A Trip to the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Part 2

In my previous Blog, I wrote about my Bradford ancestors, Josiah, Samuel and Harvey. In this Blog, I am interested in looking at the Plymouth County roots of my Snell ancestors. I know quite a bit about my Snell ancestors, but I’d be interested in trying to find out where they lived.

A Short History of Otis Snell

Here is Otis and his wife Mary Ann:

Otis was born in Dighton, MA in 1804. He went on an early whaling trip from New Bedford in 1821. Otis jumped ship in the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii) on that trip. He made his way back to Nantucket where he married Mary Ann Parker in 1828. Otis had one child born in Nantucket and the next ten in Rochester, MA. Otis died in Rochester in 1889. Mary Ann died in Rochester in 1895.

Otis H Snell and Plymouth County Land Records

After spending 1$ per copy for deeds, I found out that a lot of this information is on-line. Here are the results for an on-line Registry search:

The first column should tell whether Otis was buying ‘EE’ or selling ‘OR’ land.

1843 Sale of Tillage Land to Joseph E Smith

This is the first deed, but it seems to mention where Otis lived. He bought the property from J Ruggles.

All I have to do is find a house near Nathaniel Bonney, the Constant S Mendall Store, Spring Brook and the Halls Farm. Here is the best I can do with an 1857 map:

Here I circled a store that is near a Mendall. I also circled the Bonney and Ruggles names. The map is interesting as it shows that the present-day Mary’s Pond Road did not go into the center of Town. If all else fails, I may be able to trace one of these deeds forward into the present by following a trail of grantors and grantees.

[For the corrected location, see below in the Blog.]

That same 1857 map shows O.H. Snell here:

I know this location, but it is probably not where Otis was living in 1843. At the end of 1843, Otis and Mary Ann already had five children. They likely moved to Rochester about 1835 as their first child was born in Nantucket in 1832 and their second child in Rochester in 1837.

1844 Sale of Land to Isaac Carlton

I don’t find out much from this deed except that Otis sold land near Isaac Carlton to Isaac Carlton. We don’t know if this land was near Otis’ house or not.

1848 Sale to George C Skiff

This deed could be important as it took place near the time of the 1850 Census.

This turns out to be a major document. The sale was at the considerable sum of $825. The deed does not say it, but I assume that this is where Otis and his family were living at the time. The road from Rochester to New Bedford is mentioned – probably the current New Bedford (or Perry Hill) Road. Isaac Carlton is again mentioned as well as Ebenezer Gammons and Zacheus Rider.

Here is an 1879 map of Rochester:

This map shows E.K. Gammons and I. Carlton. The N. Bonney is likely the Nathaniel Boney mentioned in the first deed above. Also the store could be the Mendell Store from the first deed. That would mean that the Snell house could be shown as the G.F. Henly house on the map. This house would have been about half-way between the current Mattapoisett Road and the Mattapoisett River. This would be roughly in the area of the current Captain Bonney’s Ice Cream:

Here is the 1857 Map:

Here the house is listed as G Healey. A second choice for the house would be the K Sherman house. That could mean that the Spring Brook could be the brook shown going into the Mattapoisett River to the North of and parallel to New Bedford Road.

The story seems to be that Otis Snell and family move from Nantucket to Rochester on New Bedford Road in about 1835 and sell that house in 1848 to move to Snipatuit Road. Constant Mendell and Harriet Church were witnesses to this Deed. Constant could be the C Mendell living near the intersection of Mattapoisett Road and New Bedford Road.

Next: Skiff to Cowing 1851

This property was sold to Henry Cowing in 1851:

Here we learn that Skiff was a mariner:

This is listed as a MTG rather than a deed. I’m not sure why. I don’t see any more listings for Henry Cowing in the Registry so this seems to be a dead end.

More on George C Skiff

According to Ancestry:

He married Elizabeth Cowing and sold property to Henry Cowing. In 1850 Skiff appeared to be living next to Carlton who was born in New Hampshire:

Unfortunately, George Skiff dies in 1852.

More on Henry Cowing

It looks like Henry also dies in 1855:

This is quite confusing. This mentions part of the estate of Henry Cowing not assigned to his widow. Eliza Skiff gets 5/6 but four of those 5/6 are purchased by other heirs. Then the remaining 1/6 she keeps as ‘heir at law’. Now Charles Ricketson gets one undivided sixth part bought by him of another heir.

This better describes the property:

This shows that the land was likely to the East of the land of Carlton and Healy. As Rickerson is mentioned in this probate record, perhaps the Rickerson (or Ricketson?) house and the Snell house were the same:

That would have to be my best guess for now – a bit further to the East and Mattapoisett Road than I had initially thought. Recall that George Skiff lived next to Isaac Carlton in the 1850. It appears that the Snell house, Skiff house and Ricketson house were one and the same.

More On Charles Ricketson

Here is the 1860 Census:

Eliza Skiff is a housekeeper for Samuel Cowing. Charles Ricketson born in Dartmouth is married to an Alice who was born in Taunton. Further down is Kelley Sherman, likely the K. Sherman of the map above and at the bottom of the page (not shown) is a George F Healy, trader, born in Abington. This would be the G Healy of the map.

Here is the deed where Ricketson buys Reuben Cowing’s claim on the homestead farm of George Skiff:

In this deed, Charles Ricketson is described as a stage driver. This homestead farm is further described as being near the “Centre Town Pound”.

Summary of Otis H Snell’s First Rochester House

  • Otis Snell first sells off part of his farm land for tillage in 1843. This land borders on the Constant Mendall Store and the Ebenezer Bonney property. There were two stores shown on the 1857 map, but it now seems that this store could be the one shown at the corner of Perry Hill Road and Mattapoisett Road.
  • In 1844, Otis sells some more land to Isaac Carlton. I now see where Isaac lived on New Bedford Road. Perhaps Otis as a mariner, didn’t need this farm land.
  • IN 1848, Otis sells his New Bedford Road farm to George Skiff who is married to Elizabeth Cowing.
  • George Skiff then sells the property to Henry Cowing in 1851 and dies in 1852
  • Henry Cowing dies in 1855.
  • In 1856, Charles Ricketson buys Reuben Cowen’s claim on the Skiff property.
  • In 1857, the probate is finalized. Charles Ricketson and Elisabeth Skiff are named, but Charles appears to end up in the house based on the 1860 Census and the Rochester map.
  • Based on all that, I associate the house labelled ‘C. Rickerson’ on the 1857 Rochester Map as the one that was owned by Otis H Snell up to 1848.

1867 Purchase from Otis Sherman

This is the first recorded purchase of Otis Snell. Apparently Otis had a habit of not recording the purchases of his first two dwellings in Rochester. This first recorded purchase appears to be for 12 acres of land to the North of where he lived on Snipatuit Road:

This deed mentions Charles M Blackmer, Henry Vaughan and Joseph Clark.

I don’t see Joseph Clark on this 1857 Map, but I do see C.M. Blackmer and L Vaughan. Perhaps Otis is getting away from his life at sea and settling down more on the farm. Here is another view of a map from 1856. I just didn’t pan out far enough:

The road from Vaughan to Clark is Neck Road today. J. Clark lived at the end of that road before there was a causeway across Snipatuit Pond.

1878 Sale to Gammons

I had to read this a few times as it was confusing. This was recorded in 1878 but is apparently for an earlier sale in 1845.

The question is where this land actually was – Perry Hill Road or Snipatuit Road? As Otis sold his Perry Hill Road property in 1847 (recorded 1848), my guess is that this would have been a sale from his Perry Hill Road property.

Probate for Isaac Parker 1851

Here is some information that I didn’t have before. Isaac Parker, who was the father of Mary Ann Parker has probate records. He is said to be late of Rochester. I had thought that Isaac had moved back to Falmouth and died there in 1842. On May 7, 1851, Theophilus King was set up as administrator. Here is the letter from Otis that got the ball rolling:

I assume that this letter was written in May of 1851. It shows that Isaac Parker was living in Rochester and died nearly a year ago – so in 1850. I checked Ancestry trees and all those who had a death for Isaac had the same date and place of death that I had.

Isaac had some small amount of real estate on Nantucket:

Isaac lived on Lower Pearl in Nantucket, so he must have had some property there:

This plan shows Isaac’s property at the top. There was a large fire in 1846 in Nantucket. This plan shows how the streets were widened after the fire. I assume that due to the widening of the street, the lot became too small for a house, so needed to be a store lot. Pearl is now India Street:

The property would be the one in the middle of the photo. I don’t know if this is the same house that Isaac lived in or whether it was rebuilt. The property appears to be currently Sweet Inspirations at Zero India Street:

Probate showed that Isaac owed more than he had:

This shows Isaac had a small store lot. It doesn’t say if a store was on the lot.

Here is another document from probate:

I scrolled through the Nantucket Deeds Indices and found this entry:

This deed gives some more history of the property:

“… a certain parcel of land situate on Pearl Street, Union Street, and Coal Lane in said Nantucket, bounded North by Pearl Street, East by Coal Lane, South by land formerly belonging to Eliza Bunker and West by Union Street, and being the residue of the land owned by Pamela Gardner, at her decease, a part of the land so owned by her having been taken by the Inhabitants of the Town of Nantucket, to widen Lower Pearl Street. The title to the same was acquired by said Isaac Parker by deed from Timothy M Gardner bearing date  13th 1823 recorded on  pages 336, 337 Book No. 27 of the Records of Deeds for the County of Nantucket…”

I had transcribed the 1823 deed previously on my Parker web page:

Know all men by these presents that I Timothy M. Gardner of Nantucket in the County of Nantucket Blockmaker in Consideration of Twelve hundred dollars paid by Isaac Parker of said Nantucket ship Wright the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, do hereby give grant sell and convey unto the said Isaac Parker and to his heirs and assigns forever, my Dwelling House in said Nantucket where I now Live together with all the Land under, round and belonging to the same � bounded by the house and Land formerly belonging to Eliza Bunker Deceased and now occupied by Charles Hussey & on the South, and by the Street on the East West and North, with all the Fences out building Rights and Priviledges therein belonging. The one half of the above granted house and Land derived to me from [my?] late mother Pamela Gardner and the other half I bought of my brother Nathan [B Gardner?] including all the Land to the Northwest of said house that I bought of the Agent the proprietors of the Common and undivided Land To have and to hold the afore granted forever to the said Isaac Parker and to his heirs and assigns to his others use and Behoof forever and I the said Timothy M. Gardner for myself and heirs Executor Administration do covenant with the said Isaac Parker his heirs and assigns that I Lawfully Seized in fee of the afore granted premises that they are free of all Encumbrances; that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Isaac Parker and that I will warrant and defend the same hereunder to the said Isaac Parker his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and Demands of all persons in witness whereof I the said Timothy M Gardner and my wife Lydia, …

Recorded June 13th 1823

So Isaac lost some money in this transaction. He paid $1200 for the property and ended up getting after his death $52.50 for the property from Seth Cathcart at auction.

More on Isaac Parker

The above deeds affirm where Isaac likely lived. However, I have found no record for the death of Isaac Parker. Here is one potential record:

However, this Isaac was a younger Isaac:

Perhaps there is a newspaper record of Isaac’s death. This is a case where an Otis Snell Deed lead to an Isaac Parker Deed and a new understanding on when and where Isaac Parker died. My guess is that he was staying in the house of Otis Snell and Mary Ann Parker Snell. He likely died before the 1850 Census.

Otis’ 1882 Sale to Albert F Snell

Here Otis sells land to his son:

The land appears to be to the South of Otis’ land.

1883 Purchase From Zachariah W Rider and Olive L Clark

This deed starts out saying that Otis is from Fall River:

If this is not an error Otis briefly moved to Fall River between living on Perry Hill Road and Snipatuit Road in Rochester. Here is some more information:






Probably part of what is throwing me off is that this sale was actually in 1849 and recorded 34 years later!

That means that Otis sells his property on Perry Hill Road at the end of 1847. He lives in Fall River for a little over a year, then buys the Snipatuit Road property from Zachariah Rider and Olive Clark in 1849. This apparently was the house previously owned by Barnabas Clark.

1883 Purchase From Walter A and Mary C Davis

There were quite a few people involved in this deed:

This was also originally from earlier (and at Bristol County):

This means that it may be worthwhile to check the Bristol Registry of Deeds for documents.

This deed mentions the home farm of Zachariah W Rider deceased and the garden of Eliza A Tinkham. Here the 1857 map of Rochester shows an R Tinkham near Otis

Also a Mrs. C Rider. This is where my grandparents Jim and Marion Hartley lived 100 years later. Here is the 1860 Census:

This at least shows Eliza Tinkham.

Otis to Isiah Snell Deed 1883

This would be from my 3rd great-grandfather to my 2nd great-grandfather. There were three recordings in a row. I think I see what is happening:

Otis is selling his house and lands to his son Isaiah. However, the house and lands were contained in two deeds which were not previously recorded, so he records the two earlier deeds and then sells the property to his son. However, even this 1883 recorded deed is back-dated to 1868:

That means that Otis likely moved from the Snipatuit Road location soon after this time to Neck Road.

1884 Snell to LeBaron Deed

This is the final Snell Deed recorded at the Plymouth Registry of Deeds. This deed is interesting as it mentions the shore of Snow’s Pond.

This is how I roughly picture this deed:

This Southwest portion of the pasture land hits the shore of Snow’s Pond and a right of way is needed across from Otis’ house to get to this land. This last deed, at least, was fairly straightforward. Also the land was likely smaller than shown as it was only an acre. Perhaps like this:

Summary and Conclusions

  • By looking at deeds, I have gotten an idea of the three places that Otis H Snell lived in Rochester, MA and when he lived there.
  • These places were current day New Bedford Road or Perry Hill Road (about 1835-1848), probably briefly in Fall River in 1848-1849, Snipatuit Road (1849-1868) and Neck Road (1868-1889).
  • I’ve gained appreciation for paying attention to the details of these deeds as the recorded date was not always the date of the original deed.
  • I also found probate records for Mary Ann Parker’s father, Isaac Parker. These records indicate that he died in Rochester about 1850. However, I could find no other death records to back that up. Previously, I had thought that Isaac died in Falmouth in 1842.`
  • I also found a deed for Isaac Parker where his store lot in Nantucket is sold off at auction to pay off his debts after his death.










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