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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in which capacity he contiuued until 1852. In
1853, Henry L. Myrick succeeded Mr. Briggs, fol-
lowed by George S. Ball, of Upton, who in turn was
succeeded by Edward H. Hall, of Providence, a
graduate of Harvard in the class of 1851. During
the pastorate of Mr. Hall, Dr. Kendall died iu 1850,
leaving Mr. Hall the full pastor of the church. Mr.



Hall was in 1869 succeeded by Frederick N. Knapp,
a Harvard graduate of 1843, and Mr. Knapp, in
1878, by Edmund Q. S. Osgood, of Cohasset, the
present pastor.

In 1 SOU a Baptist Society was organized, and until
its church in Spring Street was built, in 1821, its ser-
vices were held for the most part in Old Colouy Hall,
in the rear of the market-house of Charles T. Holmes.
Lewis Leonard, of Middleboro', was its first pastor.
and was succeeded, in 1818, by Adouiram Judson,
who in turn was succeeded, in 1820, by Stephen S.
Nelson. In 1S23, Benjamin S. Grafton was settled,
aud in 1320, Thomas Conant. Iu 1835, Elisha Cush-
man was settled ; in 1838, Horatio N. Loring, who
was followed by Joseph M. Driver. In 1842, Ira
Person became the pastor ; in 1845, Adiel Harvey ;
iu 1850, B. A. Edwards; in 1801, C. C. Williams;
in 1S02, 11. A. Patterson ; in 18G3, E. Humphrey ;
in 1868, R. B. Moody; in 1875, B. P. Byram ; and
in 18S0, the present incumbent, H. W. Coffin. In
1S61 the church in Spring Street was burned, aud
iu 1865 the present church was built.

Iu 1S42 a Methodist Episcopal Church was organ-
ized, and E. B. Bradford, of Duxbury, was appointed
preacher. For some years services were held in vari-
ous halls and in the present high-school building. In
1843 Plymouth was made a mission station, and
Nelson Goodrich assigned to it as preacher. In 1852
the society bought the meeting-house of the Robinson
society, aud Lorenzo White became its miuister.
Since that time the various ministers in their order
have been Moses Chase, William Keller, Carlos Ban-
ning, Edward H. Hatfield, E. K. Colby, Robert Clark,
Thomas Sleeper, Franklin Gavett, George F. Pool,
Henry F. Martin, William Liversey, T. M. House,
A. W. Mills, George A. Morse, John W. Malcom,
James 0. Thompson, F. A. Crafts, J. H. Allen, aud
Walter J. Yates.

On the 10th of March, 1822, a Universalist Soci-
ety was organized, and in 1824, Massena Ballou was
invited to preach for six months. The society was
incorporated in 1826. Mr. Ballou was followed by a
Mr. Morse, who was succeeded, in 1826, by James H.
Bugbee, who continued his pastorate until his death,
in 1834. Mr. Bugbee was followed by Albert Case,
who was succeeded by Russell Tomlinsou, who re-
signed in 1867. In 1869 the pulpit was supplied for
a time by A. Bosserman, who was followed by Al-
pheus Nickerson in 1872. Iu 1874, George L. Smith
took charge of the pulpit, and was followed by A. H.
Sweetser iu 1877, and he, in turn, by W. W. Hay-
ward, who has recently resigned.

A Christian Society was organized in 1825, and in

1827 built their church on Pleasant Street. John
V. Himes, of New Bedford, was its first minister,
aud was succeeded by Timothy Cole, George W. Kel-
tou, aud Elders Baker, Sanborn, and Goodman. For
a time after 1843 it was united with the Second Ad-
vent Society, under the care of H. L. Hastings, agaiu
for a time separated, and finally, in 1868, reunited,
since which time it has continued in the occupation
of its Pleasant Street Church under the name of the
" Christian Society."

An African Methodist Church was formed in 1866,
and until it bought the gymnasium building near the
j reservoir and converted it into a church, in 1871, it
| occupied a small extemporized chapel near the Plym-
j outh Mills. Its ministers have beeu William John-
I son, James Elsemore, Ebenezer Ruby, Daniel Frau-
ds, Joshua Hale, D. N. Mason, E. P. Greenwich,
Israel Derrick, Isaac Emery, Jeremiah B. Hill, and
Henry Buckner.

In addition to the above, a small society was or-
ganized some years since by William Faunce, near
the Russell Mills, at Eel River, of which the author
has no record. In 1874 a Catholic Church was
erected on Court Street for the accommodatiou of a
society which had previously held services for some
years iu one of the halls of the town. It was uuder
the charge of James C. Murphy until his death, in
1879. D. B. Kennedy, assisted by John D. Colbert,
succeeded Father Murphy, aud the society is now
under the charge of Father P. J. Halley. The first
Catholic service ever held in Plymouth was in 1813.
At that time John Burke and Michael Murphy were
the only Irishmen aud Catholics in the town. These
men were in the employ of Joshua Thomas, who was
then living in the house now occupied as a hotel,
called the " Central House." Mr. Thomas, with a
liberality of spirit already referred to iu this narra-
tive, for the gratification aud benefit of Burke and
Murphy and their families, interceded with the bishop
in Boston, who consented to the performance of high
mass in Plymouth, and the two parlors iu the house
of Mr. Thomas, on the south side of the entry, were
used for the ceremony.

This narrative would be far from complete without
some reference to the schools of the town. Some
charges have been made that in the early days of the
Plymouth Colony little interest was felt in the cause of
education. Such charges, when investigated, will be
found groundless, and Plymouth will be fouud to have
been always abreast of the times in efforts to adequately
instruct its youth. It is true that until 1662, when
the court " recommended to the consideration of the
several towns some preparations for schools," the only



allusion to schools in the records is that under date
of 1035, when it was ordered : ' that Benjamin Eaton,
with his mother's consent, be put to Bridget Fuller,
being to keep him at school two years." In explana-
tion uf the silence of the records the circumstances
of the Pilgrim Colony must be considered, and in the
consideration this very entry concerning Benjamin
Eaton will furnish important aid. It must be re-
membered that the Pilgrim Church at Leyden was
composed of men of a fair education, surrounded
by a population speaking a language different from
their own, and compelled necessarily, during their
residence there of eleven years, to educate their own
children. This custom they brought with them to
New England, aud nothing occurred to recpuire a
change until many years after the lauding, when im-
migration from England and the Massachusetts Colony
had introduced more families of poor estate than the
teaching heads of families ; such, for instance, as
Bridget Fuller, referred to in the entry, could prop-
erly provide for. In other words, the colony of Plym-
outh was content with the work of private schools
until increasing illiteracy demanded the establishment
of public ones.

In 1663 the recommendation of the previous year
took the form of an enactment, and it was ordered
" that the several townships in the jurisdiction ought
to take into their serious consideration that there may
be a schoolmaster in each town to teach the children
in reading and writing." In 1670 a grant was made
by the Colony Court " of all such profits as might or
should annually accrue to the colony from time to
time for fishing with nets or seines at Cape Cod for
mackerel, bass, or herrings to be improved for aud
towards a free school in some town of this jurisdiction,
provided a beginniug was made within one year of the
graut ;" and in 1U72 the profits and benefits of the
Agawam aud Sippican lands were appropriated by
the town of Plymouth for the maintenance of a free
school already established there. The enactment of
1670 established the first absolutely free school in
America. In 1672 the Colony Court, "in order that
they might have an interest with others in the bless-
iug that the Lord may seek to convoy unto the country"
from Harvard College, ordered " that it be recom-
mended to the ministers and elders in each town that
they, taking such with them as they shall think meet,
would particularly and earnestly move and stir up all
such in their several towns as are able to contribute
for the support and maiutenancc of the college." It
does not seem probable that such a recommeudation
as this could have emanated from a community which
had been backward in its educational efforts. It must

before that time have exhausted the resources of school
education and seen the necessity of something higher
to crystallize into an enactment its hopes and aspira-
tions. Indeed, before that time Plymouth had grad-
uated three of its sons from the college.

In 1671, John Morton, a nephew of Secretary Na-
thaniel Morton, was employed by the town " to erect
aud keep a school for the teaching of the children
and youth of the town to read and write and cast up
accounts." He was succeeded in 1672 by Ainuii
Ruhamah Corlet, a graduate of Harvard in 1670,
who enjoyed the distinction of being the first grad-
uate bearing a middle name, a distinction shared by
no successor until the graduation of Broeklebunk
Samuel Coffin in 1718. This school was a free
school, and in 1673 it was ordered by the court •' that
the charge of this free school, which is thirty-three
pounds a year, shall be defrayed by the treasurer of
the profits arising by the fishing of the Cape until
such time as the minds of the freemen be known
concerning it, which will be returned to the next
court of election." In 1677 it was ordered that " iu
whatever township in this government, consisting of
fifty families or upwards, any meet man shall be ob-
tained to teach a grammar-school, such towuship
shall allow at least twelve pounds to be raised by rate
on all the inhabitants of said town ; and those that
have the more immediate benefit thereof, with what
others shall voluntarily give, shall make up the resi-
due necessary to maintain the same ; and that the
profits arising from the Cape fishing, heretofore or-
dered to maintain a grammar-school in this colouy,
be distributed to such towns as have such grammar-
schools, not exceeding five pounds per annum to any
one town. And, further, that this Court orders that
every such town as consists of seventy families and
upwards, and hath not a grammar-school therein,
shall allow and pay unto the next town that hath a
grammar-school the sum of five pounds, to be levied
on the inhabitants by rate, and gathered by the con-
stables of such towus by warrant from any magistrate
of this jurisdiction."

In 1699 the town voted that " the selectmen pro-
cure a schoolmaster for the town and settle him as
near the centre as may be couveuieut, aud that every
scholar who comes to write or cipher or to learn
Latin shall pay three pence per week ; if to read only,
then to pay three halfpence per week, and what re-
mains due to the school to be levied by rate on the
inhabitants." This vote indicates that the receipts
from the fisheries aud lauds were insufficient for the
support of the school, aud that a small charge was
necessary. After the passage of this vote, Moses Hale,



a sou of John Hale, of Newbury, and a Harvard grad
uate of 1699, was engaged to keep the school, and he
was succeeded for a time by John Dyer, a Plymouth
man, who afterwards succeeded Elder Thomas Fauuce
in the office of town clerk. The charge for attend-
ing school was of short duration, as in 1703 the town
voted " that there shall he a grammar schoolmaster
provided for the use of the town, and that there shall
be a rate on the inhabitants to defray the charges
thereof." At this time the school was a movable
one, and kept for a " quarter" at a time in each of the
districts of the town. In 1705 the town voted " to
pay thirty pounds per year for a schoolmaster for the
term of seven years, provided that said schoolmaster
be settled within forty rods of the old meeting-house,
and that the town pay twenty pounds per year during
the said seven years ; and all children sent to said
school, excepting the children of those who have sub-
scribed for the support of the teacher, that live within
one mile of said school, pay four pence a week for in-
struction in Latin, writing, or ciphering, and two
pence a week for reading ; and all those that are with-
out the bounds of oue mile and within the bounds of
two miles, to pay two pence per week for Latin, writ-
ing, or ciphering, and one penny for reading, except-
ing the children of such as through poverty are un-
able to pay, who are to go free ; and all fines that are
by the law devoted towards the support of a school,
and the money to be paid per week as abovcsaid, to
be improved toward paying the town's part of the
said twenty pounds, and the subscribers to have no
benefit thereby."

Under this vote Josiah Cotton was engaired as
teacher, and a school-house which had been erected
by individuals on the south side of the present Uni-
tarian meeting-house was sold to the town. Mr. Cot-
tou was the son of John Cotton, a former pastor of
the Plymouth Church, and a graduate of Harvard in
169S. At the expiration of' his term of service, in
1712, it was voted by the town "that for the four
years next ensuing the use or interest of all the
money voted by the town for the use of a school for-
ever in said town, from the lands within the mile and
a half already sold or yet to be sold, shall be by the
town treasurer yearly paid to Capt. James Warren,
Mr. Nathaniel Thomas, and Mr. John Murdock, pro-
vided they shall keep, or cause to be kept, in the
middle of said town, in the school-house, a good
grammar school, according to law, for the said four
years." It was also voted " to pay, or cause to be
paid, yearly during the said four years, ten pounds
per annum uuto the said Warren, Thomas, and Mur-
dock, to he raised by rate on said inhabitants ; and all

fines which by law shall belong to said school within
j four years shall be paid to said Warren, Thomas, and
1 Murdock." And it was further voted "that during
' the said four years the school grant to be paid to the
persons above named, according to the vote, and the
said three persons be empowered by the town to col-
lect and gather the same, and to have the benefit
thereof." This arrangement was not in the nature
of a coutract by which the school was farmed out for
the benefit of the contractors, if such might accrue,
but one by which these three gentlemen, among the
most influential and respectable in the town, acted as
a sort of school committee. Mr. Warren was a mag-
istrate, Mr. Thomas judge of probate, and Mr. Mur-
dock an euterprising merchant, who at his death made
a bequest to the town of two hundred pounds for the
benefit of its schools and its poor. The bequest may
perhaps be taken as an iudicatiou of an interest in the
schools sufficiently strong to induce him to lend gra-
tuitous service for their efficient management and

In 1714 it was voted by the town " to allow twenty
pounds to the north eud of the town, and twenty
pounds to the south end, for the erection of school-
houses ;" and in 1716 it was voted "that there be
three free schools set up in the town, one at each end,
to teach reading and writing, and one in the middle
of the town to be a grammar school, and that there
be a committee chosen to provide suitable persons to
keep the said schools, and the interest of the money
of what lands are sold within the mile aud a half to
go towards the support of the schools, and the towu
will make up the deficiency, and the school to be
continued five years." The committee consisted of
John Bradford, Isaac Lothrop, Benjamin Warren,
and Abiel Shurtleff. The north aud south schools
were located at Wellingsley, or Hobshole, and that
part of Plymouth which is now Kingston.

John Denison, a son of John Denison, of Ipswich,
and a graduate of Harvard in 1710, succeeded Mr.
Cotton, and was followed by John Angier, son of
Samuel Angier, of Rehoboth, and a Harvard grad-
uate of 1720. These were the teachers of the
grammar school. In 1724, opposition having sprung
up to the maintenance of three schools, a town-meet-
ing was held, at which much feeling was excited
among the residents of the remote northerly aud
southerly sections of the town, and it was voted that
the " two schools at the ends of the town be women's
schools, or any other, so far as their proportion of
taxes will go." This action, manifesting an indispo-
sition on the part of the town to adequately provide
for the educational wants of the Jones River district,



precipitated the incorporation of Kingston, which
took place in 1726.

John Sparhawk, of Cambridge, a Harvard graduate
of 1723, succeeded Mr. Augier, and was himself
succeeded by Nathaniel Eels, of Scituate, a graduate
of Harvard in 1733. Ebenezer Bridge, a Harvard
graduate of 173G, after Mr. Eels, was succeeded by
Ezra Whitmarsh, a Harvard graduate of 1736. In
1741, Enoch Ward, of Littleton, of the same class,
became the teacher of the central school, followed by
Samuel Gardner, of Stowe, a Harvard graduate of 1746.
In 1747 it was voted to have two permanent schools
besides the grammar school, one at Eel River and one
at Manomet Ponds, and in that year Enoch Ward, of
Haverhill, a Harvard graduate of 1748, assumed the
charge of the central school, and was followed by
Thomas Foster, also a graduate of Harvard in 1745.
Mr. Foster was succeeded by Matthew Cushing, of
Hingham, a Harvard graduate of 1739, who was fol-
lowed by Charles Cushing, a Harvard graduate in
1755. Joseph Stockbridge, of Hanover, of the same
class, succeeded his classmate, and was followed by
Nathaniel Lothrop, of Plymouth, of the class of
175C. In 1765, Mr. Lothrop was succeeded by
Perez Forbes, of Bridgewater, under whose incum-
bency a new school-house was built on the north side
of the Unitarian Church, which uutil recently stood
on the lot now inclosed within the Burial Hill in front
of the tombs. John Barrows, of Attleboro', followed
Mr. Forbes, and was succeeded in 1769 by Alexander
Scammell, a Harvard graduate of the previous year.
In 1774, Joseph Crocker, a Harvard graduate of that
year, taught the grammar school, followed in 1776
by Ezra Ripley (Harvard, 1776), and in 1781 by
Bartlett Le Baron of Plymouth (Harvard, 1766),
who was succeeded by Timothy Healey, Joseph aud
Eleazer Tufts, aud Nahum Mitchell, of East Bridge-
water (Harvard, 1789). In 1795 a school for girls
was established, to be kept duriug the daily intervals
of the other schools. In the year 1803 there were
eleven schools in the town, — the central aud ten dis-
trict schools at Northtown, West District, Wellingsley,
Eel River, Manomet, Cedarville, Ellisville, Half- Way
Ponds, aud South Pond, — for all of which the sum of
twelve hundred aud twenty dollars was appropriated.
To this sum, however, must be added the proceeds of
the sale of Indian lands, aud of the sale of herrings in
Town Brook, applicable by a vote of the town to the
support of schools.

In 1802, Martiu Parris took the central school,
followed by Nathaniel Bradstreet, a graduate of
Harvard in 1795, aud Benjamin Shurtleff, ol Car-
ver, father of the late mayor of Boston, who were

succeeded in order by Alexander Parris, of Pem-
broke ; Thomas Wetherell, of Plymouth ; Moses
Webster, of Harvard, 1804 ; Philander Shaw, and
Benjamin and Thomas Drew, of Plymouth. In
1826 the central school received the name of High
School, aud was taught from that time successively
by Addison Brown, of Harvard, 1S26 ; George W.
Hosmer, of the same class; Horace H. Rolfe ; Josiah
Moore, of Harvard, 1826 ; and Charles Field. In
1830 the school came into the hands of Samuel R.
Townseud, of Harvard, 1829, who was succeeded by
Le Baron Russell, of Harvard, 1832 ; Isaac N. Stod-
dard, of Upton, a recent graduate at Amherst ;
Leonard Bliss, of Rehoboth ; William II. Lord ;
Robert Bartlett, of Plymouth, of Harvard, 183G;
and Mr. Stoddard again, whose second term of ser-
vice expired in 1841. Mr. Stoddard was succeeded
again by Charles Clapp, Philip C. Knapp, Francis
Jenks, JoJin Brooks Beal, Thomas A. Watson, of
Harvard, 1845, and Samuel Sewell Greely, of Har-
vard, 1844. William H. Spear succeeded Mr. Greely,
followed by J. W. Hunt, Frank Crosby, Edward P.
Bates, and, in 1855, Admiral P. Stone. Mr. Stone
taught five years, aud during his term of service the
High School for Girls, established in 1836, was con-
solidated with the High School for Boys. After its
formation, in 1836, it was kept by Mary Adams, of
Newburyport, iu the lower room of Pilgrim Hall,
uutil 1840, in which year the Russell Streei school-
house was built, and received both of the high
schools. Mrs. Adams was succeeded by Frances
Greigg, Almira Seymour, Mary E. Kendall, aud
Dorcas Maxwell; aud in 1S50, on the advent of Mr.
Stone, the High School building at the Green was
bought, and both schools were- united. In 1853 the
school districts were abolished, and Adiel Harvey
was appoiuted superintendent of all the schools in
the town, followed in 1859 by Charles Burtou, who
resigned in 1883, and was reappointed in 1884, after
a year's service by T. D. Adams, of Newton.

Mr. Stone coutinued as principal of the school
until 1855, when he was succeeded iu order by George
L. Baxter, of Harvard, 1863 ; Theodore P. Adams
aud Joseph L. Sanborn, both of Harvard, 1867 ;
Henry Dame; George W. Miuns, of Harvard, 1836;
Gilman C. Fisher, aud the present principal, Charles
Burtou, who, with the exception of oue year of his
services as teacher, has performed also the duties of
geueral superintendent.

It is impossible, within available limits, to do more
than follow the general current of school history.
The affairs of the various districts, their methods aud
their teachers, are beyond the scope of this narrative.



The development of the school system of the town
from its smallest beginning has been sufficiently in-
dicated by what has been expressed in these pages.
The interest felt by its people in the cause of educa-
tion is strikingly displayed by their readiness to ac-
cept and bear the burden of taxation for its support.
The appropriation of twelve hundred and twenty dol-
lars, already stated to have been made in 1803 by a
population of three thousand five huudred, has swol-
len, with only double the population, to the sum of
twenty thousaud five huudred dollars in 18S4. Nor
is the burden believed to be a heavy one. It is looked
upon as an investment from which something better
than a percentage of interest is received, — an income
in the shape of increased comforts, an enlarged capacity
for enjoyment, a high standard of morals, the partial
extinguishment of idleness and poverty, a more com-
prehensive view of life and its duties, and a more
vigorous capacity to compete with the world in the
exposure of its secrets and the development of its

The manufacturing industries of Plymouth showed
few signs of an elastic growth until navigation ceased
to absorb its capital. During the first century and a
half after its settlement, grist-mills, coopers' shops,
domestic looms, and fulling-mills furnished, with agri-
culture, the chief employment of its people on the
land. The most lucrative branches of busiuess, how-
ever, were fishing, and a coastwise and a gradually
increasing foreign trade. Finally, after the process
of centralization of trade in the cities had set in, the
fisheries only survived ; but so reluctaut was capital
to abandon the source of its accumulation, that it
continued to invest in tonnage which never floated in
Plymouth waters, and which contributed little to the
promotion of its welfare. Manufactures, it is true,
began, in the latter part of the last century and iu the
beginning of this, to spring up in the hands of a few
enterprising men, but their growth was limited uutil the
channel by which wealth flowed iuto investments on
the ocean was closed altogether, and a new one opened
by which it sought new fields of activity on the land.

The first mill built iu the town was a corn-mill,
which was probably located at " Holmes' Dam," near
Billinglon Lea. In 1632 the Colony Court, ou the
application of Stephen Deane " to set up a water-
work to beat corn upon the brook adjoining to the
town of Plymouth, for the benefit of the common-
wealth," ordered " that, provided the place be made
choice of where no hinderanee to a grinding-mill in-
tended hereafter, he might bring his work nearer the
town ; that he should receive one pottle out of every

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 43 of 118)