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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is stipulated as a condition that the inhabitants of
the said town of Hanover •' do, within the space of
two years from the publication of this act, erect and
finish a suitable house for the Public Worship of God,
aud as soon as may be procure and settle a learned
Orthodox Minister of good conversation, and make
provision for his comfortable and honorable support,
and that thereupon they be discharged from any fur-
ther payment for the maintenance of the ministry,
Sic, in the towns of Scituate or Abingtou for any
estate lying within the said town of Hanover."

Accordingly, in September, 1726, Lieut. William
Reed, Matthew Pratt, Edward Bates, and Samuel
Noyes were chosen " to draw up objections in answer
to the Driukwater people's petition to draw off from
them." This remonstrance, presented the following
spring, assigned as reasons for opposing the new
town's incorporation, —

" 1. Because of tUo fewness of our families in number, which
is but about fifty-three, including the eight desiring to be set
uff; and of these five are newly married, aud have neither
houso nor homo but as they sojourn under the roof of others;
and of the rest six are widows whose husbands have of late
deeeased, leaviug their families mueh broken, and under low
circumstances, which nineteen, taken from fifty-three, leaves
but thirty-four, and evon of these some are so poor that they
aro left out of the rates, and have need of support from the
town, so that there will be but thirty families left to bear the
public charges.



HISTORY OF HANOVER.



37:5



"2. The part of the town petitioning to be set off contains ,
eleven polls und abovo onc-lifth tlie ratable estate, auJ al-
though there will still be left to Abington u considerable tract
of lanil, yet but little part of it is capable of settlement except |
the easterly part, which is chietly in gentlemen proprietors' 1
bauds who do neither sell nor settle their lands, they living in j
other towns and improving the same only as timber lots, and 1
the inhabitants petitioning to be set off dwell on the easterly 1
part of those great lots which run westerly nearly to the
centre of Abiugton, which will hence be exempt from taxation
here for the support of the ministry.

•• 3. That the eight petitioners for the separation, viz.. Elijah
Cushiug, Jeremiah Hatch, Nathaniel Davis, Joseph Bryant,
Nehemiah Curbing, Benjamin Loriug, and Isaac Hatch, though
they urged their distance from public worship, were but four
miles from the meeting-house, and that if it was objected that
the way was difficult aud impassable, yet several responsible
men had offered to make it good and passable for man and
horse for £b charge."

In the light of the present comparative sizes of the
towns of Hanover and Abington, this remonstrance
is a curiosity. To meet so pitiable an appeal the
General Court appointed a committee to visit the
territory in dispute. They reported in favor of the
petitioners and against the remonstrants. But their
representation of the unfortunate condition of Ab-
iugton as to its taxable estate produced an act reliev-
ing the town of Abiugton by providing that all lands
of non-residents lying within the limits of Abington
should be liable for three years to a tax for the sup-
port of the ministry of one balf-penuy per acre. The
Legislature also granted them a tract of land lying
northeast of what is commonly called Waldo's farm.

The new town thus incorporated chose for its first
towu clerk William Witherell, who lived at the Four
Corners.



CHAPTER II.

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.

The Early Church— The Second Congregational Church — The
Catholic Chapel — St. Andrew's Church— The Baptist Society
— The liniversalist Society.

In the act incorporating the town we have already
seeu that the Legislature inserted a proviso that
the inhabitants of the said towu of Hanover do,
within the space of two years from the publication
of this act, erect and finish a suitable house for
the public worship of God, and as soon as may be
procure and settle a learned Orthodox minister. This
was iu strict accord with the prevailing ideas of
the time when Church aud State were hardly sepa-
rated. The town was not slow to take action
under this proviso. The publication of this act



is dated July 11, 1727, and we find on record,
July 17, 1727, that " Mr. Daniel Dwight was chosen
to dispense the word of God for three months," and
the sum of £7 19s. was appropriated to recompense
him for this service. The meetings were held near
the centre of the town, in some citizen's home, that
of Mr. Samuel Stetson being first used, until in No-
vember of the year 1727 it was voted to erect a
:l meeting-house," these strict old Calvinists scorning
to use the word " church," as savoring too much of
the Euglish Church ideas.

The buildiug committee, Elijah Cushing, Joseph
House, and Abuer Dwelley, were instructed to build
a house as cheaply aa possible, and its dimensions
were to be, length forty-eight feet, width thirty-eight
feet, and height between joints nineteen feet, to be
completed by Oct. 1, 1728.

Then came the momentous question of defraying
the expense. The house when completed cost about
three hundred pounds. It had neither steeple nor
bell. The gable-roof shut down over a double row
of small windows with diamond-shaped glass, probably
set in lead. No fire ever occasioned the need of a
chimney, and no plastering raised the question of
whether frescoed or plain walls were better for true
worship. There are now people living who remember
the first introduction of stoves in church. They
were objected to on the ground that they would occa-
sion headache and drowsiness. The ladies of the
congregation sometimes carried little tin boxes filled
with glowiug coals called foot-stoves or foot-warmers,
but the greater part of the congregation were warmed
only by their zeal. In this edifice, with its huge hard-
wood timbers creaking as the winter winds whistled
through the edifice, sat the people of the congregation
and listened to the preached word for nearly forty
years, until its place was supplied by a more preten-
tious edifice upon the same spot in 17C5.

I have spoken of the struggle necessary to raise
the fuuds to build this church. At that time the
circulating medium was scarce. Much of the trade
between neighbors was conducted by barter, and but
little money passed. Thus we find many people con-
tributing lumber for the church ; Thomas Buck gave
the land ; others gave other lauds, which, the towu
owning the church, were surveyed off to the town and
afterward sold. The pareut town of Scituate having
made uo objection to the incorporation of this orlshoot
towu, no hesitation was felt iu asking aid from the
old town, and with some success. Ninety pounds
were subscribed, of which £66 Is. 6J. were collected.
Besides these funds, lands in old Scituate were given
by several residents of that town.



374



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



But Hide idea of the great labor necessary to build
such an edifice can be formed by us of the present
age. Every timber was hewn, and, with the boards
aud shingles and all other lumber entering into the
building of the meeting-house, grew probably within
the town limits. No commodious harbor near by
received loads of lumber of all dimensions from the
district of Maine or elsewhere. No factory with its
hundred machines, spitting forth tons of nails, was
anywhere in existence. Every nail in the church was
hammered out by hand by some pious blacksmith.
All the line beading and mouldiug of the pulpit aud
the sounding-board were made ou the spot. Surely
a year was little time enough for the most skillful
handlers of the broadaxe aud the most cunning
manipulators of the rabbit-plane to do this work.

At hist the meeting-house was completed. Rev.
Beujamiu Bass, the first settled minister of Hanover,
at a salary of one hundred aud thirty pounds per au-
num, after the rate of silver money at sixteen shillings
per ounce, was to be ordained. He was a graduate
of Harvard College iu 1715, aud was at this time
settled in what is now Quiucy. After a day of fast-
ing and prayer (December 4th), on the 11th day of
December, 172S, " Benjamin Bass, A.M., was by
prayer and fastiug, with imposition of the hands of
the Presbytery, ordained a pastor of the church. The
Rev. Mr. Eells, of Scituate, Mr. Lewis, of Pem-
broke, Messrs. Hobart and Gay, of Hiugham, and
Mr. Checkley, of Boston, laid on hands ; Mr. Gay
began with prayer; Mr. Checkley preached; Mr. Eells
gave the charge, aud Mr. Lewis the right hand of
fellowship."

The ministry of Mr. Bass was terminated only by
his death, which occurred ou May 23, 1756, and he,
like several of his successors, lies buried in the Ceutre
Cemetery. His ministry was uneventful. His suc-
cessor, Rev. Samuel Baldwin, whose sister was wife
of Col. Oliver Prescolt, of Revolutionary fame, was
offered as an inducement to settle, after he had re-
jected one or two offers, eighty pounds lawful money,
aud " to build him a dwelling house forty feet loug,
thirty feet wide, and seventeen feet between joints,
with two stacks of chimneys, a plain roof, with a suit-
able number of windows with crown glass, aud to be
painted inside and outside such a color or colors as
shall be agreeable to his mind; and to build and finish
under the house a cellar thirty feet long and fourteen
feet wide, pointed, etc. ; and everything both inside
aud outside, botli wood work, iron work, and joiners'
work, with two Bofatta, and as many closets in said
house as may be convenient, are to be done to the
turning of a key, aud to be under-pinned iu a suita-



ble manner to the acceptance of the said Mr. Bald-
win." This offer he accepted, and he was ordained
Dec. 1, 1756. His ministry was successful, filling
the house every Sunday. His labors were interrupted
by the Revolutionary war, which interfered with the
payment of his salary to such an extent that in 1779
he asked a dismission, which was granted. He had
been with the society twenty-three years, three months,
and three days, had added one hundred and seven
persons to the church, and baptized six hundred aud
thirty-two. He was a zealous patriot, and a chaplain
in the Revolutionary army. His utterances were
fervid aud eloquent. His mind was clouded by
" partial derangemeut"' during four years previous to
his decease, which occurred at his house iu Hanover,
Dec. 1, 1784. This house still stands near the
Centre, ou Hanover Street, iu a fine state of pres-
ervation.

The next settled minister over this parish was Rev.
John Melleu, of Sterliug, Mass. He was settled
Feb. 11, 1784, and his ministry terminated in 1S05.
His ministry was marked by much of an eventful
character. His opinions were subject to much com-
ment in his society, undoubtedly leaniug strongly
toward Armiuianism. For these opiuious, declared in
his sermons (several volumes of which were printed)
and less formally in his conversations, he was brought
before a council in 1773, but was acquitted. He
seems to have been a man who left his mark upon his
time. He is spoken of as being " liberally endowed
by nature with a strong aud energetic mind, which
was highly improved by diligent aud successful culti-
vation." He was much beloved by his parishioners
generally, being of a sociable disposition, a pleasant,
genial, companionable mau, with a zealous, ardent
temper in whatever he undertook. His son Prentiss
was United States Senator from Maine.

On the 23d of July, 180G, Rev. Calvin Chaddock,
remembered even to this day as " Parson Chaddock,"
was settled over this society. Here he remained for
twelve years, a portion of the time eking out his salary
by officiating as principal of the Hanover Academy,
which was established by him during his residence
here. Rev. Seth Chapiu, the sixth pastor, was settled
iu 1S19, and went away iu 1824.

The seventh pastor, Rev. Ethan Smith, remained
here but five years, and was followed by the Rev. Abel
G. Duucan, who was installed Aug. 22, 1833. He
represented the town for six years in the Legislature.

His successor was Rev. Joseph Freeman, who has
recently died iu York, Me. His ministry extended
from April 18, 1855, to July 25, 1869. He was for
several years, like Mr. Duncan, one of the school



HISTORY OF HANOVER.



375



committee of the town, and was the last settled
pastor, his successors not having been regularly
installed, but serving merely as acting pastors.

Mr. Freeman was followed, in June, 1872, by
Rev. Cyrus Williams Allen, who closed a ministry of
seven years in East Jaffrey, N. H., to settle in Han-
over. He was a son of John and Betsey (Grossman)
Allen, and was born at Taunton, Mass., Oct. 28, 1S06.
He graduated from Brown University, in 1S26, at
the early age of nineteen, having entered college in
the Sophomore class. Three years later he graduated
from Andover Theological Seminary, and at once
entered upon the duties of his chosen profession by
going as a missiouary to Illinois and Missouri as
agent for the American Tract Society. The region
he traversed (mostly on horseback) was then an
almost trackless wilderness. Here he passed five
years of his young life, devoting himself heart and
soul to the duties which met him. Upon his return
he was settled for seven years at Norton, Mass., and
was for ten years one of the trustees of the Wheaton
Female Seminary located at that place. His changes
were then as follows: Pelham, N. H., for four years;
Coleraine, Mass., for three years; Hubbardston, Mass.,
eight years; East Jaffrey, N. H., seven years; Han-
over, Mass., for a little over eight years. During his
Hanover pastorate nineteen united with the church.
He married (June 6, 1837) Mary, a daughter of
Gideon and Eunice (Macy) Folger, of Nantucket, a
most estimable lady of great strength of character,
who has been in truth a helpmate through their long
wedded life. She is couneetcd by blood with all the
leading people ou the island of Nantucket, that
little " nursery of giant men" and women.

They have had eight children, four of whom are
now living, viz. : Dr. George 0. Allen and Henry F.
Allen, both of West Rockbury, Mass. ; Mary Abby,
wife of George F. Sylvester, of Hanover; and Fanny
Florence, wife of John F. Simmons, Esq., of Han-
over.

Mr. Allen's life was a constant sermon. His most
distinguishing characteristics were his very self-sacri-
ficing disposition, his great love of children, and deep
and all-abiding fervor in his chosen profession. His
sermons were always strong and logical, and were de-
livered with a plain yet forceful simplicity, as if
scorning any adventitious aid of fine oratorical or
rhetorical effects.

He died of apoplexy, at his son's residence at
West Roxbury, Mass., April 11, 1882, in the
seventy-sixth year of his age, and lies at rest in the
cemetery at Centre Hanover, where a very appropriate
marble tablet marks his grave.



The successor of Mr. Allen, Rev. William H.
Dowdcn, preached to this society but a short time.
His ministry was marked by a great increase iu the ma-
terial prosperity of the society. Under his direction,
and largely by his inspiration, a society of home-
workers was formed, and they with others, aided
largely by contributions, fairs, entertainments of all
kinds, and other well-directed efforts, succeeded in
painting the church, both inside and out, frescoing
the interior, getting a new pulpit and new organ, and
all without getting into debt.

The present incumbent of the preacher's desk is
Rev. Samuel E. Evans, who was ordained to the
ministry in 1867.

Some of the entries upon the old records of this
church seem to be of interest. For example, this
one of May 7, 1742 : " The church took a vote to
see if the society would sing in the new way, and it
passed in the affirmative, nem. con. Then being de-
sired to bring in their votes for a Tuner, Mr. Ezekiel
Turner was chosen by a considerable majority." This
marks the end of the old way of congregational sing-
ing, wherein the deacon read each line before it was
sung, pitching the tune himself.

Another entry, Oct. 21, 1805, "Voted to repair
the base viol," shows that still greater innovations on
old practices had occurred.

The present building is the fourth church which
has stood upon the same spot. The first has already
been described. The second was built in 1764 or
1765. During Mr. Baldwin's ministry it was de-
signed to cut the old church in two and put iu a
piece, but this plan was reconsidered, and a new
church, sixty-two by forty-three feet, and twenty-two
feet between joints, was built, with a steeple. Like
the first church this building faced south, and on the
east side the women's porch, and on the west the
men's porch extended to the eaves. The men's
porch was surmounted by a tapering spire and weather-
vane, which were both removed when in 17S4 a bell
was placed in the front steeple.

During or just preceding Mr. Smith's ministry
this second meeting-house gave place to a third of
smaller dimensions, which faced to the east. Directly
in its rear, within about six feet of the wall, stood
the town hall, facing south. In 1861 a fire destroyed
both town house and church. The present church
edifice was immediately erected. It returned to the
old style and faced south, and a vestry upon the
ground floor, with furnaces for heating the building,
were for the first time introduced.

Second Congregational Church. — The Second
Congregational Church at Hanover was originally one



376



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



with the Congregational Church situated at the
centre of the town. A few persons believed it would
be au accommodation to the inhabitants of Hanover,
South Scituate, and adjoining towns to have a Con-
gregational Society formed whose place of public
worship should be near the Four Corners. Accord-
ingly, March 10, 1854, thirty-two members (thirteen
gentlemen and nineteen ladies) were dismissed by the
First Church to be organized as a religious society or
parish by the name of the Secoud Congregational
Society iu Hanover.

In the year 1854 the voters of the church peti-
tioned Alexander Wood, Esq., one of the justices of
the peace for the county of Plymouth, that a warrant
be given them to warn the qualified voters to meet
in their new meeting-house, lately erected on Back
Street, for the purpose of choosing the necessary
officers, and also to determiue a way of calling parish
meetings in the future. The warrant having been
granted, the church took measures to procure a pas-
tor. At a legal meeting in July of the same year
thirteen new members were admitted to the church,
aud the church and parish united iu extending a call
to Rev. William Chapman to become their pastor.
He accepted, and remained one year, resigning ou
account of ill health. The salary paid at that time
was nearly eight hundred dollars. After his with-
drawal, Rev. Joel Maun, of Kingston, R. I., accepted
a call from the church, remaining from 1S57 to No-
vember of the next year, at a salary of* six hundred
dollars. Mr. Maun has just died in New Haven,
Conn., at the advanced age of ninety-nine years.

The church then voted that Rev. James Aiken
should fill the vacancy, aud he was installed as pastor
ou the ltjth of July, 1859. Duriug his pastorate
four new members were admitted into the church.
Mr. Aiken was a man greatly beloved by the people
during his pastorate of twelve years.

He was succeeded by Rev. F. D. P. Stone, whose
labors with the church begau in October, 1873, aud
continued uutil October, 1875. Besides his duties
as a clergyman, he was also principal of Hanover
Academy while he remaiued iu Hanover.

The Rev. Henry Perkins was next invited by the
church to serve them as their minister. He accepted
the call, occupying the pulpit from Jau. 1, 1870', to
1878.

After his removal the church had no settled pas-
tor, but the pulpit was supplied by Rev. E. Porter
Dyer, of South Abingtou. Mr. Dyer remained three
years, when he was compelled to resign by sickuess.
His death took place receutly at his home iu South
Abiugton.



After Mr. Dyer's resignation a call was extended
to Rev. J. W. Brownville, who is the present pastor.

Catholic Chapel. — Nearly opposite one end of
Spring Street, on Broadway, stands the " Chupel of
our Lady of the Sacred Heart," the first Roman
Catbolio Church edifice in towu. For twelve years
or more monthly services of the Roman Catholic
Church had been holdeu in this vicinity by the Ruv-
ereud Fathers of St. Bridget's Church at Abingtou,
— first at the house of Mr. Johu Iiaunicau, in Pem-
broke, and later at Mr. Solomon Russell's house, near
the rubber- works, in Hanover. Iu 1879, Rev.
William P. McQuaid succeeded iu purchasing this
site aud erecting this little chapel, where twice a
month about one hundred Roman Catholics assemble
in worship. The chapel is a plain buildiug with a
small steeple or cupola on the north or front end, and
was built by Rawson & Higgins from plans made by
J. H. Besarick. It is now a part of the parish of
Rockland, and is uuder the charge of Rev. Johu B.
Tiernay, of the Church of the Holy Family.

St. Andrew's Ciurch. — This, the first Protestaut
Episcopal Church in Massachusetts to be consecrated
by Bishop Griswold, aud called St. Andrew's Church,
was built in 1811, at a cost of about five thousand
dollars. As the outcome of difficulties in the First
Congregational Church in Hauover, some of its mem-
bers left and joiued St. Andrew's Church, the society
then worshiping iu its first church, which was located
at Church Hill, in South Scituate. These new-
comers desired a church iu a location more conve-
nient to them. Accordingly, it was voted, April JI4,
1810, " that the Society are willing to attend public
worship in Hanover, provided individuals will build
a new church iu said Hanover." The new church,
the second iu which this society had worshiped, was
built, aud the society moved. This church edifice
since 1811 has been twice remodeled. Once the
spire was changed, and recently, after a new chancel
and other iuterior improvements had just been com-
pleted, a stroke of lightning burned and demolished
the spire so much that a new one has been again
erected. The present structure at the Four Corners
is a good specimeu of the church architecture of colo-
nial times.

The records of this church previous to 1780 are
lost. Enough is gained from the careful and schol-
arly " Historical Address," delivered at a service me-
morial of St. Audrew's Church, Scituate, Sept. 3,
a.d. 1882, by the Rev. William Henry Brooks,
S.T.D. (_its present rector), to enable us to give with
sufficient fullness the details of its earlier history.

Originally this church was attended by the few



HISTORY OF HANOVER.



377



Church of England people in all the neighboring
towns. Its services were couducted by missionaries
of the •' Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts," the oldest missionary society in the
world, having received its charter June 1U, 1701,
from King William the Third of Eugland.

Its first editice was situated, as above stated, at
Church Hill, and was opened Oct. 11, 1731, the Rev.
Ebeuezer Miller, S.T.D., officiating, and on that day
baptizing eight children. It was a small wooden
building, with a low spire and bell, and would accom-
modate about one hundred and fifty people. The
three windows, with diamond glass on each side, were
shaped at the top like a Gothic arch.

Dr. Miller was not the first missionary from this
old society to officiate at the services of this church.
As early as July 28, 1725, Rev. Dr. Cutler, at the
request of several of the inhabitants of the town of
Scituate, conducted divine service in the Episcopal
form iu the North meeting-house in Scituate, near
the harbor. This service, attended by some ninety
persons, created no small stir among the good Congre-
gationalists of the colony. It was even noticed iu
the Boston News-Letter, as " showing the doctor's
fervent zeal and indefatigable pains to make proselytes
to the cause, and promote ceremonies by destroying
substantial in religion."

Dr. Miller died Sept. 11, 1703, having lived to see
this society at Scituate for mauy years under a pastor
of its own. The first settled minister was Rev. Ad-
dington Davenport. He also was a missionary, sent
out at a salary of sixty pounds per annum by this
same Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He
must have been established here about 1733, and
remained here about three years.

During Mr. Davenport's ministry the feeling of



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 84 of 118)