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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enemy and joined his glorious file leader, Washington,
in glory."

The old Revolutionary heroes of Rochester sleep
their last sleep, and nearly all those who listened to
their deeds of valor have followed them.

Nathan Willis was born in West Bridgewater in
1763. He moved to Rochester shortly after 17S0,
and represented that town in the General Court in
1799 and 1800.

He was also representative of Rochester for the
political year 1804—5. He was a senator of Plymouth
County for the political year 1805-0, and for the
seven ensuing political years. In 1S14 or 1S15 he
moved to Pittsfield, Mass. He was a member of the
Governor's Council for the political years 1S24-25
and in 1825-26, and was candidate for Lieutenant-
Governor in 1832 and for several years after. He
was many years chairman of the selectmen of Pitts-
field, and was one of the board of county commis-
sioners for Berkshire County several times. He rep-
resented Pittsfield in the General Court iu the years
1831 and 1832.

The first representative of Rochester in the General
Court (1692) is said to have been Samuel Prince,
formerly of Sandwich, and father of the famous an-
nalist of New England, grandsou of Governor Thomas
Hinckley, of the Cape.

A Scrap of History. — " At a Great and General
Court for her Majesty's Province of Massachusetts



Bay in New England, began and held at Boston, upon
Wednesday, the 28th day of May, 1707, and con-
tinued by prorogations until Wednesday, the 29th
day of October following, by their session :

"In Council — The following orders were passed in
the House of Representatives upon the petition of
the town of Rochester praying to be annexed to the
County of Plymouth. Read and concurred in.

" Ordered — That the prayer of the petition be grauted :
rates already assessed on the County of Barnstable to be paid
there: and that for the future that they be annexed to the
County of Plymouth, any usage or custom to the contrary uot-


"Isaac Addington, Secretary.

"Transcribed Dec. 31, 1824, per Abram Holmes,
T. Clerk."

It will be seen from the above that the original
town of Rochester, including the present towns of
Rochester, Mattapoisett, Marion, and Wareham, was
for nearly thirty years a part of Barnstable County
prior to its aunexatiou to Plymouth County.



First Congregational Church — Methodist Episcopal Church —
Congregational Church, North Rochester — The Drowning
Accident of 1S83— List of Representatives — Military Record.

First Congregational Church, Rochester. 1 — In
the year 1G83, three years before the incorporation of
the town of Rochester, came here Rev. Samuel Shive-
rick to preach to its people. He was a Huguenot,
and, escaping from Catholic persecution in France, he
came to this spot, where he preached from 1683 to
1687, removing then to Falmouth. In 1687, Rev.
Samuel Arnold began his labors as the second min-
ister of Rochester, and preached sixteen years before
he could form a church, but in 1703 the following
entry appears in the old church records :

"It hath pleased our gracious God to shine in this dark
corner of this wilderness, and visit this dark spot of ground
with the day-spring from on high, through his tender mercy,
and to settle a church according to the order of the gospel, Oc-
tober loth, Anno Domini 17113."

At the close of Mr. Arnold's pastorate, which prob-
ably was the day of his death, Feb. 9, 1709, the
church had thirty-five members.

The next minister, Rev. Timothy Ruggles, was

By J. S. Ryder.

ordained Nov. 22, 1710, and during his ministry of
nearly sixty years three hundred and five members
were gathered into the church of Christ. Ou a slate-
stone slab standing in the old cemetery at Rochester
Centre is the following inscription :

" In memory of ye Rev d Timothy Ruggles, pastor of ye
First Church of Christ, in Rochester, who was an able Divine,
and a Faithful minister. Having a peculiar talent at couipo-ing
Differenced, and healing Divisions in Churches ho was much
employed in Ecclesiastical Councils, and having spent his Days
and strength in the work of his Lord and master, Finished
his course with Joy, and departed this Life October yc ^tith,
17GS, in ye S-tth year of hia age, and the 5Sth of his ministry.
They that be wise shall shine as the Brightness of ye Firma-
ment, and they that turn many to Righteousness as ye stars for
ever and ever."

During Mr. Ruggles' pastorate, the Second Church,
of Rochester, now Mattapoisett, and the Third, now
North Rochester, originated from this, the former iu
1736, the latter in 1758.

Rev. Jonathan Moore, the fourth pastor, was or-
dained over the " First Church" of Rochester, Sept.
7, 1768, and in the nearly thirty years of his min-
istry ninety-five members were added to the roll
of the church.

Mr. Moore was somewhat noted for his eccentricity,
and this might have been the cause of many of the
difficulties which clouded the latter years of his pas-

The fifth pastor, Rev. Oliver Cobb, D.D., was or-
dained Feb. 5, 1799, and his pastorate over the
church continued until May, 1827, when, by the ad-
vice of an ecclesiastical council, a division was made,
and that part which was couuected with the Fourth
Preciuct of Rochester, and now known as the Con-
gregational Church of Marion, took the name of
" South Church 1 ' of Rochester, and retaiued Dr. Cobb
as its pastor.

The uumber of admissions to the church during
the ministry of Rev. Dr. Cobb, previous to 1S27, a
period of a little more than twenty-eight years, was
one hundred and eighty-six. At the time of the
division there was a total membership of oue hundred
and forty, fifty-seven of this number being united as
the " South Church," and the remaiuing eighty-three
members constituting the " First or Centre Church,"
couuected with the First Parish of Rochester.

Rev. Jonathan Bigelow, the sixth pastor, aud the
first after the division, was installed over this church
May 10, 1827, and was dismissed by couucil Aug.
29, 1849. During his ministry of more thau twenty-
two years one hundred aud fifteen persons were re-
ceived into the church, aud at its close the uumber
of members was eighty-five.



The installation of Rev. Eli W. Harrington, the
seventh minister, occurred on the l'Jth day of June,
1850, and duriug his pastorate of eight years thirty-
seven names were added to the church-roll. At the
close of Mr. Harrington's ministry the church num-
bered one hundred members, being the highest
number attained siuce the division of 1827.

From Jan. 20, 1860, to July 7, 1861, Rev. Sum-
ner Clark was the acting pastor. Duriug this time
no admissions were made.

Rev. Edwin Leonard, the eighth settled minister,
was installed Nov. 24, 1861, and by council dismissed
Jan. 1, 18CS. The number of persons uniting with
the church during the time of his miuistry was
twenty-six, and at the close of it the membership was

During the miuistry of Rev. J. Wilson Ward, act-
ing pastor, from Oct. 4, 1868, to November, 1870,
nine members were received into the church.

The ninth settled pastor, Rev. Nelson Clark, was
installed over this church and society Nov. 1, 1871,
and dismissed Sept. 2, 1873. During this period
nine admissions were made, and at its close the mem-
bership was ninety-one.

From 1873 to 1878 the pulpit of the church was
supplied with preachers too numerous to be here men-
tioned by name. On May 5, 1878, the church and
society invited Rev. William R. Joyslin to become
the actiug pastor, and which position lie now continues
to occupy, April, 1884. The whole number of ad-
missions to the church siuce 1S73 up to this time is

The first structure used for a place of worship stood
on Little Neck, now in the town of Marion, near a
large rock called " Minister's Rock," around which it
is said the Indians used to engage in their noisy
demon-worship. The next meetiug-house was built
in 1730 at Rochester Centre, close to and nearly op-
posite the westerly entrance of the cemetery. The
third meeting-house was built in 1769 a few rods
northwesterly of the last named. The church edifice
now in use was built in 1837. Through the munifi-
cence of a noble-hearted member of the church it
was, in 187S, thoroughly renovated and furnished at
a heavy expense, making it in all respects a very
comfortable and attractive place of worship.

Congregational Church, North Rochester. 1 —
Contiguous portions of Rochester, Middleboro', and
Freetown formed the parish, which in Middleboro'
included that portion south of a line from Pocksha
Pond due east to the town of Carver.

1 By A. W. Bisbee, Esq.

The church was organized in 1753. Rev. Thomas
West was its pastor, and continued in that relation
till his death. The church stood near the north-
west angle of Rochester, on the lot south of the old
burying-ground. In that ancient ground now covered
with a stately growth of oak, ou one of the moss-
covered stones is the following inscription :

" Memento Mortii. — This stone is erected to the mcinury of
tho REV'D THOMAS WEST who died duly 1 1, 17'JO, in the
S2 d year of his age and in tho 4- 1 of hi* Ministry.
"Weep yo, my friends, for West is gone;

His glass of time doth cease to run ;

His active tongue and virtuous heart

Have ceased to act, — they've done their part.

Although he's gone, he yet docs live.

He's now disrobed of earthly clay,

And shines in one eternal day."

Nearly the whole of his pastoral labors were with
the people of this parish. He was very eccentric, yet
earnest in his efforts. Prophecies were his special
delight. A son of his, Rev. Samuel West, was at
oue time pastor of Hollis Street Church, Boston.

The next pastor was Rev. Calvin Ciiaddock, or-
dained Oct. 10, 1703. He was finely educated and
of great independence of mind. Soon after his set-
tlement he conceived the idea of starting an academy
and building up the place. Laud was purchased,
buildings erected, and the academy opened under
favorable auspices. The school soon attained such a
popularity that students were attracted to it from
distant States. This enterprise involved Mr. Chad-
dock in debt, trouble arose in the church, and at the
close of his pastorate, in 1806, the school was discon-
tinued. It was during this year his fellow-townsmen
honored him by sendiug him as a representative to
the General Court. When playing ball with the boys
he would tell them to give a good one. and he would
send it to the third heavens.

From this church he went to Hanover, and preached
there twelve years.

The early records having been destroyed by fire,
the date of the erection of the second house of wor-
ship cannot be given. A portion of the parish wished
it placed on the corner near to Stillwater Furnace,
on land now owued by Luke Perkins. The timber
was drawn there and preparations made to build.
This movement was not at all pleasing to the Mor-
tons, Haskells, and other families of that portion of
the parish, so the timber was quietly conveyed to the
lot on which the present building stands. This act
caused a few to withdraw and join the Baptist Church
at Rock, Middleboro'.

After Mr. Chaddock's departure the society began
to decline, and finally regular services were abandoned.



The buildiny had never been finished. In course of
time the windows were broken. Owls and bats held
possession by night, and when an occasional service
was held, to the delight of the little ones, squirrels
from the neighboring wood would leap on the beams
overhead. Through public feeling and sympathy the j
house was rendered habitable, and Rev. Ichabod \
Plaisted, from Maine, " a bliud preacher," commenced
his labors April 1, 1827. He coutinued four years.

Samuel Utley was the pastor for two years, from
1833 to 1S35.

Rev. Isaac Briggs was called in 1830 to be the
pastor. The society now began to be in a flourishing
conditiou. The commodious parsonage, owned by the
society, was built the following year. A colored man,
Ezekiel Turner, headed this enterprise. Through the
efforts of Rev. Mr. Briggs money was raised by sub-
scription and the present church edifice erected in
1841. Mr. Briggs closed his ministerial labors Nov.
7, 1858, having preached to this people twenty-two
years. He was justly esteemed a good mau, thor-
oughly Calvinistic in his views, firm in the faith of
his fathers, generous and kind. He was born in
Halifax, Mass., May 7, 1775 ; was three times mar-
ried ; died in East Morrisania, Westchester Co., N. Y.,
Feb. 22, 1S62, in the eighty-seventh year of his age.

By legislative act, June 18, 1825, Nathaniel Mor-
ton, Job Morton, Caleb Briggs, Jacob Bennett, John
Perkins, and their successors were chosen trustees of
the Third Congregational Precinct in Rochester, Mid-
dleboro', and Freetown.

Samuel Sprague, a resident of Fairhaven, and a.
member of the society, at his death, about the year
1825, bequeathed to the society fifteen hundred dol-
lars, and directed the interest to be used annually for
the support of the miuistry. Ezekiel Turner and
others, by bequests and gifts, have nearly doubled the
original sum, all of which is known as the " Sprague

Since Rev. Isaac Briggs the pastors have been as
follows: Otis Rockwood, Dec. 12, 18G0, to Dec. 12,
18G1; James R. Gushing, December, 1861, to 1868,
seven years; William W. Baldwin, Jau. 18, 1870, to
Aug. 27, 1871; Lewis P. Atwood, 1875 to 1877;
William Leonard, Sept. 1, 1877, to Sept. 1, 1881 ;
Richard T. Wilton, Nov. 1, 1881, to Nov. 1, 1883;
Henry J. Stone, Feb. 1, 1884.

Drowning Accident. — One of the saddest acci-
dents which ever occurred in this section of the com-
monwealth was the drowning of five young persons in
Snow's Pond, April 21, 1883.

Fannie R., aged twelve years, Isabclle R., aged ten
years, and Charles H. F. Church, aged eight years,

Ella Rounseville, aged nineteen years, Albert Rounse-
ville, aged eleven years, and Minnie Phipps, aged
twenty-three years, started on a May-flower excursion.
About 10.30 a.m. they arrived at the borders of
Snow's Pond, a body of water covering nearly one
hundred acres, and situated two miles northwest of
Rochester Centre. Not being successful in their
search for May-flowers, they determined to visit an
island in the stream. For this purpose they em-
barked in a boat called the " Rebecca," an unsafe
craft, nine feet long, two feet eight inches wide, and
ten inches deep, and commenced paddliug for the
island, a distance of nearly one hundred and twenty-
five feet. Ella and Fannie were in the bow, Albert
and Charlie amidships, paddling, and Minnie and
Isabclle were in the stern. A breeze was blowing
quite strong from the northwest, causing the over-
loaded boat, when about half-way across, to roll and
ship water. The occupants becoming frightened
moved to one side, and instantly the boat capsized,
plunging all of them in the water.

Miss Rounseville, daughter of Alden Rouuseville,
was a young lady whose many pleasing traits endeared
her to all her acquaintances. She was nearly at the
close of a second year at the State Normal School at
Bridgewater, and had been at home on a week's va-
cation, intending to return on Monday. Miss Phipps,
daughter of John W. and Nancy Phipps, lived at the
homo of her uncle, Garrison Blackmer. Her father
lost his life while serving his country during the Re-
bellion. She was a member of the class of 1878 of
the New Bedford High School, and was held in high
esteem by those who knew her. Fanny R., Isabelle
R., and C. H. F. were the only children of Charles
H. F. and Cornelia R. Church. The fuueral services
were held on Monday, April 23d, at the Congregational
Church, Rochester Centre, conducted by the pastor,
Rev. Mr. Joyslin, assisted by Rev. H. C. Vose, of
Marion, Rev. Mr. Bell and Rev. E. M. Wilson, of
Long Plain.

The remains were placed at the foot of the altar,
bearing the floral tributes of loving hands. After
the services nearly fifteen hundred persons viewed
the remains and witnessed the sad and unusual spec-
tacle of four hearses moving slowly through the town
and bearing to their last resting-place the remains of
the deceased.

Military. 1 — The following is a list of those from
this town who held offices in the local militia :

Colonels. — Charles Sturtevant, from Jau. 4, 1797,
to 1800; Noah Dexter, from 1812 to Aug. 5, 1812;

1 Contributed by Gen. E. W. Pciruc.



David Hathaway, from 1826 to 1829; John H.
Clark, from Dec. 8, 1820; Abial P. Robinson, from
May 7, 1834, to 1837.

Lieutenant- Colonels. — Ebenezer White, from 1775
to 17S1 ; Charles Sturtevaut, from May 1, 1794, to
Jan. 4, 1797; Noah Dexter, from June, 1809, to
1S12 ; Ebeuezer Barrows, from 1826 to 1827 ; John
II. Clark, from 1827 to Dec. 8, 1820; Gilbert
Hathaway, from 1839 to April 24, 1840.

Alajurs. — Edward Winslow, from an early and uu-
kuowu date; Elisha llujrgles, from 1787 to 17 — ;
Charles Sturtevaut, from 179- to May 1, 1794;
Roland Luce, from July 22, 1800, to 1806 ; Noah
Dexter, from 1807 to June, 1809; Nathaniel Has-
kell, from 1814 to 1821; David Hathaway, from
Oct. 10, 1823, to 1826; John H. Clark, from 1826
to 1827 ; Abial P. Robinson, from 1832 to May 7,
1834 ; Charles H. Clark, from May 7, 1834, to 1836 ;
Gilbert Hathaway, from 1837 to 1839; Roger L.
Barstow, from 1853 to 1858.

Part of a company of cavalry for several years ex-
isted in town, and of which Nathaniel Haskell, John
Bennett, Ira Clark, and James H. Clark were suc-
cessively commanders, Capt. Haskell being promoted
to major of the cavalry battalion.

A compauy of light iufautry was raised in 1849,
aud James II. Look commissioned captain. He was
succeeded by Roger L. Barstow in 1851. This com-
pany belouged to the Third Regiment of light in-
fantry, then commanded by Col. Eliab Ward, of
Middleboro', aud in the Second Brigade, Massachu-
setts Volunteer Militia, then under Brig.-Gen. Henry
Durham, of Abington.

While Marion and Mattapoisett remained as parts
of Rochester the town could properly lay claim to
considerable commercial enterprise, two hundred aud
fifteeu workmeu being at one time engaged in ship-

Whaling was also carried on and the making of salt.
At one time about sixty sail of merchant aud coasting
vessels were owued here.

What by many was believed to have been the most
valuable private library in the State was owued by
Rev. Thomas Robbius, formerly a settled clergyman
in that part of Rochester now Mattapoisett. This
library cousisted of about three thousand volumes
and four thousand pamphlets. He also had an
extensive collection of coins, mauuscripts, etc.

Rochester company of " minute-men" that re-
sponded to the first call, April 19, 1775 :

Comm inuiuiied Ojju-crii.
Edward Hammond, captain; Josiah Burgess, lieutenant; Tim-
othy Ruggles, ensign.

Xon-Cummiuiiuneti Ojjicer*.
William Nye, Jonathan King, Stafford Hammond, Sylvester
Bates, sergeants; Church Mendall, Elisha Briggs, David
Snow, William Crapo, corporals.


Ichabod Nye.
William Randall.
Nathan Savery.


Richard Warren.
Nathaniel Ryder.
George Hammond.
Joseph Clark.
Sbubael Hammond.
Rufus Bassett.
Jonathan Clark.
Lemuel Caswell.
Nathan Nye.
Seth Meudall.
Moses Bates.
Consider King.
Hathaway Randall.
Scth Hathaway.
Elijah Caswell, Jr.

Nathan Perry.
Isaac U ,i - li bui ii.
Japhct Washburn.
Caleb Combs.
Joseph Hammond.
Beujauiin lluskins.
Johu Briggs.
Elijah Bates.
David Bates.
Daniel Mendall.
Samuel Snow.
Nathan Sears.
Nathaniel Kiug.
Weston Clark.
Robert Rider.
Silos Bassett.
Ebenezer Foster.
George Clark.
William Hopper.

Rochester second foot company of militia that re-
sponded to the "Lexington alarm," April 19, 1775 :

Benjamin Dexter.
Daniel Hammond.


Samuel Sampson.
Ichabod Clupp.
Joshua Allen.
Johu Allen, Jr.
John Clark.
Hosea Bolles.
John Keen.
Joseph Wing.
Ebenezer Hammond.
Elisha Brings.

Nathaniel Hammond, capt.
Nathaniel Briggs, lieut.
John Briggs, sorgt.
Lemuel Le Baron, sergt.
Increase Clapp, corp.
Samuel Jenness, Corp.

John .

Charles Sturtevaut. '



Joel Ellis.
Nathaniel Sears.
Joseph Haskell (2d).

(See roll at Stale-House.)

The Fourth Regiment in Secoud Brigade, Fifth
Division, that from about the commeucnient of the
war of the Revolution embraced all the militia com-
panies of Middleboro', Rochester, aud Wareham, were
divided in the days of gerrymandering (see order of
Governor and Council, at the State- House, Bostou,
Jan. 15, 1812), and the compauies of Rochester and
Wareham set off, aud, with those of Carver, made a
new and distinct regiment, of which Maj. Noah Dex-
ter, of Rochester, was elected aud commissioned lieu-
teuant-colonel commandant ; Beujamiu Ellis, of Car-
ver, major, and Asa Barrows, appointed adjutaut.
This was disbanded by order of the Governor aud
Council, Aug. 5, 1812, and the companies of Roch-
ester and Wareham set back to the Fourth Regiment,
then commanded by Lieut. -Col. Abial Washburu, of
Middleboro' ; Levi Peircc, of Middleboro', being se-
nior or first major, aud Samuel White junior major.

The Fourth Regiment was reorganized in 1S26,



auil the field-officers in this new regiment were filled
by electing nnd commissioning three Rochester gen-
tlemen, namely, David Hathaway, colonel ; Ebenczer
Barrows, lieutenant-colonel ; and John H. Clark,
major. Dr. Thomas E. Gage, of Rochester, was ap-
pointed adjutant.

Col. David Hathaway was born in Freetown, Sept.
24, 17SS. He was a son of Gilbert Hathaway, of
Freetown, and wife (Mary Evans). Gilbert and
Mary were married Nov. 24, 177!). She was born
Feb. 12, 1751. She was a daughter of David Evans,
Jr., and wife (Anna Weaver), of Swansey, who were
married Nov. 29, 1745. Anna was a daughter of
Benjamin Weaver, of Swansey, and wife (Ruth Shef-
field). Benjamiu and Ruth were married April 11,

Ebenezer Barrows was promoted to lieutenant-
colonel from the office of captain of the light infantry
company then existing in that part of Rochester now
Mattapoisett. He resigned, and was succeeded as
lieutenant-colonel by Maj. John H. Clark, who finally
succeeded Col. Hathaway iu the command of the
regiment, Dec. 8, 1829.

The first clectiou for the choice of field-officers for
this regiment was held in 1826. Maj. John H. Clark
was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in place of Ebenezer
Barrows. Sept. 11, 1827, was the time set for the
election, to be held at the house of Elisha Ruggles,
innholder, but this was countermanded in brigade
orders of Sept. 7, 1827, and Maj. Clark was not pro-
moted until some time after.

Lucius Downs succeeded John H. Clark as major,
and was iu turn succeeded by Stillman Shaw. This
Fifth Regiment existed but a few years, when it was
disbanded, and the companies of Rochester and Ware-
ham again became a part of the Fourth Regiment,
and thus continued until the abolition of the old
militia system by an act of the Massachusetts Legis-
lature, April 24, 1S40.

The following is a list of justices of the peace and
coroners, and date of appointments :

Ebenezer White, Oct. 31, 1775.
David Wing, Aug. 28, 1775.
David Nye, May 17, 1787.
Elnathan Haskell, May 28, 1787.
Abraham Holmes, March 2, 1789.
Nathan Willis, March 4, 180U.
Nathaniel Hammond (3d), Feb. 19, 1805.
Nathaniel Ruggles, Jan. 26, 1810.
Elisha Ruggles, May 5, 1810.
Gideon Barstow, Jr., Feb. 22, 1811.
Caleb Briggs, Feb. 22, 1811.
Elijah Willis, Feb. 22, 1811.
Pelog Whitridge, May 8, 1812.

Charles J. Holmes, Feb. 15, 1814.
Micah H. Ruggles, Jan. 31, 1S15.
Thomas Bassett, Jan. 30, 1816.
Charles Sturtevant, Jan. 30, 1816.
Joseph Meigs, Feb. 3, 1816.
George Wing, Feb. 5, 1822.
James Ruggles, April 16, 1822.
Jesse Martin, May 26, 1823.
Joseph Look, May 26, 1823.
Philip Crandon, Feb. 17, 1824.
Lothrop Perkins, Feb. 17, 1824.
Butler Wing, Jan. 7, 1825.
William Le Baron, July 1, 1825.
| George King, Jan. 24, 1829.
| Theophilus Pitcher, Jr., Feb. 1, 1331.
I David Hathaway, Jan. 12, 1836.
I Walton N. Ellis, Jan. 12, 1S36.
! Joseph Haskell, Feb. 7, 1837.
| Joseph W. Church, April 11, 1839.
Theophilus King, July 25, 1839.
Noah C. Perkins, Feb. 17, 1841.
Amitta B. Hammond, March 6, 1841.
Rogers L. Barstow, Jan. 14, 1843.
Benjamin F. Barstow, Feb. 12, 1851.
James H. Look.
George Peirco.
Thomas Ellis.

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