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terial lands, and the church and her friends built another house for their worship. And the party spirit of that day was so great, that the church could obtain no relief from our legislature for about four years: but when each inhabitant was allowed to choose his own minister, and they were formed into two societies promiscuously, each to support their own minister, they, who called themselves the standing party, soon ́ fell into a quarrel with their own minister, and nailed up their meeting house against him. He then held meetings for a considerable time in his own house, after which he sued the society, and recovered his salary for all that time. At length they got him dismissed, and their society dissolved. But Mr. Conant continued a useful minister, and an exemplary walker, until he was suddenly taken away by the small pox, December 7, 1777.

Their next pastor was Mr. Joseph Barker, from Branford in Connecticut, who was ordained December 5, 1781, and he is still continued with them.

A second precinct was formed in the southwest part of Middleborough, including a part of Taunton, in 1719. About the year 1724, a church was constituted therein, and Mr. Benjamin Ruggles was ordained their pastor; and he continued with them about thirty years, and then left them without their consent, and went and settled in New Braintree; but as their records were lost or destroyed, we have no exact account of the time of his ordination, or of his departure.

After trying a number of candidates, Mr. Caleb Turner, from Mansfield, in Connecticut, was ordained their minister, June 25, 1761, in which office he still continues.

In 1743, a third precinct was constituted, in the northwest part of Middleborough, including a part of Bridgwater. A church was formed there in 1756, and Mr. Solomon Reed was installed their pastor, January 26, 1757. He was born in Abington, in 1719, and was ordained at Framingham, in 1747, pastor of a church that was formed by the advice of a council, but could not obtain an incorporation by law, as a society; therefore he left them in 1756, and came and settled in Middleborough, and was well esteemed here until his death, on May 7,

1785.

Mr. David Gurney, who came from Bridgwater, was ordained their second pastor, December 5, 1787, and still continues with them.

Ketehiquut (or Titicut) mentioned as a place of praying Indians,*is in this precinct. A baptist church was formed among them ; · and Nehemiah, Abel, Thomas Sekins, Thomas Felix, and John Symons, are mentioned as teachers among them. When I came into the place in 1747, John Symons was the minister of that church, and continued so for near ten years, and then he removed to the southward; and he assisted in ordaining Silas Paul, on Martha's Vineyard, in 1763. One of the Indians in Titicut was prevailed with to give five acres for their meeting-house lot, and two others gave each of them fifteen acres of

* Historical Collections, volume 1, page 200.

good land for the ministry. As the Indians diminished in the place, they were allowed to sell their lands under the direction of guardians, who were appointed by the government; the last of which was sold in

1760.

t

An Account of the English Baptist Churches in Middleborough.

Titicut precinct was constituted in February, 1743; but as the communicants therein desired such kind of preaching as the majority of voters disliked, the neighbouring ministers would not dismiss their church members, so that they might form a church to act in calling a minister. Therefore they formed a church without leave from those ministers, February 16, 1748, and the writer was ordained their pastor, the 13th of April following. In September, 1749, a number of them embraced the baptist principle, and their principles prevailed in the church, until those who disliked the same, went off to other churches, and a baptist church was formed here, January 16, 1756, and the same pastor was installed therein, the 23d of June following, by assistance from Boston and Rehoboth, in which office he is continued to this day.

The second baptist church in Middleborough originated in the following manner: Mr. Thomas Nelson discovered such evils in Mr. Palmer, as gave a turn to his mind about principles; and upon searching the scriptures, it appeared to him that none but professed believers ought to be baptized; and he went and joined to the first baptist church in Swansey, which is the first of that denomination in the Massachusetts. In the beginning of 1717, he removed into Assowamset, being the first English family who settled in that neck of land. He obtained occasional preaching at his house from time to time, as he could, until he got Mr. Ebenezer Hinds, from Bridgwater, to remove and preach there steadily, in the spring of 1753. Their society increased and others joined with them farther south-westward, and they formed a baptist church, November, 16, 1757, and Mr. Hinds was ordained their pastor, January 26, 1758, and he now remains with them.

The third baptist church in Middleborough, was constituted in the southeast corner of it, near Carver and Wareham, August 4, 1761, and Mr. Ebenezer Jones, from Raynham, was ordained their pastor, the 28th of October following. A happy revival of religion was granted among them the next year; yet such a division arose in the church and society, in 1763, as caused his removal from them; and he travelled and preached in various parts of the country, until he died in the state of New York, in September, 1791.

Mr. Asa Hunt, from Braintree, was their second pastor, who was ordained October 30, 1771; and such a blessing was granted upon his labours, as increased the church to one hundred and ninety-five members, in 1783. Yet many trying things appeared among them afterwards, and he was suddenly taken away by death, September 20, 1791.

But the church was still preserved, and religion was again much revived therein,last year,and Mr.Samuel Nelson was ordained their third pas

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tor, January 16, 1794. He is a grandson of the first baptist in Middleborough, and hath two brothers in the ministry elsewhere.

A few General Remarks.

Our fathers began the plantation of New England in the poorest part of it. The land between Plymouth and Wareham, and between Sandwich and Falmouth is so barren, that a number of deer run wild in the woods there, to this day. And there are very few men in any part of the old colony of Plymouth who are very rich, but the people are more upon a level than in most parts of our country. And as it was first planted by a religious, prudent, and industrious people, their posterity retain so much of those excellent qualities, that capital crimes are less known here, than in many other places. There has not been any person hanged in Plymouth county, for above these sixty years past. Neither were the courts interrupted in this county, in 1786, as they were in many other parts of the land. The goodness of God, and not the goodness of men, ought to have all the glory.

As our new plantations have been extended amazingly since the peace of 1763, I conclude that there are as many people now in other places who have sprung from Middleborough, since that peace, as all who are now in the town. This may appear partly from the numeration of the people. For when they were numbered by authority, in the summer of 1776, there were four thousand four hundred and seventy-nine souls in Middleborough; and the next winter they numbered the males, of sixteen years old and above, and found them to be one thousand and sixty-six, of whom there were but five Indians and eight negroes. And in 1791, there were but four thousand, five hundred, and twenty-six souls in Middleborough, which is but forty seven more than there were fifteen years before. And it hath generally been healthy in the place, and families have increased as fast as in former times. And it is well known that a large part of the towns of New Salem and Shutesbury, in the county of Hampshire, and of Woodstock in the state of Vermont, sprang from Middleborough; and some from hence are scattered through all New England, and into many other parts of America.

These things, collected from printed books, church records, other writings, and intelligent persons, are presented to the Historical Society, by their humble servant,

Middleborough, February 20, 1794.

Postscript.

ISAAC BACKUS.

I have often wondered that historians should be so incorrect in their dates of important events, as many of them have been. The beginning of Rhode Island colony hath often been set in 1634, or 1635; whereas the town of Providence was not planted until 1636, nor Rhode

Island till 1638. And in your third volume, p. 5, a gentleman says, "In 1637, New Haven was planted; about the same time, Windsor, Guilford, and Milford." But Windsor was planted in 1635, Hartford in 1636, and New Haven not till 1638.*

A TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF NANTUCKET. BY WALTER FOLGER, JUN.

SITUATION AND EXTENT.]

and 41° 22' north latitude.

BE

ETWEEN 69° 56′ and 70° 13 west longitude. Between 41° 13′ 15 miles in length. 11 miles in breadth. BOUNDARIES.] It is bounded on all sides by the ocean, being about eight leagues to the southward from Cape Cod.

CLIMATE, SOIL, SEASONS, AND WATER.] The climate of Nantucket is mild, when compared with the neighbouring country, owing perhaps to its being situated in the ocean. The air is not so hot and

sultry in summer, nor so cold in winter, as it is on the main. The inhabitants enjoy a cool sea breeze, which for the most part makes it healthy.

The soil of Nantucket is for the most part light and sandy, if we except some part of the land where the town now stands, and some part of the east end of the island, which is a loamy and rich soil.

There can be but little said of the waters, except that the island is well watered with ponds and springs, but as to their medicinal qualities, if they have any, they have not been discovered. The waters of

many wells in the town are impregnated with an earthy and saline substance, which renders them disagreeable to those who are not accustomed to them.

Bars, &c.] There is but one bay of any note, and that is formed by a long sandy point, which runs from the east end of the island to the north and westward (on which stands a light-house, erected by the Massachusetts state, in 1784) and the north shore of the island, as far as Eel Point. This makes a fine road for ships, except with the wind at the N. W. when there is a heavy swell.

The harbour is a basin within the bay, the entrance of which is obstructed by a sand-bar, on which there are no more than seven feet and a half of water at low water, and in some places no more than three feet and a half; but within there are twelve and fourteen feet of water.

ANIMAL PRODUCTIONS BY SEA AND LAND.] The sea produces many kinds of fish, such as cod, hallibut, sturgeon, shad, herring, bass, eels, and a number of other kinds.

VOL. III.

*Winthrop's Journal, pages 86, 92, 96, 98, 101, 151.
U

On the land are horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, which are not very different from those of the neighbouring country.

POPULATION, INHABITANTS, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS.] According to an enumeration taken in 1790, Nantucket contained males above sixteen years of age eleven hundred and ninety-three; males under sixteen years ten hundred and sixteen; females two thousand threehundred; blacks of all ages and sexes, not including Indians, one hundred and ten; total of males two thousand two hundred and nine; the whole number of inhabitants was four thousand six hundred and nineteen.

The inhabitants are for the most part a robust and enterprising people, mostly seamen and mechanicks. The seamen are the most expert whalemen in the world: for a proof of which one need only consider the efforts that France and England have been making to draw them away, for the purpose of conducting their fisheries.

One reason perhaps of the Nantucket-men's being so dexterous in killing the whale is, that they have but little opportunity of going in any other service. The boys, as soon as they can talk, will make use of the common phrases, as townor, which is an Indian word, and signifies that they have seen the whale twice; and as soon as they are some years older, they are seen rowing in boats for diversion, which makes them expert oarsmen, a thing that is requisite in taking the whale.

The inhabitants are mostly ingenious in using mechanical tools. It is no strange thing to see the same man occupy the station of a mer chant, at other times that of a husbandman, of a blacksmith, or of a cooper, or a number of other occupations.

The women are thought to be handsome. They make good wives, tender mothers, kind and obliging neighbours. The inhabitants live together like one great family, not in one house, but in friendship. They not only know their nearest neighbours, but each one knows all the rest. If you should wish to see any man, you need but ask the first inhabitant you meet, and he will be able to conduct you to his residence, to tell what occupation he is of, and any other particulars you may wish to know.

VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS.] Before we treat of vegetable productions, it may be necessary to inform the readers that the land is held in common; that is, the island is supposed to be divided into twenty seven shares (except some part of the east end of the island, known by the name of Squam, and some few other pieces, which are held as private farms.) Each share is entitled to a certain portion of land, which the owner may take up in any part of the common land and convert it to what use he thinks proper. Each share is subdivided into lesser parts, called cows' commons, which give the proprietor a privilege to turn out as many cows or other cattle, as he owns of such parts in common or other stock, in the proportion of one horse or sixteen sheep to two cows' commons; which stock feed on any part of the land that is not

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