Manomet/ Bourne. Once settlers, specifically the Perry's, arrived in "Bourne" from Mamomett, it soon became known as Manomett. In 1663 Ezra purchased one half of his father-in-law Thomas Burgis' land which "...Myles Standish bought of Josias of Nausett in behalf of said Burgis..." (PCR 1663: 2/2/122). These lands were referred to in a 1655 land grant to James Skiffe as belonging to Burgis. This included the lands presently owned by the Bourne Historical Society.
Some time soon after the original purchase of the lands from Thomas Burgis, Ezra I moved his family to Manamet and became the first family in what was then the frontier. It is not known exactly where he lived. Dr. John Batchelder, in 1850, identified his house lot as lying "near the northern base of a hill situated a few rods southerly from the present (1937) Bourne Depot." (Keene 1975:54). At the present time I can find no evidence to confirm or deny this identification. From our archaeological work at the ATPM site, we can say that we did not find any evidence of an occupation dating to the 1660s. So we can be fairly sure that his house did not lie here.
When the family moved to Manamet in 1663, it included the following: two sons, Ezra Jr. (1653) then 10 years old and John (1656) then seven years old and two daughters, Deborah (1654) then nine years old and Sarah (1662) then one year old. Two more sons and daughter were born here Samuel (1667), Benjamin (1670), and Remember (1676). Ezra died in 1689 at age 64. At this time Ezra Jr. was 36, John was 33, Deborah 35, Sarah 27, Samuel 22, Benjamin 19, and Remember 13. His wife Elizabeth who was born around 1629 would have been 34 when the moved to the area in 1663, she would have been 60 when Ezra died in 1689 and was 88 when she died in 1717.
One of the first proprietors of the town of Sandwich was Thomas Burgis (alternately recorded as Burge and Burgess) and he was also one of the first to be granted a tract in Manamet in 1652 (Keene 1975:21). This was probably the one purchased from Josias of Nausett by Standish. By 1655, Burgis appears to have owned a very large tract of land on the east side of the river extending from at least the present day Bourne Bridge to very close to the mouth of the river. The southern bounds of his land were recorded in the 1655 grant of land to James Skiffe by the Court. This is the deed that stated that the trading house laid on Burgis land.
This reference to the trading house brings us full circle back to the very earliest days of the founding of Plymouth Colony. As far as can be told, Plymouth Colony's trading house existed upon land that was later to be purchased by Myles Standish for Thomas Burgis. Burgis owned a strip of land which extended from very close to the mouth of the Manamet River to close to the it head waters.
Location of the Trading House
The fact that no remains of the 1627 trading house were found at the site should not be over looked by all parties interested in this site. I feel that the original site of the trading house may still be present on the banks of the canal and I feel that it is important that archaeological work be conducted to locate it. I believe that the original site was located further down the river, closer to its mouth.
As to the question of the location the house and ship were at Manamet which was 20 miles from Plymouth near the Manamet River. The description specifically says on the sea to the southward, not on the river but it would seem at the mouth of the river on the sea. If the site was located on the river it would seem logical that he would have said something to the effect of "standing on the river, one half mile inland", not "on the sea" If there was not a representation of site already built, there would be no doubt about where to look for the site, on the sea.
Isaac de Rasiere was the Dutch Secretary in New Holland and he conducted a diplomatic meeting with the English late in 1627. He stated that " coming out of the River Nassau, you sail east-and-by-north about fourteen leagues, along the coast, a half mile from the shore, and you come to 'Frenchman's Point' at a small river where those of Pawtucxet have a house made of hewn oak planks, called Aptucxet, where the keep two men, winter and summer, in order to maintain the trade and possession. Here they also have built a shallop, in order to go and look after the trade in sewan in Sloup's Bay and thereabouts..." (de Rasiere 1627: 78).
Bradford describes the incident as follows: "They came up with their barke to Manamete, to their (the Plantation's) house ther, in which came their Secretarie Rasiere..." (Morsion 1984:202). The report by de Rasiere calls the trading house Aptucxet and this is another clue to its location. First, de Rasiere states that the trading house was at Frenchmen's Point that today is known as Manamet Point at the south end of the Canal. Secondly, he states that the name is Aptucxet, which means the little cove in the river. Looking at figure 35 it can be seen that at Manamet Point there are three coves in the river. Looking further up the river to where the Aptucxet trading Post Museum is there is and as far as is known, never was a cove.
After the 1635 hurricane that destroyed the house, the next reference to it was in 1655. The southern bounds of Burgess land were recorded in a 1655 grant of land to James Skiffe by the Court:
"In reference unto a former engagement unto James Skiffe for his former
service, the Court have graunted unto him a smale pcell or tract of land
lying att Mannomett, videlect, a smale necke divided into two ptes by an
inlett of water coming out of the river that bounds the land of Thomas
Burgis, Senir, on the other side that river, directly over against the said
Thomas Burgis his land, which was formerly the companies, wher they
had a trading house, viz, all the neck soe devided as abov sed."
This grant states that James Skiffe's land was what is now the end of the Cape Cod Canal. It can be clearly seen (Figure 35) where this neck of land laid. Thomas Burgis' land laid to the north east of Skiffe's and was the land "..which was formerly the companies, wher they had a trading house..". This is the first reference to the trading house since the 1635 hurricane. The fact that they referenced Burgis' land as being where the trading house was, may have been made because the trading house laid near to Skiffe's land and would be a known landmark for those setting the bounds.
The boundaries of Skiffe's land is further clarified in a 1671 deed when he transferred this land to his son Nathaniel. At this time he stated that the brook which bounds his land was called Abascuksett by the natives and White Brook by the English and again that Thomas Burgis land lies to the north of it (PCR 1671: V.3/2: 231). This would place the trading house at the location shown in Figure 35.
These pieces of evidence are essentially the same ones used by Lombard in the 1920s. The only difference being that we are now beginning without a preconceived idea of where the site is. Essentially we are not trying to fit the data to a particular site. Looking at Figure 35, it can be seen that Abascuksett brook is at the southern end of the Manamet river. Keene stated that this is also called the old Perry Mill Brook (Keene 1975:135). The land that is spoken of in the deed must lie on the promontory that extends out into the river, the area labeled in Figure 35. This would also account for the name Aptucxet, the little cove in the river. It is believed that this is the most likely site to search for the trading house. This should be done soon as well, as development in this is rapidly destroying any chances of finding it.