Century Mass. literature,
posted August 2004, revised Aug 2006
History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts
edited by Simeon L. Deyo.
1890. New York: H. W. Blake & Co
LITERATURE AND LITERARY PEOPLE.
By Hon. Charles F. Swift, President of the Barnstable County Historical Society.
Early Writers.—Freeman's History of Cape Cod.—Other Local Works.—Poetry.—Fiction.—Occasional Writers.—The Newspapers of Barnstable County.
THE intelligence and capacity of the people of the Cape have not, heretofore, been evinced so much in what they have said, as in what they have dared and accomplished. The founders of her towns were not usually men of literary taste or acquirements, except her clergy, who ranked well with those of their class in other parts of the colony. It was some time after they had settled the towns, subdued the wild face of nature, and helped to conquer the savage foe, before they turned their attention to scholarship. Then it was that the fisheries on their shores helped to found and maintain the first public grammar school established by the colony. It was, indeed, the chief reliance of that enterprise.
The first of their written compositions which are extant are in the form of sermons, and of these it may be said, that their style was as rugged and forbidding to our present taste, as were the ideas they were intended to convey. In hours of deep affliction the fathers sometimes essayed to woo the muses. The earliest specimen of elegaic verse preserved, is found in the lines composed on the death of his accomplished wife, by Governor Thomas Hinckley, of which production Mr. Palfrey says, "It breathes not, indeed, the most tuneful spirit of song, but the very tenderest soul of affection."
Dr. John Osborn, born in Sandwich in 1713, a son of Rev. Samuel Osborn, minister for some time of the south precinct of Eastham, wrote a Whaling Song, which has obtained celebrity. It is quite an advance, in literary finish, upon anything preceding it which had been produced by a Cape Cod writer. The opening lines are:
"When spring returns with western gales,
And gentle breezes sweep
The ruffling seas, we spread our sails,
To plough the wat'ry deep."
Then follow seventeen stanzas, which describe, in spirited style, the pursuit, killing and capture of the monsters of the deep.
Rev. Thomas Prince, the distinguished author of New England's Annals and Chronology, a native of Sandwich and a grandson of Governor Hinckley, produced a work of exceeding value. In the opinion of Doctor Chauncy, "No one in New England had more learning except Cotton Mather." He published other works, though the Annals is esteemed the most important.
James Otis, jr., called "the patriot," besides being a peerless orator, was the author of several important political treatises, among which may be mentioned his Rights of the Colonies Vindicated, which was styled "a masterpiece of good writing and argument."
Rev. Dr. Samuel West, a native of Yarmouth, for some time a schoolmaster in Barnstable and Falmouth, was removed for his metaphysical and controversial talents, as well as for his great learning and profound scholarship. "He was," said Dr. Timothy Alden, jr., "as remarkable for his mental powers, as Dr. Samuel Johnson, the great biographer and moralist. He was supposed to have much resembled him in personal appearance, and with the same literary advantages, would unquestionably have equalled him for reputation in the learned world." He wrote several important tracts during the revolutionary period.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Alden, jr., a native of Yarmouth and president of Alleghany College, Meadville, Pa., about the middle of the century published the Collection of American Epitaphs, in four volumes, a book which contained a fund of interesting and valuable information. Rev. James Freeman, D.D., minister of the Stone Chapel, Boston, a native of Truro, contributed, soon after this time, a series of most important papers relating to the history of the towns of the county and published in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. These papers are still quoted and relied upon as authority on the subjects to which they are devoted.
With such a record for enterprise, adventure, patriotism and identification with the great movements of the age as the Cape presents, it would be strange if there were not others of her sons who should attempt to do her honor, or at least justice. In 1858, Rev. Frederick Freeman, of Sandwich, commenced the publication of a History of Cape Cod. The book was finally completed, in two large volumes, and to all time must be the foundation upon which other works of the kind will be based. The difficulties in Mr. Freeman's way were numerous; he had to begin without any considerable previous aid; he was justly emulous of the fame of his illustrious ancestors; and being himself a minister of the church of England, it seemed to some that he did tardy and stinted justice to the Pilgrim and Puritan
elements. Some of the important epochs were not written up with the fullness and elaboration of the others. But despite these drawbacks Mr. Freeman's book will always be quoted, as the first filial attempt of any Cape Cod man to do appropriate honor to the memory of the pioneers and their successors, and as such should be held in high estimation.
Rev. Enoch Pratt, in 1842, published his history of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans. There is much in it which is interesting, unique and worthy of preservation. Mr. Shebnah Rich, in his Truro, Cape Cod, has embodied in an original form, and attractive rhetoric, a mass of important information respecting one of the most interesting towns of the Old Colony. In 1861, Mr. Amos Otis commenced a series of articles in the Barnstable Patriot, respecting the history of the Barnstable Families. Nothing has yet been published which evinces so familiar an acquaintance with the habits, manners, motives and impelling principles of the pioneers of the town as these sketches, by one of their descendants. They will always be referred to as authority on the points which they discuss, and be regarded as a monument to the intelligence, zeal and industry of their author. In 1884, Charles F. Swift published a history of Old Yarmouth, including the towns of Yarmouth and Dennis; in one volume, 283 pages. Mr. Swift has also published a Fourth of July oration, 1858, a continuation of Barnstable Families, several occasional addresses, and contributions to magazines and newspapers, principally on biographical and historical subjects. The sketches of the History of Falmouth up to 1812, by the late Charles W. Jenkins, were issued in a collected form by the Falmouth Local press in 1889. They were written before so much was known as has since transpired about the early history of the town, and the book is a filial and creditable work. Mr. Josiah Paine of Harwich, who contributes to this work the chapters on the history of Harwich and Brewster, has written with intelligence and discrimination, other important historical papers, for the newspapers and magazines, and has a manuscript collection of great value regarding old Harwich and its people. Mr. Joshua H. Paine, his brother, has also written an exhaustive unpublished account of the War of 1812 in its relation to Harwich. His contribution on that topic to the present volume appears at page 76.
In other departments of literary effort the natives of the Cape have somewhat distinguished themselves. The early bards of the county have already been alluded to. Several others remain to be noticed. Daniel Barker Ford, son of Dr. Oliver Ford of Hyannis, who was an apprentice in the Yarmouth Register office about 1842-4, evinced much poetic and rhetorical talent. His best known piece, "A Lay of Cape Cod," 'was modeled in style and treatment from Whittier's Lays of
Labor, and was a most spirited and stirring production. A few of inspiring lines are quoted :
"Hurrah ! for old Cape Cod,
With its sandy hills and low,
Where the waves of ocean thunder,
And the winds of heaven blow;
Where through summer and through winter,
Through sunshine and thro' rain,
The hardy Cape man plies his task
Upon the heaving main.
* * * * * *
"Hurrah ! for the maids and matrons
That grace our sandy home,
As gentle as the summer breeze,
As fair as ocean's foam ;
Whose glances fall upon the heart,
Like sunlight on the waters ;
Who're brighter in the festal hall
Than France's brightest daughters."
Dr. Thomas N. Stone of Wellfleet, published in 1869, a volume entitled Cape Cod Rhymes. He possessed the true poetic temperate was witty, pathetic, and alive to the sights and scenes of nature around him. He also wrote and delivered felicitous occasional orations and addresses. Asa S. Phinney, also a printer in the office of the Yarmouth Register, in 1845 collected and issued a little pamphlet, Accepted Addresses, etc. There were twenty-four pieces in all, some of which evinced considerable poetic ability. Mr. Phinney was also a frequent and welcome contributor to the Cape newspapers.
Mrs. Francis E. Swift of Falmouth, has written for several years for the current magazines and newspapers, under the nom de plume "Fanny Fales." She published, in 1853, Voices of the Heart, and has a large number of superior compositions not yet in a collected form. Mrs. Swift is not only an easy and graceful versifier, but has show a higher poetic fancy and a deeper insight into the emotions and feelings of the human heart. We present a single specimen in her reflections upon Longfellow's line " Into each Life some Rain must fall."
"If this were all, O if this were all,
That 'Into each life some rain must fall'—
There were fainter sobs in the Poet's rhyme,
There were fewer wrecks on the shores of time.
"But tempests of woe pass over the soul,
Fierce winds of anguish we cannot control;
And shock after shock we are called to bear,
Till the lips are white with the heart's despair.
"O, the shores of time with wrecks are strown,
Unto the ear comes ever a moan,
Wrecks of hopes that sail with glee,
Wrecks of loves sinking silently !
"Many are hidden from mortal eye,
Only God knoweth how deep they lie ;
Only God heard when the cry went up ;
'Help me ! take from me this bitter cup!'
" 'Into each life some rain must fall'—
If this were all, O, if this were all!
Yet there is a Refuge from storm and blast,
We may hide in the Rock till the woe is past.
''Be strong ! be strong ! to my heart I cry,
A pearl in the wounded shell doth lie :
Days of sunshine are given to all,
Though 'Into each life some rain must fall.'"
Prof. Alonzo Tripp, a native of Harwich, wrote in 1853 a book of European travels entitled Crests from the Ocean World, which had a sale of 60,000 copies. Afterward he wrote a local novel, entitled The Fisher Boy, which had a large sale, and many appreciative readers. He has since delivered lectures on European events, in almost every considerable place in the country, which have attracted audiences of culture and discrimination. He has now in press a series of Historical Portraitures, which will take high rank in the contemporaneous literature of the country.
In fictitious narrative, Rev. N. H. Chamberlain, a native of Sandwich, has published, Autobiography of a New England Farm House, the scenes of which are laid in that part of Sandwich now Bourne. It is a reproduction, in agreeable and picturesque style, of many local incidents and traditions. He has also written The Sphinx of Aubery Parish and a book entitled Samuel Sewell and The World he Lived in, several polemic church pamphlets, book notices, lectures and historical discourses. At page 8 of this volume is a fragment revealing at once his keen appreciation of the Cape character and his happy style as a descriptive writer.
Some thirty years ago, Captain Benjamin F. Bourne, who had been a prisoner in Southern South America, wrote and published a book entitled, The Captive in Patagonia. It was a volume of thrilling interest and had an enormous sale. Even at this day it is frequently called for at the book-stores, and is read with as much interest as when fresh from the press.
Charles F. Chamberlayne, Esq., of Bourne, has edited a law book entitled, Best's Principles of the Law, of Evidence, which under the name of C/iamberlayne's Best, has been adopted as the standard authority in most of the law schools of the country.
Sylvester Baxter, a native of Yarmouth, has been for many years one of the staff writers of the Boston Herald. In 1883 and 1884 he went to Mexico, as editor of The Financier of that city, and also correspondent of the Herald. He has contributed considerably for the
magazines in the way of essays, poetry, sketches of travel and short stories, and although his writings have not been collected, some of them have appeared in pamphlet form; among them an illustrated description of the Morse Collection of Japanese Pottery, and Berlin; a Study of German Municipal Government; both of them published by the Essex Institute, Salem. Here is one of Mr. Baxter's short poems, from the Atlantic Monthly of October, 1875, entitled " October Days " :
"The maples in the forest glow,
And on the lawn the fall-flowers blaze,
The mild air has a purple haze;
My heart is filled with warmth and glow.
''Like living coals the red leaves burn;
They fall—then turns the red to rust;
They crumble, like the coals, to dust.
"Warm heart, must thou to ashes burn?"
It only remains to remark that the paternal parent of John Howard Payne, the author of "Home, Sweet Home," was of Cape Cod origin, and that Harvey Birch, the prototype of Cooper's "Spy," originated in Harwich, his real name being Enoch Crosby, and his actual experience being matched by all the incidents recounted in this most characteristic of the author's works. Though not himself the creator of one of the most striking personalities in modern fiction, he was what is still better, the original of this most prominent character.
Other natives in professional and business life, but not devoted to literature as a pursuit, have contributed valuable writings to the press in their leisure and unengrossed hours. Of these it may be proper to name: Rev. Osborn Myrick of Provincetown, a prolific writer to the county newspapers; Frederick W. Crocker of Barnstable, who wrote several witty poems of high literary merit for occasional meetings and public gatherings; Frederick W. Crosby of Barnstable, a writer of sketches, essays and stories in the leading Boston and New York journals, whose career was prematurely cut short in the most useful period of his life; Benjamin Dyer, jr., of Truro, an officer in the volunteer navy, who evinced a high degree of descriptive talent; and E. S. Whittemore, Esq., of Sandwich, the author of the chapter on the Bench and Bar in this volume.
Hon. John B. D. Cogswell of Yarmouth, who touched no subject he did not elucidate and adorn, wrote as an introduction to the Atlas of Barnstable County (1880) an outline of county history, which is a valuable and interesting epitome. He also delivered a number of well-considered, elegantly composed public addresses and lectures, some of which have been published. Matthew Arnold said of him that he was the most gifted man he met in America, forming his judgment from Mr. Cogswell's accomplishment as a conversationalist.
Sidney Brooks, of Harwich, was also a writer of intelligence and great enthusiasm upon local history and topographical description. Rev. John W. Dodge, has composed hymns and discourses which are always of interest from their scholarship and literary finish. Captain Thomas P. Howes, of Dennis, has produced sea sketches, historical portraitures, and vivid descriptions of travel and adventure, which if collected in a volume would meet with rapid and extensive appreciation. Mrs. Mary M. Bray, a native of Yarmouth, whose 250th anniversary poem there has met such universal admiration, had before written some graceful poems and sketches of distant places, for the journals of the day. Miss Gertrude Alger, a young poet of merit, who has just passed into the spiritual world, has produced some graceful and finished poems, one or two of which have found their place in the current collections of contemporaneous poetry. Hon. Henry A. Scudder and Hon. George Marston, of Barnstable, better known as lawyers, also delivered addresses and orations which commanded attention from their style and treatment of important public questions. Philip H. Sears, Esq., a native of Dennis, has delivered several public addresses, one of the most important of which, on the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the settlement of Old Yarmouth, was a finished and thoughtful presentation of the subject. Azariah Eldridge, D.D., of Yarmouth, besides his pulpit discourses, wrote several public addresses which have commanded the attention of thoughtful readers and thinkers. A memorial volume, containing a brief memoir of Doctor Eldridge, by C. F. Swift, Rev. Mr. Dodge's sermon at his obseques and various letters and notices by personal friends, has been prepared for private circulation under the direction of Mrs. Eldridge.
Two school books which had a high reputation in their day, were prepared by old-time Cape teachers. Rev. Jonathan Burr, of Sandwich, pastor of the First church and preceptor of Sandwich Academy, about the close of the last century was the author of a Compendium of English Grammar, which occupied a leading position in the schools in this portion of the state for many years. Mr. Burr was a man of much natural ability and scholarship. Captain Zenas Weeks, of Marston's Mills, a prominent man in his day, a school teacher and music teacher, was the author of a text book on English grammar, issued about the year 1833.
In 1851, Mrs. A. M. Richards, a daughter of Captain Benjamin Hallet of Osterville, wrote a volume of 140 pages, which was published by Gould & Lincoln, Boston, entitled Memoirs of a Grandmother; by a Lady of Massachusetts. It was an autobiography, and contained graphic sketches of incidents and individuals, some of whom are well known to the public. Interspersed in the narrative are a number of metrical compositions of a high order of poetical merit.
In 1888, a volume entitled, Biographical sketch of Sylvanus B. Phinney, was issued on the 80th anniversary of his birthday. The volume contains a sketch of his life, letters from Revs. Edward E. Hale and A. Nickerson, and public addresses and papers prepared by Mr. Phinney.
Joseph Story Fay, Esq., of Woods Holl, published in 1878 a little monograph entitled, The Track of the Norsmen, in which he very ingeniously argues that these Scandinavian navigators visited the locality since known as Wood's Hole, and that the proper name of the locality is Wood's Holl (meaning hill), which name, through his efforts, it now bears. Mr. Fay, who is an enthusiastic arborator as well as a gentleman of literary tastes and pursuits, has delivered addresses relating to his experiences in planting and rearing forest trees on his estate at Woods Holl.
Rev. J. G. Gammons issued in 1888, a monograph of the Methodist Episcopal church of Bourne, which sketches the rise and growth of Methodism, and preserves many interesting reminiscences of the pioneers of this sect on Cape Cod and elsewhere, especially in the town of Bourne.
A Genealogy of the Burgess family, from Thomas Burgess who settled in Sandwich in 1637, to the year 1865, was issued at that date, by E. Burgess of Dedham. It was a private edition, printed for the author, and contained 196 pages and has over 4,600 names of the family and branches, with several lithographic portraits.
George Eldridge, of Chatham, in 1880 published a work of Sailing Directions for Navigators, followed by other editions in 1884 and 1886. In 1889 he published Eldridge's Tide and Current Book. These publications, together with Mr. Eldridge's charts, are the most valuable works of the class extant, and are looked upon as standard authority by navigators, and adopted by the naval authorities of the country.
Mr. Gustavus A. Hinckley has reproduced for publication in the Barnstable Patriot, the inscriptions on the ancient grave-stones in the old Barnstable cemetery, engraving the blocks very neatly with his own hand, and compiling information to accompany the cuts. He has also compiled a manuscript History of Barnstable in the Civil War.
In 1866, Mrs. Caroline (Thacher) Perry, of Yarmouth, collected a volume of short stories which she had contributed to the New Church Magazine for Children, and they were published, with illustrations, by Nichols & Noyes, of Boston, under the title, Effie Gray and other Short Stories for Little Children. These stories possessed the rare merit in juvenile literature of interesting the class of readers for which they were designed.
Rev. Dr. William H. Ryder, a native of Provincetown, who deceased in Chicago where he settled in 1888, was a pulpit orator of
eloquence and power, and wrote some able articles for the Universalist Quarterly. His writings, however, have not appeared in a collected form.
Heman Doane, of Eastham, has written a number of metrical compositions, a few of which have been published and which possess a good degree of poetic fancy and facility of versification. One of them, on the Ancient Pear Tree in Eastham, planted by Governor Prince, attracted the attention of Thoreau, who quoted freely therefrom.
"Two hundred years have, on the wings of time,
Passed with their joys and woes, since thou, Old Tree!
Put forth thy first leaves in this foreign clime,
Transplanted from the soil beyond the sea.
* * * * * *
"That exiled band long since have passed away,
And still Old Tree thou standest in the place
Where Prince's hand did plant thee, in his day,—
An undesigned memorial of his race
And time; of those our honored fathers, when
They came from Plymouth o'er and settled here;
Doane, Higgins, Snow and other worthy men,
Whose names their sons remember to revere."
James Gifford, of Provincetown, has prepared and delivered public addresses which have attracted attention by their felicity of style and fullness of information. That delivered at the dedication of the Provincetown new town hall, in the fall of 1866, was published and read with interest and appreciation. Levi Atwood, of Chatham, has written considerably upon local matters. He published, in 1876, a condensed history of Chatham, occupying several columns of small newspaper type, written in an appreciative and discriminating spirit. Nathaniel Hinckley, of Marston's Mills, besides writing much and ably for the newspapers, and delivering public addresses, has published several political pamphlets, of considerable argumentative force. Benjamin Drew, a native of Plymouth, but connected by marriage with a prominent family of the Cape, and for some years a resident here, has at various times written witty and felicitous verses on local topics, one of which pieces, entitled " Bartholomew Gosnold's Dream," is often quoted for its local hits. As one of these poems refers to the christening of the Cape, a few of its stanzas will be deemed appropriate :
"There sailed an ancient mariner.
Bart Gosnold was he hight,—
The Cape was all a wilderness
When Gosnold hove in sight.
''He saw canoes and wigwams rude,
By ruder builders made,
Squaws pounded samp about the door,
And dark pappooses played.
"The hills were bold and fair to view,
And covered o'er with trees,
Said Gosnold, 'Bring a fishing line,
While lulls the evening breeze.
"'I'll christen that there sandy shore
From the first fish I take—
Tautog, or toadfish, cusk or cod,
Horse-mackerel or hake,
"'Hard-head or haddock, sculpin, squid,
Goose-fish, pipe-fish or cunner,—
No matter what—shall with its name
Yon promontory honor.'
"Old Neptune heard the promise made,
Down dove the water-god—
He drove the meaner fish away
And hooked the mammoth cod.
"Quick Gosnold hauled. 'Cape—Cape—Cape—Cod.'
'Cape Cod,' the crew cried louder ;
'Here, steward ! take the fish along,
And give the boys a chowder.' "
Not only has Cape Cod furnished a considerable contribution of the best literature to the world, but it has been provocative of a good deal of interesting writing from others, in respect to its characteristics, both mental and physical. It is scarcely to be wondered at, that a community so peculiarly situated as this should attract attention and excite curiosity. In 1807, an Englishman named Kendall visited these parts and published a book in which he devoted a liberal share of space to this county. Although it contained nothing very striking, it embodied some interesting and curious information respecting the Cape, at that day, when intercourse with the world was quite infrequent to the mass of the people.
About 1821, Dr. Timothy Dwight, former president of Yale College, published his Travels in New England, in four volumes, a liberal space being devoted to Cape Cod. His book was full of information, and appreciative in that part of it devoted to the Cape. At a later period N. P. Willis wrote for a New York newspaper, and afterward embodied in a book, a series of lively, touch-and-go letters, dealing more particularly with the outward aspect of the Cape. Some of his strictures gave offense and others were more agreeable to the popular taste. Though not profound, this book was exceedingly suggestive and entertaining.
Of all the numerous publications of the nature ever issued from the press, Thoreau's Cape Cod is by far the best, as a literary production, and for genuine appreciation of the grand physical aspects of the Cape, and of the true qualities of its people. Thoreau had a keen relish for quaint and curious phases of character as well as of landscape,
and his pictures of the "Wellfleet Oysterman " and of other original people revealed the presence among us of striking personalities. His admiration of the Cape is genuine, and his closing page records his conviction that " the time must come when this coast will be a place of resort for all those who wish to visit the seaside." "* * * What are springs and waterfalls? Here is the spring of springs and the waterfall of waterfalls. * * * A man may stand there and put all America behind him."
The Press.—The newspapers of the Cape have been many, and more ability has been embodied in their publication than has always found appreciation—of a pecuniary nature. The first newspaper published in the county was issued at Falmouth, November 21, 1823, by W. E. P. Rogers under the name of The Nautical Intelligencer. It was issued weekly at two dollars per year. In addition to the newspaper, the publishers issued, twice each week, extras containing the marine news and important arrivals at Holme's Hole, for transmission to Boston. The paper also indulged in political speculations, being a strong adherent of Mr. Calhoun for President, for the reasons, among others, that he was "an enlightened friend of Internal Improvements and Domestic Manufactures." This eulogy sounds oddly enough in view of his subsequent course. The paper was printed on a sheet 18 by 25 inches, with four pages, containing four columns each, 16 inches in length. In its first issue there was not a single item of local news except deaths, marriages and ship-news, and it contained twelve advertisements. It did not continue in existence long —probably not more than a year and a half.
Removing his printing and material to Barnstable, Mr. Rogers on April 13, 1825, commenced the publication of the Barnstable County Gazette. The Gazette had one more column on each page than its predecessor, and a rather larger advertising patronage. It paid more attention to local news ; but that was not a newspaper reading age, and its publication was continued not over two years, so far as can now be ascertained.
In 1826, the Barnstable Journal was commenced by Nathaniel S. Simpkins. It was a six-column newspaper, containing a few paragraphs of local news, considerable shipping intelligence, and liberal extracts from the Boston and New York newspapers, also miscellany and moral readings. The Journal attained a good circulation. In 1832 Mr. Simpkins sold out the establishment to H. Underwood and C. C. P. Thompson, who published, for one year, also a semi-weekly paper called the Cape Cod Journal. In 1834 Mr. Underwood became the sole proprietor of the weekly, which in 1837 again passed into the hands of Mr. Simpkins, who removed the plant to Yarmouth, and established the Register.
The Barnstable Patriot was established by S. B. Phinney, in 183 and was conducted by him until 1869, when he sold out to Franklin Goss and George H. Richards. Subsequently the whole establishment was acquired by Mr. Goss, who now conducts it, in connection with his son, F. Percy Goss. The Patriot, during Mr. Phinney's connection with it was an active and aggressive democratic sheet. Some time after Mr. Goss's assumption of the management it espoused the republican cause, in which it still maintains a lively interest. During Mr. Phinney's proprietorship of the newspaper, Hon. Henry Crocker was a frequent editorial contributor, mostly of political articles. In 1861 the late Amos Otis contributed a series of articles entitled Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, which have been republished as an extra sheet, and bound in a book form by Mr. Goss, edited by C. F. Swift, who also wrote a continuation of the sketches. The Patriot is now the oldest journal published in the county. In 1851, the Sandwich Mechanic was for one year issued at the Patriot office.
December 15, 1836, the first number of the Yarmouth Register was issued by N. S. Simpkins, publisher. The plant of the Journal has been purchased by Messrs. John Reed, Amos Otis, N. S. Simpkins, Ebenezer Bacon and Edward B. Hallet. Mr. Simpkins was assisted in the editorship by contributions from Messrs. Caleb S. Hunt and Amos Otis. The paper, besides being a local journal, was designed to champion the cause of Hon. John Reed, the member of congress from this district, and to oppose the Jackson and Van Buren dynasty, which was rather obnoxious in this county. The controversies with the Barnstable Patriot which followed, were exceedingly bitter and personal, on both sides. In 1839 Mr. Simpkins retired from the man agement of the paper and was succeeded by William S. Fisher, who was a printer by profession, and who infused considerable vigor in its management. In 1846, the present manager, Charles F. Swift, became connected with the management of the Register, as co-partner with Mr. Fisher, and in 1849 became sole editor and publisher. During the last forty years the conduct of the paper has been in his hands, with assistance successively by his four sons, Francis M., Frederick C., Theodore W., and Charles W. Swift. The Register, which was originally a whig journal, and supported Webster, Clay, Taylor a Scott for the presidency, had always been strongly anti-slavery in proclivities, and in 1857 warmly espoused the cause of the republicans, which it has ever since supported, with earnestness and without reservation. The Register has also paid much attention to questions social reform and general and local history.
The Sandwich Observer was first issued in September, 1845, by George Phinney. It was a 24-column folio, 24 by 36 inches, and was devoted to general and local news and miscellany. Dr. John Harper
and C. B. H. Fessenden were special contributors to its columns. The Observer attained a fair patronage, being neutral in politics and having the support of all the political parties, but the field was at best a limited one, and in August, 1851, Mr. Phinney removed his establishment to North Bridgewater (now Brockton) where he founded the Gazette of that town.
A monthly newspaper called the Cape Cod News, was issued in Provincetown, though printed elsewhere, the first number bearing date of June, 1856, A. S. Dudley and Rufus Conant publishers. But few numbers were issued.
The Provincetown Banner was issued in 1855, by John W. Emery, editor and proprietor. It was a 24-column journal, republican in politics, somewhat radical in its tone. It was published until 1862, when it was discontinued and the material removed from town.
In August, 1857, the Atlantic Messenger was established at Hyannis, by Edwin Coombs. It was a 26-column journal, 21 by 20 inches; price $1.00 per year. It was devoted to anti-slavery, politics and social discussions. It was once or twice discontinued and started again. But the encouragement received by the proprietor was not sufficient to sustain the enterprise, and the concluding number was issued about the year 1863.
January 2, 1862, the first number of the Cape Cod Republican was issued at Harwich, by John W. Emery, formerly of the Provincetown Banner, the printing office of which journal had been removed for the purpose. It was in style and make-up similar to the Banner. In 1864 its publication was discontinued and the editor obtained employment in Boston. In 1864 Mr. Emery returned to Harwich and started the Harwich Press, a paper similar to the Republican. In less than a year he abandoned the field, and removed to Minnesota. The list of the Press was sold to the proprietor of the Yarmouth Register.
The Provincetown Advocate was issued in 1869, by F. Percy Goss, publisher. Dr. J. M. Crocker was editor for about seven years, when Mr. Goss assumed the editorial charge, and conducted the paper for three years longer. In 1879 H. S. Sylvester, now of the Boston Record, purchased an interest in the paper and conducted it for a year, disposing of his interest to N. T. Freeman, who acquired Mr. Goss's interest also. In December, 1886, the establishment was purchased by Howard F. Hopkins, who has since been its publisher. His brother, Judge James H. Hopkins, has edited the sheet from the first.
In November, 1870, the Provincetown News, a 32-column republican newspaper, was issued by J. H. Barnard & Co., with J. Howard Barnard, editor. The price of the paper was $2.50 per year, in advance ; $3.00 after three months. At the end of four months the enterprise was given up, and the list transferred to other newspapers.
The Chatham Monitor was first issued October 1, 1871, at the Patriot office, Dr. Benjamin D. Gifford being the editor. It was devoted to local and general news, and was republican in politics. In 1873 Levi Atwood assumed the editorship. Mr. Atwood had previously been a contributor to other county journals, and was well known as a writer of pith and vigor. The Monitor is still continued under his editorship.
The Cape Cod Bee was issued in 1880, at the Patriot office, F. Percy Goss, publisher. It is a local journal, being more especially devoted to Wellfleet affairs. In politics it is republican.
About 1872 Messrs. J. H. Nickles and William C. Spring started the Sandwich Gazette, which was afterwards merged with the Falmouth Chronicle, which Mr. Spring had started in 1872. Henry Jones was the Falmouth editor. Mr. Spring for some time continued the paper, under the style of Gazette and Chronicle. In October, 1873, F. S. Pope took the plant of the Chronicle, and established the Seaside Press, devoted to the local interests of Sandwich and Falmouth. J. H. Stevens was editor, and Mr. Jones continued in charge of the Falmouth department. In 1880, Mr. Pope sold out his interest to F. H. Burgess, who changed the name to Weekly Review, with Benjamin Cook as editor for a time. In 1884, Mr. Burgess sold out his interest to George Otis, and the list was merged with the Cape Cod Item.
The Harwich Independent was established in 1872, by Goss & Richards, of the Patriot, the paper being printed in Barnstable. The local department was put in type at a job office which the publishers had set up in Harwich. The editorial writing for the first few years was by Mr. Wilcox, Josiah Paine and Dr. Geo. N. Munsell. In 1880 Alton P. Goss purchased the establishment, added a press and other machinery, and put the paper on a prosperous basis. The leanings of the paper are towards republicanism, but the Independent is more especially a local journal, in which field it has achieved a good degree of success.
The Cape Cod Item was started July 11, 1878, at Yarmouth Port, by George Otis. It was gradually enlarged, and is now an 8-page journal, issuing a single or double supplement a portion of the year. It was at first devoted to local and general news, and has a large circulation and advertising patronage. In 1889, William P. Reynolds, Esq., was associated with Mr. Otis in the editorship, and the paper now espouses the republican cause.
The Mayflower was a miscellaneous and story journal, published by George Otis of the Item, from 1881 to 1889. It had a large circulation, but the price—50 cents per year—was inadequate to the cost of production, and its list was merged in the Yankee Blade, of Boston, in June, 1887. The Ocean Wave, an eight-page weekly, was issued by George Otis from October, 1888, to May, 1889.
The Sandwich Observer (the second publication by that name) was issued in 1884, being printed at the Patriot office, and edited by Ambrose E. Pratt of Sandwich. Mr. Pratt was succeeded about 1887, by Frank O. Ellis, who still has charge of the publication. It is more especially devoted to the interests of the towns of Sandwich and Bourne, and is republican in politics.
The Falmouth Local was established by Lewis F. Clarke, who issued the first number, March 11, 1886. It was a three-column folio, printed one page at a time on a job press in the building now the Continental shoe store. At the close of 1887 it had been enlarged, located in a new office, and was being run as a seven-column folio, from a steam-power cylinder press. Since December 8, 1887, Ambrose E. Pratt of Sandwich, has been the editor. George S. Hudson was the printer in charge from September 1, 1886, until July, 1888, when Thomas Brady, a practical printer and pressman, became manager of the press and composing department. It is issued at Falmouth as an eight-column folio, devoted to the local news interests of the several towns of the upper Cape in which it has a fair patronage.
The Barnstable County Journal was issued for four years from January, 1886, by James B. Cook. It was a 32-column folio, published at $1.50 a year. In politics it was democratic—the only newspaper of that faith in the county of Barnstable.
February 17, 1887, William R. Farris, George R. Phillips and Charles H. Crowell issued the first number of the Cape Cod News, at South Yarmouth. It was a small twenty-column paper, devoted to local intelligence. In July, 1888, the list was sold to George Otis and absorbed by the Item.
Two later candidates for the favor of newspaper readers—the Wellfleet News and the Sandwich Review were issued November 12, 1889, by the proprietor of the Item. They are eight-page papers, devoted to miscellany and the local news of the respective towns. The News is written up by Mrs. A. H. Rogers and the Review by N. E. Linekin.
Besides the news journals, several monthly publications have been issued by the pupils of the public schools. The Academy Breezes was for two or three years issued by the scholars of the Sandwich High school. For about six years, the pupils of the Harwich High school have published a little sheet called the Pine Grove Echoes. The pupils of the Bourne High school, since April, 1888, have issued monthly, the High School Graphic, a sheet containing many creditable articles. These publications have developed a considerable degree of writing ability, and are doing a good work in their special fields.