stories of the stones
The history of Taunton was greatly influenced by James Walker, Sr. and his descendants along with other people buried in the graveyard.
James Walker consecrated this ground with the burial of his wife Elizabeth in 1678. In 1635, James and his sister Sarah came from London England in the ship "Elizabeth." They were listed as servants of John Browne, who was their uncle. They lived near the ancient meeting house on the "highway that goeth from James Walker Sen., to the Great Plain on the northerly end"(today’s Main St. in Taunton). His name first appears in Taunton on the list of 1643 as being subject to military duty. James Walker’s name appears on a list of the original inhabitants of Taunton. He was admitted a freeman in 1650. He was constable of the town in 1652 and 1658. He was an extensive land holder and a partner in an iron works and a saw mill. In October of 1654, James was chosen the deputy of Taunton to the Plymouth Court. He held that position for fourteen years. In 1655 Mr. John Browne sold to James Walker and John Tisdale all his property in Taunton. The deed describes houses, barns and lands but is vague on its location. From deeds of subsequent owners, it is probable the location of his lands was on the westerly side of the Great River, between the Weir and the Dighton line. Within this area is located the Walker-Blake Graveyard. In October 2, 1658, “The country’s stock of powder and shot was distributed in different towns for safety and use. James Walker, at Taunton, was provided one barrel of powder and the other half of the cake of lead.” James Walker acted as an attorney and in 1662, was given the power to marry people. In 1663, Richard Williams, Walter Dean, James Wyatt and James Walker donated land to Rev. George Shove, minister of Taunton, which included a house and ten acres of land “for the use of the ministry.” In 1664, he was an excise officer, in 1671 an inspector of ordinaries (inns/taverns), and in 1677 one of the committee appointed to distribute the contributions of Irish Christians to the sufferers of the Indian war (King Phillip’s War). Starting in 1666, he was a selectman for eight years. He also served as a juryman and a surveyor. James was also one of the Town Council in 1667 and 1676. In 1671, James Walker and John Richmond, Jr. were appointed by the court at Plymouth "to purchase in behalf of the town of Taunton land of the Indians buying on the west side of Taunton River from the Three Mile River down to a place called the store house". This purchase was made from King Phillip (alias Metacom), the son of Massasoit who befriended the Pilgrims. This three-mile by four-mile plot of land was called the South Purchase. Later, he was one of six proprietors of Assonet Neck. In 1671, James Walker was chosen one of the general Council of War. On August 23, 1671, James Walker had a letter delivered to King Phillip requesting the sachem come to Taunton to discuss his adherence to a peace treaty with the Plymouth Colony. Peace did not prevail and King Phillip continued to plan war against the English. At the outbreak of King Phillip’s War, James Walker’s house was burned by the Indians on June 27, 1675. The Walker house was on the westerly side of the Great River, probably nearly down to the Three-Mile River. James Walker died February 15, 1691, aged seventy-three years.
Peter3 Walker son of James Walker, Sr. was born in 1649 and died in 1711. He married Hannah (Hutchinson). He was an iron dealer and manufacturer. The iron-works forge was on an island which is formed by the division of Three-Mile River and the Taunton River in North Dighton. Later this place was called Baylies Forge. Peter was a selectman in 1693 and 1697. During King William’s War (1689-97) Peter Walker was listed as a soldier. Peter Walker’s house is the first house north of the Three-Mile River on the road from Taunton to Dighton (Rt. 138). This house still stands today. From the “Memorial of the Walkers of Plymouth Colony,” Peter’s will describes lands owned by Peter or inherited from his father James2 that “that this is a part of the grants, to James, Sen., which, in this section of town, became almost wholly, the portion of his “son Petter.”” It is certain, that it was Peter’s, either by grant to him or by inheritance, as it was included when it was bequeathed to his sons in 1711, the ancient cemetery of the Walker Family and kindred, where his mother and father were buried, in 1678 and 91.
James3 Walker, Jr. son of James Walker, Sr. was born in 1676 and died in 1718. He married Bethsheba Brooks of Rehoboth. They lived at the Weir (upstream about a mile from the graveyard) and they kept an inn or public house. He was a constable in Taunton in 1682 and admitted a freeman in 1689. James enlisted to serve in King William’s War on March 13, 1695. In 1700, he enlisted in the First Military Company of Taunton. In 1729-30 and 1755, he was a Selectman in Taunton.
James4 Walker (James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born December 1674 and died September 12, 1749, age 74. He married on October 6, 1699 Sarah, daughter of John2 Richmond of Taunton. She was born February 26, 1670 and died November 27, 1759 aged 57. In 1700, he was listed, along with his father, in the First Military Company of Taunton. He was called Lieutenant in 1744 and upon his gravestone he is titled Ensign.
Nathan4 Walker (James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born about 1677 and died. December 23, 1747, age 70 years. In 1700, he was listed, along with his father and brother, in the First Military Company of Taunton. He married on July 29, 1708, Abigail Richmond, daughter of John Richmond of Taunton.
David4 Walker (James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) died 1765. He married on October 18, 1703 Mary who died May 19, 1750 in her 69th year. He was a member of the Legislature in 1721 and 1745; one of the Selectmen in Dighton in 1732 and held a Captain’s Commission.
Mary5 Walker (David4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) married James4 Walker (Peter3, James2, Widow1 Walker). James4 was a brewer in Boston. Their only child was Elisha who married Miriam Richmond, the daughter of Josiah4 Richmond (Edward3, John2, John1) and Mehitable Deane. After Elisha’s death in 1761, Miriam married Samuel Ray. Miriam is buried in the graveyard. Miriam’s brother Josiah Richmond witnessed Edward4 Walker’s graveyard deed along with his cousin Ebenezer4 Richmond (Ebenezer3, John2, John1.) Two years prior to the witnessing the deed, Josiah Richmond and his wife buried their son Edward in the graveyard. Edward died May 26, 1748 aged 2 years, 1 month and 16 days.
Abigail5 Walker (Nathan4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born on December 3, 1711 and died August 13, 1749, age 37 yrs. 7 mos. and 21 days. She married Jacob4 Austin (Jonah3, Jonah2, Jonah1) of Taunton/Dighton.
Marcy4 Walker (James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born in 1686 and died on August 28, 1758 in her 72 yr. She married about 1713 Thomas Eliot eldest son of Thomas of Rehoboth. He died May 25, 1752 in his 71st year. This is probably the Thomas Eliot who lived with Peter3 Walker for six years and was mentioned in his will.
Nehemiah4 (James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born in 1689 and died October 4, 1760, in his 71st year. He married Mehetable Dean, daughter of Israel of Taunton. Mehetable married secondly Stephan Smith of Taunton. Nehemiah was a Selectman in Taunton in 1743. None of their children survived him or his wife.
Stephen Smith married Mehetable (Dean) Walker. Stephen Smith’s gravestone titles him “Capt. Stephen Smith” who died August 25, 1772.
Eleazer3 Walker (James2, Widow1 Walker) was born in 1662 and died December 15, 1724. During King William’s War against the French and Indians, Eleazer served in Captain Samuel Gallop’s Company in 1692, 1693 and 1695.
Peter4 Walker (Peter3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born in 1690 and died January 25, 1770. He married Sarah Godfrey, daughter of Richard, Jr. and Mary Richmond. Sarah died November 22, 1760. He lived until 1747 in the Mansion House, called the Holloway Place afterward, the home first owned by his father as discussed above. Peter served as Corporal when troops were sent to the disputed territory between the St. Lawrence and northern New England. England and France both had claimed the land. Peter’s name is on the list of the First Foot Military Company of Taunton in 1757.
Edward4 Walker (Peter3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born 1692 and died December 9, 1752, in his 60th year. He married Mercy Richmond, daughter of Edward Richmond. The Richmond family was one of Taunton’s founding families. She died January 27, 1760 aged 67 years. According to the “Memorial of the Walkers of Plymouth Colony”, his will shows that he was childless, and its bequests are principally, “to wife Mercy, to Josiah Richmond, my kinsman, who lives with me, my homestead, farm, buildings, etc., where I now dwell, in Taunton, to possess the same after marriage or death of my wife. To my kinsman, Elisha Walker, son of my brother James, deceased, and to Eleazer Walker, grandson of my brother Peter, all the lands in Dighton, excepting 20 acres, given to Josiah Richmond, and if either Elisha or Eleazer die, without issue, then to Nathan Walker, son of Nathan, and if he die without issue, then to the next of my kin, in the name of the Walkers, and not to go out of the name of the Walkers, to all generations.” His homestead was in the south part of Taunton, east of the Bristol road, ¼ of a mile, and near the burial place, which he gave for the use of his kindred, and which has the oldest inscription in the town. By 1861, the graveyard had passed out of possession of the Richmond’s because they moved to Vermont. Edward Walker was one of the Selectmen of Dighton in 1726. The following is his deed of land for the burial place, copied from Folio 33, pg. 288 of the Bristol Deeds:
“Edward Walker, of Taunton, to my kinsman, Joseph Atwood, of Dighton, land on Taunton Great river, running north in the range of Mr. Edward Blake’s land, and so to said Blake’s fence, and is that piece of land, and is at the place, where Joseph Atwood, and many others lie buried, it being about one acre, to have, and to hold, to Joseph Atwood and all relations, that I have, to lye forever for a burying place, where I or any of my relations, that shall see cause, may bury their dead, with full power, leave and liberty to pass and repass through any other part of my land, to carry their dead to said burying place, provided they go where it is most convenient, and least prejudicial to me, or my heirs or assigns, without any molestation from me or my heirs, executors, administrators, forever, reserving wood on it to my heirs.
In witness whereof, I give, and bequeath, said piece of land for a burying place, April 23, 1750. Bounded W. corner, heap of stones, Easterly, to river, to a small black oak with stones about it, then, Northerly, to a white oak tree, in range of Mr. Edward Blake’s land, and from W. corner, by a rock N. to said Blake’s fence, a rock with stones upon it.” Signed, Edward Blake
Witnesses: Ebenezer Richmond, Josiah Richmond
James5 Walker (James4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born about 1703 and died August 11, 1761 in his 59th year. He married July 21, 1761, Mary Pitts, who married secondly Abner Thayer. At the time he owned the Mansion house and he was a man of influence for the time and prominent in the affairs of the town. He was killed while digging a well. He had a son born after his death and they named him James to honor his father.
Nathan5 Walker (James4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born October 27, 1709 and died September 30, 1771 in his 62nd year. He married on November 20, 1737, Dorothy, the daughter of John Burt, of Berkley. She died March 22, 1790 in her 83rd year. He was Town Clerk in 1755 and also Deacon of the church in Dighton. The latter is his title on the gravestone.
William5 Walker (Nathan4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born August 17, 1715 and died August 3, 1749. He married May 31, 1743 Hannah Shaw, daughter of Deacon Abraham Shaw of Dighton. He was a “boatman” in 1743.
William6 Walker (William5, Nathan4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born December 14, 1743 and died March 20, 1816. He married on September 3, 1767 Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Reed and Elizabeth (Elliot) Reed of Taunton. She died February 28, 1832. William was in Captain Elijah Walker’s Company and went to Rhode Island December 1, 1776 for 16 days and in the same company to Tiverton, R.I. August 2, 1780 for 7 days. They had 16 children!
James6 Walker (Elisha4, James4, Peter3, James2, Widow1 Walker) was born November 23, 1759 and died June 29, 1849 aged 89 years and seven months. He married Deborah Holmes the daughter of Gershom of Taunton. She was born May 19, 1766 and died February 20, 1833 in her 67th year. He was a farmer. He enlisted in the Revolutionary War at the age of 17 and was in service from August 1 to November 1776; in Captain Haskins Company to guard the shore of Freetown for 11 days. On the alarm December 8, 1776, he went to Slade’s Ferry and was on duty 31 days; to Providence, June 22, 1778 for 23 days; was on Rhode Island for one month and 13 days from July 29, 1778; to Tiverton, R.I. March 1779 for 24 days and was one of six months men from July 25, 1780 to January 25, 1781. He was in service longer than any one in his company, 34 of whom were from Taunton. He was appointed 1st sergeant of Infantry, in the 5th Division, September 15, 1798, and received a Captain’s commission April 20, 1801, which he resigned April 17, 1805. Having participated in the scenes of the Revolution, he was an ardent patriot.
Lieutenant Edward4 Blake died July 25, 1759 aged 70. He married Anne Hanover, daughter of Grinfell Hanover and Sarah (French) Hanover. She was born in 1697 and died November 21, 1790. Grinfell Hanover was a French Huguenot. Grinfell Hanover was a ship wright on the banks of “Ye Great River”. In colonial times, the Taunton River was called Ye Great River or Ye Great Taunton River. Edward belonged to the First Military Foot Company in 1710 and was Lieutenant in the Second Military Foot Company in 1736. Edward and Anne are the first generation of most Blakes in the Taunton area. The Edward Blake lineage was from the Dorchester, MA Blakes.
Edward5 Blake (Edward4) died November 19, 1818 aged 82. He married Mercy Thayer. He was a Minute Man in the Campaign of 1775. In March of 1776, he was a Captain in the Third Regiment. Captain Edward Blake’s Company in the Third Regiment performed service at the alarm in Rhode Island on December 8, 1776. He was also a member of the town Committee of Inspection, Correspondence and Safety.
Alfred6 Blake died August 14, 1857 aged 64. He served in the War of 1812 in Captain Seth Staples Company of Taunton. Alfred was a Second Lt. in Taunton’s Light Infantry September 1, 1823.
Zebina6 Blake died January 15, 1874 aged 74 years. He married Anna Hathaway who died May 16, 1856 aged 49. Zebina served as a Seaman from Taunton in the Civil War.
Cornelius3 White was born in Boston about 1675. He was said to live at the Weir, which is upstream of the Walker-Blake Graveyard. By trade he was blacksmith. About 1713, he married Mehitabel4 Walker (James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) and Bathsheba Brooks. He built a house on the easterly side of what is now called South Walker St. near the Dighton line.
Cornelius4 White was born in 1721 and died November 18, 1787. He married Susanna Howell, daughter of Jeremiah and Lydia (Packer) Howell. Cornelius served on a troop of horse that went to northern New England to protect the land from the French in 1749. He was a militia captain and at the time of the Revolutionary War, he was a member of the town Committee of Inspection, Correspondence and Safety. Captain Cornelius White was a Selectman 1779 – 80.
Cornelius5 White born about 1754 and married Abigail Leonard who died October 20, 1833, aged 72 years. He died December 11, 1806 in his 52nd year. Cornelius went on Captain Edward Blake’s Secret Expedition in 1777. He was also in Captain Edward Blake’s Company in 1780.
Hester3 Walker was born 1650 and died April 8, 1696. She married Joseph2 Atwood. He is the ancestor of all Taunton Atwood descendants. He was born in1649 and died February 12, 1696.
John3 Atwood (Joseph2) was born February 28, 1683 and died May 21, 1749. He married Hannah4 Walker (Peter3, James2, Widow1 Walker). Hannah was previously married (husband’s name is unknown) and they had three children. John Atwood was the owner in the Forge and Iron Works.
John4 Atwood (John3, Joseph2) was born May 9, 1735 and died June 27, 1755, in his 21st year. (Inscription) “John Atwood, son of John and Hannah, departed this life in a very surprising manner, being killed by a cart wheel, ae. 20 yrs 1 mo. 18 days." Probably he was working at his father’s Forge and Iron Works and he was drawing pig iron when he was killed.
William3 Holloway (Malachi2) who died October 7, 1778 married into the Walker family by marrying Sarah4 Walker. Before moving to Taunton, William and his wife lived in Middleboro. While living there, William Holloway was one of several men who objected to paying taxes for the support of the Congregational ministry in 1738 "they being Baptists". In 1757 William3 Holloway and his son William4 Jr. were members of the First Foot Company of Taunton and they were on the Alarm List, but there are no records of any services they may have rendered in the French and Indian War which was at its peak that year. In the 1948 "Holloway Genealogy," it is noted that "William Holloway and his son Josiah4 are “buried side by side in the old ‘Walker Cemetery’, an out of the way spot at the southern limits of Taunton between the Taunton River and the railroad."
Joseph Atwood in 1768 was chosen moderator of a town meeting to discuss abstaining from “glass, paper, printers’ colors, and tea on which articles the British Parliament had recently fixed an import duty when brought into the colonies.” After the Revolutionary War, Joseph Atwood and Col. Sylvester Richmond donated two tracts of land to the ministerial fund for the use of the Pedo-Baptist Congregational Church.
Gideon Pendleton was born at Westerly, R.I. on May 15, 1750 and died at Dighton, Mass on December 17, 1809. The Rhode Island Census of 1776 shows that on page 236 Gideon Pendleton was enrolled as private in Capt. Stillman’s 3rd Westerly co. early in that year. On the December 25, 1776, he became a private in Col. John Topham’s Regiment, which was raised for three years, as shown by the list of balances reported due by Legislative committee in October 1785. On March 20, 1779, he was appointed Corporal in Christopher Dryer’s Co. Col.Topham’s Regt., and was in the Battle of Rhode Island forces in the Continental service from November 7, 1779 to March 13, 1780 (R.I. Archives).
Immediately after his services in the Revolutionary War, when he was 21 yrs. old, he came up the Taunton River from Narragansett Bay to Dighton, Mass. In Dighton, he secured employment in the shipbuilding yard of Thomas Rose, and a few months later married the shipbuilder’s daughter, Anne Rose. One descendant of Anne noted that people had thought it strange that Anne Rose would marry a "foreigner!" A "foreigner" was anyone who didn’t live in Dighton. Gideon Pendleton made his home at Dighton the rest of his life. He followed the ship-carpenter’s occupation for a while, and then began going to sea, finally becoming a master mariner in the coastal trade. On the February 16, 179, he bought of Nathan and Mary Ide for 85 pounds about one acre of land and dwelling house in Dighton lying on the northerly side of the road near Brigg’s Ferry. From “The Pendleton Genealogy” it is noted “Gideon Pendleton, his wife, and several of his children are buried in the “Rose Cemetery,” an unfrequented spot situated in the southern limits of Taunton, Mass., on a slight elevation on the ground between the river and the Fall River Railroad; the stones that mark their last resting places were erected by his son, Hiram, about 1860.”
Gideon Pendleton Jr. was born September 8, 1790. He had served in the War of 1812. A marker erected to his memory in the “Rose Cemetery” (Walker-Blake) states that he died at New Orleans, LA, 31 May 1813.
Samuel7 Pendleton (Gideon6, Samuel5, James4, Caleb3) was born at Dighton, Mass., 23 August 1781 and died there suddenly 29 November 1824. He was a mariner and farmer. He married on 18 October 1803 Sarah (Sally) White, born August 31, 1783, Taunton, Mass. and died January 17, 1864, Dighton, Mass.. She was the daughter of Capt. Cornelius and Abigail (Leonard) White who were descendants of many of the early settlers of Taunton. Cornelius White was an officer of the Revolutionary War as noted earlier.
Hiram S. Pendleton (Gideon6, Samuel5, James4, Caleb3) was born July 10, 1794 and died unmarried at North Dighton, Mass. on March 28, 1863. Hiram for many years was a merchant at Taunton, Mass. During the War of 1812, he served as Corporal in a company raised at Raynham, Mass. and attached to Col. Lincoln’s Regiment. He received pay for service at New Bedford from September 27 to October 18, 1814.
Thomas4 Rose (Gideon3, Thomas2, Thomas1) married Prudence5 Blake (Lt. Edward4). Thomas was a ship builder on the Taunton River.
Thomas5 Rose (Thomas4, Gideon3, Thomas2, Thomas1) was born February 21, 1758, in Dighton, MA. He served in the Revolutionary War. He married on October 30,1790 Hannah Atwood, who was baptized August 13, 1760, daughter of Joseph Atwood, who is also buried in the graveyard.
George Gooding married in 1686 Deborah3 Walker, daughter of James Walker. On the deed of some land in the South Purchase deeded to George Gooding from James Walker, Sr., George Gooding wrote “This is to declare that my father-in-law, James Walker, gave me the money that bought the land mentioned in the deed, for which I humbly thank him.”
Thomas and Ester Baylies emigrated from England in 1737 and they had 8 children. One of the children was Helen who married Peter5 Walker (James4, James3, James2, Widow1 Walker) of Taunton. Helen was the sister to Nicholas Baylies. Another association to the Walker family was through Henry Baylies who married Deborah7 Walker. There is a large flat slab placed by the Baylies’ family in the graveyard, and it has the following inscription:
“In 1923 there were removed from this burial ground to the South Dighton Cemetery, the remains of twelve of the earliest ancestors and kindred of the Baylies Family in America whose names are here inscribed.”
Thomas Baylies, Jr.
Thomas Sargeant Baylies
I received a letter from Carlton Crapo dated Feb. 26, 1996. Carlton was a descendant of the Blake and Walker families and a contributor to our non-profit. He shared with me the following:
“The Baylies estate in Taunton, Mass was also on the Taunton River, it was the Baylies country home and their mansion was in Boston. They also had a NY City residence.
In the early 1920’s, Mrs. Charlotte (Upham) Baylies (wife of Walter Cabot Baylies) decided to restore the old Dighton Church back to its original state, it was the church of the early Baylies Family.
Mrs. Baylies mentioned that she wanted the family in one area, and not spread out. This was told to me by my grandmother Lucy (Standish) Crapo also a member of Dighton Church. Her family were also original members of the 2nd Congregational Church.
Mrs. Baylies also left the church with a fine parsonage on Elm St. just below the church. They were very prominent people in Boston, NY society and very patriotic.
One of the Baylies men [Hodijah] was Aide de Camp to General George Washington.”
The following references of the Walker-Blake Graveyard were taken from the booklet “Reminiscences of the Baylies and Richmond Families” by Mary Richmond Baylies (1809-1883).
After providing information on the first generation of the Baylies family in America she says on page 9, “This is all I know of them except their place of burial in Dighton [Taunton] which I have seen. It is on the Taunton River and shielded by high brushes from the view of passers on the water. Some years since Fredrick [her cousin?]and I visited this graveyard and thought it the most dismal, forsaken spot we had ever seen. It was over-run with briars and high, tough grass, and had received no new interments for many years. It was the Baylies burying ground, for we saw few names except those of that family.”
On page 15, the Walker-Blake Graveyard is described; she says: “A recent Taunton paper says: ‘About three and a half miles south of Taunton Green is one of the most ancient burying grounds in town, situated in a retired spot on the Taunton River. The genealogy of many of our present inhabitants may be traced on its monuments.”
The reason why these people and their gravestones were removed was because Mrs. Baylies was concerned about the remote location of the graveyard and possible vandalism of the markers. This was in 1923.