Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BLACKSTONE, William, pioneer, died in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, 26 May 1675. He is supposed to have been a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1617, and a clergyman of the Church of England. He moved, about 1623, from Plymouth to the peninsula of Shawlnut, or Tri-mountain, where Boston was afterward built, and was living there alone when Governor Winthrop arrived at Charles-town in 1630. Blackstone went to Winthrop, told him of an excellent spring at Shawmut, and invited him thither. The governor and the greater part of the Church accepted this invitation. The land, although Blackstone had occupied it first, belonged to the governor and company, and on 1 April 1633, they gave him fifty acres, near his house, "to enjoy forever." Blackstone, however, did not like his Puritan neighbors, and in 1634 sold his estate to the company for £30, which was raised by assessing six shillings or more on each inhabitant. He purchased cattle with the proceeds of his sale, and removed to a place on the River now called by his name, a few miles north of Providence. It is said that he planted the first orchard in Massachusetts, and also the first in Rhode Island Although the first white settler of Rhode Island, he took no part in founding the colony. He did not sympathize with Roger Williams, and always acknowledged allegiance to Massachusetts. While living near Providence he often preached in that town, and, when he grew too old to walk there, he was accustomed to ride upon a bull, as he owned no horse. After his death his place was plundered and his library burned by the Indians, in the war of 1675. The cellar of his house is still shown, and a small eminence near by, where he was accustomed to read, is known as "Study Hill." See "William Blackstone in his Relation to Massachusetts and Rhode Island " (New York, 1880).
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