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Peter Shumway

Male 1678 - 1751  (72 years)

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  • Name Peter Shumway 
    Born 6 June 1678  Topsfield, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 1751  Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Genealogy of the Shumway Family in the United States of America, by Asahel Adams Shumway, New York: T.A. Wright, 1909.

      Shumway compiled an extensive history of early Oxford and surrounding towns in the Shumway Family, pages 28–35:
      Peter Shumway, the eldest son of The Soldier, removed from Topsfield, Mass., to Oxford about 1714. Oxford was a settlement in the heart of the so-called “Nipmuck Country.” The details of the occupation of this locality by the white man constitute one of the most interesting chapters of colonial history; and a brief resume of the principal facts may be appropriate here. Oliver Wendell Holmes calls it “the second colony of Pilgrim Fathers:” and several books have been devoted to a record of these early Western pioneers and their experiences, to some of which, we are indebted for our details.
      The boundaries of the “Nipmuck Country” were not very clearly defined, but it extended from the vicinity of the present Natick, westerly to the Connecticut River, and southerly, from the vicinity of Worcester twenty-five or thirty miles into the State of Connecticut. The Nipmuck Indians were more peacefully inclined than the coast tribes, and more disposed to associate with the whites, as well as more open to civilized and religious teaching.
      The General Court of Massachusetts, desiring to meet their wants in these respects, passed an order in 1644 inaugurating measures looking toward their Christianization, thus becoming, as Palfrey says, “the first missionary society in the history of Protestant Christendom.” In 1646, John Eliot began his labors as the “Apostle to the Indians,” in what is now a part of Newton. He established schools, founded churches, installed native pastors and teachers among many tribes, even reaching the far off Nipmucks.
      The first movement towards the settlement of Oxford was in 1683. On May i6th, of that year, the General Court of Massachusetts made the following grant of land for the new town:
      “This Court hauing information that some gentlemen in England are desirous to remoove themselues into this colony, & (if it may be) to setle themselues vnder the massachusets; for the incouragement of such persons, & that they may haue some from among themselves, according to their motion, to assist and direct them in such a designe, this Court doth grant to Major Robert Thompson, Willjam Stoughton, and Joseph Dudley Esq., and such others as they shall associate to them, a tract of land, in any free place, conteyning eight miles square, for a touneship, they setling in the sajd place w'thin fower yeares, thirty familjes, & an able orthodox minister, and doe allow to the sajd touneship freedom from country rates for fower yeares from the time aboue ljmitted.”
      The tract comprised about sixty-five square miles, and included, besides the present Oxford, nearly the whole of Charlton, about one-quarter of Auburn, one-fifth of Dudley, and three or four square miles of the north-east portion of Sturbridge. The original proprietors were Robert Thompson, Daniel Cox, William Stoughton, John Blackwell, and Joseph Dudley. A portion of the land six and two-thirds miles long, and two and one-half miles wide was reserved to be given to the settlers for a “Village,” or “General Plantation.”
      The deed of division between the proprietors is an historical document of exceeding interest. It is now in the possession of the N.Y. Historical Society, and bears the date, July 3, 1688. One interesting point in it is the description of Mr. Dudley’s division, where it gives one boundary as “a white oak stake, square, driven in the meadow, by the river which runs by and from the French houses.” This is the only record known, regarding the existence of the houses of the French settlers, in 1688, and confirms what tradition says of their location.
      Nearly three years elapsed after the original grant for New Oxford, before anything was done to colonize. In the spring of 1685, upon petition of the grantees, the time stipulated for making the settlement was extended three years; but before this time had expired, the problem was solved, and the requisite number of settlers from a people of a strange country and language, and a most remarkable history was here. Important epochs in the history of this people have been already described.
      “As compared with the Puritans, they were as firm and well established in their religious opinions, as devout, less bigoted, and more cultivated and refined. They were intelligent in religious matters, profound Bible students, and also excelled in music. As artisans in silks, glass, rich jewelry, and pottery, they have never been excelled; and to this day, the best workers in these materials in London are their descendants.” (Daniels 64)
      Gabriel Bernon, a merchant of La Rochelle, who had fled to London after the Revocation, was there introduced to Mr. Robert Thompson by an eminent Frenchman then in that city. The result was an agreement on the part of Mr. Bernon to make the settlement on the Oxford grant of thirty French Protestant families.
      The history of the enterprise is difficult to trace; but it is said that, in the summer of 1686, a number of vessels having on board French refugees, arrived at Boston. Among these are believed to have been many of those who came to New Oxford. The colony was founded in 1686, though the required number of families did not occupy it at first. Houses were erected, also a church, mills for lumber and for grinding grain.
      A hint of approaching disaster to the colony is furnished by a petition about October 1694, and which was sent as a response to a tax assessment upon “The French Plantation.”
      “To His Excellency Sir William Phipps, Kn't. Capt. General and Governor in Chief of Their
      Majesties’ Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, and to The Honorable Council”:
      The humble petition of Andrew Sigourney, Constable of the French Plantation, humbly sheweth unto Your Excellency and to Your Honors, that your petitioner received an order from Mr. James Taylor Treasurer for collecting eight pounds six shillings in our plantation for Poll money, now whereas the Indians have appeared several times this Summer, we were forced to garrison ourselves for three months together and several families fled, so that all our Summer harvest of hay and corn hath gone to ruin by the beasts and cattle which hath brought us so low that we have not enough to supply our own necessities many other families abandoning likewise, so that we have none left but Mr. Bondet our minister and the poorest of our plantation so that we are incapable of paying said Poll unless we dispose of what little we have and quit our plantations. Wherefore humbly entreat this Honorable Council to consider our miseries and incapacity of paying this poll, and as in duty bound we shall ever pray.”
      The cause of the decline and final extinction of the settlement is suggested in the statement “the Indians have appeared.”
      The disintegration began at the time of the disasters set forth in this appeal. Their farming operations were interfered with, and one after another abandoned the place.
      The hostile Indians are thought to have been some of the fugitives from the army of King Philip (Ammidown 136); others claim they were the local Nipmucks, inflamed and aroused by association with followers of Philip. Possibly a force, the evil influence of which is marked by similar results in our own time had somewhat to do with the disturbances; for there is an old paper in the archives of Massachusetts which bears the endorsed title, “Mr. Daniel Bondet’s Representation referring to New
      Oxford July 6, 1691,” and is a protest against the sale of rum to the Indians. He quotes one instance of crime directly charge able to this source. The paper is signed “Daniel Bondet, Minister of the Gospel in a French Congregation at New Oxford.”
      “The culminating blow to the little settlement was the Johnson massacre, August 25, 1696, and this decided its fate. The house of Johnson stood apart from the others, and tradition says the attacking Indians stole upon the dwelling toward the close of the day and, entering it stealthily, seized three young children of the family, and killed them by crushing their heads against the stones of the fireplace. With the help of her brother, the mother, in her terror—her first thought going toward her absent husband—fled toward Woodstock, whither he had gone on business, hoping to meet him on his return. In parts of the way there were two paths, and in going and coming, the husband and wife passed each other, she going on to Woodstock, and he coming to his home—to be met and killed at his own door, by the murderers of his children.”
      “Reduced and waning as the settlement was at this date, it is not surprising that such an attack should fill the people with dismay, and determine them to leave and seek a place of safety.”
      “The story of their leaving is full of touching interest, and has been often repeated among the dwellers in Oxford in olden times. Tradition says that early in the morning of the day of their departure—each family having bade adieu to its plantation and home—they assembled at the church, where they had a season of worship. They afterward repaired to the burying-ground to take leave of the graves of departed friends, and then, in a procession, moved onward over the rough forest road toward Boston.” (Daniels 83-85.)
      A few are said to have returned, afterward, but it is uncertain when this was; they had all disappeared some years before the settlement by the English, in 1713.
      The movement for a re-settlement of Oxford by English families is set forth in the following preamble and deed from the original proprietors:
      “To all persons unto whom these presents shall come: Joseph Dudley of Roxbury, in the County of Suffolk, and Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Esq; William Taylor of Dorchester in the same county, Esq. ; Peter Sargent of Boston, Esq., and Mehetable, his wife; John Nelson, of Boston,
      Esq., and Elizabeth, his wife; as they the said William Taylor, Peter Sargent, and John Dan forth, are the heirs and executors of the Hon. William Stoughton, late of Dorchester, deceased, send greeting:”
      “WHEREAS, The General Court of the colony of the Massachusetts Bay, in the year one thousand six hundred and eighty-two, granted to said Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton, and their associates, a certain tract of land in the Nipmuck country, eight miles square, for a township, as may be seen more at large by the records of the General Court, pursuant whereunto, and for the uses aforesaid, the said Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton, and their associates, in the year one thousand six hundred and eighty-six, brought over thirty families of French Protestants into this country, and settled them upon the eastern part of the said tract of land, and reserved, granted, and set apart 11,250 acres for a village, called Oxford, for the said families, and bounded it as a plat upon record will more fully appear; but forasmuch as the said French families have, many years since, wholly left and deserted their settlements in said village, and the said lands, as well by their deserting the same, and refusing to return, upon public proclamation made for that end, as by the voluntary surrender of most of them, are now reinvested in and restored to and become the estate and at the disposition of the original proprietors, their heirs and successors, for the ends aforesaid:”
      “AND WHEREAS, There are sundry good families of her Majesty's subjects within this province who ofifer themselves to go out and resettle the said village, whereby they may be serviceable to the province, and the end and design of the original grant aforesaid be answered and attained:”
      “Now know ye, that the said Joseph Dudley, William Taylor &c. for and in consideration and to the uses and intents above mentioned
      “Have fully freely and absolutely, and by these presents do give, grant and confirm unto Samuel Hageburn &c. and others their associates, so as their number amount to thirty families, at least all that part of the said tract of land, &c. &c. herein above mentioned; Provided always, that if any of the persons, grantees above named, or any of their associates, shall neglect to settle upon and improve said land, with themselves and families, by the space of two years next ensuing,—or being settled thereon, shall leave and desert the same, and not return to their respective habitations in the said town upon due notice given,—that then, in such case it shall and may be lawful to and for the rest of the grantees and their associates, heirs, or assigns, respectively, or the major part of them, to seize upon and take the said estate or estates of such person or persons so deserting. Excepting always, and reserving to GABRIEL BERNON, merchant, the whole of his right, grant, or purchase, which made one of the original proprietors, as by deed or record thereof may appear.
      “In witness whereof, The parties above named to these presents have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals, the 8th day of July, in the 12th year of her Majesty's reign, Anno Domini, 1713.
      (Signed) J. Dudley, William Taylor, Peter Sargent, Mehetable Sargent, John Danforth, Elizabeth Danforth, John Nelson, Elizabeth Nelson, and each a seal.
      The heads of the thirty families composing the new settlers were as follows:
      1. Daniel Eliot, Jr.
      2. Ephraim Town,
      3. Samuel Hegeburn,
      4. Benoni Twitchel,
      5. Isaac Learned,
      6. Joshua Chandler,
      7. Ebenezer Humphrey,
      8. David Pierson,
      9. William Hudson,
      10. Benjamin Nealand,
      11. Joseph Chandler, Jr.,
      12. Daniel Eliot,
      13. Abiel Lamb,
      14. Thomas Gleason,
      15. John Town,
      16. John Collier,
      17. Joseph Whitney,
      18. Joseph Rocket,
      19. Ebenezer Learned,
      20. Joseph Chamberlain,
      21. Thomas Huskins,
      22. Edmund Taylor,
      23. Ebenezer Lamb,
      24. Nathaniel Chamberlain,
      25. Jonathan Tillotson,
      26. Oliver Collier,
      27. John Chandler Jr.,
      28. Benjamin Chamberlain, Jr.,
      29. Abraham Skinner,
      30. Israel Town.
      The first vote which appears on the records is as follows :
      “September 13, 1713,: Voted: “That Peter Shumway shall come in as an inhabitant of Oxford upon the right of Joshua Chandler.” [1]
    Person ID I88195  Schirado
    Last Modified 27 August 2013 

    Father Peter Shumway,   b. 10 April 1635, St.-Maixent-L'ecole Deux-seuel, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 June 1695, Topsfield, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years) 
    Mother Frances Gould,   b. about 1639,   d. 2 August 1714, Topsfield, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 75 years) 
    Family ID F93023  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse Mariah Smith,   b. 18 December 1677, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 January 1738, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years) 
    Married 11 February 1700/1  Topsfield, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
     1. Oliver Shumway,   b. 10 May 1701, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Jeremiah Shumway,   b. 21 March 1703, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 October 1801  (Age 98 years)
    +3. Lieut. David Shumway,   b. 23 December 1705, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 May 1796, Sturbridge, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years)
     4. Mary Shumway,   b. 9 May 1708, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Lieut. Samuel Shumway,   b. 22 April 1711, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 September 1800  (Age 89 years)
     6. John Shumway,   b. 10 August 1713, Boxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 January 1810, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 96 years)
    +7. Jacob Shumway,   b. 10 March 1717, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 April 1801, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
     8. Hepzibah Shumway,   b. 6 April 1720, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location
    +9. Sergt. Amos Shumway,   b. 31 January 1721/2, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 May 1818, Oxford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 96 years)
    Family ID F58220  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S713] Asahel Adams Shumway, (New York: T.A. Wright, 1909).

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