From The Brockton Enterprise, Monday, May 17, 1937

Brockton in its Early Days


David Packard, Brockton's Sixth Settler.

     DAVID PACKARD was probably the sixth settler in Brockton. He was the son of Zaccheus Packard, Brockton's first settler, and was born on February 11, 1687, in West Bridgewater. Others may have some claim to the honor of being the sixth settler, as there is some evidence that Samuel Kingman, Daniel Field, Richard Holt, Timothy Keith and Thomas Buck all settled in Brockton about the time that David Packard did, but the writer believes on all the evidence that David is entitled to sixth place. On July 2, 1708, at the age of 21 years, David bought five acres of land on the west side of the river below Meadow lane in Campello from Josiah Snell for ten pounds. And on January 25, 1709, David and his brother, Jonathan, bought 127 acres of land on both sides of Plain street, Campello, from a Joseph Stewart for 120 pounds. Stewart had purchased the same land partly from John Snell and partly from David Cary. Evidently Jonathan Packard had planned to settle on Plain street with David, but it later developed that Jonathan bought his father's farm on Copeland street, and then sold his interest in the Plain street land to his brother Solomon.

     Meadow lane had been laid out in 1703, probably with the expectation or understanding that the land on Plain and Summer streets would soon be settled, as it was good farm land with meadows and water available. No doubt David and Jonathan immediately started to develop their land, possibly with the help of their father and some of their younger brothers. As the Packard homestead on Copeland street was less than a mile away they probably went back and forth every day at first. They built their first house where the railroads tracks are just north of Meadow lane, probably in 1710. Later on a second house was built on Plain street just in front of where the Packard farm dairy is to-day. Then Robert Packard, of the fourth generation from David, built the present Packard homestead on Plain street.

     David Packard married Hannah Ames on December 17, 1712, and they were the parents of five sons and four daughters, namely: David, Jr., William, Hannah, Isaac, Mary, Ebenezer, Abiah, Mehitabel and Jane. Later on David purchased considerable more land in Brockton which he conveyed mostly to his sons, David, Jr., William, Isaac and Abiah. The farm on Plain street, about 90 acres, was conveyed to his son, Ebenezer, by deed dated January 11, 1748. His daughters married into the Brett, Richards and Kingman families. David Packard was a man of considerable influence in the old North Parish, and he took an active part in civic and religious matters.

     ON February 1, 1722, David entered into an agreement with his brothers, James, Solomon, Israel and Zaccheus, and Ephraim Haward (Howard), Ephraim Fobes, Samuel, John and Henry Kingman, and Samuel Noyes of Abington to build an iron works or forge "to make iron with on the Damm of Packard's Saw Mill nigh unto James Packard's Dwelling house," and "to bring in what iron oar we have or can find if any of our lands in our North Precinct at Twenty shillings a Tun at said Iron Works." This forge and the saw mill were located at the junction of Crescent and Summer streets, Brockton, where they could make use of the water power from Trout brook. And the forge was undoubtedly the very first one to be built in Brockton.

     David Packard, Sr., died on November 3, 1755, at the age of 68 years, leaving his wife and children surviving him. His widow died in 1767. Ebenezer Packard married Sarah Perkins in 1746, and they were the parents of ten sons and two daughters. Four of the sons went to Maine to live, and another son removed to Newbury, Mass. Ebenezer died in 1803 at the age of 79 years and left a will whereby he left a third interest in his real estate to his wife for her life, made bequests to eight of his sons and the two daughters, and left the rest and residue of his estate, including the farm on Plain street, to his sons Robert and Lot Packard, the latter being one of the sons that went to Maine. Robert Packard continued the operation of the farm, and he also was a substantial citizen of the North Parish, and later of the town of North Bridgewater, holding the rank of captain. Capt. Robert Packard married first Ruth Barrell in 1782, and after she died he married Sally Perkins in 1788. Later, wife Sally having died, he married Sarah Hayward in 1798.

     WHEN Captain Robert died in 1844 his son, Robert, came into possession of the Plain street farm after a life interest therein to his mother, Sarah. Administration was taken out on the estate of Robert Packard, Jr., in 1880, the farm on Plain street remaining in the family. And now this same farm is in the possession of the sixth generation of the Packard family from David, its first owner, a truly remarkable record for Brockton, and a record which no other farm in the city can possibly equal. From 1709 to 1937, or for 228 years, spanning six generations, an average of 38 years to a generation, the Packard farm on Plain street has been in operation, and still going strong, as the saying is.

     Solomon Packard, David's brother, settled on the farm on Plain street just east of David's farm about 1715, but that farm passed into the hands of the Hayward family before 1830. Then further east on Plain street on the south side of the street was the farm of Jacob Allen, who settled there before 1736. James Packard, another brother, settled in the vicinity of Crescent and Lyman streets about 1720, and Zaccheus, another brother, settled near James, a few years later. John Packard, still another of the brothers, settled on the north corner of Main and Crescent streets about 1725. Abiel Packard, another brother, settled in the north end of the city about 1725. And Jonathan, the seventh brother, settled on the old homestead on Copeland street.


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