posted September 2004
Cape Cod History home page
18th and 19th century documents
Mass. Historical Society Collections
For the Year 1794.
Printed at the Apollo Press, in Boston, by Joseph Belknap, printer to the Historical Society.
Reprinted in 1968 by Johnson Reprint Corporation, from an edition of unspecified date in the collections of
The New York Public Library
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
- 1 Description of Middleborough
- 4 Bill of Mortality in Hartford, with Remarks Geographical and Historical
- 6 A Topographical Description of York
- 11 Appendix, relative to Agamenticus
- 12 A Topographical Description of Barnstable
- 18 Description of Holliston
- 21 Extract from a Manuscript Journal of a Gentleman belonging to the Army of General St. Clair
- 27 Governour Bradford's Letter Book
- 77 A Descriptive and Historical Account of New England in verse. By Gov. Bradford
- 85 A Topographical Description of the County of Prince George, in Virginia
- 92 Mellen's Remarks on Mr. Webster's Calculations on Lives
- 94 Mr. Webster's Reply to Mr. Mellen's Remarks
- ibid Miscellaneous Remarks and Observations on Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Cape Breton
- 101 Road from Halifax to the Gulf of St. Lawrence
- ibid Governours of Nova Scotia from 1720
- 102 Description of the Atherine
- 103 Account of the Burning of Fairfield, in July, 1779
- 106 An Original Letter from Governour Shirley to the Board of Trade, respecting Fort Dummer, 1748
- 109 Two original Letters from Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to the Hon. Thomas Cushing, Esq. Speaker of the House of Representatives, of Massachusetts, 1774
- 117 A Topographical Description of Wellfleet
- 126 An Original Letter from Dr. Increase Mather, to Governour Dudley, 1708
- 128 An Original Letter from Dr. Cotton Mather, to Governour Dudley, 1708
- 135 An Original Letter from Governour Dudley, to Dr. Increase and Dr. Cotton Mather, 1708
- 137 Extract from Dr. Cotton Mather's Private Diary, 1702
- 138 A Topographical Description of Wells
- 141 A Topographical Description of Topsham
- 144 A Topographical Description of Machias
- 148 An Historical Account of Middleborough
- 153 A Topographical Description of Nantucket
- 155 Account of the Settlement of Nantucket, &c.
- 160 Births, Marriages, and Deaths, in Nantucket
- 161 Progress of the Whale Fishery at Nantucket
- 162 Letters from Granville Sharpe, Esq. on the subject of American Bishops, 1785
- 166 A Topographical Description of Raynham
- 173 Genealogical Sketch of the Family of Leonard
- 175 A Letter from Rev. Isaac Backus, on the subject of Iron Ore
- 176 Advertisement of an intended History of the Colony of Plymouth, By Peres Fobes, L.L.D.
- 177 Letters from Rev. John Eliot of Roxbury, to Hon. Robert Boyle. 1670 to 1688
- 188 Biographical and Topographical Anecdotes, respecting Sandwich and Marshpee
- 194 A List of the Commanders in Chief of Massachusetts, whether Governours, Lieutenant Governours, or the Council
- 195 A Topographical Description of Truro
- 203 Roger Williams's Key into the Language of the Indians of New England, 1643
- 239 A Topographical Description of the Plantations W. N. and N. E. of Sebago Pond
- 241 A Topographical and Historical Description of Boston
1 Description of the town of Middleborough.
MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Description of the town of Middleborough, in the county of Plymouth. With Remarks.
MIDDLEBOROUGH is bounded S. by Rochester and Freetown, W. by Freetown and Taunton, N. by the river which divides Middleborough from Raynham and Bridgwater, and by Halifax, E. by Plympton, Carver and Wareham.
This place, before the said town was incorporated, went by the name of Namaskett, which was an ancient Indian name, and was formerly plentifully inhabited by the Indian natives, who were governed by the noted sachem Tispacan. But when the town was incorporated, and began to be settled by the English, the natives began to scatter and decrease ; but there is now a settlement of them which descended from the ancients of Namaskett, which inhabit a part of said town, known by the name of Betty's-neck (which place took its name from an ancient Indian woman by the name of Betty Sasemore, who owned that neck) where there is now eight Indian houses and eight families. The general number of the Indians, old and young, that live there, is between thirty and forty. Their houses are poor, they own some land, they live imprudent—are very fond of liquor. They till their land, which produced good crops of corn and rye, which they trade off for spirituous liquors, with any retailer that is so destitute of principles as to trade with them, so that by the middle of the winter, their corn and grain is generally gone. Then, by their baskets and brooms (which they make) they purchase it to supply immediate necessity. They are very subject to hectical complaints, for more than half that are born are carried off young with consumptions.
In this town is one whole Congregational precinct, where the Rev. Joseph Barker is settled as minister. One precinct, containing part of
Description of the town of Middleborough. 2
Middleborough and part of Taunton, where the Rev. Caleb Turner is their settled minister. One precinct, containing part of Middleborough and part of Bridgwater, where the Rev. Mr. Gurney is settled. One other precinct incorporated in March last, containing part of Middleborough, part of Rochester, and part of Freetown. There are also three Baptist societies in said town ; one of them destitute of a settled teacher ; one under the charge of the Rev. Isaac Backus, the other under the charge of the Rev. Ebenezer Hinds.
This town is now very attentive to schools to educate their youth. This town is remarkable for a large range of ponds, that lie mostly therein. It is remarked that the pond lying in the southerly part of Rochester, known by the name of Snipatuct pond, being about four miles in circumference, has two streams issuing therefrom, the one running southward, and empties itself into the sea, at Rochester, at a place called Mattapoisett harbour ; the other stream, by running about three quarters of a mile, empties into the east Quitiquos pond, which mostly lies in said Middleborough, which unites with the other ponds, from whence Namaskett river ariseth: So that the alewife-fish come into Snipatuct pond from both streams.
This town is natural to corn and rye, which it produces well: Not poor for grass. A number of good mills, and iron works have been erected. The ponds produce large quantities of iron ore, which is used to great advantage, together with several sorts of fish.
There is on the easterly shore of Assawampsitt pond, on the shore of Betty's-neck, two rocks which have curious marks thereon (supposed to be done by the Indians) which appear like the steppings of a person with naked feet, which settled into the rocks ; likewise the prints of a hand on several places, with a number of other marks ; also, there is a rock on a high hill, a little to the eastward of the old stone fishing wear, where there is the print of a person's hand in said rock.
Longevity.] Mrs. Hope Nelson, was born in May, in the year 1677, in the town of Barnstable, or some other town near thereto, on the Cape ; she died the 7th of December, 1782, being one hundred and five years and seven months of age, and was the widow of Thomas Nelson, of said Middleborough. She was a member of a Baptist church, in said Middleborough, and partook of the sacrament with the members of said church, after she was an hundred years of age. She was rational, and possessed of memory and faculties, after she was an hundred, equal to what is common at sixty. Eight years before her death, her living children, or persons which descended from her, amounted to two hundred and fifty-seven, and by the best accounts that have been yet obtained, at her death, her living descendants amounted to about three hundred and thirty-seven.
Employments.] The most common and general employment of the inhabitants of said town is agriculture, which seems to be increasing; though there are a number of mechanicks. Nailing, or the business of making nails, is carried on largely in the winters, by the farmers and young men, who have but little other business at that season of the year.
Description of the town of Middleborough. 3
Spirituous Liquors.] The use of spirituous liquors does not prevail in this town, to that degree it does in many other towns, although there are several persons who have ruined their characters, their families, and property, by the excessive use of spirituous liquors, which have served to destroy their own constitution. The effect that spirits seem to have on the bodies of those sots, seems to deprive them of their natural activity, throws them into a kind of stupor, relaxes their nerves, and sets them into a continual tremor—those are the certain consequences of excessive use of high spirits.
There are three or four neighbourhood libraries, which contain fifty or sixty volumes in each.
There is a society formed by a covenant, for the purpose of gaining in knowledge ; their meetings are stated quarterly. They commonly have at each meeting a publick dispute, by two or three members on each side, which are chosen at a meeting before, when the subject of dispute is agreed upon. There are a great number of questions given out by one member, to another, at an early period, to be answered at a future meeting ; by which proceedings, the members of said society make considerable proficiency in husbandry, mathematicks, philosophy, astronomy, &c. The foregoing is presented to the Historical Society, by their humble servant,
Middleborough, June 14th, 1793.
Rev. Dr. Belknap.
This account was accompanied with an excellent draft, which could receive no improvement, but from a delineation of the roads.
IN the year 1763, Mr. Shubael Thompson found a land turtle in the north-east part of Middleborough, which by some misfortune had lost one of its feet, and found the following marks on its shell, viz. I. W. 1747—He marked it S. T. 1763, and let it go. It was found again in the year 1773, by Elijah Clap, who marked it E. C. 1773, and let it go. It was found again in the year 1775, by Captain William Shaw, in the month of May, who marked it W. S. 1775. It was found again by said Shaw the same year, in September, about one hundred rods distance from the place where he let it go.
It was found again in the year 1784, by Jonathan Soule, who marked it J. S. 1784, and let it go. It was found again in the year 1790, by Joseph Soule, who marked it J. S. 1790, and let it go. It was found again in the year 1791, by Zenas Smith, who marked it Z. S. 1791, and let it go ; it being the last time it was found ; 44 years from the time the first marks were put on.
Presented to the Philological Society, byNEHEMIAH BENNET.
THOMAS BENNET, Recording Secr'y.
The above is obtained and presented to the Rev. Dr. Belknap, Corresponding Secretary to the Historical Society by their humble servant,
Bill of Mortality in Hartford with Remarks, &c. 4
Bill of Mortality. With Remarks on the history of the town of Hartford, in Connecticut,
by Noah Webster, jun, esq.
Bill of Mortality, in the first and second parishes in Hartford, for ten years, beginning March 6th, 1783, and ending March 6th, 1793.
Under one year,
Bet. 1 & 2
2 & 5
5 & 10
1 year old 28
10 & 15
15 & 20
20 & 25
25 & 30
30 & 40
40 & 50
50 & 60
60 & 70
70 & 80
80 & 90
90 & 100
209 one half
Under a year more than1/4.
Under 2 years 1/3 and a fraction.
Under 19 1/2.
Above 70 1/9 and a fraction.
Above 80 1-20th nearly.
Above 90 1-84th.
Bill of Mortality in Hartford with Remarks, &c. 5
THE two parishes have contained, on an average, the ten years past, 2500 souls. The deaths then are to the number of inhabitants, as 1 to 59 278/419 or 42 a year, nearly.
By comparing this bill of mortality with Dr. Holyoke's bills of mortality in Salem, for 1782 and 1783, the result will be much in favour of the healthiness and longevity of the inhabitants in Hartford, unless some epidemick disease prevailed in Salem during those years. Salem was supposed to contain 9000 souls, at the time these bills were made :— The number of deaths in 1782 was 175, and in 1783, 189—total 364. If Salem contained 9000 souls at this time, then in two years the number is 18000, out of which died 364, which is at the rate of 1 to 49, which makes a difference of one sixth in favour of Hartford. Or thus ; total number of inhabitants in Salem for two years, 18000 ; total number in two parishes of Hartford for ten years, 25000. Deaths in Salem, 364 : Then 18000 : 364 : : 25000 : 505 10/10 the number of deaths in Hartford to be proportioned to those of Salem. But the real number is 419—difference 86, in favour of Hartford. The difference in favour of Hartford is greater, if the deaths of old people only, be taken. Number of deaths in Salem5 of persons above seventy years of age, 21 ; ditto in Hartford 45. But 25000 : 45 : : 18000 : 32 10/25 the number in Salem to be in proportion to those of Hartford.
In the third parish in Hartford, there have died, in the last eighteen years, 71 persons above seventy years of age. That parish has contained, on an average, 1250 souls, or perhaps 1300. This gives 1 to 312 that live to seventy years of age and upwards. But in Salem, according to the bills for 1782 and 1783, only 1 in 857 arrives to seventy years of age.
It is however to be observed that two years are not sufficient to determine the longevity of the inhabitants of any town or country ; and it is probable that more accurate accounts, kept through a series of years, may make a material difference in calculations of this kind.
Geographical and Historical.
HARTFORD was settled by a company of English people in the year 1636. A few persons from Massachusetts seated themselves at Weathers-field in 1635, but the next year, a congregation from Newtown, now Cambridge, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Stone, removed with all their effects and settled themselves at Hartford. In 1637, New-Haven was planted : About the same time Windsor, Guilford, and Milford, were also settled. From the names of the proprietors of the town of Hartford, now on record, together with traditional accounts, it appears that about one hundred families settled in this town and about the same number in New-Haven, Guilford, Milford, Weathersfield, and Windsor. If we suppose five souls to a family and one hundred families in each of these six towns, the original stocks from which have sprung all the
Mr. Sewall's Description of York. 6
present inhabitants of Connecticut, and the emigrants from the State, consisted of three thousand souls. The present inhabitants are about two hundred and thirty-eight thousand ; but the western parts of Massachusetts, New-Hampshire, Vermont, and the northern and western parts of New-York are mostly peopled by emigrants from Connecticut. These are estimated at one hundred thousand souls, at least ; three hundred and forty thousand souls, therefore may be considered as the population proceeding from the original stocks of three thousand. The inhabitants therefore have doubled, notwithstanding a long war, and epidemick diseases, once in twenty-four years.
Hartford, since a late division of the town, lies on the west bank of Connecticut River, having Windsor on the north, Weathersfield on the the south, and Farmington on the west. Its extent is six miles square. The population in 1791 was four thousand and ninety, which gives one hundred and thirteen to a square mile. The population of the whole state is fifty-one to a square mile.
No very remarkable occurrences with respect to the Indians, are related in the records of Hartford. The natives in and near the town seem to have been of a pacifick disposition ; but mention is made of fortifications erected in different parts of the town, in 1689 and 1704, rather, it should seem, to guard against distant tribes, than through fear of the neighbouring Indians. The records of the town mention, volume I, folio 5, a purchase of the land from Sunckquasson, the sachem and proprietor, about the year 1636. But the evidence of this purchase being imperfect, a new purchase was made, July 1, 1670, of the Indians ; the deed, which is still on record, counting upon the former purchase.
A patent from the general assembly of the colony of Connecticut, after the union with New-Haven, was made ratifying the purchase and confirming the title of the town, A. D. 1685.
At the time the English settled in this town, the Dutch had a fort and trading house, at the confluence of Mill river and Connecticut river. The Dutch soon relinquished this settlement, and in 1653, all their lands were confiscated by virtue of a commission from the Commonwealth of England to Captain Underbill, and sold. A point of land, which formed a part of their possessions, is still called Dutch point.
Hartford, May, 1793.
Topographical Description of York.
by the Hon. David Sewall, Esq.
THE town of York, in the county of York, in the district of Maine, (forty-nine miles from Portland, nine from Portsmouth, and seventy-two from Boston) is a maritime place, bounded south-westerly on the town of Kittery, north-westerly on said Kittery, and the town of Berwick, north-easterly on the town of Wells, and south-easterly by the sea, or Atlantick Ocean, to which it adjoins, ex-
Mr. Sewall's Description of York. 7
tending about seven miles. This being the shire-town of the county is accommodated with a court-house and gaol. There are two inlets or harbours for vessels in this place, one called York, and the other Cape Neddic ; at four miles distance from each other. York River is principally salt water, which flows up six or seven miles from the sea, in a north-western direction ; in which vessels of two or three hundred tons burthen may enter, but the entrance being narrow and crooked, renders it rather difficult of access to strangers. This harbour is five or six miles north-east of Piscataqua.
Cape Neddic is navigable but a mile, or less, from the sea, and at full tide only, for vessels of any considerable bulk, it having a bar of sand at its mouth ; indeed at an hour before and after low water, this rivulet is generally so shallow, as to be fordable within a few rods of the sea.
There is another small inlet between this town and Kittery, and which makes the boundary at the sea, called Brave Boat harbour. This is a salt water creek, which shallops and small boats only ever make use of ; it adjoins Cutt's island in Kittery (formerly called Champernoons) at the north-east end. When the tides are full, at the top of the tide, there is a communication from this inlet on the north-west side of the island, to the river Piscataqua, sufficient for floating canoes, small boats and gondolas.
Cape Neddie, and Bald Head, are the head lands ; the former is a little to the south-west of Cape Neddie river, and makes one side of long Sands Bay. At the end of this neck of land, is a small hillock called the Nubble, this is the nearest land, on the main, to a small island of rocks eight or nine miles distant south-east, called Boon island.
Bald Head makes the south-west part of what is called Well's Bay ; between Cape Neddic harbour and Well's Bay are several coves, where small vessels in a smooth time, and when a westerly wind prevails, haul ashore, and are loaded with wood in the course of a tide, with ease and safety.
The Long Sands are about three quarters of a mile in length, covered every tide by the flowing of the sea, when the tide is down, it is in a manner as smooth and hard as a corn-floor ; and affords an agreeable place for riding in a carriage or on horse-back.
Fish of various kinds frequent the rivers and shores of the sea contiguous. In a calm season, in the summer, one may stand on the rocks of the shore, and catch them in the sea, with a line, or even with an angling rod, and a fathom or two of line : The salt water at such seasons being clear, you may discover a contention, almost, among the small fish, which shall first seize the bait.
The ponds of any consequence, are Cape Neddic pond at the head or source of Cape Neddic river : And York pond, the principal source of what fresh water runs into York river ; though York pond lies almost wholly in the town of Kittery.
A corner boundary between York, Kittery, and Wells, is a fine spring of water, called Baker's Spring. This name to the spring is said to
Mr. Sewall's Description of York. 8
have originated from the residence of a person, who concealed himself near it, by the name of Baker ; and was supposed to have been active in the bringing of king Charles the first to the block.
The settlements began in this place about the year 1630 ; the name by which it was first known and called is Agamenticus, from a mountain in the north-westerly part of it, in latitude 43° 16' north, and 70° 39' west from the meridian of Greenwich.
Sir Ferdinando Gorges, soon after obtaining his charter or patent from king Charles the first of the Province of Maine, intending, as is supposed, this place for the seat of government, incorporated a considerable part of it into a city by the name of Gorgiana, appointing a mayor and aldermen. In consequence of this incorporation, the place was sometimes called Gorgiana as well as Agamenticus, until the year 1652, when Massachusetts colony claimed the jurisdiction, as lying within the limits of their charter to Sir Henry Rosewell and others, (anno 1628) according to the construction they made of its boundaries, and assumed the government by the assent of the inhabitants, calling it York, which name it has ever since retained.
This place, at various times, has suffered in loss of lives and property, by the Indians. On the 5th day of February, 1692, new stile, it was in a manner destroyed by them. They with some French came upon snow-shoes and surprised the unwary inhabitants early on Monday morning, killing about seventy-five and captivating as many more, burning all the houses and property on the north-east side of the river, where the principal settlements and improvements then were ; four garrison-houses, viz. Alcock's, Prebble's, Harman's, and Norton's, only excepted. After this calamity, the few remaining settlers had serious thoughts of abandoning the place altogether ; but a number determined to remain. Such was their reduced and indigent situation, by this destruction of persons and property, that a year or two after, the town, in their corporate capacity, by their agents, contracted with a person at Portsmouth, to come and erect a mill for grinding their corn into meal, and besides, granting him a mill-stream, a considerable quantity of land in fee, and particular privilege of cutting timber. It was agreed, "that they, and all the inhabitants should always afterwards carry their corn and grain to that mill, while it should be kept up for that purpose." What numbers the inhabitants amounted to, at the time the town was destroyed in 1692, has never been ascertained ; but they were so considerable as to have had a settled minister, several years preceding, viz. the Rev. Shubael Dummer, who was that Monday morning shot down, and found dead, near his own door. Supposing the numbers remaining, and such as returned from captivity, were one hundred and fifty ; this number, agreeable to the usual increase, in new plantations, by doubling in twenty years, would now have amounted to four thousand and eight hundred. But from the enumeration taken in 1791, they scarcely amounted to three thousand, from whence it may be inferred that many more have emigrated from the place than have come into it from other parts since that period. In 1764, the inhabitants, from an ac-
Mr. Sewall's Description of York. 9
count then taken, amounted to two thousand two hundred and ninety-eight, including twenty-one French neutrals, and fifty-six blacks. From that time to 1791, a space of twenty-seven years, the increase was but about seven hundred, a further evidence of large emigrations, as no remarkable mortality prevailed during that period. The climate is healthy, many living to between ninety and one hundred years ; from computations for a series of years, (thirty or forty past) one in six or seven of the deaths have been of persons of upwards of seventy years of age.
The soil is rocky and very hard of cultivation, especially on the sea-coast, and the northerly parts of the town. Indeed a large proportion of it, perhaps two-thirds, is incapable of any other cultivation, than what spontaneously arises. The principal settlements and improvements are within a mile and a quarter of the largest inlet, and upon each side thereof. There are in the town several saw-mills and corn-mills, which are rather convenient and necessary, than any profit to the owners.
The principal employment of the inhabitants is agriculture, many of whom must be frugal and industrious to obtain a subsistence. Wood and timber have been carried from hence to market ; but there is not now more than a sufficiency for the inhabitants. Indian corn and barley are the principal grains cultivated ; wheat and rye succeed but poorly. Potatoes of an excellent quality, and inconsiderable quantities, are produced. Various parts of the town have acquired, from one incident or other, particular names ; as Scotland, a part of the second parish, from some person of Scottish extract that first sat down upon it. Ground-root-hill, from roots of that kind spontaneously growing there ; Birch hill, Beach ridge, from the qualities of the wood formerly growing upon them. But there is a particular place of small dimensions that still retains the name of the Devil's Invention, which originated from the following occurrence. A man in the town, on some account or other being affronted with his neighbour determined to resent it, and avenge himself, by depriving him of his two inoffensive sons, (between six and nine years of age) by famine. He accordingly, in a solitary place, at some miles distant from the then inhabited part of the town, built up against some high perpendicular rocks, a kind of pound with logs jutting inwards in such a manner that when a person had once got within it, he was confined as safely as in prison. Having accomplished this, he decoyed the children into the woods, under pretence of looking after birds and birds' nests, and some how got them into this pound, and there left them to perish The children, after various trials to get out, at length by digging with their hands the earth under one of the bottom logs, effected their escape ; and after wandering in the woods the space of three days, by following the noise of the sea (from whence their prison was distant about three or four miles) got to the sea shore, where they were found. During the three days the town was alarmed, and its inhabitants were searching the woods after the children.
Mr. Sewall's Description of York. 10The judgment of the court of associates upon the culprit on this occasion (July, 1679) was to this purpose : "The court having considered your inhuman and barbarous offence, against the life of the children, and great disturbance to the country, do sentence you to have thirty stripes well laid oft, to pay to the father of the said children five pounds money—to the treasury of the county ten pounds ; out of which the charge of postage and search of the town, is to be discharged ; and to pay the charges and fees of the prison, and to remain close prisoner during the court's pleasure and further order."
Soon after this in the same month a recognizance of one hundred pounds was entered into before two of the judges of the court, to send the offender within a fortnight, or twenty-one days, out of the jurisdiction.
Near the head of York river is a quantity of salt marsh, which was probably the inducement of persons setting down near it, at a pretty early period—there was formerly something considerable of navigation, for such a place ; but it was nearly all destroyed and lost, during the American contest with Great Britain. Since the peace there is a small traffick to the West-Indies, some coasting vessels, and some fishermen ; the place is well calculated for carrying on the cod fishery, were there persons of sufficient ability and enterprise to enter into it" with spirit.
The first settled minister was Shubael Dummer, who was killed by the Indians in 1692. How long he was settled before his death, there are no records extant to ascertain ; but it is generally agreed to have been several years. To him succeeded the Rev. Samuel Moody, whose fame equalled any gentleman of the clergy of that day. He was settled about the year 1700, and died in 1748. To him succeeded the Rev. Isaac Lyman, about the close of the year 1749, the present minister of the first parish. A second parish was erected in the town about the year 1730, and the Rev. Joseph Moody, (son of the Rev. Samuel Moody) settled in it in 1732. This gentleman fell into a gloomy state of mind, which rendered him unable to discharge the pastoral functions, and the Rev. Samuel Chandler was settled in his place, who after remaining several years, went, and was settled at Gloucester in the county of Essex. To Mr. Chandler, succeeded the present minister, the Rev. Samuel Lankton.
The second parish is supposed to contain about one third part of the number of the first. The religious profession, or persuasion of the inhabitants, is of the Congregational kind, with scarce a dissenter of any other denomination. There is no academy in this place ; but there is usually kept a grammar school during the year ; and in the summer season several schools for the instruction of children and youth, in reading, writing, and arithmetick, in various parts of the town, at the common expense.
There are five foot companies of militia, and one of artillery in the town. Upon the alarm, in April, 1775, by the Lexington battle, which
Appendix. By Doctor Belknap. 11
pervaded the state, and even the continent, like a shock of electricity, the first company from the county that passed Piscataqua river, was from York ; although no minute men had been formed previous to that period ; upon the intelligence arriving at nine o'clock in the evening, the inhabitants assembled early the next morning and enlisted upwards of sixty, fixed them out with arms, ammunition, and haversacks, with provisions for some days, and they actually marched on the same day fifteen miles, besides passing Piscataqua river, under the command of Johnson Moulton, Esq. the present sheriff of the county.
There is a wooden bridge over York river, about a mile from the sea, built in 1761, the first of the kind in America. It stands upon piles driven into the bed of the river, is twenty-five feet wide, and about two hundred and seventy feet in length, exclusive of the wharves at each end of it ; and which reach to the channel. It stands on thirteen piers of four piles, or posts, in a pier. The model of framing and method of driving the piles into the bed of the river was invented by Major Samuel Sewall, an ingenious mechanick, a native of the town. The model of this bridge afforded that of Charles River Bridge, built under said Sewall's direction in 1785 and 1786 ; and the same model has been used in Maiden and Beverly Bridges, and has since been communicated to Ireland by Mr. Cox.
The clamshells that appear in many places near the river, upon turning up the soil for cultivation, indicate that it was a place frequently resorted unto by the Indians, prior to its settlement by the English.
Appendix, relative to Agamenticus.
By Dr. Belknap.
AGAMENTICUS is a mountain of considerable elevation, distant about six miles from Baldhead, and eight from York harbour. It is a noted land mark for seamen, and is a good directory for the entrance of Piscataqua harbour, as it lies very nearly on the same meridian with it, and with Pigeon-hill on Cape Ann. The mountain is covered with wood and shrubs, and affords pasture up to its summit. From this elevation there is a most enchanting prospect. The cultivated parts of the country, especially on the south and south-west, appears as a beautiful garden, intersected by the majestick river Piscataqua, its bays and branches. The immense ranges of mountains on the north and northwest afford a sublime spectacle ; and on the sea-side the various indentings of the coast from Cape Ann to Cape Elizabeth are plainly in view in a clear day ; and the wide Atlantick stretches to the east as far as the power of vision extends.
At this spot the bearing of the following objects were taken with a good surveying instrument, October 11th, 1780.
A Topographical Description of Barnstable. 12
Summit of the White Mountains - - - - - - N. 15° W.
Cape Porpoise - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - N. 63 E.
Rochester hill - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - N. 64 W.
Tuckaway Southpeak - - - - - - - - - - - - S. 80 W.
Frost's hill, Kittery - - - - - - - - - - - - - - S. 57 W.
Saddle of Bonabeag - - - - - - - - - - - - - N. 14 W.
Isle of Shoals' meeting house - - - - - - - - S. 6 E.
Varney's hill in Dover,
distant 10 3/4 miles by mensuration - N. 89 W.
Variation of the needle - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6° W.
A Topographical Description of the town of Barnstable.
By the Reverend Mr. Mellen.
BARNSTABLE is situated nearly south east from Boston, on the ancient Cape Cod road ; the western limit of it distant almost sixty-seven miles, and the eastern a little more than seventy-five. It is the shire town of the county of the same name. This county consists almost wholly of, and is formed by a peninsula, the whole of which is commonly called Cape Cod. The form of this peninsula is curious, on account of the length of its projection into the sea, in connexion with the smallness of its breadth. Its whole length, as the road runs from the isthmus between Barnstable bay and Buzzard's bay, to Race-Point, being not less than sixty-five miles ; and its breadth for thirty miles not more than three, and above half the remainder from six to nine miles. Barnstable was made a shire in 1685.
The town extends across the peninsula, and is washed by the sea on the north and south.
It is bounded on the west by Sandwich and the district of Marshpee, and by Yarmouth on the east, where its breadth from shore to shore is a little more than five miles ; on the west it is about nine : Its length from west to east, according to the original grant of the town, is eight miles. The form of the town is irregular, as the western line as not straight and its shores are considerably indented. A neck of land projects from Sandwich line on the north shore, and runs east almost the length of the town. This neck of land (called Sandy Neck,) and which is about half a mile wide, forms the harbour, and embosoms a large body of salt marsh. The harbour is about a mile wide and four miles long. The tide rises in it from ten to fourteen feet. It has a bar running off north-east from the neck several miles, which prevents the entrance of large ships. The bar at high water may be passed, in almost any part of it, by the smaller kind of vessels ; and where it is commonly and most safely crossed it has seldom, if ever, less than six or seven feet at low water.
A Topographical Description of Barnstable. 13
There is another harbour the south side, called Lewis's bay, the entrance of which is within Barnstable, and which extends almost two miles into Yarmouth : It is commodious and very safe, as it is almost completely land-locked. The water flows in this harbour about five feet at a middling tide.
Hyanis road (or harbour as it is commonly called) lies a mile or two to the westward, near the entrance of Lewis's bay ; and is indeed formed principally by an island, joined by a beach to Yarmouth, which together make the outside of the bay, before mentioned. The south head of this island is called Point Gammon.
There is also a small bay near the south-west limit of the town, called Oyster bay, which admits small vessels ; and which with Lewis's bay, has in years past produced a great quantity of excellent oysters, though now they are very much reduced.
The streams in this town are few and small. From the situation of the land their courses are necessarily short. Coatuit river or brook, which, in some parts of it at least, is the boundary between Barnstable and Marshpee, is the most considerable. There are two or three others east of this, emptying themselves on the south side. But though running waters are comparatively rare, ponds are so very frequent that their number is not easily ascertained. Of the more considerable there are between twenty and thirty. One in the east precinct is near two miles long and a mile wide. Very few of them have any streams running either in or out. Their springs are invisible. They are many of them stocked with the smaller kinds of fish. The brooks contain a great plenty of trout.
The air in this town, as in the whole of the country, is affected by the neighbourhood of the sea on each side, from which it deliver, a dampness, and frequently a chill, which is disagreeable, if not unfriendly, to tender nerves. Nervous complaints are frequent here ; but whether it is to be attributed to the air or the very plentiful use of tea, is problematical. That a large proportion die of consumptions of some kind or other, the bills of mortality clearly shew : Still however neither the number of deaths nor the ages at which they take place, would lead us to suppose that the situation is unhealthy. The annual number of deaths in the east precinct for the last nine years has been on an average between nineteen and twenty : The number of inhabitants, according to the census taken in 1790, was then thirteen hundred and sixty-five. Of the whole number that have died in nine years, which is one hundred and seventy-tour, forty were upwards of seventy years of age : Eighteen above eighty years ; and one above ninety.
The land on the north side of the town is generally uneven, and in some places rocky. There is a line of hills extending east and west the whole length of the town, the greatest height of which is about a mile from the harbour and marshes. South of this ridge the land is in general level to the sea on the other side ; and a great part of it for two miles or more in breadth is woodland, producing oak and pitch-pine with a little walnut.
A Topographical Description of Barnstable. 14
The greater part of the inhabitants are on the north side ; living in general, especially in the east precinct, on or near the main road leading down the cape. Perhaps one third live near the south shore.
The soil on the north side of the hills before mentioned, is generally good, especially for grain. In some parts of it a dark loam prevails, in others clay, and in many a mixture of sand. It produces good crops of Indian corn ; not less it is supposed than twenty-five bushels to an acre on average, and rye and other grain in proportion. Some of it is good for wheat and flax. The latter article is cultivated with good success. The soil on the south side is, a great part of it, light and sandy, and for grass especially much inferiour to that on the north ; in the produce of which, onions make a very considerable figure. From two to three hundred thousand bunches (that is from twelve to eighteen thousand bushels) are raised annually ; which are sold principally in Boston and the neighbouring sea-ports. Although good ground, improved for onions, yields a great profit; yet, as it requires a large quantity of manure, it has been thought that the inhabitants of this town devote loo much of their land to this article, for the general advantage of their farms. But perhaps this would not be true, if all the advantage was taken, that might be, of their happy situation for making manure. Their extensive salt meadows enable them to keep large stocks in proportion to their pasture grounds ; and the severity of a drought is mitigated by cutting the coarser kind of salt grass, and giving it green to the cattle as occasion may require. The manure made by cattle fed on salt hay, is much more fertilizing than that made from fresh. Almost all the land goes through a course of tillage once in the space of six or seven years ; which, by the way, may have led the people here into an instance of bad husbandry, in leaving so few trees upon their cultivated lands : The depriving cattle of shade in the summer is doubtless a greater evil, than the farmer would suffer from permitting a few trees to remain on land, which is a part of the time improved for tillage. The land here is commonly prepared for the plough by feeding the stock upon it in the winter, and sometimes when salt hay is plenty, by spreading it in the spring and leaving it to rot upon the ground. Besides, every season lines the shores with large quantities of refuse hay, washed from the salt meadows, eel grass, and other marine vegetables. A much better use of this, as well as of creek and marsh mud, might be made than generally has been in time past. The inhabitants, however, seem to be more and more disposed to use the advantages they enjoy in these respects, and to make improvements in agriculture.
The loose texture of the ground in many places is rather unfavourable to the roads here (particularly the principal one through the town,) by exposing them to wash, and gully, and so producing deep, narrow, and uncomfortable passages. All has not been done which might have been, to remedy this inconvenience. But it is expected that an essential alteration for the better will soon take place, since the inhabitants have been at length induced to follow the example of the rest of the commonwealth, in granting an annual tax for the repair and improvement of highways.
A Topographical Description of Barnstable. 15
The publick buildings in this town, exclusive of school houses, are three meeting houses, two Congregational and one Baptist, a court house, and a gaol. The private houses are in general rather neat and convenient than large or elegant ; but it may be said that the appearance and accommodations, within, will rather exceed than disappoint the expectations formed from their outward appearance. There are three good wharves on the north side of the town, and one at Lewis's bay.
There is no account to be found of the first settlement made in this town. Probably there was none made much before its incorporation, which was September 3d, 1639; but two persons are named in the original grant. The Indian name of Barnstable appears to have been Mattacheese, Matacheest, or Mattacheeset. Probably they are all the same name, which was given by the Indians to a tract of land which included Yarmouth, or at least a part of it ; for in the grant of Yarmouth that place is said to have been called Mattacheeset. This name is out of use, and generally unknown in both these towns. There are no accounts of the inhabitants having ever suffered by Indian hostilities, and there is reason to think that no part of the town was settled without purchase or consent of the natives ; for though no record remains of any considerable tract on the north side being purchased of the Indians, yet it appears by several votes and agreements of the town, extracted from the first town book and preserved in the second, that all the south side of the town was amicably purchased of Wianno and several other sachems, about the year 1650.
There are the remains of a stone house in the east precinct, which is said to have answered the purpose of a fort to the early settlers ; and another house of a similar construction, and built with the same design, is now entire and inhabited in the west precinct. Although there are now no Indian families in this town, yet they were probably numerous in former times. Traces of their settlements are frequently to be met with : And some of their burying grounds are yet to be seen. Their tools and weapons are sometimes found, especially their arrows, near a hundred of which were lately ploughed up that appeared to have been laid in a heap. The Indian names of places within this town still retained, are Hyanis, probably a corruption of Wianno's [tract or territory.] Cheekwakut, the south-west corner of the east precinct ; Skunkanuk, a place adjoining a brook of that name ; Coatuit, the neighbourhood of the boundary brook before mentioned ; and Scanton or Scorton hill, adjoining Sandwich line on the north side of the town.
In the same year in which this town was granted by the old Colony government, viz. October 11th, 1639, the Rev. Mr. Lothrop* removed
* This Mr. Lothrop was probably the same that is mentioned by Mr. Prince, in his Chronology, as having before settled in Virginia. There is a tradition among his descendants here, that he was a great sufferer in England on account of his religious principles, before his coming to America.
A Topographical Description of Barnstable. 16
here with his church from Scituate. No account of his death is to be found : But his successor,* the Rev. Thomas Walley was ordained A. D. 1663, and continued in the ministry till March 28th, 1678. The next minister, the Rev. Jonathan Russell, was ordained Sept. 19th, 1683, and died February 21st, 17 10/11, ætat. 56. The Rev. Jonathan Russell (son of the above) was ordained October 29th, 1712, and died September 10th, 1759, ætat. 70. When the town was divided into two precincts, which division took place in the year 1719, the Rev. Mr. Russell, then minister, being left to his choice, chose the west precinct, commonly called Great Marshes, where he continued till his death. May 12th, 1725, the church in the east precinct was gathered, and the Rev. Joseph Greene was ordained.
The Rev. Oakes Shaw, the present pastor of the west church, was ordained October 1st, 1760. The Rev. Mr. Greene died October 4th, 1770, in the seventieth year of his age. April 10th, 1771, the Rev. Timothy Hilliard was ordained pastor of the east church. April 30th, 1783, at his request on account of his ill health, he was dismissed by the church and precinct ; and, November 12th, the same year, the Rev. John Mellen, jun. was ordained his successor in the ministry.
There is a small society of Baptists on the south side of the town ; the Rev. Enoch Eldridge was ordained their minister, December 4th, 1788.
The former ministers of this town, those, at least, who lived within the memory of any of the present inhabitants, are spoken of with much respect; and appear to have been held in high veneration by their people.
Whether either the Mr Russells or their predecessors, published sermons or any of their works, is not ascertained. A manuscript sermon of the first Mr. Russell, preached at Plymouth, June 1st, 1686, at the last election which was held in the old Colony, has been presented by Mr. Isaiah Lewis Green, a descendant of his family, and the writer is at liberty to deposit it in the Collection of the Historical Society. The Rev. Mr. Green published a sermon, preached at the ordination of his son at Marshfield. A fast sermon of Mr. Hilliard's, preached in the time of the late political troubles, was published ; as were several occasional sermons of his, after his settlement at Cambridge.
The last governour of the old Colony of Plymouth, Thomas Hinckley, Esq. was a native and inhabitant of this town ; and it has given birth to several persons of eminence in the literary and civil line, who have resided elsewhere. It has, in times past, furnished a considerable number of sons for the university ; but the advantages for school education are not so great as might be wished, though there is reason to hope that attention to this subject is increasing. There is a small social library in the east precinct, lately begun, consisting, at present, of between seventy and eighty volumes.
* The writer of this account has been informed, that there was a Mr. Smith settled here in the ministry, for a short time, in the early days of the town, who was afterwards many years a minister at Sandwich. If so, he was most probably' the immediate successor of Mr. Lothrop : But of this no record is found.
A Topographical Description of Barnstable. 17
The greater part of the inhabitants of this town are husbandmen and mechanicks ; though numbers of the farmers are occasionally seamen. It has afforded and continues to furnish many masters of vessels, and other mariners, who sail from other parts. A hundred men or upwards, are employed in the fishery, which is yearly increasing. Seventy or eighty years ago, the whale bay fishery was carried on in boats from the shore, to great advantage : This business employed near two hundred men, for three months of the year, in the fall, and beginning of winter. But few whales now come into the bay, and this kind of fishery has for a long time (by this town at least) been given up.
The principal articles of export from the town at present, in addition to onions, which have been mentioned already, are dried codfish, and flaxseed ; corn is also sometimes carried out to the northward, but at the same time, is imported from the southward, in nearly the same quantities.
The idea of cutting a canal through this town, which in some degree attracted the publick attention not long since, seems to be given up, on account of the height of the land on the north side : Yet it is thought, that with a comparatively small expense, a communication might be opened, which would serve very valuable purposes, between the eastern part of Lewis's bay, on the south, and Yarmouth harbour on the north : The land is low from one side to the other, and the distance not more than five miles ; and with greater ease and less expense still, a canal might be cut, from the same harbour, on the north side, into Bass-river, which would admit the smaller kind of vessels and be very advantageous at least to the inhabitants, who carry on the fishery with great success in that river, by facilitating their communication with Boston, and the northern ports ; even, though the bar at the mouth of the river should prevent its being of very extensive usefulness. The distance from the head of the waters communicating with Bass-river, to the marsh on the north side, is little more, if any, than half a mile ; and the intervening land, very little elevated in any part of it.
A Bill of Mortality, for the East Precinct in Barnstable, from the year 1784, to the year 1785.
1785. Under 2 years 3
5 to 10
10 to 20 2
20 to 30 3
30 to 40
40 to 50 1
50 to 60 1
60 to 70 4
70 to 80 2
80 to 90 4
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet, in the county of Barnstable.
WELLFLEET is situated on the peninsula, called Cape Cod, south-east from Boston ; distant by land, one hundred and five miles ; by water, twenty leagues ; and from the Plymouth light, eight leagues. From the high lands, on the west part of the town, we discover in a clear day, with the naked eye, the high lands of Plymouth, Kingston, Duxborough, and Marshfield. The town is bounded by Eastham, south ; the Atlantick Ocean, east ; by Truro, north ; and Barnstable bay, west ; being seven miles in length, and four in breadth, from the high lands and Billinsgate Point which includes the harbour, west, to the waters on the east side of the town. The harbour is large, indented within with creeks, where vessels of seventy or eighty tons may lie safe. Large ships may lie safe in what is called the Deep Hole, near the town, or to the eastward of Billinsgate Point, in what is called the Horse-Shoe, five miles from the head of the harbour. Without Billinsgate Point, is what is called the Shoal Ground. Large vessels should keep a league to the westward of the Point, if they would come safe round. This harbour is but little known or frequented, except by persons who inhabit round the bay.
From the table lands in Eastham, to Race Point, is a large range of high hills, all of them sandy, except one large mountain, which is of
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 118
solid clay, in Truro, called the Clay Pounds, because vessels have had the misfortune to be pounded to pieces against it, in gales of wind.
From these hills, in pleasant days in February and March, we often discover fifty or sixty sail of vessels, which come from the West-Indies and the southward, and have been sheltered in the Vineyard Sound. Within these hills in Wellfleet, is a range of fresh ponds, where sea fowl obtain fresh water, and where there are fish of the smaller kind. Such as have outlets, receive alewives, which go up in the month of May.
The land is barren. The growth of wood is small pitch pine and oak.
From the harbour there are many salt creeks, known by different names, which are surrounded with salt marsh. There is no fresh hay cut in the town.
This town was incorporated 1763. Before this it was known, by being called the North Precinct in Eastham, and was originally included in the Indian Skeekeet and Pamet. The first inhabitants of this place attended publick worship at Eastham. When their numbers and property were sufficient, they built a small meeting-house, in which the Rev. Josiah Oaks, youngest son of the Hon. Thomas Oaks,* Esq of Boston, preached for a number of years. After Mr. Oaks,+ the Rev. Isaiah Lewis was settled in the work of the ministry over this people. He was ordained September 23d, 1730, and continued in the work of the ministry, until prevented by the infirmities of age. April 13th, 1785, the Rev. Levi Whitman was ordained a colleague pastor with him. Mr. Lewis died October 3d, 1786, aged eighty-four.
The business of the people in this town was originally the whale fishery, in which none were more expert than the aboriginal Indians. Before the late war, this branch of business was carried on to exceeding good advantage. The inhabitants had acquired large property, which was destroyed and lost in the time of war. No towns suffered more by the war, except those that were reduced to ashes.
In 1772, there was a fever, which proved mortal to between forty and fifty persons. Those who had this distemper first, almost all died. Since that time the people of this place have enjoyed health in common with other places.
The number of inhabitants was very much diminished in the time of war. Many were captivated and died in prison ships and otherwise. Twenty-three were lost in a ship called the America. The distresses caused by the war were the means of removing many families to Penobscot and other places. Since the war, the whale and cod fisheries have revived ; people's circumstances are mended ; and the number of their vessels has been increased.
* The Hon. Thomas Oaks, Esq. of Boston, died In this town, July 15, 1719, aged seventy-six, and lies interred by his son, the Rev. Josiah Oaks, in what we called the old burying ground.
+ He died 1732, aged 44.
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 119
The people in this town are engaged in the sea service : a sailor is looked on as one engaged in the most honourable and beneficial employments : there are but few mechanicks. Our vessels commonly fit out from Boston, and go thither to dispose of their oil, fish, bone, &c. Perhaps there are but few towns so well supplied with fish of all kinds as Wellfleet ; among which are some that are uncommon, such as the sword-fish and cramp-fish. The latter, which when touched with human flesh, gives it an electrical shock, has been caught on our shores. The oil of this fish is said to be beneficial in certain cases. We also have the bill-fish in great plenty in the month of October.
No part of the world has better oysters than the harbour of Wellfleet. Time was when they were to be found in the greatest plenty ; but in 1775, a mortality from an unknown cause carried off the most of them. Since that time the true Billinsgate oysters have been scarce ; and the greater part that are carried to market, are first imported and laid in our harbour, where they obtain the proper relish of Billinsgate.
We have no social library ; and the means of education are not equal fully to the purpose of fitting our young men for the business, which they are many times called to in after life.
We have in the winter a number of private schools, by which means the greater part of the young men are taught the art of navigation. Three persons from this town have received their education at college.
Since the memory of people now living, there have been born in this small town, thirty pair of twins, beside two births that produced six, three each. Within the bill of mortality we include five families within the bounds of Truro, who live near to us and attend publick worship with us. The whole number of souls, when the census was taken, amounted to twelve hundred. The number of deaths in nine years past has been one hundred and forty-five. As to births, we cannot be so accurate. The number of baptisms in nine years past has been three hundred and ninety-four ; and perhaps if the few infants not baptized were added to the number, the proportion would be nearly three births to one death.
Several persons have lived to advanced ages in this town. Mrs, Mary Treat, whose name before marriage was Lion, was born in a village near London, and died in the hundredth year of her age, when she was superannuated, so as not to recollect late transactions. She could be very particular in relating what was done in her youth. She would however often repeat the same things. I have several times heard her give a particular account of her being in London at the coronation of George the first. Mrs. Hannah Doane lived ninety-five years, and was remarkable for her piety. Mr. John Young lived eighty-five years, and spent fifty of them in the whaling service. It may be noted, that many of the people of this town spend more than half their lives at sea and on ship-board. Navigation engrosses their whole attention : otherwise excellent gardens might be made in swamps, near ponds and
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 120
marshes, where the tide might be dyked out Brick also might be made in the town, were the people disposed for it. These, however, we are obliged to import for chimnies, underpinning houses, and for bucking up cellars and wells ; in as much as there are not stones in the town for the purpose.
On the Cape, especially at the lower end of it, we are subject to heavy gales of wind. We have but little snow in comparison with the neighbourhood of Boston. The atmosphere is very much impregnated with saline particles, which perhaps with the great use of fish, and the neglect of cider and spruce beer, may be a reason, why the people are more subject to sore mouths and throats, than in other places. It is a question however submitted to the faculty, whether antidotes against scorbutick complaints might not be beneficial ?
We at times have shipwrecks on the shores, which perhaps might be prevented by a light house on the Clay Pounds. No shipwrecks is more remarkable than that of the noted pirate Bellamy, mentioned by Governour Hutchinson in his history.* In the year 1717, his ship with his whole fleet were cast on the shore of what is now Wellfleet, being led near the shore by the captain of a snow, which was made a prize on the day before ; who had the promise of the snow as a present, if he would pilot the fleet in Cape Cod harbour ; the captain, suspecting that the pirate would not keep his promise, and that instead of clearing his ship, as was was pretence, his intentions were to plunder the inhabitants of Province town. The night being dark, a lantern was hung in the shrouds of the snow, the captain of which, instead of piloting where he was ordered, approached so near the land, that the pirate's large ship which followed him struck on the outer bar: the snow being less, struck much nearer the shore. The fleet was put in confusion ; a violent storm arose ; and the whole fleet was shipwrecked on the shore. It is said, that all in the large ship perished in the waters, except two. Many of the smaller vessels got safe on shore. Those that were executed, were the pirates put on board a prize schooner before the storm, as it is said. After the storm, more than an hundred dead bodies lay along the shore. At times to this day, there are King William and Queen Mary's coppers picked up, and pieces of silver, called cob money. The violence of the seas moves the sands upon the outer bar ; so that at times the iron caboose of the ship, at low ebbs, has been seen.
The method of killing gulls, in the gull house, is no doubt an Indian invention : and also that of killing birds and fowl upon the beach, in dark eights. The gull house is built with crotches fixed in the ground on the beach, and covered with poles, the sides being covered with stakes and sea-weed, the poles on the top covered with lean whale. The man being placed within, is not discovered by the fowls, and while they are contending for and eating the flesh, he draws them in one by
* Vol. II p. 223.
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 121
one between the poles, until he has collected forty or fifty. This number has often been taken in a morning. The method of killing small birds and fowl that perch upon the beach, is by making a light : the present mode is with hog's lard in a frying pan : we suppose the Indians used a pine torch. Birds in a dark night will flock to the light, and may be killed with a walking cane.
It would be curious indeed to a countryman, who lives at a distance from the sea, to be acquainted with the method of killing black-fish. Their size is from four to five tons weight, when full grown. When they come within our harbours, boats surround them. They are as easily driven to the shore as cattle or sheep are driven on the land. The tide leaves them, and they are easily killed. They are a fish of the whale kind, and will average a barrel of oil each. I have seen nearly four hundred at one time lying dead on the shore. It is not however very often of late that these fish come into our harbour.
If what is here collected be worthy of the notice of the Historical Society, it is presented to them by their most obedient,
Wellfleet, October 26, 1793.+
The inhabitants do not raise grain sufficient for the town. The common method is to import it from the southern states. We have for grinding it into meal, five wind-mills, and one tide-mill.
+ This day completes nine years since I first saw this town.
A Bill of Mortality, in Wellfleet, beginning October 26, 1784, to October 26, 1793.
[Those under a year old are distinguished by being called infants.]
Those with this * mark, died from home.
15, first year.
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 122
October 26, 1785.
* bilious colick.
14, second year.
October 26, 1786.
* bilious colick.
17, third year.
October 26, 1787.
in a few days after swallowing lixivium or lye.
suffocated in bed.
11, fourth year.
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 123
October 26, 1789.
suffocated in bed.
languishment after falling into fire.
a bean in the wind-pipe.
16, fifth year.
October 26, 1789.
18, sixth year.
October 26, 1790.
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 124
19, seventh year.
October 26, 1791
consumption, not having been able to swallow any thing but liquids for 28 years.
19, eighth year.
October 26, 1792.
A Topographical Description of Wellfleet. 125-126
16, ninth year.
Sum total, 145
1 and 5
5 and 10
10 and 15
15 and 25
25 and 35
35 and 45
45 and 55
55 and 65
65 and 75
75 and 80
80 and 85
85 and 90
90 and 95
95 and 100
Diseases and Casualties
Accidents (10 drowned)
* In this class are included the nameless diseases of children.
A Topographical Description of Wells. 138
A Topographical Description of Wells, in the County of York.
By Hon. Nathaniel Wells, Esq.
THE town of Wells is situated on the sea coast, in the district of Maine. It is about ten miles in length, and nearly seven miles in width, on an average. It is bounded on the south-east, by that part of the sea called Wells Bay ; on the north-east, by Kennebunk river, which divides between Wells and Arundel ; on the north-west, by Sanford and Coxhail ; and on the south-west, by York and Berwick, formerly part of Kittery. Wells contains about forty-two thousand acres of land : one third of which is of a middling quality, including therein upwards of one thousand acres of salt marsh : one third part of it is verv poor ; consisting chiefly of pitchpine plains ; and the residue is unimproveable, consisting of beaches, heath, ponds, and bogs.
It appears from the town records, that the township was first applied for by Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Needam, with others of Exeter in New Hampshire : that it was granted by Thomas Gorges, deputy governour, as agent to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, lord proprietor of the province of Maine, on the 14th of July, 1643, and was confirmed by a court, held at Saco on the 14th day of August, 1644. The confirmation was subscribed by Richard Vines, deputy governour, Henry Joceline, Richard Bonighton, Nicholas Shapleigh, Francis Robinson, and Roger Card, who were probably members of the court, and perhaps the court did not consist of any other persons. The Rev. Mr. John Wheelwright, being banished from Massachusetts, on account of his religious principles, came to Exeter, and afterwards to Wells ; and he with Mr. Henry Boad, and Mr. Edward Rishworth of Wells, were by the deputy governour, Thomas Gorges, appointed a committee to lay out lots of lands to such as might apply for the same, with an intention of becoming inhabitants. Five shillings was the price to be paid for every hundred acres. Mr. Wheelwright did not tarry long in town, but his son settled in it, and some of his descendants remain there at this time. The minister was a man of good sense and learning. From his family proceeded all the Wheelwrights in Massachusetts and New Hampshire ; many of whom were men of considerable property and very respectable.
As to settled ministers, there were none in town until 1701 ; though they had a number of preachers before that time, some for longer and some for shorter periods.
A Topographical Description of Wells. 139
The Rev. Samuel Emery, the first minister who settled in the town, was ordained in the year 1701.
The Rev. Samuel Jefferds was ordained in 1725.
In 1750, the town was divided into two parishes.
The Rev. Daniel Little was ordained in the second parish, called Kennebunk, in 1751.
The Rev. Gideon Richardson, minister of the first parish, was ordained in 1754.
The Rev. Dr. Moses Hemmenway succeeded Mr. Richardson, and was ordained in 1759.
At the time of Mr. Little's ordination, the town contained about one thousand inhabitants. It now contains about three thousand inhabitants.
The township of Wells was called by the Indians Webhannet. A river running from the mouth of the harbour, south-westerly, is now frequently called by that name.
The river now called Mousom, was formerly called Capeporpus river. It is a considerable river, proceeding from a pond in Shapleigh, and running through Sanford and Wells to the sea.
The town abounds with small rivers and brooks, there being but few if any places near the sea, more than half a mile distant, if so much, from a river or a considerable brook. The abundance of water may be the reason why it was first called Wells.
Iron ore has been discovered in several parts of the town, which is found to be of a middling quality.
Fresh cod and other fish are caught in Wells bay, at proper seasons of the year, in sufficient plenty to supply the inhabitants ; and the creeks abound with clams.
The town of Wells was formerly much exposed to the ravages of the Indian enemy ; and perhaps but few, if any, towns have been more harassed by them. Colonel Storer's garrison was attacked in 1692, by an army consisting of three or four hundred French and Indians, under the command of Labrocree, a Frenchman, assisted by Madoche-wando, and other noted Indian chiefs, who having no cannon, were repulsed by the people in the garrison. At the same time, two sloops, lying in a narrow river, were attacked, which were several times set on fire, and the fire was as often extinguished. The Indians attempted to burn the vessels with a fire raft, which fortunately, by the shifting of the wind, was driven ashore without doing any damage. The engagement continued forty eight hours, when the Indians being discouraged, having lost their chief commander, withdrew. In their retreat, they tortured one man, whom they captivated, and killed all the cattle they could find.
At the commencement of the next war, and on the day it began, the Indians burnt the dwelling house of Mr. Thomas Wells, killed his wife and all his children, he being absent from home. At the same
140 A Topographical Description of Wells.
time the Indians killed Mr. Sayer and his family, who lived in the next house, with sundry other persons, and retired the day before this destruction. Mr. Sayer assisted the Indians in grinding their hatchets. In 1712, a great number of people being at the wedding of Captain Wheelwright's daughter, the Indians surprised several of the company, and captivated the bridegroom, Mr. Plaisted, son to a gentleman of Portsmouth. The Indians, expecting a good ransom for such a prisoner, did not carry him to Canada, but sent in a flag, and offered upon payment of three hundred pounds to release the prisoner. The money was paid, and the prisoner returned. It would be almost an endless task to recite all the particulars which relate to the sufferings of the inhabitants of Wells from the Indians. Very few, if any, years elapsed, during the existence of the Indian wars, without some persons being either killed or captivated, until Governour Dummer's treaty with them in 1725. when a peace was established with them, which continued about twenty years with but little interruption ; during which time the number of inhabitants in the town considerably increased ; but still the people were in fear, and frequently alarmed by small parties of Indians, until the reduction of Canada, which put an end to Indian wars in tins part of the country.
The lower road next the sea is in general sandy ; but of late it has been in many places meliorated, by the application of clay, which after incorporation, makes a most excellent road.
The situation of the town, as it respects the back country, is convenient for trade ; but the entrances into the harbours are not commodious, sandy bars extending across them. The depth of the water on the bars is from about nine to thirteen feet, at high water ; and not more than three feet, at low water. Formerly but little trade was carried on in town ; but of late the trade in lumber and ship-building is considerably increased, especially in that part of the town called Kennebunk, where the people have attempted to make a new harbour. In the course of last season, they stopped the natural course of Mousom river, by erecting a dam across it, sufficient for the purpose, and opened a canal, leading from it through a salt marsh, boggy land, and a short beach, about two hundred rods, to a cove at the sea. The canal is at present about seven feet deep, and about twenty feet wide, the river running through it. The proprietors of the canal intend further to prosecute their undertaking the next season ; but the final success of it must be left to be determined by time. If the proprietors succeed agreeably to their expectations, it may be of great utility to them and the publick. If they fail, it is hoped that their failure may not serve to discourage useful enterprises, which in many instances have proved, and may prove, very beneficial to the country.
A Topographical Description of Topsham. 141
A Topographical Description of Topsham, in the County of Lincoln.
By Rev. Jonathan Ellis.
WHEN I had the honour of conversing with you last summer, at Wiscasset, you desired me to give you an account of the settlement of the town of Topsham, the hope of conveying more authentick information than I then possessed, is the only reason why I have not answered your request before. I have acouired some more knowledge, but have not gratified my wish. With pleasure I impart what I have been able to investigate, and offer it to you, Sir, a tribute of respect, as my endeavour to save from oblivion the knowledge of the first settlement of this country by emigrants from Europe.
Topsham, situated on Merry Meeting bay, which opened such extensive communication by water with the other parts of the country, was much frequented by the Indians. It lay in their rout from Kennebeck to Casco bay, and from Amarascoggin to Kennebeck, which gave them a passage to the sea.
From Merry Meeting bay, down Kennebeck, to the sea, is eighteen miles. From the navigable waters of Merry Meeting to Maquoit, a small bay which opens into Casco, is but little more than three miles ; and the carrying place from Merry Meeting to the head of New Meadows river, is not more than half a mile. On this account, Topsham was a hazardous place to make a settlement, exposed to surprise and attack from the savages in almost every direction. The first Europeans, of whom we have any account, took their residence in Topsham, a little prior, or about the beginning of the present century. Stimulated with the prospect of gain, their design appears to have been to traffick with the natives, rather than to effect a permanent settlement. They were three in number, with their families. One built a house, and resided at Fulton's Point; another, at the head of Muddy river; and the third, on Pleasant Point. At each of these places there are now to be seen the cavity of cellars, and the ruin of chimnies. It is probable that the person who resided at Fulton's Point, came some years before the others. In the year 1750, there was a tree of more than twelve inches in diameter, grown out of the cellar. The name of this person is lost. We have the following traditionary account: That he lived for some time on very amicable terms with the natives ; apparently, they rejoiced at his residence among them. This inspired him with confidence, suspecting no injury from his neighbours, till he had this melancholy proof of their perfidy. Being absent in his canoe, the savages massacred his family, and burnt or carried off all his property. Returning, with consternation, he viewed the desolation, and fearing a similar fate with his family, went to Georges, and from thence to Europe. The name of the person who settled at the head of Muddy liver, is likewise unknown ; but his contemporary who settled on Pleasant Point, was Giles. Both
142 A Topographical Description of Topsham.
their families were cut off by the savages, and their dwellings burnt. Not suspecting any evil from the Indians, with whom they had lived on good terms, Mr. and Mrs. Giles were in the field, the woman gathering beans, and the man topping his corn, when they were both shot down, and their children captivated. All these were redeemed by the officer of the garrison at Georges, except the oldest, a son of Mr. Giles, whom they retained for three years, when he made his escape, and for some years after was commandant of the garrison at Brunswick. This is the best account I can obtain of the unhappy lot of the first Europeans who resided within the limits of what is since called Topsham.
After these families were killed and captivated by the natives, there was no settlement attempted for a number of years. The peculiar exposure of the situation, and the hostile disposition of the savages, rendered the attempt too hazardous, till about the year 1730, when some ventured to set down in Topsham. From this period, a habitancy has been maintained, though for many years, with much peril and danger. The inhabitants never felt wholly secure from the natives, till after the peace of Versailles, 1763.
So many discouraging circumstances attended the settlement of this town, that the inhabitants increased but slowly. Many lives, compared with the whole number, were lost. Those, who were not killed nor captivated, were exceedingly harassed and perplexed. Fear was on every side. Their houses, which on an alarm they deserted, were burnt : often their cattle were killed. In the year 1750, there were only eighteen families in the town, and seventeen of those were Scottish Hibernians. From this time, by population and new adventurers, the number of inhabitants gradually increased. In 1764 the town was incorporated ; and when the last census was taken, it contained eight hundred and twenty-six souls. The town constitutes but one parish, in which is a meeting-house, built by the proprietors, about thirty-five years ago. In 1789 they settled their first minister.
The inhabitants are in general under easy circumstances. The town were never at any expense in supporting the poor; and none ever solicited help. In this instance they are singular from any town of equal date, with which I am acquainted in New England.
The latitude of Topsham is very near 44° N. The longitude is 70° W. It is the first town in the county of Lincoln, proceeding from the west, easterly. It is bounded on the N. W. by Little river, which divides it from a gore of land unincorporated ; N. by Bowdoin and Bow-doinham ; E. by Cathance and Merry Meeting bay ; S. and S. W. by Amarsscoggin, by which it is separated from Brunswick in the county of Cumberland.
The town contains a good proportion of arable, pasture, and meadow ; with very little waste land. A part, however, of the sandy soil is not very productive. For a general description, we may consider Topsham as containing equal parts of clayey, sandy, and loamy soil;
A Topographical Description of Topsham. 143
some hills, but no mountains ; broken with gullies, where it is clayey ; about five eighths under improvement.
The water-falls in the rivers afford a number of excellent stands, which are occupied with saw, grist, and fulling mills. At the saw mills, on a moderate computation, there are cut, communibus annis, four million feet of boards, plank, joist, &c.
The rivers afford a variety of fish, which are taken in considerable quantities ; such as salmon, shad, alewives, and bass ; and on their margins is gathered a forage, superiour in quality to that which generally comes under the denomination of meadow hay.
You will see, by the rough draught* which accompanies this, that Topsham is a peninsula. It is about thirty-two miles in circumference, and more than twenty-five miles are washed with water.
The plan is not laid down by any survey, but is sketched as it exists in my mind. It is pretty accurate as to the relative situation of land and water : and I believe it will give no very incorrect idea, as to the proportion of its parts. It might have had ornament, had I more leisure. Such as it is, with what I have written, are submitted to your candour, by,
Sir, your most obedient,
The Hon. James Sullivan, Esq.
I HERE subjoin the number of Births, and a Bill of Mortality for Topsham, within the term of four years and seven months, or from September 16, 1789, to the present time.
Births, one hundred and fifteen. Deaths, fifty-three.
Under the age of one year 10
From 1 to 5 6
5 — 10 3
10 — 20 5
20 — 30 10
30 — 40 5
40 — 50 2
50 — 60 4
60 — 70 2
70 — 80 3
80 — 90 2
90 — 100 1
* Deposited in the library of the Historical Society.
144 A Topographical Description of Machias.
Eleven have died with the consumption ; seven with fevers ; four, with the general decay of nature, unattended with any particular complaint ; one, small pox ; one, apoplexy ; one, colick ; one, rickets; seven, drowned ; one, the accidental discharge of a gun. I assign no special cause for the death of those under one year ; nor am I able to point out the particular disease of which the others died. I am accurate as to the number of deaths ; but it is probable that there have been more births than have come to my knowledge.
Our climate may be considered as friendly to the life of man, though I think our habit of living is not. The great quantity of ardent spirits, that is drank in this country, has an unhappy influence over the man. They impair the natural vigour of the constitution, lead to many needless exposures, and facilitate the progress of decay, as well as implant the seeds of disease.
My meteorological observations, though daily made, are, for want of proper apparatus, too incorrect for the inspection of any other than myself,
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
Topsham, April 25, 1794.
Machias, April 7, 1794.
I TAKE the liberty to send you the following Description of Machias, with a few remarks that equally apply to the county at large. If it comes within the views of the Historical Society, and you deem it worthy a place in their Collections, it may be presented with my respects.
I am, dear Sir,
With affectionate esteem,
Your friend,JOHN COOPER.
William Tudor, Esq.
A Topographical Description of Machias, in the County of Washington.
By John Cooper, Esq. Sheriff of the County.
MACHIAS, the shire town of Washington county, is the furthest from the capital, of any in the commonwealth. Its distance by watcr, is nearly one hundred leagues ; by land, it is computed at four hundred miles.
Bounds and Name.] The town is bounded on the south and west, by townships, Nos. 22 and 23, on the north and east, by Nos. 18, 13, and 12; containing ten by eight miles square. The name of
A Topographical Description of Machias. 145
the town is altered from the Indian name, Mechisses, given to the river, and so called in the oldest maps : Its signification we are unacquainted with.
First Settlement.] Governour Winthrop mentions in his Journal, a Mr. Allerton, of Plymouth, who in 1633, set up a trading wigwam at Machias, which consisted of five men ; and a quantity of merchandize. The whole was taken the same year, by order of Governour La Tour. In 1744, a small settlement was made by a few French people at the east falls, on account of the alewive fishery, but was broke up the following year. Since then, we have no account of any other attempts for a settlement, until May, 1763, at which time fifteen persons of both sexes, from Scarborough, in the county of Cumberland, came to Machias, and began a settlement at the west falls. They erected a double saw mill, and in August following, the remainder of their families arrived. The year after, they were joined by many others. During the five succeeding years, their numbers continuing to increase, several applications were made to the legislature of Massachusetts, for a grant of land ; and in April, 1770, a tract of land in the county of Lincoln was, by an act of the general assembly, granted to Ichabod Jones and seventy-nine others, his associates, under certain conditions therein mentioned ; which being fulfilled on their part, the general court by an act, passed June 23, 1784, confirmed their grant, and incorporated said tract, with the inhabitants, into a town by the name of Machias.
Situation.] The principal settlements in the town, are at East and West falls, and at Middle river. Machias river, after running a north course, six miles distance from Cross Island (which forms its entrance) separates at a place called the Rim. One branch taking a N. E. direction, runs in length two miles and an half, with a width of thirty rods, to the head of the tide, where are two double saw mills, and one grist mill. The main branch runs a N. W. course for nearly three miles in length, and seventy rods wide, to the head of the tide, where are two double and one single saw mills, and two grist mills. Middle river separates from the main branch, three quarters of a mile below the falls, and runs nearly two miles north, to the head of the tide. The chief settlement is at the West falls, the county courts being held and the jail erected there. The buildings also in general are more decent and compact. The main channel takes its course to these falls, which, though crooked and narrow, admits burthensome vessels to receive their loading at wharves within fifty rods of the mills. This advantage no other part of the town can enjoy.
Schools and Minister.] The town is divided into four districts, for the support of schools, in which are taught reading, writing, and arithmetick ; and into two districts for the convenience of publick worship. The Rev. James Lyon officiates at the West and East falls alternately. He received and accepted his call in 1772 ; and is the first minister regularly settled to the eastward of St George's.
146 A Topographical Description of Machias.
Academy.] The general court, by an act passed in March, 1792, established an academy at Machias, by the name of Washington Academy, incorporated a number of gentlemen as trustees, and gave for its support a township of land. This generous donation has enabled the trustees to realize a permanent fund for the academy's use ; and measures are pursuing, for carrying into complete effect the benevolent object of the legislature.
Population.] Agreeable to the census taken in 1790, the town contained about eight hundred inhabitants. Since that time, its population has rapidly increased.
Exports.] The exports of Machias consists principally of lumber ; such as boards, shingles, clapboards, laths, and various kinds of hewed timber. The cod fishery might be carried on to advantage, though it has been neglected. In 1793, between seventy and eighty tons only were employed in the fishery ; and not above five hundred quintals were exported. The mill saws, of which there are seventeen, cut on an average, three million feet of boards yearly. A great proportion of the lumber is usually shipped in British vessels. The total amount of exports annually exceeds fifteen thousand dollars.
Soil and Produce.] The soil nearest the river, and such as bears only in its natural state the spruce, fir, and hemlock, is commonly a stiff clay, not fit for tillage, though good for pasturing ; but the land in general is well calculated for most purposes of husbandry, and produces in its original state the various species of maple, beech, birch, ash, &c. Barley, pease, beans, and oats, afford the most certain crops. Wheat, rye, flax, and Indian corn, yield a good increase, when duly attended to ; and vegetables of various kinds, and of the best quality, may be obtained in plenty, with common cultivation. The white pine is a native of the soil ; but Machias has been much indebted to the surrounding townships for its chief supply of timber. The inhabitants derive a great advantage from the meadows and salt marshes, which are generally rich, and pretty equally distributed through the township. The river contains a plenty of salmon, shad, alewives, and herring. These are commonly taken in the months of May, June, and September ; and prove a certain support to the poorer people during the winter season.
Remarks.] The people of Machias, and the townships adjoining, during the late war, were remarkable for their intrepidity and publick spirit. In 1777, when an expedition was planned by the general court, against some parts of Nova Scotia, Machias was appointed the rendezvous. The enemy receiving intelligence of the design, previous to the troops being collected, Sir John Collier, with a ship of forty-four guns, three frigates, and an armed brig, were sent to destroy the town. On this occasion, the invaders were completely repulsed and defeated, having a considerable number killed and wounded, with the loss of only one man killed, and one wounded, on the part of the
A Topographical Description of Machias. 147
invaded, with a single mill, and two or three small buildings burned, that were directly exposed to their first assault.
This is perhaps the only instance during the war, of an armament's being sent by the enemy, for the express purpose of destroying a particular town in the northern states, without succeeding.
After the British troops had taken possession of Penobscot, in 1779, it was expected all the country to the eastward of it, would have submitted to their jurisdiction : yet notwithstanding their proclamations, denouncing vengeance in case of refusal, the inhabitants of Machias, with most of the townships westward, still adhered to their country's cause, and continued to act offensively, until the close of the war. The extensive and well deserved influence of General Campbell, which at all times secured the ready obedience of the militia ; the exertions of Colonel Allan, who had the direction of the friendly Indians ; and the efforts of the inhabitants of Machias, united, preserved to the commonwealth a valuable extent of territory ; as the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Brunswick, when hostilities ceased, was determined rather by possession, than the treaty of peace, or the compass.
The principal object of the original settlers being lumber, more attention was paid to mill-rights than to the soil : consequently the land they first cultivated, being contiguous to their mills, with very few exceptions, was inferiour to any in the township ; and the town after twenty years settlement, presented to the view only a number of huts, surrounded by land scarcely brought to the first stages of improvement. During the war, their intercourse with Britain being stopped, and having no market for their lumber, they were at first reduced to the extremity of want, and compelled rather by necessity, than inclination, to till the earth with vigour. Their efforts were successful, and more land in the town was profitably cultivated, during five years of the war, than has been improved to equal advantage either before or since. When peace took place, lumber being in great demand for a short time, the farms were again neglected for the mills, and in general assumed their former gloomy aspect.
This partiality for mills and lumber has been, and still is, the bane of Machias and no inconsiderable part of the eastern country. The idea of suddenly acquiring property has the same influence on the millman, as the speculator ; and their success is too often attended with similar effects : for one that reaps advantage, ten suffer ; patient industry gives place to convulsive efforts ; and premature debility is the natural consequence. That particular town or state must be unfortunate, whose dependence for the necessaries of life rests solely on their imports, unless their exports are proportionably valuable, and in certain demand. Hence it is, that the industry of four fifths of the inhabitants, eastward of Penobscot, being exhausted on their mills, and they depending altogether upon importations for their subsistence, the contests of foreign powers injure them as sensibly, as though the war was brought to
148 Mr. Backus's Account of Middleborough.
their doors If America is engaged in war, or remains neuter, their lumber is not of sufficient consequence to command a freight : of course the prices of their imports are much increased, while the value of their exports more rapidly diminishes. This has been severely realized during the last year.
The late extensive sales of eastern lands now bid fair to give industry its proper direction, provided as great attention is paid to their settlement, as to their purchase. Should this event take place in any considerable degree (which appearances lead us to expect) the country will soon be relieved from its present embarrassments ; and the mutual exertions of the shore, and inland, settler will reciprocally tend to the best interests of each other.
An Historical Account of Middleborough, in the County of Plymouth.
By the Rev. Isaac Backus.
To the Massachusetts Historical Society. Gentlemen,
AS you have begun the third volume of your Collections with an ingenious account of the present state of Middleborough, with very little of its ancient history, I have taken some pains to collect a number of articles of that nature, which you may make what use of that you think proper.
WHEN our Plymouth fathers first sent two messengers,* to visit old Massasoit at Mount Hope, in July, 1621, they lodged the first night at Namasket, where so many Indians had died a few years before, that the living could not bury the dead ; but "their skulls and bones appeared in many places, where their dwellings had been."+ Namasket is that part of Middleborough, where the English began their plantation, and had increased to about sixteen families, before Philip began his war, in June, 1675. As soon as it brake out, they removed away, as did also the friendly Indians, to Plymouth, and other eastern places. Philip had been very conversant here ; and because his friend John Sausaman informed the English of his preparations for war, Sausaman was murdered on a frozen pond, at Assowamset, and the execution of his murderers hastened on the war. And in the time of it, Philip once sent an army to waylay Capt. Church, in Assowamset-neck ; which is in the south part of Middleborough. He was also defeated, in attempting to cross a river upon a tree that had fallen over it. This
* Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins, with Tisquantum, an Indian, for their guide
+ Prince's Chronology, p. 106
was the river between Middleborough and Bridgwater.* Philip was slain on August 12, 1676, soon after which the war was closed in these parts.
The first planters of Middleborough came mainly from Plymouth ; and they returned here after the war, and Mr. Samuel Fuller preached to them, until a church was constituted among them, and he was ordained their pastor in 1694. He was much esteemed as a godly man, and useful preacher. He died greatly lamented, August 2 4, 1695, Æt. 66.+
Mr. Thomas Palmer was their second minister, whose capacity and accomplishments were not small : but the lust of intemperance, and other evils, drew such a cloud over his character, that, by the advice of a council of twelve churches, he was deposed from his office. Though, as he robbed the church of all her records, we have no account of the time when he was ordained, nor when he was deposed ; only as it appears that a party of the church held with him, until about the time of their electing another pastor, which was June 30, 1708, when an act of oblivion was passed upon past transactions.
Their third pastor was Mr. Peter Thacher, who was born in Milton, October 6, 1688, began to preach in Middleborough in September, 1707, and was ordained their pastor, November 2, 1709. He was a faithful and successful minister for near thirty five years. So great a revival of religion was granted among his people in 1741, as caused the addition of one hundred and seventy four communicants to his church in less than three years ; above half of whom were males. But their beloved pastor was taken away by death April 22, 1744.++
Directly after his removal, a few leading men in the town made violent opposition against the church, about the settlement of another minister. And when the church had voted to hear Mr. Sylvanus Conant from Bridgwater, four sabbaths upon probation, the parish committee went and got another teacher to supply the pulpit the same days ; which caused a great division among them And when a large majority of the church had chosen Mr. Conant for their pastor, and presented their choice to the parish, their committee made a new regulation of voters, whereby they excluded seven or eight old voters, and admitted about nineteen new ones, and they negatived the election of the church. The church then called a council of five churches, who approved of their choice of Mr. Conant, and he was ordained their pastor, March 28, 1745.
Yet less than a quarter of the church called themselves the standing part of it, and called and settled Mr. Thomas Weld as their minister, in October following : and that party held the meeting house and minis-
* Church's History, page 9, 60, 62. Hubbard's History of that War, page 177.
+ Appendix to Robbins's Ordination Sermon, 1760, page 21.
++ Prince's Christian History, volume 2, page 99.
150 Mr. Backus's Account of Middleborough.
terial lands, and the church and her friends built another house for their worship. And the party spirit of that day was so great, that the church could obtain no relief from our legislature for about four years : but when each inhabitant was allowed to choose his own minister, and they were formed into two societies promiscuously, each to support their own minister, they, who called themselves the standing party, soon fell into a quarrel with their own minister, and nailed up their meeting house against him. He then held meetings for a considerable time in his own house, after which he sued the society, and recovered his salary for all that time. At length they got him dismissed, and their society dissolved. But Mr. Conant continued a useful minister, and an exemplary walker, until he was suddenly taken away by the small pox, December 7, 1777.
Their next pastor was Mr. Joseph Barker, from Branford in Connecticut, who was ordained December 5, 1781, and he is still continued with them.
A second precinct was formed in the southwest part of Middleborough, including a part of Taunton, in 1719. About the year 1724, a church was constituted therein, and Mr. Benjamin Ruggles was ordained their pastor ; and he continued with them about thirty years, and then left them without their consent, and went and settled in New Braintree ; but as their records were lost or destroyed, we have no exact account of the time of his ordination, or of his departure.
After trying a number of candidates, Mr. Caleb Turner, from Mansfield, in Connecticut, was ordained their minister, June 25, 1761, in which office he still continues.
In 1743, a third precinct was constituted, in the northwest part of Middleborough, including a part of Bridgwater. A church was formed there in 1756, and Mr. Solomon Reed was installed their pastor, January 26, 1757. He was born in Abington, in 1719, and was ordained at Framingham, in 1747, pastor of a church that was formed by the advice of a council, but could not obtain an incorporation by law, as a society ; therefore he left them in 1756, and came and settled in Middleborough, and was well esteemed here until his death, on May 7, 1785.
Mr. David Gurney, who came from Bridgwater, was ordained their second pastor, December 5, 1787, and still continues with them.
Ketehiquut (or Titicut) mentioned as a place of praying Indians,* is in this precinct. A baptist church was formed among them ; and Nehemiah, Abel, Thomas Sekins, Thomas Felix, and John Symons, are mentioned as teachers among them. When I came into the place in 1747, John Symons was the minister of that church, and continued so for near ten years, and then he removed to the southward ; and he assisted in ordaining Silas Paul, on Martha's Vineyard, in 1763. One of the Indians in Titicut was prevailed with to give five acres for their meeting-house lot, and two others gave each of them fifteen acres of
* Historical Collections, volume 1, page 200.
Mr. Backus's Account of Middleborough. 151
good land for the ministry. As the Indians diminished in the place, they were allowed to sell their lands under the direction of guardians, who were appointed by the government ; the last of which was sold in 1760.
An Account of the English Baptist Churches in Middleborough.
Titicut precinct was constituted in February, 1743 ; but as the communicants therein desired such kind of preaching as the majority of voters disliked, the neighbouring ministers would not dismiss their church members, so that they might form a church to act in calling a minister. Therefore they formed a church without leave from those ministers, February 16, 1748, and the writer was ordained their pastor, the 13th of April following. In September, 1749, a number of them embraced the baptist principle, and their principles prevailed in the church, until those who disliked the same, went off to other churches, and a baptist church was formed here, January 16, 1756, and the same pastor was installed therein, the 23d of June following, by assistance from Boston and Rehoboth, in which office he is continued to this day. The second baptist church in Middleborough originated in the following manner : Mr. Thomas Nelson discovered such evils in Mr. Palmer, as gave a turn to his mind about principles ; and upon searching the scriptures, it appeared to him that none but professed believers ought to be baptized ; and he went and joined to the first baptist church in Swansey, which is the first of that denomination in the Massachusetts. In the beginning of 1717, he removed into Assowamset, being the first English family who settled in that neck of land. He obtained occasional preaching at his house from time to time, as he could, until he got Mr. Ebenezer Hinds, from Bridgwater, to remove and preach there steadily, in the spring of 1753. Their society increased and others joined with them farther south-westward, and they formed a baptist church, November, 16, 1757, and Mr. Hinds was ordained their pastor, January 26, 1758, and he now remains with them.
The third baptist church in Middleborough, was constituted in the southeast corner of it, near Carver and Wareham, August 4, 1761, and Mr. Ebenezer Jones, from Raynham, was ordained their pastor, the 28th of October following. A happy revival of religion was granted among them the next year ; yet such a division arose in the church and society, in 1763, as caused his removal from them ; and he travelled and preached in various parts of the country, until he died in the state of New York, in September, 1791.
Mr. Asa Hunt, from Braintree, was their second pastor, who was ordained October 30, 1771 ; and such a blessing was granted upon his labours, as increased the church to one hundred and ninety-five members, in 1783. Yet many trying things appeared among them afterwards, and he was suddenly taken away by death, September 20, 1791.
But the church was still preserved, and religion was again much revived therein, last year, and Mr. Samuel Nelson was ordained their third pas-
152 Mr. Backus's Account of Middleborough.
tor, January 16, 1794. He is a grandson of the first baptist in Middleborough, and hath two brothers in the ministry elsewhere.
A few General Remarks.
Our fathers began the plantation of New England in the poorest part of it. The land between Plymouth and Wareham, and between Sandwich and Falmouth is so barren, that a number of deer run wild in the woods there, to this day. And there are very few men in any part of the old colony of Plymouth who are very rich, but the people are more upon a level than in most parts of our country. And as it was first planted by a religious, prudent, and industrious people, their posterity retain so much of those excellent qualities, that capital crimes are less known here, than in many other places. There has not been any person hanged in Plymouth county, for above these sixty years past. Neither were the courts interrupted in this county, in 1786, as they were in many other parts of the land. The goodness of God, and not the goodness of men, ought to have all the glory.
As our new plantations have been extended amazingly since the peace of 1763, I conclude that there are as many people now in other places who have sprung from Middleborough, since that peace, as all who are now in the town. This may appear partly from the numeration of the people. For when they were numbered by authority, in the summer of 1776, there were four thousand four hundred and seventy-nine souls in Middleborough ; and the next winter they numbered the males, of sixteen years old and above, and found them to be one thousand and sixty-six, of whom there were but five Indians and eight negroes. And in 1791, there were but four thousand, five hundred, and twenty-six souls in Middleborough, which is but forty seven more than there were fifteen years before. And it hath generally been healthy in the place, and families have increased as fast as in former times. And it is well known that a large part of the towns of New Salem and Shutesbury, in the county of Hampshire, and of Woodstock in the state of Vermont, sprang from Middleborough ; and some from hence are scattered through ail New England, and into many other parts of America.
These things, collected from printed books, church records, other writings, and intelligent persons, are presented to the Historical Society, by their humble servant,
Middleborough, February 20, 1794.
I have often wondered that historians should be so incorrect in their dates of important events, as many of them have been. The beginning of Rhode Island colony hath often been set in 1634, or 1635 ; whereas the town of Providence was not planted until 1636, nor Rhode-
Folger's Description of Nantucket. 153
Island till 1638 And in your third volume, p. 5, a gentleman says, "In 1637, New Haven was planted ; about the same time, Windsor, Guilford, ana Milford." But Windsor was planted in 1635, Hartford in 1636, and New Haven not till 1638.*
A Topographical Description of Nantucket.
By Walter Folger, jun.
BETWEEN 69° 56' and 70° 13 1/2' west longitude. Between 41° 13' and 41° 22 1/2' north latitude. 15 miles in length. 11 miles in breadth.
Boundaries.] It is bounded on all sides by the ocean, being about eight leagues to the southward from Cape Cod.
Climate, Soil, Seasons, and Water.] The climate of Nantucket is mild, when compared with the neighbouring country, owing perhaps to its being situated in the ocean. The air is not so hot and sultry in summer, nor so cold in winter, as it is on the main The inhabitants enjoy a cool sea breeze, which for the most part makes it healthy.
The soil of Nantucket is for the most part light and sandy, if we except some part of the land where the town now stands, and some part of the east end of the island, which is a loamy and rich soil.
There can be but little said of the waters, except that the island is well watered with ponds and springs, but as to their medicinal qualities, if they have any, they have not been discovered. The waters of many wells in the town are impregnated with an earthy and saline substance, which renders them disagreeable to those who are not accustomed to them.
Bays, &c.] There is but one bay of any note, and that is formed by a long sandy point, which runs from the east end of the island to the north and westward (on which stands a light-house, erected by the Massachusetts state, in 1784) and the north shore of the island, as far as Eel Point. This makes a fine road for ships, except with the wind at the N. W. when there is a heavy swell.
The harbour is a basin within the bay, the entrance of which is obstructed by a sand-bar, on which there are no more than seven feet and a half of water at low water, and in some places no more than three feet and a half; but within there are twelve and fourteen feet of water.
Animal Productions by Sea and Land.] The sea produces many kinds of fish, such as cod, hallibut, sturgeon, shad, herring, bass, eels, and a number of other kinds.
*Winthrop's Journal, pages 86, 92, 96, 98, 101, 151.
154 Folger's Description of Nantucket.
On the land are horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, which are not very different from those of the neighboring country.
Population, Inhabitants, Manners, and Customs] According to an enumeration taken in 1790, Nantucket contained males above sixteen years of age eleven hundred and ninety-three ; males under sixteen years ten hundred and sixteen ; females two thousand three hundred ; blacks of all ages and sexes, not including Indians, one hundred and ten ; total of males two thousand two hundred and nine ; the whole number of inhabitants was four thousand six hundred and nineteen.
The inhabitants are for the most part a robust and enterprising people, mostly seamen and mechanicks. The seamen are the most expert whalemen in the world : for a proof of which one need only consider the efforts that France and England have been making to draw them away, for the purpose of conducting their fisheries.
One reason perhaps of the Nantucket-men's being so dexterous in killing the whale is, that they have but little opportunity of going in any other service. The boys, as soon as they can talk, will make use of the common phrases, as townor, which is an Indian word, and signifies that they have seen the whale twice ; and as soon as they are some years older, they are seen rowing in boats for diversion, which makes them expert oarsmen, a thing that is requisite in taking the whale.
The inhabitants are mostly ingenious in using mechanical tools. It is no strange thing to sec the same man occupy the station of a merchant, at other times that of a husbandman, of a blacksmith, or of a cooper, or a number of other occupations.
The women are thought to be handsome. They make good wives, tender mothers, kind and obliging neighbours. The inhabitants live together like one great family, not in one house, but in friendship. They not only know their nearest neighbours, but each one knows all the rest. If you should wish to see any man, you need but ask the first inhabitant you meet, and he will be able to conduct you to his residence, to tell what occupation he is of, and any other particulars you may wish to know
Vegetable Productions.] Before we treat of vegetable productions, it may be necessary to inform the readers that the land is held in common; that is, the island is supposed to be divided into twenty seven shares (except some part of the east end of the island, known by the name of Squam, and some few other pieces, which are held as private farms.) Each share is entitled to a certain portion of land, which the owner may take up in any part of the common land and convert it to what use he thinks proper. Each share is subdivided into lesser parts, called cows' commons, which give the proprietor a privilege to turn out as many cows or other cattle, as he owns of such parts in common or other stock, in the proportion of one horse or sixteen sheep to two cows' commons; which stock feed on any part of the land that is not
Macy's Account of Nantucket. 155
converted into a field. All the cows feed together in one herd, to the amount of about five hundred. All the sheep feed in one pasture, and each man knows his own by marks made in the ears by cutting them in different forms. In order to shear them, they are all driven into one large yard, where each man goes, picks out his own sheep, and shears them, which commonly takes up two days, and is performed about the 20th June ; at which time and place most of the inhabitants assemble for the sake of diversion. The proprietors commonly plant about twenty five acres of corn to a share, which are six hundred and seventy five acres for the whole twenty seven shares, which are in one field, and will produce on an average twelve bushels to the acre ; that number multiplied by six hundred and seventy five, gives eight thousand one hundred bushels. The next year the same land is sowed with rye and oats; about eighty one acres with rye. The produce about six bushels to an acre, is four hundred and eighty six bushels. The remainder, five hundred and ninety four acres, is sowed with oats, which produce about fourteen bushels to an acre, that is eight thousand three hundred and sixteen bushels. On the private farms there are about two hundred acres planted with corn, which will yield twenty bushels to the acre, and as many acres for rye and oats.
It may be remarked, that the island is continually wasting on each side by the seas washing the shores.
There have been many times found at the bottom of wells, at the depth of forty and fifty feet, and after digging through several strata of earth, such as clay, &c. shells of the same kind as are now found on the shores of the island ; and in all, at the level of the sea, is found the same kind of sand as is on the shores. In many it has the appearance of having been once the boundary between the the sea and land, by its declining from a horizontal level.
Nantucket, May 21, 1791.
A short Journal of the first settlement of the island of Nantucket, with some of the most remarkable things that have happened since, to the present time.
By Zaccheus Macy.
FIRST, I find that the original right of Nantucket was obtained by Thomas Mayhew of James Forrett, agent to William, earl of Stirling, the 13th day of the tenth month, in the year 1641, at New York; and that by the said Mayhew nine tenths of it were conveyed to nine other proprietors, named below, the 2d day of the seventh month, in the year 1659.
The first meeting of the proprietors was held at Salisbury, the 2d day of the seventh month, in the year 1659, in order to take in their partners.
First, the partner of Thomas Mayhew was John Smith ;—of Tristram Coffin—Nathaniel Starbuck ;—of Thomas Macy—Edward Starbuck ;
156 Macy's Account of Nantucket.
—of Richard Swain—Thomas Look ;—of Thomas Barnard—Robert Barnard ,—of Peter Coffin—James Coffin;—of Christopher Hussey— Robert Pike ;—of Stephen Greenleaf—Tristram Coffin, junior ;—of John Swain—Thomas Coleman. William Pile sold his whole tenth to Richard Swain.
At the same meeting, the above named persons agreed to have ten other partners,'who should each have half as much land as themselves, called for that reason half share men. They also agreed that John Bishop should have two of the said half shares. And after they came to Nantucket, they granted the following rights :—To Thomas Macy one half share in the year 1663 ;—to Richard Gardiner two ditto, in 1666 ; —to Joseph Gardiner one ditto, in 1667;—to Joseph Coleman one ditto, in 1665;—to William Worth two ditto, in 1662 and in 1674; —to Peter and Eleazer Folger two ditto, in 1662 ;—to John Gardiner two ditto, in 1672 ; to Samuel Stretor one ditto, in 1669 ;—to Nathaniel Wier one half of a sort of a poor one, in 1667. Which in the whole make twenty seven shares. But at this time there are near three hundred proprietors of the island. One share is limited to keep seven hundred and twenty sheep. Sixteen sheep are reckoned equivalent to one horse ; and eight sheep, to one ox or cow. The property is very unequally divided, varying from one sheep commons right to fourteen hundred sheep commons right. Clerks of the sheep yards are appointed, who on their books credit each proprietor with his rights, and make him debtor for his cattle, horses, and sheep. About the 20th of the sixth month, the sheep are driven to the yards, to be sheared. At this time each proprietor gives in to the clerks the number of his sheep, cattle, and horses, that he may be charged with them on the books And if they be more than he is entitled to by his rights, he hires of his neighbours who have less. But if the proprietors all together have more than their number, the overplus are either killed or transported from the island Beside the commons, there are sundry lands, swamps, and salt-meadows, which are divided among the proprietors in proportion to their shares, and are made use of for house lots, mowing land, and pastures. A proprietor may keep his sheep either on the common, or on the said lots and pastures, as suits him best. But he is not allowed, when he has more than his number, to remove the overplus from the commons to the pastures : because by the agreement, a share is entitled to keep no more than seven hundred and twenty sheep on the whole commons and pastures taken together.
Of the first coming of the English to Nantucket.
In the year 1659, Thomas Macy removed with his family from Salisbury, in the county of Essex, to the west end of the. island, to a place called in the Indian tongue Madakit Harbour. Thither came Edward Starbuck, James Coffin, and one Daget, from Martha's Vineyard, for the sake of gunning, and lived with him as boarders. At
Macy's Account of Nantucket. 157
that time there were near three thousand Indians on Nantucket. I cannot find that the English had any material quarrel or difficulty with them. They were willing to sell their lands ; and the English went on purchasing, beginning at the west end of the island, till in fine they have obtained the whole, except some small rights, which are still retained by the natives.
Of the Whale Fishery.
The whale fishery began at Nantucket in the year 1690. One Ichabod Paddock came from Cape Cod to instruct the people in the art of killing whales, in boats from the shore. This business flourished till about the year, 1760, when the whales appeared generally to have deserted the coast. It is remarkable, that during all that time, not a single man was killed by a whale, or drowned, whilst engaged in this hazardous employment. But it happened once, when there were about thirty boats about six miles from the shore, that the wind came round to the northward, and blew with geat violence, attended with snow. The men all rowed hard, but made but little head way. In one of the boats there were four Indians and two white men. An old Indian in the head of the boat, perceiving that the crew began to be disheartened, spake out loud in his own tongue and said, Momadichchator auqua sarshkee sarnkee pinchee eyoo sememoochkee chaquanks wihchee pinchee eyoo : which in English is, "Pull a head with courage : do not be disheartened: we shall not be lost now: there are too many Englishmen to be lost now." His speaking in this manner gave the crew new courage. They soon perceived that they made head way ; and after long rowing, they all got safe on shore.
In the year 1718, the inhabitants began to pursue whales on the ocean, in small sloops and schooners, from thirty to forty five tons. The blubber was brought home in large square pieces, and tried or boiled in try-houses. In a few years, vessels from sixty to eighty tons were employed, and the oil boiled out in try works at sea. When the late war began with Great Britain, we had a fleet of about one hundred and forty sail, consisting of large sloops, schooners, and brigs. But when the war ended, we were reduced to about thirty old hulks. Our voyages are now long and distant. We are obliged therefore to have vessels so large, that few persons are able to fit them out. For a great many of our most substantial men, allured by the hope of large bounties, have removed from the island ; some to England, some to France, and others to Halifax, where they carry on the whale fishery. This is a great damage to us, and perhaps to our country in general. If these persons had carried away with them their part of the poor, it would have lightened our burthens ; for we have now left two hundred and fifteen widows, of whom not thirty are able to support themselves without the assistance of their friends and neighbours, and some are maintained by the town. We have besides a great number of poor, and
158 Macy's Account of Nantucket.
some who are wretchedly poor. But then, on the other hand, we have a considerable number of able industrious men, who carry on the whale fishery, which is great help to the whole town at this day.
Description of the Island.
Nantucket is about fourteen miles long, east and west, and about three miles and an half wide.* The south side is very clear of stones. I never saw a stone along the shore bigger than a man's head. The soil is thin, but will bear Indian corn, rye, oats, and feed for our cattle. The north side is in several places, somewhat stoney, and produces pretty good English hay. The wood being entirely gone, and few shrubs left to shelter the ground against the cold winds and hard winters, the profits of our farming business are much reduced. Since my time, we called it only a middling crop, when we got from eighteen to twenty bushels of Indian corn from an acre. But now, when we get from twelve to fourteen bushels, we esteem it a tolerable crop. The profit on our sheep is also much reduced. The rule of our old men was, when they had a hundred lambs, they would kill fifty sheep that year, and leave fifty lambs to keep their stock good, and it would generally do it. But for ten or twelve years past, when we have a hundred lambs if we kill thirty sheep, and leave seventy lambs, it will not leave our stock good.
The town stands near the middle of the island, on the north side, having the harbour on the east, at a place called in the Indian language Wesko, which signifies the white stone. This white stone lies by the side of the harbour, and is now covered by the wharf.
Of the Indians.
The natives of Nantucket were a kind people, and very friendly to each other. There were no poor persons among them. For when any of them grew old and helpless, and went to a neighbour's house, they were made welcome to stay as long as they pleased. If the English entered their houses, whilst they were eating, they would offer them such as they had, which sometimes would be very good. At their feasts they had several sorts of good food, and very good strong beer. By drinking rum their numbers were so much reduced that in the year 1763, there were but three hundred and fifty-eight left on the island. In that year an uncommon mortal distemper attacked them. It began the 16th of the eighth month, 1763, and lasted till the 16th of the second month, 1764. During that period two hundred and twenty-two died. Thirty-four were sick and recovered. Thirty-six who
* This account differs from that of Mr. Folger. (See page 153.) As Nantucket is of an irregular shape, it is not easy to determine its length and breadth. Including Sandy Point, the breadth in one part is eleven miles; but the general breadth is not more than three miles and a half.
159 Macy' Account of Nantucket.
lived among them, escaped the disorder. Eight lived at the west end of the island, and did not go among them : none of them caught the disease. Eighteen were at sea. With the English lived forty, of whom none died. The Indians are now reduced to four males and sixteen females. Before this period, and from the first coming of the English to Nantucket, a large fat fish, called the blue fish, thirty of which would fill a barrel, was caught in great plenty all round the island, from the 1st of the sixth month till the middle of the ninth month. But it is remarkable, that in the year 1764, the very year in which the sickness ended, they all disappeared, and that none have ever been taken since. This has been a great loss to us.
In the year 1665, King Philip came to the island to kill an Indian, whose name was John Gibbs. He landed at the west end, intending to travel along the shore, under the bank, undiscovered, to the east part of the island, where John lived. But an Indian, happening to discover his plan, ran and gave John word ; in consequence of which John made his escape to town, and got Thomas Macy to conceal him. John's crime was speaking the name of the dead, who was supposed to be one of King Philip's near connexions. For the Indians had a custom or law, that no one should speak or name the name of the dead. The English held a parley with Philip, and all the money, which they were able to collect at that time, was barely sufficient to satisfy him for John's life. This story has been handed down to us by our fathers, and we do not doubt the truth of it.
The Indians had a singular way of punishing their children and servants, which was as follows. They took some bayberry root, and scraping off the bark, put it into a bottle ; they let it stand awhile, steeping it in water. They would then take the boys, and lay them on their backs, putting a knee on each of the boy's arms ; and turning back their heads, by laying hold of the hair, they took some of the water into their mouths, and squirted it into the noses of the boys. This was repeated twice or thrice, till the boys were nearly strangled. After a while, however, they would recover. This mode of punishment, called by the Indians medomhumar, or great punishment, has prevailed among them since my time.
Of Peter Folger.
When the English first came to Nantucket, they appointed five men to divide and lay out twenty acres of house lot land, to every share ; and Peter Folger was one of the five. But I have remarked, that it is said in the records, that any three out of the five might do the business, provided the said Peter Folger was one of them. From which it is plain, that the people saw something in him superiour to others. I have observed also, that some of our old deeds from the Indian sachems were examined by Peter Folger, and he would write something at the bottom of the deed and sign it, in addition to the signature of the justice ; for he understood and could speak the Indian tongue. So that
160 Macy's Account of Nantucket.
it is clear to me, that both the English and Indians had a great esteem for Peter Folger ; who was grandfather to the famous Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, lately deceased. His mother was the daughter of Peter Folger, who lived within forty rods of the spot where I was born. And from what I have heard, the whole of North America prided it elf as much in Benjamin Franklin, as the people of Nantucket did, in his grandfather. I conclude therefore, that he inherited a part of his noble publick spirit from his grandfather, Peter Folger.
I hope the errours of the above will be excused, as I am now in my seventy-ninth year, and according to the course of nature, am not so capable of setting matters in a clear light as in my younger days.
Nantucket, 15th of 5th month, 1792.
Births, Marriages, and Deaths, in the island of Nantucket, communicated by the Rev. Mr. Shaw.
N. B. Of the deaths, 11 were caused by pulmonary consumption, and 10 by hectical decay. 10 were males, and 11 females.
N. B. Of the deaths, 13 were caused by pulmonary consumption, 8 by hectical decay.
N. B. Of the deaths, 12 were by pulmonary consumption. 11 by hectical decay. 9 by convulsions.
N. B. Of the deaths, 6 were by pulmonary consumption. 14 by hectical decay. 12 by convulsions. [hectical decay is recurrent fever.]
Whale Fishery at Nantucket. 161
Progress of the Whale Fishery at Nantucket.
WHALE FISHERY originated at Nantucket in the year 1690, in boats from the shore.
6 sloops, 38 tons burden, obtained about 600 barrrels of oil, and 11,000 bone
25 sail, from 38 to 50 tons, obtained annually about 3,700 barrels, at £7 per ton
60 sail, from 50 to 70 tons, obtained 11,250 barrels at £14 19,684
80 sail, 75 tons, obtained 12,000 barrels at £18 27,600
70 sail, 75 tons, obtained 10,500 barrels at £ 18
N.B. Lost 10 sail, taken by the French, and foundered.
120 sail, from 75 to 110 tons, obtained 18,000 barrels at £40 100,000
150 sail, from 90 to 180 tons, upon the coast of Guinea, Brazil, and the West Indies, obtained annually 30,000 barrrels, which sold in the London market at £44, to £45 sterling
N.B. 2,200 seamen employed in the fishery, and 220 in the London trade.
7 sail to Brazil from 100 to 150 tons obtained
5 to the coast of Guinea
7 to the West Indies
At £40 per ton
N.B. No duty extracted in London.
12 sail to Brazil, obtained
5 to the coast of Guinea
11 to the West Indies
At £23 to £24
N.B. The price fell by the exaction of a duty in London of £18 3s. sterling, per ton.
Now at sea.
8 sail to Brazil.
2 to the coast of Guinea.
5 to the West Indies.
Before the war there were annually manufactured in Nantucket 380 tons of spermaceti candles.*
* This state of the whale fishery in Nantucket, was written in the year 1785.
166 A Topographical Description of Raynham.
A Topographical Description of the town of Raynham, in the County of Bristol, February 6, 1793.
By the Rev. Peres Fobes, LL. D.
RAYNHAM is distant from Boston, the capital of the state, about thirty-six miles ; in a southerly direction. This town, which, with a number of others, originally belonged to the old township of Taunton, was taken off and incorporated, in the year 1731. It is bounded on the east by Bridgewater ; on the west by Taunton , on the south by the river called Taunton Great rher, and on the north by Eastown, Bridgewater, and a part of Nippaniquet pond. It is about eight miles in length and four miles and a half wide This town makes a part of those lands which originally were known by the name of Cohanat, in the colony of New Plymouth. They were first purchased of Massasoit, the Indian chief, by Elizabeth Pool and her associates.
The lands in general are level and smooth. A stranger, riding through the town, will form but an indifferent opinion of the whole, if he judges from that part only, which he sees. The roads are excellent,
A Topographical Description of Raynham. 167
but the soil is penurious. This however is not characteristick of the whole. The soil, in general, has sufficient variety, and yields, under the hand of industry, almost every kind ot production in tolerable plenty. Rye and Indian corn are in general raised here with great ease, and in such quantities as not only to supply the inhabitants, but to afford considerable for market. There are indeed two kinds of soil here, of which the farmers frequently complain. The one is the clayey cold kind ; the other is the light spungy soil: but as these are often found near together, and will, by mixing, correct and meliorate each other, this complaint, it is hoped, will not long continue.
The timber here growing is principally oak, white, red, and black oak; walnut, maple, black and white birch, elm, pine, cedar, locusts, spruce, beech, buttonwood, hornbme, and sassafras ; the last of which, when used for posts, or any other way, is found to be the most incor-ruptible of any wood hitherto known.
A considerable part of the town lies upon a circular bend of Taunton river. This river is between seven and eight rods wide, and affords a great plenty of herrings and other fish : but so unfavourable is it, in this place to seining or fishing, that the exclusive privilege of fishing is annually sold for less than twelve shillings, while the same privilege in Bridgewater and Middleborough, (towns which lie above this) is annually sold for more than two hundred and fifty pounds. Justice perhaps in this case pleads for indulgence from government, or the grant of some artificial convenience, where nature seems to have denied one. Besides the great river, there are several other useful streams, upon which, in different places, stand six saw mills, three grist mills, one furnace, a forge, and fulling mill. It is remarkable, that notwithstanding the quantity of pine timber sawed at these mills, the logs rafted down the river, and the pine consumed in furnaces, in slitting mills, and common fires ; yet it is confidently affirmed, that there is now standing in this town as much pine timber as on the first day of its settlement; such has been the growth of swamp pine. But of no other kind of wood or fuel can it be said, that the growth has been equal to the consumption. The large quantities of coals, consumed in carrying on the iron manufacture in all its branches, has, within a few years past, greatly enhanced the value of wood. This has already occasioned emigrations, and will probably produce more. But when the rapid growth of wood in general, of wnite birch and pine in particular, is considered ; when the late use of this species of pine, as an article of firing, which is known to grow faster in our most barren uplands, than even in the swamps; but especially when some of the late discoveries in the philosophy of heat, and its operations on the human body, become more generally known, it is very probable that the want of fuel will not be the cause of so much complaint. Upon the northerly part of the town, there is a large and valuable tract of cedar swamp ; and towards the centre, are two considerable tracts more. The one is called the Dead, and the other, Titicut swamp.
168 A Topographical Description of Raynham.
On the easterly side of the town is a pond, which is about two miles in circumference. It joins to Titicut swamp, and is supplied with pike, or pickerel, perch, and other kinds of fish. On the westerly boundary are two ponds more, called the Forge, and Fowling ponds. There is also a large pond, which makes part of the northerly boundary of this town, and divides it from Bridgewater.
This pond is two miles in length and one in breadth, and is called Nippaniquit, or Nippahonsit pond. Here alewives in millions annually resort, and leave their spawns. An excellent kind of ore, and various kinds of fish are found here. Allured, perhaps, by the pleasures of fishing, and the beauty of the prospect, that curious political character, Dr. Benjamin Church, of Boston, came here ; and in the year 1768, built an elegant house upon one of the elevated sides of this pond.
Although the lands in this town are in general level and smooth, yet there are some considerable elevations or hills. The principal ones are known by the names of Tareall and Smooch hill. The first is exceedingly fruitful ; the other is equally barren. There is another situated near the line between this and the town of Taunton, which is called Steep hill.
The first meeting house was built the year preceding the incorporation of the town. It then contained about thirty families ; over which, in the month of October 1731, was ordained the Rev. John Wales, father of the Rev. Doctor Samuel Wales, late Professor of Divinity at Yale College in Connecticut. He was blessed with talents, which rendered him very amiable and entertaining in social life. In publick prayer, his performances were eminent, and on some occasions almost unequalled. He was a faithful plain preacher ; and having served in the gospel ministry thirty-four years, he died February 23d, 1765, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. To him succeeded the Rev. Peres Fobes, LL. D. He was graduated at Cambridge college, 1762, ordained November 19th, 1766, and is now in the twenty-seventh year of his happy ministry, among a happy people.
The first meeting house was conveniently situated for the first inhabitants ; and continued, as the place of publick worship, for more than forty-two years, that is until June 9th, 1771 ; when a new meeting house was erected nearly in the centre of the town. It stands upon a level spot of ground, near the intersection of two roads. It has an elegant steeple lately built, is pleasantly situated, decently painted, and is about the distance of three miles from the county court house.
The number of families in this town is near two hundred, which, according to the late census, contains about a thousand souls. Of this number nearly one sixth part are of the baptist denomination ; of whom some attend worship with the Congregationalists in the meeting house, others attend baptist meetings in the neighbouring towns; and some are contented with few occasional meetings at private houses. If it has been said of the baptists in general, that they were rather un-
A Topographical Description of Raynham. 169
friendly to government and learning, yet in justice to that denomination it ought now to be said, that they are improving in their friendly regard to both.
If the salubrity of the air and soil can be accurately determined by a philosophical instrument, called an eudiometer : yet, among us, it is perhaps best known at present, by the health and longevity of the inhabitants. From a careful inspection of the bills of mortality, which in this place have been kept for more than twenty years past, and which might here have been inserted, it appears that the air is by no means unfavourable to health and long life. In one family born in this place, there were living not long since, five brothers and one sister, whose ages, taken together, amounted to more than five hundred years.
The people of this town are principally farmers, with a proportion of mechanicks, traders, and professional characters. Besides the usual business of husbandry, numbers are here employed in the manufactories, of bar iron, hollow ware, nails, irons for vessels, iron shovels, pot ash, shingles, &c. These, together with the late rapid increase of buildings, as well as improvements in agriculture and iron manufacture, bear unquestionable attestation to the industry and enterprise of the people.
Raynham has been considered as one of the most patriotick towns in the state. The inhabitants, especially those who attend publick worship here, have been distinguished for their zealous attachment to republican government, to learning, to military discipline, and church musick.
The unanimity and ardour of their publick decisions during the late war ; their cautious, but spirited exertions, their prompt and peaceable compliances with the numerous calls of government in the days of exigence and danger, are well known ; and perhaps ought the rather to be remembered, as their patience long endured the trial of cruel opposition, and the shock of ridicule, from the tongues, the pens, the publick votes, and contradicting examples of great numbers all around them. The people here can appeal to the living and the dead, when they say that not among their number was ever yet found, either a tory, a paper money man, or insurgent. Fired at the name of insurgency, and hearing that a conspiracy was formed to prevent the sitting of the October court of 1786, the troops of this little town, consisting of two small companies, roused unanimous ; and at the first call of their leaders, mustered in arms, marched alone to Taunton, entered the court house as a preoccupant guard, there lay upon their arms through the whole of the night, preceding the day of the court's sitting; and in open defiance of all the bloody threats of an unprincipled and outrageous mob, in constant expectation of hundreds in arms ready for battle, they stood firm, but alone ; until the next day about noon, when by a reinforcement of troops from the county of Plymouth, and a number gleaned from different parts of this county, they formed, and under the command of General Cobb, the insurrection was crushed,
170 A Topographical Description of Raynham.
the supreme court sat, and government was triumphant* ; but from the whole county of Bristol, not another whole company appeared, except the two companies from Raynham ! On the last regimental muster at Taunton, the equipment and military appearance of the two Raynham companies met with distinguished approbation from the inspecting general ; by him they were pronounced equal to any in the state.
As a proof of taste, and of real attachment to literature, it ought to be known, that for more than fifteen years past, a kind of academical school has been constantly taught in this town. It began in the year 1773, under the care of the Rev. Peres Fobes ; and a large number of youth, from different towns and states, were instructed here, not only in the languages, but in the arts and sciences. When he could no longer attend, another instructor was employed, and a school of a similar, kind set up, at the expense chiefly of a few individuals in the town ; and with little intermission, it has continued in the same place to this day.
A publick social library, consisting of a valuable collection of books has lately been established here, and through the last season, five English schools, besides a grammar school were taught in this town. At present there are six schools, four of which are now taught by respectable grammarians. Add to this, that four young men, from this town (two of whom lately settled in the ministry) have been graduated at different colleges, within a few years past ; and six others from this place are now members of colleges. If this should not be thought cæteris paribus, an instance without a parallel, it will perhaps be admitted as an evidence of literary zeal. But, in the opinion of the publick, perhaps, that which chiefly gives this little town a claim to publick attention, is, that here once lived Philip, the Indian King ; and here still remain some pleasing monuments of antiquity and of great natural curiosity. They can here mark the place, and point with the hand to their children, and say, "Our ears have heard, and our fathers have told us," there once lived the tawny chief, the dread of women and children, a terror that walked in darkness, haunted in dreams, and butchered at noon-day. On that spot of ground stood his house ; my great grand parent knew him ; he once sold him an ox for beef, and often supplied him with iron made with his own hands, in yonder forge, which he himself built, and was the first America ever saw. See, there yet stands the friendly dome, the once well-known garrison, to which our friends in numbers fled, eager for life and panting in horror of Indian foes—and see------but let history speak------"
The first adventurers from England to this country, who were skilled in the forge iron manufacture, were two brothers, viz. James and Henry Leonard. They came to this town in the year 1652, which was about two years after the first settlers had planted themselves upon this spot ; and in the year 1652, these Leonards here built the first forge in America. Henry not long after moved from this place to the Jerseys and settled there. James, who was the great progenitor, from
* See Minot's History of the Insurrection, p. 59.
A Topographical Description of Raynham. 171
whom the whole race of the Leonards here sprung, lived and died in this town. He came from Ponterpool in Monmouthshire, and brought with him his son Thomas, then a small boy, who afterwards worked at the bloomery art, with his father in the forge. This forge was situated on the great road ; and having been repaired from generation to generation, it is to this day still in employ. On one side of the dam, at a small distance from each other, stand three large elms and one oak tree. Two of the elms are near three feet in circumference, and are still flourishing. These trees are now almost a hundred and twenty years old ; which with the ancient buildings and other objects around, present to the eye a scene of the most venerable antiquity. In the distance of one mile and a quarter from this forge, is a place called the Fowling Pond, on the northerly side of which once stood King Philip's house. It was called Philip's hunting house, because, in the season most favourable to hunting, he resided there, but spent the winter chiefly at Mount Hope, probably for the benefit of fish. Philip and these Leonards, it seems, long lived in good neighbourhood, and often traded with each other : and such was Philip's friendship, that as soon as the war broke out, which was in 1675, he gave out strict orders to all his Indians, never to hurt the Leonards. During the war, two houses near the forge were constantly garrisoned. These buildings are yet standing. One of them was built by James Leonard, long before Philip's war. This house still remains in its original gothick form, and is now inhabited, together with the same paternal spot, by Leonards of the sixth generation. In the cellar under this house, was deposited, for a considerable time, the head of King Philip ; for it seems that even Philip himself shared the fate of kings ; he was decollated, and his head carried about and shewn as a curiosity, by one Alderman, the Indian who shot him.
There is yet in being an ancient case of drawers, which used to stand in this house, upon which the deep scars and mangled impressions of Indian hatchets are now seen : but the deeper impressions made on those affrighted women, who fled from the house, when the Indians broke in, cannot be known. Under the door steps of the same building now lie buried the bones of two unfortunate young women, who, in their flight here, were shot down by the Indians, and their blood was seen to run quite across the road : but more fortunate was the flight of Uriah Leonard, who, as he was riding from Taunton to the forge in this place, was discovered and fired upon by the Indians. He instantly plucked off his hat, swung it around, which startled his horse, and in full career, he reached the forge dam, without a wound ; but several bullets were shot through the hat he held in his hand, and through the neck of the horse near the mane, from which the blood on both sides gushed and ran down on both his legs.
While deacon Nathaniel Williams, with some others, were at work in the field, on the south side of the road, about half a mile from the forge, one of the number discovered a motion of the bushes, at a little distance ; he immediately presented his gun and fired ; upon which
172 A Topographical Description of Raynham.
the Indians were heard to cry, Cocoosh, and ran off": but soon after one of the Indians was found dead near the fowling pond. Near the great river are now to be seen the graves of Henry Andross, and James Philips, who, with James Bell and two sons, were killed by a number of Indians, who lay in ambush. This happened in the place called Squabette.
The place already mentioned, by the name of Fowling Pond, is itself a great curiosity. Before Philip's war, it seems to have been a large pond, nearly two miles long, and three quarters of a mile wide. Since then, the water is almost gone, and the large tract it once covered, is grown up to a thickset swamp, of cedar and pine. That this, however, was once a large pond, haunted by fowls, and supplied with fish in great plenty, is more than probable, for here is found, upon dry land, a large quantity of white floor sand ; and a great number of that kind of smooth stones, which are never fouud, except on shores, or places long washed with water. There is also on the east side a bank of sand, which is called the Beaver's Dam, against which the water must formerly have washed up ; and if so, the pond must once have been of such amplitude as that above mentioned. Add to this, that a large number of Indian spears, tools, pots, &c. are found near the sides of this pond This indicates that the natives were once thick settled here. But what could be their object ? What could induce Philip to build his house here ? It was, undoubtedly, fishing and fowling, in this, then large pond. But more than all, there is yet living in this town a man of more than ninety years old, who can well remember, than when he was a boy, he had frequently gone off in a canoe, to fish in this pond ; and says, that many a fish had been catched, where the pines and cedars are now more than fifty feet high. If an instance, at once so rare, and well attested, as this, should not be admitted as a curious scrap of the natural history of this country ; yet it must be admitted as a strong analogical proof, that many of our swamps were originally ponds of water : but more than this, it suggests a new argument in favour of the wisdom and goodness of that Divine Providence, which "changes the face of the earth" to supply the wants of man, as often as he changes from uncivilized nature, to a state of cultivation and refinement.
There is one remarkable circumstance, relative to the soil which environs this pond, and that is, its prolifick virtue in generating ore. Copious beds of iron ore, in this part of the country, are usually found in the neighbourhood of pine swamps ; or near to soils, natural to the growth of pine or cedar. In this case, if there is sufficient to filtrate the liquid mine, before it is deposited in beds, there will be found a plenty of bog ore. Now all these circumstances remarkably coincide, in the vicinity of this pond, and the effect is as remarkable : for in this place, there has been almost an inexhaustible fund of excellent ore, from which the forge has been supplied, and kept going for more than eighty years ; besides large quantities carried to other works, and yet here is
A Topographical Description of Raynham. 173
ore still ; though, like other things in a state of youth, it is weak and incapable of being wrought into iron of the best quality. The signs already mentioned, as indicating ore, will afford to the philosopher an easy clue, for investigating the process of nature in the production of ore. In this way only, it must be determined, whether the original seeds, or pullutating particles of the ore, be lodged in the soil, or in the pine ; and what is the process, the pabulum and period of its growth, through all its various stages, to maturity. The subject, perhaps, is new and unexplored ; but by a number of well-conducted experiments, in the hands of genius, it promises a reward, which will add new riches to science, if not to the country. The time may come, when it will be easy, and as common, to raise a bed of bog ore as a bed of carrots.
Appendix. Of the Family of Leonard.
THE following genealogical sketch is intended to show that longevity, promotion to publick office, and a kind of hereditary attachment to the iron manufacture, are all circumstances, remarkably characteristick of the name and family of Leonard.
THE great progenitor, James Leonard, lived to be more than seventy years old. He had three brothers, five sons, and three daughters,all whose ages, upon an average, amounted to more than seventy-four years. His son Uriah had five sons and four daughters : Of his sons four lived to be more than eighty, and all his daughters above seventy-five. Thomas, the oldest son of James, was a distinguished character. He held the office of a justice of the peace, a judge of the court, a physician, a field officer, and was eminent for piety. Sacred to his memory, an eulogy was printed in 1713, by the Rev. Samuel Danforth of Taunton, one of the most learned and eminent ministers of his day. This Thomas had five sons, of whom four lived above seventy years. His son George was a justice of the peace and a military officer. In Norton, in a poem published by a character of eminence, on occasion of his death, in 1716; he is styled "the prudent, pious, worthy, and worshipful Major George Leonard, Esq." He had four sons and three daughters. His oldest son George was a colonel, and a judge both of the probate and common pleas : he lived to be more than eighty ; be had one son and two daughters : His son is the Honourable George Leonard, Esq. late member of congress : His oldest daughter is the wife of the Rev. David Barnes, and the mother of David Barnes, Esq. attorney at law. The other daughter was the wife of the late Colonel Chandler of Worcester.
The second son of Major George, was Nathaniel, a pious, worthy minister, who settled in Plymouth. He lived more than seventy years ; and he had a son Abiel, who was a minister in Connecticut, and a chaplain in the American army in the revolution war.
174 A Topographical Description of Raynham.
The third son of Major George was Ephraim : he was a colonel, a judge of the court, and a man of eminent piety : he lived to be more than eighty. He had one child only, viz. Daniel, who is now chief justice of the islands of Bermuda : he also has but one son, Charles now a student at Cambridge college.
Two of the daughters of Major George lived to be aged. One was the wife of Colonel Thomas Clap, formerly a minister of Taunton ; the other was the wife of a respectable clergyman.
Samuel Leonard, the fourth son of Thomas, was a man of distinguished piety. He held the offires of a deacon, a captain, and justice of the peace. He had four sons and five daughters. Two of his sons were captains, one a justice of the peace, and all of them deacons. Three are yet alive, one above eighty, and two above seventy. His third son Elijah has a son of his own name lately settled in the ministry. His oldest daughter was the parent of Dr. Simeon Howard of Boston. His second daughter was the wife of Rev. John Wales of this town, and the mother of Rev. Dr. Samuel Wales, professor of divinity at Yale College. The other daughters were the wives of respectable characters, and all in publick offices. Elkanah, the fifth son of Thomas, had three sons, two of whom lived to see more than seven-ty. One was a captain, the other a major, a lawyer, and one of the most distinguished geniuses of his name and day. He left two sons, both captains, and above sixty. One of them, viz. Zebulon, has an only child, that is now the wife of .Dr. Samuel Shaw.
John was another son of Thomas. He had four sons and three daughters, who all lived to be above eighty. A daughter of the oldest son, was the wife of the Rev. Eliab By ram, and the parent of the pre-sent wife of Josiah Dean, Esq. of this town, who himself is also a lineal descendant, and the present owner of the forge first built by his great ancestor.
Thus far of the posterity of Thomas the oldest son of the progenitor. James, the second son of James, bore his own name. He had four sons and three daughters : three of his sons lived to be near eighty ; and two of the daughters above ninety. One of them was the wife of Doctor Ezra Dean ; and the other was the parent of Gershom Crane, esq. who lived to be almost an hundred years old, and was the father of the present Doctor Jonathan Crane, esq. The oldest son of James Was Captain James Leonard, who had three sons and five daughters, two of his sons were military officers, and all of them lived nearly to the age of seventy. His oldest daughter was the wife of Thomas Cobb, esq. and the mother of the Hon. David Cobb, esq. speaker of the house member of congress, &c. The second son of James was Stephen Leonard : he was a justice of the peace, and a judge of the courtof common pleas. He had four sons, three of whom lived to be aged : one was the Rev. Silas Leonard of .New York ; the oldest was Major Zephaniah Leonaid, esq. and judge of the court. He had five sons of whom four are yet alive, three of them had a publick education at Ydle College. The oldest is Capt. Joshua, who now inhabits the an-
A Topographical Description of Raynham. 175
cient paternal building, and is nearly seventy : he has a son of his own name, who at the age of twenty-two, was an ordained minister in Connecticut. The second son is Colonel Zephaniah Leonard. He has held the offices of an attorney at law, a justice of the peace, and is now sheriff of the county. He has three sons, two of whom are now members of college. The third son is Apollos Leonard, esq. one of the special justices of the county. The youngest son, is Samuel Leonard, lately appointed a justice of the peace. He is a respectable, opulent merchant, and has a number of promising sons, that wait only for the proper age, to receive such an education, as will add still greater honour to the ancient honourable family and name they bear. Such has been the longevity and promotion to publick offices, in two branches of this family only. The circumstance of a family attachment to the iron manufacture is so well known, as to render it a common observation in this part of the country, viz. where you can find iron works, there you will find a Leonard.
Henry, the brother of James, went from this place, to the Jerseys, and was one of the first who set up iron works in that state. He was the progenitor of a numerous and respectable posterity in that part of America.
Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Isaac Backus, on the subject of Iron Ore.Middleborough, July 25, 1794.
"VAST quantities of iron, both cast and wrought, have been made in this part of the country, for more than an hundred years past ; but it was chiefly out of bog ore, until that kind was much exhausted in these parts, and then a rich treasure was opened in Middleborough, which had been long hid from the inhabitants. About the year 1747, it was discovered that there was iron mine in the bottom of our great pond at Assowamset ; and after some years, it became the main ore that was used in the town, both at furnaces and forges, and much of it has been carried into the neighbouring places for the same purpose. Men go out with boats, and make use of instruments much like those with which oysters are taken, to get up the ore from the bottom of the pond.
I am told that, for a number of years, a man would take up and bring to shore, two tons of it in a day ; but now it is so much exhausted, that half a ton is reckoned a good day's work for one man. But in an adjacent pond is now plenty, where the water is twenty feet deep, and much is taken up from that depth, as well as from shoaler water, It has also been plenty in a pond in the town of Carver, where they have a furnace upon the stream which runs from it. Much of the iron which is made from this ore is better than they could make out of bog ore, and some of it is as good as almost any refined iron. The quantity of this treasure, which hath been taken out of the bottom of clear
176 Literary Advertisement.
ponds, is said to have been sometimes as much as five hundred tons in a year. But I must leave the computation of the quantity and the value of it to others, while I admire the goodness of God, who openeth so many ways for the support and comfort of men, though we are often so ungrateful to Him "
Rev. Dr. BELKNAP. Corresponding Secretary of the Historical Society.
WE have the pleasure of announcing to the publick, that there is now preparing for the press, A history of the ancient Colony of Plymouth in New England, including, the present counties of Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol in Massachusetts, with part of the county of Bristol, in Rhode Island. Containing a geographical description, with a particular account of the political and ecclesiastical state of every town, from its first settlement to the present day. To which will be prefixed, a complete map of the whole.
By Peres Fobes, LL.D.
Minister of the Gospel in Raynham, and Professor of Natural Philosophy in the College of Rhode-Island.
THE writer has undertaken this work at the request of several characters of literary eminence ; and though he has already obtained a considerable part of the materials, and is now ready to engage, (should health continue) that no labour or pains shall on his part be omitted, yet he cannot proceed, but in confidence of the patronage and assistance of his fellow citizens. To secure which he hopes they will consider, that the subject of the proposed history is, the first settlement of our own country ; that it recites the hardy virtues and painful struggles of our ancestors, in the race of liberty and glory ; that whilst it desciibes that venerable spot of New England which is "the mother of us all," it will attempt to rescue from oblivion some interesting facts, of aboriginal date, which tradition only has hitherto preserved.
It is to be regretted that much useful information on other subjects, besides that of the medicinal plants of this country is now irrecoverably lost, and much more of equal concern to the present and future generations is every day sinking into oblivion. Whilst we are waiting for the productions of elegant pens, are we not in danger of losing some valuable gems in the history of our country ? The admonition therefore is, "What thou doest, do quickly."
Biographical and Topographical Anecdotes respecting Sandwich and Marshpee, Jan. 1794.
By Rev. Gideon Hawley, A M.
AMONG the first emigrants from England, who settled at Sandwich, were Mr. Richard Bourne and Mr. Thomas Tupper, both of them persons of a religious turn, and the latter a little tinged with the fanaticism, so prevalent about that time in the country, from which they came. These men, as I learn by tradition, carried on at Sandwich the religious exercises, and officiated publickly on the Lord's day, each of them having his party : but as they were in all a small congregation, they did not separate, but agreed, that the officer, who had the most adherents at meeting for the time being, should be the minister for the day. In process of time, the congregation settled Mr. Smith, in whom they united. This minister had for a time officiated at Barnstable ; but Mr. Hinckley, who was afterwards governour, made uneasiness ; and his party was so great, that Mr. Smith requested a dismission. He was asked to what church he would be dismissed ? His answer is said to have been, "that he would be dismissed to the grace of God." When one of the disaffected party in a pet, said, "And what if the grace of God won't receive you ?" After a dismission, find it is supposed a recommendation, Mr. Smith travelled southward, and for a time officiated on Long-Island, and then went into the Jersies, where he left some of his posterity : But finally returned and settled the pastor of the church at Sandwich. From this gentleman are descended the Smiths in the upper end of this county, and those of Pembroke : and, it has been said, that the member of congress, by the name of Smith, from S. Carolina, is from this same family.
Anecdotes respecting Sandwich and Marshpee. 189
Religious matters being settled at Sandwich, Bourne and Tupper turned their attention to the business of gospelizing the Indians. The attention of Mr Tupper was towards the Indians to the northward and westward of Sandwich, where he founded a church near Herring River, by which a meeting house stood in 1757, which had been supplied with a succession of ministers by the name of Tupper ; and continued to be until the decease of the Rev. Elisha Tupper, (the great-grandson of Thomas) who died 1787, aged four score years. The first missionary, went by the name of Capt Tupper, being a military man as well as an evangelist. The family of Tupper have furnished the town of Sandwich and other places with some worthy characters ; and some of them have been men of abilities. It may be observed, that the corpse of Elisha was brought ten* miles in severe winter weather, and deposited by his ancestors, in the Sandwich burying ground.
Richard Bourne turned his views to the Indians on the southward and eastward of him. But the time when he came to Marshpee, my chronology has not ascertained. The first account of him is in 1658, when he was present and assisted in the settlement of a boundary between the Indians here and the proprietors of +Barnstable. He was a noted man ; and by his letters he appears to have been acquainted with orthography. He was also a man of some considerable property in cash, which he brought with him from his native land. And it appears from his location of land in several places, that he was acquainted with the affairs of the present, as well as of the future world ; and he transmitted a good inheritance in real estate to his children. And his foresight and judgment, and also the goodness of his mind towards the Indians, appear from his procuring at his own expense, as it is said he did, this extensive patent for the South Sea Indians, as they are styled in the deeds. For there is no place I ever saw, so adapted to an Indian town as this. It is situated on the Sound, in sight of Martha's Vineyard, and cut into necks of land, and hath two inlets from the sea ; being well watered by three fresh rivers, and three large fresh ponds, lying in the centre of the plantation. And in the two salt water bays are very great plenty of fish of every description ; and in the rivers are trout, herring, &c. And in the woods till lately, have been a variety of wild game, consisting of deer, &c ; and adjacent to the rivers and ponds, otters, minks, and other amphibious animals, whose furs have been sought for, and made a valuable remittance to Europe ever since my knowledge of these Indians.
Mr. Bourne obtained a deed of this territory from Quachatisset and others to these South Sea Indians, after the year 1660. He was a man of that discernment, that he considered it as vain to propagate Christian knowledge among any people, without a territory, where they might remain in peace from generation to generation, and not be ousted.
* He died at Pokesset.
+ See Plymouth Colony Records.
190 Anecdotes respecting Sandwich and Marshpee.
Therefore Richard and his son Shearjashub were not content with having Indian deeds authenticated in the best manner, according to the forms of that day, but Shearjashub, after his father's decease, obtained from the court of Plymouth a ratification of these deeds, and an entailment of these lands, bounded by ponds, &c. that were immoveable, to these Indians and their children forever ; "so that no part or parcel of them could be bought by, or sold to, any white person or persons, without the consent of all the said Indians, not even with the consent of the general court."* Mr. Bourne, having obtained the deeds as above, pursued his evangelical work, and was finally, in the year 1670, ordained a pastor of an Indian church in this place, formed of his own disciples and converts ; which solemnity was performed by the famous Eliot and other ministers, who assisted upon the occasion.}
I am not certain as to the exact time of his decease, but find his death mentioned in the year 1685, and suppose it to be an event which had but recently happened. I suppose also that he died at Sandwich town : For he was buried on his own land, not far from the house of John Smith deceased, and where the widow Smith now lives. But as there was no monument by the grave, the spot cannot now be ascertained, where his bones are deposited. But I suppose them to be buried at the left hand of the Dock lane, as you go down to the harbour. His house stood, as I am informed, and if I mistake not the remains of its vestiges may be found, near the fence which divides Mrs. Williams's and Mrs. Fear Bourne's land, which their late husbands bought of Mr. Fessenden ++
Mr. Bourne left no successor in the ministry, but an Indian, named Simon Popmonet. His son Shearjashub Bourne, esq succeeded his father in the Marshpee inheritance, where he resided until his death, living in reputation, and presiding over the Indians in this district ; and often representing the town of Sandwich both under the old and new charter, at the general court. He carried on a lucrative trade with the Indians ; but I cannot find, that he made any trespasses on their lands, or was instrumental in bringing about an alienation of any part thereof. He was alive in 1718, but deceased within two years after that term. His youngest son Ezra succeeded him in his Marshpee interest and in his offices, and was made before his death president of the sessions, and first justice of the court of common pleas. And to the day of his death he had a very great ascendency over the Indians in Marshpee. He died in September 1764, having nearly completed his 88th year of life. In him I lost a good friend.
He was the father of the Rev. Joseph Bourne, a missionary to the Marshpee Indians, and of liberal education§, who was ordained here
* See old Colony Records.
+ Hutchinson's History. See also Gookin's Historical Collections, chap ix. §3.
++ For a further account of Richard Bourne, see Gookin's Historical Collections, chap viii.
§ Graduated 1722.
Anecdotes respecting Sandwich and Marshpee. 191
in 1729, and resigned his mission in 1742. He was also the father of Col. S. Bourne of Bristol, who was likewise liberally educated. And it hath been considered as remarkable, that Ezra Bourne should at this time have three grandsons, members of congress, viz one from Massachusetts, another from Rhode-Island, and a third from the state of New-York.
Joseph Bourne, the missionary, lived till 1767, and died, leaving no issue. He very much complained of the ill treatment of the Indians, and of the neglect of the commissioners in regard to his support ; nevertheless, he much encouraged and assisted the present missionary in his labours, who sustained a great loss by his death. For when he was able, he constantly attended the publick worship, and, when the congregation sang the English psalmody, he read the psalm in a very serious and proper manner. It has been observed that Richard Bourne died about 1685—.That Simon Popmonet was his successor in this pastorate, who lived till about the time Mr. Joseph Bourne was ordained. Simon left several children, who all of them lived to a great age, and some of them were very respectable for Indians. The last of them died in the year 1770.
After Joseph Bourne resigned his mission, Solomon Briant, an Indian, was ordained pastor of the Marshpee church, who was a sensible man, and a good Indian preacher in their own dialect. He lived until he was about eighty years old ; and when he had the sole management of church affairs in this place, he admitted many members, but some who were not so circumspect as professors ought to have been.
The present missionary was troubled with them, for a long time after his settlement here. It was not agreeable to the gentlemen of this county in general, or to the commissioners in Boston, to have Solomon Briant ordained here ; but it was brought about by a party of whites, to defeat the settlement of a gentleman, who was preaching to these Indians with that view. He was a man of liberal education, but being a native of Barnstable, some people did not like his connexions, and the Bourne interest was not in his favour. Mr. Joseph did not like him, and although he was dismissed from his pastorate, his influence, as he had the Indian language, was very great among his Indian neighbours and others. After this gentleman, the Rev. Mr. Smith, having for want of a support been dismissed from the first church in Yarmouth, was nominated by the ministers of the county, and recommended to the commissioners in Boston to fill this mission ; but he was a native of Barnstable, and, upon that and other accounts, unpopular in this vicinity, and the Indians did not like to hear him, and excused themselves by saying, that they had a minister whom they liked. Mr. Smith afterwards settled at Pembroke, and lived in reputation ; and, as he told me when he was about four score, he considered it as a very happy circumstance in his life, that he was not settled at Marshpee. He lived and died in reputation, and left a respectable family. This mission declined, and the
+ He died May 8th 1775.
192 Anecdotes respecting Sandwich and Marshpee.
commissioners of Boston were considered as culpable, in not properly encouraging Mr. Smith, who would have established himself here by his wise and prudent conduct, in case his employers had supported him.
The Hon. Thomas Hubbard, about this time being one of the commissioners, was sent by their board to visit these Indians, and observed their great need of an English minister ; and as I was in the service of the commissioners, and a missionary to the western Indians, he spoke of this people to me.
I had no inclination to come this way. I had formed an unfavourable idea of this part of the country. After Deacon Hubbard made his report to the commissioners in Boston, the Rev. Mr. Green of Barnstable was desired by that board, to have the inspection of this people, and to preach a monthly lecture to them, which he faithfully discharged. This was not enough, for the distance between the centre of this district, and Mr Green, was not less than twelve miles ; and therefore he was too far off to answer the purpose of an instructor among a people similar to these Indians, who must have line upon line, and precept upon precept, and be taught in season and out of season, in the house and by the way.
After the war had broke out in the year 1755, although it was in the western parts, it did not affect the mission to the Iroquois or Six Nations, until the year 1736. I was in that country till the month of May, and in the beginning of June, 1756, arrived at Boston, and took a warrant to officiate in Col. Gridley's regiment as chaplain ; and soon joined the army above Albany, going against Crown Point. After the campaign, I went about seventy miles beyond Albany in the way to my mission ; but could not safely penetrate into the wilderness ; my mission being nearly an hundred miles beyond any plantation of whites. Cherry Valley, the nearest settlement of whites, was four days journey from the seat AOL my mission. Before my arrival at this place, which was late in December, winter had set in with severity. 1 had therefore returned into New-England, and spent the winter at Houssatunnuck.
In the spring, by a letter from Sir William Johnson, which the Indians desired him to write me, I was invited back to my mission.
About the same time, by repeated letters from General Lyman, I was desired to be his chaplain the ensuing campaign. And not long after had a letter from Mr. Davies of Virginia, afterwards president of Nassau Flail, desiring me to take a mission to the Cherokee Indians, he having heard of the difficulties attending my mission to the Iroquois. However, after the receipt of my letter from Sir William, and as soon as I could get ready, I set out to go into the Indian country. I endeavoured to get a companion, or person to attend me ; but could obtain none suitable for the service. I came to Green Bush, opposite to the city of Albany, and by a person who had had the small pox, sent for two gentlemen of my acquaintance, viz. Mr. Depoyster* and the
* Abraham Depoyster, esq. a wealthy merchant.
Anecdotes respecting Sandwich and Marshpee. 193
Rev. Mr. Frilinghensen * to come over the ferry and advise me ; who condescended to attend me upon the occasion. They informed me that the small pox was almost every where in my way, and that I should be in danger both from the enemy, and from the infection. I then rode back to Stockbridge, and as the Rev. Mr. Jonathan Edwards was + going to Boston, I went with him. Coming to that town, the commissioners ordered a meeting, and voted to send me upon a visit to the several Indian plantations below the town of Plymouth, and particularly to the Marshpee tribe, where I was empowered to fix a spot for a new meeting house for those Indians, and prepare them for the reception of an English minister, which had been in vain attempted at one time and another for a course of years. I was directed to visit the Herring Pond Indians and those at Portnu-macut and Yarmouth. The Rev. Mr. Prince of Boston wrote a letter to his brother-in-law, the Hon. Ezra Bourne, esq. who married his sister, which was much in my favour. Deacon Hubbard wrote another of the same tenour, to his friend the Rev. Mr. Greene of Barnstable. I had great attention paid me ; was popular, particularly at Marshpee ; and the more so, as I was a stranger, and did not come with a view to obtain a settlement here.
This part of the country did not strike me agreeably : The Indians appeared abject; and widely different from the Iroquois. They were clad according to the English mode ; but a half naked savage was less disagreeable, than Indians, who had lost their independence. I will only observe that I executed my mission in a manner agreeable to all concerned, and at my return the Indians had an ample petition drafted by Mr. Joseph Bourne, addressed to the commissioners, soliciting my appointment to the charge of this mission.
After this a scene opens, which if properly related, might instruct and entertain the curious. I am, &c.G. HAWLEY.
[N. B. It is wished that Mr. Hawley would continue this narrative.]
* Minister of the Dutch Church.
+ The last visit Mr. Edwards made to Boston.
A LIST OF THE GOVERNOURS AND COMMANDERS IN CHIEF OF MASSACHUSETTS AND PLYMOUTH.Note.....The year begins in January.
Kings of England.
Governours of Massachusetts,
Governours of Plymouth,
1603. James I.
under the first Charter,
chosen annually by the People.
chosen annually by the People.
1625. Charles I.
1620. John Carver
1621. Wm. Bradford.
1630. John Winthrop.
1633. Ed. Winslow.
1634. Thomas Dudley.
1634. Tho. Prince.
1635. John Haynes.
1635. Wm. Bradford.
1636. Henry Vane.
1636. Ed. Winslow.
1637. John Winthrop.
1637. Wm. Bradford.
1640. Thomas Dudley.
1638. Tho. Prince.
1641. Richard Bellingham.
1639. Wm. Bradford.
1642. John Winthrop.
1644. John Endicot
1644. Edw. Winslow.
1645. Thomas Dudley.
1645. W. Bradford.
1646. John Winthrop.
1649. The Commonwealth.
1649. John Endicot.
1654. Oliver Cromwell.
1654. Richard Bellingham.
1655. John Endicot.
1657. Tho. Prince.
1658. Richard Cromwell.
1660. Charles II.
1665. Richard Bellingham.
1673. John Leverett
1673. Josias Winslow.
1679. Simon Bradstreet.
1680. Tho. Hinckley, who held
his place, except in the interruption by Andros, till the junction with
Massachusetts, in the year 1692.
1685. James II.
First Char. dissolved by King.
1686. Joseph Dudley, Pres.
1687. Sir Ed. Andros, Gov.
1689. William and Mary.
1689. Sir Edmund deposed by the people,
and Simon Bradstreet elected President, or Governour.
Governours of Massachusetts, under the Second Charter, appointed by the King.
1692. Sir William Phips.
1694. William III.
1694. William Stoughton, Lt. Gov.
1699. Earl of Bellomont.
1700. William Stoughton, Lt. Gov.
1702. May. The Council.
1714. George I.
1714. Feb. The Council.
Mar. Joseph Dudley.
1715. William Tailer, Lt. Gov.
1716. Samuel Shute.
1723. William Dummer, Lt. Gov.
1727. George II.
1728. William Burnet.
1729. Willam Dummer, Lt. Gov.
1730. William Tailer, Lt. Gov.
1741. William Shirley.
1749. Spenser Phips, Lt. Gov.
1753. William Shirley.
1756. Spenser Phips, Lt. Gov.
1757. April. The Council
1760. George III. 1760. Thomas Huthchinson, Lt. Gov.
[page 195 starts here.]
1760. Francis bernard.
1770. Thomas Hutchinson, Lt. Gov.
1771. Thomas Hutchinson.
1774. Thomas gage.
Since the Revolution
Oct. A Provincial Congress.
1775. July. The Council.
Governours of Massachusetts, under the new Constitution,
chosen annually by the People.
1776. Massachusetts became an independent State.
1780. Oct. John Hancock.
1785. Feb. Thomas Cushing, Lt. Gov.*
1787. John Hancock.
1793. Oct. Samuel Adams, Lt. Gov.+
1794. Samuel Adams.
* Commander in Chief, upon the resignation of Gov. Hancock.
+ Commander in Chief upon the death of Gov. Hancock.
A Topographical Description of Truro. 195
A Topographical Description of Truro, in the County of Barnstable, 1794.
TRURO is situated east south east from Boston ; between 41° 57', and 42° 4' N. latitude ; and between 70° 4', and 70° 13', W. longitude from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The length of the township, as the road runs, is about fourteen miles ; but, in a straight line, about eleven miles. The breadth, in the widest part, is three miles ; and, in the narrowest part, not more than half a mile. It is bounded on the north west by Province town ; and on the south, by Wellfleet : the Atlantick ocean washes it on the north east and east; and Barnstable bay and Cape Cod harbour, on the west. The distance of the meeting house from Boston, is fifty seven miles, in a straight line ; but as the road runs, the distance is one hundred and twelve miles, and forty miles from the court house in Barnstable. As both the eastern and western shores are curved, and approach each other toward the northwest, the form of the township is very nearly a spherical triangle.
In the north part of the township, there is a small harbour, called East harbour, which is shoal and of little use. East of it is situated a body of salt marsh, which is continually diminished by the blowing in of the sand. A village not far from it, containing fourteen houses, is known by the same name.
Another village, called the Pond, consisting of forty houses, is situated about a mile south. It receives its name from a small pond which lies near it. The high and steep banks on the bay are here intersected by a valley, which runs directly from the shore, and soon divides itself into two branches. In this valley the houses stand, and are defended from the winds, whilst the entrance of it affords a convenient landing place. The bending of the land which forms Cape harbour, shelters this landing from some winds, but when the wind blows directly on shore, it comes across a bay near eight leagues wide It has
196 A Topographical Description of Truro.
been supposed by some, that a small harbour might easily be made here, by driving three rows of piles in the water parallel with the shore, and weaving branches between them, which would soon collect a pier or bank of sand. Others are of opinion, that a wharf of timber and stone, placed on the outer bar, would most effectually answer the, purpose. It is conceived, that one six or seven feet in height, and about four hundred yards in length, would form a convenient harbour. At low ebbs there are three feet of water within the bar. There was an attempt many years ago to make a harbour here, and it has frequently been contemplated since ; but though the work would contribute very much to the prosperity of this village, yet partly from a want of enterprise in the people, and partly from a deficiency of rich men, has never been seriously engaged in, or prosecuted with success.
A mile south of this village, the bank on the bay is intersected by another valley, called the Great Hollow. This valley and another near it, towards the south east, contain twenty eight houses.
This village is separated from the Pond by a high hill, which commands an extensive prospect of the ocean, Cape harbour, and the opposite shore, as far as Monument and the high lands of Marshfield. Upon this hill stands the meeting house, which is seen a great distance at sea.
Beyond the Great Hollow, a river or creek is forced into the land from the bay, and approaches within a few rods of the ocean. At the mouth of this river is a tide harbour. The river divides itself into three branches, on which are three bodies of salt marsh, viz. the Great Meadow, Hopkins's Meadow, and Eagle's Neck Meadow. These branches give a water communication to a great number of the inhabitants with boats, scows, &c. The situation of this harbour is such as justly claims attention ; and if repaired, would be of publick utility. It lies nearly south-east from Cape Cod harbour, above three leagues distant, and a little to the northward of what is called the Shoal Ground, without Billingsgate Point : So that in heavy gales of wind at the north west, it would be a safe retreat for vessels, either driving from their anchors in Cape harbour, or drifting into Barnstable bay ; and would prevent their running on Truro shore, which has been the fate of many who have endeavoured to avoid falling on the above mentioned shoal ground ; and it might thus be the means of saving much property, and perhaps some lives. Pamet harbour is about a hundred yards wide at the mouth, but wider within. A wharf sixty yards in length, fourteen feet wide on the ground, and sharp on the top, and ten feet in height, would make a safe and good harbour, and by estimation, would cost, built with timber and filled up with stones, about eighteen hundred and fifty dollars. Though the top of the wharf would be covered with high water, yet it would break the sea in twelve or thirteen feet of water. There are several houses scattered near the river. The houses at the extremity of the marsh are known by the name of the Head of Pamet,
A Topographical Description of Truro. 197
The part of the township south of Pamet river, adjoining the bay, is called Hog's Back. The houses, thirty-five in number, are built in valleys between the hills ; but there is no collection of them which is entitled to the name of a village. Between Hog's Back and Wellfleet, there is another body of meadow or salt marsh, which is made by the water that at spring tides, flows between Bound Brook island and the main.
Except the bodies of salt marsh, which have been mentioned, the soil of the township is sandy, barren, and free from rocks and stones. No part of it produces English grass fit for mowing ; and it can scarcely be said to be clad with verdure at any season of the year. The inhabitants entirely depend upon their salt marshes for winter fodder for their cattle, which in summer pick up a scanty subsistence from the fields and swamps. The soil however produces Indian corn and rye, about half sufficient, and turnips, potatoes, and pumpkins, sufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants. Other vegetables are not raised in plenty. The people make their summer butter ; but their winter butter, their beef, flour, cheese, and beans, of which they make considerable use, are procured from the markets at Boston.
As the soil is a deep sand, the roads are universally bad. The township is composed of hills and narrow valleys between them, running principally at light angles with the shore. The tops of some of the hills spread into a plain. From those in the north part of the township, nothing can be discerned, except the meeting house, a few windmills, and here and there a wood. The hill upon which the meeting house stands, branches from the high land at Cape Cod, well known to seamen. This high land commences at the Clay Pounds, or clay banks, adjoining the ocean, about a mile due east from the Pond, and extends to the south as far as the Table Land in Eastham. The inhabitants consider the Clay Pounds as an object worthy the attention of strangers. The high banks are here excavated in a semicircular form. In the midst of this hollow, the sides of which are perpendicular, a cone of blue clay rises from a broad base. Not far from this there is another semicircular excavation, and a hill of clay not so regularly formed. The land near these clay banks is superiour to any other part of the township. There is a collection of six houses. The eastern shore of Truro is very dangerous for seamen. More vessels are cast away here than in any other part of the county of Barnstable. A light house near the Clay Pounds, should Congress think proper to erect one, would prevent many of these fatal accidents.
Both the eastern and western shores are a light sand, which is move-able by the winds,. Northwest of East harbour, the beach may be said to extend quite across the township, though there are still a few trees and bushes. This part of Truro has no houses, and the land exactly resembles Province town, a description of which the reader may find in the Massachusetts Magazine for 1791. Near this place, at the head of Stout's creek, on the north eastern shore,the Humane Society have built a hut for the relief of shipwrecked seamen. The inner shore is here
198 A Topographical Description of Truro.
encroaching upon the bay and salt marsh, whilst the outward shore is probably losing as much from the ocean. There are proofs, that the former has gained nearly half a mile in less than sixty years. Stout's creek, once several hundred yards wide, and where a number of tons of salt hay were annually cut, now scarcely exists, being almost entirely choked up with sand blown in from the beach. On other parts of the western shore of Truro, the water appears to he gradually gaining upon the land. There is no probability however, that the township will be soon overwhelmed by the ocean, as some apprehend, the land being so high, that it must during many ages resist the force of the waves.
The soil in every part of the township is continually depreciating, little pains being taken to manure it. Not much attention is paid to agriculture, as the young men are sent to sea very early in life. In general they go at the age of twelve or fourteen, and follow the sea until they are forty-five or fifty years of age. The husbandry of the inhabitants is simple The method of tilling the land is this : After ploughing, it is planted with Indian corn in the spring, and in July is sowed with rye. The hillocks formed by the hoe are left unbroken, and the land lies uncultivated six or seven years ; at the end of which it goes through the same course of cultivation. Formerly fifty bushels of Indian corn were raised on an acre ; but the average produce at present is not more than fifteen or twenty. The soil was once good for wheat, the mean produce of which was fifteen or twenty bushels an acre. But wheat has not been raised during the last forty years. The soil is not only injured by inattention and bad husbandry, but also by the light sand which is blown in from the beach. It likewise suffers very much from another cause. The snow, which would be of essential service to it, provided it lay level and covered the ground, is blown info drifts and into the sea. Large tracts of land have now become unfit for cultivation. There are however no such appearances of desolation, as are exhibited on the plains of Eastham, where an extensive, and what was once a fertile spot, has become a prey to the winds, and lies buried under a heap of barren sand.
There remains as much woodland in this township, as in any other below Harwich. The natural growth is pitch pine, and white, black, and red oak ; the former, chiefly on the southern ; and the latter, on the northern side of Pamet river. Apple trees are not plenty. There are however several small orchards, and all of them in valleys, where they are defended from the winds. Few trees are now planted ; so that the orchards as well as the forests, are continually lessening, and probably in a few years will disappear.
Beside the pond already mentioned, there are live other small ponds ; one of them near the head of Pamet ; the other four, in the southern part of the township. There are several swamps, none of which are large ; but not a single brook, and very few springs which appear. The water in the wells, which is very little above the level of the ocean, is in general soft and excellent. Wells dug near the shore, are dry at
A Topographical Description of Truro. 199
low water, or rather at what is called young flood, but are replenished with the flowing of the tide.
A traveller from the interiour part of the country, where the soil is fertile, upon observing the barrenness of Truro, would wonder what could induce any person to remain in such a place. But his wonder would cease, when he was informed, that the subsistence of the inhabitants is derived principally from the sea. The shorts and marshes afford large and small clams, quahaugs, razor shells, periwinkles, muscles, and cockles. The bay and ocean abound with excellent fish and with crabs and lobsters. The sturgeon, eel, haddock, cod, frost fish, pollock, cusk, flounder, halibut, bass, mackerel, herring, and ale\vife,f are most of them caught in great plenty, and constitute a principal part of the food of the inhabitants. Beside these fish for the table, there is a great variety of other fish : among which are the whale, killer or thrasher, humpback, finback, skrag, grampus, black fish, porpoise, (grey, bass, and streaked) snuffer, shark, (black, man-eating, and shovel-nosed) skate, dog fish, sun fish, goose fish, cat fish, and sculpion ; to which may be added the horseshoe and squid.—The cramp fish has sometimes been seen on the beach. This fish, which resembles a stingray in size and form, possesses the properties of the torpedo, being capable of giving a smart electrical shock. The fishermen suppose, but whether with reason or not the writer will not undertake to determine, that the oil extracted from the liver of this fish is a cure for the rheumatism.
Sea fowl are plenty on the shores and in the bay ; particularly the gannet, curlew, brant, black duck, sea duck, old wife, dipper, sheldrake, penguin, gull, plover, coot, widgeon, and peep.
Formerly whales of different species were common on the coasts, and yielded a great profit to the inhabitants, who pursued them in boats from the shore. But they are now rare, and the people, who are some of the most dexterous whalemen in the world, are obliged to follow them into remote parts of the ocean. Two inhabitants of Truro, Captain David Smith and Captain Gamaliel Collings, were the first who adventured to the Falkland islands in pursuit of whales. This voyage was undertaken in the year 1774, by the advice of Admiral Montague of the British navy, and was crowned with success. Since that period the whalemen of Truro have chiefly visited the coasts of Guinea and Brazil. A want of a good market for their oil has however of late compelled them to turn their attention to the codfishery. In this they are employed on board of vessels belonging to other places. Other inhabitants of Truro are mariners in the merchants' service. Being in general industrious and faithful, they soon rise to the command of a vessel. Many of the masters employed from Boston and other ports, are natives of Truro.
+ Formerly the blue fish was common, but some years ago it deserted the coast. See page 159.
200 A Topographical Description of Truro.
A subsistence being easily obtained, the young people are induced to marry at an early age ; many of the men under twenty three, and many of the women under twenty. A numerous family is generally formed after a few years.
There are schools for the instruction of children and youth. But though education is more attended to of late, than is was some years ago, yet it is much to be wished that the importance and advantage of it were still more considered.
Only four persons from Truro have had a college education.
The climate of the place is said to be favourable to health and longevity. Complaints of the nervous kind, however, are very common.
Though Truro in respect of soil is inferiour to every other township in the county, except Wellfleet and Province town, both of which have convenient harbours ; yet, in spite of every disadvantage, it has become full of inhabitants. In the time of the contest between Great Britain and America, four masters of vessels with their men, the greatest part of whom belonged to Truro, were lost at sea. Many died in the prison-ship at New-York. But since that period, as migrations from the township have been rare, though formerly frequent, the inhabitants have increased.
In the year 1790, when the census was taken, there were eleven hundred and ninety-three inhabitants.* Thirty years ago, the number of the inhabitants was nine hundred and twenty four ; and of dwelling bouses, one hundred and seven. At present there are one hundred and sixty five dwelling houses ; none of which, except three, are more than one story in height. Five of the houses being situated near the bounds of Wellfleet, the families belonging to them attend publick worship there. The houses being small, are in general finished immediately after they are erected. The meeting house is painted, and in good repair. The inhabitants in general are very constant in their attendance on publick worship.
There is one water mill and three wind mills for the grinding of Indian corn and rye. The elderly men and small boys remain at home to cultivate the ground : the rest are at sea, except occasionally, two thirds of the year. The women are generally employed in spinning, weaving, and knitting ; but there are no other manufactures. The flax, cotton, and the greatest part of the wool, are procured from Boston.
In 1697 some purchases of land were made of the Indians, as appears from an old book of records kept by the town. The settlement of Truro, the Indian name of which was Pamet, commenced about the year 1700. On the 29th of October, 1705, it was erected into a town, to be called Dangerfield. On the 16th of July, 1709, it was incorporated by the name of Truro.
* In 1793 there were in Truro three hundred and thirty polls, which, allowing four persons to one poll, make thirteen hundred and twenty inhabitants ; above seventy to a square mile
A Topographical Description of Truro. 201
A church was formed at the time of the ordination of the first minister, according to the church books of records ; and the male members, who united in embodying the church, were seven, besides the pastor.
The first minister, Rev. John Avery, was ordained November 1st, 1711. He died April 23d, 1754, in the 69th year of his age, and 44th of his ministry. The inhabitants of Truro, who personally knew Mr. Avery, speak of him in very respectful terms. As a minister, he was greatly beloved and admired by his people, being a good and useful preacher, of an exemplary life and conversation. As a physician he was no less esteemed. He always manifested great tenderness for the sick ; and his people very sensibly felt their loss in his death. His eldest son, John Avery, esquire, is still living in Boston ; and one of his grandsons, John Avery, junior, esquire, has during many years been secretary of the commonwealth.
Rev. Caleb Upham was ordained October 29th, 1755. He died April 9th, 1786, in the 65d year of his age, and 31st of his ministry. Mr. Upham was a good scholar, an animated preacher, a warm friend to his country, and an honest man. A taste for poetry was apparent in all his compositions. He left behind him a poem in manuscript, the subject of which is taken from the book of Job. He was ever attentive to the real good of his people, and exerted himself with zeal and fidelity in their service.
The present minister of Truro, Rev. Jude Damon, was ordained October 15th, 1786.
A Bill of Mortality in Truro, for seven years, beginning January 1st, 1787.
Died in 1787.
Under 2 years
Between 5 and 10
10 and 20
20 and 30
70 and 80
80 and 90
Died in 1788.
Under 2 years.
Between 10 and 20
30 and 40
60 and 70
70 and 80
80 and 90
202-203 A Topographical Description of Truro.
Died in 1789.
Died in 1792.
Under 2 years.
Under 2 years. 4
Between 30 and 40
Beteen 10 and 20
40 and 50
20 and 30
50 and 60
40 and 50
70 and 80
50 and 60
80 and 90
60 and 70
80 and 90
13 sixth year. Died in 1790.
Under 2 years. 8
Died in 1793.
Beteen 20 and 30
Under 2 years. 4
30 and 40
Beteen 10 and 20
4 young men lost
40 and 50
20 and 30
at sea, Dec. 1793
50 and 60
30 and 40
60 and 70
50 and 60
70 and 80
60 and 70
80 and 90
70 and 80
80 and 90
Died in 1791.
Under 2 years.
Between 5 and 10
10 and 20
20 and 30
50 and 60
60 and 70
70 and 80
Key into the Language, &c. 203
The number of deaths in seven years.
Under 2 years.
Between 2 and 5
5 and 10
10 and 20
20 and 30
10 and 30 [sic]
30 and 40
40 and 50
50 and 60
60 and 70
70 and 80
80 and 90
The number of Baptisms in seven years, 278.
[ROGER WILLIAMS's Key into the Language of the Indians of New -England, has become exceedingly scarce. The only copy, of which we have any knowledge, is one presented to the library of the Historical Society. As it has been much sought after by the curious, we shall extract the most valuable part of it. It was printed in London, in 1643, in a small 18mo. volume ; and is divided into thirty two chapters. Each chapter contains a vocabulary, "framed chiefly after the Narraganset dialect," interspersed with observations on the manners and customs of the Indians. The chapter is concluded with spiritual observations, and three or four verses of rhymes. In the following extracts, the conclusions of the chapters are omitted, and the greatest part of the vocabulary. A sufficient number of Indian words is however retained, to serve as a specimen of the language.]
A Key into the Language of America : Or an Help to the Language of the Natives, in that part of America, called New England. Together with brief Observations of the Customs, Manners, and Worships, &c. of the aforesaid Natives, in Peace and War, in Life and Death. By Roger Williams of Providence in New England.
THE CONTENTS. [relocated to here from pages 238-239, the end of Roger Williams's chapters]
- Chap. i. — Of salutation, Page 207
Chap. ii. — Of eating and entertainment, 208
Chap. iii. — Of sleep and lodging, 209
Chap. iv. — Of numbers, 210
Chap. v. — Of the relations of consanguinity, ibid.
Chap. vi. — Of the family and business of the house, 211
Chap. vii. — Of the parts of the body, 213
Chap. viii. — Of discourse and news, 214
Chap. ix. — Of the time of the day, 216
Chap. x. — Of the season of the year, ibid.
Chap. xi. — Of travel, ibid.
Chap. xii. — Of the heavenly lights, 217
Chap. xiii. — Of the weather, 218
Chap. xiv. — Of the winds, ibid.
Chap. xv. — Of fowl, 219
Chap. xvi. — Of the earth and the fruits thereof, 220
Chap. xvii. — Of beasts, 222
Chap. xviii. — Of the sea, 223
Chap. xix. — Of fish and fishing, 224
Chap. xx. — Of nakedness and clothing, 225
Chap. xxi. — Of religion, 226
Chap. xxii. — Of government and justice, 229
- Chap. xxiii. — Of marriage, 230
Chap. xxiv. — Of coin, 231
Chap. xxv. — Of buying and selling, 232
Chap. xxv. — Of debts and trusting. 233
Chap. xxvii. — Of hunting, ibid.
Chap. xxviii.— Of gaming, 234
Chap. xxix. — Of war, 235
Chap. xxx. — Of painting, 236
Chap. xxxi. — Of sickness, ibid.
Chap. xxxii. — Of death and burial, 237
To my dear and well beloved, friends and countrymen, in Old and New England.
I PRESENT you with a Key : I have not heard of the like yet framed, since it pleased God to bring that mighty continent of America to ight. Others of my countrymen have often, and excellently, and lately, written of the country, and none that I know beyond the goodness and worth of it.
This Key respects the native language of it, and happily may unlock some rarities concerning the natives themselves, not yet discovered
I drew the materials in a rude lump at sea, as a private help to my own memory, that I might not, by my present absence, lightly lose what I had so dearly bought in some few years' hardship and charges among the barbarians. Yet being reminded by some, what pity it were to bury these materials in my grave at land or sea ; and withal remembering how oft I have been importuned by worthy friends of all sorts to afford them some help tris way ; I resolved, by the assistance of the Most High, to cast those materials into this Key, pleasant and profitable for all, but specially for my friends residing in those parts.
With this Key I have entered into the secrets of those countries, where ever English dwell, about two hundred miles, between the French and Dutch plantations. For want of this, I know what gross mistakes myself and others have run into.There is a mixture of this language, north and south, from the place of my abode, about six hundred miles. Yet within the two hundred miles, aforementioned, their dialects do exceedingly differ ; yet not so but, within that compass, a man may, by this help, converse with thousands of natives all over the country ; and by such converse, it may please the Father of mercies to spread civility, and in his own most holy season, Christianity : for one candle will light ten thousand, and it may please God to bless a little leaven, to season the mighty lump of these peoples and territories.
It is expected, that having had so much converse with these natives, I should write some little of them.
Concerning them, a little to gratify expectation, I shall touch upon four heads :
First, by what names they are distinguished.
Secondly, their original and descent.
Thirdly, their religion, manners, customs, &c.
Fourthly, that great point of their conversion.
To the first, their names are of two sorts :
First, those of the English giving : as natives, savages, Indians, wild men, (so the Dutch call them Wilden) Abergeny men, pagans, barbarians, heathen.
Secondly, their names which they give themselves.
I cannot observe, that they ever had, before the coming of the English, French, or Dutch among them, any names to difference themselves from strangers, for they knew none ; but two sorts of names they had, and have amongst themselves.
Preface. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 205
First, general, belonging to all natives, as Ninnuock, Ninnimissinnu-wock, Eniskeetompauwog, which signify men, folk, or people.
Secondly, particular names, peculiar to several nations of them amongst themselves, as Nanhigganeuck, Massachuscuck, Cawasumseuck, Cowweseuck, Quintikoock, Quunnipieuck, Pequuttoog, &c.
They have often asked me, why we called them Indians, natives, &c. and understanding the reason, they will call themselves Indians, in opposition to English, &c.
For the second head proposed, their original and descent.
From Adam and Noah that they spring, it is granted on all hands. But for their later descent, and whence they came into those parts, it seems as hard to find, as to find the wellhead of some fresh stream, which running many miles out of the country to the salt ocean, hath met with many mixing streams by the way. They say themselves, that they have sprung and grown up in that very place, like the very trees of the wilderness.
They say, that their great God Cawtantowwit created those parts, as I observed in the chapter of their religion. They have no clothes, books, nor letters, and conceive their fathers never had : and therefore they are easily persuaded, that the God that made English men, is a greater God, because he hath so richly endowed the English above themselves. But when they hear, that about sixteen hundred years ago, England and the inhabitants thereof were like unto themselves, and since have received from God, clothes, books, &c. they are greatly affected with a secret hope concerning themselves.
Wise and judicious men, with whom I have discoursed, maintain their original to be northward from Tartaria. And at my now taking ship at the Dutch plantation, it pleased the Dutch governour, in some discourse with me about the natives, to draw their line from Iceland ; because the name Sackmakan, the name for an Indian prince about the Dutch, is the name for a prince in Iceland
Other opinions I could number up. Under favour I shall present, not mine opinion, but my observations, to the judgment of the wise.
First, others and myself have conceived some of their words to hold affinity with the Hebrew.
Secondly, they constantly anoint their heads, as the Jews did.
Thirdly, they gave dowries for their wives, as the Jews did.
Fourthly, and which I have not so observed amongst other nations as amongst the Jews and these, they constantly separate their women, during the time of their monthly sickness, in a little house alone by themselves, four or five days, and hold it an irreligious thing for either father, or husband, or any male, to come near them.
They have often asked me, if it be so with women of other nations, ana whether they are so separated : and for their practice they plead nature and tradition.
Yet again I have found a greater affinity of their language with the Greek tongue.
Preface. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 206
1. As the Greeks and other nations and ourselves call the seven stars, or Charles' wain, the bear ; so do they, Mosk, or Paukunnawaw, the Bear.
2. They have many strange relations of one Wetucks, a man that wrought great miracles amongst them, walking upon the sea, &c. with some kind of broken resemblance to the Son of God.
Lastly, it is famous that the southwest, Sowwaniu, is the great subject of their discourse. From thence their traditions. There they say, at the southwest, is the court of their great God Cawtantowwit. At the southwest are their forefathers' souls. To the southwest they go themselves, when they die. From the southwest came their corn and beans, out of the great God Cawtantowwit's field : and indeed the further northward and westward from us, their corn will not grow ; but to the southward, better and better. I dare not conjecture in these uncertainties. I believe they are lost ; and yet hope, in the Lord's holy-season, some of the wildest of them shall be found to share in the blood of the Son of God.
To the third head, concerning their religion, customs, manners, &c. I shall here say nothing, because in those thirty two chapters of the whole book, I have briefly touched those of all sorts, from their birth to their burial.
Therefore, fourthly, to that great point of their conversion, so much to be longed for, and by all New English so much pretended, and I hope in truth :
For myself, I have uprightly laboured to suit my endeavours to my pretences : and of later times, out of a desire to attain their language, I have run through varieties of intercourses with them, day and night, summer and winter, by land and sea. Particular passages tending to this, I have related divers, in the chapter of their religion.
Many solemn discourses I have had with all sorts of nations of them, from one end of the country to another, so far as opporlunity, and the little language I have, could reach.
I know there is no small preparation in the hearts of multitudes of them. I know their many solemn confessions to myself, and one to another, of their lost wandering conditions.
I know strong convictions upon the consciences of many of them and their desires uttered that way.
I know not with how little knowledge and grace of Christ, the Lord may save ; and therefore neither will despair, nor report much.
But since it hath pleased some of my worthy countrymen to mention of late in print, Wequash, the Pequut captain, I shall be bold so far to second their relations, as to relate my own hopes of him, though I dare not be so confident as others.
Two days before his death, as I passed up to Quunnihticut* river, it pleased my worthy friend, Mr. Fenwick, whom I visited at his house in Say-brook fort, at the mouth of that river, to tell me, that my old
* Connecticut. The author's mode of spelling Indian words is carefully preserved.
Chap. i. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 207
friend Wequash lay very sick. I desired to see him ; and himself was pleased to be my guide two miles, where Wequash lay.
Amongst other discourse concerning his sickness and death, in which he freely bequeathed his son to Mr. Fenwick, I closed with him concerning his soul. He told me, that some two or three years before, he had lodged at my house, where I acquainted him with the condition of all mankind, and his own in particular ; how God created man and all things ; how man fell from God, and his present enmity against God, and the wrath of God against him until repentance : said he, "Your words were never out of my heart to this present ;" and said he, "Me much pray to Jesus Christ." I told him, so did many English, French, and Dutch, who had never turned to God, nor loved him. He replied in broken English : "Me so big naughty heart : me heart all one stone !" Savoury expressions, using to breathe from compunct and broken hearts, and a sense of inward hardness and unbrokenness. I had many discourses with him in his life ; but this was the sum of our last parting, until our general meeting.
Key into the Language of the Indians of New England.
THE natives are of two sorts, as the English are : some more rude and clownish, who are not so apt to salute, but upon salutation, re-salute lovingly. Others, and the general, are sober and grave, and yet cheerful in a mean, and as ready to begin a salutation as to re-salute, which yet the English generally begin, out of a desire to civilize them.
What cheer, Netop ? is the general salutation of all English toward them. Netop is friend ; Netompauog, friends.
They are exceedingly delighted with salutations in their own language.
Cowaunckamish ; my service to you. This word, upon special salutations, they use ; and upon some offence conceived by the Sachim, or prince, against any, I have seen the party do obeisance, by stroking the prince upon both his shoulders, and using this word, Cowaunkam-ish, or Cuckquenamish ; I pray your favour.
Otan ; a town. Otanick noteshem ; I came from the town. In the Narroganset coutnty, which is the chief people in the land, a man shall come to many towns, some bigger, some lesser, it may be a dozen, in twenty miles travel.
They call Old England Acawmenoakit, which is as much as from the land on t'other side. Hardly are they brought to believe that that water is three thousand English miles over.
Wetu ; a house. Matnowetuomeno ; 1 have no house. As commonly a single person hath no house, so after the death of a husband or wife,
Chap. ii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 208
they often break up house, and live here and there awhile with friends, to allay their exclusive sorrow.
Wesuonck ; a name. Matnowesuonckane ; I have no name. Obscure and mean persons amongst them have no name's. Again because they abhor to name the dead (death being the king of terrours to all natural men ; and though the natives hold the soul to live forever, yet not holding a resurrection, they die and mourn without hope ; in that respect, I say) if any of their Sachims or neighbours die, they lay down those names as dead.
This is one incivility amongst the more rustical sort, not to call each other by their names, but Keen ; you : Ewo ; he.
They are remarkably free and courteous, to invite all strangers into their houses; and if they come to them upon any occasion, they request them to come in, if they come not in of themselves.
I have acknowledged amongst them an heart sensible of kindnesses, and have reaped kindness again from many, seven years after, when I myself had forgotten.
Of Eating and Entertainment.
NOKEHICK ; parched meal, which is a ready very wholesome food, which they eat with a little water, hot or cold I have travelled with near two hundred of them at once, near a hundred miles through the woods, every man carrying a little basket of this at his back, and sometimes, in a hollow leather girdle about his middle, sufficient for a man three or four days. With this ready provision, and their bow and arrows, are they ready for war, and travel at an hour's warning. With a spoonful of this meal, and a spoonful of water from the brook, have 1 made many a good dinner and supper.
Aupummineanash ; the parchcd corn. Aupuminea-nawsaump ; the parched meal boiled with water at their houses, which is the wholesom-est diet they have. Msickquatash ; boiled corn whole. Manusquusse-dash, beans. Nawsaump ; a kind of meal pottage unparched. From this the English call their samp, which is the Indian corn, beaten and boiled, and eaten hot or cold, with milk or butter ; which are mercies beyond the natives' plain water, and which is a dish exceeding wholesome for the English bodies.
They generally all take tobacco ; and it is commonly the only plant which men labour in ; the women managing all the rest. They say they take tobacco for two causes : first, against the rheum, which causeth the tooth-ake, which they are impatient of : secondly, to revive and refresh them, they drinking nothing but water.
Whomsoever cometh in, when they are eating, they offer them to eat of that which they have, though but little enough prepared for
Chap. iii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 209
themselves. If any provision of fish or flesh come in, they make their neighbours partakers with them. If any stranger come in, they presently give him to eat of what they have. Many a time, and at all times of the night, as I have fallen in travel upon their houses, when nothing hath been ready, have themselves and their wives risen to prepare me some refreshing.
Mihtukmecha kick; Tree-eaters ; a people so called (living between three or four hundred miles west into the land) from their eating Mih-tuck-quash, that is, trees. They are men eaters : they set no corn, but live on the bark of chestnut and walnut, and other fine trees. They dry and eat this bark with the fat of beasts, and sometimes of men. This people are the terrour of the neighbour natives.
Mohowaugsuck, or Mauquauog, from moho, to eat; the Cannibals, or Men-eaters, up into the west, two, three, or four hundred miles from us.
Concerning Sleep, and Lodging.
THEY will sleep without the doors contentedly, by a fire under a tree, when sometimes some English, for want of familiarity and language with them, are fearful to entertain them. In summer time, I have known them lie abroad often themselves, to make room for strangers, English or others.
Wauwhautowaw anawat ; there is an alarm, or there is a great shouting. Howling and shouting is their alarm, they having no drums nor trumpets But whether an enemy approach, or a fire brake out, this alarm passeth from house to house: yea commonly, if any English or Dutch come amongst them, they give notice to strangers by this sign. Yet I have known them buy and use a Dutch trumpet, and known a native make a good drum, in imitation of the English.
Matannauke, or Mattannaukanash ; a finer sort of mats to sleep, on.
They plentifully lay on wood, when they lie down to sleep, winter or summer: abundance they have, and abundance they lay on : their fire is instead of our bed clothes. And so themselves, and any that have occasion to lodge with them, must be content to turn often to the fire, if the night be cold; and they who first wake, must repair the fire.
When they have had a bad dream, which they conceive to be a threatening from God, they fall to prayer at all times of the night, especially early before day.
I once travelled to an island of the wildest in our parts, where, in the night, an Indian, as he said, had a vision or dream of the sun, whom they worship for a God, darting a beam into his breast; which he conceived to be the messenger of his death. This poor native called his friends and neighbours, and prepared some little refreshing for
them ; but himself was kept waking and fasting, in great humiliations and invocations, for ten days and nights. I was alone, having travelled from my bark, the wind being contrary ; and little could I speak to them to their understanding, especially because of the change of their dialect or manner of speech ; yet so much, through the help of God. I did speak, of the true and living only wise God, of the creation of man and his fall from God, Sec. that at my parting, many burst forth, "Oh, when will you come again, to bring us some more news of this God?"
Of their Numbers.
NQUIT ; one. Neese ; two. Nish ; three. Yoh ; four. Napanna ; five. Quutta ; six. Enada ; seven. Shwosuck ; eight. Paskugit ; nine. Piuck ; ten. Piuck nabna quit; eleven. Piucknab neese ; twelve. Neesneecheck ; twenty. Shwincheck ; thirty. Yowinicheck ; forty. Napannetashincheck ; fifty. Nquit pawsuck ; one hundred. Nquittemittannug ; one thousand.*
Having no letters nor arts, it is admirable how quick they are in casting up great numbers, with the help of grains of corn, instead of Europe's pens or counters.
Numbers of the masculine gender.
Pawsuck Skeetomp ; one man.
Of the feminine gender.
Pawsuck Waucho; one hill.
Swinash Wauchoash Three
Of their Relations of Consanguinity, &c.
NNIN; man. Nninnuog ; men. Skeetomp; man. Squaws; woman. Squaws-suck ; women. Kichize ; an old man. Homes ; an old man. Homesuck ; old man. Kutchinnu ; a middle aged man. Wus-keene ; a youth. Wenise ; an old woman. Wasick; a husband.
* By combining the Indian numbers together, the author continues the enumeration to one hundred thousand. But this was probably much further than the natives went themselves.
Chap. vi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 211
Weewo, or Mittummus, or Wullogana ; a wife. Osh ; a father. Nosh ; my father. Cosh ; your father ; Okasu,, or Witchwhaw ; a mother. Wussese ; an uncle. Papoos; a child. Nonanese ; a sucking child. Weemat; a brother.
They hold the band of brother-hood so dear, that when one had committed a murder and fled, they executed his brother ; and it is common for a brother to pay the debt of a brother deceased.
Weticks ; a sister. Watoncks ; a cousin. Kihtuckquaw ; a virgin marriageable.
Their virgins are distinguished by a bashful falling down of the hair over their eyes.
There are no beggars amongst them, nor fatherless children unprovided for.
Their affections, especially to their children, are very strong : so that I have known a father take so grievously the loss of his child, that he hath cut and stabbed himself with grief and rage.
This extreme affection, together with want of learning, makes their children saucy, bold, and undutiful.
Of the family and Business of the House.
NICKQUENUM, I am going home, is a solemn word amongst them ; and no man will offer any hinderance to him, who after some absence, is going to visit his family, and useth this word Nick-quenum.
Wetuomemese; a little house, which their women and maids live apart in, four, five, or six days, in the time of their monthly sickness : which custom, in all parts of the country, they strictly observe ; and no male may come into that house.
The Indians have houses with one, two, or three fires.
Abockquosinash ; the mats of the house. Wuttapuissuck ; the long poles which commonly men get and fix, and then the women cover the house with mats, and line them with embroidered mats, which the women make, and call them Munnotaubana, or hangings, which amongst them make as fair a show as hangings with us.
Wuchickapeuck; birchen bark, and chestnut bark, which they dress finely, and make a summer covering for their houses.
Two families will live comfortably and lovingly in a little round house, of some fourteen or sixteen feet over, and so more and more families in proportion.
They point with the hand to the sun, by whose height they keep account of the day, and by the moon and stars by night, as we do by clocks and dials.
They are as full of business, and as impatient of hinderance (in their kind) as any merchant in Europe.
Commonly they never shut their doors, day nor night; and it is rare that any hurt is done.
Wunnaug ; a tray. Kunam ; a spoon.
Instead of shelves, they have several baskets, wherein they put all their household stuff. They have some great bags or sacks made of hemp, which will hold five or six bushels.
Tackunck, or Weskhunck ; their pounding mortar. Their women constantly beat all their corn with hand. They plant it, dress it, gather it, barn it, beat it, and take as much pains as any people in the world ; which labour is questionless one cause of their extraordinary ease of childbirth.
Chauquock ; a knife. Whence they call Englishmen Chauquaquock, that is, Knive-men ; stone formerly being to them instead of knives, awlblades, hatchets, and hoes.
It is almost incredible what burthens the poor women carry of corn, of fish, of beans, of mats, and a child besides.
Most commonly their houses are open : Their door is a hanging mat, which being lift up, falls down of itself. Yet many of them get English boards and nails, and make artificial doors and bolts themselves; and others make slighter doors of birch or chestnut bark, which they make fast with a cord in the night time, or when they go out of town, and then the last, that makes fast, goes out at a chimney, which is a large opening in thvi middle of their house.
The women nurse all their children themselves : yet, if she be an high or rich woman, she maintains a nurse to tend the child.
Many of them begin to be furnished with English chests ; others, when they go forth of town, bring their goods, if they live near, to the English, to keep for them ; and their money they hang it about their necks, or lay it under their heads, when they sleep.
They have amongst them natural fools, either so born, or accidentally deprived of reason.
Many of them, naturally princes, or industrious persons, are rich ; and the poor amongst them will say, they want nothing.
Mauo ; to cry and bewail: Which bewailing is very solemn amongst them, morning and evening, and sometimes in the night. They bewail their lost husbands, wives, children, brethren, or sisters, sometimes a quarter, half, yea a whole year, and longer, if it be for a great prince. In this time, unless a dispensation be given, they count it a profane thing either to play, as they much use to do, or to paint themselves for beauty, but for mourning; or to be angry, and fall out with any.
Generally all the men throughout the country have a tobacco bag, with a pipe in it, hanging at their back.
Sometimes they make such great pipes, both of wood and stone, that they are two feet long, with men or beasts carved, so big or massy, that a man may be mortally hurt by one of them ; but these commonly come from the Mauquauogs, or the Men-eaters. They have an excellent art to cast our pewter and brass into very neat and arti-
Chap. vii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 213
ficial pipes. They take their Wuttammauog, that is, a weak tobacco, which the men plant themselves, very frequently. Yet I never see any take so excessively, as I have seen men in Europe ; and yet excess were more tolerable in them, because they want the refreshing of beer and wine, which God had vouchsafed Europe.
Wuttammagon ; a pipe. Hopuonck, a pipe.
Chicks ; a cock, or hen : A name taken from the English chick, because they had no hens before the English came.
Nquussutam ; I remove house : Which they do upon these occasions : From thick warm vallies, where they winter, they remove a little nearer to their summer fields. When it is warm spring, when they remove to their fields, where they plant corn.
In middle of summer, because of the abundance of fleas, which the dust of the house breeds, they will fly and remove on a sudden to a fresh place. And sometimes, having fields a mile or two, or many miles asunder, when the work of one field is over, they remove house to the other. If death fall in amongst them, they presently remove to a fresh place. If an enemy approach, they remove into a thicket or swamp, unless they have some fort to remove unto.
Sometimes they remove to a hunting house in the end of the year, and forsake it not until snow lie thick ; and then will travel home, men, women, and children, through the snow, thirty, yea fifty or sixty miles. But their great remove is from their summer fields to warm and thick woody bottoms, where they winter. They are quick, in half a day, yea sometimes at few hours' warning to be gone, and the house up elsewhere ; especially, if they have stakes ready pitched for their mats.
I once in travel lodged at a house, at which, in my return, I hoped to have lodged again there the next night; but the house was gone in that interim, and I was glad to lodge under a tree.
The men make the poles or stakes; but the women make and set up, take down, order, and carry the household stuff.
Of their Persons and Parts of Body.
UPPAQUONTOP ; the head. Wesheck ; the hair. Muppacuck ; a long lock.
Some cut their hair round, and some as low and as short as the sober English. Yet I never saw any so to forget nature itself, in such excessive length and monstrous fashion, as to the shame of the English nation, I now with grief see my countrymen in England are degenerated unto.
Wuttip; the brain. In the brain their opinion is, that the soul, of which we shall speak in the chapter of religion, keeps her chief seat and residence.
For the temper of the brain, in quick apprehensions and accurate judgments, to say no more, the most high and sovereign God and Creator hath not made them inferiour to the Europeans.
The Mauquauogs make a delicious monstrous dish of the head and brains of their enemies.
The tooth ake is the only pain which will force their stout hearts to cry. I cannot hear of any disease of the stone amongst them, the corn of the country, with which they are fed from the womb, being an admirable cleanser and opener. But the pain of their women's childbirth never forces their women so to cry, as I have heard some of their men in the tooth ake. In this pain they use a certain root dried, not much unlike our ginger.
They are most skilful in cutting off the heads of their enemies in fight. For whenever they wound, and their arrow sticks in the body of their enemy, if they be valorous and possibly may, they follow their arrow, and falling upon the person wounded, and tearing his head a little aside by his lock, they in the twinkling of an eye, fetch off his head, though but with a sorry knife.
I know the man yet living, who, in time of war, pretended to fall from his own camp to the enemy, proffered his service in the front with them against his own army from whence he had revolted. He propounded such plausible advantages, that he drew them out to battle, himself keeping in the front: but on a sudden, shot their chief leader and captain; and being shot, in a trice fetched off his head, and returned immediately to his own again, from whom in pretence, though with this treacherous intention, he had revolted. His act was false and treacherous; yet herein appear policy, stoutness, and activity.
Wuttah ; the heart. Wunnetu nitta ; my heart is good. This speech they use, whenever they profess their honesty; they naturally confessing that all goodness is first in the heart.
They are much delighted after battle, to hang up the hands and heads of their enemies.
They call a blackamore (themselves are tawny by the sun and their anointings, yet they are born white) Suckautacone ; a coal-black man. For Sucki is black, and Wautacone, one that wears clothes: whence English, Dutch, French, Scotch, they call Wautaconauog, or Coat-men.
Of Discourse and News.
THEIR desire of, and delight in news, is great as the Athenians. A stranger that can relate news in their own language, they will style him Manittoo, a God.
Their manner is upon any tidings, to sit round, double or treble or more, as their numbers be. I have seen near a thousand in a round,
Chap. viii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 215
where English could not well near half so many have sitten. Every man hath his pipe of tobacco; and a deep silence they make, and attention give to him that speaketh. And many of them will deliver themselves, either in a relation of news, or in a consultation, with very emphatical speech and great action, commonly an hour, and sometimes two hours together.
Coanaumwem ; you speak true. Wunnaumwaw ewo ; he speaks true. These are words of great flattery which they use to each other, but constantly to their princes, at their speeches, for which, if they be eloquent, they esteem them Gods, as Herod among the Jews.
One of the Indians, when I had discoursed about many points of God, of the creation, of the soul, of the danger of it, and the saving of it, he assented; but when I spake of the rising again of the body, he cried out, "I shall never believe this."
Wunnaumwayean ; If he says true. Canounicus, the old Sachim of the Narroganset bay, a wise and peaceable prince, once in a solemn oration to myself, in a solemn assembly, using this word, said, "I have never suffered any wrong to be offered to the English, since they landed, nor never will." He often repeated this word, "Wunnaumwayean Englishman, if the Englishman speak true, if he mean truly, then shall I go to my grave in peace, and hope that the English and my posterity will live in love and peace together." I replied, that he had no cause, I hoped, to question Englishman's Wunnaumwauonck, that is, faithfulness, he having had long experience of their friendliness and trustiness. He took a stick, and broke it into ten pieces, and related ten instances, laying down a stick to every instance, which gave him cause thus to fear and say. I satisfied him in some presently, and presented the rest to the governours of the English, who, I hope, will be far from giving just cause to have barbarians to question their Wunnaumwauonck, or faithfulness.
Coannaumatous; I believe you. This word they use just as the Greek tongue doth that verb πιςευειγ, for believing or obeying, as it is often used in the new testament; and they say, Coannaumutous ; I will obey you.
The ablative case absolute they much use, and comprise much in little.
This question they oft put to me: "Why come the Englishmen hither ?" and measuring others by themselves, they say, "It is because you want firing." For they, having burnt up the wood in one place, wanting draughts to bring wood to them, are fain to follow the wood, and so to remove to a fresh new place for the wood's sake.
If it be time of war, he that is a messenger runs swiftly, and at every town the messenger comes, a fresh messenger is sent. He that is the last, coming within a mile or two of the court, or chief house, he hollows often, and they that hear answer him, until by mutual hollowing and answering, he is brought to the place of audience, where by this means is gathered a great confluence of people to entertain the news.
Wussuckwheke, or Wussuckwhonck ; a letter, which they so call from Wussuckwhommin, to paint; for having no letters, their painting comes the nearest.
They have often desired me to write letters for them, upon many occasions, for their good and peace, and the English also, as it hath pleased God to vouchsafe opportunity.
Of the Time of the Day.
THEY are punctual in measuring their day by the sun, and their night by the moon and the stars ; and their lying much abroad in the air, and so living in the open fields, occasioneth even the youngest of them to be very observant of those heavenly lights.
They are punctual in their promises of keeping time ; and sometimes have charged me with a lie, for not punctually keeping time, though hindered.
Of the Season of the Year.
SEQUAN; spring. Neepun, or Quasquusquan ; summer. Taquonck ; autumn. Papone ; winter.
They have thirteen months, according to the several moons ; and they give to each of them significant names.
Nquittecautummo ; one year. If the year prove dry, they have great and solemn meetings from all parts, at one high place, to supplicate their Gods, and to beg rain ; and they will continue in this worship ten days, a fortnight, yea three weeks, until rain come.
IT is admirable to see, what paths their naked hardened feet have made in the wilderness, in most stony and rocky places.
The wilderness being so vast, it is a mercy, that for hire a man shall never want guides, who will carry provisions and such as hire them over the rivers and brooks, and find out oftentimes hunting houses and other lodgings at night.
I have heard of many English lost, and have often been lost myself; and myself and others have often been found and succoured by the Indians.
They are generally quick on foot, brought up from the breasts to running ; their legs being also from the womb stretched and bound up in a strange way on their cradle backward; as also anointed. Yet
Chap. xii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 217
have they some that excel : so that I have known many of them run between fourscore or an hundred miles in a summer's day, and back within two days. They do also practise running of races: and commonly in the summer, they delight to go without shoes, although they have them hanging at their backs. They are so exquisitely skilled in all the body and bowels of the country, by reason of their huntings, that I have often been guided, twenty, thirty, yea, sometimes forty miles, through the woods, a straight course, out of any path.
Having no horses, they covet them above other cattle, rather preferring ease in riding, than their profit by milk and butter from cows and goats ; and they are loath to come to the English price for any.
Cuppi-machaug ; thick wood—a swamp. These thick woods and swamps, like the bogs to the Irish, are the refuge for women and children in war, whilst the men fight. As the country is wonderous full of brooks and rivers, so doth it also abound with fresh ponds, some of many miles compass.
They are joyful in meeting of any in travel, and will strike fire either with stones or sticks, to take tobacco, and discourse a little together.
Sometimes a man shall meet a lame man, or an old man, with a staff ; but generally a staff is a rare sight in the hand of the eldest, their constitution is so strong. I have upon occasion travelled many a score, yea many a hundred miles amongst them, without need of stick or staff, for any appearance of danger amongst them. Yet it is a rule amongst them, that it is not good for a man to travel without a weapon, nor alone.
I once travelled with near two hundred, who had word of near seven hundred enemies in the way; yet generally they all resolved, that it was a shame to fear and go back.
If any robbery fall out in travel, between persons of different states, the offended state sends for justice. If no justice be granted and recompense made, they grant a kind of letter of mart to take satisfaction themselves. Yet they are careful not to exceed in taking from others, be'yond the proportion of their own loss.
I could never hear that murders or robberies are comparably so frequent, as in parts of Europe, amongst the English, French, &c.
Of the heavenly Lights.
KEESUCK; the heavens. Nippawus ; the sun. Keesuckquand ; a name of the sun, by which they acknowledge it and adore it for a God.
Nanepaushat, or Munnannock ; the moon. Yo wompanammit; the moon is so old, which they measure by the setting of it, especially when it shines till Wompan, or day.
Anockquus; a star. By occasion of their frequent lying in the fields or woods, they much observe the stars; and their very children
can give names to many of them, and observe their motions ; and they have the same words for their rising, courses, and setting, as for the sun and moon.
Mosk, or Paukunnawaw ; the Great Bear, or Charles' Wain, which words Mosk, or Paukunnawaw signify a bear ; which is so much the more observable, because in most languages, that sign or constellation is called the Bear.
Mishannock ; the morning star.
Of the Weather.
IT may be wondered, why since New England is about twelve degrees nearer to the sun, yet some part of winter, it is there ordinarily more cold than here in England. The reason is plain. All islands are warmer than main lands and continents. England being an island, England's winds are sea winds, which are commonly more thick and vapoury, and warmer winds. The northwest wind, which occasioneth New England cold, comes over the cold frozen land, and over many millions of loads of snow. And yet the pure wholesomeness of the air is wonderful; and the warmth of the sun such in the sharpest weather, that I have often seen the natives children run about stark naked in the coldest clays, and the Indian men and women lie by a fire in the woods, in the coldest nights; and I have been often out myself such nights, without fire, mercifully and wonderfully preserved.
Neimpauog; thunder. Neimpauog peskhomwock ; thunderbolts are shot. From this the natives conceiving a consimilitude between our guns and thunder, they call a gun Peskunck; and to discharge Peskhommin, that is, to thunder.
Of the Winds.
WAUPI; the wind. Some of them account seven winds ; some, eight or nine. And in truth, they do upon the matter reckon and observe not only the four, but the eight cardinal winds, although they come not to the accurate division of the thirty-two, upon the thirty-two points of the compass, as we do.
The southwest wind is the pleasingest, warmest wind in the climate, most desired of the Indians, making fair weather ordinarily ; and therefore they have a tradition, that to the southwest, which they call Sowwaniu, the Gods chiefly dwell; and hither the souls of all their great and good men and women go.
This southwest wind is called by the New English, the sea turn; which comes from the sun in the morning, about nine or ten of the
Chap. xv. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 219
clock southeast, and about south, and then strongest southwest in the afternoon and towards night, when it dies away. It is rightly called the sea turn, because the wind commonly, all the summer, comes off from the north and northwest in the night, and then turns again about from the south in the day.
NPESHAWOG, or Pussekesesuck ; fowl. Wompissacuk ; the eagle. Neyhom ; the turkey. Paupock ; the partridge. Aunc-kuck ; the heath cock. Chogan ; the black bird.
Of this sort there be millions, which be great devourers of the Indian corn, as soon as it appears out of the ground. Against these birds the Indians are very careful both to set their corn deep enough, that it may have a strong root, not so apt to be plucked up (yet not too deep, lest they bury it, and it never come up:) as also they put up little watchhouses in the middle of their fields, in which they, or their biggest children lodge, and early in the morning, prevent the birds from devouring the corn.
Kokokehom, or Ohemous ; the owl. Kaukont; the crow.
These birds, although they do the corn also some hurt, yet scarce will one native amongst an hundred kill them ; because they have a tradition, that the crow brought them at first an Indian grain of corn in one ear, and an Indian or French bean in another, from the great God Cawtantowwit's field in the southwest, from whence they hold came all their corn and beans.
Honck, or Wompatuck ; the goose. Wequash ; the swan. Mun-nucks; the brant. Quequecum ; the duck.
The Indians having abundance of these sorts of fowl upon thfir waters, take great pains to kill any of them with their bow and arrows ; and are marvellous desirous of our English guns, powder, and shot, though they are wisely and generally denied by the English. Yet with those which they get from the French and some others, Dutch and English, they kill abundance of fowl, being naturally excellent marksmen, and also more hardened to endure the weather, and wading, lying, and creeping on the ground.
I once saw an exercise of training of the English, when all the English had missed the mark set up to shoot at, an Indian with his own. piece, desiring leave to shoot, only hit it.
Kitsuog; cormorants. These they take in the night time, where they are asleep on rocks off at sea, and bring in at break of day great store of them.
They lay nets on shore, and catch many fowls upon the plains, and feeding under oaks upon acorns, as geese, turkies, cranes, &c.
Chap. xvi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 220
Wuskowhan ; the pigeon. Wuskowhan-nanaukit; pigeon country. In that place these fowl breed abundantly, and by reason of their delicate food, especially in strawberry time, when they pick up whole large fields of the old grounds of the natives, they are a delicate fowl, and because of their abundance, and the facility of killing them, they are and may be plentifully fed on.
Sachim; a little bird about the bigness of a swallow, or less, to which the Indians give that name, because of its Sachim or princelike courage and command over greater birds: that a man shall often see this small bird pursue, and vanquish, and put to flight, the crow and Other birds far bigger than itself.
Sowwanakitauwaw ; they go to the southward. That is the saying of the natives, when the geese and other fowl, at the approach of winter, betake themselves in admirable order, and discerning their course even all the night long.
Chepewaukitauog ; they fly northward. That is when they return in the spring.
There are abundance of singing birds, whose names I have little as yet inquired alter.
Taunek ; the crane. Wushowunan; the hawk : Which the Indians keep tame about their houses, to keep the little birds from their corn.
Of the Earth and the Fruits thereof.
AUKE, or Sanaukamuck; earth or land. Seip, a river. Sepoese ; a little river. Sepoemese ; a little rivulet.
The natives are very exact and punctual in the bounds of their lands, belonging to this or that prince or people, even to a river, brook, &c. And I have known them make bargain and sale amongst themselves for a small piece or quantity of ground ; notwithstanding a sinful opinion amongst many, that christians have right to heathen's land.
Wompimish ; the chestnut tree. Wompimineash ; chestnuts. The Indians have an art of drying their chestnuts, and so to preserve them in their barns for a dainty all the year.
Paugautemisk ; the oak. Anauchemineash ; acorns. These acorns also they dry, and in case of want of corn, by much boiling they make a good dish of them : yea sometimes in plenty of corn, do they eat these acorns for a novelty.
Wussoquat; the walnut tree. Wusswaquatomineug ; walnuts. Of these walnuts they make an excellent oil, good for many uses, but especially for the anointing of their heads And of the chips of the walnut tree (the bark taken off) some English in the country make excellent beer, both for taste, strength, colour, and inoffensive opening operation.
Chap. xvi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 221
Sasaunckapamuck ; the sassafras tree. Mishquawtuck; the cedar tree. Cowaw-esuck ; the pine, young pine. Wenomesippaguash ; the vine tree. Maskituash ; grass. Wekinash; the reed. Quussucko-mineanug ; the cherry tree.
Wuttahimneash ; strawberries. This berry is the wonder of all the fruits growing naturally in those parts. It is of itself excellent : so that one of the chiefest doctors of England was wont to say, that God could have made, but God never did make, a better berry. In some parts, where the natives have planted, I have many times seen as many as would fill a good ship within few miles compass. The Indians bruise them in a mortar, and mix them with meal, and make strawberry bread.
Wuchipoquameneash ; a kind of sharp fruit like a barberry in taste.
Sasemineash; another sharp cooling fruit, growing in fresh waters all the winter, excellent in conserve against fevers.
Wenomeneash ; grapes. Attitaash ; whortleberries : Of which there are divers sorts, sweet like currants, some opening, some of a binding nature.
Sautaash are these currants dried by the natives, and so preserved all the year, which they beat to powder, and mingle it with their parched meal, and make a delicate dish which they call Sautauthig, which is as sweet to them as plum or spice cake to the English.
They also make great use of their strawberries, having such abundance of them, making strawberry bread, and having no other food for many days ; but the English have exceeded, and make good wine both of their grapes and strawberries also, in some places, as I have often tasted.
Ewachim-neash ; corn. There be divers sorts of this corn, and of the colours ; yet all of it, either boiled in milk or buttered, if the use of it were known and received in England (it is the opinion of some skilful in physick) it might save many thousand lives in England, occasioned by the binding nature of English wheat; the Indian corn keeping the body in a constant moderate looseness.
Aukeeteaumen; to plant corn. The women set or plant, weed and hill, and gather and barn, all the corn and fruits of the field. Yet sometimes the man himself, either out of love to his wife, or care for his children, or being an old man, will help the woman, which, by the custom of the country, they are not bound to.
When a field is to be broken up, they have a very loving, sociable, speedy way to dispatch it : all the neighbours, men and women, forty, fifty, a hundred, &c. join, and come in to help freely.
With friendly joining they break up their fields, build their forts, hunt the woods, stop and kill fish in the rivers; it being true with them as in all the world, in the affairs of earth or heaven : By concord, little things grow great; by discord, the greatest come to nothing: Concordiâ res parvæ crescunt, discordiâ maximæ dilabuntur.*
* Sallustii Bell. Jug.
Anaskhig ; a hoe. Anaskhommin ; to hoe, or break up. The Indian women to this day, notwithstanding our hoes, do use their natural hoes of shells and wood.
They carefully dry the corn upon heaps and mats many days, before they barn it up, covering it up with mats at night, and opening it, when the sun is hot.
The women of the family will commonly raise two or three heaps of twelve, fifteen, or twenty bushels a heap, which they dry in round broad heaps; and if she have help of her children or friends, much more.
Askutasquash ; their vine apples ; which the English from them call squashes; about the bigness of apples, of several colours; a sweet, light, wholesome refreshing.
PENASIIIMWOCK ; beasts. Netasuog; cattle : This name the Indians give to tame beasts, yea and birds also which they keep tame about their houses.
Muckquashim ; the wolf. Moattoquus; a black wolf.
Turamock, Noosup, or Sumhup ; the beaver. This is a beast of wonder, for cutting and drawing great pieces of trees with his teeth, with which and sticks and earth, I have often seen fair streams and rivers dammed and stopped up. Upon these streams thus dammed up, he builds his house with stories, wherein he sits dry in his chambers, or gots into the water at his pleasure.
Mishquashim ; a red fox. Pequawus; a gray fox. The Indians say they have black foxes, which they have often seen, but never could take any of them. They say they are Manittooes; that is, Gods, spirits, or divine powers, as they say of every thing which they cannot comprehend.
Ausup ; the rackoon. Nkeke ; the otter. Pussough ; the wild cat.
Ockquutchaun-nug ; a wild beast of a reddish hair, about the bigness of a pig, and rooting like a pig: from whence they give this name to all our swine.
Mishanneke ; the squirrel. Anequus ; a little coloured squirrel.
Wautuckques ; the cony. They have a reverend esteem of this creature, and conceive there is some deity in it.
Attuck, or Noonatch ; the deer. Moosquin ; a fawn. Wawwun-nes ; a young buck. Kuttiomp, or Paucottauwaw ; a great buck. Aunan-quuneke ; a doe. Quuncquawese ; a little young doe. Cowsuck ; cows. Goatsuck ; goats. Hogsuck ; swine.
This plural termination suck,* is common in their language ; and therefore they add it to our English cattle, not else knowing what names to give them.
* It appears from the author's vocabulary, that in the Indian Ianguage, the plural is formed by a dding og, ock, ug, or uck (the pronunciation of which is probably nearly the same) for the masculine; and ash, and sometimes og, &c. for the feminine. [See chap. iv.] Beside these syllables, we meet with a few instances of ana, and ick or chick. It must be noted, that between these terminations and the noun in the singular, one or more consonants vowels are frequently interposed.
Chap. xviii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 223
Anum ; a dog. Yet the variety of their dialects and proper speech, within thirty or forty miles of each other, is very great, as appears in that word : Anum, the Cowweset dialect ; Ayim, the Narroganset ; Arum, the Quunnipieuck ; Alum, the Neepmuck. So that although some pronounce not L nor R, yet it is the most proper dialect of other places, contrary to many reports.
Moos-soog ; the great ox, or rather red deer. Askug ; a snake. Moaskug; the black snake. Sesek ; the rattle snake.
Of the Sea.
WECHEKUM, or Kitthan ; the sea. Paumpagussit; the sea God, or that name which they give that deity or god-head, which they conceive to be in the sea.
Mishoon; an Indian boat, or canoe, made of pine, or oak, or chestnut tree. I have seen a native go into the woods with his hatchet, carrying only a basket of corn with him and stones to strike fire. When he had felled his tree, being a chestnut, he made a little house or shed of the bark of it; he puts fire, and follows the burning of it with fire, in the midst in many places. His corn he boils, and hath the brook, by him, and sometimes angles for a little fish. But so he continues burning and hewing, until he hath within ten or twelve days, lying there at his work alone, finished, and getting hands, launched his boat; with which afterwards he ventures out to fish in the ocean.
Mishittouwand ; a great canoe. Mishoonemese; a little canoe. Somer of them will not well carry above three or four; but some of them, twenty, thirty, forty men.
Sepakehig ; a sail. Their own reason hath taught them to pull off a coat or two, and set it up on a small pole, with which they will sail before the wind ten or twenty miles.
It is wonderful to see how they will venture in those canoes, and how, being oft overset, as I have myself been with them, they will swim a mile, yea two or more, safe to land. I having been necessitated to pass waters divers times with them, it hath pleased God to make them many times the instruments of my preservation : and when sometimes in great danger I have questioned safety, they have said to me, "Fear not; if we be overset, I will carry you safe to land."
I have known thirty or forty of their canoes filled with men; and near as many more of their enemies, in a sea fight.
Chap. xix. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 224
Of Fish and Fishing.
NAMAUS ; a fish. Pauganaut, tamwock ; cod ; which is the first that comes, a little before spring.
Quunnamaug-suck; lampries ; the first that come in the spring into fresh rivers.
Aumsuog, or Munnawhatteaug ; fish somewhat like herrings.
Missuckeke; the bass. The Indians, and the English too, make a dainty dish of the head of this fish ; and well they may, the brains and fat of it being very much, and sweet as marrow.
Kauposh ; the sturgeon. Divers parts of the country abound with this fish; yet the natives, for the goodness and greatness of it much prize it ; and will neither furnish the English with so many, nor so cheap, that any great trade is like to be made of it, until the English themselves are fit to follow the fishing. The natives venture out one or two in a canoe, and with an harping iron, or such like instrument, stick this fish, and so haul it into their canoe. Sometimes they take them by their nets, which they make strong of hemp.
They will set their nets thwart some little river or cove, wherein they kill bass at the fall of the water, with their arrows or sharp sticks, especially if headed with iron gotten from the English.
Wawwhunnekesuog ; mackerel. Mishquammauquock ; red fish, salmon. Osacontuck; a fat sweet fish, something like a haddock.
Mishcup, or Sequanamauk ; the bream. Of this fish there is abundance, which the natives dry in the sun and smoke; and some English begin to salt. Both ways they keep all the year; and it is hoped, they may be as well accepted as cod at market, and better, if once known.
Taut-auog ; sheeps-heads. Neeshauog, Sassammauquock, or Nquit-feconnauog ; eels. Tatackommauog ; porpoises.
Potop ; the whale. In some places whales are often cast up. I have seen some of them, but not above sixty feet long. The natives cut them in several parcels, and give and send them far and near, for an acceptable present or dish.
Ashaunt-teaug ; lobsters. Opponenauhock ; oysters.
Sickishuog; clams. This a sweet kind of shell fish, which all Indians generally over the country, winter and summer, delight in: and at low water, the women dig for them. This fish and the natural liquor of it they boil ; and it makes their broth and their Nasaump (which is a kind of thickened broth) and their bread seasonable and savoury, instead of salt. And for that the English swine dig and root these clams, wheresoever they come, and watch the low water, as the Indian women do; therefore of all the English cattle the swine, as also because of their filthy disposition, are most hateful to all natives ; and they call them filthy cut-throats.
Sequunnock ; the horse fish. Poquauhock : This the English call hens ; a little thick shell fish, which the Indians wade deep and dive for ; and after they have eaten the meat there, in those which are good, they break out of the shell, about half an inch of a black part of it, of
Chap. xx. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 225
which they make their Suckauhock, or black money, which is to them precious.
Meteauhock ; the periwinkle : Of which they make their Wompam, or white money, of half the value of their Suckauhock, or black money.
The natives take exceeding great pains in their fishing, especially in watching their seasons by night: so that frequently they lay their naked bodies many a cold night, on the cold shore, about a fire of two or three sticks ; and oft in the night search their nets ; and sometimes go in, and stay longer in frozen water.
Moamitteaug ; a little fish ; half as big as sprats, plentiful in winter.
Poponaumsuog ; a winter fish, which comes up in the brooks and rivulets : some call them frost fish, from their coming up from the sea into fresh brooks, in times of frost and snow.
Quunosuog; a fresh fish, for which the Indians break the ice in fresh ponds, when they also take many other sorts : for to my knowledge the country yields many sorts of other fish, which I mention not.
Of their Nakedness and Clothing.
THEY have a two-fold nakedness. First, ordinary and constant, when although they have a beast's skin, or an English mantle on, yet that covers ordinarily but their hinder parts, and all the foreparts from top to toe, except their secret parts covered with a little apron, are open and naked.
Their male children go stark naked, and have no apron, until they come to ten or twelve years of age : their female, they, in a modest blush cover with a little apron of an hand breadth, from their very birth.
Their second nakedness is, when their men often go abroad, and both men and women within doors, leave off their beast's skins or English doth, and so, excepting their little apron, are wholly naked. Yet but few of the women but will keep their skin or cloth, loose or near to them, ready to gather it up about them. Custom hath used their minds and bodies to it, and in such a freedom from any wantonness, that I have never seen that wantonness amongst them, as with grief I have heard of in Europe.
Acoh ; their deer skin. Tummockquashunck ; a beaver's coat. Nkequashunck ; an otter's coat. Mohewonck ; a rackoon skin coat. Natoquashunck ; a wolf skin coat. Mishannequashunck ; a squirrel skin coat. Neyhommauashunck ; a coat or mantle, curiously made of the fairest feathers of their Neyhommauog, or turkies, which commonly their old men make, and is with them as velvet with us.
Within their skin or coat they creep contentedly, by day or night, in house or in the woods, and sleep soundly, counting it a felicity, and indeed an earthly one it is, intra pelliculam quemque tenere suam.
Chap. xxi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 226
Autah, or Autawhun ; their apron. Caukoanash ; stockings. Mo-cussinash, or Mockussinchash ; shoes. Both these shoes and stockings they make of their deer skin worn out, which yet being excellently tanned by them, is excellent for to travel in wet and snow ; for it is so well tempered with oil, that the water clean wrings out ; and being hung up in their chimney, they presently dry without hurt, as myself have often proved.
Saunketippo, or Ashonaquo ; a hat, or cap.
Moose ; the skin of a great beast, as big as an ox ; some call it a red deer. They commonly paint these moose and deer skins, for their summer wearing, with variety of forms and colours.
Petouwassinug ; their tobacco bag ; which hangs at their neck, or sticks at their girdle, and is to them instead of an English pocket.
Our English clothes are so strange unto them, and their bodies so inured to endure the weather, that when some of them have had English clothes, in a shower of rain, I have seen them rather expose their skins to the wet than their clothes ; and therefore they pull them off, and keep them dry.
While they are amongst the English, they keep on the English apparel ; but pull off all, as soon as they come again into their own houses and company.
Of their Religion.
MANIT, or Manittoo ; God. He that questions whether God made the world, the Indians will teach him. I must acknowledge I have received in my converse with them many confirmations of those two great points, Heb. xi. 6. viz 1. That God is. 2. That he is a rewarder of all them that diligently seek him.
They will generally confess, that God made all : but then in special, although they deny not that Englishman's God made Englishmen, and the heavens and earth there ; yet their Gods made them, and the heaven and earth where they dwell.
I have heard a poor Indian lamenting the loss of a child, at break of day, call up his wife and children, and all about him to lamentation, and with abundance of tears cry out : "O God, thou hast taken away my child ! thou art angry with me. O turn thine anger from me, and spare the rest of my children."
If they receive any good in hunting, fishing, harvest, &c. they acknowledge God in it.
Yea, if it be but an ordinary accident, a fall, &c. they will say God was angry and did it.
But herein is their misery. First, they branch their godhead into many Gods. Secondly, attribute it to creatures.
First, many Gods. They have given me the names of thirty-seven, all which in their solemn worships they invocate.
Chap. xxi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 227
Cautantowwit ; the great south west God, to whose house all souls go, and from whom came their corn and beans, as they say.
Wompanand ; the eastern God. Chekesuwand ; the western God. Wunnanameanit ; the northern God. Sawwanand ; the southern God. Wetuomanit ; the house God Squauanit ; the woman's God. Muckquachuckquand ; the children's God.
I was once with a native, dying of a wound, given him by some murtherous English, who robbed him and run him through with a rapier, from whom in the heat of his wound, he at present escaped from them : but dying of his wound, they suffered death at New Plymouth, in New England : This native dying, called much upon Muckquachuckquand, which of other natives I understood, as they believed, had appeared to the dying young man many years before, and bid him, when he was in distress, call upon him.
Secondly, as they have many of these feigned Deities, so worship they the creatures, in whom they conceive doth rest some Deity : Keesuckquand ; the sun God. Nanepaushat ; the moon God. Paumpagussit ; the sea God. Yotaanit ; the fire God.
When I have argued with them about their fire God, "Can it, say they, be but this fire must be a God, or divine power, that out of a stone will arise in a spark, and when a poor naked Indian is ready to starve with cold in the house, and especially in the woods, often saves his life, doth dress all our food for us, and if it be angry, will burn the house about us, yea if a spark fall into the dry wood, burns up the country ?" (though this burning of wood to them they count a benefit, both for destroying vermin, and keeping down the weeds and thickets.)
Præsentem narrat quælibet herba Deum.
Besides there is a general custom amongst them, at the apprehension of any excellency in men, women, birds, beasts, fish, &c. to cry out, Manittoo, that is, it is a God : as thus, if they see one man excel others in wisdom, valour, strength, activity, &c. they cry out Manittoo ; a God. And therefore when they talk amongst themselves of the English ships and great buildings, of the ploughing of their fields, and especially of books and letters, they will end thus, Mannittoowock ; they are Gods : Cummanittoo : you are a God, &c. A strong conviction natural in the soul of man, that God is filling all things, and that all excellencies dwell in God, and proceed from him, and that they only are blessed who have that Jehovah for their portion.
Nickommo ; a feast, or dance. Of this feast they have publick and private, and that of two sorts.
First, in sickness, or drought, or war, or famine. Secondly, after harvest, after hunting, when they enjoy a calm of peace, health, plenty, prosperity ; then they have Nickommo, a feast, especially in winter.
Powwaw ; a priest. Powwauog ; priests. These do begin and order their service and invocation of their Gods, and all the people follow, and join interchangeably in a laborious bodily service, unto
Chap. xxi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 228
sweating, especially of the priest, who spends himself in strange antick gestures and actions, even unto fainting.
In sickness, the priest comes close to the sick person, and performs many strange actions about him, and threatens and conjures out the sickness. They conceive that there are many Gods, or divine powers within the body of a man ; in his pulse, his heart, his lungs, &c.
I confess to have most of these their customs by their own relation : for after being once in their houses, and beholding what their worship was, I never durst be an eye witness, spectator, or looker on, lest I should have been partaker of Satan's inventions and worships.
They have an exact form of king, priest, and prophet. Their kings or governours do govern : Their priests perform and manage their worship : Their wise and old men, of which number the priests are also, make solemn speeches and orations, or lectures, to them concerning religion, peace, or war, and all things.
He or she that maketh this Nickommo, feast or dance, besides the feasting, of sometimes twenty, fifty, an hundred, yea I have seen near a thousand persons at one of these feasts,—give a great quantity of money, and all sort of their goods, according to and sometimes beyond their estate, in several small parcels of goods, or money, to the value of eighteen pence, two shillings, or thereabouts, to one person ; and that person that receives this gift, upon the receiving it, goes out, and hollows thrice for the health and prosperity of the party that gave it, the master or mistress of the feast.
By this feasting and gifts the devil drives on their worships pleasantly (as he doth all false worships, by such plausible earthly arguments of uniformities, universalities, antiquities, immunities, dignities, rewards unto submitters, and the contrary to refusers) so that they run far and near and ask, Awaun Nickomnmit ; who makes a feast ?
They have a modest religious persuasion not to disturb any man either themselves, English, Dutch, or any in their conscience and worship.
Cowwewonck ; the soul; derived from Cowwene, to sleep, because, say they, it works and operates, when the body sleeps. Michachunck ; the soul, in a higher notion, which is of affinity with a word signifying a looking glass or clear resemblance : so that it hath its name from a clear sight or discerning, which indeed seems very well to suit with the nature of it.
They believe that the souls of men and women go to the south west; their great and good men and women to Cautantowwit's house, where they haye hopes, as the Turks have, of carnal joys. Murtherers, thieves, and liars, their souls, say they, wander restless abroad.
They relate how they have it from their fathers, that Cautantowwit made one man and woman of a stone, which disliking, he broke them in pieces, and made another man and woman of a tree, which were the fountains of all mankind.
They apprehending a vast difference of knowledge between the English and themselves, are very observant of the English lives. I have
Chap. xxii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 229
heard them say to an Englishman, who being hindered, broke a prom-ise to them, "You know God ; will you lie, Englishman ?"
After I had, as far as my language would reach, discoursed, upon a time, before the chief Sachim or prince of the country, with his arch priests and many others in a full assembly ; and being night, wearied with travel and discourse, I lay down to rest, before I slept, I heard this passage : A Quunnihticut Indian, who had heard our discourse, told the Sachim Miatunnomu, that souls went up to heaven or down to hell ; "for, saith he, our fathers have told us, that our souls go to the southwest."
The Sachim answered, "But how do you know yourself, that your souls go to the southwest ? Did you ever see a soul go thither ?"
The native replied : "When did he (naming myself) see a soul go to heaven or hell ?"
The Sachim again replied : "He hath books and writings, and one which God himself made concerning men's souls ; and therefore may well know more than we that have none, but take all upon trust from our forefathers."
The said Sachim, and the chief of his people, discoursed by themselves of keeping the Englishman's day of worship, which I could easily have brought the country to, but that I was persuaded and am, that God's way is first to turn a soul from its idols, both of heart, worship, and conversation, before it is capable of worship to the true and living God, according to 1. Thess. 1.9. as also, that the two first principles and foundations of true religion, or worship of the true God in Christ, are repentance from dead works, and faith towards God, before the doctrine of baptism or washing, and the laying on of hands, which contain the ordinances and practices of worship. Heb. vi. 2.
Of their Government and Justice.
THEIR government is monarchical : yet at present the chiefest government in the country is divided between a younger Sachim Miantunnomu, and an elder Sachim, Caunounicus, of about fourscore years old, this young man's uncle ; and their agreement in the government is remarkable. The old Sachim will not be offended at what the young Sachim doth ; and the young Sachim will not do what he conceives will displease his uncle.
Sachimmaacommock ; a prince's house ; which, according to their condition, is far different from the other houses, both in capacity, and also in the fineness and quality of their mats.
Beside their general subjection to the highest Sachims, to whom they carry presents, they have also particular protectors, Under-Sachims, to whom they also carry presents, and upon any injury received, and complaint made, these protectors will revenge it.
Chap. xxiii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 230
The Sachims, although they have an absolute monarchy over the people, yet they will not conclude of ought that concerns all, either laws, or subsidies, or wars, unto which the people are averse, and by gentle persuasion cannot be brought.
I could never discern that excess of scandalous sins amongst them, which Europe aboundeth with. Drunkenness and gluttony, generally they know not what sins they be. And although they have not so much to restrain them, both in respect of knowledge of God and laws of men, as the English have, yet a man shall never hear of such crimes amongst them, of robberies, murders, adulteries, &c. as amongst the English.
The most usual custom amongst them in executing punishments, is for the Sachim either to beat, or whip, or put to death with his own hand, to which the common sort most quietly submit : though sometimes the Sachim sends a secret executioner, one of his chiefest warriors, to fetch off a head, by some unexpected blow of a hatchet, when they have feared a mutiny by a publick execution.
SINGLE fornication they count no sin ; but after marriage, which they solemnize by consent of parents and publick approbation, publickly, they count it heinous for either of them to be false.
In case a man or woman commit adultery, the wronged party may put away or keep the party offending. Commonly, if the woman be false, the offended husband will be solemnly revenged upon the offender, before many witnesses, by many blows and wounds ; and if it be to death, yet the guilty resists not, nor is his death revenged.
Their number of wives is not stinted ; yet the chief nation in the country, the Narrogansets, generally have but one wife.
Two causes they generally allege for their many wives.
First, desire of riches ; because the women bring in all the increase of the field, &c. the husband only fisheth, hunteth, &c.
Secondly, their long sequestering themselves from their wives after conception, until the child be weaned, which with some is long after a year old : generally, they keep their children long at the breast.
The husband gives from five to ten fathom of their money for his wife, to the father, or mother, or guardian of the maid. If the man be poor, his friends and neighbours contribute money toward the dowry.
The women commonly abound with children, and increase mightily ; except the plague fall amongst them, or other lesser sicknesses, and then having no means of recovery, they perish wonderfully.
It hath pleased God in a wonderful manner, to moderate that curse of the sorrows of child-bearing to these poor Indian women : So that ordinarily they have a wonderful more speedy and easy travail and
Chap. xxiv. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 231
delivery than the women of Europe. This follows, first, from the hardiness of their constitution, in which respect they bear their sorrows the easier. Secondly, from their extraordinary great labour, even above the labour of men, as in the field, they sustain the labour of it, in carrying mighty burdens, in digging clams and getting other shell-fish from the sea, in beating all their corn in mortars, &c. Most of them count it a shame for a woman in travail to make complaint, and many of them are scarcely heard to groan. I have often known, in one quarter of an hour, a woman merry in the house, and delivered and merry again ; and within two days abroad ; and after four or five days, at work.
The men put away frequently for other occasions beside adultery ; yet I know many couples, that have lived twenty, thirty, forty years together.
Of their Coin.
THE Indians are ignorant of Europe's coin ; yet they have given a name to ours, and call it Moneash, from the English money.
Their own is of two sorts ; one white, which they make of the stem or stock of the periwinkle, when all the shell is broken off : and of this sort six of their small beads, which they make with holes to string the bracelets, are current with the English for a penny.
The second is black, inclining to blue, which is made of the shell of a fish which some English call hens, Poquauhock : and of this sort three make an English penny :
They that live upon the sea side, generally make of it, and as many make as will.
The Indians bring down all their sorts of furs, which they take in the country, both to the Indians and to the English, for this Indian money. This money the English, French, and Dutch trade to the Indians, six hundred miles in several parts, north and south from New-England, for their furs, and whatsoever they stand in need of from them, as corn, venison, &c.
One fathom of this their stringed money is worth five shillings.
Their white money they call Wompam, which signifies white ; their black, Suckauhock, Sucki signifying black.
Both amongst themselves, as also the English and Dutch, the black penny is two pence white ; the black fathom, double, or two fathoms of white.
Before they had awl blades from Europe, they made shift to bore their shell money with stone. They also felled their trees with stone set in a wooden staff, and used wooden hoes, which some old and poor women, fearing to leave the old tradition, use to this day.
They hang strings of money about their necks and wrists as also upon the necks and wrists of their wives and children
Chap. xxv. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 232
They also curiously make girdles, of one, two, three, four, and five inches thickness, and more of this money ; which sometimes to the value often pounds and more, they wear about their middle, and as a scarf about their shoulders and breasts.
Yea the princes make rich caps and aprons, or small breeches, of these beads, thus curiously strung into many forms and figures : their black and white finely mixed together.
Of Buying and Selling.
AMONGST themselves they trade their corn, skins, coats, venison, fish. &c. and sometimes come ten or twenty in a company to trade amongst the English.
They have some who follow only making bows ; some, arrows ; some, dishes ; and the women make all their earthen vessels : some follow fishing ; some, hunting : most on the sea side make money, and store up shells in summer against winter, whereof to make their money.
They all generally prize a mantle of English or Dutch cloth before their own wearing of skins and furs ; because they are warm enough and lighter.
Cloth inclining to white they like not, but desire to have a sad colour, without any whitish hairs, suiting with their own natural temper, which inclines to sadness.
They have great difference of their coin, as the English have : some that will not pass without allowance ; and some again, made of a counterfeit shell ; and their very black counterfeited by a stone and other materials : yet I never saw any of them much deceived ; for their danger of being deceived makes them cautious.
Whoever deals or trades with them, had need of wisdom, patience, and faithfulness in dealing ; for they frequently say, "You lie : you deceive me."
They are marvellous subtle in their bargains to save a penny, and very suspicious that Englishmen labour to deceive them : therefore they will beat all markets, and try all places, and run twenty, thirty, yea forty miles and more, and lodge in the woods, to save six pence.
They will often confess for their own ends, that the English are richer, and wiser, and valianter than themselves ; yet it is for their own ends, and theieibre they add, Nanoue ; give me this or that ; a disease which they are generally infected with : some more ingenuous scorn it ; but I have seen an Indian, with greet quantities of money about him, beg a knife of an Englishman, who haply hath had never a penny of money.
Chap. xxvi. xxvii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 233
Of Debts and Trusting.
THEY are very desirous to come into debt; but then he that trusts them, must sustain a twofold loss : First, of his commodity : Secondly, of his custom, as I have found by dear experience. Some are ingenuous, plain hearted, and honest; but the most never pay, unless a man follow them to their several abodes, towns, and houses, as I myself have been forced to do.
It is a common, and, as they think, most satisfying answer, that they have been sick : for in those times they give largely to the priests, who then sometimes heal them by conjurations ; and also they keep open house, for all to come to help to pray with them, unto whom also they give money.
Of their Hunting.
WE shall not name over the several sorts of beasts, which we named in the chapter on beasts.
The natives hunt two ways.
First, when they pursue their game, especially deer, which is the general and wonderful plenteous hunting in the country,—they pursue in twenty, forty, fifty, yea two or three hundred in a company, as I have seen, when they drive the woods before them.
Secondly, they hunt by traps of several sorts. To which purpose, after they have observed, in spring time and summer, the haunt of the deer, then about harvest, they go ten or twenty together, and sometimes more, and withal, if it be not too far, wives and children also, where they build up little hunting houses of barks and rushes, not comparable to their dwelling houses ; and so each man takes his bounds of two, three, or four miles, where he sets thirty, forty, or fifty traps, and baits his traps with that food the deer loves; and once in two days, he walks his round, to view his traps.
They are very tender of their traps, where they lie, and what comes at them; for they say the deer, whom they conceive have a divine power in them, will soon smell and be gone.
When a deer is caught by the leg in the trap, sometimes there it lies a day together, before the Indian come, and so lies a prey to the ranging wolf, and other wild beasts, most commonly the wolf, who seizeth upon the deer, and robs the Indian, at his first devouring, of near half his prey ; and if the Indian come not the sooner, he makes a second greedy meal, and leaves him nothing but the bones and the torn deer skins, especially if he call some of his greedy companions to his bloody banquet.
Upon this the Indian makes a falling trap, with a great weight of stones; and so sometimes knocks the wolf on the head, with a gainful revenge, especially if it be a black wolf, whose skins they greatly prize.
Chap. xxviii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 234
Pumpom; a tribute skin ; when a deer, hunted by the Indians or wolves, is killed in the water. This skin is carried to the Sachim, within whose territory the deer was slain.
Of their Gaming.
THEIR games are of two sorts, private and publick. Private, and sometimes publick,—a game like unto the English cards ; yet, instead of cards, they play with strong rushes.
Secondly, they have a kind of dice, which are plumstones painted, which they cast in a tray with a mighty noise and sweating.
Their publick games are solemnized with the meeting of hundreds, sometimes thousands, and consist of many vanities, none of which I durst ever be present at, that I might not countenance and partake of their folly, after I once saw the evil of them.
Ntakesemin; I am telling, or counting ; for their play is a kind of arithmetick.
The chief gamesters amongst them much desire to make their Gods side with them in their games: therefore I have seen them keep as a precious stone a piece of thunderbolt, which is like unto a crystal, which they dig out of the ground, under some tree thundersmitten ; and from this stone they have an opinion of success; and I have not heard any of these prove losers; which I conceive may be Satan's policy, and God's holy justice, to harden them, for their not rising higher from the thunderbolt, to the God that sends or shoots it.
Puttuckquapuonck ; a playing arbour. This arbour, or play-house, is made of long poles set in the earth, four square, sixteen or twenty feet high, on which they hang great store of their stringed money, have great stakings town against town, and two chosen out of the rest by course to play the game at this kind of dice, in the midst of all their abettors, with great shouting and solemnity. Beside, they have great meetings of foot-ball playing, only in summer, town against town, upon some broad sandy shore, free from stones, or upon some soft heathy plot, because of their naked feet, at which they have great stakings, but seldom quarrel.
In their gamings, they will sometimes stake and lose their money, clothes, house, corn, and themselves, if single persons. They then become weary of their lives, and ready to make away themselves, like many an Englishman.
Keesaquunnamun ; another kind of solemn publick meeting, wherein they lie under the trees, in a kind of religious observation, and have a mixture of devotions and sports.
But their chiefest idol of all for sport and game, is, if their land be at peace, toward harvest, when they set up a long house, called Quunnekamuck, which signifies long house, sometimes an hundred, sometimes two hundred feet long, upon a plain near the court, where ma-
Chap. xxix. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 235
ny thousands, men and women, meet; where he that goes in, danceth in the sight of all the rest; and is prepared with money, coats, small breeches, knives, or what he is able to reach to, and gives these things away to the poor, who yet must particularly beg and say, Cowequetummous ; that is, I beseech you : which word, although there is not one common beggar amongst them, yet they will often use, when their richest amongst them would fain obtain ought by gift.
Of their War.
AQUENE; peace. Chepewess, or Mishittashin; a northern storm of war, as they wittily speak.
Juhetteke ; Jight ; which is the word of encouragement they use, when they animate each other in war; for they use their tongues instead of drums and trumpets.
Nummeshannantum, or Nummayaontam : I scorn, or take it in indignation. This is a common word, not only in war, but in peace also, their spirits in naked bodies being as high and proud as men more gallant; from which sparks of the lusts of pride and passion begin the flame of their wars.
Shottash ; shot ; a made word from us, though their guns they have from the French, and often sell many a score to the English, when they are a little out of frame or kelter.
I once travelled in a place conceived dangerous, with a great prince and his queen and children in a company, with a guard of near two hundred. Twenty or thirty fires were made every night for the guard, the prince and queen in the midst, and sentinels by course, as exact as in Europe: and when we travelled through a place where ambushes were suspected to lie, a special guard, like unto a life guard, compassed, some nearer, some farther off, the king and queen, myself, and some English with me.
They are very copious and pathetical in orations to the people, to kindle a flame of wrath, valour, or revenge, from all the common places which commanders use to insist on.
The mocking between their great ones is a great kindling of wars amongst them : Yet I have known some of their chiefs say, "What should I hazard the lives of my precious subjects, them and theirs, to kindle a fire which no man knows how far and how long it will burn, for the barking of a dog ?"
Their wars are far less bloody and devouring than the cruel wars of Europe, and seldom twenty slain in a pitched battle; partly because when they fight in a wood, every tree is a buckler. When they fight in a plain, they fight with leaping and dancing, that seldom an arrow hits; and when a man is wounded, unless he that shot follows upon the wounded, they soon retire and save the wounded: And yet, having no swords nor guns, all that are slain, are commonly slain with
Chap. xxx. xxxi. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 236
great valour and courage ; for the conqueror ventures into the thickest, and brings away the head of his enemy.
Of their Paintings.
THEY paint their garments. The men paint their faces in war, and sometimes for pride. The women paint their faces with all sorts of colours.
Wompi; white. Mowi, or Sucki; black. Msqui ; red. Wesaui ; yellow Askaski; green. Peshaui; blue.
Wunnam; their red painting; which they most delight in ; and is both the bark of pine, and also a red earth.
Mishquock; red earth. Metewis ; black earth. From this Metewis is an Indian town, a day and an half's journey or less, west from the Massachusetts, called Metewemesick.
Wussuckhosu ; a painted coat.
WHEN they are sick, their misery appears, that they have not, but what sometimes they get from the English, a raisin or currant, or any physick, fruit, or spice, or any comfort more than their corn and water, &c. In which bleeding case, wanting all means of recovery or present refreshing, I have been constrained, to and beyond my power, to refresh them, and to save many of them from death, who I am confident perish many millions of them, in that mighty continent, for want of means.
Their only drink in all their extremities is a little boiled water.
All their refreshing in their sickness is the visit of friends and neighbours, a poor empty visit and presence : and yet indeed this is very solemn, unless it be in infectious diseases, and then all forsake them and fly ; that I have seen a poor house left alone in the wild woods, all being fled, the living not able to bury the dead. So terrible is the apprehension of an infectious disease, that not only persons, but the houses and the whole town, take flight. Were it not that they live in sweet air, and remove persons and houses from the infected, in ordinary course of subordinate causes, would few or any be left alive.
Pesuponck ; a hot house. This hot house is a kind of little cell or cave, six or eight feet over, round, made on the side of a hill, commonly by some rivulet or brook. Into this frequently the men enter, after they have exceedingly heated it with store of wood, laid upon a heap of stones in the middle. When they ave taken out the fire, the stones keep still a great heat. Ten, twelve, twenty, more or less, enter
Chap. xxxii. Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 237
at once stark naked, leaving their coats, small breeches or aprons, at the door, with one to keep all. Here do they sit round these hot stones an hour or more, taking tobacco, discoursing, and sweating together. Which sweating they use for two ends : First, to cleanse their skin: Secondly, to purge their bodies; which doubtless is a great means of preserving them, and recovering them from diseases, especially from the French disease, which by sweating and some potions, they perfectly and speedily cure. When they come forth, which is matter of admiration, I have seen them run, summer and winter, into the brooks to cool them, without the least hurt.
Their priests and conjurers do bewitch the people, and not only take their money, but do most certainly, by the help of the Devil, work great cures ; though most certain it is, that the greatest part of their priests do merely abuse them, and get their money, in the time of their sickness, and to my knowledge long or sick times : and to that end the poor people store up money, and spend both money and goods on the Powwaws, or priests. In these times the poor people commonly die under their hands; for alas, they administer nothing but howl and roar, and hollow over them, and begin the song to the rest of the people about them, who all join like a quire, in prayer to their Gods for them.
Of Death and Burial.
SEQUUTTOI; he is in black ; that is, he hath some dead in his house, whether wife, or child, &c. for although at the first being sick, all the women and maids black their faces with soot, Sequut, and other blackings ; yet upon the death of the sick, the father, or husband, and all his neighbours, the men also, as the English wear black mourning clothes, wear black faces, and lay on soot very thick, which I have often seen clotted with their tears. This blacking and lamenting they observe in a most doleful manner, divers weeks and months, yea a year, if the person be great and publick.
As they abound in lamentations for the dead, so they abound in consolation to the living, and visit them frequently, using this word Kutchimmoke, Kutchimmoke, Kutchimmoke ; be of good cheer ; which they express by stroking the cheek and head of the father or mother, husband or wife of the dead.
Chepasotam; the dead Sachim. Mauchauhom ; the dead man. Mauchauhomwock, or Chepeck ; the dead. Chepasquaw; the dead woman. Yo apapan ; he that was here. Sachimaupan ; he that was prince here. These expressions they use, because they abhor to mention the dead by name : and therefore, if any man bear the name of the
Key into the Language of the Indians of New England. 238
dead, he changeth his name ; and if any stranger accidentally name him, he is checked ; and if any wilfully name him he is fined : and amongst states, the naming of their dead Sachims is one ground of their wars.*
Mockuttasuit ; one of chief esteem, who winds up in mats and coats, and buries the dead. Commonly some wise, grave, and well descended man hath that office.
When they come to the grave, they lay the dead by the grave's mouth, and then all sit down and lament ; that I have seen tears run down the cheeks of stoutest captains, as well as little children, in abundance. And after the dead is laid in the grave, and sometimes, in some parts, some goods cast in with them, they have then a second great lamentation. And upon the grave is spread the mat that the party died on, the dish he eat in ; and sometimes a fair coat of skin hung upon the next tree to the grave, which none will touch, but suffer it there to rot with the dead. Yea I saw with mine own eyes, that at my late coming forth of the country, the chief and most aged peaceable father of the country, Caunounicus, having buried his son, he burned his own palace, and all his goods in it, amongst them, to a great value, in a solemn remembrance of his son, and in a kind of humble expiation to the Gods, who, as they believe, had taken his son from him.[The index was printed here. It has been moved to the start of Williams's section.]
* See Macy's Account of Nantucket, page 159.
Plantations on Sebago Pond. 239
[The following Description is taken from a Portland newspaper.]
A Topographical Description of the Plantations W. N. and N. E. of Sebago Pond, in the County of Cumberland ; the easterly extremity of Sebago being about eighteen miles from Portland.THE principal stream which feeds this large pond, is Songo river, one branch of which takes its rise in the northerly part of the plantation called Greenland, within about three miles of Amoriscog-gin river, where is a pond two miles in length, called Songo pond: from thence the stream takes its course southward, and passing through Greenland, the easterly part of Waterford, and the westerly part of Otisfield, falls into the north-easterly part of Sebago in Raymondton. This stream is so free from rapids, that timber may be brought down without any inconvenience, from within a few miles of the head, which is at least seventy miles in its course:—and the adjacent country abounds with excellent timber.
The other branch of this river takes its rise in the west part of Waterford and Suncook, and making its way S. and S. E. passes a number of small ponds, and falls into the Long Pond (so called) lying mostly in Bridgton. This pond is ten miles in length, and about three quarters of a mile wide : its direction is nearly N. W. and S. E. On each side of this pond are large swells of excellent land, with a gradual descent to the margin of the pond, and affords a most beautiful and romantick prospect. From thence the stream continues its course S. E. running through Brandy pond, in the south-westerly part of Otis-field, is nearly round, and about a mile and a half across it. It then unites with the other branch of Songo in Raymondton, about three miles from Sebago. This branch is passable with boats, to the head of which, from the lower end of Sebago, is twenty-five miles.
There are other streams of less note, which empty into this great pond, as Panther river in Raymondton, and North-West and Muddy-rivers in Flintston, all which, by reason of rapids, are incapable of affording any advantage by water carriage.
The land in Raymondton is generally level, except one large hill known by the name of Rattle-snake hill, noted for the abundance of these reptiles. There are some swells of good land, but the greater part of the growth pine and white oak, and hard to subdue.
245 Plantations on Sebago Pond.
Otisfield is very free from ragged hills and mountains : the greatest part of the town affords a growth of beech, maple, ash, bass, and birch, and is good land.
Bridgton consists of large hills and vallies : the high land affords the largest growth of red oak, which often grow to three, and sometimes to four feet diameter, and sixty or seventy feet without any branches: the vallies are covered with rock-maple, bass, ash, birch, pine, and hemlock.
Flintston has one large eminence in it, called Saddle-back mountain, but the town in general is level enough for cultivation. About one half of the town has a growth of pine and white oak : the land requires much cultivation before it will produce, but I think in many instances, time will shew to a future generation, good old farms in Flintston.
Waterford is more uneven than any plantation I have mentioned. Its growth is a mixture of all kinds; but what is called the good land, is covered with maple, beech, birch, and oak. The inhabitants of this plantation have exceeded all their neighbours in raising winter rye.
Orangeton, or Greenland, lies north-west of Waterford, and is so mountainous, as to render it very difficult to effect passable roads through it. These mountains afford some mighty precipices—I believe some of them are two hundred feet perpendicular. The vallies, in many places on the steep sides of the mountains, are fertile, and in some instances afford wild onions, which resemble cultivated onions. The principal produce of the plantation is winter rye, which on an average has amounted to twenty bushels per acre. This country formerly abounded with various kinds of game, as moose, deer, bears, beaver, rackoon, sable, &c. but since the country has been inhabited, game has become scarce : Deer are extirpated from the vicinity. Some moose remain among the mountains, and a few beaver, that are too sagacious to be taken by the most crafty hunter. Since the deer are destroyed, the wolves have wholly left these plantations.
There is a curiosity to be seen in the Long Pond, in Bridgton. On the easterly side of the pond, about midway, is a cove, which extends about one hundred rods farther east than the general course of the shore ; the bottom is clay; and the water so shoal, that a man may wade fifty rods into the pond. On the bottom of this cove, are stones of various sizes, which it is evident, from visible circumstances, have an annual motion towards the shore : the proof of this is the mark or track left behind them, and the bodies of clay driven up before them—some of these are perhaps two or three tons weight, and have left a tract several rods behind them ; having at least a common cart-load of clay before them. These stones are many of them covered with water at all seasons of the year. The shore of this cove is lined with these stones three feet deep, which it should seem have crawled out of the water. This may afford matter of speculation to the natural philosopher.
Description of Boston. 241
A Topographical and Historical Description of Boston, 1794.
By the Author of the Historical Journal of the American War.
The reader is informed, that in the year 1784, a Geographical Gazetteer of the towns in the commonwealth of Massachusetts was begun in the Boston Magazine ; but it extended to a description of a few towns only.
In the monthly publications of the Historical Society, topographical accounts of other towns are carried on, and will be continued. Their Collections will be a repository of all communications relative to this subject. It is wished that accurate descriptive accounts, embracing all the towns in the commonwealth, might be forwarded, to be published in these Collections, that a complete Gazetteer of Massachusetts state may be formed from it.
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is the object of the following pages. The writer has taken the liberty, briefly to recite from the Gazetteer of 1784 some articles respecting the capital, and added the principal alterations that have taken place since.
A more comprehensive view is here given of the buildings, particularly the churches ; also an account of the Islands in the harbour, &c. interspersed with observations and historical anecdotes of events connected with the articles described.
October, 1794. T. P.
THE capital of the commonwealth of Massachusetts is Boston, in the county of Suffolk, in New England, the shire town of the county. It lies in latitude 42° 22' 30" N. and longitude 71° 4' 30" W. of Greenwich observatory, which is 0° 5' 37'' E. of London. It is built upon a peninsula, of an irregular form, at the bottom of a large bay, called Massachusetts, and was founded in the year 1630. From the accounts handed down, is collected the following particulars of its
Settlement.] Governour John Winthrop and some persons, who arrived with him from England at Naumkeag (the Indian name of Salem) on the 12th of June, 1630, not liking that plantation for the capital of the country they came to settle, sought another, and travelled till they came to Mishawum, now Charlestown. The diseases that prevailed among them, at their first coming, carried off a considerable number of their company; which they imputed in part to the water they used in Charlestown, not having yet discovered any other than a brackish spring ; (it has since been found to abound with good wholesome water.)
This caused these adventurers to seek still further for a permanent residence, and being informed by a Mr. Blaxton (said to be the first Englishman who had slept upon the peninsula, and who resided at that part of West Boston now called Barton's point) that there was excellent water in the peninsula, the south side of Charles river, opposite to
* The county of Suffolk (so named from the county in which Governour Winthrop lived in England) contained in the year 1791, twenty-three towns, six thousand three hundred and thirty-five houses, eight thousand and thirty-eight families, forty-four thousand eight hundred and seventy-five inhabitants, ?11 freemen, as by the census. In the year 1793, the county was divided. Norfolk, the new county, took into it all the towns excepting Boston and Chelsea. Since which Hingham and Hull are re-annexed to Suffolk county. In Norfolk county the first Supreme Judicial Court was opened at Dedham, the 19th of August, 1794.