Introduction, Index and Preface, p 1-20, p 21-40, p 41-60, p 61-80, p 81-100, p 101-120, p 121-140, p 141-160, p 161-180
pages: 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, end
The town and church took measures to procure a candidate for settlement in the ministry, and Mr. Jesse Fisher was heard. A call was given to him to settle with them, and $500 was voted as his salary; also, that he should have the liberty to be absent, three Sabbaths each year; and that if he should be sick for some time the town would supply the pulpit, and his salary stop, for that time. Mr. Fisher declined settling on these conditions.
1808. Mr. Daniel Johnson was then invited to preach to them as a candidate. A unanimous call was extended to him to settle, and the sum of $585 was offered to him during his natural life, or $600 per annum, with the use of a pew in the meeting-house; his salary to be annually estimated—one quarter on corn, rye and flour, one quarter on dry cod-fish, one eighth on pork and beef, one eighth on wood, and one quarter on the remaining articles of consumption, in equal proportions.
The deacons of the church were appointed as a committee to inform Mr. Johnson of their proceedings, and to report to the town the result. This call and the conditions being satisfactory, he gave his answer in the affirmative, and was ordained March 11th, 1808.
Mr. Willis of Kingston made the introductory prayer; sermon, by Rev. John Reed, D. D., of Bridgewater; ordaining prayer, by Rev. Hezekiah Sanger, D. D., of do.; charge, by Rev. William Shaw, D. D., of Marshfield; fellowship of the churches, by Rev. Philander Shaw of Eastham; and concluding prayer, by Rev. Mr. Kendall of Plymouth.
At this time Mr. Johnson's salary was estimated as follows:—Corn and rye, $1,00 per bushel; flour, $7,00 per barrel; dry cod-fish, $3,75 per quintal; beef, $5,75 per hundred, pork, $9,00 do. do.; butter, twenty-five cents per pound; cheese, thirteen cents do. do.; molasses, forty-four cents per gallon; oak wood, $8,50 per cord.
Mr. Johnson is a native of West Bridgewater, and graduated at Brown university, 1804. He continued to be the pastor of the church twenty years, when he was dismissed at
his own request, believing, in consequence of many unpleasant circumstances which existed at that time, that he might be more useful in some other part of the Lord's vineyard. He was to this town and church a very devoted and faithful minister of Jesus Christ.
When he was settled here he was a Unitarian and an Arminian, but be was soon convinced of these errors and hopefully converted.
During his ministry here there were revivals of religion, and one hundred and fifty members were added to the church. He baptized five hundred and twenty-five persons and solemnized two hundred and forty-four marriages.
Since his dismission from this people he has been preaching in western New York, with good acceptance and success.
Capt. Gideon Gardner, for representative to congress, received 99 votes.
1809. Hon. Levi Lincoln, for governor, received 116 votes; Hon. Joseph B. Varnum, for lieutenant governor, 114; Hon. Joseph Dimmick, for senator, 104.
For the first time the town raised and assessed the tax to defray the expenses of the ministry separately from the money raised to pay the town charges.
1810. Hon. Elbridge Gerry, for governor, received 125 votes; William Gray, for lieutenant governor, 123; Joseph Dimmick. for senator, 111; Hon. Isaiah L. Green, for representative to congress, 30.
Power was given to the selectmen to establish the line and bounds between this town, Chatham and Eastham.
About this time two new school-houses were built.
Money was raised to support the poor, and for all other town expenses.
Four new pews were made in the meeting-house, and the proceeds of their sale applied for the support of the gospel. A bass-viol was also purchased,: this was the first instrument ever used to assist the singers in this place.
A remonstrance was sent to the General Court against a petition which the town of Brewster had presented to that
body, praying that horses might run at large on the west shore.
1812. An attempt was made to enlarge the meeting-house, by carrying out the back end twelve feet, but as there were many opposed to it the project was relinquished.
The votes for governor and other state officers were the same as in former years. John Dillingham, Esq.; for senator, received 117 votes; John Reed, for do., 22, and for representative to congress, 35.
This year was memorable on account of the declaration of war with Great Britain. This being a fishing and commercial town, the inhabitants suffered much, being cut off from these employments, by which the greater portion of them obtained their support. But, notwithstanding this, they readily and earnestly engaged in the defence of the country, and did what they could, both on the sea and on the land, to obtain those rights for which the war was waged. The militia was trained, equipped and held in readiness to obey the call of the government in defence of their own or other towns.
This was truly a republican town, and a great majority of the votes was invariably given for men of the same political sentiments, both for United States and state rulers.
1813. A road and landing-place was laid out at Rock harbor. The land being claimed by individuals as their property, much pains was taken to search the ancient records, from which it was found that this land was never set off to the claimants or their ancestors, but was the legal property of the town.
The town agreed to pay the expenses of training the militia.
1814. The British ships of war were in Provincetown harbor, or cruising in the bay, and they threatened to land and destroy the salt-works, vessels and other property in the town. A committee of safety was appointed, and sentinels were placed on the west shore, to give the alarm if the enemy should attempt to carry their threats into execution.
John Reed, Esq., for representative to congress, received 30 votes; Thomas Hazard, for do., 25.
It was voted to provide for the militia, whenever called out of town, till they arrived at head-quarters.
The exempts in the town proposed to form themselves into an artillery company, provided the government would furnish them with proper munitions of war. Simeon Kingman, Esq., was sent to Boston to communicate this proposal and obtain stores and pieces for said company,—the town having agreed to pay him twenty dollars for his time and expenses,—but as he was unsuccessful and returned without the articles, the company was not organized.
The enemy made attempts to land, but were driven back by the militia, who suffered no loss of life, although one or more of the assailants were killed.
Money was demanded of the town, that protection and security might be guaranteed to the property and inhabitants, but the offer was promptly rejected.
1815. A treaty of peace was concluded between our government and Great Britain, and the war ceased, to the great joy and prosperity of the town.
A petition was sent to the General Court for permission to sell the remaining portion of Indian lands in this town and Brewster.
1816. The same epidemic prevailed here as in Eastham, and many died. Doct. Seabury being sick of the same fever, Doct. Phinney of Barnstable was employed; and the town voted to pay him thirty-three dollars for his services in those families that were not able to pay.
The ministerial upland was sold at public auction, and the interest of the purchase money applied for the support of the gospel.
John Reed, Esq., for representative to congress, received 16 votes; Walter Folger, Jr., for do., 30.
1817. John Reed, for representative to congress, received 30 votes; Walter Folger, for do., 22; Henry Dearborn, for governor, 45; John Brooks, for do, 13, Solomon Freeman, for senator, 50.
1818. A large and respectable committee was appointed by the town, to make a representation to congress respecting
the salt-works owned by the inhabitants, and praying that the duty might be continued on salt.
Another committee was chosen, to join the committees appointed by the towns of Brewster and Harwich, to petition the General Court for liberty to sell all the remaining land, which lay partly in each town, and had belonged to the Potanumaquiet Indians, for their benefit. This petition was granted by the Court, and the land was sold for three hundred dollars, which sum was equally divided.
A channel was dug through the back side beach, below Strong island, by the inhabitants of ibis town and Chatham, for the benefit of the salt meadows on the inside, but it soon filled with sand and their labor was lost.
1819. The town was divided into six school districts, and two new school-houses were built.
REFORMED METHODIST CHURCH.
Several ministers of this denomination, particularly Rev. Mr. Brit, had visited and preached in this town before 1820, when a church was organized and a meeting-house erected.
For some years they had the labors of different ministers, until 1830, when the society began to dwindle, and the house was closed. The number belonging to the church and society has not been ascertained.
EPISCOPAL METHODIST CHURCH.
From the remains of the above a new church was organized in 1836, under the care and direction of the bishop and conference. The old house was taken down and another built, near the academy, in 1837. It is a very neat and commodious building for public worship, forty-four by thirty-six feet. The society have had the labors of Rev. T. G. Brown two years, Rev. P. Crandall one. Rev. J. Litch one, Rev. H. Perry one, Rev. J. Bicknell one, Rev. T. G. Blake one, and Mr. E. B. Hinckley, who is now with them.
They have had revivals of religion at different times, and hopeful converts have been added to the church, the number of which is not known to the writer. The church and society comprise about one fifth of the inhabitants of the town.
1820. Strong measures were taken to suppress the sale and use of spirituous liquors. No person was approbated by the selectmen to retail the poison.
'The Baptist church in Orleans was constituted in June, 1826. Rev. John Peak and Rev. Otis Wing performed the services of the occasion. The original members were dismissed from the Baptist church in Brewster.
'Although the church was small at first, (only eight in number,) they were encouraged to hope in God, feeling confident that .he would sustain them in their work, and maintain the cause in which they had engaged.
'Rev. Mr. Wing preached to them one third of the time from their organization until October, 1837. After this they were supplied by different ministers for a period of seventeen months. In the autumn of 1828 a convenient house of worship was completed and dedicated to Almighty God. Rev. Jesse Pease preached the sermon of dedication.
'In February, 1829, they had so increased that they thought the time had arrived for them to make an effort to maintain a pastor. They succeeded. Rev. Winthrop Morse as the man of their choice. When Mr. Morse commenced the labors of a pastor with the church their prospects were flattering; the way seemed to be prepared for them to go on to certain victory over all opposition. But, instead of prosperity, trials came. It was soon manifested that different views were entertained, and the result was, the removal of a worthy, affectionate and faithful pastor, and the exclusion of several from the church.
'Mr. Morse asked and received his dismission in April, 1831. At that time the church was greatly discouraged; being destitute of a pastor, and their pecuniary resources not sufficient to maintain one, they mournfully said, "By whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small." They had preaching however, the most of the time after Mr. Morse left them, till November, 1832. Then, having received encouragement to hope for assistance to support a minister, they secured the
services of Rev. Enoch E. Chase. During the ministrations of Mr. Chase the church enjoyed a good degree of harmony, and were nourished and comforted by the pure word of God, which was brought before them in a plain and affectionate manner, and their hearts were made glad in witnessing the conversion of sinners. He retained the relation of pastor till April, 1836, and then asked and received his dismission. In November following Rev. Silas Riply became pastor of the church, and continued his services till September, 1837. The ministrations of Mr. Riply were owned and blessed of God. The church was edified and instructed; several were brought to the knowledge of the truth, were baptized, and gave themselves to the church.
'After Mr. Riply asked and received his dismission the church employed Rev. Jesse Pease till April, 1838. When. Mr. Pease left Rev. Davis Lothrop accepted the call to become pastor, and has continued his labors to this time (July, 1843.) Within the last five years God has been very gracious to his people. Peace and good will, for the most of the time, have prevailed among them—the manifestation of the Holy Spirit has been repeatedly realized, and sinners, of every class, have been convened to God. One hundred and forty-nine have been connected with the church since its organization. The number in the church at the present, time is one hundred and eight.'
1829. It was resolved by the Congregational church and society to build a new house of public worship. They say— 'This being an important epoch in the history of this church and society, it should be recorded to the praise of God that he has inclined the hearts of this people to build an house for God, and with great unanimity in their councils and proceedings, have accomplished this important undertaking.' The old house, which had stood one hundred and eleven years, was taken down, and the new one was raised on the sixteenth of July, 1829, and was finished on the eighteenth of November and dedicated to the sacred Trinity. It is a large and commodious house, with a tower and bell.
At this time the Rev. John Turner was their preacher, and he was particularly instrumental in engaging the people in this work. Some difficulties arose between Mr. Turner and the church, and his labors with them were discontinued.
After this the Rev. Mr. Scovel supplied the pulpit for some time. During this period a committee of the church, to which Mr. Scovel was joined, was appointed to draw up articles of faith and a new covenant, with rules of government. The following articles were reported, unanimously accepted, adopted, and ordered to be printed.
1. We believe that there is one god, the Father Son and Holy Ghoat.
2. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by Divine Inspiration, and contain the only perfect rule of faith and practice.
3. That God maintains a righteous government over all his creatures.
4. That man has fallen from the state for which he was originally created, and is by nature entirely destitute of holiness.
5. That an atonement is made for all by the Lord Jesus Christ, so that repentance and faith are now the conditions of salvation.
6. We believe in the necessity of our being renewed by the agency of the Holy Spirit; in the increase of holiness, and perseverance unto salvation, of all who truly believe in the doctrine of a general resurrection ; in the everlasting blessedness of the righteous, and the endless punishment of the finally impenitent.
A disagreement arose between the church and society respecting the labors of Mr. Scovel, which induced him to leave them.
Committees were then chosen by the church and society to obtain a minister.
The following rules were adopted by the church, who agreed to be governed by them:
1. We will not attend places of amusement, such as bring dishonor on the cause of Christ.
2. We will regard the Sabbath as a day sacred to the worship of God.
3. We will pay for the support of the gospel at home and abroad, as God shall give us ability ; and, as heads of families, we will attend family worship morning and evening.
4. We will punctually attend the monthly concert of prayer, preparatory lectures and church meetings, and as far us possible encourage our minister promoting vital godliness among us, by God's assistance.
The church formed themselves into an association for the due observance of the Christian Sabbath.
1831. The poorhouse was built, which is a large and convenient building. There are now twenty-two paupers, who are supported at an average expense of about sixty cents each per week.
1833. 'The Universalist society was organized, having had preaching of their peculiar sentiments at a much earlier period.
'Individuals who seceded from the Congregational society were the first members of it. In the winter of 1834 they were incorporated by the name of the Universalist Society of Orleans. In the year 1833 they built their meeting-house, which is thirty feet by forty, containing fifty pews on the floor, with galleries on three sides. It cost $1750, and is a neat and commodious house.
'The first regular settled preacher was Rev. Ezekiel Vose, who was ordained in 1834, and held his connection with them until 1840, when he was succeeded by Rev. James G. Burt, who left them in the spring of 1843, and their present pastor, Rev. Stillman Barden, was settled.'
The town undertook to improve Rock Harbor river. A special meeting was called to consider the subject, and it was thought that it might be made deep enough for vessels to come in and go out at high water. An act of incorporation was obtained by a company formed for that purpose, and a dam was built across the creek, to prevent the escape of the water. By letting it out at low water it was believed that the channel would be sufficiently deepened, but the experiment did not prove successful. The whole expense was about $2000.
The town was divided into nine school districts.
The portion of the surplus revenue received by the town was $3000. For two years it was loaned to individuals on good security. At the end of that time the disposition of it became a matter of dispute and contention, and it was voted that a portion of it should be appropriated in payment of town expenses, and the remainder to build a town house.
In 1835 Mr. Stillman Pratt was heard as a candidate for settlement, and received a unanimous call to become pastor over the Congregational church and society.
In a letter to Mr. Pratt the committee say—
'At a regular meeting of the Congregational church we have voted, unanimously, to give you a call to settle over us in the gospel ministry as our pastor.
'Orleans, 31st March, 1835.'
With this call the parish concurred as follows:
'Mr. Stillman Pratt,
' Dear Sir:—The Congregational society in Orleans being, on sufficient grounds, satisfied of your ministerial qualifications, and having good hopes from our past experience of your labors, that your ministerial labors will be profitable to our spiritual interests, do earnestly call and desire you to undertake the pastoral office in said society.
' And, that you may be free from worldly cares and avocations, we hereby promise and oblige ourselves to pay you the sum of five hundred dollars annually, during the time of your being and continuing the regular pastor of said society.
'And in case either party become dissatisfied, by giving three months' notice this connection shall be dissolved.
' In witness whereof we subscribe our names.
Committee of the Congregational Society.
'Orleans, 31st March, 1835.'
The answer of Mr. Pratt was as follows:
' To the Congregational Church and Society in Orleans:
'Dear Brethren and Friends:—I have received your joint call inviting me to the pastoral office among you, and while I trust I am not insensible to the responsibilities of the station, and my own inability properly to discharge its duties, yet having prayerfully considered the subject, and presuming still on your candor and forbearance,
desiring moreover to rely implicitly on divine illumination and strength, I will endeavor to serve you according to the best of my power— earnestly requesting an interest in your prayers, that wisdom and strength may be vouch safed from above, sufficient for every effort to advance your spiritual interests and eternal good—wishing you the blessings of heaven in this life, as well as the favor of God hereafter.
' In the bonds of the gospel,
Orleans, April 15th, 1835.'
An ecclesiastical council was convened April 22, 1836, when Mr. Pratt was ordained. Rev. Mr. Orcutt made the introductory prayer; Rev. E. Pratt preached the sermon; Rev. Mr. Boyter made the ordaining prayer; Rev. Mr. Shaw gave the charge, and Rev. Mr. Williams made the concluding prayer.
A parsonage house was built, and the Hersey fund ($540,) was expended in part payment of it. For about eight years previous to the settlement of Mr. Pratt the church and society had been without a regularly ordained minister over them, during which time the church had been diminishing in numbers and strength. Mr. Pratt continued with them about four years, and during that time the church and society experienced several refreshing showers of God's grace, which resulted in the hopeful conversion of one hundred and fifteen souls.
The whole number at the time of his dismission, which was in 1839, was one hundred and seventy-five. The congregation then numbered one hundred and seventy-one families and seven hundred souls—about one third of the entire population of the town.
The reason of his separation from them was, that the parish did not conform to their agreement with him, in the payment of his salary. He was dismissed by a mutual council called for the purpose, April 23, 1839, and is now settled in Adams. The council, having the fullest confidence in the Christian and ministerial character of Mr. Pratt, cordially and affectionately recommended him to the churches of Christ, wherever he might be called in the providence of God to preach the gospel, as a minister in regular standing.
The Rev. Hazael Lucas supplied the pulpit two years, when the Rev. Jacob White, their present minister, commenced his labors with them. At that time the number of members of the church was one hundred and fifty. The number at present is one hundred and ninety-one. The congregation on the Sabbath is large, and there are but few who do not regularly attend public worship. The Sabbath school and bible classes contain about one hundred and fifty.
The cause of temperance is very prosperous in this town.
Money raised and appropriated for the town schools.
1797—$333 33. 1798—$75. 1799—$200. 1800—$200. 1801 to 1815—$246. 1816 to 1826—$300. 1826 to 1836—$360. 1836 to 1844—$900.
Number of public schools, 9.
Whole number of pupils, 1069.
Number between four and sixteen years, 608.
Hezekiah Higgins, four years. Heman Linnel, one year. Dea. Judah Rogers, sixteen years.
Jona. Hopkins, one year. Thomas Arey, one do.
Dea. Richard Sparrow, thirteen years.
Barnabas Twining, three do.
Nathaniel Knowles, seven do.
Gideon Snow, two do.
John Myrick, eleven do.
Stephen Snow, one year.
Daniel Cummings, fourteen years. Jabez Sparrow, three do.
Thomas Higgins, six do.
John Kenrick, Esq., thirteen do.
Asa Rogers, four do.
Jona. Freeman, one year.
Joseph L. Rogers, five years.
Elisha Cole, seven do.
Zoeth Taylor, one year. William Smith, one do.
Sparrow Horton, two years.
Matthew Kingman, two do.
Joshua Doane, five do.
Edward Barber, three do. Asa Hopkins, seven do.
Joseph G. Sloan, two do.
Josiah Freeman, one do.
TOWN CLERKS AND TREASURERS.
Benjamin Taylor, from 1797 to 1800. Timothy Bascom, from 1800 to 1814. Gideon Snow, from 1814 to 1834. Barnabas Snow, from 1834 to 1840. William Myrick, from 1840 to 1844.
REPRESENTATIVES TO THE GENERAL COURT.
1798 and '99—Simeon Kingman.
1800 to 1807—Dea. Richard Sparrow.
1808 and 1809—Jona. Bascom.
1812 to '16—Jona. Bascom.
1817 to '24—Daniel Cummings.
1825 to '27—John Doane, Esq.
1829—Daniel Cummings ; John Doane, Esq.
1830—Daniel Cummings ; John Kenrick, Esq.
1831—John Kenrick, Esq.; Sparrow Horton.
1833— Elisha Cole; Thatcher Snow.
1834—Elisha Cole; Elisha Hopkins.
1835—Ebenezer Rogers; Elisha Cole.
1836—Ebenezer Rogers; Thomas Mayo.
1837—Edward Barber; Richard Sparrow.
1838—Edward Barber; Luther Snow.
1839—Luther Snow; Nathaniel Freeman.
1840 and '41—Joshua Doane.
1842 and '43—Seth Higgins.
THE ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN PROPRIETORS.
The following fact in the history of the town of Eastham did not come to the knowledge of the writer until it was too late to insert it in its proper place.
In the year 1743 the town made a division of all the remaining undivided upland and sedge lands, belonging to all the inhabitants in common, lying southerly from a line running from Slut's bush to Boat Meadow river, and then by vote granted them to one hundred and thirty-seven persons, i. e. all the male inhabitants, at that time, over twenty-one years of age, who became the legal proprietors of them. After many years these lands became valuable, in consequence of the grass which grew up where there was little or none at the time of the division. Deep channels became filled and covered with grass, which also sprung up on the edge of the meadow west of the beach. Of late years the town has contended that these new meadows were common property and should be under its control.
A committee was chosen to investigate the matter, and power given them to apply to Hon. Nymphas Marston for his opinion, who, after an examination of the case, stated that the town had no title to the premises, but that the town did in 1743 convey this properly to the one hundred and thirty-seven proprietors, their heirs, assigns, &c.
Page 3d, 6th line, instead of "one mile" read three miles.
Page 15th, last line, instead of "thy" read your.
Page 15th, 10th line from bottom, instead of "lives" read life.
Page 35, 7th line, instead of "teacher" read trooper.
Page 68, 24th line, instead of "Dorcas Doane" read Dorcas Cook.
Page 115, 9th line, instead of "Greenleaf read Greenough.
Page 128, 5th from bottom, instead of "districts were" read district
Page 139, 5th from bottom, instead of "Burt" read Burr.
Page 141, 1st line, instead of "request" of the committee, read report.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT
CUSTOMS AND MANNER OF LIVING
IN THE DAYS OF OUR FOREFATHERS
It may be interesting to the younger portion of the present generation, to know the simple manners, and modes of life, of those from whom they have descended, especially, as a great change has taken place in these respects, in the last half century; nor is it considered inapplicable to this work. Some parts of the following account are taken from the Rev. H. White's early History of New England, and by him, from the Old Colony Memorial, and other parts from the writer's own reminiscences, and traditionary information.
MANNER OF DRESS.
In general, men old or young had a decent coat, vest, and small clothes, and some kind of fur hat. Old men had a great coat, and a pair of boots; the boots were substantially made of good leather, and lasted for life; they were long and reached to the knee.
For every day they had a jacket reaching about half way down the thigh, striped vest, and the small clothes, like the jacket; made of home spun flannel cloth, fulled at the mill, but not sheared; flannel shirts, and knit woollen stockings, with leather shoes, and a silk handkerchief for holidays. In the summer they wore a pair of wide petticoat trowsers, reaching half way from the knee, to the ankle. Shoes and stockings were not worn in summer, when at work, on the farm. Boys, as soon as they left their petticoats, were put into small clothes, summer or winter. These were made of home manufactured cloth for common, and everlasting, for meeting dress. The oldest son had a pair of the latter cloth, and when he had outgrown them, the next took them, and so down to the tenth son, if there were so many of the family.
This manner of dress continued till long trowsers were introduced which were called tongs, and did not differ much in shape from those now in use They were made of tow cloth, linen and cotton, in the summer, and in the winter of flannel, and were soon worn by old men, as well as by young men and boys. Young men never wore great coats. I recollect, says a writer of those past limes, a neigh-
bor of my father's, who had four sons between nineteen and thirty years of age ; the oldest got a pair of boots, the second a surtout, the third a watch, and the fourth a pair of silver shoe buckles. This made a neighborhood talk, and the family were supposed to be on the high road to insolvency.
The women, old and young, wore home made flannel gowns in the winter, and in the summer, wrappers, or shepherdress , it was without a waist, and gathered round the neck.
They were usually contented with one calico gown ; but generally had a calimanco or camlet, and some had them made of poplin. The sleeves were short, and came only to the elbow ; on holidays, they wore one, two, or three ruffles on each arm, sometimes ten inches wide.
They wore long gloves, coming up to the elbow secured by what was called tightens, made of black horse hair ; round gowns had not come in fashion, so they wore aprons, made of checked linen, cotton, and for Sunday, white cotton, long lawn, or cambric. They seldom wore caps, only when they appeared in full dress ; they had two kinds, one was called strap cap, which was tied under the chin, and the other, round cord cap, which did not come over the ears. They wore thick and thin leather and broadcloth shoes, with wooden heels covered with cloth or leather, an inch and a half high, with peaked toes which turned up. They generally had very small muffs, and, some wore masks.
In those days the young women did not consider it a hardship, nor a disgrace, to walk five or six miles to meeting on the Sabbath, or on lecture days; in the country towns, scarcely a chaise, or any other vehicle was used. The common conveyance was by horses fitted out with saddles and pillions. A man and woman rode together on the same horse, and sometimes a little boy rode before the man, and an infant in the lap of the woman: no inconsiderable journeys were made in this way.
Horses then were made to pace, that they might carry their riders more gently. It was not until a little before the revolutionary war, that they were learned to trot. A horse that would sell for forty dollars was considered as of the first quality, and one more than nine years old, was considered of little value.
In those days every body went to meeting on the Sabbath and lecture days, however distant they lived. Those who owned horses, did not consider them any more their own, than their neighbors, on that day. It was the custom in many, if not all country towns, for the owner, with his wife, to ride half way to a horse block made for that purpose, and there hitch his horse, and walk on, for his neighbor to ride who set out on foot, and so when they returned.
THEIR MANNER OF LIVING.
Their dinners in the winter season were generally the same. First they had a dish of broth, called porridge, with a few beans in it, and a little summer savory , then an Indian pudding with sauce , and then a dish of boiled pork and beef, with round turnips, and a few potatoes. Potatoes were then a scarce article ; three or four bushels were considered a large crop, and these not larger than a hen's egg. Their suppers and breakfast were generally the same ; those who had milk ate it with toasted bread; if not, sweetened cider, with bread and cheese. Sabbath mornings, they generally had chocolate, or bohea tea ; the first sweetened with molasses, and the last with brown sugar, and with them, pancakes, dough-nuts, brown toast, or some sort of pie. They had no dinners till after meeting , when they had a roast goose, or turkey, or spare rib, or a stew pie; in the spring and summer, they generally ate bread and milk for supper and breakfast.
At that time, no family had a barrel of flour; the farmers broke up a piece of new ground and planted with wheat, and turnips ; this wheat, by the help of the sieve, was their flour. A writer of years gone by, says "the chiefest corn they planted, was Indian grain, before they had ploughs ; and let no man make a jest at pumpkins, for with this food the Lord was pleased to feed his people, to their good content, till corn and cattle were increased."
Their corn before they had built mills to grind it, was pounded with a wooden or stone pestle in a mortar made of a large log hollowed out at one end. They cultivated barley, much of which was made into malt for beer, which they drank instead of ardent spirit, They raised flax, which they rotted in the water, and then manufactured it in their families into thread and cloth.
The first houses which they built were very coarse rude structures. They had steep roofs covered with thatch, or small bundles of sedge or straw, laid one over another. The fire places were made of rough stones, and the chimneys of boards, or short sticks, crossing each other, and plastered inside with clay. In a few years houses of a better construction began to appear. They were built with two stories in front, and sloped down to a low one in the rear ; the windows opened outward on hinges, and were small. The glass was small, and in the shape of a diamond, and set in sashes of lead.
The fire places were hugely large, and could receive a four foot log besides seating the family of children in the corners, where they could look up and count the stars. They were uniformly placed, so as to front to the south, on whatever side of the road they might be, and the object was that, when the sun shone on it, the house might serve as a sun-dial.
It is said to have been the custom of the first settlers to wear their beards so long, that in the winter, it would sometimes freeze together so that it was difficult to get their vessels to their mouths, from which they took their drink.
The common address of men and women was, Goodman and Goodwife, none but those who sustained some office of dignity, or belonged to some respectable family were complimented with the title of Master or Mistress; in writing they did not use the capital F, but two small ones as ff.
THE MANNER IN WHICH SOME OF THEIR PUBLIC OFFICERS WERE ELECTED.
By an order of the Massachusetts General Court, corn and beans, were required to be used in voting for counsellors; the corn to manifest elections, the beans the contrary, on the choice or refusal of a candidate; the law imposed a heavy penalty, if more than one corn or bean was used by one person.
The manner of living, and the mode of dress, was much more favourable to health than at the present time. Acute fevers were frequent, the principal of which were called the long or slow fever, which ran thirty-five, forty, and sometimes fifty days before it formed a crisis; and the slow nervous fever, which ran generally longer than the former. Pulmonary complaints, or consumptions were much less frequent than now; indeed a young person was rarely visited with this disease. The duty of the sexton of the church, was not only to ring the bell, and sweep the house, &c. but keep the hour-glass, and turn it at the commencement of the minister's sermon, who was expected to close at the end of the hour; if he went on, or fell short of the time, it was a sufficient cause of complaint.
Introduction, Index and Preface, p 1-20, p 21-40, p 41-60, p 61-80, p 81-100, p 101-120, p 121-140, p 141-160, p 161-180
pages: 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, end