Page images

"In hot climates the insects are rapacious and the finest fan-corals and others of a soft texture, when first taken out of the sea, are sometimes almost devoured before they become hard and dry. To prevent injuries of this kind; a little powdered corrosive sublimate or its solution may be sprinkled on them. Some of the smaller, and some branches of the larger may be put into spirits and the parts of them preserved more distinctly."


No. X.

In collecting mineral and fossil substances, the following particulars are to be attended to.


"When any articles are collected, mark them by numbers or some other sign of distinction referring to a catalogue, with all the particulars relative to the subject-as (1.) Where it was found. (2.) In what quantity. (3.) Whether on the surface of the earth, or at what depth. (4.) In what position, whether horizontal, perpendicular, or inclined, in what angle and to what point of the compass. (5.) Whether in strata or loose. (6.) The depth and thickness of the strata, how inclined and to what point; whether the fissures be horizontal, perpendicular or inclined; and what fossil bodies are contained in the fissures. (7.) The quality of the neighboring waters, whether pure, tasteless, purgative, vitriolic, chalybeate, &c.

"The places to be searched are the sides and gullies of hills, the shores of the sea and rivers, with adjacent banks and cliffs, and the falls of rivers.

"The situation of mines, pits and quarries, whether in vallies, hills, or plains, and the disposition of the strata, their depth and thickness. The damps and steams of mines and pits, and the effects of them on the human body, or on fire; in what seasons and in what state of the air they are observed; and what is the temperature of the air at particular depths. The accounts of these things given by natives and workmen." All these are subjects of inquiry for a naturalist.


* Sands and clays, chalk, flints, and pit coal are particularly desirable because useful in manufactures.






Hopkinton, 1794.

IN compliance with your request, as expressed in your circular letter, in the name of the Historical Society, of Nov. 1, 1791, I here transmit to you such answers to the several interrogations contained in said letter as I have been able to collect, together with a plan of the town. Many of the answers are imperfect; but are the best I could obtain, either from written reccords of the town, or elderly people. If from them you can collect any thing that will be of service in promoting the laudible design of the society, it will afford me much satisfaction, and I shall be happy in contributing (although but a mite) to so valuable a design.

I remain, with sentiments of esteem,

Coresponding Secretary of the His-

torical Society.


Your very humble servant,


THE town of Hopkinton lies in a westerly direction from Boston; and at about thirty-two miles distance. It was incorporated December 13, 1715. Its Indian name, Quansigomog.

There is an hill in the east end of the town that was called, by the Indians, Megonko, and goes by the name of Megonko hill to this day. The principal part of, the town was purchased of the natives by Mr. Leverett, then president of Harvard college, in Cambridge, for the purpose of perpetuating the legacy of Edward Hopkins, Esq. to said college; and was called Hopkinston, in honour to his name. It was leased out, by the president and trustees of Harvard college, to the first settlers. The settlement began about


the year 1710 or 12, and was never interrupted. The town was originally annexed to the county of Middlesex, in the province of Massachusetts bay. There has been no im

portant division of the town. Several farms at the west end, containing about three thousand acres, have been set off, and annexed to Upton, in the county of Worcester; and a farm at the east end, known by the name of Parker's farm, containing five hundred acres, to Holliston.

Although many of the inhabitants have been, from time to time, engaged in the former Indian wars, and some were killed, others died of sickness, and others taken prisoners by the Indians, and carried into captivity; yet I can obtain no accurate account of the matter worth communicating. The most remarkable event that has taken place in this town, relative to war, is, that in or about the year 1746, twelve men and a boy were enlisted, by Capt. Prescott of Concord, to go upon the expedition to Cuba. They went, and all died there, except the boy. He only returned, and it was remarked by the old people, that they were twelve of the most robust young men in the town. Their names were,

Edward Carrel,

Henry Walker,

[blocks in formation]

Thomas Belloes,

Samuel Clemons,

Ebenezer Coller,

Henry Walker, jun. Eleazer Rider,
Gideon Gould,

Cornelius Claflen, Samuel Rosseau. There has been no division of the town into parishes or precincts.

A Congregational church was gathered in Hopkinton the 2d of September, 1724. On the same day the Rev. Samuel Barrett was ordained pastor of said church. Some time after a number of people living in town of the Episcopal order, the Rev. Roger Price, a gentleman of eminence and ability, came from England, and erected an house near the middle of the town, for public worship, and endowed it with a glebe, and public worship was performed under his ministry for a number of years. After his removal to England, he sent the Rev. Mr. Troutbeck, who officiated in that office for some time; but since the removal of Mr. Troutbeck, those people have not existed as a distinct society.

January 15, 1772, the Rev. Elijah Fitch was ordained colleague pastor of the Congregational church with the Rev. Samuel Barrett. The Rev. Samuel Barrett departed this

life December 11, 1772, aged seventy-two years. He was a pious, good christian, a man of great candour and goodnature; and died universally beloved and lamented by all his acquaintance, after having been in the ministry almost fifty years.

The Rev. Elijah Fitch departed this life December 18, 1788, aged forty-two years. He possessed all the good qualities of his predecessor, together with a high relish for literature and the sciences. He possessed also the most lively sensibility. No man ever more feelingly participated in the happiness or misery of his fellow men than he; or better filled the several offices of pastor, husband, parent, friend, neighbour, and townsman. In short, he possessed almost every qualification that could render him useful and amiable, either in public or private life. The only thing I ever heard objected to his character, was his taciturnity; and perhaps he was a little too reserved in publick and mixed companies. The principal work he has published, is a poem in blank verse, entitled, The Beauties of Religion.

October 5, 1791, the Rev. Nathaniel Howe was ordained pastor of the Congregational church.

The two first persons liberally educated from this town, were the Rev. John Mellen, now of Hanover, in Massachusetts, and Doctor John Wilson. The respectability - and literary productions of the former are well known to the publick, he having been in the ministry upwards of fifty years. The latter, who was eminent as a physician, lived and died in this town. A number of others from this town have since received the honours of college; and the spirit of education generally prevails.

The plan of the town is the best answer to the 6th article requested in the circular letter. There are two ponds in the westerly part of this town; from one of which, known by the name of White-Hall pond, issues one of the extreme branches of Concord river, which empties itself into the Merrimac. From the other, known by the name of the North pond, (although it lies nearly south from the first, and not more than two miles distant) issues one of the extreme branches of Providence river, which runs through Providence, and empties into the sea at Newport, in RhodeIsland. One of the extreme branches of Charles river also takes its rise in the southerly part of this town, from small beginnings. VOL. IV.



The town is hilly, interspersed with small vallies, and well watered. Some of the swamps, that have never been cleared and cultivated till within a few years, are found to be the most productive, and some of the best lands we have. The uplands are rough and stony, hard to be subdued, but are naturally good for grazing and orcharding. There are several quarries or ledges of stone in the town, which are good for building, and can be cut into almost any shape or form the builder pleases. A large, upright, and convenient dwelling house was erected the last year from one of these, and the stone found to answer the purpose exceedingly well. There are a number of good mill seats in the town, and not less than seven or eight grist mills are already erected, and a number of saw mills, iron works, &c.

The former state of cultivation was bad, but is now much altered for the better. The people have been very industrious since the late war, and have improved their lands to much greater advantage than formerly. A spirit of emulation prevails among the farmers. Their enclosures, which used to be fenced with hedge and log fences, are now generally fenced with good stone wall. The roads, which used to be remarkable for their roughness, and were almost impassable, are now good, and constantly becoming better. The town is still capable of very great improvement.

We have none of the natives remaining among us, nor any of their monuments or relics worthy of notice.

We have no instances of longevity exceeding an hundred years, although many have arrived to nearly that period. The town, however, is generally healthy.

The weather is very changeable, often shifting from very warm to extreme cold, which frequently occasions inflamatory disorders among the inhabitants. Before the swamps were cleared and drained,, the inhabitants used to be very subject to the fever and ague; but since, there have been no complaints of the kind in the town. With regard to spirituous liquors, I have reason to believe, from repeated observation, that a moderate use of them is not detrimental, but, on the contrary beneficial and salutary, especially during the extreme heat in the latter part of summer, when our farmers get their hay and reap their first harvest. But the bad effects of too free a use, or a constant habit of drinking them, are too well known to need any description; they not only


« PreviousContinue »