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the town is altered from the Indian name, Mechisses, given to the river, and so called in the oldest maps: Its signification we are unacquainted with.

FIRST SETTLEMENT.] Governour Winthrop mentions in his Journal, a Mr. Allerton, of Plymouth, who in 1633, set up a trading wigwam at Machias, which consisted of five men; and a quantity of merchandize. The whole was taken the same year, by order of Governour La Tour. In 1744, a small settlement was made by a few French people at the east falls, on account of the alewive fishery, but was broke up the following year. Since then, we have no account of any other attempts for a settlement, until May, 1763, at which time fifteen persons of both sexes, from Scarborough, in the county of Cumberland, came to Machias, and began a settlement at the west falls. They erected a double saw mill, and in August following, the remainder of their families arrived. The year after, they were joined by many others. During the five succeeding years, their numbers continuing to increase, several applications were made to the legislature of Massachusetts, for a grant of land; and in April, 1770, a tract of land in the county of Lincoln was, by an act of the general assembly, granted to Ichabod Jones and seventy-nine others, his associates, under certain conditions therein mentioned; which being fulfilled on their part, the general court by an act, passed June 23, 1784, confirmed their grant, and incorporated said tract, with the inhabitants, into a town by the name of Machias.

SITUATION.] The principal settlements in the town, are at East and West falls, and at Middle river. Machias river, after running a north course, six miles distance from Cross Island (which forms its entrance) separates at a place called the Rim. One branch taking a N. E. direction, runs in length two miles and an half, with a width of thirty rods, to the head of the tide, where are two double saw mills, and one grist mill. The main branch runs a N. W. course for nearly three miles in length, and seventy rods wide, to the head of the tide, where are two double and one single saw mills, and two grist mills. Middle river separates from the main branch, three quarters of a mile below the falls, and runs nearly two miles north, to the head of the tide. The chief settlement is at the West falls, the county courts being held and the jail erected there. The buildings also in general are more decent and compact. The main channel takes its course to these falls, which, though crooked and narrow, admits burthensome vessels to receive their loading at wharves within fifty rods of the mills. This advantage no other part of the town can enjoy.

SCHOOLS AND MINISTER.] The town is divided into four districts, for the support of schools, in which are taught reading, writing, and arithmetick; and into two districts for the convenience of publick worship. The Rev. James Lyon officiates at the West and East falls alternately. He received and accepted his call in 1772; and is the first minister regularly settled to the eastward of St. George's.

VOL. III.

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ACADEMY.] The general court, by an act passed in March, 1792, established an academy at Machias, by the name of Washington Academy, incorporated a number of gentlemen as trustees, and gave for its support a township of land. This generous donation has enabled the trustees to realize a permanent fund for the academy's use; and measures are pursuing, for carrying into complete effect the benevolent object of the legislature.

POPULATION] Agreeable to the census taken in 1790, the town contained about eight hundred inhabitants. Since that time, its population has rapidly increased.

EXPORTS.] The exports of Machias consists principally of lumber; such as boards, shingles, clapboards, lathis, and various kinds of hewed timber. The cod fishery might be carried on to advantage, though it has been neglected. In 1793, between seventy and eighty tons only were employed in the fishery; and not above five hundred quintals were exported. The mill saws, of which there are seventeen, cut on an average, three million feet of boards yearly. A great proportion of the lumber is usually shipped in British vessels. amount of exports annually exceeds fifteen thousand dollars.

The total

SOIL AND PRODUCE.] The soil nearest the river, and such as bears only in its natural state the spruce, fir, and hemlock, is commonly a stiff clay, not fit for tillage, though good for pasturing; but the land in general is well calculated for most purposes of husbandry, and produces in its original state the various species of maple, beech, birch, ash, &c. Barley, pease, beans, and oats, afford the most certain crops. Wheat, rye, flax, and Indian corn, yield a good increase, when duly attended to; and vegetables of various kinds, and of the best quality, may be obtained in plenty, with common cultivation. The white pine is a native of the soil; but Machias has been much indebted to the surrounding townships for its chief supply of timber. The inhabitants derive a great advantage from the meadows and salt marshes, which are generally rich, and pretty equally distributed through the township. The river contains a plenty of salmon, shad, alewives, and herring. These are commonly taken in the months of May, June, and September; and prove a certain support to the poorer people during the winter season.

REMARKS.] The people of Machias, and the townships adjoining, during the late war, were remarkable for their intrepidity and publick spirit. In 1777, when an expedition was planned by the general court, against some parts of Nova Scotia, Machias was appointed the rendezvous. The enemy receiving intelligence of the design, previous to the troops being collected, Sir John Collier, with a ship of forty-four guns, three frigates, and an armed brig, were sent to destroy the town. On this occasion, the invaders were completely repulsed and defeated, having a considerable number killed and wounded, with the loss of only one man killed, and one wounded, on the part of the

invaded, with a single mill, and two or three small buildings burned, that were directly exposed to their first assault.

This is perhaps the only instance during the war, of an armament's being sent by the enemy, for the express purpose of destroying a particular town in the northern states, without succeeding.

After the British troops had taken possession of Penobscot, in 1779, it was expected all the country to the eastward of it, would have submitted to their jurisdiction: yet notwithstanding their proclamations, denouncing vengeance in case of refusal, the inhabitants of Machias, with most of the townships westward, still adhered to their country's cause, and continued to act offensively, until the close of the war. The extensive and well deserved influence of General Campbell, which at all times secured the ready obedience of the militia; the exertions of Colonel Allan, who had the direction of the friendly Indians; and the efforts of the inhabitants of Machias, united, preserved to the commonwealth a valuable extent of territory; as the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Brunswick, when hostilities ceased, was determined rather by possession, than the treaty of peace, or the compass.

The principal object of the original settlers being lumber, more attention was paid to mill-rights than to the soil: consequently the land they first cultivated, being contiguous to their mills, with very few exceptions, was inferiour to any in the township; and the town after twenty years settlement, presented to the view only a number of huts, surrounded by land scarcely brought to the first stages of improvement. During the war, their intercourse with Britain being stopped, and having no market for their lumber, they were at first reduced to the extremity of want, and compelled rather by necessity, than inclination, to till the earth with vigour. Their efforts were successful, and more land in the town was profitably cultivated, during five years of the war, than has been improved to equal advantage either before or since. When peace took place, lumber being in great demand for a short time, the farms were again neglected for the mills, and in general assumed their former gloomy aspect.

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This partiality for mills and lumber has been, and still is, the bane of Machias and no inconsiderable part of the eastern country. The idea of suddenly acquiring property has the same influence on the millman, as the speculator; and their success is too often attended with similar effects for one that reaps advantage, ten suffer; patient industry gives place to convulsive efforts; and premature debility is the natural consequence. That particular town or state must be unfortunate, whose dependence for the necessaries of life rests solely on their imports, unless their exports are proportionably valuable, and in certain demand. Hence it is, that the industry of four fifths of the inhabitants, eastward of Penobscot, being exhausted on their mills, and they depending altogether upon importations for their subsistence, the contests of foreign powers injure them as sensibly, as though the war was brought to

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their doors. If America is engaged in war, or remains neuter, their lumber is not of sufficient consequence to command a freight of course the prices of their imports are much increased, while the value of their exports more rapidly diminishes. This has been severely realized during the last year.

The late extensive sales of eastern lands now bid fair to give industry its proper direction, provided as great attention is paid to their settlement, as to their purchase. Should this event take place in any considerable degree (which appearances lead us to expect) the country will soon be relieved from its present embarrassments; and the mutual exertions of the shore, and inland, settler will reciprocally tend to the best interests of each other.

AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF MIDDLEBOROUGH, IN THE COUNTY OF PLYMOUTH. BY THE REV. ISAAC BACKUS.

Gentlemen,

To the Massachusetts Historical Society.

S you have begun the third volume of your Collections with an

Ain you buy account of the present state of Middleborough, with

very little of its ancient history, I have taken some pains to collect a number of articles of that nature, which you may make what use of that you think proper.

WHEN our Plymouth fathers first sent two messengers,* to visit old Massasoit at Mount Hope, in July, 1621, they lodged the first night at Namasket, where so many Indians had died a few years before, that the living could not bury the dead; but "their skulls and bones appeared in many places, where their dwellings had been."+ Namasket is that part of Middleborough, where the English began their plantation, and had increased to about sixteen families, before Philip began his war, in June, 1675. As soon as it brake out, they removed away, as did also the friendly Indians, to Plymouth, and other eastern places. Philip had been very conversant here; and because his friend John Sausaman informed the English of his preparations for war, Sausaman was murdered on a frozen pond, at Assowamset, and the execution of his murderers hastened on the war. And in the time of it, Philip once sent an army to waylay Capt. Church, in Assowamset-neck; which is in the south part of Middleborough. He was also defeated, in attempting to cross a river upon a tree that had fallen over it. This

* Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins, with Tisquantum, an Indian, for their guide.

† Prince's Chronology, p. 106.

was the river between Middleborough and Bridgwater.*

Philip was

slain on August 12, 1676, soon after which the war was closed in these parts.

The first planters of Middleborough came mainly from Plymouth; and they returned here after the war, and Mr. Samuel Fuller preached to them, until a churchwas constituted among them, and he was ordained their pastor in 1694. He was much esteemed as a godly man, and useful preacher. He died greatly lamented, August 24, 1695, Æt. 66.†

Mr. Thomas Palmer was their second minister, whose capacity and accomplishments were not small but the lust of intemperance, and other evils, drew such a cloud over his character, that, by the advice of a council of twelve churches, he was deposed from his office. Though, as he robbed the church of all her records, we have no account of the time when he was ordained, nor when he was deposed; only as it appears that a party of the church held with him, until about the time of their electing another pastor, which was June 30, 1708, when an act of oblivion was passed upon past transactions.

Their third pastor was Mr. Peter Thacher, who was born in Milton, October 6, 1688, began to preach in Middleborough in September, 1707, and was ordained their pastor, November 2, 1709. He was a faithful and successful minister for near thirty five years. So great a revival of religion was granted among his people in 1741, as caused the addition of one hundred and seventy four communicants to his church in less than three years; above half of whom were males. their beloved pastor was taken away by death April 22, 1744.‡

But

Directly after his removal, a few leading men in the town made violent opposition against the church, about the settlement of another minister. And when the church had voted to hear Mr. Sylvanus Conant from Bridgwater, four sabbaths upon probation, the parish committee went and got another teacher to supply the pulpit the same days; which caused a great division among them. And when a large majority of the church had chosen Mr. Conant for their pastor, and presented their choice to the parish, their committee made a new regulation of voters, whereby they excluded seven or eight old voters, and admitted about nineteen new ones, and they negatived the election of the church. The church then called a council of five churches, who approved of their choice of Mr. Conant, and he was ordained their pastor, March 28, 1745. Yet less than a quarter of the church called themselves the standing part of it, and called and settled Mr. Thomas Weld as their minister, in October following: and that party held the meeting house and minis

*Church's History, page 9, 60, 62.

177.

Hubbard's History of that War, page

† Appendix to Robbins's Ordination Sermon, 1760, page 21. Prince's Christian History, volume 2, page 99.

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