Inspirational stories of exemplary people.
"Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” --- C. S. Lewis
January 8, 2013
George Felch/Felt Gave Heirs a Strong Start in a Free Land
George Felch/Felt Gave Heirs a Strong Start in a Free Land
By Melanie Jensen Johnson
George Felch probably would not feel comfortable being labeled
a hero.He probably felt like a complete
failure.After all, at the end of his
life, he and his wife relied on the kindness of strangers for their
support.They were effectively
beggars.But I believe he was a hero, at
least to me and all of his other descendants.Let me explain.
George Felch felt stifled in England.He had ambition—he wanted to make more of his
life than what he could in England.He refused
to do what generations of working-class Felch’s had done before him in
Bedfordshire, England—rent.He wanted
his own land to farm and improve, so he could pass it down to his descendants
and change the future.His hunger drove
him to do something crazy.He sailed for
It was risky and George knew it.As a trained Mason, he probably wasn’t sure
he could fight American Indians, hunt wild animals, live in a cabin, or clear
forests for farmland.He had heard
stories of the difficulties.But he knew
he could build homes and farm the land.
George joined Captain John Endicott’s company and landed in
1628 in the New World.After a while in
Salem, George settled in Charlestown where other Bedfordshire natives had come
Newly chartered Charlestown officials gave out 5 acre plots
of land to eager settlers.George
happily accepted his first acreage, right next to Widow Wilkinson’s acreage, on
the ‘Mystick Side’ of Charlestown (now Everett.)Soon he was keeping company with the widow’s
daughter Elizabeth and the couple was married around 1633.
All places are approximate. Thanks to Google Maps for template to draw map.
George built a home, probably more like a cabin,
on his property in Charlestown, cleared the land and planted crops.He learned to trade with the Native
Americans, and he bought more land.By
1638, he and Elizabeth were the proud owners of his original 5 acres in
Charlestown, 20 acres of forested land in modern Malden and 38 acres of
wetlands in modern Woburn.The family
even had a milk cow.George had the land
he wanted and a family with whom to share it.His family grew quickly—6 or 7 children were born to the couple between
1634 and 1651.
George learned to trade with the Native Americans—alcohol,
blankets, gun powder and beads for valuable furs and fish.(Corey)Trading with the Native Americans made George
wealthy.George built a larger home on
another 5 acres in modern Everett.And he put his wealth into land.He bought 300 acres in Casco Bay, Maine,
looking to relocate there eventually.He built a small stone house on that land, making a trading post for his
interactions with the Native Americans during trading season.
When George Jr. married in 1662, George made a gift of 40
pounds to his son.And he followed that
up with a signed deed confirming his intent to leave George Jr. 60 more pounds
in his will.George must have felt the
full extent of his hard work and enterprise.He truly had broken free of the constraints placed on peasants in
England.And he promised to share this
wealth with his kids.
Now that he was trading so far from home, George and
Elizabeth planned to move to Casco Bay.In 1664, they sold all the lands they had so carefully gathered in
Charlestown.They moved to Casco Bay
that year, bringing the younger children along.Their son George Jr. also settled there with his family.
With the American Indians a constant threat, the homes were
built so as to allow the settlers to keep an eye out for each other.George built his newest home near what were
called ‘Felt’s Falls’ right on the coast in Broad Cove.It must have been a beautiful place for a
home, the falls having been described as where ‘the creek at Cumberland
Foreside come tumbling into the sea.’The creek was large enough to power a mill in subsequent years.It must have been a fantastic property upon
which to retire.
George bought another 2000 acres in Casco Bay he
wanted.He said he lived on it for 3
years before paying 60 pounds for it in 1670.Life went on pleasantly for George until 1675, when American Indians
attacked the settlers in the area.George and Elizabeth fled to safety, as did George Jr. and his family,
having seen the smoke from neighboring homes as evidence of the invasion.For three years, the ‘savages’ destroyed all
the hard work of these early settlers was gone.And George Jr. died at their hands.
George and Elizabeth had lost their home, their farm, and
their oldest son.A developer claimed
their 2000 acres, and sold it to new settlers.With 200 acres of raw land, but too old now to redevelop it, they gave it
to their son Moses and grandson George 3rd.They
moved to Malden where daughter Mary lived with her husband James Nichols.But Nichols didn’t want to care for ‘ould
ffelt;’ instead Nichols petitioned the town to pay for their support as they
lived with other families.
In another plea of support, George wrote to the town of
…Some time after the late Indian
war it was withheld from me by some of the inhabitants of said Town of Caskoe
Bay and being by said war much impoverished I could not recover it out of their
hands.I also am now forced to suffer
for want of convenient care taken of me in my present distresse being about
eighty seaven year’s old and very crasy and weak.
Although the couple was new to town, and destitute, the town
of Malden supported the old couple off and on for 11 years until their deaths
in 1693-1694.They were among the
earliest citizens that became town charges of Malden town.
George came to America to build a future for himself and his
posterity.Land in America was the
key.Although he was amazingly
successful at creating this wealth in his lifetime, King Phillips War and a developer’s
claim stripped him of this wealth.Although
things didn’t work out the way he had planned, he still passed on to his
posterity a toe-hold in a free country, where his heirs could build a wealth of
their own.That makes him a hero in my
written using the information available at the time it was written.The author did her best in good faith to
represent George and Elizabeth Felch accurately and kindly.Author is solely responsible for the content.
Corey, Deloraine Pendre. The History of Malden,
Massachusetts, 1633-1785. Malden, Massachusetts: Self Published, 1899.
Jensen. Saints, Witches and Murderers. 22 Jan 2013. 22 Jan 2013 .
The home was described as located on the south west of the mill hill, butting
southward upon the Charles river.
This home would have been at the corner of Ferry and Chelsea street in Everett.This home stood over 200 years, having been
owned by Revolutionary War Patriot Daniel Waters.It had been enlarged by subsequent owners,
but George handcrafted the core.It was
demolished in 1850.