D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

. (page 107 of 118)
Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 107 of 118)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


printed. Duriug that year the Alluytou Standard
was started at the Centre by C. G. Esterbrook, aud
continued there till 18C5, when it was sold to Thomas
S. Pratt, and removed to East Abiugton (uow Rock-
land), where it is still published, under the title of
the Rockland Standard. Mr. Pratt sold out to
Edgar Merchant in December, 1S07, and he in turn
to J. S. Smith, the present proprietor, iu the following
March. Mr. Smith has taken special pains to make-
it a newsy local paper, to give all parties a fair hear-
ing, and yet avoid bumiug controversies, and so by
caution, care, and skillful judgment has been able to
bring the paper to more than double its former circu-
lation, which is now extended into all the surrounding
towns.

In the fall of 1882 a department called the " North
Abington Public" was started under the editorship
of Rev. Jesse II. Jones and Linwood S. Pratt, of
that village, which has been an important feature
of the paper ever since. After a year Mr. Pratt re-
tired, having been called to a lucrative position as
teacher in the western part of the State.

In 1873 the Abington. Journal was started at
Abington by George F. Andrews, of Plymouth, and
which still continues, after quite a checkered career,
as the Plymouth County Journal. From Mr. An-
drews it passed into the hands of Arthur P. Ford, who
changed its name to the present form. From him it
was taken by C. Franklin Davis. He in turn yielded
it up to F. W. Rollins, from whom it went to Rev.
L. B. Hatch. Under the management of Mr. Hatch



HISTORY OF ABINGTON.



4S1



it has had a good degree of prosperity, aud still con-
tinues.

The Soulh Abington Times was started about
1S74 by J. W. McDonald, who some two years after
sold out to Arthur A. Sherman. He in turu sold to
Rev. L. B. Hatch, who now publishes it at the same
office with the Plymouth County Journal, though
the two are kept distinct.

For something less than a year — in 1878-79 —
Harvey H. Pratt published a paper at Abington
called the Weekly News. Though a keen, bright,
incisive paper, it failed for want of adequate sup-
port.

In the month of July, 1884, Mr. F. W. Rollins is
starting a paper in South Abington and Abing-
ton.

Pilgrim Lodge, No. 75, I. 0. 0. F., was instituted
by dispensation granted by the grand officers June
13, 1845. Aug. 7, 1845, a charter was granted to the
following petitioners : Samuel D. Jones, L. Teague,
J. B. Hutchinson, Asa Cook, Jr., Samuel Phinuey,
J. H. Case, H. Foster, J. S. Curtis, Absalom Os-
bourne, Samuel G. Capen. The lodge was located
in a new hall on Temple Street, South Abington. In
1848 the lodge removed to Centre Abington, in a hall
owned by James Whitmarsh, uearly opposite the Ab-
ington Bank. In 1859, between January and July,
about fifty of the members took their withdrawal-
cards. In August, 1859, the Noble Grand of the
lodge, William R. Gilson, surrendered its charter,
books, and papers to the Grand Master. During this
time the lodge paid out about six hundred dollars for
benefits and buried one member.

Feb. 2, 1871, a petition was presented to the Grand
Lodge ;iskiug the return of the old charter of Pilgrim
Lodge. This petition was granted, and on March 6,
1871, the grand officers reinstituted Pilgrim Lodge,
No. 75, I. 0. 0. F. The charter members were Wil-
liam R. Gilson, Samuel G. Capen, William Tribou,
Lorenzo C. Gilson, and Cornelius Penniman. On the
same evening three of the members of the old lodge,
five from Mattakeeset Lodge, No. 110, deposited their
cards, and ten were initiated and took their degrees
into the new lodge. The officers were: N. G., Wil-
liam R. Gilson ; V. G., C. Penniman ; Sec, William
Vance; Treas., Charles Bennett. The lodge met in
a hall owned by S. B. Thaxter, now the office of the
Plymouth County Journal. Since then — in 1873 —
the lodge has purchased the old high school build-
ing, on Bank Street, and fitted it up as a nice hall.
In February, 1877, about fourteen of the members
took their cards and formed a new lodge in Rockland.
In February, 1878, about eight took cards and
31



formed a new lodge in Bridgewater. In February,
1883, about twenty-two took cards aud formed a new
lodge in South Abington.

Young Men's Catholic Lyceum Association. —
At the invitation of Rev. M. J. Phelan several of the
Abington Catholic young men assembled together on
the afternoon of Feb. 10, 1S78, to cousider the mat-
ter of forming a literary association. Societies of this
character had been established in St. Bridget's parish
in previous years, but they had " flourished but to
fade."

On the 24th of February, 1878, the Young Men's
Catholic Lyceum Association was organized with the
following board of officers: President, Patrick Jack-
son ; Vice-President, John B. Smith ; Secretary, John
M. Hayes; Treasurer, T. F. Donahoe ; Librarian,
Francis E. Smith; Spiritual Director, Rev. M. J.
Phelan. The hall opposite the Catholic Church was
secured, and on February 27th the first literary exer-
cises by the society were given. Two evenings in the
week were set apart for debates, readings, and the
transaction of the business of the association. The
lyceum soon had a membership of forty, and was in a
prosperous condition, which condition was mainly due
to the untiring efforts of the spiritual director. After
a time, hall-room becoming limited, the question of
securing new headquarters was agitated. In April,
1880, a fair was held which netted one thousand and
nine dollars to the association. On the 22d of the
following July the society was incorporated. The
first officers under the charter were : President, Mat-
thew G. Smith ; Vice-President, Francis E. Smith ;
Clerk, James H. O'Donnell ; Treasurer, William J.
Coughlan ; Librarian, John M.Hayes. The "town
house" was purchased, and fitted up at a great ex-
pense. In the upper part is Lyceum Hall, which is
neatly furnished, and has fine acoustic properties.
Beneath are the supper halls, the society room, and a
gymnasium. The property is valued at sixty-five hun-
dred dollars. The society is in a flourishing coudition,
having at the present day a membership of fifty-five.
Connected with the association is the Lyceum Or-
chestra, one of the best orchestras in town.

Mount Vernon Cemetery. — This cemetery, con-
taining about forty acres, is probably unsurpassed in
uatural advantages by any cemetery in the common-
wealth. It was established in 1852, the first annual
meeting being held October 25th of that year.

The first president was Stetson Vaughn, Esq., aud
the first secretary and treasurer was Rev. N. Gunni-
son, both since deceased. The preseut president is
Joseph Vaughn, Esq., and Henry A. Noyes, secre-
tary and treasurer. It may be remarked in this con-



482



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



neetion that Mr. Noyes is serving for the tweuty-fifth
year on the board of selectmen.

State Police. — Mr. George C. Pratt, who had pre-
viously been a member of the firm of J. M. Culver
& Co., was appointed on the State police force in
I860', and, with the exception of one year, has served
continuously ever since. This is especially worthy of
note, inasmuch as the ofiice is a political one. There
is now no one on the force that was a member when
Mr. Pratt was appointed. He has met with great
success in detective work. He conducted the inves-
tigations in the Andrews murder case at Kingston,
the Sturtevant murder case at Halifax, and the Guun
murder case at Bridgewatcr. He is a native of South
Weymouth, but has resided many years in North
Abiugton.

Island Grove Park. — This park, formerly known
as Island Grove, coutains about fourteen acres. It
was purchased by the town for a park in 1S82, and
remains in its natural state, very little having been
expended for improvements. Beneath the shelter of
its grand old trees there have been held niauy notable
gatherings in the interest of the anti-slavery and
temperance reforms. Here young and old in almost
couutless numbers have resorted for amusement, rec-
reation, and instruction. The eloquence and stirring
words of Webster, Garrison, Sumner, Phillips, An-
drew, and many others less widely known, have made
the park a place of historic interest. Its natural
beauty is further enhanced by a pond which almost
surrounds a portion of its area. The present park
commissioners are Hon. Henry B. Peirce, Capt. M.
N. Arnold, and Horace A. Chamberlin.

Ecclesiastical History — The First Church and
Society in Abington. — The precise date when the
First Church of Abiugton was formed cau never be
known, as the first records that are at hand bear the
date of 1724, while it is definitely known that, " In
answer to a unanimous call, the llev. Samuel Brown
came to Abington to preach Dec. 8, 1711, and was
ordained Nov. 17, 1714. The church was probably
organized at the time of Mr. Brown's ordination. It
was founded by eight male members, — the llev. Sam-
uel Brown, William Hersey, Andrew Ford, William
Tirrell, Ebenezer Whitmarsh, Joseph Josselyn, Wil-
liam Reed, and Joseph Lincoln. The names of the
female members are not recorded ; but in the year
1724, the first date of definite record, the church con-
sisted of forty-six members, — twenty-one males and
twenty-five females. The church was formed with-
out declaring any definite articles of religious faith,
the Westminster Catechism being accepted and used
as authority upon this matter; and its solemn com-



pact of covenant was the same in spirit, and much
the same in form, as that still contiuued. The fol-
lowing is a verbatim copy, which we desire inserted
as an evidence in history that the mother-church of
Abington and neighboring towns has not changed her
essential faith :

" The Church Covenant^ atjreed ujiou and entered into and
eiyned by a number of Brethren at the jlrttt founding uf the
Church of Chrint in Abinyton, and iiftertc<tril atoned by the
other Brethren us they joined in Cmuinnnion here.

"We, whoso mimes are undersigned, apprehending ourselves
culled of God to unite together in the bonds of Gospel commu-
nion and fellowship, and to enter into covenant with God and
with one another for our mutual comfort and edification in the
Lord Jesus Christ : Therefore, under a soul-huuibling sense of
our being in Covenant with God, and our insufficiency to keep
covenant with him without the assistance of Divine presence
and assistance, humbly relying upon free grace for help, and
in bumblu confidence of acceptance, We do, in the name of our
Lurd Jesus Christ, and with all possible solemnity, Explicitly
and Expressly Covenant and bind ourselves in manner and
form following: that is to sny, We do give up ourselves and
our offspring uuto the God alone whose name is Joho\ ah, Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit; cleaving unto God our Father as our
chiefest good; and unto our Lord Jesus Christ as our only
Prophet, Priest, and King, and only Mediator of the new Cov-
enant of Grace; and unto the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and
Sauctilicr; and we do give up ourselves one uuto another iu
the Lord, covenanting to walk together as a Church of Christ
in all ways of his own instituting, agreeable to the proscrip-
tions of his Holy Word; Promising that, with all tenderness
and brotherly love, we will faithfully watch over one another's
souls, and that we will freely yield ourselves to the discipline
and power of Christ in his Church, and attend those seals and
censures, and whatsoever ordinances Christ bath appointed ac-
cording to the rules and order of the Gospel; and wherein we
fail and come short in duty, to wait upon God through Christ
for pardon and remission, beseeching him to make our spirits
steadfast in his covenant, und to own us as his ChurPh and
covenant people forever. All en."

The church has had but eleven pastors during its
history of one huudrcd and seventy years. The first
three were ordained to and died in their service at
Abington. Their united pastorate covered — within
less than a year's time — the first century of the
church's history.

Twenty deacons have been choseu, of whom four
— Joseph Cleverly, John A. King, Joshua L. Nash,
and HeDry A. Noyes — retain that office at this date.
The following are the names of the pastors and
deacous:

Pastors. — Rev. Samuel Brown, ordained Nov. 17,
1714, died Sept. 19, 1749 ; Rev. Ezekicl Dodge, or-
dained May 23, 1750, died June 5, 1770 ; Rev.
Samuel Niles, ordained Sept. 25, 1771, died Jan.
16, 1814 ; Rev. Holland Weeks, installed Aug. 9,
1815, dismissed July 27, 1820 ; Rev. Samuel Spring,
ordained Jan. 2, 1822, dismissed Dec. 20, 182G ; Rev.
William Shedd, installed July 1, 1829, "dismissed



HISTORY OP ABINGTON.



483



April S, 1830; Rev. Melauchthou G. Wheeler,
installed Oct. 13, 1S31, dismissed September, 1833;
Rev. James W. Ward, ordaiued May 21, 1834, dis-
missed Nov. 23, 1856; Rev. F. R. Abbe, ordaiued
Sept. 3, 1857, dismissed June 14, 1870; Rev.
George E. Freeman, installed Dec. 26, 1871, dis-
missed June 25, 1S80 ; Rev. Robert W. Haskios,
installed Nov. 2, 1881.

Dencmis. — Ebenezer Whituursh, chosen Dec. 18,
1714; Joseph Lincoln, Feb. 17, 1717 ; Samuel French,

, 1722; Edward Bates, March 25, 1727;

Jacob Shaw, Dec. 30, 1735; Sumuel Pool, Aug. 16,
1750; John Noyes, Aug. 16, 1750; Daniel Shaw,
betweeu 1777 and 1779; Eleazer Williams, between
1777 and 1779; Jacob Tirrcll, before 1S20; David
Torrey, before 1S20 ; Edward Cobb, Nov. 25, 1823;
Richard Vining, Nov. 25, 1823 ; Joshua King,
April 1, 1840; Jacob Cobb, April 1, 1840; Joseph
Cleverly, April 1, 1840 ; Zadok Nash, June 1, 1855 ;
John A. King, March 9, 1858 ; Joshua L. Nash,
March 9, 1858; Henry A. Noyes, Dec. 30, 1864.

Auioug the marked men in the catalogue of its
pastors, lueu who put the stamp of an individual
character upou the church and the town, aud indeed
exteuded au influence to the Legislature of the com-
monwealth, may be mentioned Rev. Samuel Niles
and Rev. James W. Ward.

Fur nearly a century this was the only church for
the families over the entire area now known as
Abington, South Abingtou, and Rockland.

The whole number of persons uniting with the
church can never be known, on account of defective
records. Three colonies have gone from this to form
other churches, — the first at South Abington, iu
1S0S; second at East Abington (Rockland), in
1S13 ; aud third at North Abington, in 1839. At
the formation of the last (North Abington) about fifty
members were set off.

Notwithstanding this repeated drain from its mem-
bership, the church has held its place iu numbers and
power among the first of the surrounding towns.

The church has held with a firm and yet Christian
grasp to its original Bible faith, even iu times of pe-
culiar and strong influences to draw it away, as in
1820, when the fourth pastor, Rev. Holland Weeks,
drifted into the system of belief taught by Emanuel
Swcdenborg, aud began to teach the same from the
pulpit, wheu " he was requested by the church and
society to ask a dismission." This request resulted
in the call of a mutual council, the result of which
was a peaceable but positive advice that the relation-
ship betweeu the pastor and people be dissolved. In
a few months the church was harmoniously united



under the pastorate of the Rev. Samuel Spring, aud
scarce a ripple of false doctriue left upon the surface
of the society.

For intelligence, wealth, and business integrity
Centre Abington has an historic reputation iu this
section of Massachusetts, and it is enough for this
history simply to note the fact that when the town
was forming this character it was uuder the direct
moral aud religious influence of the Mother Chris-
tian Church of the original township.

" The first parish was composed of the whole towu
until 1808, and all parish business was transacted at
town-meetings, with other town business. The first
meeting as a separate parish was called March 22,
1S08, by a warraut from Luke Bicknell, Esq., justice
of the peace, and was notified by John Kiug. Since
that time the parish records have been kept separate."

The first meeting-house stood on Washington Street,
in front of the old burying-ground, near where the
residence of Mr. Otis Soule, Esq., now stands. It
was a small house, without steeple, bell, or pews,
benches being used for seats. This house was taken
down in 1751, and a new one, seventy feet long, fifty
wide, and twenty-six feet posts, was built some four
or five rods southwesterly from where Hatherly Hall
now stands. The third house (now Hatherly Hall)
was built in 1819, and was used until the preseut
house was dedicated, Aug. 31, 1849.

Iu 1869 the preseut house was eularged, and spa-
cious lecture- and Sunday-school rooms fiuished be-
neath. At that time, also, it was determined by vote
of the society to purchase and hold the pews, aud re-
seat the house. The above repairs and purchase of
pews involved the society iu very large expenditures
and obligations, leaving a debt of something more
than eight thousand dollars, but about one-half of
which had been canceled at the settlement of the
present pastor. Since that time the rcmainiug four
thousand of the debt has been paid, and extensive re-
pairs begun, with the fixed determination that these
shall proceed only as funds are secured. Aud upou
this principle some four hundred dollars have already
been appropriated. The present membership of the
church is one hundred and sixty-six.

Never has the prospect of the First Church and
Society of Abington been brighter for making worthy
history for her sons to write in continuation of these
pages.

The North. Parish, in Abington was formed April
8, 1S39, and commenced building a house for public
worship immediately. This was ready to be occupied
in October. On the third of that month a church,
known as the Fourth Congregatioual Church, in



484



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



Abiugton, was formed, with forty-nine members.
Rev. Willard Peirce, of Foxboro', was called to the
pastorate, and was installed April 8, 1840. During
the year there was a revival of religion, and fifteeu
persons were added to the church. Another revival
followed in 1842, when some twenty five more were
added. May 1, 1850, Mr. Peirce was dismissed, at
his own request, on account of ill health, but con-
tinued to reside there till his death, some ten years
later.

The next pastor, Rev. J. C. White, was ordained
Oct. 23, 1850, and cootinued until Feb. 21, 1SG0.
During his ministry forty-six were added to the
church. After this Rev. William Leonard supplied
for upwards of a year. Then for some five years
there were trausient supplies, one of which was Rev.
Martin Moore, who supplied for six months, during
which eight were added to the church. Also during
this period Rev. David Brigham acted as pastor for a
season.

June 5, 1866, Rev. Benjamin Dodge was installed
as pastor, and remained until June 22, 1870. During
this time eleven persons were added to the church.

From July 1, 1870, to April 1, 1872, Rev. David
Brigham was again acting pastor, during which
period he came to the fiftieth anniversary of his en-
tering the ministry.

During 1872 the meeting-house was remodeled at
an expense of some seven thousand dollars, the chief
movers in the matter being Mr. James H. Gleason and
Mr. David Beals. By this means the house was
made a model of beauty and delicate good, not sur-
passed, if indeed it is equaled, by anything in the
region. This work being finished, Rev. Dennis
Powers preached for a few months from May, 1873.

Jan. 1, 1874, Rev. Jesse H. Jones became acting
pastor, and so continued until the first Sabbath in
May, 18S0. During this period thirteen were added
to the membership.

Following him directly Rev. Robert F. True sup-
plied for a year, and was ordained in December. Eight
united with the church under his labors.

After casual supplies for a year, Rev. Jesse H.
Jones was recalled, and began to preach the first Sab-
bath in May, 1882, and so continues.

The First Society of the New Jerusalem in
Abington dates its origin back to the work and labor
of the Rev. Holland Weeks, the fourth minister of the
First Religious (now the Congregational) Society of
Abington. Mr. Weeks was a graduate of Dartmouth
College, class of 1795, and installed as pastor Aug.
9, 1815. After having his attention at sundry times
accidentally called to the doctrines of the New Jeru-



salem Church, he began to read them systemati-
cally, Oct. 10, 1818, and soon began to preach them
to his society, to whom the teaching continued to
be acceptable until 1820. In that year he was re-
quested by his church and society to ask a dismission
on account of the change he had undergone as to
doctrinal views. His connection with the society was
terminated in that year, and Mr. Weeks removed
from Abington in 1821.

His preaching had left a permanent impression
upon five or six persons. Others soon gathered about
them, and some young persons became interested in
1824. In the year 1827 the receivers first began to
hold meetings for public worship on the Sabbath in
the westerly part of the town. In 1830 the receivers
were legally organized as a distinct religious society.
It is notable that not one lady was among these early-
organizers, and the twelve persons forming the origi-
nal legal body were three brothers each of four differ-
ent families, viz. : Elisha, Lucius, and Calvin Faxou ;
Isaiah, Daniel, and Ira Noyes ; Edward, Austin, and
Luther Cobb ; and, lastly, Bartlett, Isaac, and Eben-
ezer Robbins. These were legally organized by Eze-
kiel Thaxter, a justice of the peace, under the name
of the " First Society of the New Jerusalem in Ab-
ington." The same year the meetings for public
worship were changed to the ceutre of the town, and
were held for several years in the former residence
of the Rev. Holland Weeks, now the parsonage of
the present society. In the winter of 1833-34 the
society, with the assistance of others who were in-
terested in the doctrines, erected a building called the
"New Church Hall," in which meetings for public
worship were held for twenty-two years.

In 1835 the society was organized to conform with
the recommendations of the general body, repre-
sented by the " General Convention of the New
Church," and after appropriate services, was received
into that body through representatives from Boston.
In 1855-56 a new building was erected corner of
Centre and Dunbar Streets. In this temple meetings
for public worship have been continuously held since
its dedication, June 19, 1856.

Preaching was maintained more or less regularly
between the years of 1827 and 1838. From 1827
to 1832, Rev. Eleazer Smith and Rev. Samuel Wor-
cester preached occasionally for the society. During
1833 and in the spriug of 1834 the Rev. Henry A.
Worcester ministered unto them, and in August,
1834, the Rev. Warren Goddard, of North Bridge-
water (now Brocktou), commenced preaching fur the
society, and contiuued for the most of the time uutil
January, 1838. Iu July of the same year Mr.



HISTORY OF ABINGTON.



4S5



Joseph Peltee was ordained and installed its pastor,
and continued in his office until 1873, when he was
called to become the presiding minister (now called
the general pastor) of the Massachusetts Association
of the New Church. The Rev. Horace W. Wright
was the minister of the society from 1S73 until 1878.
Iu 1379, until April, 1880, the Rev. D. Vincent
Boweu preached for the society. Since the last
date the Rev. Jacob E. Werren, who was installed
its pastor in March, 1882, has officiated for the
society.

The society is practically free from debt, and owns
beside the tasteful temple a parsonage ou Bedford
Street, corner of Brockton Avenue. The church has
a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty. The
average attendance at the regular Sabbath morning
service is about eighty. The whole number of com-
municauts is about eighty. Beside the morning
worship, courses of Sunday evening lectures are
maintained part of the year. The Sabbath-school is
under a superintendent with a corps of teachers. It
has a membership of from forty to fifty children, and
a class of adults.

The Abington Society is a member of the Massa-
chusetts Association, aud through it is connected with
and reports to the General Convention, which is the
natioual body of the New Jerusalem Church of
America and Canada.

The church has no formulated creed, although it
requires for admissiou into membership the assent to
the followiug principles of the faith of the New
Church :

" There is One God, in whom is a Divine Trinity,



Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 107 of 118)