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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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 96 of 118)
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HISTORY OF SC1TUATE AND SOUTH SCITUATE.



420



ineeting-house, to which this great-hearted man re-
plied that he should be glad to gratify them. It was
accordingly voted that he should preach there one Sab-
bath in each month from April 1st to December 1st.
But the next year (1793) the parish by vote withdrew
this privilege. Up to this time there was no differ-
ence in doctrinal belief separating the two sections.
If their just request had been granted at this time, a
Congregational Church would have been formed at
West Scituate that would like its parent have become
a Unitarian Congregational Church or have remained
a Trinitarian Congregational Church. But the treat-
ment they had received did not tend to augment their
regard for their old church and its faith, and having
a meeting-house they used it, though compelled to pay
taxes for preaching elsewhere. Under these circum-
stances they were not confined to the teachings of
regularly recognized ministers. Their minds were
open to the reception of new ideas. Universalism
was beginning to be preached in this county. Rev.
Mr. Ballou and others, Universalist preachers, readily
found access to this unappropriated pulpit. As a
result, in IS 12, they petitioned the General Court for
incorporation as a " Universalist Society," and their
petition was granted. This society had in it first-rate
material for making the enterprise successful, and its
early history was one of great prosperity.

Its ministers have been Rev. Messrs. David Pick-
ering, Samuel Baker, Joshua Flagg, Benjamin Whit-
temore, Robert L. Killam (who enjoyed a long pastor-
ate, and made his home among that people for the
remainder of his honored aud useful life, — he was a
good man), H. W. Morse, John F. Dyer, J. E. Burn-
ham, John Stetson Barry (the historian), M. E.

Hawes, Horace P. Stevens, Robinson Breare,

Recsord, Henry C. Vose, Perry.

The names of the original members of this society
were Enoch Collamore, Loring Jacobs, Iehabod R.
Jacobs, John Jones, Jr., Calvin Wilder, James H.
Jacobs, Charles Totmau, Charles Joues, Isaac N. Da-
mon, Joshua Bowker, James Jacobs, Abel Sylvester,
Charles Simmons, William Hyland, David Turner,
Samuel Randall, Samuel Randall, Jr., Joshua Damon,
Ebenezir Totmau, Jonathan Turner, Enoch Colla-
more, Jr., Benjamin Bowker, John Gross, Josiah
Witherell, Samuel Simmous, John Joues, Peleg Sim-
mons, Seth Stoddard, George Litchfield, Elisha Gross,
Reuben Sutton, T. Corttrell, Edward P. Jacobs, Eli-
sha Barrell, Stephen Jacobs, Edward Curtis, aud E.
Barrell, Jr.

Episcopal Church. — Mr. Deane and others state
that the first Episcopal services in Scituate thus orig-
inated : " Rev. Timothy Cutler, of Christ Church,



Boston, came to Scituate during an absence of Rev.
Mr. Bourn, minister of the North Parish, by the in-
vitation of Lieut. Damon (then at variance with Mr.
Bourn) and another gentleman of large estate, aud
performed divine service in the Church form at the
North Meeting-house."

This may be true, but that Lieut. Zachary Damon,
then seventy-three years of age, should actively inter-
est himself in having services which he did not be-
lieve in performed in that house is hardly credible.

Certain it is that Episcopacy never got any foot-
hold in the North Parish of Scituate. But in the
extreme south part of the town, near Hanover, where
Mr. Miller, of Braintree, seems to have preached from
time to time, it received some favor, and in 1731 a
church edifice was erected ou what has ever siuce becu
known as Church Hill. This building was enlarged
in 1753.

The Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign
Parts sent out a man from England as rector for
this church, who served them as such from 1733 to
1736. Rev. Mr. Brockwell was rector from 1737 to
1739.

In 1743 the society in England appointed Rev.
Ebenezer Thompson as their missionary rector to this
church, and he remained in that office until his death,
in 1775, a period of thirty-two years. His ministry
was evidently a popular one.

During the Revolutionary war this church had no
rector. Up to this time this church had apparently
been supported as a missionary church by the society
in England. In 1783, Rev. William W. Wheeler be-
came rector. He was the last rector who officiated in
the church at Scituate, as he died in 1S10, the same
year the church voted to remove to Hanover and build
a church there. This was done in 1811, before the
settlement of the next rector, and the history of this
church in Scituate ceased.

The Baptist Church. — " At a meeting of persons
favorable to the formation of a Baptist Church held
July 8, 1825, it was voted to call a council for organ-
ization and recognition, to be held August 10th. Ac-
cordingly, ou that day, the council convened with Rev.
Dauicl Sharp, D.D., of Boston, moderator, aud Rev.
Willard Kimball, of Abington, scribe. The church
was formally recognized with the following constituent
members : Rev. Amos Lefavor, Henrietta Lefavor,
Abicl Cudworth, Joanna Cudworth, Joseph Gannett,
Betsey Gannett, Judith Briggs (Gannett), Nehe-
miah Curtis, Mercy L. Curtis (Jenkins), Jaazaniah
Bates, Nathaniel Damon, Anna Bates, Rachel White
(Brown), Sally Jenkins (Dauiels), Nancy Jenkins,
Betsey Otis, Cynthia Nichols, Hannah Collier, II au-



430



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



nah W. Bailey, Mehitable Hyland, Lucy Briggs,
Sophia Brings (Prince), Hannah James, Hannah
Brings (Otis), Rachel Litchfield, Lettice Vinal,
Lucy Collier (Jenkins), Thankful Rich, Betsey Col-
lier (Barrelle), Xoa Clapp (Litchfield).

Abiel Cudworth and Nathaniel Damon were chosen
as deacons, Aug. 12, 1825.

The only surviving members are Mrs. Sophia
Pierce, of North Seituatc, aged ninety-three ; lior
sister, Miss Lucy Briggs, aged eighty-five ; aud Mrs.
Xoa Litchfield, of South Scituate, seventy-nine years.

Pastors. — Rev. Amos Lefavor continued as pastor
until May 1-1, 1S2G. He was followed by Rev.
Adoniram Judsou (father of the distinguished mis-
sionary of that name), who, after about nine months'
services, died iD Scituate, Nov. 26, 1826. Forty-three
years before, being then a Congregational minister, he
had preached as a caudidate to the Congregational
Church there, and had received a call, which for some
reason he did not accept. He was for many years
pastor of the Congregational Church in Plymouth.
He was a man of catholic, Christian spirit, and in dying
requested that his funeral might take place from the
Congregational Church, and that Congregationalist as
well as a Baptist minister might officiate. It is not
recorded whether his request was complied with.

Rev. Asa Niles settled Aug. 5, 1827 ; dismissed
1829. In January, 1830, Rev. Edward Seagrave
became pastor; dismissed 1835. Rev. John Hol-
brook came October, 1S36 ; dismissed April, 183S.
Rev. Warren Cooper, June 2, 1838, left in November
of the same year. Rev. Caleb Brown became pastor
June 1, 1839; dismissed May, 1841. A young
man, Frankliu Damon, labored with the church sev-
eral mouths, and Oct. 15, 1842, was ordained as an
evangelist, and the next year left to pursue further
study. In September, 1843, Rev. Thomas Couant be-
came pastor, aud continued until July 10, 1S53. He.
died at his home iu Scituate Oct. 23, 1S70. Rev.
Stephen Cutler, July, 1853 ; dismissed June 5, 1854.
Rev. George Carpenter settled July, 1854 ; dismissed
May, 1857. Rev. Timothy C. Tiugley settled June,
1857 ; dismissed 1864. Rev. Lewis Holmes settled
September, 1864 ; dismissed December, 1S67. Rev.
William H. Kelton, July, 1S58 ; died April 4, 1871.
Rev. Thomas L. Rogers settled December, 1S71 ; dis-
missed April, 1874. Rev. C. W. It. Meacham, Sep-
tember, 1874 ; dismissed April, 1879. Rev. William
A. Spinney settled March, 1880; dismissed Septem-
ber, 1882. Rev. T. W. Sheppard settled in Jan-
uary, 1883, is present pastor.

Deacons. — Howard White was chosen, April 2,
1842, successor to Nathaniel Damon ; removed to



Marshfield. Sept. 1, 1855, George W. Bailey was
appointed successor to Deacon White (deceased), and
in February, 1864, Charles E. Bailey was chosen
successor to Deacon Cudworth (deceased). The old
meeting-house at the Centre needing extensive repairs,
and the membership of the church having increased
more north of that location than south uf it, it was
decided to build a uew edifice on a site farther north.
Oct. 6, 1870, a commodious church, with vestries
and auterooms, was dedicated free of debt. A par-
sonage was also built, the total expenditure being
about seventeen thousand dollars. The present mem-
bership of the church is one hundred and eighty-
seven. Membership of the Sunday-school is one
hundred and fifty-six.

The Congregational Church. — In 1824, during
the ministry of Rev. Nehemiah Thomas, considerable
dissatisfaction arose in his church, aud an effurt was
made by a majority of the church to have adopted
and observed a covenaut and confession of faith, aud
secure a stricter observance of what they deemed
essential church requisites. Iu this movemeut the
pastor did not co-operate, and held himself aloof from
a series of church meetings, iu the course of which
the old covenaut of the chunch was reaffirmed aud
adopted. This was done by a decided majority of
the church. These proceedings created a breach
which continually widened between the church aud
pastor, the majority adverse to him apparently dimin-
ishing so that when it finally culminated April 29,
1826, in a vote of what they claimed was a majority
of the church, that the relation between the church
and its pastor, Mr. Thomas, he dissolved. This actiou
was taken by advice of an ex parte council, which had
been called by this majority, as they claimed to be, of
the church. Mr. Thomas, who was sustained by a part
of the church and a great majority of the parish, aud
held possession of the records of the old church, never
recognized this actiou of what he called a minority of
the church. Therecordsof the church thusconstituted
assume that, being the majority, they remained the
First Church, — the church over which Chauuccy aud
his successors were settled. As twelve members of the
church thus stood by themselves aud only ten adhered
to Mr. Thomas, as it claimed the question is more in-
teresting than practical, as to which held the organi-
zation called the First Church. Rev. Paul Jewett
was installed as pastor Nov. 16, 1S26, and remained
as such uutil 1833. Rev. Luke A. Spollurd was in-
stalled May 20, 1835, and resigned on account of ill
health, March 12, 183G. Rev. Phiucas Smith was
installed Sept. 2, 1840, and remained ouly one year.
Rev. Daniel Wight, Jr., was installed Sept. 28, 1S42,



HISTORY OF SCITUATE AND SOUTH SCITUATE.



431



and continued in the pastorate of that church until
1858. He was an able preacher, of decided literary
taste and ability, won the respect and love of his
people, and had a successful ministry. Rev. Alexan-
der J. Sessions was installed June 25, 18G3, and was
pastor until Oct. 3, 1809. He was an able and faith-
ful minister of the gospel. Rev. T. S. Robie preached
to this people id 1870 and 1871 ; Rev. W. B. Greene
from 1872 to 1877 ; Rev. William C. Wood, an able,
positive, and live preacher, from 187S to 1883 ; and
Rev. Mr. Page in 188-4. The last four ministers, it is
said, were not installed over the church. The names
of the twelve members of this church who called Rev.
Paul Jewett to be their pastor in 1S26 were Deacon
Israel Litchfield, Calvin Jenkins, Ward Litchfield,
Eleazer Peakes, Rowland Litchfield, James Jenkins,
Levi Viual, Jacob Vinal, Charles Curtis, Augustus
Cole, James Turner, Stephen Mott. The deacons
since 1S26 have been Israel Litchfield, Ward Litch-
field, Calvin Jenkins, Israel Cudworth, John H.
Young, and Russell Cook. This church erected a
meeting-house in 182G at the centre of the town, still
in use.

Methodist Church. — About 1825 a Methodist
Church was organized and has had a prosperous
career. Among some of the earliest preachers there
were Revs. Messrs. Taylor, Avery, Barker, and
Keith. The discipline of this church provides for
such frequent changes in the pastors that there is
great difficulty in getting a full and accurate list of
all who have served this church, and it will not be
attempted.

Roman Catholic Church. — A large number of
Roman Catholics having settled near the harbor, in
this town, since 1850, with the commendable religious
zeal and enterprise which everywhere distinguishes
them, they have erected a church and hold services.

Methodist Church in South Scituate. — At
Church Hill, about 1S45, a Methodist Church was
formed, and has had a very prosperous life. They
have a fine meeting-house.

Quakers. — No Quaker Church was ever built in
this town, but near North Biver, in Pembroke, one
has stood for generations. Some Scituate people in
all the generations have been Quakers until the pres-
ent. There are no Quakers now left in the town.
The last residents there were Daniel Otis and wife,
in South Scituate. In the early history of the town
Quakers were numerous and among the most useful
citizens. Edward Wanton, one of the best and most
enterprising men in the place, was a Quaker. The
Plymouth Colony has the deserved credit of not
falling into the foolish and wicked witchcraft delusion



and persecutions, and of not persecuting the Quakers
so furiously as the Massachusetts Colony. But Scit-
uate stands alone and in graud contrast with all the
other communities in these two colonies in her opposi-
tion to that persecution. In fact, she suffered persecu-
tion for her opposition to persecution, for her deputies,
Mr. Hatherly and Mr. Cudworth, were refused ad-
mission to the Colony Court, and suffered much from
the tyrauuy and bigotry of the governmeul. And this
simply because they protested against persecution.
The people of Scituate sustained Mr. Hatherly and
Mr. Cudworth, and a letter, written by Mr. Cud-
worth, is here given to show not only his feeling and
opinion, but also to show that the community he
represented agreed with him. The letter also refutes
the charge that his pastor, Mr. Dunster, was a perse-
cutor. For these reasons it is here inserted :

"Ah to the state and condition of things auiongst us, it is
sad, and so like to continue. The anti-christian, persecuting
spirit is very active, and that in the powers of this world, lie
that will nut lash, persecute, and punish men that dill'er in
matters of religion must not sit on the hench, nor sustain any
office in the Commonwealth. Last Election Mr. Hatherly and
myself were left off the bench, and myself discharged of my
Captainship becauso I had entertaiued some uf the Quakers at
my house, thereby that I might be the better acquainted with
their principles. I thought it better to do so than with tho
blind world to censure, condemn, rail at, and revile them,
when they neither saw their persons nor knew uny of their
principles. But the Quukcrs and myself cannot close in diverse
things, and so I signified to tho Court; but told them, withal,
that as I was no Quaker, so I would be no persecutor.

"This spirit did work those two years that I was of the
Magistracy, during which time I was on sundry occasions
forced to declare my dissent in sundry actings of that na-
ture: which altho' dono with all moderation of expression,
together with due respect unto the rest, yet it wrought great
disaffection and prejudice in them against me: .so that
they themselves set others to frame a petition against me,
so that they may have a seeming ground (thuugh first moved
by themselves) to lay mo under reproach. The petition was
with nineteen hands: it wtll be too long to make rehearsal.
It wrought such a disturbance in our town, and in our mili-
tary Company, that when the act of Court was read at tho
head of tho Company, had I not been preseut and made a
speech to them, I fear their would have been such actings as
would havo been of sad consequence. The Court was again fol-
lowed with another petition (counter) of fifty-four hands : and
the Court returned the petitioners an answer, with much plausi-
bleness of speech, carrying with it great show of respect to thein,
readily acknowledging, with the petitioners, my parts and gifts,
and how usuful I hail been in my place, professing that they
had nothing against me, only in that thing of my giving enter-
tainment to the Quakers."

(Here follow extracts of the laws against the Quakers, etc.)
" All those carnal and auti-cbristiun ways, being not of (lod's
appointment, effect nothing to tho hindering of them in their
course. It is only the word and the Spirit of the Lord that is
able to convince gainsnyers. They have many meetings and
many adherents, — almost tho whole town of Sandwich. And
give me leave to acquaint you a little with their sufferings,
which is grievous, and saddens tho hearts of most of the pre-



43^



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



cious saints of God : it lied down and risoa up with them, and
they cannot put it out of their minds when they see poor fuiu-
ilics deprived of their com fort*, and brought into penury and
want. A3 for the means by which they are impoverished, — they
were, in the first place, scrupulous of an oath ; why, then, we
must put in force an old law : they mu.-t all take the oath of
fidelity. This being tendered, they will not take it; then they
must pay live pounds, or depart the Colony in such a time;
when the time comes, the Marshall goes and fetcheth awuy their
cows and other cattle; another court comes, they are required
again to take the oath, — they cannot, — then live pounds more.
A poor weaver that had 7 or S small children hud but two cows,
and both were taken from him. The Marshall asked him what
he would do, and the man said that 'liod, who gave him them,
he doubted not, would still provide for him.'

"The last Court of Assistants was -pleased to determine tines
on Sandwich men for meetings, ouc hundred and fifty pounds,
whereof W. Newhmd is twenty-four pounds for himself and
wife, at ten shillings a meeting; \V. Allen, forty-six pounds;
the poor weaver afore spoken of, twenty pounds. BrothcrCook
told me one of the brethren of Barnstable was in the weaver's
house when cruel Barloo (Sandwich Marshall) came to demand
the sum, and said he was fully informed of all tho poor mau
had, and thought it not worth ten pounds. What will be tho
cud of such courses and practises the Lord only knows. I am
informed of three or fourscore last Court presented for not
coming to publiek meetings, and let me toll you how they
brought this about. You may remember a law onco madu,
called Thomas Hinckley's law, ' that if any neglect the worship
of (Jod in the place whore he lives, and set up a worship con-
trary to Uod and the allowance of this (Jovcrniuent, to the pub-
lick profanation of God's Holy Day and ordinances, he shall
pay 10 shillings.' This law would not reach what then was
aimed at, beeause he must do all things therein expressed, or
else break not the law. In March last a Court of Deputies was
called, and some acts touching Quakers were made, and theu
they contrived to make this law serviceable to them by putting
out tho word ' and' and putting in tho word 'or,' which is a
disjunctive, and makes every branch to become a law; yet they
left it dated June (>, 1G51, and so it stands as un act of the Geu.
Court, they to be the authors of it seven years before it was in
being; and so yourselves have a share in it, if the Record lie
not.

" We are wrapped up in a labyrinth of confused laws, that
the freeman's power is quite gone, and it was said last June
Court by one that he knew nothing the freemen hod there to
do. Sandwich men muy not go to the Bay lest they be taken
up for Quakers, — warrants lie in ambush, to apprehend and
bring them before a Magistrate, to give an accouut of their
business* Some of the Quakers in U. I. came to bring them
goods, and that on far more reasonable terms than the profess-
ing and oppressing Merchants of the County ; but that will not
be suffered, Aud truly it moves bowels of compassion in all
sorts, except those in [dace, who carry it with a high baud to-
wards them. Through mercy, we have yet among us tho
worthy Mr. Duuster, whom the Lord hath made boldly to bear
testimony against the spirit of persecution.

"Our bench now is Thomas Prince, Gov., Mr. Collier, Capt.
Willet, Capt. Winslow, Mr. Alden, Lieut. South worth, W. Brad-
ford, Thouias Hinckley. Mr. Collier, last Juno, would not sit
on the bench if I sat there, and now will not sit the noxt year
unless he may have thirty pounds to sit by him. Our Court
and Deputies last June made Capt. Winslow Major. Surely we
are all mercenary soldiers that must have a Major imposed
upon us. Doubtless, the next Court, they muy choose us a
Governor, and Assistants also; a freeman shall need to do no-



thing but bear such burdens as are laid upon him. Mr. Alden
hath deceived the expectations of many, and indeed lost the
afl'ections of such as I judge were his cordial Christian friends,
who is very active in such ways as I pray God may not be
charged upon him to be oppressions of a high nature.

"Jaiies Cudwohtd."

Lawyers. — Edward Foster was the first lawyer in
Scituate. He was one of the earliest settlers, being
the first to whom a lot was assigued on Kent Street,
aud one of the original members of Mr. Lothrop's
church. He and John Hoar, who removed tu Con-
cord in 1659, had practiced that profession in Eng-
land, but it is not likely they found it lucrative here.

Their presence in the new settlement insured the
correct transaction of much important business, and
they were invaluable citizens.

John Saffin was the next lawyer. He was in Scit-
uate in 1653. In 16G0 he bought the farm of John
Hoar which adjoined his other lands. He removed
to Boston, and was elected representative in 16S4, and
Speaker of the House in 168b'. Afterwards he re-
moved to Bristol County, where he was judge of pro-
bate for a few years, and in 1701 was appointed judge
of the Superior Court for Massachusetts.

John Barker, who was a soldier aud wounded in
King Philip's war, is spoken of as a lawyer in Scit-
uate in 1674 and practiced there subsequently.

Thomas Turner began practice about 1GU0, and
was an eminent lawyer. Among his descendants were
Hon. Charles Turner, M.C., and Hon. Samuel A.
Turner, now over niuety years of age, a mau of large
mental powers still in almost unimpaired vigor.

John Cushing began his legal career about 16S0,
He was justice of the Inferior Court for Plymouth
County from 1702 to 1728, and judge of the Superior
Court from 1728 to 1737.

John Cushing, son of the above, commenced prac-
tice about 1725; was judge of probate about eight
years, and judge to the Superior Court from 1747 to
1771, when he resigned and was succeeded by his
distinguished son, William Cushing, upon whom the
degree of LL.D. was worthily bestowed.

William Cushing began practice about 1734 in
Maine, then a part of Massachusetts, and was after-
wards judge of probate for Lincoln Couuty, and ap-
pointed judge of the Superior Court for Massachu-
setts in 1772, and must soon after have moved back
to Scituate, as we find him takiug part in tuwu alFairs
in 1776, drafting patriotic resolutions. In this he
was singularly patriotic, being the only member of
that Court which adhered to the patriot cause. These
judges had received their appointments under royal
authority, and should not be censured too severely for



HISTORY OF SCITUATE AND SOUTH SCITUATE.



433



their allegiance to the crown. But all the brighter
shines the exalted love of country in William Cush-
ing, who could break over all obstacles, surrender offi-
cial position if necessary, and cast in his fortunes and
risk his life for the cause of freedom. He had more
to sacrifice and more to risk than others. It was a
desperate struggle against one of the great powers of
earth. If it miscarried he would lose all and would
be a marked object of the royal displeasure because
of his great ability and the office he had held under
the king. When the Superior Court was reorgan-
ized under the State government he naturally became
chief justice of that Court. When the Supreme
Court of the United States came into existence he
was appointed by Washington one of its justices. He
presided over that court during the absence of Chief
Justice Jay, and when Jay resigned, was appointed
and unanimously confirmed for chief justice in 1796,
but on account of infirm health he declined the honor.
He continued on the bench, however, until he resigned



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 96 of 118)