The deeds we counted poor and mean,
Now shine with added glory,
And like a romance, reads the page
Of life’s poor, meagre story.
But vanished from our wistful sight,
Too late for vain regretting,
The joys, that the remorseful heart
With sacred gold is setting.
Ah! dearest of all earthly hopes
Within the soul abiding,
The lost, lost life of yesterday
The heart is ever hiding.
* * * * *
By the Hon. Samuel Abbott green, M.D.
The original grant of the township of Groton was made by the General Court, on May 25, 1655, and gave to the proprietors a tract of land eight miles square; though during the next year this was modified so that its shape varied somewhat from the first plan. It comprised all of what is now Groton and Ayer, nearly all of Pepperell and Shirley, large parts of Dunstable and Littleton, smaller parts of Harvard and Westford, Massachusetts, and a portion of Nashua, New Hampshire. The grant was taken out of the very wilderness, relatively far from any other town, and standing like a sentinel on the frontiers. Lancaster, fourteen miles away, was its nearest neighbor in the southwesterly direction on the one side; and Andover and Haverhill, twenty and twenty-five miles distant, more or less, in the northeasterly direction on the other. No settlement on the north stood between it and the settlements in Canada. Chelmsford and Billerica were each incorporated about the same time, though a few days later.
When the grant was made, it was expressly stipulated that Mr. Jonathan Danforth, of Cambridge, with such others as he might desire, should lay it out with all convenient speed in order to encourage the prompt settlement of a minister; and furthermore that the selectmen of the town should pay a fair amount for his services. During the next year a petition, signed by Deane Winthrop and seven others, was presented to the General Court asking for certain changes in the conditions, and among them the privilege to employ another “artist” in the place of Mr. Danforth, as he was overrun with business. The petition was referred to a committee who reported favorably upon it, and the request was duly granted. Formerly a surveyor was called an artist, and in old records the word is often found with that meaning.
Ensign Peter Noyes, of Sudbury, was then engaged by the grantees and he began the survey; but his death, on September 23, 1657, delayed the speedy accomplishment of the work. It is known that there was some trouble in the early settlement of the place, growing out of the question of lands, but its exact character is not recorded; perhaps it was owing to the delay which now occurred. Ensign Noyes was a noted surveyor, but not so famous as Jonathan Danforth, whose