Town of Sutton
The First Settled Winter of 1716


This tale is recorded in the History of Sutton. The Indian described in the story is no doubt a Nipmuc, since the Nipmucs originally owned all land in central Massachusetts.

During this year (1716) three families were found of sufficient nerve and enterprise to pioneer the settlement of the town. These families were those of Benjamin Marsh, Elisha Johnson and Nathaniel Johnson.

They built their cabins near the center of the town, and spent there the winter of 1716-1717. It proved a trying winter to them. It was the winter made memorable by the deep snow which fell the last of February, and wholly covered the cabins.

Elisha Johnson, whose cabin was located near the place now occupied by Mr. Samuel Prescott, had left his family for the morning of the day the great snow commenced falling, for the purpose of obtaining some supplies in Marlborough.

He was seen on his way by a friendly Indian, who, when the storm had subsided, started on snow-shoes for the little settlement, and found the cabin of Mr. Johnson by the hole which the smoke from the fire-place had made through the snow. His family would doubtless have perished had it not been for the kind forethought of this friendly Indian. Mrs. Johnson said "no human voice ever sounded half so sweet as did that." Other families were attracted during the year 1717 by the offer of a farm for the taking so that, at its close, the thirty families to whom a grant of four thousand acres had been made, and for whom home lots of forty acres each had been laid out, were on the ground.

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