What will the world look like in the year 3016? Can we even imagine it, as we gaze out our front door here in Woodbridge, take in the surrounding landscape and consider from our vantage point what our town looks like today? What about the year 2784? Is that any easier for us to imagine today? It will be the 28th century and the sun will rise up and shine over this little corner of the world just as it does today… won’t it? What will those rays of sunshine touch when they reach the ground in 2784?
My goodness, we are having an existential morning today, aren’t we?
Well, let’s take a glance in the rearview mirror for a moment and consider a document, written out pen and ink-style on what likely was a nice grade of parchment paper, here in Woodbridge in 1785. It’s a lease agreement, set into Volume One of the Woodbridge Land Records, page 311 to be exact. Here it is, at right.
Can you read that handwriting? It was likely the work of the Town Clerk at the time, Amos Perkins. [We won’t go off on a tangent here about the need to continue to teach cursive writing to today’s elementary school children — clearly someone will have to be able to read old-timey documents like this. Wistful sigh.] Here is a “translation” humbly submitted — an attempt to decipher this cryptic scrawl to discover what’s going on here:
Samuel Osborn & Enoch Newton
This Indenture made this Second day of May in ye year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred eighty five between John Dibble, Jesse Ford, Seth Downs, Samuel Newton, Amos Perkins, a committee appointed by ye Society of Amity to dispose of the Homested & Land lying on Fort Rocks River to said Society by Captain Stephen Sanford deceased of ye Town of Woodbridge in ye county of New Haven in the state of Connecticut in New England of ye one part and Samuel Osborn of ye Town County & State aforesaid on ye other part witnesseth ___ the said John Dibble, Jese Ford, Seth Downs, Samuel Newton, Amos Perkins for the sum of one hundred and twenty five pounds lawful money received to our full satisfaction hath & hereby do demifi grant Let & to farm lot unto ye said Samuel Osborn his heirs executors administrators & assigns part of ye Homested given to ye Society of Amity by Captain Stephen Sanford deceased it being the east part containing twenty five acres bounded ___ east on highway, north on Hezekiah Sperry, west on Enoch Newton’s Land & south on Enoch Newton’s Land extending west so far as to Divide ye water.
Also said committee doth lease out unto Enoch Newton of ye Town of Woodbridge in ye county of New Haven in the state of Connecticut for ye consideration of one hundred twenty pounds lawful money which they have received to their full satisfaction hath hereby demifi grant Let & to farm lot unto the said Enoch Newton his heirs executors administrators or assigns the Middle Part of said Homested containing twenty four acres bounded east on ye land leased to Samuel Osborn, north on Hezekiah Sperry’s Land, west on land leased to Gideon Alling partly on Enoch Newton’s own land south on said Newton’s land with ye ways easements profits privileges & appurtenances thereto belonging.
To have and to hold all the above Demifed and granted premises with the appurtenances unto ye said Samuel Osborn & Enoch Newton their heirs executors administrators and assigns from the second day of instant May unto the full end & term of Nine Hundred & Ninety Nine years from thence & fully to be completed & ended that then & from there forth it shall and may be lawful for ye said committee or their successors in said office unto ye said Demified premises with the appurtenances wholly to reenter & the same to have again retain & ____ as in the their first & foremost state anything herein contained to ye Contrary not withstanding also the said Samuel Osborn & Enoch Newton their heirs executors administrators & assigns at ye end of said term or other determination of this present lease is peacefully & quietly to leave ye ___ & deliver up unto the said committee or their successors all the above demified premises in good and tenantable repair extraordinary casualties excepted & the said committee doth hereby covenant and agree to and with the said Osborn & Newton.
Their heirs executors administrators and assigns that they shall peaceably have life hold occupy profit and enjoy the above demified premises with the appurtenances during said term without any let suit trouble molestation or ejection of ye said committee or their successors by their means consent priority or procurement in witness whereof the said parties have interchangeably here unto set their hands and seals the day and year above written.
Signed sealed and
delivered in presents of
Recorded May the 2nd 1785 ye Amos Perkins, Clerk
So let’s begin our consideration here by assembling the cast of characters presented to us in this antique document. They are:
|John Dibble, Esq.
[abt. 1735 – 14 April 1815]
[13 Mar. 1731 – 11 April 1795]
[31 Aug. 1746 – after 1790]
|Gideon Alling – dates unknown||John Alling – dates unknown|
Next, let’s see what else we can “dig up” to fill in our picture of these gentlemen…