Meet the Planters – Younglove

Meet the Rev. John Younglove

Rev. John Younglove’s Family

The biography of John Younglove, the most controversial personality to come out of the annals of the early history of Brookfield, begins with the arrival in America of Samuel Younglove in the “Hopewell” in late November of 1635. Samuel was at this time 30 years of age, was accompanied by his wife Margaret, 28 years of age, and a son Samuel, one year of age. The brothers John and James, not listed on the passenger lists, were probably not as yet born. Samuel was the to plant his feet firmly at Ipswich, where he is first found in the town records in 1635. He received a grant of land in that town, and his presence is further confirmed by his being mentioned in several real estate transactions. According to one historian of Ipswich, Samuel Younglove was the first known butcher in that town. He was listed as having the right of commonage on February 13, 1677-8, and as a voter of the town of December 2, 1679.

No evidence of the birth of any of the children of Samuel and Margaret can be found, but their names can be gleaned from the records of the period. We know that Samuel, Jr. came with his parents. Joseph and Joseph, Jr. are listed as voters in Ipswich in 1678, presumably son and grandson of Samuel Younglove. John and James made up the remainder of the known family of Samuel Younglove. Although there is no direct evidence to prove that John and James were sons of Samuel, the facts seem to indicate this to be the case: First, Samuel was the only Younglove listed as an early settler of Ipswich; secondly, John and James are known to have come from Ipswich; thirdly, John named his sons John, Samuel, James and Joseph, just as his father had done before him. Granted that this is circumstantial, but does appear logical.

The first mention of the name of John Younglove appears in the following excerpts from “Memoirs of Reverend Michael Wigglesworth.” “After the first impression of my books was sold, I had a great mind to go to Bermuda, and found encouragements thereto, providence made way for it wonderfully, by providing John Younglove to go with me. So we set sail about the 23 of September, 1663. Our voyage was long, and the latter part of it very tedious, by stormy weather. John Younglove also being unwilling to stay above a year with me, I began to think it better to return home, than to let slip that opportunity which God sent by a vessel of Mr. Willoughbies”.

It could have been that this association provided John with some of the education which he apparently received in matters of religion. He spent the remainder of his life as a preacher or teacher, although never ordained, and never very successful.

It is quite probable that John and possibly James, Younglove had signed the petition of 1660 to the General Court for a grant of land at Quaboag. In the interim, between the grant of land and the actual settlement, John was probably busy acquiring an education, which he undoubtedly had to have to have been able to present himself as a preacher to the people.

As it has been previously mentioned, he and his family were one of the families settled at Quaboag at the time of purchase in November, 1665. The first definite evidence of his presence at Quaboag is found in the following opening entry of his account with John Pynchon. “John Younglove of Quaboag Dr. To severalls as in day book, 1665, 00 16 04”.

This certainly places him at Quaboag as of 1665. He had come over the Bay Path, probably with John Warner and family, accompanied by his wife Sarah, his son John, Jr., and daughter Sarah, both born at Ipswich before 1665.

An entry of particular interest in the ledger is the following : “November 8, 1669. By allowance I make you towards building you a house 02 0 ….”

Here is a suggestion that Mr. Pynchon recognized Mr. Younglove as a legitimate clergyman, having given him the customary courtesy allowance towards the expense of establishing himself at Quaboag.

On December 8, 1670. Younglove was charged 2 pounds 10 shillings for his share of the purchase price of Quaboag, indicating that he was allowed twice the usual amount of land.

Sometime during these first few years at Quaboag, was born the third child of John and Sarah Younglove. She was named Mary.

The following exact transcriptions from court records are self explanatory and inform us of another event in the lives of these pioneers of Quaboag. “March 26, 1667: The inventory of the estate of James Younglove of Quaboag (lately deceased who died intestate) was presented to this court and power of administration upon the said estate was awarded to his brother–Younglove who accepted thereof. And distribution of the said estate is deferred to the court to be held at Springfield in September next. The inventory of the estate is on file with the recorded.” March 31, 1668: “A writing of an agreement between the Youngloves of Quaboag was presented to this court concerning the division of the deceased brothers estate such agreement is allowed, certified by this court.”

Although John Younglove was the recognized preacher at Quaboag, he also was involved in the business of every day living at the Plantation, just as any other planter was. In 1667, he was allowed the usual bounty for killing a wolf, and again in 1670, was allowed a gratuity from the treasury, along with his son, for killing two wolves. In 1669, he reduced the amount of the balance owing to Mr. Pynchon by selling him two steers, each valued at more than four pounds and by 112 pounds of pork valued at 1 pound 5 shillings. He also did manual labor in return for goods received from Mr. Pynchon, witness the following entry of credit in 1670: “by work for me at Quaboag Mill digging gravel, etc., 12 days 01 04 00”.

To say that Mr. Younglove had a stormy career is to put it mildly, turbulent being a much more appropriate adjective to describe his course through life. As we will indicate presently, he spent almost as much time in court as out of it, and he always seemed able to receive the sympathy of the court in his continual wrangling with his parishioners and fellow inhabitants.

The first suspicion of unrest at Quaboag appeared in the record of the Hampshire County court held at Northampton on March 26, 1672. “The jury presents that they judge it necessary that it be inquired into concerning Mr. Younglove, the Minister at Quaboag, whether he be comfortably provided for . Whereupon the court ordered that that both Mr. Younglove be desired to appear at the adjournment of this court, viz, on 19 June next, to declare why, and to treat in the case, and the people be required to send some one or more to speak in their behalf”.

The result of this was to be a full-fledged court hearing on June 19, 1672, in which it was quite obvious that there was dissention between the people and their minister, Mr. Younglove appeared for himself, and the Plantation was represented by John Ayres and William Prichard. The outcome was the people were ordered to continue attending services preached by Mr. Younglove. If no reconciliation could be affected, then the Court hoped that he, Mr. Younglove, would be called to some other place and replaced by another qualified preacher, but in the meantime the people were to continue paying him his agreed salary of 30 pounds per year, as long as he remained as their minister.

The rift between Mr. Younglove and the planters at Quaboag was never healed, resulting in his leaving the settlement to seek what he hoped to be a more congenial atmosphere at Hadley. The last entry in his account with a Quaboag dateline was on November 3, 1673. It is probable, however, that he remained for a few months longer since on March 31, 1674, we find him again in court complaining that John Ayres, Sr. had refused to pay him his due. Ayres claimed that since he kept the ordinary (tavern) he was exempt by law from paying these assessments. The court agreed with him, and ordered the Selectmen of Brookfield to pay Mr. Younglove what was due him, raising the money by assessment of the other inhabitants, according to the law. This could not have made Mr. Younglove any more popular with the inhabitants, and he soon removed to Hadley.

Judd, in the History of Hadley, lists John Younglove as a teacher at the Hadley Grammar School from 1674 to 1680 and again from 1688 to 1689. During this latter period of six months, he was a resident of Suffield and probably returned there to preach on the Sabbath. On the 21 December 1676, the town voted to give the schoolmaster 30 pounds per annum, a part from the school estate, and the rest from the scholars in the town. Again on January 10, 1677-8 he was allowed a salary of 30 pounds and also he was to have the use of a house and lot belonging to the school and 12 acres of land.

During their early years at Hadley were born to John and Sarah, two daughter, Lydia and Hannah, who’s exact dates of birth are not recorded, and a son, Samuel, born on February 10, 1676. Also, during this period we find John in the court records but on these occasions not in the roll of plaintiff, for a change. On September 26, 1676, he is found as a juror at the County Court held at Springfield. On January 10, 1676-7 at Northampton he took the oath of freeman as certified by the General Court. He had now achieved a mark of distinction.

A pleasant interlude in their story occurred in 1682 when on September 25, Sarah married john Taylor of Suffield. There were no children born of this marriage. However, Sarah and John Younglove were blessed with the birth of a son, Joseph on November 26, 1682, also at Suffield. John had now left full-time teaching at Hadley and had again taken up the duties of the ministry, preaching to the people of Suffield, the first minister of that place. His remaining years were to be spent at Suffield, but they were to be no more tranquil than his previous ministry had been at Quaboag and Hadley. It would seem that Mr. Younglove could irritate people very easily from the pulpit and had a knack for drawing upon himself unkind words from many quarters.

On April 18, 1690, the inhabitants voted to petition the court to be held at Northampton on April 23, 1690, to cause John Younglove to cease preaching among them.

The controversy never came to a hearing because John Younglove died on June 3, 1690, at Suffield. He was probably between 52 and 55 at the time of his death. Not a slab or stone marks the grave of John Younglove, the town’s first minister. Sarah Younglove survived her husband about twenty years, caring for her family. Sarah Younglove died at Suffield on January 17, 1710.

The settlement of John Younglove’s estate appears about one year later on September 29, 1691 at the court in Springfield.

In March 1703, the major part of the estate of John Younglove at Quaboag was sold to Rev. Joseph Smith, presumably by John Jr. and James who had inherited the land twelve years previously.