Reference Library

The DARTMOUTH PROPRIETY Prior to 1800

For the June 2018 Delano Kindred Reunion in Fairhaven, MA, Sally Aldrich presented an overview of the Dartmouth Propriety prior to 1800 based on a thesis she wrote in 1987 for an honors degree in history from what is now UMass-Dartmouth. The Propriety included the lands of Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Acushnet and Fairhaven, which constituted Old Dartmouth until 1787, when the towns first split apart. And in the case of Westport, it included some of Tiverton and Little Compton. These were the lands upon which Philippe Delano and his family lived.

There are two files in this presentation: the presentation itself (click here), and the handouts that accompanied the presentation (click here).

Sally also extracted several entries out of the Proprietors Book of Corporate Records Documents #4 to #15, which were the attested copies issued by Jonathan Delano (one of the Jonathans) between 1709 and 1717; these were brought back in to be re-recorded after the 1725 fire. The full book is on the Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society (DHAS) website, but reading these particular ones, if you are so inclined (it is a bit of a struggle to understand the old language), gives a real feel for how important a role Jonathan played in this saga. Click here to access those extracts.

We are extremely fortunate to be able to present Sally’s entire Dartmouth Propriety Thesis on this website for reference by our members. In her words:

I wrote this thesis on Dartmouth’s early land ownership for an honors degree in history from UMass-Dartmouth (then Southeastern Massachusetts University) in 1987. I spent eight months on the project while holding a full-time job. This was 30 years ago, before the explosion of interest in local history which has been made possible by personal computers and the Internet. The thesis is still in pre-publication form, but it is being made available in digital form without further delay to local historians, who may be interested in the subject. Dartmouth’s history is unique among New England towns and challenging due to a 1725 fire which destroyed the central depository of land records from the first three-quarters of a century (the house of the Proprietors’ Clerk burned down). Efforts to reconstruct the early land records were lengthy and ultimately only partially successful. My thesis talks about how the basis of land ownership in old Dartmouth evolved and encourages later historians to add to a very complicated story.

There are two PDF documents. The first contains an Introduction and 74 pages of text, followed by footnotes on pages 75 to 93, and four pages of bibliography. The second PDF contains 34 pages of appendices referred to in the main text in the first PDF.

Please note that the Thesis is copyrighted by Sally Aldrich and made available to our members with her permission for reference only. It cannot be copied, downloaded, or printed. You must be a logged-in member to view the Thesis.

The GHAAHD

Short for "The Genealogy, History and Alliances of the American House of Delano, 1621-1899", the GHAAHD is a comprehensive history of the Delano family in America beginning with the arrival of Philip Delano on the ship Fortune in 1621.

For further details, click here. Copies of this book can be purchased via the "Books" section on the "Shop" tab.


PLYMOUTH COLONY RECORDS

Officially titled "Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England", transcribed and edited by Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, these volumes contain the Deeds records from the Plymouth Colony from 1651 to 1671. The Delano Kindred is fortunate to have permission from Dr. Bangs to post these copyrighted volumes for online reference only; any effort to copy or download these volumes from this site will constitute a copyright violation. From Dr. Bangs' Preface:

Plymouth Colony's records are extraordinarily complete, covering many aspects of seventeenth-century colonial life. Despite this wealth of potential information, nearly half the official records of Plymouth Colony have never been published. Twelve volumes of Plymouth Colony's court records were transcribed and edited by Nathaniel Shurtleff and David Pulsifer, published in a series that was “printed by order of the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” from 1855 to 1861. The published volumes comprise Court Orders (vols. 1-6), Judicial Acts (vol. 7), Miscellaneous Records (vol. 8), Acts of the Commissioners of the United Colonies (vols. 9, 10), Laws (vol. 11), and Deeds (vol. 12). The final volume’s title was “DEEDS, &c. VOL. I. 1620-1651. BOOK OF INDIAN RECORDS FOR THEIR LANDS.” The Civil War interrupted the project, leaving 11 volumes of manuscripts still unpublished, continuing the "Deeds" material.


My transcription was made ca. 1998-2000. A generous grant from the Delano Kindred, together with additional funds from the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum Foundation, supported the indexing work, carried out by Sarah Moine, 2015-2016.

For further details, click here. Copies of these books can be purchased via the "Books" section on the "Shop" tab.


SAMUEL DELANO JR. LOGBOOK from the BRIG GRACE

In the Fall of 2019, the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society (DR&HS) undertook the preservation and digitization of a rare and valuable logbook written by Samuel Delano Jr. in 1791. Supported by funding from the Delano Kindred and many others, that effort was completed in November, 2019. Here is an extract from the DR&HS website describing the logbook:

The logbook for the brig Grace is the first-hand account of an American vessel trading successfully with Japan in 1791, long before Admiral Matthew C. Perry commanded the entry of American vessels in 1853. The American brig, Grace, sailed into the harbor of Koshimoto and traded with Japanese villagers on May 1, 1791. Onboard was a 22 year-old Duxbury sailor and shipbuilder named Samuel Delano, Jr. As clerk, Delano kept the log of voyage and it is the only English language version of this momentous first meeting between two cultures.

Historian Scott Ridley (author of Morning of Fire about the sister ship Lady Washington) has described the log as “a rare record of America’s first visit to the closed nation of Japan in 1791. The historic visit is noted in fragments in Japanese archives, but this book, written day-to-day aboard the brig Grace as it lay in the harbor of Koshimoto, is the only American document to emerge from the voyage. It is a remarkable artifact.” The Japan-U.S. Friendship Memorial Museum in Koshimoto is dedicated to this important first contact. Scott Ridley and Hayato Sakurai feature the logbook in their book, “America’s First Visit to JAPAN April 29-May 8, 1791: Voyage of the Lady Washington And the Grace.”

The logbook now resides at the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society’s Drew Archival Library, and the entire logbook is available online in digital flipbook form on the Society's web page. Check out the logbook and see what other treasures exist in the DR&HS Delano Family Collection by clicking on the link below:

https://duxburyhistory.org/collection-highlights/logbook-for-brig-grace-1791/

Along with the flipbook, there is a transcription of the events from April 29 to May 10, 1791. Further transcriptions and other site enhancements are ongoing. Congratulations to DR&HS for a job well done! The Delano Kindred is honored to have been a part of this project.


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