Deacon Joseph Fletcher
- Born: 6 Jul 1713, Westwood , MA
- Marriage: Elizabeth Underwood on 21 May 1735 in Westford, Mass
- Died: 17 Jul 1784 at age 71
Built house in 1735:
Deacon Joseph Fletcher. Born on 6 Jul 1713 in Westwood , MA. Joseph died in Dunstable, MA on 17 Jul 1784, he was 71.At about the time of their marriage they removed and settled in Dunstable, where he bought six hundred acres of land at twelve cents an acre, - then an almost unbroken wilderness. Here he lived fifty years, subduing and cultivating the land, and blest with competence as a result of his industry. He was the leading man in the community and a pillar in the church; good citizen, and a devoted Christian. All nine of his children followed him to the grave, - eight of them with their companions.
On 21 May 1735 when Joseph was 21, he married Elizabeth Underwood.
The homes of Deacon Joseph Fletcher and his sturdy sons, in a close proximity, are interesting relics of by-gone days. About a mile and a half from the village of the old Dunstable, on the Hollis road, we cross the Jointgrass brook and ascend the hill beyond, and then leaving the old school-house on the left, we see a few rods to the west, an old fashioned two story dwelling, with copious barns. Here lived Thomas (694), the eldest son of Dea. Joseph, settled and lived several years, stands a short distance north, and fronting the south, surrounded by five tall buttonwood trees. Still farther north, about an eighth of a mile, s tall buttonwood and four elms stand guardians of the ancient homestead where the father Joseph lived and died. His Son Phineas, grandson Mark, and great grandson George W., have in turn owned the sacred spot, hallowed by thirty births and half as many deaths.
Looking from here to the west of north, distant about an eighth of a mile, stands two houses about a stones throw apart. The one with thee tall buttonwoods was the residence of Jonathan (685), the second son of Deacon Joseph. In the other lived Jonathan's son Samuel (737). From Blanchard's hill may be seen the church spires of Pepperell, Hollis and Londonderry .
The daughters married and settled in the vicinity. It is related that the family gatherings were enormous for numbers, such as the day of small families cannot produce. Such Thanksgivings!
The following incidents, which are authentic, read strangely to one now living on the spot.
Joseph had gone to the nearest mill, which was in Westford, about eight miles distant, and had to remain away over night, his wife remaining at home alone. In the evening, she heard something like a scream of a child. Stepping to the door, she encountered the glaring eyes of a catamount perched in a tree. She fastened the door, and then fearing the animal might gain access through the window, she crawled into a barrel and contrived to get its open end against the wall and there passed the night.
While Joseph was hoeing corn in the field one day, and his little daughter Susannah, who had been playing around him, had laid down on the greensward in the shade at the side of the field and gone to sleep, he saw a large black bear crossing the field and going directly toward the sleeping child. The gun was then always close at hand, and a well-directed shot saved the child.
On one occasion, the flock of sheep came rushing down Blanchard's hill with a bear in full pursuit. But Bruin, instead of feasting on the mutton he was after, furnished the table with his own steaks.
The mother was kind and tender-hearted toward her children, and when the boys were caught in mischievous pranks, she would whip them herself, and then report them to the father. She knew that her very gentle. Castigation would be as estoppels of any further punishment from the heavier hand of the father.
A correspondent says: "Dea. Joseph was a remarkable man - kind, benevolent, always self-possessed; he seemed like the patriarch of old. He continued to have re-unions of his family twice a year till they number over sixty.
Elizabeth 1736 - 1793
Thomas 1738 - 1802
Jonathan 1741 - 1813
Susannah 1743 - 1803
Amy (also spelt Ama) 1746 - 1795
Sarah 1749 -
Joseph 1752 - 1832
Lucy 1755 -
Phineas 1757 - 1833
Elizabeth Underwood. Born on 2 FEB 1713/14 . Elizabeth died on 23 Nov 1802 , she was 89.
Deacon married Elizabeth Underwood, daughter of Joseph III Underwood and Susannah Parker, on 21 May 1735 in Westford, Mass. (Elizabeth Underwood was born on 2 Feb 1714 in Westford, Mass and died on 17 Jul 1784 in Dunstable, Mass.)