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The Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens (Complete)

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
About 1640 a mere handful of English colonists went out from Boston, and made the first settlement in the town of Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts. They laid out their homes on the Cochichewick, a stream which flows out of the Great Pond in North Andover, and falls into the Merrimac River on the south side a few miles below Lawrence. The infant settlement was known as Cochichewick until 1646, when it was incorporated as a town under its present name, after the Andover in Hampshire, England, the birthplace of some of the settlers. Among the first who thus planted their hearthstones in the wilderness was John Stevens. His name stands fifth in an old list in the town records containing “the names of all the householders in order as they came to town.” The mists of the past still allow a few glimpses of this sturdy Puritan settler. He was admitted a freeman of the colony, June 2, 1641 (Old Style). He was appointed by the General Court, May 15, 1654, one of a committee of three to settle the boundary between the towns of Haverhill and Salisbury, a duty satisfactorily performed. He was sergeant in the military company of the town, a post then equivalent to captain or commander. According to Savage, N.E. Genealogies, vol. i., p. 186, John Stevens lived at Caversham, County Oxford, England, and came to America in the Confidence from Southampton in 1638. Large, substantial head and foot stones of slate, sculptured and lettered in the quaint fashion of his day, still mark the resting-place of John Stevens, after the storms of now two and a third centuries, in the oldest graveyard of Cochichewick, situated opposite the Kittredge mansion, and about half a mile north of the old parish meeting-house in North Andover. He died April 11, 1662, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, and was therefore thirty-five years old when he founded his future home. John Stevens was evidently a man of note and substance, the worthy progenitor of a prolific family, which has filled Andover with his descendants, and put forth from time to time strong, flourishing branches into all quarters of the country. It may indeed be safely said that there is scarcely a State in the Union which does not contain descendants of this sturdy Puritan.