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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For several years after Mr. Nott's dismissal the
pulpit was principally occupied by Rev. J. A. Roberts
as stated supply.

Rev. Homer Barrows was installed Oct. 27, 1852,
and dismissed July 19, 1859, at his own request.

Rev. Timothy F. Clary was installed April 18,
1860, and dismissed July 16, 1867, at his own re-

Rev. Horace Duttou supplied the pulpit as acting
pastor for the year 1868.

Sept. 3, 1869, Rev. E. S. Huntress was ordained,
and served the church about one year.

Oct. 27, 1870, Rev. Isaiah C. Thatcher was in-
stalled, and dismissed Sept. 13, 1877, at his own re-

Nov. 11, 1877, Rev. C. C. Watson commenced
his labors with this church as actiug pastor, and still
holds that relation.

Ministry Property. — At an early day there were
certain lands and meadows assigned to the use of the
miuistry. When Wareham was incorporated, the
town of Rochester overlooked her interest iu the min-
istry property which lay within the incorporate limits
of the town of Wareham. It is uncertain whether this
oversight was from accident or design ; however, the
First Parish in Rochester soon raised the question,
and after several years' controversy the right was con-
tested in law, from which, iu the year 1770, an appeal
was made to the General Court, on a petition uf the
First Parish in Rochester, to sell this property and
convert the proceeds to the uses formerly designed.
Wareham, ou being notified of this petition, sent
Ebenezer Briggs as their agent to remonstrate against
such sale, which he did so successfully that he de-
feated their object, took possession of the property,
and held it for the benefit of Wareham, and in de-
fiance of Rochester. In 1826 the town obtained
leave of the Legislature to sell their ministerial lauds
and meadow, and it was accordingly sold for §3487.52,
which has been managed by a board of trustees, first
elected by the town, afterwards by the First Parish.



The income of this fund has been appropriated semi-
annually towards the support of the minister of the
First Parish.

Methodist Episcopal Church. — It is not known
that there was any Methodist preaching in Wareham
previous to 1812, at which time Heman Perry and
Covell Burgess, two young men from Sandwich, beiug
employed here, were invited to hold meetings, which
they did in the house of William S. Fearing, Esq.
Soon after the Rev. Benjamin R. Hoyt, preaeher-in-
charge on Sandwich Circuit, visited this place, and
preached to the people with great acceptance. Fol-
lowing Mr. Hoyt, the Rev. Frederick Uphaui, who
was stationed at Monumeut, occasionally visited Ware-
ham, and preached in different parts of the town, but
mainly at the Narrows school-house. Mr. Upham's
labors were highly appreciated, and a favorable im-
pressiou was made on the minds of the people in re-
gard to Methodism. Iu the year 1823 some Method-
ist brethren came from Easton, Mass., to this place,
and found employment in the nail-works. Their
names were Charles Wilbur, Lewis Waters, and Royal
J. Barlow. By invitation of these brethren Method-
ist preachers frequently visited Wareham and preached
here. In the year 1827 they induced the Rev. John
Newlaud Maffit to come to this place, and he preached
once in the Congregational Church and many times in
private houses. The preaching of this wonderful
man made a profound sensation. There was some
opposition, but it is thought the seed then sown sub-
sequently produced abuudant fruit. In the year

1830, Ebenezer Slocum, a Methodist class-leader
from the South, and a watchmaker by trade, came
and settled in Wareham. He soou began to hold
meetings in his shop. They were interesting, and
resulted in the conversion of several. In January,

1831, a class was formed, consisting of the following
persous : Ebenezer Slocum, leader, Eliza Slocum,
Mary Ann Briggs, Royal J. Barlow and wife, and
Relief Willis. The revival continued, and was the
most extensive ever kuown iu.the town up to that
date. It is usually referred to as the " Slocum Re-
vival." Revs. David Culver, William Livesey, and
James Porter, from adjoining towns, were of great
assistance in this revival. During the year 1831 a
Methodist society or parish was formed iu accordance
with the statutes of the commonwealth, and the fol-
lowing officers were elected : Ebenezer Slocum, clerk ;
Jedediah Briggs, Royal J. Barlow, and Robert Hinck-
ley, prudential committee. This year (1831) Rev.
Amos Binney and Rev. Lemuel Harlow were the
preachers on Rochester Circuit, which circuit em-
braced Rochester, Middleboro', and Wareham. In

1833 the circuit preachers were Rev. Thomas G.
Brown and Rev. Thomas Ely. In 1835 the pulpit
was supplied by Rev. Josiah Litch and Rev. Joseph
Marsh. In the year 1830 Wareham was separated
from Rochester Circuit and constituted a separate
station and a separate church. The first official board
was composed of the following persons : Francis Carr,
Asa N. Bodfish, class-leaders ; Francis Carr, Asa N.
Bodfish, Robert Hinckley, Tilson Morse, Jedediah
Briggs, and Lewis Waters, stewards. The following
is the list of pastors who have served this church
from 1836 to 1884, viz. : 1330-37, Samuel Phillips ;
1838, Henry H. Smith; 1839, Chester W. Turner;
1840, Charles A. Carter; 1841-42, James D. Butler ;
1843-44, Elisha B. Bradford ; 1S45, John W. Case ;
1846, Samuel W. Coggeshall ; 1847-48, Nelson Good-
rich ; 1849-50, Horatio W. Houghton ; 1851, Edward
H. Hatfield; 1852-53, Nathaniel Bemis; 1854,
George W. Stearns ; 1855, Philip Crandou ; 1S50,
Horace C. Atwater ; 1857-58, Lawtou Cady ; 1859-
60, John W. Willett; 1861, Moses Chase; 1802-03,
Charles Stokes; 1864, George H. Winchester ; 1S05,
George S. Alexander; 1666, Abel Alltou ; 1807,
Daniel J. Griffin ; 1808, Charles A. Carter; 1809-70,
Daniel J. Griffin ; 1871-72, Daniel M. Rogers ; 1S73
-74, William Livesey; 1875-70, Edward J. Ayres ;
1877-78, John G. Gammons; 1879-S0, John S.
Bell; 1881, Melville B. Cummings ; 1882, George
Hudsou; 1883-34, William F. Davis.

Baptists. — In 1S30 a number of individuals united
in a religious society under the name of the First
Christian Society in the town of Wareham ; but
they were generally called the Baptist Society. Iu
1831, Rev. John Taylor was settled as their pastor,
and continued to preach to them until 1837, when he
removed to the State of Rhode Island. For several
years after Mr. Taylor's removal they had occasional
preaching, but no settled pastor.

Reformed Methodists. — In 1831 there was a
society of Reformed Methodists organized in the west
part of the town, but for want of numbers they sup-
ported preaching but a short time.

In 1878 a union chapel was built at Tremont vil-
lage. They have preaching regularly and a nourish-
ing Sunday-school. The pulpit is supplied by preach-
ers from different denominations.

Second Adventists. — This sect hold annual caiup-
meetiugs in a beautiful grove near Tremont village,
coming from all parts of the country. The resort
has become quite famous.

Roman Catholics. — In 1865 the Roman Catholics,
who for many years had worshiped in halls in dif-
ferent parts of the town, purchased the church edifice



on High Street, Id the Narrows village, formerly
owned and occupied by the Baptists. It has been
gTcatly eularged and improved, and is thronged by
devout worshipers. From 1865 to the close of
1SS0 their pastors were as follows: Rev. Peter Bar-
toldi, Rev. H. F. Kiunerney, Rev. iMatthias McCabe,
and Rev. A. J. Brady. Mr. Brady was succeeded
by the present pastor, Rev. Thomas F. Clinton, who
is greatly beloved by his people. In December, 1871,
the diocese of Providence was created, which in-
cludes Bristol, Barnstable, Nantucket and Dukes
Counties, and the towns of Carver, Marion, Matta-
poisett, and Wareham.

Episcopal. — The Church of the Good Shepherd
was organized in 1883. This society is young and
flourishing. During the past year, 18S3, they have
erected a church edifice on High Street, not far from
the Roman Catholic, that is " a thing of beauty,"
and will doubtless prove " a joy forever" to many who
worship there.

They have a thriving Sunday-school, and maintain
regular services, but as yet have no settled pastor.

Onset Bay Grove Association. — " This association
had its origin in the successful search of a few gentle-
men who were interested in fiudiug a suitable place upon
the sea-shore where camp-meetings, under the general
auspices of Spiritualism, could be annually held, and
which might also be made a permanent summer re-
sort for any who desired to build cottages or to tent
beside the sea during the warm season.

" Many places on the coast-line of Massachusetts
were visited, particularly the sheltered coves aud
breezy headlands of Cape Cod, aloug both shores
from Sandwich to the ocean. But although especial
attractions were found for summer visitors all along
this diversified aud picturesque coast, no place seemed
to combine all the advantages sought for until the
preseut location was found.

" Here, upon the shores of Onset Bay, a portion of
the head-waters of Buzzard's Bay, and within the town
of Wareham, a thickly-wooded grove of oaks, cover-
ing about oue hundred and fifty acres, was found
growing to the very edge of high bluffs overlooking
the sea, and surrounded on three sides by water. It
is in that portion of the town known as Agawam, a
name given to it by its original Indian owners, relics
of whom are found here in abundance, and who, un-
der their great sachem, Massasoit, the humane aud
friendly king of the Wampanoags, made the first
treaty of peace and amity with the Pilgrims from the
' Mayflower.' This town is in Plymouth County,
and belonged to the old historical Plymouth Colony,
of which President Dwight says, ' It is the oldest

of the New England colonies, and to its early success
may be traced the origin of all the others. It has
been the scene of many a trial and of the fulfillment
of many a high resolve.'

" It was here that government, based ou the will
of the governed, was first established on the Amer-
ican continent, and the great principle that all should
obey such laws as a majority of the people should
make, distinctly acknowledged. No people had so
fully appreciated the rights of each member of the
State ; none had felt so deeply the great cause of
humanity or entertained such cheering hopes of
human improvement. In their intercourse with the
Indians the people of the colony set a bright example
of humanity, and the same sense of justice is here
witnessed that pervaded all their public aud private
acts. Not a foot of soil was taken from them with-
out their consent. Their treaty with Massusoit was
most scrupulously observed.

" The two rivers that form the eastern and western
boundaries of the grove, and the smaller bays and
inlets of this vicinity, are occupied as oyster grants,
aud from which thousands of bushels of the best
oysters, commanding the highest prices iu the mar-
kets of Boston, New York, and Providence, are annu-
ally taken. Clams of both kinds are found here in
abundance, the indispensable requisites for the famous
'clam bakes' and 'chowders,' which, not only in
Rhode Island, but all along shore, are justly consid-
ered among the luxuries of life at the sea-side. The
facilities for safe and pleasant bathing are excellcut,
as the bottom is hard aud clear, gradually descending
from the shore, aud the water many degrees warmer
than upon the direct ocean beach.

"The soil is a sandy loam, so heavy that in the
driest season the roads are comparatively free from
dust. The spring water, for drinking aud culinary
purposes, is of excellent quality. The temperature
of the grove is gratefully modified by the prevailing
southwest winds that blow from off the water.

" At all times the view from the bluff is picturesque
and beautiful, and when the yacht-races take place iu
the bay, and the white wings of the trim little vessels
are seen flashing about among the islands and darting
along the sinuous channels, the scene is full of life
aud animation.

" Fishing-parties are seen running out into the
bay to try their luck with ' drail' or ' troll' among
the blue-fish, which here abound, weighing usually
from three to twelve pounds, passing the more modest
skiffs anchored along the coves and inlets, fishing
for tautog, sea-bass, and scup. No better fishing
need be looked for than in these waters. An excur-



sion in a well-appoiuted yacht, in charge of a compe-
tent skipper, of whom there are plenty hereabouts,
from Onset to New Bedford, on the western coast, or
along the eastern to Wood's Holl, and then across to
Oak Bluffs and the famous Vineyard camp-ground,
brings to view a variety of the most charming scenery.
On the right passing Tempest Knob, a high bluff at
the mouth of the Wankinco River, and Great Hill,
with the Marion House, on a point at its foot, we
coiue to Bird Island Light, the guardian of the
upper bay ; Mattapoisett light-house, with the town ;
the low shore ; sterile West Island, with its long reef,
around which the larger craft must sail ; passing
dingy Black Rock, and so into the harbor of the
rich old whaling city of New Bedford.

" On the eastern coast from Cohassett Narrows, the
western terminus of the projected Cape Cod Ship-
Canal, where the tide runs like a mill-race to and
from Buttermilk Bay, and wherei from the railroad
bridge, striped bass are caught in large numbers, we
may trace the windings of a score of inlets along the
low-lying sandy cape, each with its little clump of
masts, indicating a village, and pass club-houses or
private cottages perched on rocky knolls, and summer
hamlets built up along the line of railroad that borders
the coast, which look out upon distant headlands, from
which at night light-houses flash out their guidance
to the travelers by sea.

" There are several fresh-water ponds in the neigh-
borhood of Ouset, where black bass and pickerel are
said to abound, and from whence the purest ice will
be supplied.

" The grove is located about three-fourths of a
mile, by the present road, from the new Onset depot,
built for the use of the association by the Old
Colony Railroad, which is fifty miles from Boston,
and by the regular trains ; thence may be reached in
two hours. It is directly upon the great popular
route to Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, Yarmouth
camp-ground, Falmouth Heights, Nantucket, etc.,
and during the summer season five or six trains per
day pass over the route each way. As the require-
ments of travel may demand, parties can be brought
by steamboat or sailing-vessels, by the Vineyard
Sound and Buzzard's Bay, and lauded directly at the
new and permanent wharf of the association.

" The first meeting preliminary to the formation of
this association was held in Boston Nov. 9, 1870', at
which time a working constitution was adopted, and
a temporary board of directors elected, with instruc-
tions to purchase the land. It having been found
desirable to secure a legal organization, a special
charter was applied for to the Massachusetts Legisla-

ture, which was granted March 31, 1877. The pres-
ent association was organized under this charter
April 11, 1877, at which time a code of by-laws was
adopted and officers elected. The capital stock was
fixed at twenty-five hundred dollars, all of which was
taken and immediately paid in. The grounds were
surveyed, building-lots, reserve-groves, streets, and
avenues laid out, and heliotype maps of the same

" The grove was formally dedicated to the princi-
ples of Spiritualism and the interests of human prog-
ress on Thursday, June 14, 1877, about one thousand
persons being present. The addresses were by the
president, H. S. Williams, Esq., Mrs. Emma Hard-
inge Britten, and Mr. Cephas B. Lynn, interspersed
with music by the South Easton Band.

" The first camp-meeting was held by the associa-
tion commencing July 8th, and closing July 24th of
the same year."

The original capital stock has been largely in-
creased, aud the interest in this charming resort is
greater than ever. There is already thirty thousand
dollars of taxable property on this ground, and it is
destined to be one of the most famous camp-grounds,
if not so already, on the New England sea-coast.
More than fifty cottages were built there last year
(1883), and more than one hundred have been erected
in 1884.

The officers of this association at the present time
(1884) are as follows: Dr. H. B. Storer, president,
Boston; Hon. George Robbins, vice-president, Fitch-
burg, Mass.; William F. Nye, clerk, New Bedford,
Mass.; Capt. B. F. Gibbs, treasurer, East Wareham,
Mass. Directors, A. W. Wilcox, Worcester, Mass. ;
Charles F. Howard, Foxborough, Mass. ; Henrietta
R. J. Bullock, Onset Bay, East Wareham, Mass. ;
Miss S. R. Nickles, Manchester, N. II. ; W. C.
Carter, Fitchburg, Mass.

Church Edifices. — The size, form, and architec-
ture of the first meeting-house erected in Wareham,
previous to the incorporation of the town, cannot be
ascertained. It was first built, and afterwards owned
by proprietors, until Sept. 10, 1739, wheu the town
voted " to have the meeting-house they then met in
for their meeting-house." We have nothing but this
vote to determine the nature of the coutract between
the proprietors and the town, but in those days the
usual practice in country towns was for the town to
take peaceable possession of the oldest or first meet-
ing-houHo (there being but one generally, and this
near the centre of the population), keep it in repair,
and use it for a town-house. There is an allusion to
this practice in McFingal, —



"That house which, luiitb a rule to break,
Served Heaven but one day in the week ;
Open the rest for all supplied
Of news and politics and lies."

In 1742 the town purchased of Isaac Bump the
laud ou which the meeting-house stood, and took a
deed of the same, and in 1757 voted " to clear the
alleys of the meeting-house of chairs and all other
incumbrances, and keep them clean." This vote indi-
cates that many went to meeting who had no seats,
and accommodated themselves in the public alleys
aud by-places with chairs, stools, blocks, etc , and
when the town voted to clear them, no doubt they
made provision for the poor, and let the penurious
provide for themselves. In 1770 the town voted to
give certain subscribers the old meeting-house to
build a new one with, and voted to receive the new
oue on condition that the town keep it in repair and
use it for a town house. The new meeting-house had
forty-one square pews on the floor, twelve slip-seats
in the centre, appropriated for the use of the aged,
whose hearing had become obtuse, strangers, aud the
respectable poor, and a broad gallery on three sides,
with a row of pews in front, and slip-seats back, to
accommodate servants, boys, and the common poor.
There was much taste displayed in the architecture
of the inside of the building, particularly about the
pulpit and sounding-board. The exterior of the
building resembled most other couutry meeting-
houses of that day, had its round-top porch in front,
with three doors, and two flights of stairs leadiug
into the gallery. The body of the house was nearly
square, and much too high for its size. This error,
no doubt, was committed by taking pattern from some
other meeting-house. Wherever one of these old-
fashioned churches are seen of the first magnitude,
the height well accords with the size, but the smaller
ones by preserving the same height, present the ap-
pearance of one cube set upon the ground, and a half-
cube cut diagonally, whose hypothenuse is about
two feet greater than the side of the first cube laid
thereon to form the roof. These houses had three
times as many windows as was necessary to light the
building, set in double rows for the sake of symmetry.

In 1802, the population of the town having in-
creased, six of the body seats in the meeting-house
were taken up, and four square pews built in their
stead, and in 1824 the other six svats were takeu up
and the room converted into four slip-pews ; such was
the opposition of some of the aged and respectable
citizens who had occupied these seats, that the pur-
chaser of the front pew permitted three of these pa-
triarchs to sit there until the meetin"-house was

pulled down. The gale of 1804 blew in one of the
gable-ends, but found its huge timbers, double rafters,
aud solid king-posts not easily overturned. The breach
was soon repaired. In 1821 extensive repairs were
made upon the house, and iu 1828, when it was pulled
down, many contended that it would stand for fifty
years ; however, the town got so vexed by trying the
question whether they should have a new meeting-
house or not, that many absented themselves from
such meetings, or if they attended would not vote,
aud when the final vote was taken there were four
for it and three against it, and before the next moru-
ing the house came down, hastened, no doubt, for fear
a reconsideration might take place. There was much
excitement, but it soon subsided, and the present beau-
tiful edifice was erected on its site, with a spacious
town house underneath. The cost of the whole was
ten thousand dollars. The pews sold for six huudred
dollars more than the cost of the house, and this over-
plus was divided among the pew-owners of the old
meeting-house. The present meeting-house is forty-
five feet by sixty-four feet body, ten feet portico,
twenty-six feet posts, and rests upon Quincy granite
twenty-four inches wide ; has eight large windows,
each containing ninety-six panes of ten by fourteen
glass; four columns in front of the Doric order, the
entablature of which extends around the whole build-
ing ; a belfry of suitable size and height, a handsome
steeple, and a bell weighing thirteen hundred pounds.
The whole buildiug makes a bold appearance, and has
but oue defect, and this would not be seen by any
other than an architect. The draught was procured
from Boston for a building of larger dimensions, aud
when it was concluded to build smaller, the carpenter
shortened the posts without reducing the capital, ar-
chitraves, frieze, triglyphs, and cornice ; this left the
ornaments a little too heavy for the buildiug.

The Congregational Church above described was
the only church edifice in Wareham in 1S29. Hither-
to the Congrcgationalists had been the only organized
religious society. In 1830 the Baptist society was
formed, and they erected a church the same year on
High Street.

In 1831-32 the Methodist Episcopal society erected
a church. It was located near the cemetery, at Ware-
ham Centre, in the fork of the two roads, one lead-
ing to Carver the other to Tihonet. The house was
an humble building, twenty-eight feet square, aud cost
about one thousand dollars. At this time the preju-
dice against the Methodists was so inveterate that it
would sometimes manifest itself in open acts of
violence. The brethren, who were few in number,
after working hard all day in the nail-factory, were



compelled to spend the night in their little church to
save it from destruction. One night a ladder was
driven through the pulpit window, the latches of the
doors pried off, windows broken, and the building
very much damaged. In 1835 it was removed to
Wareham Centre and enlarged. The present church
edifice was dedicated Sept. 8, 18-12. The dedicatory
sermon was preached by Rev. John Lovejoy, of New
Bedford. This enterprise was started and curried for-
ward to completion during the pastorate of Rev.
James D. Butler. The house is substantial and com-
modious, and has a large vestry that is used for social

The church edifice erected by the Episcopal society
on High Street (and to which allusion has already
been made") is much admired for its architectural
beauty, and is justly considered an ornament to the
Narrows village.

The Congregationalisms built a chapel on High
Street in the year 1859, and it has since been en-
larged. It is hero that the social meetings of the
church are held.

In 1872 the Episcopal Methodists built a chapel at
Agawam village. Regular Sabbath services are held
there, and they have a flourishing Sunday-school.

This chapel was built during the pastorate of the
late Rev. Daniel M. Rogers, and he and his devoted
wife were largely instrumental in its erection. The
lot on which it is located was given for the purpose

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 47 of 118)