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The part of the township south of Pamet river, adjoining the bay, is called Hog's Back. The houses, thirty-five in number, are built in valleys between the hills; but there is no collection of them which is entitled to the name of a village. Between Hog's Back and Wellfleet, there is another body of meadow or salt marsh, which is made by the water that at spring tides, flows between Bound Brook island and the main.

Except the bodies of salt marsh, which have been mentioned, the soil of the township is sandy, barren, and free from rocks and stones. No part of it produces English grass fit for mowing; and it can scarcely be said to be clad with verdure at any season of the year. The inhabitants entirely depend upon their salt marshes for winter fodder for their cattle, which in summer pick up a scanty subsistence from the fields and swamps. The soil however produces Indian corn and rye, about half sufficient, and turnips, potatoes, and pumpkins, sufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants. Other vegetables are not raised in plenty. The people make their summer butter; but their winter butter, their beef, flour, cheese, and beans, of which they make considerable use, are procured from the markets at Boston.

As the soil is a deep sand, the roads are universally bad. The township is composed of hills and narrow valleys between them, running principally at right angles with the shore. The tops of some of the hills spread into a plain. From those in the north part of the township, nothing can be discerned, except the meeting house, a few windmills, and here and there a wood. The hill upon which the meeting house stands, branches from the high land at Cape Cod, well known to seamen. This high land commences at the Clay Pounds, or clay banks, adjoining the ocean, about a mile due east from the Pond, and extends to the south as far as the Table Land in Easthamn. The inhabitants consider the Clay Pounds as an object worthy the attention of strangers. The high banks are here excavated in a semicircular form. In the midst of this hollow, the sides of which are perpendicular, a cone of blue clay rises from a broad base. Not far from this there is another semicircular excavation, and a hill of clay not so regularly formed. The land near these clay banks is superiour to any other part of the township. There is a collection of six houses. The eastern shore of Truro is very dangerous for seamen. More vessels are cast away here than in any other part of the county of Barnstable. A light house near the Clay Pounds, should Congress think proper to erect one, would prevent many of these fatal accidents.

Both the eastern and western shores are a light sand, which is moveable by the winds. Northwest of East harbour, the beach may be said to extend quite across the township, though there are still a few trees and bushes. This part of Truro has no houses, and the land exactly resembles Province town, a description of which the reader may find in the Massachusetts Magazine for 1791. Near this place, at the head of Stout's creek, on the north eastern shore,the Humane Society have built a hut for the relief of shipwrecked seamen. The inner shore is here

encroaching upon the bay and salt marsh, whilst the outward shore is probably losing as much from the ocean. There are proofs, that the former has gained nearly half a mile in less than sixty years. Stout's creek, once several hundred yards wide, and where a number of tons of salt hay were annually cut, now scarcely exists, being almost entirely choked up with sand blown in from the beach. On other parts of the western shore of Truro, the water appears to be gradually gaining upon the land. There is no probability however, that the township will be soon overwhelmed by the ocean, as some apprehend, the land being so high, that it must during many ages resist the force of the


The soil in every part of the township is continually depreciating, little pains being taken to manure it. Not much attention is paid to agriculture, as the young men are sent to sea very early in life. In general they go at the age of twelve or fourteen, and follow the sea until they are forty-five or fifty years of age. The husbandry of the inhabitants is simple. The method of tilling the land is this: After ploughing, it is planted with Indian corn in the spring, and in July is sowed with rye. The hillocks formed by the hoe are left unbroken, and the land lies uncultivated six or seven years; at the end of which it goes through the same course of cultivation. Formerly fifty bushels of Indian corn were raised on an acre; but the average produce at present is not more than fifteen or twenty. The soil was once good for wheat, the mean produce of which was fifteen or twenty bushels an acre. But wheat has not been raised during the last forty years. The soil is not only injured by inattention and bad husbandry, but also by the light sand which is blown in from the beach. It likewise suffers very much from another cause. The snow, which would be of essential service to it, provided it lay level and covered the ground, is blown into drifts and into the sea. Large tracts of land have now become unfit for cultivation. There are however no such appearances of desolation, as are exhibited on the plains of Eastham, where an extensive, and what was once a fertile spot, has become a prey to the winds, and lies buried under a heap of barren sand.

There remains as much woodland in this township, as in any other below Harwich. The natural growth is, pitch pine, and white, black, and red oak; the former, chiefly on the southern; and the latter, on the northern side of Pamet river. Apple trees are not plenty. There are however several small orchards, and all of them in valleys, where they are defended from the winds. Few trees are now planted; so that the orchards as well as the forests, are continually lessening, and probably in a few years will disappear.

Beside the pond already mentioned, there are five other small ponds; one of them near the head of Pamet; the other four, in the southern part of the township. There are several swamps, none of which are large; but not a single brook, and very few springs which appear. The water in the wells, which is very little above the level of the ocean, is in general soft and excellent. Wells dug near the shore, are dry at

low water, or rather at what is called young flood, but are replenished with the flowing of the tide.

A traveller from the interiour part of the country, where the soil is fertile, upon observing the barrenness of Truro, would wonder what could induce any person to remain in such a place. But his wonder would cease, when he was informed, that the subsistence of the inhabitants is derived principally from the sea. The shores and marshes afford large and small clams, quahaugs, razor shells, periwinkles, muscles, and cockles. The bay and ocean abound with excellent fish and with crabs and lobsters. The sturgeon, eel, haddock, cod, frost fish, pollock, cusk, flounder, halibut bass, mackerel, herring, and alewife,† are most of them caught in great plenty, and constitute a principal part of the food of the inhabitants. Beside these fish for the table, there is a great variety of other fish: among which are the whale, kilIer or thrasher, humpback, finback, skrag, grampus, black fish, porpoise, (grey, bass, and streaked) snuffer, shark, (black, man-eating, and shovelnosed) skate, dog fish, sun fish, goose fish, cat fish, and sculpion; to which may be added the horseshoe and squid.-The cramp fish has sometimes been seen on the beach. This fish, which resembles a stingray in size and form, possesses the properties of the torpedo, being capable of giving a smart electrical shock. The fishermen suppose, but whether with reason or not the writer will not undertake to determine, that the oil extracted from the liver of this fish is a cure for the rheumatism.

Sea fowl are plenty on the shores and in the bay; particularly the gannet, curlew, brant, black duck, sea duck, old wife, dipper, sheldrake, penguin, gull, plover, coot, widgeon, and peep.

Formerly whales of different species were common on the coasts, and yielded a great profit to the inhabitants, who pursued them in boats from the shore. But they are now rare, and the people, who are some of the most dexterous whalemen in the world, are obliged to follow them into remote parts of the ocean. Two inhabitants of Truro, Captain David Smith and Captain Gamaliel Collings, were the first who adventured to the Falkland islands in pursuit of whales. This voyage was undertaken in the year 1774, by the advice of Admiral Montague of the British navy, and was crowned with success. Since that period the whalemen of Truro have chiefly visited the coasts of Guinea and Brazil. A want of a good market for their oil has however of late compelled them to turn their attention to the codfishery. In this they are employed on board of vessels belonging to other places. Other inhabitants of Truro are mariners in the merchants' service. Being in general industrious and faithful, they soon rise to the command of a vessel. Many of the masters employed from Boston and other ports, 'are natives of Truro.

+ Formerly the blue fish was common, but some years ago it deserted the coast. See page 159.

A subsistence being easily obtained, the young people are induced to marry at an early age; many of the men under twenty three, and many of the women under twenty. A numerous family is generally formed after a few years.

There are schools for the instruction of children and youth. But though education is more attended to of late, than is was some years ago, yet it is much to be wished that the importance and advantage of it were still more considered.

Only four persons from Truro have had a college education.

The climate of the place is said to be favourable to health and longevity. Complaints of the nervous kind, however, are very com


Though Truro in respect of soil is inferiour to every other township in the county, except Wellfleet and Province town, both of which have convenient harbours; yet, in spite of every disadvantage, it has become full of inhabitants. In the time of the contest between Great Britain and America, four masters of vessels with their men, the greatest part of whom belonged to Truro, were lost at sea. Many died in the prison-ship at New-York. But since that period, as migrations from the township have been rare, though formerly frequent, the inhabitants have increased.

In the year 1790, when the census was taken, there were eleven hundred and ninety-three inhabitants. Thirty years ago, the number of the inhabitants was nine hundred and twenty four; and of dwelling houses, one hundred and seven. At present there are one hundred and sixty five dwelling houses; none of which, except three, are more than one story in height. Five of the houses being situated near the bounds of Wellfleet, the families belonging to them attend publick worship there. The houses being small, are in general finished immediately after they are erected. The meeting house is painted, and in good repair. The inhabitants in general are very constant in their attendance on publick worship.

There is one water mill and three wind mills for the grinding of Indian corn and rye. The elderly men and small boys remain at home to cultivate the ground: the rest are at sea, except occasionally, two thirds of the year. The women are generally employed in spinning, weaving, and knitting; but there are no other manufactures. The flax, cotton, and the greatest part of the wool, are procured from Boston.

In 1697 some purchases of land were made of the Indians, as appears from an old book of records kept by the town. The settlement of Truro, the Indian name of which was Pamet, commenced about the year 1700. On the 29th of October, 1705, it was erected into a town, to be called Dangerfield. On the 16th of July, 1709, it was incorporated by the name of Truro.

In 1793 there were in Truro three hundred and thirty polls, which, allowing four persons to one poll, make thirteen hundred and twenty inhabitants; above seventy to a square mile.

A church was formed at the time of the ordination of the first minister, according to the church books of records; and the male members, who united in embodying the church, were seven, besides the pas


The first minister, Rev. John Avery, was ordained November 1st, 1711. He died April 23d, 1754, in the 69th year of his age, and 44th of his ministry. The inhabitants of Truro, who personally knew Mr. Avery, speak of him in very respectful terms. As a minister, he was greatly beloved and admired by his people, being a good and useful preacher, of an exemplary life and conversation.

As a physician he was no less esteemed. He always manifested great tenderness for the sick; and his people very sensibly felt their loss in his death. His eldest son, John Avery, esquire, is still living in Boston; and one of his grandsons, John Avery, junior, esquire, has during many years been secretary of the commonwealth.

Rev. Caleb Upham was ordained October 29th, 1755. He died April 9th, 1786, in the 63d year of his age, and 31st of his ministry. Mr. Upham was a good scholar, an animated preacher, a warm friend to his country, and an honest man. A taste for poetry was apparent in all his compositions. He left behind him a poem in manuscript, the subject of which is taken from the book of Job. He was ever attentive to the real good of his people, and exerted himself with zeal and fidelity in their service.

The present minister of Truro, Rev. Jude Damon, was ordained October 15th, 1786.


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