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The judgment of the court of associates upon the culprit on this occasion (July, 1679) was to this purpose : “ The court having considered your inhuman and barbarous offence, against the life of the children, and great disturbance to the country, do sentence you to have thirty stripes well laid on, to pay to the father of the said children five pounds money to the treasury of the county ten pounds ; out of which the charge of postage and search of the town, is to be discharged ; and to pay the charges and fees of the prison, and to remain close prisoner during the court's pleasure and further order.”
Soon after this in the same month a recognizance of one hundred pounds was entered into before two of the judges of the court, to send the offender within a fortnight, or twenty-one days, out of the jurisdiction.
Near the head of York river is a quantity of salt marsh, which was probably the inducement of persons setting down near it, at a pretty early period—there was formerly something considerable of navigation, for such a place ; but it¥was nearly all destroyed and lost, during the American contest with Great Britain. Since the peace there is a small traffick to the West-Indies, some coasting vessels, and some fishermen ; the place is well calculated for carrying on the cod fishery, were there persons of sufficient ability and enterprise to enter into it with spirit.
The first settled minister was Shubael Dummer, who was killed by the Indians in 1692. How long he was settled before his death, there are no records extant to ascertain ; but it is generally agreed to have been several years. To him succeeded the Rev. Samuel Moody, whose fame equalled any gentleman of the clergy of that day. He was settled about the year 1700, and died in 1748. To him succeeded the Rev. Isaac Lyman, about the close of the year 1749, the present minister of the first parish. A second parish was erected in the town about the year 1730, and the Rev. Joseph Moody, (son of the Rev. Samuel Moody) settled in it in 1732. This gentleman fell into a gloomy state of mind, which rendered him unable to discharge the pastoral functions, and the Rev. Samuel Chandler was settled in his place, who after remaining several years, went, and was settled at Gloucester in the county of Essex. To Mr. Chandler, succeeded the present minister, the Rev. Samuel Lankton.
The second parish is supposed to contain about one third part of the number of the first. The religious profession, or persuasion of the inhabitants, is of the Congregational kind, with scarce a dissenter of any other denomination. There is no academy in this place ; but there is usually kept a grammar school during the year ; and in the summer season several schools for the instruction of children and youth, in reading, writing, and arithmetick, in various parts of the town, at the common expense.
There are five foot companies of militia, and one of artillery in the town. Upon the alarm, in April, 1775, by the Lexington battle, which
pervaded the state, and even the continent, like a shock of electricity, the first company from the county that passed Piscataqua river, was from York ; although no minute men had been formed previous to that period ; upon the intelligence arriving at nine o'clock in the evening, the inhabitants assembled early the next morning and enlisted upwards of sixty, fixed them out with arms, ammunition, and haversacks, with provisions for some days, and they actually marched on the same day fifteen miles, besides passing Piscataqua river, under the command of Johnson Moulton, Esq. the present sheriff of the county.
There is a wooden bridge over York river, about a mile from the sea, built in 1761, the first of the kind in America.
It stands upon piles driven into the bed of the river, is twenty-five feet wide, and about two hundred and seventy feet in length, exclusive of the wharves at each end of it ; and which reach to the channel. It stands on thirteen piers of four piles, or posts, in a pier. The model of framing and method of driving the piles into the bed of the river was invented by Major Samuel Sewall, an ingenious mechanick, a native of the town. The model of this bridge afforded that of Charles River Bridge, built under said Sewall's direction in 1785 and 1786; and the same model has been used in Malden and Beverly Bridges, and has since been communicated to Ireland by Mr. Cox.
The clamshells that appear in many places near the river, upon turning up the soil for cultivation, indicate that it was a place frequently resorted unto by the Indians, prior to its settlement by the English.
APPENDIX, RELATIVE TO AGAMENTICUS. BY DR. BELKNAP.
AGAMENTICUS is a mountain of considerable elevation, distant about six miles from Baldhead, and eight from York harbour.
It is a noted land mark for seamen, and is a good directory for the entrance of Piscataqua harbour, as it lies very nearly on the same meridian with it, and with Pigeon-hill on Cape Ann. The mountain is covered with wood and shrubs, and affords pasture up to its summit. From this elevation there is a most enchanting prospect. The cultivated parts of the country, especially on the south and south-west, appears as a beautiful garden, intersected by the majestick river Piscataqua, its bays and branches. The immense ranges of mountains on the north and northwest afford a sublime spectacle ; and on the sea-side the various indentings of the coast from Cape Ann to Cape Elizabeth are plainly in view in a clear day; and the wide Atlantick stretches to the east as far as the power of vision extends.
At this spot the bearing of the following objects were taken with a good surveying instrument, October 11th, 1780.
Summit of the White Mountains N. 150 W.
N. 63 E.
N. 64 W.
S. 80 W.
S. 57 W.
N. 14 W.
N. 89 W.
A TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN OF BARNSTABLE. BY
THE REVEREND MR. MELLEN.
ARNSTABLE is situated nearly south east from Boston, on the
sixty-seven miles, and the eastern a little more than seventy-five. It is the shire town of the county of the same name. This county consists almost wholly of, and is formed by a peninsula, the whole of which is commonly called Cape Cod. The form of this peninsula is curious, on account of the length of its projection into the sea, in connexion with the smallness of its breadth. Its whole length, as the road runs from the isthmus between Barnstable bay and Buzzard's bay, to RacePoint, being not less than sixty-five miles ; and its breadth for thirty miles not more than three, and above half the remainder from six to nine miles. Barnstable was made a shire in 1685.
The town extends across the peninsula, and is washed by the sea on the north and south.
It is bounded on the west by Sandwich and the district of Marshpee, and by Yarmouth on the east, where its breadth from shore to shore is a little more than five miles ; on the west it is about nine : Its length from west to east, according to the original grant of the town, is eight miles. The form of the town is irregular, as the western line is not straight and its shores are considerably indented. A neck of land projects from Sandwich line on the north shore, and runs east almost the length of the town. This neck of land (called Sandy Neck,) and which is about half a mile wide, forms the harbour, and embosoms a large body of salt marsh. The harbour is about a mile wide and four miles long. The tide rises in it from ten to fourteen feet. It has a bai' running off north-east from the neck several miles, which prevents the entrance of large ships. The bar at high water may be passed, in almost any part of it, by the smaller kind of vessels ; and where it is commonly and most safely crossed it has seldom, if
ever, less than six or seven feet at low water.
There is another harbour the south side, called Lewis's bay, the entrance of which is within Barnstable, and which extends almost two miles into Yarmouth : It is commodious and very safe, as it is almost completely land-locked. The water flows in this harbour about five feet at a middling tide.
Hyanis road (or harbour as it is commonly called) lies a mile or two to the westward, near the entrance of Lewis's bay ; and is indeed formed principally by an island, joined by a beach to Yarmouth, which together make the outside of the bay, before mentioned.
The south head of this island is called Point Gammon.
There is also a small bay near the south-west limit of the town, called Oyster bay, which admits small vessels ; and which with Lewis's bay, has in years past produced a great quantity of excellent oysters, though now they are very much reduced.
The streams in this town are few and small. From the situation of the land their courses are necessarily short. Coatuit river or brook, which, in some parts of it at least, is the boundary between Barnstable and Marshpee, is the most considerable. There are two or three others east of this, emptying themselves on the south side. But though running waters are comparatively rare, ponds are so very frequent that their number is not easily ascertained. Of the more considerable there are between twenty and thirty. One in the east precinct is near two miles long and a mile wide. Very few of them have any streams running either in or out. Their springs are invisible. They are many of them stocked with the smaller kinds of fish. The brooks contain a great plenty of trout.
The air in this town, as in the whole of the country, is affected by the neighbourhood of the sea on each side, from which it derives a dampness, and frequently a chill, which is disagreeable, if not unfriendly, to tender nerves. Nervous complaints are frequent here ; but whether it is to be attributed to the air or the very plentiful use of tea, is problematical. That a large proportion die of consumptions of some kind or other, the bills of mortality clearly shew : Still however neither the number of deaths nor the ages at which they take place, would lead us to suppose that the situation is unhealthy. The annual number of deaths in the east precinct for the last nine years has been on an average between nineteen and twenty : The number of inhabitants, according to the census taken in 1790, was then thirteen hundred and sixty-five. Of the whole number that have died in nine years, which is one hundred and seventy-four, forty were upwards of seventy years of age: Eighteen above eighty years ; and one above ninety.
The land on the north side of the town is generally uneven, and in some places rocky. There is a line of hills extending east and west the whole length of the town, the greatest height of which is about a mile from the harbour and marshes. South of this ridge the land is in general level to the sea on the other side ; and a great part of it for two miles or more in breadth is woodland, producing oak and pitchpine with a little walnut.
The greater part of the inhabitants are on the north side ; living in general, especially in the east precinct, 'on or near the main road leading down the cape. Perhaps one third live near the south shore.
The soil on the north side of the hills before mentioned, is generally good, especially for grain. In some parts of it a dark loam prevails, in others clay, and in many a mixture of sand. It produces good crops of Indian corn ; not less it is supposed than twenty-five bushels to an acre on average, and rye and other grain in proportion. Some of it is good for wheat and flax. The latter article is cultivated with good success. The soil on the south side is, a great part of it, light and sandy, and for grass especially much inferiour to that on the north ; in the produce of which, onions make a very considerable figure. From two to three hundred thousand bunches (that is from twelve to eighteen thousand bushels) are raised annually ; which are sold principally in Boston and the neighbouring sea-ports. Although good ground, in
. • proved for onions, yields a great profit ; yet, as it requires a large quantity of manure, it has been thought that the inhabitants of this town devote 1oo much of their land to this article, for the general advantage of their farms. But perhaps this would not be true, if all the advantage was taken, that might be, of their happy situation for making ma
Their extensive salt meadows enable them to keep large stocks in proportion to their pasture grounds ; and the severity of a drought is mitigated by cutting the coarser kind of salt grass, and giving it green to the cattle as occasion may require. The manure made by cattle fed on salt hay, is much more fertilizing than that made from fresh. Almost all the land goes through a course of tillage once in the space of six or seven years ; which, by the way, may have led the people here into an instance of bad husbandry, in leaving so few trees upon their cultivated lands : The depriving cattle of shade in the summer is doubtless a greater evil, than the farmer would suffer from permitting a few trees to remain on land, which is a part of the time improved for tillage. The land here is commonly prepared for the plough by feeding the stock upon it in the winter, and sometimes when salt hay is plenty, by spreading it in the spring and leaving it to rot upon the ground. Besides, every season lines the shores with large quantities of refuse hay, washed from the salt meadows, eel grass, and other marine vegetables. A much better use of this, as well as of creek and marsh mud, might be made than generally has been in time past. The inhabitants, however, seem to be more and more disposed to use the advantages they enjoy in these respects, and to make improvements in agriculture.
The loose texture of the ground in many places is rather unfavoura able to the roads here (particularly the principal one through the town,) by exposing them to wash, and gully, and so producing deep, narrow, and uncomfortable passages. All has not been done which might have beep, to remedy this inconvenience. But it is expected that an essential alteration for the better will soon take place, since the inhabitants have been at length induced to follow the example of the rest of the commonwealth, in granting an annual tax for the repair and improvement of highways.