Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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Joseph Haskell, of Rochester, and he to have full power to
receive the same." Whether he continued to preach here for a
longer period does not appear. He was at Petersham a few
Sabbaths in 17 36,^ but soon abandoned the ministry, having

1 Ten pounds each for " sixty settlers," was afterwards styled the " three hundred

amounted to six hundred pounds, one pounds," or the " ten pounds," until the

half of which sum was expended before matter was fully settled, March 7, 1747-8.

September 7, 1738, and the remainder, ^ " The first preaching in this place was

which was a fruitful source of difficulty probably in the month of May, 1736.

between the settlers and the proprietors, On the 16"' of June, of that year, Mr.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 175

never been ordained. He was son of Joseph, and grandson of
Rev. James Keith of Bridgewater, born in 1707, grad. H. C.
1729, and, after a brief service in the pulpit, returned to his
native town, and devoted himself to agriculture. He was ap-
pointed justice of the peace in 1762, and died about 1781.

Rev. David White seems to have commenced preaching as a
candidate for settlement about July, 1736. At a meeting April
4, 1737, it was " voted that the sum of twenty-eight pounds and
sixteen shillings be raised, to pay Mr. David White for his ser-
vice in the ministry, for his victualling and horse-keeping, for the
quarter of a year before his ordination ; " also " that the year
wherein Mr. White's salary be paid begin the first of October."
Also voted, " that the sum of fifty pounds be raised for the Rev.
Mr. White, for his half year salary, beginning October the first
Anno Dom. 1736." A permanent arrangement of the salary
was made March 6, 1737-8, when it was voted " that the town
give the Rev. Mr. David White for his yearly salary one
hundred pounds per year, for five years successively, beginning
at the first of Oct. Anno Domini 1736 ; and a further sum and
sums from year to year for ten years next coming, namely, one
hundred and five pounds to be paid at the expiration of the [ ^ ]
year, from the aforesaid first of Oct. 1736 ; and to increase the
said sum, five pounds a year, yearly, until his yearly and stated
salary shall come to one hundred and fifty pounds : and that
sum, namely, one hundred and fifty pounds to be paid him yearly
during his continuance in the work of the Gospel ministry in this
place ; and the said sum of money to be paid in the common
currency of this Province, at the rate and in the proportion that
Bills of Credit are now valued with silver money, namely, reckon-
ing twenty-seven ^ shillings in Bills equal to one ounce of silver."

Soon after the commencement of Mr. White's labors, a church
was organized in Hard wick (then called Lambstown), and on
the same day he was ordained to the work of the ministry. These
solemnities, together with the preliminary proceedings, are duly
entered upon " The Church Record ; " to wit : —

" Lambstown, Oct. 20, 1736. The members of other churches,
living in Lambstown, met together and concluded upon the fol-
lowing particulars respecting Church Government, viz :

Ephraira Keith was paid fifty shillings a 22, 1746, when it was " voted to allow Mr.

day for three days preaching past." Will- David White's salary to be at thirty-six

son's Address at Petersham, July 4, 1854, shillings per ounce for the present year."

p. 29. At a later day the salary was reduced to

1 Record mutiK.ted. one hundred pounds per annum, exclusive

^ A modification was made September of the income of the ministerial land.

f



176 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

" 1 . That there should be no relation required of those that
are received into the church.

" 2. That after the minister has taken an account of the
knowledge and faith of those that have a desire to come into the
church, and is well satisfied therewith, that they shall be received
into full communion in the church upon their making a public
confession of their faith.

" 3. That the power of calling church meetings lay in the
power of the minister.

" 4. That Messi. Christopher Paige and George Abbot should
sign letters missive to the Pastor and Delegates of several
churches, to gather a church in Lambstown and ordain Mr. David
White Pastor thereof.

" November y^ 11^^ 1736. A Church was gathered and im-
bodied in Lambstown, and the members of the church publicly
invited and chose Mr. David White to be their pastor. Accord-
ingly, the same day, the said Mr. David White was ordained
Pastor of the Church of Christ in Lambstown ^ by praj^er and
laying on of hands of the Presbytery.

" The names of the men that solemnly entered into a church
state in Lambstown, that before were members of other churches :
— Christopher Paige, George Abbot, Thomas Perry, Joseph
Allen, John Wells, John Kidder, Richard Church. The names
of the men that entered into a church in Lambstown, which
before were not members in full communion in other churches,
but were then received into the church: — Eleazar Warner,
Nathan Carpenter, Experience Johnson, Samuel Robinson,
Samuel Gillet.^

" Dec. y« 3'^ 1736. The Church of Christ in Lambstown met
together, and after a unanimous vote to choose two men to the
otiice of Deacons in said church, Mr. Christopher Paige and
Mr. Joseph Allen were chosen to the office of Deacons, by a
majority of the votes of the church.

1 The names of the Ordaining Council pears by the moderator, Mr. William

are not recorded ; but the moderator was Williams), to him his heirs and assigns

Rev. AViliiam Williams, probably pastor foi'ever."

of the church in Hatfield, where Mr. 2 Whether it were the usual custom, at
White was born. The Proprietors voted, that period, to exclude females from par-
June 29, 1737, "that the two hundred ticipating in the organization of a church,
acres of land, laid out by Mr. Timothy or not, it is certain that several women
Ruggles and Mr. Christopher Paige to were here at this time, who did not be-
the first settled minister, be settled on come members until two or three months
and recorded to the Reverend Mr. David later, although they were members of
White, now their settled minister (as ap- other churches, in good standing.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 177

" Oct. y^ 9'^ 1737. The Church voted, that no person living
in Lambstown, formerly belonging to another church, shall have
liberty to partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper without
a letter of recommendation, after they have had a sufficient time
to get one, without a good and sufficient reason why they have
not done it." ^

Having organized a church, and settled a pastor with a fixed
salary, it became necessary to devise ways and means for the
regular payment of that salary. By a vote of the Proprietors,
February 22, 1732-3, each settler was bound to pay fifteen
shillings per year, " to help pay a minister for preacliing the
gospel," and each of the twelve proprietors was pledged to con-
tribute four pounds for the same purpose. But these several
sums, namely : forty-eight pounds by the proprietors, and forty-
five pounds by the sixty settlers, amounted to no more than
ninety-three pounds, while the salary promised was one hundred
pounds, with a prospective increase to one hundred and fifty
pounds. At the present time, such a small deficiency may seem
scarcely worthy of notice ; but in the " day of small things," it
was a matter of great importance to the pioneers. The settlers,
not yet fully incorporated as a town, had no power to tax the
unimproved lands, and the proprietors did not imj)ose such a
tax. Indeed, it would seem that they discontinued their annual
contribution of forty-eight pounds, after partial town privileges
were granted to the inhabitants.^ The burden was heavy, and
an appeal was made to the General Court for authority to tax all
the land in the township, whether improved or not, and whether
owned by resident or non-resident proprietors; also for incorpo-
ration as a town, with full authority to raise money for all lawful
purposes, by taxation. The Court records do not indicate
whether the petition for liberty to impose a tax was granted, or
rejected ; but it is certain that the proprietors secured a delay of
incorporation for one year. The inhabitants became impatient ;
and at two meetings, October 19, and November 2, 1738, resolved
on another effort for incorporation, and liberty to tax the lands
of all proprietors. Their agent, Mr. Christopher Paige, presented
their petition December 8, 1738. A committee of the propi'ie-
tors remonstrated. But on the 15th day of the same month the

1 Thus far, I have copied the Church with the committee which was empowered

Record in full. to sell land for the payment of the three

^ The town appointed a committee, forty-eight pounds towards the support of

November 6, 1741, "to adjust accounts the minister in this town."
12



178 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

petition was granted ; a tax of three half pence per acre on all
the land in the township was authorized to be assessed annually
for three years, to be applied " one half thereof to the Reverend
Minister there for his better encouragement and more comfort-
able support, the residue for building and finishing a handsome
Meeting-house, for the better accommodating the inhabitants in
attending the public worship of God;" and the agent was em-
powered to bring in a bill for the incorporation of the township.
This bill, having passed both Houses, received the Governor's
approval, January 10, 1739.

It does not appear from the Records when the first meeting-
house was erected ; but the inhabitants held a meeting in it
February 9, 1736-7. It was probably not very large or elegant.
The bills allowed for materials and labor appear to have been
less than fifty pounds. It was not entirely finished until after
August 8, 1738, when it was " voted that the town will finish
shingling the old meeting-house, and finish the seats, and make
forms as shall be needed, and build the minister's pew." ^ Its
size and value may be estimated by the fact that the town voted,
March 1, 1742-8, to dispose of it " at a vendue, and accordingly
sold it to James Robinson for sixteen pounds, old tenor." This
first meeting-house was erected on the " ten acres " originally
devoted to public use, and probably stood on the easterly side of
the old road, long ago discontinued, running southerly from the
present residence of Mr. John W. Paige, nearly parallel with the
turnpike, to the road to Ware. It is not unlikely that the pre-
cise spot was about midway between the two points last indicated,
at the northwest corner of the "ten acres," the spot which was
afterwards given by the proprietors, for a similar use, to " those
people called the separate Society in Hardwick." ^

Wherever this house stood, like those generally erected by

1 The town had voted, January 16, tion I do not remember. I consulted
1737-8, to "build anew meeting-house; " several of the " oldest inhabitants," more
but the controversy concerning its loca- than forty years ago, and gathered from
tion was so sharp, that it was not erected them much traditional lore ; but in this
until more than three years after that case I was misinformed. The town voted
date. July 29, 1740, to "set the meeting-house

2 In my address at the Centennial on the ten acres, on which the old mcet-
Celebration in 1838, it was stated that ing-house stands." But the present Com-
this meeting-house " stood on the Com- mou was not a part of the " ten acres "
mon, about midway between the two as has already been stated. The old
present meeting-houses;" and that the meeting-house, therefore, did not stand on
new house, erected in 1741, was " placed the present Common, but probably about
within ten feet of the old one," pp. 19- half a mile northwesterly from it, near
21. From whom I received this tradi- the summit of the hill.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 179

pioneers it was small and inconvenient, designed only for tempo-
rary use ; moreover its location was unsatisfactory. Accordingly
it was voted, January 16, 1737-8, " that the town will build a
new meeting-house : that said meeting-house be built fifty feet
long, and forty feet wide, and twenty-two feet between joints,
and set two feet from the ground : that Joseph Allen, John
Wells, Christopher Paige, Benjamin Smith, and Benjamin Rug-
gles, be a committee to see to the building or letting out said
frame, and finish the outside, and glaze the same with square
glass set in wood, according to their discretion." A week later,
under a warrant " to see whether the town will choose a man to
go down to the Proprietors' Committee to see whether they have
power to dispose of the three liundred pounds that was voted to
build the meeting-house," and for other purposes, it was voted
January 23, 1737-8, " that Deacon Christopher Paige be chosen
to carry a letter to the Proprietors' Committee, and to bring an
answer back : — that the new meeting-house be raised by the
first of July next, provided the three hundred pounds come from
the Proprietors : — that the meeting-house be set on " Gamblin's
Lot,^ on the east side of the Great Meadow Brook." At the
next meeting of the Proprietors, September 7, 1738, it was
" Voted, that the Proprietors are willing that a new meeting-
house be built, provided it be set on the spot of land already
agreed upon by the Proprietors and settlers : ^ and that a com-
mittee be chosen out of the Proprietors to join with the committee
that the settlers shall choose, to agree upon the dimensions of the
house, and other things necessary in order to effect the building
a convenient house for the public worship of God there : and
that the remaining part of the six hundred pounds, which is three
hundred, formerly agreed upon by the Proprietors, to be for the
building a meeting-house, be applied to that use and no other
whatsoever." The town appointed a committee, October 2, 1738,
" to join with the Proprietors' committee, to agree upon the di-
mensions of the meeting-house," etc., and another committee

1 " Gambliu's Lot," on the easterly pect in every direction, and was a more
road to Gilbertville, about a mile south- eligible site for a meetinj^-house than that
easterly from the Common and marked which was finally selected, except that it
" J. Marsh " on the R. map, was after- was not so near the centre of the town-
wards the homestead of Timothy Paige, ship.

Esq., and is now owned by Mr. E. L. B. ^ What action was had by the proprie-

Wesson. Like the northwesterly corner tors in the subsequent controversy does

of the "ten acres," where the first meet- not appear, as their records from Septem-

ing-house probably stood, on the brow of ber 7, 1738, to April 6, 1743, have beea

a hill, it commanded an extensive pros- destroyed.



180 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

November 2, 1738, " to agree with the Proprietors' committee
upon things necessar}^ in order to effect the building of a conven-
ient meeting-house in Lambstown ; and that the said committee
may give to the Proprietors a discharge from building said meet-
ing-house, upon their giving good security to the town of Lambs-
town for the payment of the three hundred pounds appropriated
for the building of the aforesaid meeting-house."

The vote, adopted January 23, 1737-8, "that the meeting-
house be set on Gamblin's Lot," occasioned a sharp controversy
between the east and the west sections of the town, which con-
tinued two years and a half, until a compromise was effected by
abandoning both the "ten acres " and the Gamblin Lot, and
placing the house on the present Common. The violence of the
contest, and the extreme measures adopted by one of the parties
for the accomplishment of its favorite purpose, distinctly appears
in the proceedings of a town-meeting, held in June 1739, under
a warrant, " (1.) To see whether the town is willing and ready
to set off the west part of the town, beginning at Rutland ^ Corner,
and so to run a straight line to Muddy Brook, where the road
runs over said Brook to go to Quoben ;^ — and then to run by
said Brook to the south line of the town ; and said land to be
laid to Quoben. (2.) To see whether the town will choose a
committee to go down to Boston, to treat with Quoben Com-
mittee on the affair," — it was " Voted, That the town is willing
and ready to set off the land on the west side of Muddy Brook,
and said land to be laid to Quoben: — that Benjamin Smith,
Constant Merrick, Cornelius Cannon be a committee chosen to
go down to Boston, to treat with Quoben Committee, or the Rev.
Mr. Timothy Ruggles and John Foster Esq., on the affair : that
the committee shall have but one man's pay for going to Boston
aforesaid. Note. That Samuel Robinson hath entered his detest
against the first and second articles in the warrant. Note. That
David Sabin hath entered his detest against the first and second
articles in the warrant. Note. That John Wells hath entered
his detest against sending a committee to Boston. Note. That
Experience Johnson hath entered his detest against sending a
committee to Boston. Note. That Phinehas Powers hath en-
tered his detest against sending down a committee to Boston."
The proposition to " set off the west part of the town " to Quo-
ben was persistently opposed and finally defeated. After wrang-
ling for somewhat more than a year longer, the former decision

1 Rutland West Wing, now Barre. ^ Qr Quobbiu, now Greenwich.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 181

was reversed, and the majority voted, July 29, 1740, " that tliey
will set the meeting-house on the ten acres on which the old
meeting-house stands : — that whereas this town have stated a
place to set the new meeting-house on, which will accommodate
that part of the town next to Quoben as well as other parts of
the town, that the vote that was passed in this town the last
year, whereby they signified that they were ready and willing to
have a part of this town set off to Quoben, be void and of none
effect."

But this did not end the difficulty. The inhabitants of the
east part of the town, though temporarily in the minority, made
such a sturdy and formidable resistance, that it was not consid-
ered prudent to carry the last vote into execution. Accordingly
another meeting was held, December 15, 1740, when it was voted
"that they will choose a committee^ to state a place where the
meeting-house shall be set in this town, and that their judgement
be a final determination of the affair : — Chose Capt. Josiah Con-
vers, Mr. Elisha Rice, Mr. Noah Ashley, committee : — that all
former committees about building the meeting-house in this town
be dismissed : — chose Capt. Joseph Allen, Mr. Constant Mer-
rick, John Foster, a committee : — that the committee last chosen
shall have the care of building a meeting-house in this town, or
to join with the original Proprietors' committee on the affair ;
and to purchase or otherwise provide land to set said meeting-
house on ; and that they forthwith proceed to get timber cut and
lined, and proceed to have said house framed, and raised, and as
far finished as the money will go that the settlers is to pay, and
all the money raised or to be raised by the land tax, and to let it
out if they shall think best : . . . Chose Mr. Eleazar Warner,
Mr. John Wells,^ to wait on the committee to state a place to set
a meeting-house on, and to go or send to them, to desire them to
come to state a place to set the meeting-house on." The commit-
tee seem to have selected a spot near the centre of the present
Common, instead of the " ten acres " otherwise disposed of, by
the sale of nine and a half acres, and the gift of half an acre to
the " Separate Society." The erection of the long desired edifice
during the ensuing year is indicated by a vote, November 23,
1741, to pay Samuel Robinson for rum and other refreshments,
furnished at the " raising of the new meeting-house." The house
was not finished, however, until several years later, though it was

1 " Not belonging to this town," as ex- 2 " fwo men, one at each end of the
pressed in the warrant. town," as stated in the warrant.



182 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

made habitable. The proprietors did not promptly enforce the
payment of the " three hundred pounds," and it was not easy to
raise the funds necessary to complete the work.^ When the town
was ready to abandon and sell the old house, and did sell it,
March 1, 1742-3, the third article in the warrant, " to see if the
town will raise money ... to build the pulpit and minister's
pew, and body of seats," was passed over without action. The
house seems to have been merely a shell at that time. Three
years later, February 25, 1745-6, a settlement was made with
the committee, by which it appeared that they had thus far ex-
pended .£409. 9. 3. in the erection of the house ; they had re-
ceived of " money raised by the land-tax, £110. 1. 2. ; and of
the ten pounds they have received X243. 0. 0. ; " in all £353. 1. 2.
To meet the deficiency of £56. 8. 1., there was an uncollected
balance of the land-tax £54. 18. 10., and of the ten pounds not
yet gathered £57. 0. 0., in all £111. 18. 10. The account was
not fully settled until December 23, 1747. Even then tlie house
remained in an unfinished state ; for two years later, December
25, 1749, it was " voted that the town will finish the meeting-
house : — voted that they will finish it by plastering it ; " and
£300. 0. 0. was granted to Christopher Paige and Joseph Allen,
to finish the inside of the house. This work seems to have been
accomplished before August 29, 1750, when it was voted to seat
the people anew, " the highest payers in the highest seats, having
respect to age and other qualifications, except such as have pews
in the meeting-house." The house contained a few pews ; but
the larger part of it, as was then customary, was occupied by
long seats, called " the body of seats," for males on one side of the
centre aisle, and for females on the other. Besides these, it seems
several chairs were used ; for it was voted, March 4, 1750-1,
" that the chairs standing in the alleys be ordered into the place
left behind the women seats, and to stand nowhere else." One
more notice closes my account of this meeting-house : it was
voted, March 4, 1754, " that the town refuse to let the young

1 It had not yet become fashionatilc to manifest in their action at a town meeting

contract enormous debts for the erection August 14, 1741, " during Mr. White's

of meeting-houses, and the pioneers wise- indisposition," when it was " Voted, to

ly avoided that folly. Indeed they sub- hire a minister to preach in this town for

mitted to great discomfort, occupying un- two montlis, if the town shall need so

finished houses which furnished scant long: — voted to choose a man to goto

protection in inclement weather, in pref- Mr. Frink, and see if he can hire him for

crence to assuming an indebtedTiess a reasonable price : and if not, to hire an-

whicti might prove burdensome. Their other, — the best he can and cheapest."
perhaps extreme caution in this regard is



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, 183

men that have built u seat in the women's side galleries to have
it there : voted, that the same persons have liberty to build their
seat on the men's side gallery."

This long controversy in regard to the place of public worship
must have grieved the heart of Rev. Mr. White, who was emi-
nently a man of peace ; but he probably lamented even more
bitterly certain dissensions in the church itself, which sadly dis-
turbed its harmony and prosperity, and which culminated in the
resignation of two of its deacons in 1749. " The Church of Christ
in Hardwick met together," September 9, 1747, " to hear and
consider Deacon Christopher Paige's reasons for absenting him-
self from the public worship and ordinances of God." After due
consideration, the church voted that his reasons did not furnish
a satisfactory excuse, and accordingly laid him " under censure,"
and suspended him " from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper."
Unwilling to cast off utterly a brother, who was not only their
first elected deacon, but also one of the most active and honored
citizens of the town, before proceeding to extremities the church
voted, May 24, 1748, " that the Rev. Mr. Edwards, of Northamp-
ton, Mr. Billings, of Coldspring,i Mr. Abercrombie, of Pelham,
Mr. Whitney, of Nitchawagg,^ be applied to, to come to Hard-
wick and give their advice in the case that is between the church
and Deacon Paige." The council assembled and gave advice ;
but the proceedings do not appear on record. " At a church



Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 20 of 73)