Samuel Putnam Avery.

The Avery, Fairchild & Park families of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, with a short narration of facts concerning Mr. Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, and his family connections with T online

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ship and made a distinct and separate town, and shall be called by the
name of Truro, and that the inhabitants thereof have use, exercise, and
enjoy all the powers and privileges by law granted to townships within
this Province; and the constable of the said place, for the time being, is
hereby empowered and required to warn the inhabitants to assemble and
meet together to choose selectmen and other town officers to manage and

carry on their prudential affairs until the next anniversary time for elec-
tion of town officers, and the said inhabitants are enjoined to assemble
and attend the said work accordingly.

Provided, that the inhabitants of the said town do procure and settle a
learned orthodox minister to dispense the word of God to them, within
the space of three years next after the passing of this act or sooner.

Provided also, that they pay their proportion to the present province
tax, as it is apportioned among them respectively by the selectmen or
assessors of Eastham.

Boston, July i6*\ 1709- This bill having been read three several
times in the House of Representatives, passed to be enacted.

John Clark, Speaker.

District, — This Bill having been read three several times in Councils,
passed to be enacted.

IsA. Addington, Sec'y.

By his Excellency the Governor, I consent to the enacting of this Bill.

J. Dudley.

It will be seen in the Act of the Incorporation of Truro, refer-
ence is made to having a place of worship, and having had for
some time a minister among them.

Rev. Mr. John Avery was the first minister settled there. His
name is first mentioned in this connection as follows:

"At a meeting of the inhabitants of town of Truro, February i^i^^,
1709, in order to take care about a' settlement of y^ public worship of
God amongst them, it was unanimously agreed upon and voted to invite
Mr. John Avery (who had for some considerable time been employed in
the work of the ministry among them) to tarry with and settle amongst
them in said work of ministrie, and for his encouragement and support
in said work it was also agreed upon and unanimously voted to offer him
sixty pounds per annum, and twenty pounds towards his building when
he shall see cause to build himself a dwelling in the said town, and a com-
mittee was chosen to inform Mr. Avery of the town's desire and offer in
the matter, who accordingly forthwith went and delivered their message
to the aforesaid Mr. Avery, who gave good encouragement of his accept-
ance, but left the result till he had advised with his friends.

Attest, Tho: Paine, Clerk."


"At a meeting of the proprietors of Truro, convened and held at Truro,
May 8*"^, 1710, it was agreed by said proprietors, that if Mr. John Avery
shall proceed to the now proposed agreement of the inhabitants into an


orderly and regular settlement and ordination in the work of the Gospel,
and shall so continue for the space of ten years next ensuing, after settle-
ment and ordination, he shall have five and thirty acres of land at Tash-
muit alias Clay Pounds. Tho: Paine."

It was voted at the same meeting that there should be an ad-
dition made to the thirty-four acres of meadow at Tashmuit,
formerly laid out for the minister who should settle among them
in the work of the ministry.

It was also voted — same date — "to give to the first settled
minister in the town of Truro, six acres of land on the north-
easterly side of East Harbor;" and "four more acres to make up
ten acres, which is reserved to be given to Mr. John Avery pro-
vided he settle in the work of the ministry."

Three weeks later, at a meeting of the inhabitants Mr. Avery
accepted the call and a committee was chosen to draw up the
following agreement:


Whereas, The inhabitants of the town of Truro did, at a meeting of
said town convened and held at Truro, February 22,^^, 1710-11, by unani-
mous vote, call and invite Mr. John Avery to a settlement in the work
of the Gospel Ministry among them; and for his support and encourage-
ment in said work, did offer him sixty pounds a year salary, and twenty
pounds toward his building, when he shall see cause to build him a dwell-
ing-house in said town, and sent by a Committee to inform the said Mr.
John Avery of their desire and offer in that matter, as by a record of said
town, bearing date February 23'''*, 1710, may more fully appear; but the
said Mr. John Avery deferred his answer until another meeting of said
town convened and held for that purpose, May 29**^, 1710, where said
town did again show by unanimous vote, their earnest desire of the said
Mr. Avery's settlement among them in the work of the Gospel Ministry;
and the said Mr. Avery being then present, did accept of said call: Where-
upon said town chose Thomas Mulford, John Snow, and Thomas Paine,
a Committee in the name and behalf of the town of Truro, to make a full
arrangement with the aforesaid Mr. John Avery pursuant to their vote at
their meeting, February 23'"'^, 1710, as by the record of said town, dated
May 29t^ 1710, may more fully appear PURSUANT WHEREUNTO.

June 21^*, 1710, the aforesaid Mr. John Avery, for himself and the
above named Committee, in the name and behalf of the town of Truro
agreed as followeth: that is to say, the above named Mr. John Avery
doth agree for himself that he will, God assisting him thereto, settle in the
work of the Ministry in the said town of Truro; and the above named

Thomas Mulford, John Snow, Thomas Paine, in the name and behalf of
the aforesaid town of Truro, do agree with the said Mr. John Avery to
allow him for a yearly salary during the time of his continuance in the
work of the ministry, in the aforesaid town of Truro, sixty pounds per
annum in money as it shall pass from man to man in common dealings
(or in other merchantable pay as it shall pass with the merchant in com-
mon traffic) at or upon the twenty-ninth day of March annually; and
twenty pounds of like money toward his building, to be added to his
salary, on that year, that he, the said Mr. Avery, shall see cause to build
himself a dwelling-house in the town of Truro, aforesaid. In witness
whereof, the above named Mr. John Avery for himself, and the above
named Committee, in the name and behalf of the town of Truro, have
hereunto set their hands.


Committee, \ THOMAS MULFORD,

"June 27*^ 1710."

"August I3*\ 171 1> the town granted ten pounds to defray the ex-
penses of entertainment of elders, messengers, scholars and gentlemen,
at Mr. Avery's ordination, and Lt. Constant Freeman, Hez. Purington
and Thomas Paine were appointed to superintend the arrangements, and
agree with a meet person to provide. It was also ordered that Mr.
Thomas Paine shall have three pounds to reimburse him for money spent
in securing the Act of Incorporation, and the services of a minister."

Mr. Avery v^as ordained November i^*, 171 1, as pastor of the
First Church in Truro.

The charge was given by Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Stone, of Har-
w^ich; the right hand of fellowship by the Rev. Mr. Ephraim
Little, of Plymouth (brother-in-law to Mr. Avery), who was pro-
locutor; hands imposed by Mr. Little, Mr. Stone, and Mr. Joseph
Metcalf, of Falmouth (who was also a family connection of Mr.
Avery); the ordination sermon was preached by Mr. Avery, from
"That text, 2d Cor. 2-16, who is sufficient for these things." It
appears to have been the fashion for the learned orthodox min-
isters to preach their own ordination sermons.

The church of which Mr. Avery became pastor was an off-
shoot from the Eastham church, and was organized November i^*,
171 1, the day of Mr. Avery's ordination, with seven male members
beside the pastor. The first admitted to the church was Ruth
Avery, wife of the pastor; and the first baptism was that of John,

son of the pastor, November ii*^ of the same year, being at that
time three months old.

The first reference to the meeting-house is in the Act of In-
corporation, July i6*^, 1709. And the next is: "May 29*^ 1710,
it was agreed upon by said town, that the town-treasurer should
as soon as he can with conveniency, buy a cushion for the pulpit
in the meeting-house, and an hour glass, and a box to put them in,
and to pay for them out of the Town Treasury, and the selectmen
are hereby ordered to add to the next town rate so much as they
shall come to."

The third reference is nearly two years later, February 12*''
and 13 *S when a road was laid out from the northeast corner of
the meeting-house, to go near northeast through the woods and
to come into the road that led through Tashmuit neighborhood
where Rev. Mr. Avery resided.

"At a meeting May 22°^, 1713, voted that the selectmen should take
care to have a convenient piece of ground cleared on the north side of
the meeting-house in Truro, for a burying place, and the charge be paid
out of the Town Treasury."

The following is the last reference to the first Truro meeting-

"At a meeting convened and held for the choice of town officers and
other business notified in the warning for said meeting in March 23"^,
1719, said town granted liberty to Nathaniel Atkins, Thomas Smith and
Jeremiah Bickford, and such others as shall go in with them, to build
upon their own cost and charge, three galleries in the meeting-house, in
said town, over the old galleries, and for so doing to be admitted to the
same privilege in the whole house with the first builders.

Witness, Tho: Paine, Clerk for the time."

Thus it will be seen by these references, that "a meeting-house
was built as early as 1709, and was situated south-west of Tash-
muit (which proves the original locality) and that the grave-yard
was on the north side. That in 1713 (which is the earliest date
found on any grave-stones in the yard) it was cleared and pre-
pared for making interments, and that in 1719 the congregations
had so increased as to deem it necessary to build more new gal-
leries." It is evident then that this church was the one in which


Mr. Avery was ordained. The next year, 1720, they agreed to
build a new meeting-house, to be "twenty-two feet in the height
of the walls and forty feet in length and thirty-six feet in breadth,"
for which object the town appropriated three hundred and fifty
pounds, the "house to be built and finished within the space of
one year next ensuing." No reference is made to the site of the
new building, which is conclusive evidence that it was built on
the original site. It stood for one hundred and nineteen years, a
conspicuous landmark to mariners of Cape Cod. Mr. Rich, in
his "History," says: "It stood near the south-west corner of the
present graveyard, facing the south, according to the customs of
those days. The heavy white-oak frame was cut on the spot,
and when the old meeting-house was demolished in 1840, the
timber was as sound as when raised." August 14**^, 1721, the
town voted to sell the sites for pews in the new meeting-house;
also voted "liberty to Mr. John Avery to build a pew in the new
house on the left hand of the going up of the pulpit stairs." When
this house was taken down, the Congregationalists and Metho-
dists residing at North Truro, then more familiarly known as
Pond Village, united in building a house of worship there, the
pulpit to be supplied alternately by a Congregationalist and a
Methodist pastor, and the official board to be composed equally
of members from the two societies. It received the name of
Christian Union Church. The communion service was pre-
sented to the church by Mrs. Ruth Avery, wife of the pastor.

On the handles of the tankards, which are of pewter, is in-
scribed: "Ruth Avery to Truro C^*^, 1721." The cups, which are
of solid silver, are inscribed: "This belongs to y^ Church in Truro,
1730." The pewter plates are very large, thirteen inches in
diameter, and heavy, bearing the stamp of "W. Ellwood, Lon-
don," but no date.

Mr. Avery's salary as a preacher was sixty pounds a year;
this, with land for farming, meadow, plenty of woodland — which
has been known for over a century as the "Ministerial Woods" —
together with his services as lawyer, doctor, and smith, must have
yielded him a large income, considering the times in which he lived.


In July, 1723, the town voted to add ten pounds to his salary,
making it seventy pounds.

Two years later (1725) they increased it to ninety pounds a
year, and this continued to be his salary for the next five years.

June 21^*, 1730, the town raised Mr. Avery's salary to one
hundred pounds.

Two years later Mr. Avery was called to mourn the loss of the
wife of his youth and the mother of all his children. Rev. Ben-
jamin Webb, of Eastham, preached the funeral sermon, which
was afterward printed in Boston, in pamphlet form. The follow-
ing is a copy of the title-page:

The present Scope and future Gain
of the Christian Life


Delivered at Truro, October 8, 1732,

Occasioned by the 'much lamented Death

iMrs. Wittily Au^rg

The "virtuous and pious Consort


the Reverend

Mr. Sloljn Au^rn

Pastor of the Church of Christ there;

Who deceased October 1, 1732

In the 46*** year of her Age.

By benjamin WEBB, M.A.

And Pastor of the second Church of Christ
in Eastham.

PsAL. XXXVII : 37. Mark the perfect man and behold the Upright,
for the end of that man is peace.

Printed at Boston in New England



In the year 1747, by a vote of the town, Mr. Avery's salary was
raised to two hundred pounds old tenor; but owing to the depre-
ciation in old tenor, the advance of his salary was more apparent
than real.

To better understand the value of old tenor, we quote a Sand-
wich record from "Rich's History":

"In 1749 it was voted in Sandwich to extend a call to Mr. Abraham
Williams, at a yearly salary of 400 pounds O. T., or the payment in mill
dollars of £2.5 per dollar. So in 1749, one hundred pounds were worth
about ^44.00, or eleven per cent."

During the winter of 1752 Mr. Avery began to feel somewhat the in-
firmities of age, and it was thought advisable to procure some suitable
minister to assist him in preaching the gospel.

"A committee was chosen to converse with Mr. Avery respecting an
assistant, and it was agreed to give him £10 old tenor for the present
year, he giving up the right to the parsonage property, both wood and

The months slipped by and still Mr. Avery was without an assistant.
In those days, it is evident everything was settled after great deliberation.
"July 30*^, 1753, it was agreed to give a call either to Mr. Charles Turner,
Mr. Caleb Upham or Mr. Samuel Angier, to preach the gospel on pro-

"August 13**^, 1753. Voted by the Church to give Mr. Charles Turner
a call to the pastoral work." Also to give £80 per annum, either in money
or merchantable pay as it shall pass with the merchant, in common traffic
and the improvement of the parsonage lands, for the support and en-
couragement of an orthodox minister regularly called and settled in the
Gospel Ministry in this place, provided he allow Rev. Mr. Avery £13.68
yearly from his salary." Rich's History.

Rev. Mr. Avery was failing in health, and April 23'''^, 1754, he
died of paralysis after an uninterrupted ministry of forty-four years.

As he was born February 4*^ 1685-6, baptized April 27*^ 1686,
by the Rev. Mr. Danforth of Dorchester, and graduated from Har-
vard College in 1706, he could not have been more than twenty-
two years old when he first went to North Truro. It must have,
been earUer than February 23'''^, 1709, as his name first appears
then, at a town meeting held upon that day.

On November 23'''^, 1710, he married his first wife, Ruth Little,
of Marshfield, Mass., great granddaughter of Richard Warren,
who came in the Mayflower, 1620.

Their first child, John Avery', born August 24*^ 171 1, was the
first child baptized in his father's church, November 11*^, 171 1.

This John Avery' and his brother Ephraim', born April 22'''^,
1713, graduated the same year, 173 1, from their father's college,
Harvard. Twenty-four years after the ordination of the Rev.
John Avery^ as pastor of the Truro Church, he preached, Sep-
tember 24*^ 1735, the ordination sermon for his son Ephraim',
the first minister settled in Brooklyn, Conn.


Know all men by these Presents that, I, John Avery of Truro in the
County of Barnstable in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New
England, Clerk, for Divers good causes me thereunto moving but more
especially for the love I bear to my son, Ephraim Avery of Pomfret in the
County of Windham in the Colony of Connecticut in New England,
Clerk, do hereby Quit Claim and Release unto my said son his Heirs and
assigns forever, all my right, Title and Interest in and unto a Certain
Tract and Parcel of Land which I have a Right too in the Town of Ash-
ford in said County of Windham by Vertue of a Deed of Sale under the
Hand and Seal of Isaac Pierce (?) of Eastham in said County of Barn-
stable; which said Deed is Recorded in said town of Ashford that is to
say all my right which I ought to have by said Pierce (?) Deed except
two pieces of land which I have already taken up by vertue of said
Pierce(?) Right and is Recorded to me in Records of said Ashford all the
Remainder of said Right I do here by Quit Claim and Release unto my
said son. To Have and Hold to Him the said Ephraim Avery his Heirs
and Assigns forever and in Confirmation of the Premises, I, the said
John Avery, do for myself, my Heirs, Executors and Administ""^ hereby
Engage to stand by and Defend my said son, his Heirs and Assigns in
the Quiet and Peaceable Possession of my said Right as abovesaid from
all Lawfull Claims and demands whatsoever from all Persons by and
under me.

In Testimony whereto I do hereby set my hand and Seal this first day
of November anno Domini 1739 and in the twelfth year of George by the
Grace of God of Great Britain King, etc.
Signed, Sealed and
Delivered in Presence of

Job Avery John Avery [seal]

On the back of the foregoing deed is endorsed the following in
the handwriting of Rev. Ephraim Avery':

"By virtue of this Deed I got 300 acres of land laid out and Recorded
and sold to y^ Rev. Jacob Eliot of Lebanon, but found afterwards that
about 100 acres of it was laid upon another man's Lot and accordingly I
satisfied him y^ said Eliot for it and he by an Instrument acquitted me
from warranting of it, which is Recorded in Ashford, after this I sold the
Remainder of my Right and gave a Deed of Quit Claim of it to John
Bugbee of Woodstock w"^^ was Dated January 24.^^, 1748/9.

(Signed) Eph™ Avery."

Job Avery^ was the son of the Rev. John Avery and when he
witnessed his father's signature was but seventeen years of age.
The original deed, written on parchment, in very fine handwrit-
ing, was presented to the Dedham Historical Society, Dedham,
Mass., by Mr. Walter T. Avery^'' (Columbia, 1832), only son of
John Smith Avery^ who was grandson of Rev. Ephraim Avery^,
and is the only known specimen of the Rev. John Avery's hand-
writing in existence.



rpPHRAIM AVERY7, second son of Rev. John Avery« and
■^-^ Ruth (Little) Avery, was born in Truro, Mass., April 22°^,
1713. Married, September 21^*, 1738, Deborah, daughter of
Samuel and Deborah (Crow) Lothrop, of Pomfret, Conn., born
January 9*^ 1716-17. He died October 20*^, 1754. She died
October 14*^ 1777.


I JohnS born July 14*^ 1739, Brooklyn, Conn. (Yale, 1761*). Mar-
ried, June 26***, 1769, Ruth Smith of Brooklyn, Conn., born May s*\
1741. He died August 20*"^, 1779. She died October 4*^ 1779. They
had three children.

H Ephraim', born April 13*^^, 1741, Brooklyn, Conn. (Yale, 1761*).
Married Hannah Piatt. He died November s^^, 1776. She died May 13*^
1776. They had six children. See forward.

HI Samuel^ born April 13*^ 1741, Brooklyn, Conn. Died soon
(twin brother of Ephraim).

IV Samuel*, born November 7*^, 1742, Brooklyn, Conn. Married,
September 27*^ 1784, Mrs. Mary Roach (Fillis) Achincloss, born March
27***, 1760. He died January 30**^, 1836, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She
died August 25*^^, 1848. They had ten children.

V Elisha*, born December 3'^'*, 1744, Brooklyn, Conn. Married
Eunice Putnam. He died January 4*\ 1782, Boston, Mass. She died (?).
They had one child.

VI Elizabeth^ born December 5**^, 1746, Brooklyn, Conn. Married,
May, 1777 (?), Rev. Aaron Putnam of Reading, born 1733 (Harvard,
1752). She died December 7*^ 1835, Cherry Valley, N. Y. He died
1813, Pomfret, Conn. They had five children. (Rev. Aaron Putnam
was second cousin to Gen. Israel Putnam, who married the widow of Rev.
Ephraim Avery^.)

VII Septimus^ born July 21^*, 1749, Brooklyn, Conn. Died October

* By a singular coincidence, John^ and Ephraim^ the two eldest sons of Rev.
John^ of Truro, were graduates from Harvard in 173 1. And John^ and Ephraim',
the two eldest sons of Rev. Ephraim Avery^, of Brooklyn, Conn., from Yale in


VIII Deborah^, born July s*'*, 1751, Brooklyn, Conn. Married,
March 4**^, 1773, Joseph Baker, born December I7**', 1748. She died
1777. He died (?). They had one child.

IX Ruth^, born January I3*^ 1754, Brooklyn, Conn. Married John
Brewster of Hampton. She died (.?). He died (.?). They had two

Regarding Ephraim Avery's call to settle in the work of min-
istry, we learn from Miss Larned's "History of Windham County,

The church now (1734) encouraged the Westlake society in its re-
newed efforts to seek for a minister, and pursuant to the advice of the
ministry it succeeded in securing Mr. Ephraim Avery of Truro, Mass.,
then residing in Cambridge, who was graduated from Harvard, 1 73 1.
The difficulties and differences now vanished and all parties were satis-
fied with the gifts and abilities together with the conversation of the
young candidate (in his 22nd year) and gladly united in calling him to
settlement. Capt. Joseph Cleveland, Deacon Williams and Henry Cobb
were appointed by the society to treat with Mr. Avery who in view of the
fluctuations in currency then prevailing, agreed "To pay him yearly six
pence upon the list of all the polls and ratable estate, until it amounts
to one hundred and twenty pounds in money or bills of public credit
to be fixed with respect to the following commodities viz: wheat, rye,
Indian corn, beef, pork, sheep's wool or flax; or that the salary vary ac-
cording as the price of them shall rise or fall from the present year. These
terms being accepted by Mr. Avery the prices of the commodities were
thus settled June 17*^, 1735: wheat ten shillings per bushel, rye-seven,
Indian corn 5, beef 4 pence, flax is. wool 3 shillings, pork 6 pence half

The church concurred with the call given by the society. The work
on the Meeting-house was now hastened. It was voted to build a pulpit
and have pews all around the house, only the place for the pulpit and the
doors and the stairs excepted; some years passed before these were com-

(The site of this Meeting-house in Brooklyn, Conn., was a few rods
west of the present (1874) Cong, house of worship.) Meanwhile a body
of seats was set up and the house made ready for the ordination of Mr.
Avery (Wednesday) Sept. 24*^ 1735. All the neighboring ministers
participated in the service on the occasion. The Rev. Mr. Coit of Plain-
field gave the charge, Mr. Wadsworth the right hand of fellowship, Mr.
Cabot the last prayer. The sermon was preached by the father of the
young divine — Rev. John Avery of Truro, from 2 Tim. i c, 11 v —
"Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and teacher of
the Gentiles." The ordination dinner was prepared at Mr. Jonathan
Cady's, two miles westward over Blackzvell's Brook, which being still


bridgeless was forded on this occasion by all of the ministers and mes-
sengers. . . . The prosperity of the Parish was greatly checked by
prevalent sickness and mortality. A pleuratic distemper in 1753 was
followed in 1754 by a malignant dysentery especially fatal to children.
Scarcely a family in Windham County escaped the scourge. ... In
Brooklyn where it raged with great violence about seventy deaths were
reported. ■ Rev. Mr. Ephraim Avery, still apparently the only medical
practitioner in the vicinity, night and day ministered to the sick and
dying till he was prostrated and overcame and fell a victim to the disease.
The death of this excellent minister was greatly mourned. . . . He

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Online LibrarySamuel Putnam AveryThe Avery, Fairchild & Park families of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, with a short narration of facts concerning Mr. Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, and his family connections with T → online text (page 4 of 12)