Thomas Bell's Bequest to Roxbury Latin School and Forest Hills
All of present-day Forest Hills was part of the bequest of the London merchant Thomas Bell in 1672, “for the maintenance of the schoolmaster for teaching and instructing poore mens children.” This bequest was to the Roxbury Latin School.
The 151 acres of land Bell gave to the Latin School, 47 of which extended from Walk Hill Street to about present-day Arborway, had been granted to Bell by the town of Roxbury in 1639. The land came out of the 4000 acres granted to the town by the General Court on May 2, 1638.i The land was given to establish the western boundary of Roxbury (founded in 1630) from Dedham (founded in 1636 on the banks of the Charles River by Roxbury and Watertown families). The General Court stated that the limits of Roxbury would be eight miles from the meetinghouse, but this was never formally ratified. For the rest of the 17th century until after Massachusetts Bay came under Crown government, the western boundary of Roxbury was present-day Beech Street.
1832 Hale Map of Roxbury. The line in red is the approximate boundary of the 4000 acre Great Lotts granted to Roxbury by the General Court in 1638. Stony Brook is outlined in blue. The intersection of the blue line and red line is Forest Hills. “A” marks the location of Thomas Bells house.
For the first eight years of the settlement of Roxbury the western boundary was approximately Walnut Avenue and Forest Hills Street, called Back Street until well into the 19th century because it was at the back end of the town. The road met at the junction of South Street in the Stony Brook valley, at what is today Forest Hills Square. This long and meandering road – which can more or less still be traveled today – from Seaver Street and South Street to Beech Street was the western line of Roxbury until 1638.
The 1638 ruling by the General Court nearly doubled the size of Roxbury. The 4000-acre grant extended from about the Long Crouch – Seaver Street – to Beech Street, and included what is today Franklin Park, the former Boston State Hospital, Forest Hills Cemetery and the Clarendon Hills section of Roslindale.
In that corner of Roxbury in the Stony Brook valley, between the highlands of present-day Walnut Avenue and Seaver Street, were the homesteads of William Curtis and Thomas Bell. The Curtis family prospered and is today a well-known name as one of the founding families of present-day Jamaica Plain. Thomas Bell lived in Roxbury for fifteen years before he returned to England in 1647. He never returned to Roxbury, but he never forgot it. Writing in 1846, almost two centuries after Bell returned to England, Charles Ellis declared: “The bequest of Thomas Bell to the school has already become one of great value. He was one of the wealthy men of the town… a generous man and one of a liberal mind. He is the Harvard of our Free School.”ii
Thomas Bell was born in 1606 at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, in the heart of East Anglia, where most of the Roxbury migrants came from. Bury St. Edmunds was an important market town and a center of cloth manufacturing (flax mills were important in the 20th c.). Bell married Susanna Bryden (1604-1673) at Bury St. Edmunds on August 1, 1631. Her father made gloves.iii
Thomas Bell was a Puritan. Puritan ideology was based on a return to the pure church established by Jesus Christ Himself. It was a reaction to the Church of England governed by the Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud and his ruling bishops, who were seen as having been corrupted by the Pope and the Catholic Church. The most zealous of the Puritans who founded Massachusetts Bay believed in earnest that they were the Chosen of God, who had formed a covenant with them to erect a Zion in New England. The First Church at Roxbury housed not just the faith but also the state as well, the holy state of Roxbury, the oligarchy of the saints.iv (Yet Bell soon realized that religious persecution was not absent from New England. He saw Roger Williams exiled in 1636 and Anne Hutchinson – who arrived in 1634, the same year as the Bells – excommunicated and banished in 1638, both for not following the Puritan party line of Massachusetts.)
Puritans are usually portrayed as militants, and most of the founders were like John Winthrop and Richard Mather, but others were more moderate, like John Eliot (although he participated in the persecution of Anne Hutchinson, he mellowed as he built his Indian mission), and Thomas and Susanna Bell. In her book Pilgrims: New World Settlers and the Call of Home,v Dr. Susan Hardman Moore explains how this moderation made it possible for many migrant Puritans to return eventually to England. Protestants like the Bells felt threatened by the influence of the Catholic mass, but as Moore points out, they fled to America less to set up the New Jerusalem than as voluntary exiles (p. 3).
Thomas Bell was also a merchant; he came from a regional market town and he saw that religious and political troubles during the unpopular reign of King Charles I were bad for trade. God and mammon seemed to rest comfortably in the mind of Thomas Bell and after considerable thought, he, his wife Susanna and year-old son Thomas immigrated to Roxbury in 1634. He left England to escape religious and political strife, but the move also opened up new opportunities for him in the Atlantic trade (Moore, p. 3).
Thomas Bell followed his sister Katherine Meakins to the new world. She and her husband Thomas immigrated with John Cotton in 1633 as servants to Edmund Quincy, who became deputy to the General Court. Bell would have traveled further up the Charles River to settle inland, but his wife, tired of the long and difficult sea voyage, refused, and they settled in Roxbury, probably because the Meakins lived there.
As one who paid his own way to America, Bell was entitled to fifty acres of land, which was granted to him along Stony Brook in the west end of town. He built a house on high ground overlooking the brook at present-day Amory and Boylston Streets (approximately where 179 Amory Street is today).vi In the Roxbury Book of Possessions of 1652, Bell owned “his house and barn [and] twenty four acres plus fourteen acres and two and a quarter acres of salt marsh.”vii At the opposite side of Stony Brook near the present-day Stony Brook MBTA station, was the ten-acre homestead of William Curtis, on which he built his house in 1637. Curtis married Sarah Eliot, John Eliot’s sister, in 1618. Sarah and William migrated to Roxbury in 1632, together with Anne Montford, Eliot’s fiancée, whom he married in October 1632. (Elliot migrated in1631.)
Thomas Bell was made a church member in 1634 and a freeman, meaning a full citizen with all civic rights, in 1636. Although not living in Roxbury town center (or in the port of Boston), Bell flourished in the Atlantic trade in which he was apparently already established. As Moore points out (p. 12), his transatlantic loyalties would remain with him the rest of his life. He built his business on supplying Roxbury and Boston with basic goods that they could not yet manufacture on their own, particularly cloth and metalware. In 1645, for example, Bell imported canvas, cotton cloth, shovels, bellows, pewter, window glass, woolen stockings, shoes, felt, rugs, iron pots and bird shot.viii Bell also had trading interests with Barbados. In 1649 after he and his family had resettled in London, his Boston agent Henry Shrimpton shipped cattle and provisions – probably from Roxbury or Watertown – to that island, which was just beginning its sugar trade. In exchange, Bell shipped to London timber and tree masts (the latter from Maine, then a part of Massachusetts Bay), moose skins, fish and tree nails for shipbuilding (Moore, p. 10).
Bell made three trips back to London during his time in Roxbury, in 1642, 1644 and in 1646. This gave him the opportunity to not only strengthen his business but to follow the changes in the religious and political life of England. He was apparently close to the wealthy Weld family of Roxbury, who would later play such a significant part in the development of Forest Hills. In 1646 he acted as agent for Barbara Weld, widow of Captain Joseph Weld (the owner of the land that is today the Arnold Arboretum). She appointed him to collect all debts and goods due to her late husband in England to make certain this property remained in her ownership before she remarried to Anthony Stoddard.ix
In 1642 the General Court passed the General Education Law that required every parent and every master of an apprentice to make certain children could read and write.x In his will of January 1642, Samuel Hagbourne mortgaged his lands in Roxbury Neck and his house to endow a school: “Out of my great desire to promote learning for God’s honor and the good of His church, my will is that when Roxbury shall set up a free school in the town there shall be 10 shillings per annum out of the neck of land and 10 shillings per annum out of the house lot unto it forever.”xi
More needs to be learned about Samuel Hagbourne. He immigrated in 1637 and was admitted a freeman on May 2, 1638. He was a wealthy man who owned great tracts of land about Roxbury Neck in the area of present-day Madison Park. His house was at Eustis and Washington Street. He was important enough to be granted 114 acres from the 4000-acre “Great Lotts” by the General Court in 1639. This was a woodland “between the two roads” (that is, Walnut Avenue and Curtis Street, a lane that is present-day Forest Hills Street).xii In his will Hagbourne granted this land to his youngest daughter. It is today the Wilderness section of Franklin Park, and Hagbourne Hill commemorates the name of the first benefactor of the Free School at Roxbury.
Samuel Hagbourne died on January 24, 1643, and his widow Catherine married Thomas Dudley, who carried out the directive of the will to establish a school. The formal date of the founding of Roxbury Latin School is the last day of August 1645. John Eliot, passionate about education and a great fundraiser, persuaded sixty-six rich Roxbury landowners to sign an agreement that pledged their estates of amounts in proportion to their holdings annually, to raise 20 pounds a year for headmaster and school building. The first twenty shillings came from Hagbourne’s estate. Thomas Bell pledged thirteen shillings. Thomas Dudley – who shares part of the honor with John Eliot as the founder of the Roxbury Latin School – donated the most. He gave a portion of his land to build a schoolhouse as well as one pound four shillings annually from his own estate and one pound a year from the Hagbourne lands inherited from his wife. The schoolhouse – built in 1652 with funds John Eliot raised from Rev. Thomas Weld, who had returned to London – stood opposite John Eliot’s house at Washington and Ziegler streets, today the busway of the MBTA. Eliot’s nine-year-old son John was among the first ten students in 1645.
In August of 1651, John Eliot bought the library of Rev. Weld, the first minister of Roxbury First Church, who had returned to England as an agent of Massachusetts Bay in 1641. The 197 books became the start of the Roxbury Latin School library. No doubt Eliot convinced his former colleague Rev. Weld to support the construction of a school building in order to house all the books. The school occupied this location in several buildings until 1836, when it removed to a new building on Kearsarge Avenue on land once owned by Joseph Warren.
The town of Roxbury began the allotment of the Great Lotts in 1639, and Thomas Bell received 196 acres, making him one of the 16th richest men in Roxbury; this was in addition to the 56 acres he was granted in 1634-1635 along Stony Brook, where his house and farm was. (Other grantees were John and Robert Williams, who received lands that are today part of Franklin Park adjacent to Hagbourne’s woodland, and the former Boston State Hospital along Walk Hill Street.)
Bell’s grant from the 4000 acres included 47 acres “upon the Walk Hill,” and 47 acres along Beech Street, the latter in present-day Roslindale.xiii The exact landholding is impossible today to locate, but it most certainly included the Woodbourne neighborhood. What is clear is that Bell was given a large tract at the crossroads of Back Street and South Street, destined to become a transportation hub for the westerly half of original Roxbury after the Norfolk & Bristol Turnpike cut through the old grant in 1806.
Thomas Bell returned to England in late 1647. He took with him his wife Susanna and their four children, three of whom (all daughters) were born in Roxbury; their son Thomas, then age fourteen, had lived there almost his whole life. They settled back into the London merchant community, and by 1651 lived in Seething Lane in the ancient parish of All Hallows Church, between the Tower of London and the commercial center of Cornhill. Their children grew up to be merchants and the wives of merchants (Moore, p. 104). One of their neighbors after 1660 was the diarist Samuel Pepys. He and the Bells survived both the plague of 1660 and the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Thomas Bell was part of that great number of Puritans who returned to England, a phenomenon not well known. Indeed, as Dr. Moore explains, fully one-quarter of those who arrived in Massachusetts Bay between 1634 and 1639 (the years of greatest migration) had departed by 1660. An astonishing one-third of the ministers left the New Zion for England in that same period.
Bell’s wealth and business connections gave him the greater ability to return to England (Moore, p. 86). The political and religious life of England had changed, or was rapidly changing, as Bell learned from his trips back. The hated archbishop William Laud died in 1646, and with him the power of the bishops died as well. Bell and his family returned between the two civil wars, and on January 30, 1649, King Charles was executed, thus opening the way for the Puritan reign of Oliver Cromwell. England was becoming a more stable society in which to live, worship and do business. As Dr. Moore points out, Thomas Bell of Roxbury turned into Thomas Bell of London, citizen and merchant (Moore, p. 10).
Trade and toleration moved Bell to return to London, but his wife Susanna had to be convinced. Pilgrims examines the tension of how devout people abandoned the New Jerusalem of New England. Susanna was at first reluctant to migrate, but seeing that God had shown the way she agreed to sail to the new world. Now she had to find a way to justify leaving it. A point of virtue in New England was never to question why God brought His people to America. Governor John Winthrop called those who returned to England “deserters,” and he was particularly critical of those who returned for material gain. How could they abandon the City on a Hill? How could they not stay and help each other?xiv God’s judgment was upon those who left. His punishment was seen in the reports of those returning to England being killed in shipwrecks and by pirates.
Susanna needed a reason from God to return. Her husband persuaded her that his trading activities in England required him to return; London merchants always had the upper hand over their colonial partners. He pointed out that if he did not go “the name of God would suffer,” meaning that without supplies the settlements would perish. “Susanna was convinced [as she wrote many years later] ‘that the Lord was pleased to call my husband home for England’” (Moore, p. 11).
This detachment became complete when Thomas Bell requested release of his covenant from the Roxbury Church in September 1654, after Oliver Cromwell assumed state power as the Great (Puritan) Protector. The Bells were free to join All Hallows Church that followed the New England Way of Protestantism.xv
Bell’s trading company had as agents in Boston first Henry Shrimpton and then the Boston bookseller Hezekiah Usher and his brother in law John Harwood. John Winthrop condemned those that left New England for material gain, yet it was just that wealth which enabled Bell to give so much back to Roxbury. Bell never abandoned Roxbury and he never doubted the choice to migrate here. He sold a portion of his land – perhaps a hundred acres – but most of it he leased for the 24 years he lived after returning to London. Thomas Bell kept his transatlantic loyalties all his life.
He was a friend of John Eliot – as devout a Puritan as could be found – for forty years. Eliot began his mission to the Massachuset Indians in 1646, first (briefly) at Dorchester, but more successfully Nonantum in present-day Newton. The mission was never popular in Roxbury or Boston; the Puritan oligarchy regarded the native Americans as simply degenerate men created by Satan. Nevertheless, men of wealth like Thomas Dudley and Joseph Weld supported Eliot’s work. In 1647, in order to raise funds for his mission, John Eliot wrote a lively tract called The Day Breaking if Not the Sun Rising on the Gospel with the Indians of New England. He followed this in 1648 with a second tract called The Clear Sun Shining of the Gospel Breaking Forth Upon the Indians of New England. He forwarded both pamphlets to Parliament. The propaganda campaign worked: on July 27, 1649 Parliament passed An Act for the Promoting and Propagating of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in New England, that authorized a corporation to raise and expend funds for the Indian mission. The corporation was called The Society for the Propagating of the Gospel, and it became the mainstay of Eliot’s work with the Massachuset Indians for the rest of his life.xvi The Roxbury oligarchy opposed Eliot’s mission because he was not a thorough Puritan; he enlarged the meaning of the Covenant so central to Puritan ideology to include the native Americans. The Society in London shared Eliot’s moderate interpretation of Puritanism.
Five hundred to six hundred pounds a year were raised for Eliot’s mission from the army, London’s parishes, and individuals, among them Thomas Bell. He was a member of the Society and the only one who knew John Eliot personally, and quite possibly had met Massachuset men from Nonantum who visited Roxbury. Bell had been responsible through his Boston agents for conveying the annual contribution of Lady May Armine – one of Eliot’s first benefactors – to him for his mission work. After it was founded, Lady Armine became a donor to the Society for the Propagating of the Gospel.
Thomas Bell was essential to the Society. The way John Eliot received funds was from the proceeds of merchandise shipped from England by the Society to Massachusetts Bay and sold. Brass, woolens and linen were imported mainly on Bell’s ships and received by his agents in Boston. In late 1649, lumber, nails, tools and axes were sent over to be used to construct houses at Nonantum. And later in 1652, supplies were sent to build Natick, the first of the independent Indian “praying towns” established by John Eliot with a land grant from the General Court. Thomas Bell’s extensive trading web and interests in consumer goods supported not only Roxbury but also the Indian towns established by John Eliot.
The largest expense of the Society and the greatest achievement of Eliot’s life was the printing of the Indian Bible. One of the Boston agents of Thomas Bell – perhaps the bookseller Hezekiah Usher – came to London to buy printing blocks and paper for the Bible in 1658. Four hundred pounds of type were imported in 1659. The New Testament was printed in 1661 and the Old Testament in 1663. On April 24, 1664 the Society presented a blue, leather-bound copy of the Indian Bible to King Charles II. Lady Armine, together with the rest of the Society members (including Thomas Bell), also received a hand-tooled first edition.xvii
John Eliot did not forget the Free School which was struggling to remain independent of both the church and the state. At Eliot’s request, Thomas Bell increased his annual contribution to 20 shillings in 1669.
When Thomas Bell and his family returned to England, he left his house and farm at Stony Brook to his sister Katherine, who lived there until her death on Feb 3, 1651. The house was then occupied by Isaac Johnson, one of the founders of Roxbury, who was directed to rent out the Bell lands to benefit the poor of Roxbury.
Eliot had been urging his friend Bell to endow the Free School. Thomas Bell died and was buried at All Hallows churchyard on April 30, 1672. On May 3, 1672 his will was read which stipulated in the very first sentence that “Thomas Bell senior of London, merchant, bequeathed to Mr. John Eliot minister at Roxbury and Captain Isaac Johnson a church overseer all of my messuages or tenements, lands at Roxbury in trust for the maintenance of a schoolmaster and free school for the teaching and instructing of poore men’s children at Roxbury.”xviii
Although Thomas Bell had long left America, he never abandoned it and never sold his land, but kept it in leases for the benefit of Roxbury. The bequest totaled 151 acres of woodlots and meadows, largely in the Great Lotts, but also the estate on Stony Brook that swept up to present-day Walnut Avenue. It is important to note that Bell did not give his lands to the trustees of the Free School or to Roxbury First Church, but rather to specific individuals to administer; John Eliot and Isaac Johnson were mentioned by name in the will (Eliot and Johnson later added Samuel Danforth as a third trustee). These trustees and their successors would administer the bequest until 1789.
There has been continued debate over what Bell meant by “free school.” Basically the endowment was a subsidy for tuition and the headmaster’s salary. The school was open to all classes of Roxbury boys who paid what they could. Many paid in vegetables and firewood. (Tuition was free to Roxbury boys until 1934, when the trustees voted to charge $100 a year for Roxbury students.) The significance of the Bell bequest was that it put the Roxbury Latin School on a sound financial base that kept it independent of the town taxes and consequently town politics. The first headmaster paid from the Bell bequest was Thomas Weld in 1674.xix
The land apparently was divided into four leased parcels. In 1675 John Gore leased the Bell lands along Stony Brook to present-day Roxbury Crossing for 21 years, and agreed to pay 12 pounds annually in corn and cattle. (This land was adjacent to Gore’s own house and estate at the foot of Parker Hill.) By 1745 the four leases earned 45 pounds annually.
Another parcel that would yield 15 pounds a year, was leased (or more likely renewed) on March 28, 1738 to Ebenezer Weld for seven years. This 45-acre tract included all of Forest Hills between Walk Hill Street and approximately the Arborway.
On January 21, 1789 the trustees of the Bell bequest and the trustees of the Roxbury Latin School were merged by an act of the General Court. This new trusteeship included the minister and the two senior deacons of Roxbury First Church.xx
Beginning in the year 1791, parcels of land were sold and other property reorganized. The Hagbourne woodlands now belonging to the school, for example, were harvested for firewood and perhaps lumber. Between 1791 and 1796 leases were sold and used as investment capital. On March 14, 1796, 27 acres of the 45-acre Forest Hills land was sold to Ebenezer Weld for $484. The other 19 acres were sold to David S Greenough. The Weld land extended from Walk Hill Street to about Tower Street and included the slope that today includes Weld Hill Street and Woodlawn Street. His family would subdivide this land into house lots and streets a century later. On May 31, 1870, 18 acres of this land (called the Walk Hill Pasture) was sold to Forest Hills Cemetery (Norfolk Deeds, Lib. 195, fol. 140). This fronted the length of Walk Hill Street and included the present-day Tower Street entrance gate to the cemetery.
Eighteen acres of the old Bell estate that extended from Stony Brook to Walnut Avenue was sold on December 13, 1848.xxi Ellis, in his Roxbury History (p. 48), describes the land as smooth open field on the brow of the hill, with great apple orchards on the right of present-day School Street. This would be the land laid out with streets and house lots from Columbus Avenue to about Chilcott Place. On November 16, 1848 a new street and house lots were laid out through this portion from Washington Street to Walnut Avenue. This road was called School Street because it had been owned by the Roxbury Latin School since 1672.
On June 13, 1848 the trustees determined that land sold under the Bell bequest would be invested in other real estate and in railroad, state, and federal bonds. Between 1867 and 1880 more land was sold and the earnings invested, but some were judiciously and very profitably held back. On the advice of John Lowell, Jr., for example, the land at Gravelly Point – that peninsula which today includes the Christian Science Center – was sold off for house lots and gravel during the post-Civil War development of the Back Bay. Some fragments remained unsold, however. As late as 1924 the Roxbury Latin School still owned two parcels of land totaling about one acre between Barlow and Leland streets, originally included in the bequest of Thomas Bell.
In September 1922 the Roxbury Latin School bought the Codman Estate on St. Theresa Street for a new campus, and in 1924 and 1925 opened a huge capital campaign to raise funds to buy the land and build a new, up-to-date school.xxii “True to Roxbury Latin tradition” (as Hale writes in his Tercentenary) of using land as income, the purchase price was met through the sale of its Kearsarge Street property, and the land on Seaver Street and Humboldt Avenue that the school had purchased about 1912 for a planned new campus opposite Franklin Park. The stray Wachusett Street parcels were also sold off at that time to several owners. Four homes were built between 1926 and 1929,xxiii but three lots containing 13, 886 square feet remained at the crest of the hill at the end of Leland Street against Forest Hills Cemetery.
1924 G.W. Bromley Atlas of West Roxbury. The two lots outlined in red in the lower right are the last vestiges of the Thomas Bell bequest. The lot (far right) closest to Forest Hills Cemetery is today the Leland street community garden.
There is no evidence this land was ever built on. After being taken in foreclosure by the City of Boston in the 1970s, the land was sold to the Boston Natural Areas Network on November 23, 1983, as a community garden.xxiv It remains an open space fragment of the great bequest of Thomas Bell for the teaching of “poore mens children at Roxbury.”
January 25, 2013
i Monthly Bulletin of the Statistics Dept., vol. 13-15, p. 27. City of Boston Printing Dept, 1912. Monthly Bulletin of the #BA1244
ii Ellis, Charles M., The History of Roxbury Town (Boston, 1847). Little remembered in Roxbury, Bell is not forgotten at the Roxbury Latin School. It established the Thomas Bell Society as part of its giving program for wealthy donors, “those alumni and friends of the school whose gifts have as their goal the broadest vision and intent for Roxbury Latin.”
iii Anderson, Robert Charles, The great migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635,” Vol. I (NEHGS, Boston, Mass., 1999), pp. 237-242. Bury St. Edmunds was also the birthplace of Humphrey Repton (1752-1818), the last of the great 18th c. landscape gardeners who were of great influence on Frederick Law Olmsted.
iv Three books were most useful to me in my 1989-1990 study of Puritanism for the history of John Eliot and his Indian mission, which I wrote in 1990. These were Wertenbacher, Thomas Jefferson, Puritan Oligarchy (New York, 1947); Miller, Perry, Errand into the Wilderness (New York, 1956); Miller, Perry and Thomas Johnson, The Puritans: A Sourcebook of Their Writings (Harper and Row, 1963 edition).
v Moore, Susan Hardman, Pilgrims: New World Settlers and the Call of Home (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007).
vi Drake, Francis, History of Roxbury, pp. 389-399.
vii Anderson, p. 237; Roxbury Book of Possessions, Town Records. Nov. 1652, in Report of the Record Commissioners, Roxbury Land and Church Records (Boston, 1884), p. 24. A report of the Record C#BA122A
viii A Volume relating to the Early History of Boston Containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records from 1644-1651, in Report of the Record Commissioners (Boston, 1903), p. 396. See also pp. 13, 94, 69, 143, 183, 381 and 388 to understand the extent of Bell’s business. I am very grateful to Dr. Moore for locating this rich document.
ix Moore, note, p. 210.
x For this brief overview of the Roxbury Latin School, see Hale, Richard Walden, Tercentenary of the Roxbury Latin School (Cambridge, 1946); Dillaway, C. K., A History of the Grammar School or the Free School of 1645 in Roxbury (Roxbury, 1860); Ellis, Charles M., History of Roxbury (1847); de Normandie, James,“The Roxbury Latin School,” in New England Magazine, June 1895.
xi Suffolk County Wills (NEGHS, Baltimore, Md., 1984), p. 13.
xii Ellis, History; Roxbury Book of Possessions.
xiii Ellis, History, pp. 48, 84.
xiv John Winthrop died in 1649; his son Steven returned about 1651, shortly after Oliver Cromwell’s army defeated King Charles II in Scotland, thus crushing any hope of restoration of the Crown.
xv Moore, p. 13; Anderson, p. 327.
xvi What follows is based on two primary works on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel: Kellaway, William, The New England Company, 1649-1776: Missionary Society to the American Indians (London, 1961); Winship, George Parker, The New England Company of 1649 and John Eliot (The Prince Society, Boston, 1920).
xvii One thousand copies of the Indian Bible were printed at Cambridge, Mass. Two hundred were delivered to Natick, one for each family. It is hard to overestimate the importance of John Eliot’s translation of the Bible in Roman letters from an Algonquian dialect into English. The books have the Bible in Algonquian on one side and English on the opposite like the Loeb Latin library. Not only did it help teach the Massachuset Indians how to read and write, but preserved the Algonquian language to this day. On Feb. 21, 1989, the Roxbury Latin School purchased for $300,000 a rare presentation copy – one of those printed for Society members. It is at the Houghton Library at Harvard University. The writer and his wife examined it in 1990. The Massachusetts Historical society has a copy of the 1685 edition of the Indian Bible. This writer examined it in 1990.
xviii Anderson, p. 238. As an indication of how wealthy Thomas Bell was, the will distributed over 4000 pounds to his children, grandchildren and other family members. His new house on Gracechurch Street, London, was given to his wife Susanna, who died on March 13, 1673.
xix As late as 1946, the Bell bequest contributed one-half of the endowment and one-quarter of the operating expenses of the Roxbury Latin School. Hale, Tercentenary, p. 35.
xx Greene, J. Everts, Roxbury Latin School, An Outline of its History (Charles Hamilton, Worcester, Mass., 1887).
xxi Norfolk Deeds, Fol. 231, Lib. 19. Plan book 250, p. 77.
xxii Designed by Perry, Shaw and Hepburn. Classes opened in 1927.
xxiii 20 Wachusett St., 1926; 28-32-36 Leland St., built about 1929; 29 Barlow St., built in 1931.
xxiv Numbered 2-4-6 Leland St. Decree of foreclosure, Suffolk Deeds, Fol. 5708, Lib. 401; and Fol. 5163, Lib. 582. Conveyed to BNAN, Fol. 10654, Lib. 79.