17th Century New England, with special emphasis on the Salem Witchcraft Trials


Salem Quarterly Court Records and Files

June 28, 1681

Mr. James Allen v. Nathaniell Putnam. Verdict for defendant. Capt. John Floyd, attorney to Mr. James Allen, appealed to the next Court of Assistants, and was bound, with Frances Nurse and John Tarball, as sureties.


Writ: Rev. Mr. James Allen v. Nathaniel Puttnam; for claiming nineteen acres of land, which had been settled on plaintiff by a committee of the General Court, Oct. 2, 1678, as part of the farm called formerly Bishop's farm; dated 10 : 3 : 1681; signed by John Wayte, * for the court and town of Maldon; and served by Henry Skerry, * marshal.

Nathanill Putnam's bill of cost, 1 li. 16 s.

Letter of attorney, dated Apr. 12, 1681, given by James Allen ** of Boston to Capt. John Floyd of Rumney marsh, to prosecute this action against Mr. Nathaniel Putnam or Joseph Holton. Wit: Hum. Davie, * assistant.

Copy of a record of the General Court held at Boston, May 28, 1679: "The Comittee appointed by the Honored Generall Court october 2d: 1678: to settle ye bounds of a farme lying in Salem conteyning three hundred acres apperteyning to ye Revnd. Mr James Allen of Boston (Commonly called Bishops farme) meeting together at Salem the second time hauing first receiued the land heard all controuersies concerning the same and tried the bounds (that were shewed by both parties) by a surveyor for a fynal Conclusion in refference ti thge Setlement of the said bounds they did agree as followeth: viz

"That begining at a Maple old marked in myery swamp (upon the southwest of this land) from thence running to the black oake old markt) upon the Goune's playne and Continuing the same line untill you Come (in a square) as farr eastward as the Hemlock by the old Saw mil. then from this Corner made as aforesaid to the aforesaid hemlock then from the said hemlock: the brooke in tha place (according to the runn of the water mil) shall be the bounds until you Come as farr westward as the cratch in the brooke nr where two brookes Issue into one then to runn sixe poles due north from thence westward in a direct line to take Bishops old orchard & house place from thence still westward to a great popular, and what shallbe now a wanting to three hundred acres shall be made up at the west end of this land continuing each side line so as to leaue the west end nere a square, Also they order that the surveyor Jonathan Danforth to perfect the said bounds according to this order & returne a true plott and record of the said Comittee of Salem. Given under our hands 7 10 mo 1678. Edmond Batter, Oliuer Purchase, William Johnson, John Whipple, Jonathan Poole.
"This court Approves of the returne of the Comitte as to the Setlement aboue written Edw Rawson Secretaary. A platt of this farme under Jonathan Danforths hand the surveyor is Given in and left on file as Attest Edwd. Rawson, * Secret." Copy made by Edw. Rawson, * secretary.

Memorandum, dated Billerica, 12 : 10 : 1678, of Jonathan Danforth, * surveyor: "from the hemlock by ye old sawmill at Crane brook, runing 59 degr. west, 167 pole which comes to ye woodden bridge at hadlocks to a rock in ye middle of ye brook, all that part of mr Allins farme that lyeth northward of this line, containes ninteene acres, it is bounded northward by Nath. Putnam, and ye porters the farme has taken from Hadlock, one acre & sixty pole that part of ye farm at ye west end, that lyeth west of ye popler and ye maple containes about twenty acres. 16 pole wide at north end and 39 pole wide at south end ye west line is 115 pole long There is left out of this farme on the south side, seuevnty two acres which is contained with ye bounds mentioned in ye deed of sale & two acres left out of ye north side of ye line next to Goodman Holtons."

Jon. Floyd, aged about forty-five years, testified that he went to Nathaniell Putnam's house and asked him if he had that nineteen acres of land in his possession that was ordered by the General Court to Mr. Allen and he said he had and would keep it until they took it away for it had been his for forty years. Deponent then demanded it, as attorney for said Allen, showing his power, but Putnam refused to make any agreement with him or Allen. "I for warned him for cootting the wod doowne any more: boott he sayd he had cott & carried of that land wood & woold still: cott & carry away as he see caes . . . I told him I wold pool doone that bridge wich he had made upone the fore sayd land boot dezired me to leet it alone because he sayd it will be a menes to destroye my Corne." Fransis Nors testified to the same, excepting the forty years' possession. Sworn in court.
Agreement of James Allen, ** dated Apr. 15, 1677, to contend no more with Nathaniel Putnam about the bounds and that he is willing that a straight line be drawn from the hemlock tree, his easterly bounds, to the stony bridge over the brook, etc. Wit: Job Swinerton * and Joseph Huchinson. * Sworn in court.

John Weston, aged sixty years, deposed that he worked with Nathanell Putname before 1652, when they fenced a parcel of land on the south side of the brook coming out of Mr. Bishop's meadow, which land lay on both sides of the brook, etc. Sworn in court.

"The bounds of a farme appertaing to the revrd Mr James Allin of Boston, lying in Salem, on both sides ye Country road through Salem to ipswich, near Crane brook

"Begining at a hemlock, standing by ye old saw mill, on ye west side Crane brooke: from ye said hemlock runing up ye said brook seventy and eight pole to ye cratch in ye brooke, that is, where two brookes issue into one, || the brook being ye bounds so far: || from thence six pole due north || to a maple on ye west side ye brooke marked with A: || from thence North 75 degr: west 184 pole, which tooke in bishops old orchard and house place, from thence north 79 degrees & 30 min: west 156 pole, to a popler, then 16 pole in ye line beyond ye popler, to a stake from thence south 6 degr: west 115 pole, to a stake, standing upon a plaine, from thence south, 74 degres eastward 39 pol to a maple, & 360 pole beyound it in ye same line to a stake (taking a black oake old markit about ye middle of ye line) from this last stake ye line runes North, 14 degrees & 45 min: east eighty pole to the first Hemlock the wholl containes three hundred acres

"The which farme was laid exactly in all respects acording to an order given in writin under ye hands of mr Edmond Batter, leift: Oliver purchas, leift. willm Johnson, Capt. John Whipple & Capt. Jonathan Pole, who were a committee impowered by ye Honrd Genll: Court, octobr 2d 1678, to settle ye bounds of ye sd farme an exact platforme of ye said farm is affixed hereunto, laid out by Jonathan Danforth, * surveyor. 12: 10m 1678."

Isaac Lewis * and Henry Skerry, sr., *, appraised, 13: 3:1681, the land for Capt. John Floyd, attorney, at 3 li. per acre, and the four score and three trees felled at 1 s. per tree, making a total damage of 61li. 8 s. Henry Skerry, sr., * and Isaac Lewis * appraised the time sice the committee settled this land on Mr. Allen to the present to be worth 3 li. Sworn by Lewis, at Charlestown, 21 : 4 : 1681, before Jonathan Remington, * cleric.

Joseph Hutchinson, aged forty-six years, deposed that he heard Nathaniel Putnam say in the Court of Assistants at Boston in Sept., 1678, that he had made several agreements with Governor Endicott, another with his son and another with Mr. Allen, all of which he was willing to give up for a settlement by a committee of the General Court. Also at deponent's house, Putnam said, etc. Sworn at Boston, June 14, 1681, before John Saffin, * commissioner. Sworn in court in Salem by Frances Nurse.

Job Swinerton and Joshua Rea, aged about fifty years, deposed that they had known the land to be fenced for the past thirty years by Putnam. Sworn in court.

Edmund Batter, aged about seventy-two years, testified that he was at the measuring and laying out of Mr. Townsend Biship's farm, now in the hands of Mr. James Allen, and deponent often spoke of a bed of wild cherry trees at the west end of the farm which he saw about forty years ago. He was not in the place again until called by the committee of the General Court and he then found the wild cherry trees and an old marked tree at the edge of the swamp. They saw no such trees anywhere else in their walk, and they laid out twnety acres beyond these trees to make up the farm. Sworn in court.

Samuell Nurse, aged about twenty-nine years, deposed that the committee in running the line between Mr. Allin's and Mr. Indicott's land, which land is now Frances Nurs' left without the line sixty acres on the south side and east end and two acres on the north side. Sworn in court.


* autograph
** autograph and seal


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