D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

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

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1721). Benjamin Warren.

1721. Isaac Lothrop.

1722. Josiuli Cotton.
1723-21. Isaac Lothrop.

1725. Josiah Cotton.

1726. John Foster.
1727-30. Isaac Lothrop.
1731-33. Josiah Cotton.
1734-35, Isaac Lothrop.
1730. Josiah Cottou.
1737. James Warren.
173S. Josiah Cotton.
1739-41. James Warren.
1712. Stephen Churchill.
1713-15. Luiiarus Le Baron.
1710. Ha v Hand Torrey.
1747. Lazarus Lc Baron.
1743-49. Haviland Torrey.
1750. Thomas Foster.
1751-57. Lazarus Lo Baron.
175S. Josiah Morton.
1750. Lazarus Lo Baron.

1700. Edward Winslow.

1701. Lazarus Le Baron.

1702. James Ilovey.
1703-04. Lazarus Le Baron.
1705. Thomas Foster.
1700-74. James Warren.
1775-70. John Torrey.
1777-7S. John Cotton.
1779. Ephraim Spooner.
17S0. John Cotton.
1781. Joshua Thomas.

From 1651 until about the year 1700, and occa-
sionally afterwards until the new court-house iu Town
Square was built iu 1749, town-meetings were held
in the meeting-house. When it was proposed to take
down the old court-house, in 1748, the town offered to
pay one thousand pounds of old tenor money more
than its share as a county town towards the erection
of a new one, provided the town could have the privi-
lege of using it as long as it should stand for the trans-
action of the town's business. This offer with its
conditions was accepted, and until 1821 the county
court-house was used for town-meetings. In that year
after the erection of the present court-house, the
building was bought by the town for a town-house,
at a cost of two thousand dollars, and has since been
devoted to town purposes. As originally designed by
Judge Oliver, of Middleboro', the front door was at
the east end, but in 1786 it was changed to the north
side, and a market established at the end towards the
street, to which it gave its name. The market as
first built consisted of a one-story wooden projection,
which was finally taken away, and accommodations
in the basement were substituted. In 1839 the hall
was remodeled, it having retained until that time all



1752. John Cotton.

1753. Joshua Thomas.

1754. Andrew Croswell.
1785-Sfi. Joshua Thomas.
1737. Andrew Croswell.
17S8. Joshua Thomas.
1789-00. Thomas Davis.
1791. Andrew Croswell.
1792-93. Joshua Thomas.
1794. Andrew Croswell.
1795-1810. Joshua Thomas.
1S17-20. William Jackson.
1821. Zabitiol Sampson.
1S22. William Jackson.
1S23-24. Zabdiel Sampson.
1S25. William Jackson.
1S20. Zabdiel Sauipson.
1827. William Jackson.
1328. Zabdiel Sauipson.
1829-41. Johu B. Thomas.
1842-41. John Russell.
1845. WilliamS. Bartlett.
1346. John Russell.
1847-49. Jacob II. Loud.
1850. John Russell.
1S51-52. William Davis.
1853-55. Jacob II. Loud.
1856. William II. Spear.
1857-58. William T. Davis.
1859. Jacob H. Loud.
1800-67. William T. Davis.
1868-74. Albert Mason.
1875-78. William T. Davis.
1879-81. William H. Nelson.
1882-84. William T. Davis.



the old features of a court-room. In 1858 a room
which had been previously occupied as a fire-engine
room was converted into a selectmen's room, and the
engine moved into the abandoned market. In 1881
the hall in the second story, then found too small for
the wants of the growing population, was granted,
temporarily, by the town to the public library, and is
now undergoing changes to furnish offices for the
various boards of the town, while town-meetings are
now held in private halls hired for the occasion. The
predecessor of the present building was built before
the union of the colonies in 1692, and is referred to
in records and deeds as the " country house." It was
built ou land which had never been granted by the
town or colony to any individual, and which has
always been identified with the uses of government.
Here the General Court, the Court of Assistants, and
the courts of law were held, the latter after the in-
corporation of the county, in 1685, at which date it is
possible that it was erected. The government land
extended in the rear of the estates on Market Street
across High Street, not then laid out, to Summer
Street where the prison stood until 1773, when a new
prison was built uear the spot on which the present
court-house stands. After the union of the colonies
the property, if ever in the possession of the county,
passed into the hands of the province of Massachu-
setts Bay, as is shown by a grant of a portion of the
laud by the General Court of the province to Na-
thaniel Thomas, in 1694. It is a matter of interest
that the spot is still identified with the purposes to
which it was originally devoted, and it is earnestly
hoped that no ill-advised ambition will ever lead the
town into its abandonment.

In 1656 the death of Miles Standish occurred at
Duxbury, followed in the next year by that of Wil-
liam Bradford, then holding for the twenty-fifth year
the office of Governor ; the former at about the age
of seventy, and the latter of sixty-eight. Standish
has been represented by some writers as a man of
very advanced age, but there are reasons for putting
his age no greater than above stated, which are re-
inforced by the fact that when hostilities with the
Dutch were feared in 1653, he was appointed to
command the force of the colony. With the deaths
of these two men the original leaders of the Pilgrims
disappeared, and with them much of the sweetuess
and moderation and liberality which, under their in-
fluence and example, had characterized the Old Colony.
Bradford had scarcely been three months in his grave
before the narrower spirit of Massachusetts begau to
make itself felt where he had always exercised a re-
straining hand. . The old Pilgrim Colouy had been



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



121



inundated and overwhelmed by migrations from her
sister colony. Taunton, Rehoboth, Barnstable, Sand-
wich, and Yarmouth — all represented in the General
Court — had been settled by immigrants having little
or no affiliations with the colony into which they had
come, who were permeated with the modes of thought
and of legislation characterizing the colony they had
left. Governor Bradford died in March, and in the
June following it was ordered by the court " that in
case any shall briug in any quaker ranter or other
notorious heretics, either by land or water, into any
part of this Government, shall forthwith upon order
from any one magistrate return them to the place
from whence they came, or clear the Government of
them, on the penalty of paying a fine of twenty shil-
lings for every week that they shall stay in the Gov-
ernment after warning." This order was a mild form
of the law inspiring it, which was enacted by the
Massachusetts court the year before, aud which is as
follows : " Whereas there is a cursed set of heretics
lately risen up in the world which are commonly
called quakers. who take upon them to be imme-
diately sent of God and infallibly assisted by the
spirit to speak and write blasphemous opinions, de-
spising government and the order of God in church
and commonwealth, speaking evil of dignities, re-
prouching and reviling magistrates and ministers,
seeking to turn the people from the faith, and gain
proselytes to their pernicious ways ; The Court, con-
sidering the premises and to prevent the like mischief
as by their means is wrought in our native land, Doth
hereby order, and by the authority of this court be it
ordered and enacted, that no master or commander of
any ship, bark, pinnace, ketch, or other vessel shall
henceforth bring into any harbor, creek, or cove
within the jurisdiction any knowu quaker or quakers,
or any blasphemous heretics, as aforesaid, upou the
penalty of the forfeiture of one hundred pounds, to
be forthwith paid to the treasurer of the county, ex-
cept it appear that such master wanted true notice or
information that they were such, and in that case he
may clear himself by his oath when sufficient proof
to the contrary is wanting."

There is nothing of the spirit of Robinson in such
enactments as these, and there is nothing of the spirit
of chose who followed him and were bound to him by
almost apostolic ties. Nearly all of these — Carver,
Warren, Hopkins, White, Brewster, Bradford, Wins-
low, Fuller, Chilton, and Tilley — had died, and those
who were left offered a feeble barrier to the tide of
bigotry which had now set in. But to the persecu-
tion of the Quakers which followed, what was left of
the Pilgrim spirit did not yield its ready assent.



Isaac Robinson, a son of the pastor, by his sym-
pathy with the new sect became obnoxious to the
government, and was dismissed from civil employ-
ment. James Cudworth, one of the commissioners
of the United Colonies from Plymouth aud after-
wards Deputy Governor, refused to sign the man-
ifesto of the commissioners warning the colonies of
the danger from the irruption of the heretics within
their jurisdiction, and was tried as " an opposer of
the laws, and sentenced to be deprived of the free-
dom of the commonwealth aud to lose his military
command." Isaac Allerton and Arthur Howlaud
exhibited the same liberality of spirit and suffered
equal indignities. The prosecution was not carried
on by the Pilgrims, and their heart and hand were
not in it, any more than in the exile of Williams
nearly a quarter of a century before. A somewhat
significant answer to those who still charge the Pil-
grims with illiberality towards those who differed from
them in opinion may be found in the following ex-
tract from Winslow's brief narrative, published in
1646:

" As for the Dutch, it was usual for our members that under-
stood the language and lived in or occasionally came over to
Leyden to communicate with them, as one John Jenncy (a pas-
senger in the 'Ann,' 1623), a brewer, long did, his wife mid
family, and without any offence to the church. So also for any
that had occasion to travel into any other part of the Nether-
lands they daily did the like. And our Pastor, Mr. Robinson,
in the time when Arminiauism prevailed so much, at the re-
quest of the most orthodox divines, as Polyander, Festus,
llommius, Ac, disputed daily against Episcopius (iu the Acad-
emy at Leyden) and others, the grand champions of that error,
and had as good respect among them as any of their own
divines, inasmuch as when God took him away from tliem
and us by death the University and ministers of the city ac-
companied him to his grave with all their accustomod solem-
nities, bewailing the great loss that not only that particular
church had whereof he was pastor, but some of the chief of
them sadly affirmed that all the churches of Christ sustained a
loss by the death of that worthy instrument of the Gospel. I
could instance also divers of these members that understood the
English tongue and botook themselves to the communion of our
ohurch, went with us to New England, as Godbert Godbertson
(passenger in the ' Ann,' 1623, and afterwards called Cuthbert
Cuthbertson). Yea, at this very instant another called Moses
Symonson(Pas8engerin the ' Fortune,' 1621, whose descendauts
bear the name of Simmons), because a child of one that was in
oommunion with the Dutch church at Leyden is admitted into
church fellowship at Plymouth, iu New England, and his
children also to baptism, as well as our own and other Dutch
also in communion at Salem. As for the French churches that
we held and do hold communion with them, take notice of our
practioe at Leyden, viz., that one Samuel Terry was received
from the French ohurch there into communion with us. Also
the wife of Franchi Cooke, being a Walloon (an inhabitant of
the district on the borders of France and Belgium), holds com-
munion with the ohurch at Plymouth, as she came from the
French, to this day by virtue of communiun of churches. There
is also one Philip Delanoy (De la Noye, a passenger in the ' For-



122



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



tunc/ 1021), bora of Freuch parents, came to us from Leyden
to New Plymouth, who, coming to age of discerning, demanded
also communion with us, and proving himself to become of such
parents as were in full communiun with the French churches,
was hereupon admitted by the Church of Plymouth."

Nor was the liberal spirit disclosed in this extract
withheld from the English Church itself. So sensi-
tive were the Pilgrims to the impropriety and un-
christian charity of denouncing even the sect out of
whose jurisdiction they had stepped, that Wiuslow
could truthfully say, " 'Tis true we profess and desire |
to practice a separation from the world and the works ]
of the world, which arc works of the flesh such as the
apostle speaketh of. And as the churches of Christ
are all saiuts by calling, so we desire to see the Grace
of God shining forth (at least seemingly, leaving secret
things to God) in all we admit unto church fellow-
ship with us, and to keep off such as opeuly wallow
in the mire of their sins, that neither the holy things of
God, nor the communion of the saints, may be leavened
or polluted thereby. And if any joining to us form-
erly, either when we lived at Leyden, in Holland, or
since we came to New England, have, with the mani-
festation of their faith and profession of holiness, held
forth therewith separation from the Church of Eng-
land, I have divers times, both in the one place and
the other, heard either Mr. Robinson, our pastor, or
Mr. Brewster, our elder, stop them forthwith, show-
ing them that we required no such things at their
hands, but only to hold forth faith in Christ Jesus,
holiness in the fear of God, leaving the Church of
England to themselves and to the Lord, before whom
they should stand or fall, or to whom we ought to
pray to reform what was amiss amongst them."

As an answer to the other charge so often made
that Roger Williams was treated with severity by the
Pilgrims at Plymouth and expelled from their bor-
ders, let the following extract from Bradford's history
suffice:.

"Mr. Uoger Williams (a niun godly and zealous, having
many precious parts, but very unsettled in judgment) camo over
first to the Massachusetts, but, upon some discontent, le/t the
place and came hither (Plymouth), where he was friendly on-
tertained accurding to their poor ability, and exercised his gifts
amongst ttiem, aud aftor somo time was admitted a member of
tbo church; aud his teaching well for the beneht, appeared
whereof I still bless Clod, aud am thankful to him even for his
sharpest admonitions and reproofs so far as they agreed with
truth. lie this year (1633) began to fall into some strange
opinions, aud from opinion to practice, which caused some con-
troversy between the chinch and him, and iu thu end some
discontent on his part, by occasion whereof be left them some
thing abruptly. Yet after wards sued for his dismission to the
church of Salem, which was granted, with some caution to them
concerning him, and what eare they ought to have of him. Hut
he soun fell iuto more things there, both to them and the gov-
ernment trouble and disturbance. I shall uot need to name



particulars, they are too well known now to all, though for a
time the church here went under some bard censure by her oc-
casion from some that afterwards smarted themselves. But he
is to he pitied and prayed for, and so I shall leave the matter,
and desire the Lord to show biui his errors aud reduce him into
the way of truth, and give him a settled judgment and con-
stancy in the same; for I hope be belongs to the Lord, and
that be will show him mercy."

If any further testimony on this point is needed,
let that of Elder Brewster, as recorded by Nathaniel
Morton in " New England's Memorial,'' be added :

" In the year 1634, Mr. Roger Williams removed from Plym-
outh to Salem. He had lived about three years at Plymouth,
where he was well accepted as an assistant in the Ministry to
Mr. Ralph Smith, the Pastor of the Church there, but by de-
grees venting of divers of his own singular opinions, and seek-
ing to impose them upon others, he not tindiog auch a concur-
rence as he expected, he desired his dismission to the church of
Salem, which, though some were unwilling to yield, through
the prudent counsel of Mr. Brewster (tbo ruling elder there),
fearing that bis contiuuance amongst them might cause divis-
ion, and there being then many able men in the Ltay, they
would better deal with him than themselves could, and foresee-
ing (what he professed he feared concerning Mr. Williams,
which afterwards came to pass) that ho would run the same
course of rigid separation and auabaptistry which Mr. John
Smith, the Sebaptist at Amsterdam, had done. The church of
Plymouth consented to his dismission, and such as did adhere
to him were algo dismissed, and removed with him, or nut long
after him, to Salem."

Nor waa the moderation of the Pilgrims, as com-
pared with their sister colonists, confined to those
who differed from them in religious opinion. It was
shown also in the treatment of witchcraft. The fol-
lowing extracts from the Old Colony Records cover
the two solitary cases which were brought before the
Colony Court. In one the accuser was sentenced to
be either whipped or to make public acknowledg-
ment of her offense, and in the other the accused was
acquitted.

" General Court, March 5, 1660.

"Joseph Sylvester, of Marshfield, doth acknowledge to owe
and to stand indebted unto his majesty, his heirs, Ac. in the
sum of twenty pounds sterling in guud and current pay : the
condition of this obligation is that in euse Dina Sylvester shall
and doth appear at the Court of Assistants to be holdcn at Plym-
outh tbo first Tuesday in May next, aud attend the court's
determination in reference to a complaint made by W m Holmes
and bis wife about a matter of defamation ; that then this obli-
gation to be void or otherwise to remain in full force and
virtue.

"In witness the ubove bounden hath hereunto set bis hand
thu 9th of March, 1660. Joski-u Svi.vkstku.

'* Dina Sylvester, being examined, saith the bear she saw was
about a stone's throw from the highway when she saw it; and
being examined and asked what manner of tail the bear had,
she said she could not tell for his bead was towards her.

"May 9, 1661. Coocerning the complaint of W ,u Holmes, of
Marshlleld, aguinst Dinah Sylvester, for accusing his wife to
be a witch. The court bavo sentenced that the said Dina shall
either be publicly whipped and pay the Bum of five pounds to



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH.



123



the sui<l W™ Holmes, ur in ciwe she, the suid Dina Sylvester,
ahull make puhlie acknowledgement of her fault in the premises
that then she shall bear only the charge the Plaintiff hath been
at iu the prosecution of his said suit. The latter of which was ;
chosen and done by the said Dinnb Sylvester, viz., a public
acknowledgement made as followeth.

" May 'J, 1661. To the Hon. Court assembled, whereas I have i
been convicted in mutter of defamation concerning Goodwife j
Holmes, 1 do hereby acknowledge I have injured luy neighbor j
and have sinned against God in so doing, though I had enter- j
tained hard thoughts against the woman ; for it had been my
duty to declare my grounds, if I bad any, unto somo magistrate
in a way of God and not to have divulged my thoughts to |
others to the woman's: defamation. Therefore, I do acknowl- I
edge my sin iu it, and do humbly beg this Honorable Court to
forgive me aud all other Christian people that be offended at it,
and do promise by the help of God to do so no more; and al-
though I do not remember all that the witnesses do testify, I
do rather mistrust my memory and submit to the evidence.
"The mark of Dinah Sylvester.

" March fi, 1676/7.

"The Inditeinent of Mary Ingham.

" Mary Ingham : thou art indited by the name of Mary Ing-
ham, the wife of Thomas Ingham, of the towne of Scituate in
the jurisdiction of New l'lymouth for that thou, haveing not
the fcaic of God beforo thync eyes, hast by the healp of the
divill in a way of witchcraft or sorcery, maliciously procured
mucii hurt, mischeiffc and paine unto the body of Mebittuble
Woodwoiih, the daughter of Walter Woodworth, of Scituate
alorsaid, and some others and particularly causing her, the said
Mebittable, to fall into violent fitts, and causing great paine
unto scvcrall parts of ber body att sevcrall times, sue as shee
the said Mehittable Woodworth, hath bin almost bereaved of
her scucis, and hath greatly languished, to her much suffering
thereby, and the procuring of great greitt'e, sorrow, and chargo
to her purcnU ; all which thou hatit procured and don against
the law of God, and to his great dishonor, and contrary to our
sov lord the Kinge, his crowue and dignitee.

" The said Mary Iughaui did putt herselfe on the tryall of
God and the countrey, and was cleared of this inditeinent in
processo of law by a jury of twelve men, whose names fullow :
( Mr. Thomas Huckens. f Marke Snow.

I John Wudsworth. Joseph Bartlett.

I John Howland. ! John Richmond.

Sworn -j Abl . ahilin J ttc k 50u . Sworn \ j erud 'falbutt.

Bcnujah Pratt. John Foster.

j John Blacke. i Seth Pope.

"The jury brought in not guilty, and soe the said prisoner was
cleared aa above said."

This moderation was exercised also towards crim-
inals. Until 1671 the only crimes punishable by
death were treason or rebelliou against the person
of the king, State, or commonwealth, either of Eug-
land or the colonies, willful murder, solemn compac-
tion or conversing with the devil by way of witch-
craft or conjunction, willful burning of ships, houses,
and sodomy, rape, and buggery. In the Massachu-
setts Colony as early as 1046 no less than thirteen
capital crimes were specified in the laws ; and in
1671, after the old tenderness of spirit which had
characterized Pilgrim legislation had given way under
new and outside influences, these were incorporated in



the Plymouth code. In view of all the circumstances
of the case, no fair-minded man can review the history
of the Plymouth Colony without not only disc-aiding
its later enactments and methods as true te.-ds of the
temper of the Pilgrims, but also finding its earlier
spirit — their real character — becoming sweeter aud
brinhter and nobler by contrast.

Though Governor Bradford had a house iu that
part of Plymouth which is now Kingston, which he
probably occupied while he was out of otfice, he
was undoubtedly occupying the government house on
the corner of Main Street and Town Square at the
time of his death, and was buried on Burial Hill.
In the division of lands in 1623 he had three acres
assigned to him on the shore uear Doten's wharf,
which were probably used for cultivation alone.
Though tradition fails to mention any stone to his
memory, the gravestones of his sons, William and
Joseph, iudicate the spot of his burial. His son,
William, who was Deputy Governor of the colony at
the time of the union, and afterwards councillor of
Massachusetts, died in Kingston iu 1703, and Ebcn-
ezer Cobb, then nine years of age, who lived to be
oue huudred aud seven, and died iu 1S01, made the
statement to persons whom the author has known,
that he expressed the wish to be buried by the side
of his father, the Governor. It is needless to say
that the grave of the only Pilgrim whose resting-
place is known is worthy of a more deserving mem-
orial than the modest aud inconspicuous shaft with
which some of his descendants have marked the spot.
After the death of Bradford, uutil the war with
King Philip, the condition of the colony was peace-
ful, marred only by the excitement which the appear-
ance of the Quakers had occasioned. It must not be
supposed that the Quakers of that day resembled in
temper and spirit that clarified sect which in our
time is a beauty and grace in every community in
which it may be found. It was not the religious
views of the Quakers which were condemued, so
much as the extraordinary and disturbing practices
by which they were manifested. Iu passing judg-
ment on the acta of our fathers, we must remember
our own treatment of the Mormons. Our descend-
ants would protest against any claim in the future,
after Mormonism shall have perhaps become a puri-
fied belief, that their fathers had done more than
denouuee and punish such gross violations of what
they believed to be the moral law, as well as the law
of the land, as were interwoveu for the time into
their social and religious code. And, so far as the ex-
clusion of the Quakers from the colony is concerned,
prompted as it was by devotion to what the colouiots



124



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



held moat dear, their religious belief, atiy adverse
criticism comes with an ill grace from those in our



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 29 of 118)