A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 4

To George Godfrey
RTP Godfrey, George
Boston Feby. 16th. 1782 Sr.,

I have spent divers times in considering the Case of Bowdoin vs. Walker;1 I have searched the General Court Records but do not find any thing very operative about it more than the Grant; but no Survey, Plan, taking possession or the like. I now sit down to write about the lines to be run by the surveyor on the Plan.

I think it will be best to begin at the large heap of Stones at the head of the Cove in Swanzy Line, and from thence run W by N. 4 miles; I suppose this line has been a long time settled by Perambulation, if so let him run up it and note the variation of the Course, & make the usual allowance for old measure, let him run up the full length of four miles, and from the End of that full four miles, let him run N by E (making allowance for variation of Compass) a length of line Sufficient to strike the line of the old Township’s first Grant which is described in Bradford’s Confirmation Deed to run four miles from two marked Trees near three mile River W by N: this line must also be run four miles good: if we can’t find the two marked Trees, then run from the Rock or any other place of which Evidence can be given; And I think it will also be necessary to run the length of Line and take the point of Compass from the Rock &c. to the mouth of the three mile River. It will also be necessary to have laid down all the Lotts which Mr. Abijah Walker owns, and then the lines which the Plt. says is the line he Contends for and by this will appear what Land they sue for, and then you will be able to examine your Evidence of Antient possession on that Spot, if any other lines appear necessary, to you, you will take care to have them marked.

You have mentioned to me that the Land Eastward of the bridge by Holloway, was granted to the South Purchase men, by some other Grants pray ascertain that matter and let the proper Evidence of it be obtained.

I herewith Send the Papers you delivered me: William Bradfords Deed is so torn, there had better be a new copy. I retain an Extract from that Deed, & a list of Papers in Evidence: don’t fail to get the Survey made.

I am your most hble. Servt. R T Paine

RC (Robert Treat Paine II Papers, MHS); addressed: “George Godfrey Esqr. at Taunton”; endorsed in several hands: “Letter from R. T. Paine Boston 1782”; “Rob’t Treat Paine born in Boston March 1714. In 1759 settled in Taunton having studied law & been in Europe ’73 & 74 in Legislature ’74 to ’75 in Continental Congress and signed declaration of Independence. 1780 to 90 he was attorney Genl. of Mass. Then Judge of Supreme Court. Resigned 1804 for deafness & ill health”; “Property of Edgar H. Reed”; “June 20 1893 Assigned to Alice M. Elliott this day George A Duchame assigner”; “March 14. 1899. Assigned to Robert Treat Paine by Alice M. Elliott.” A draft of this letter appears in the RTP Papers.


RTP noted in his minutes of trials and law cases that the case of James Bowdoin, Esq., v. Abijah Walker was continued at the Bristol Court of Common Pleas, Mar. 1782. In citations for the June court, RTP noted a verdict for the plaintiff and that the defendant appealed, but gives no further details. Abijah Walker (1722–1806) resided in Dighton, Mass.

To Theodore Sedgwick
RTP Sedgwick, Theodore
Boston February 18th. 1782 Dear Sr.,

Herewith I send 24 Libels vs. Absentees Lands in yr. County. Trueman Wheeler Esqr.1 appointed by Court sent me the chief of the Discriptions of the Lands some of them are not so perfect as I wish they were, and some of them are not discriptions at all. I will mention each Libel with the enquiries to be made abt. them. 1st. vs. David Ingersol. I suppose the bounds of his Estate is right. 2d. vs. Jonathan Prindle I suppose right. 3d. vs. Nathan Purdee, I suppose right. 4th. vs. William Krigker. Q. if his name is not McGregor, Mr. Nathl. Kinsley of Becket, sent Col. Ashley an acct. of one Wm. McGregor of Williamston an Absentee: I suppose bounds right. 5th vs. Thos. Moffat. the bound I suppose right & I conclude he went to the Enemy but I dont know when or whether he went to Boston as alledged vs. Ingersoll. 6th vs. Richard Squire: the bounds I think rather loose. 7th vs. Ezra Plat bounds loose. 8th vs. Wm. Stiles, loose. 9th. vs. Elisha Jones, Esqr. I suppose bounds Good. 10th. vs. Elisha Jones junr. I Suppose the bounds good. 11th vs. Danl. Brewer; the bounds might be mended 12th. vs. Daniel Wilson bounds rather loose. 13th. vs. James Keelar, or Kealer, I can’t tell wch. by the writing: bounds, loose. 14th. vs. John Whitlock, bounds loose. 15th. vs. Timothy Hirlehigh bounds I suppose good, 16th. vs. Evan Rice of New Ashford: Q. is that a Form or a proper discription; the bounds are not Sufficient 189 17th. vs. John Fordice. bounds bad. 18th vs. Jesse Wright, bounds bad. 19th vs. Jared Tyler bounds bad. 20th. vs. Thos. Hutchinson junr: this is a Mortgage from Elijah Williams to Foster & Thomas Hutchinson. the bounds were not sent me: 21th vs. Danl. Brewster John Fowler bounds I suppose good. 22th. vs. James Burdwick, bounds bad. 23d. vs. Solomon Burnel, I suppose Bunnel, bounds bad 24th vs. Abiel Prat, bounds bad. The General fault I find with the bounds is that there is not Sufficient abuttals or discription to find the land by, there is no need of length of line or point of Compass; in many of them there is no discription at all; I shall write by this Oppo. to Mr. Wheeler to assist in fixing the bounds that they may be put into the Libels, if there should not be time to do it during the sitting of the Court (for the Libels need not be filed till the last of the Court) the Court upon motion will give leave to have the bounds mended afterwards, but it is best to do it at first. All that is necessary in filing is to mention to the Court the filing them with the Clk. unless the Ct. motion to have them revd. & motion the Court to direct the Clk. to proceed & notify according to Law by printing notiss. in three news Papers (Worcester, Edes, & Gill) that need not be done till 30 days before next Court before which time I hope to see you & we can then settle the notifications altho I have supposed some of the above discriptions sufficient, yet if, 2 then ever they appear to be deficient pray let them be made sufficient.3

sent order on Shff. Hyde for 6£ 4/6 for

his part of L’

I wrote Trueman Wheeler Esqr. to assist in getting bounds & he to get from Register an Acct. of mortgaged Estates.

Dft. ; addressed: “Theodore Sedgwick.”


Truman Wheeler (1741–1815) graduated from Yale in 1763 and settled as a general merchant at Great Barrington, Mass., where he served as town treasurer, justice of the peace, and one-term representative to the General Court (Dexter, Biographical Sketches of Yale Graduates, 3:54–55).


Text missing.


The Boston Evening Post of July 27, 1782, wrote about the complaints that RTP had filed against the Berkshire County estates of the following men “for treasons and high crimes,” the case being continued until Aug. court. The men were John Whitlock of Lenox, yeoman; Nathan Purdee of Great Barrington, yeoman; James Burdwick of Lanesborough, yeoman; Elisha Jones of Pittsfield, gentleman; Elisha Jones of Weston, Middlesex Co., esquire; William Krigker of Williamstown, yeoman; Timothy Hirlehigh of Middletown, Conn.; Dan. Wilson of Lenox, yeoman; James Keeler of Lenox, yeoman; Daniel Brewer of Pittsfield, yeoman; Richard Squire of Lanesborough, yeoman; William Stiles of Lanesborough, yeoman; Ezra Platt of 190 Lanesborough, yeoman; John Fowler of Stockbridge, yeoman; David Ingersoll of Great Barrington, esquire; Jonathan Prindle of Great Barrington, yeoman; Thomas Moffat of New London, Conn., physician; Solomon Bunnel of Lanesborough, yeoman; Abiel Pratt of Lanesborough, yeoman; John Fordice of New Ashford, yeoman; Jared Tyler of New Ashford, yeoman; Jesse Wright of New Ashford, yeoman; Evan Rice of New Ashford, yeoman; and Thomas Hutchinson, Jr., of Boston, esquire.