Woodcock Garrison House

The first settler in what was then known as the Attleborough Territory was John Woodcock, who had a farm of three hundred acres on the Ten Mile River. Woodcock built his house in 1669 and was licensed the following year to open a public house or tavern. He was warned to "keep good order" and that "no unruliness or ribaldry be permitted there." Woodcock's house was just one of several "garrison houses" built for protection against possible Indian attacks. Similar "garrison houses" were located in settlements such as Dedham, Seekonk and Swansea. In a cruel twist of fate, Woodcock's "garrison house" failed to offer protection for a member of his own family. In April 1676, during King Philip's War, Woodcock's son, Nathaniel, was killed by Indians while working in a nearby corn field. The Indians cut off Nathaniel's head and stuck it on a pole in front of the house. Nathaniel Woodcock was buried where he fell, and his grave is now in the center of what would become the Woodcock Cemetery. John Woodcock sold his farm in 1694 and it had several subsequent owners. The house that is known to us today is not the original Woodcock Garrison House but a small addition to the original. This addition was built between 1730-1740 according to the caption under a picture of it in "A Sketch of the History of Attleborough" by John Daggett which was published by his daughter in 1894. The old garrison house was torn down in 1806 and a large building was erected in its place, probably reusing much of the old wood. The addition was moved back a little to where it is located today and became a tavern. It was later turned into a dwelling house known as the "Aunt Cynthia Hatch House" and later purchased by Bill and Dorothy Rice who restored it and then sold it to the North Attleborough Historical Society.