Scotch-Irish in New England
By Rev. A. L. Perry, Professor of History and Politics, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.
Taken from The Scotch-Irish in America: Proceedings and Addresses of the Second Congress at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 29 to June 1, 1890.
Mr. President and Brethren of the Society--
The Scotch-Irish did not enter New England unheralded. Early in the spring of 1718 Rev. Mr. Boyd was dispatched from Ulster to Boston as an agent of some hundreds of those people who expressed a strong desire to remove to New England, should suitable encouragement be afforded them. His mission was to Governor Shute, of Massachusetts, then in the third year of his administration of that colony, an old soldier of King William, a Lieutenant-Colonel under Marlborough in the wars of Queen Anne, and wounded in one of the great battles in Flanders. Mr. Boyd was empowered to make all necessary arrangements with the civil authorities for the reception of those whom he represented, in case his report of the state of things here should prove to be favorable.
As an assurance to the governor of the good faith and earnest resolve of those who sent him, Mr. Boyd brought an engrossed parchment twenty-eight inches square, containing the following memorial to his excellency, and the autograph names of the heads of the families proposing to emigrate: "We whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of ye North of Ireland, Doe in our own names, and in the names of many others, our Neighbors, Gentlemen, Ministers, Farmers, and Tradesmen, Commissionate and appoint our trusty and well beloved friend, the Reverend Mr. William Boyd, of Macasky, to His Excellency, the Right Honorable Collonel Samuel Suitte, Governour of New England, and to assure His Excellency of our sincere and hearty Inclination to Transport ourselves to that very excellent and renowned Plantation upon our obtaining from His Excellency suitable incouragement. And further to act and Doe in our Names as his prudence shall direct. Given under our hands this 26th day of March, Anno Dom. 1718."
To this brief, but explicit memorial, three hundred and nineteen names were appended, all but thirteen of them in fair and vigorous autograph. Thirteen only, or four per cent of the whole, made their "mark" upon the parchment. It may well be questioned, whether in any other part of the United Kingdom at that time, one hundred and seventy-two years ago, in England or Wales, or Scotland or Ireland, so large a proportion as ninety-six per cent of promiscuous householders in the common walks of life could have written their own names. And it was proven in the sequel, that those who could write, as well as those who could not, were also able upon occasion to make their "mark."
I have lately scrutinized with critical care this ancient parchment stamped by the hands of our ancestors, now in the custody of the Historical Society of New Hampshire, and was led into a line of reflections which I will not now repeat, as to its own vicissitudes in the seven quarter-centurys of its existence, and as to the personal vicissitudes and motives, and heart-swellings and hazards, and cold and hunger and nakedness, as well as the hard-earned success and the sense of triumph, and the immortal vestigia of the men who lovingly rolled and unrolled this costly parchment on the banks of the Foyle and the Bann Water! Tattered are its edges now, shrunken by time and exposure its original dimensions, illegible already some of the names even under the fortifying power of modern lenses, but precious in the eyes of New England, nay precious in the eyes of Scotch-Irishmen every-where, is this venerable muniment of intelligence and of courageous purpose looking down upon us from the time of the first English George.
It is enough for our present purpose to know that Governor Shute gave such general encouragement and promise of welcome through Mr. Boyd to his constituents, that the latter were content with the return-word received from their messenger, and set about with alacrity the preparations for their embarkation. Nothing definite was settled between the governor and the minister, not even the locality of a future residence for the newcomers; but it is clear in general, that the governor's eye was upon the district of Maine, then and for a century afterward, a part of Massachusetts. Five years before Boyd's visit to Boston, had been concluded the European treaty of Utrecht, and, as between England and France, it had therein been agreed that all of Nova Scotia or Acadia, "according to its ancient boundaries," should remain to England. But what were the ancient boundaries of Acadia? Did it include all that is now New Brunswick? Or had France still a large territory on the Atlantic between Acadia and Maine? This was a vital question, wholly unsolved by the treaty. The motive of Massachusetts in welcoming the Scotch-Irish into her jurisdiction was to plant them on the frontiers of Maine as a living bulwark against the restless and enterprising French of the north, and their still more restless savage allies; the motive of the Ulstermen in coming to America was to establish homes of their own in fee simple, taxable only to support their own form of worship and their strictly local needs--to escape in short the land lease and the church tithe; the bottom aims, accordingly, of both parties to the negotiation ran parallel with each other, and there was in consequence a swift agreement in the present, and in the long sequel a large realization of the purposes of both.
August 4, 1718, five small ships came to anchor near the little wharf at the foot of State street, Boston, then a town of perhaps 12,000 people. On board these ships were about one hundred and twenty families of Scotch-Irish. They reckoned themselves in families. It is certain that the number of persons in the average family so reckoned was, according to our modern notions, very large. There may have been, there probably was, at least seven hundred and fifty passengers on board. Cluttered in those separate ships, not knowing exactly whither to turn, having as a whole no recognized leader on board, no Castle Garden to afford a preliminary shelter, no organized Commissioners of Immigration to lend them a hand, the most of them extremely poor--the imagination would fain, but may not picture the confusions and perplexities, the stout hearts of some and the heartaches of others, the reckless joy of children and the tottering steps of old men and women. One patriarch, John Young--I know his posterity well--was ninety-five years old. And there were babies in arms, a plenty of them!
Besides Mr. Boyd, who had stayed the summer in Boston, where he found already settled a few scattered and peeled of his own race and faith, there were three Presbyterian ministers on board, Mr. McGregor, of blessed memory, Mr. Cornwell, and Mr. Holmes. Those best off of all the passengers, the McKeens, the Cargills, the Nesmiths, the Cochrans, the Dinsmoors, the Mooars, and some other families, were natives of Scotland, whose heads had passed over into Ulster during the short reign of James II. These were Covenanters. They had lived together in the valley of the Bann Water for about thirty years, in or near the towns of Colerain and Ballymoney and Kilrea. Their pastor was James McGregor. They wished to settle together in the new land of promise. They or their fathers and neighbors had felt the edge of the sword of Graham of Claverhouse in Argyleshire; they wished to enjoy together in peace in some sequestered spot the sweet ministrations of the gospel according to their own sense of its rule and order, and, being better able than the rest to wait and choose out for themselves, we shall follow their fortunes a little farther on.
Others of the company were the descendants of those who participated in the original "Colonization of Ulster," which dates from 1610; and of those who, three years later, formed the first Presbytery in Ireland, the "Presbytery of Antrim." Others still were the progeny of those Scotchmen and Englishmen, whom Cromwell transplanted at the middle of the century to take the places of those wasted by his own pitiless sword--"the sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" And a few families of native Irish also mingled in the throngs around the wharf, doubtless drawn by sympathy and attachment to take the risk of the New with their neighbors whom they had found trustworthy and hospitable in the Old. I only know for certain that the numerous Young family, consisting of four generations, and the wife of Joshua Gray, of whom we shall hear more pretty soon, were Celtic Irish.
If now we except some individuals and families of this great company, who found pretty soon a transient or permanent home in Boston in connection with their countrymen already settled there in an isolated way, and who a few years afterward formed a Presbyterian Church in Long Lane (later Federal street) under Rev. John Moorehead, of saintly but eccentric memory, which Church turned Congregational in 1786, and afterward, under the famous Dr. Channing, became the bridge to Unitarianism; and if we except also perhaps as many families who went up that autumn to Andover, then a new town, whose development they influenced both socially and theologically, and a considerable number more who went up temporarily to await events to the towns along the Merrimac, as Dracut and Haverhill, all the rest of the migration became located in the course of six months in three main centers, to which we must now attend in order, and from which these peculiar people diffused themselves little by little into every corner of New England.
1. WORCESTER. Nowadays we in Massachusetts call Worcester "the heart of the Commonwealth." It is a shallow bowl of beautiful country. The fall of 1718 marked the fifth year of its permanent settlement. There were about fifty log houses and two hundred souls within the circle. These were all English and Puritans, and from the towns immediately to the eastward. But the Indians were hostile. Two previous settlements on the spot had been abandoned from this cause, the first in King Philip's war in the year 1675, the second in Queen Anne's war in 1709. Now the colony was determined to hold the ground. At least five garrison-houses, one a regular block fort, stood within the bowl. Accordingly, Governor Shute looked favorably upon the proposition, that a part of the Scotch-Irish, now in one sense on his hands, should go direct to Worcester, to find a much-needed home for themselves, to reinforce the fifty families already on the ground, and to take their chances in helping to defend the menaced western frontier, fifty miles from Boston!
We do not know exactly how many went to Worcester. We may fairly infer that at least fifty families--large families--went straight from Boston to Worcester that autumn, and that the population of the place was thus more than doubled at one stroke. I entertain the opinion, gathered from scattered and uncertain data, that it was the poorer, the more illiterate, the more helpless, part of the five shiploads who were conducted to Worcester. I have hanging in my study, handsomely framed, the original deed by which my immediate maternal ancestor, Matthew Gray, conveyed to his son, of the same name, in 1735 his farm in Worcester of fifty-five acres, still called there the "Gray Farm," to which deed are appended, not the autographs but the "marks" of Matthew and Jean, his wife. Neither Matthew nor Jean could write. The deed is witnessed, however, by "William Gray. Jr.," who writes a fair hand; but "Ealanor Gray," who witnesses with him, makes her "mark." Three marks to one manual is a bad proportion, but you will allow me to premise that the Grays, though illiterate, were long-headed.
There is much evidence that the poor Scotch-Irish were welcomed in Worcester at first. They were needed there, both for civil and military reasons. Jonas Rice, the first permanent settler of Worcester, who had been a planter during the second settlement broken up by the Indians, returned to his farm to stay, October 21, 1713, and remained with his family alone in the forest till the spring of 1715. Adonijah, his son, was the first child born in Worcester, November 7, 1714. The cool courage, good sense, and strict integrity of Jonas Rice made him the first great leader in the town where great leaders have never been wanting since. He was just the man to appreciate the stout hearts of his new-come, not yet well-understood neighbors. No town organization had as yet been made when, in 1722, Lovell's Indian war broke out, and two Scotch-Irishmen, John Gray and Robert Crawford, were posted alone as scouts on Leicester Hill to the westward, doubtless at Rice's instance. In September of the same year a township organization was first effected, and John Gray, with Jonas Rice, were two of the first selectmen; William Gray was chosen one of the two fence viewers, and Robert Peebles one of the two hog reeves. At the first annual town meeting the next year new names of the strangers appear on the list of town officers; for example, James Hamilton as surveyor, and Andrew Farren as fence-viewer, though John Gray dropped this year from selectman to sealer of leather; but at the second annual March meeting, 1724, John Gray goes back to his earlier post as selectman, James McClellan, great-great-great grandfather to the late general-in-chief, becomes a constable; Robert Lethridge a surveyor of highways; William Gray and Robert Peebles, fence-viewers; John Battay, tythingman, and Matthew Gray, my own great-great grandfather, both sealer of leather and hog-reeve.
The most interesting of the purely Irish families, who came with the Scotch to Worcester, with whom they had contracted relationship during their long residence in Ulster, or become attached by community of sentiment and suffering, was the Young family, four generations together. They brought the potato to Worcester, and it was first planted there in several fields in the spring of 1719. The tradition is still lively in Scotch-Irish families (I listened to it eagerly in my boyhood) that some of their English neighbors, after enjoying the hospitality of one of the Irish families, were presented each on their departure with a few tubers for planting, and the recipients, unwilling to give offense by refusing, accepted the gift; but suspecting the poisonous quality, carried them only to the next swamp and chucked them into the water. The same spring a few potatoes were given for seed to a Mr. Walker, of Andover, Mass., by an Irish family who had wintered with him, previous to their departure for Londonderry to the northward. The potatoes were accordingly planted; came up and flourished well; blossomed and produced balls, which the family supposed were the fruit to be eaten. They cooked the balls in various ways, but could not make them palatable, and pronounced them unfit for food. The next spring, while plowing the garden, the plow passed through where the potatoes had grown, and turned out some of great size, by which means they discovered their mistake. This is the reason why this now indespensable esculent is still called in New England certainly, and perhaps elsewhere, the "Irish potato."
John Young was perhaps the oldest immigrant who ever came to this country to live and die. If the inscription on his tombstone is to trusted, which the American Antiquarian Society, of Worcester, copied and published many years ago, he was ninety-five years old when he landed at Boston. He lived in Worcester twelve years, died in 1730; was buried in the old yard on the common. His son, David Young, an old man when he came, died at ninety-four years, and was buried in the same place. His son, William Young, a stone cutter by trade, erected over their graves a common double headstone, with the following inscriptions in parallel columns, united at the bottom by the rude yet precious rhyming lines:
|"Here lies interred the remains of John Young, who was born in the isle of Bert, near Londonderry, in the Kingdom of Ireland. He departed this life, June 30, 1730, aged 107 years.||Here lies interred the remains of David Young, who was born in the parish of Tahbeyn, county of Donegal, and kingdom of Ireland. He departed this life, December 26, aged 94 years.|
|The aged son, and
the more aged
Beneath (these) stones their mould'ring bones
Here rest together."
Moses Young, probably the son of this epitaphist, William Young, was a lad of some six years at the time of the emigration, and became the ancestor of numerous families of that name in Western Massachusetts, and particularly in Williamstown, the town of rny residence, where there are no less than five Young families at present, living in one neighborhood, the same they have occupied as farmers for a century and a quarter. These families and individuals have never exhibited the main traitsof their Scotch-Irish companions and their descendants. They have been less "canny" and enterprising. Race blood tells from generation to generation. They have been, perhaps, more inclined to intoxicants than the others; although, if the truth must be told, the whole tribe in New England, as a rule and in the earlier times, have drank more than their fair share of the liquor. Only now and then one of the Youngs has tried professional and official life. John Young, born in Worcester June 2, 1739, studied medicine with the first and famous Dr. Green, of Worcester. He practiced a little while in Pelham, and then moved to Peterborough, N. H., about 1764. Both of these were Scotch-Irish towns, and Dr. Young's migrations illustrate the usage, well-nigh universal in the last century, of families and individuals moving from town to town within the Presbyterian circuit. Young was always very poor, and became very intemperate. The common custom of "treating" the doctor and minister at each professional, and even friendly call, wrought mischief to multitudes of both orders, and the later and the last necessities of poor John Young, who died February 27, 1807, were considerately ministered unto by the town of Peterborough.
When "Lovell's War" was over and before the "Old French War" began, and when the two sets of population in Worcester settled down to a better neighborhood acquaintance, the inevitable antipathies waked up as between Englishmen and Scotchmen, as between Presbyterians and Puritans. Certain traits and habits of our folks, to be specified later as common to them in all New England, intensified the feeling of repugnance felt toward them in Worcester. They were commonly called "Irish." Even a formal act of the General Court of Massachusetts denominated them "poor Irish people;" and a little later the General Court of New Hampshire styled the Londonderry section of them "a company of Irish at Nutfield." This designation they all naturally enough resented. "We are surprised," writes Rev. James MeGregor, the pastor of Londonderry, in a letter to Governor Shute, bearing date in 1720, "to hear ourselves termed Irish people, when we so frequently ventured our all for the British crown and liberties against the Irish papists, and gave all tests of our loyalty which the government of Ireland required, and are always ready to do the same when required."
In Worcester there were at least two, Abraham Blair and William Caldwell; and in Londonderry several more, including Rev. Matthew Clark, of the survivors of the heroic defense of the Ulster Londonderry in 1689; and these men and their heirs were made free of taxation throughout the British provinces by Act of Parliament, and occupied what were called "exempt farms" in New England until the American Revolution, so immensely important to the establishment of their throne did William and Mary hold the services of the Protestant settlers and defenders of Ulster against the last and the worst of the Stuarts. Now, for these very men and their companions in exile to be stigmatized as "Irish," in the sense in which that term was then held in reproach, was a bitter pill to our fathers; and this, and other prejudices more or less well-founded, only yielded, in the course of time, to the influence of their simple virtues and sterling worth.
The tenure by which these people held their lands in Worcester seems at first to have been the same as that of their English neighbors, who came earlier, namely, by direct grant of the General Court of Massachusetts; at any rate, there is a very early record that lots were so granted to John Gray and Andrew McFarland, two of their leaders; and the lots so granted earlier to members of the Committee of Settlement, and to others not actual settlers, were soon in the market at a very cheap price, and it is known that some of the families bought these lots at second hand, because the deeds are on record and I have seen them; it was not, accordingly, at this point of lands or any thing connected with them, that the jealousy and bitterness between the two strains of blood began, but rather at the point of differences of language and personal habits, and especially of church beliefs and ceremonial. The English had put up a rude log meeting-house the year before the Scotch-Irish came, and the year after a more commodious structure was erected on the site of the "Old South Church" (but quite recently removed); the Ulster Presbyterians, from the very first, liked to have worship by themselves, and in their own way, whenever and wherever they could; it is known that they held service, sometimes in summer, in the open air, and for a considerable period, by vote of the town, they occupied for preaching purposes one of the old garrison houses, commonly called the "Old Fort." Here having formed a religious society, they enjoyed for a time the ministrations of Rev. Edward Fitzgerald and Rev. William Johnston; still, they did not abandon the Puritan Church on the Common, and were taxed, of course, for its support. This taxation made friction, for they were poor and could not support their own minister besides contributing to the support of the other, and Mr. Fitzgerald being unable to procure proper maintainance removed from the town. The numbers of Presbyterian communicants were nearly equal to those of the Congregational Church, and the latter had proposed a union with the former, and Mr. Fitzgerald had once been invited to occupy the pulpit, vacated by the dismissal of Rev. Mr. Gardner in 1722, for a single Sabbath when no candidate could be procured, but the request was not repeated and no inducement was held out to him to remain.
In 1725 the English settled a new minister in the person of Rev. Isaac Burr, and the tacit understanding if not the express agreement was that if the Presbyterians would aid morally and pecuniarily in his support, they should be permitted to place in the pulpit occasionally teachers of their own denomination, and so the Scotch people united with the other inhabitants. After some time, finding that their expectations were not being realized in this regard, and were not likely to be, the Scotch withdrew from the Church on the Common, and installed the Rev. William Johnston to be their minister. Feelings were deepening, difficulties in the way of union were multiplying, and the Scotch had no suitable place of worship of their own. When in 1733 the Church on the Common was repaired and somewhat adorned, and a committee of seven (all English) being appointed "to seat ye meeting-house pursuant to instructions," it can not be denied that the olive branch was held out to the party of the second part by assigning them in general very good seats, according to the standard of the time, for example: "In ye fore section of ye body" (with five English families) John Gray; "In ye second section of ye body" (with three English) William Gray, James Hamilton, Andrew McFarland, John Clark, Robert Peebles; "In ye third section of ye body" (all Scotch) Matthew Gray, Alexander McKonkey, William Caldwell, John Duncan, William Gray, Jr., Mathew Gray, Jr., Andrew McFarland, Jr., John Gray, Jr.; "In ye fourth section of ye body" (with four English), James Thornington, John Battey, Oliver Wallis, Robert Blair: "In ye fifth section of ye body" (all Scotch), James Forbush, John Alexander, William Mahan, John Stimson, Duncan Graham, John McFarland, Joseph Clark; "In ye sixth section of ye body" (with three English families), John Patrick, James Glasford, John Sterling, Hugh Kelso; "In ye fore section of ye foremost gallery" (no Scotch); "In ye second section of ye foremost gallery" (with five English), Samuel Gray, Thomas Hamilton, Matthew Clark, William Temple; "In ye fore section of ye long gallery" (with fourteen English), William McClellan, James McClellan, John Cishiel, Robert Barbour; "In ye second section in ye long gallery" (with three English), Patrick Peebles, John McKonkey, Robert Marble, John Peebles.
Three years after this apparently ostentatious patronage of the Presbyterians, the latter, having been compelled to contribute for eleven years to the support of the Rev. Mr. Burr without any pulpit or other recognition of their peculiar views, made a formal appeal to the justice of their fellow-townsmen in town meeting for relief from a tax inconsistent with their religious privileges. It was of no avail. The petition is not extant, since little care was taken to preserve the memorials of this unoffending but persecuted people, whose history discloses the injustice and intolerance of our English ancestors but the answer of the town of Worcester to their application is on record, and it is a curious specimen of an attempt to make the worse appear the better reason. One can hardly say whether there be in it more of Yankee subtlety or religious illiberality. It begins in this way "In answer to the petition of John Clark and others, praying to be released from paying toward the support of the Rev. Isaac Burr, pastor of the church in this town, or any other except Mr. Johnston, the town, upon mature consideration, think that the request is unreasonable, and that they ought not to comply with it, upon many considerations." Thereupon follow four enumerated and elaborate alleged reasons for refusal, no one of them, nor all of them together, expressing fully the real reasons. The first is a mere quibble, the second asserts that, inasmuch as both churches follow substantially the Westminster Confession of Faith, "they may enjoy the same worship, ordinances and Christian privileges, and means of their spiritual edification, with us, as in the way which they call Presbyterian, and their consciences not be imposed on in any thing." As is usual in this kind of document, the third enumerated consideration falls into an accusing of the brethren, "but we have rather reason to suppose that their separation from us is from some irregular views and motives, which it would be unworthy of us to countenance;" and the fourth consideration I will quote in full, for the purpose of exhibiting its spirit: "We look upon the petitioners and others breaking off from us as they have done, as being full of irregularity and disorder, not to mention that the ordination of their minister was disorderly, even with respect to the principles which they themselves pretend to act by, as well as with respect to us, to whom they stand related, and with whom they cohabit, and enjoy with us in common all proper social, civil and Christian rights and privileges; their separating from us being contrary to the public establishment and laws of this Province; contrary to their own covenant with us, and unreasonably weakening to the town, whose numbers and dimensions (the north part being excepted by the vote from paying to Mr. Burr) will not admit of the honorable support of two ministers of the gospel, and tending to cause and cherish divisions and parties, greatly destructive to our civil and religious interests, and the peace, tranquility and happiness."
It is hardly necessary to add that these masterful bits of logic, from which almost all of the formal fallacies of the books might be illustrated, carried the town by a large majority. This was in 1736. It gave rise to two distinct impulses among the Presbyterians: first, to build a meeting-house of their own, in which "Mr. Johnston" might officiate, which there was no law to prevent; and second, among individuals of better fortune and more independence than the rest, to shake off the dust of their feet for a testimony against the infinitesimal bigotry of Worcester Puritans, and go elsewhere.
The Worcester Registry of Deeds bears ample evidence that many farms in "the north part" of the town, where the Scotch-Irish were specially located, and where the "Old Fort" stood in which they sometimes worshipped, changed hands in 1737 and in the years immediately following. John Gray, for example, and each of three sons of his, made significant conveyances of land in Worcester in that interval; and it is quite noticeable that the name of John Clark, the first to sign the petition to the town of Worcester for exemption from church taxes in behalf of himself and fellow signers, stands prominent a couple of years later among the first settlers of the Scotch-Irish town of Colerain, fifty miles to the northwest of Worcester, so named from the old Ulster town on the Bann. The Morrisons, Pennells, Herrouns, Hendersons, Cochranes, Hunters, Henrys, Clarks, McClellans, McCowens, Taggarts, and McDowells, many of whom had been previous settlers in Worcester, were the chief families in this frontier and Presbyterian town, now on the border of Vermont.
But the most striking proof of the discontent of the folks of our blood with their church-treatment in Worcester was the formal organization there in 1738, two years after the contemptuous rejection of their petition, of a company consisting of thirty-four families to purchase and settle a new town on principles in keeping with their own. Thus originated Pelham, about thirty miles west of Worcester. Robert Peebles and James Thornington (afterward spelled Thornton) were a committee to contract with Colonel John Stoddard and others, who owned the territory. In the contract occurs this passage: "It is agreed that families of good connection be settled on the premises, who shall be such as were the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Ireland or their descendants, being protestants, and none to be admitted but such as bring good and undeniable credentials or certificates of their being persons of good conversation and of the Presbyterian persuasion as used in the Church of Scotland, and conform to the discipline thereof."
The first meeting of these proprietors was held in Worcester at the house of Captain Daniel Haywood, in February, 1739, and all subsequent meetings of the proprietors were held in Worcester, until in August, 1740, when a meeting was held in the new township at the house of John Ferguson. At this first meeting in their own new town it was "voted to build a meeting-house, to raise £100 towards building it, and choose a committee to agree with a workman to raise the house and provide for the settling of a minister." Subsequent to this, £220 were raised in two installments for the erection and completion of the structure. In the spring of 1743 two meetings were held in the new meeting-house, and measures were then taken "to glaze the meeting-house, to build a pulpit, and underpin the house at the charge of the town." The first pastor they called to settle was their old quasi-pastor at Worcester, Rev. Mr. Johnston, who had in the meantime removed to Londonderry, N. H., but he naturally enough declined the call. But Robert Abercrombie, a native of Edinburgh, a profound scholar, and possessor of a library surpassed by few in its time, and which has been kept together till the present time, began to preach to the people in the summer of 1742. His ordination sermon was preached by the famous Jonathan Edwards, and he remained a steadfast friend and coadjutor of that persecuted servant of God throughout his subsequent troubles in the neighboring Northampton. It is worth noting, that the public school of Pelham was kept in the new meeting-house for about ten years, when it was "voted to build three school-houses, one at the Meeting-house, one at the West End of the town, and one on the East Hill."
Now, notwithstanding these repeated drafts on the home colony and church at Worcester, to Colerain and Pelham and elsewhere, those who remained there were still determined to build a meeting-house of their own. They had been weakened, but not disheartened. They naturally chose a site near to the "Old Fort," which had been to them more or less a worshiping-place, on the "Boston road," not far from the center of their scattered homesteads. I have often been in the neighborhood of this place, and am confident I can point out the spot within a very few rods. In their extreme poverty they raised the needful moneys, the timber was brought to the site, framed and raised, and the building in the earlier progress of construction, when the other inhabitants of Worcester, many of them persons of consideration and respectability and professed piety, gathered tumultuously in the night-time, leveled the structure with the ground, sawed the timbers, and burnt or carried off the pieces and other materials. This was in 1740. The defenseless, but indignant strangers were compelled to submit to this infamous wrong. The English Puritans and their irresponsible hangers-on chose indeed the night-time for their mob-violence aud devilish meanness, but no blackness of darkness can ever cover up a deed like this; no sophistries, no neighborhood mis-affinities, no town votes, no race jealousies, no wretched shibboleth of any name, can ever wipe out that stain. The blood of English Puritans and of Scotch Presbyterians mingles in my veins; my greatgrandfather Perry, my grandfather of the same name, my uncle, too, in the same line, officiated as deacons for ninety-four successive years in the old South Church on the Common, which originated and perpetrated this outrage on humanity; nevertheless I give my feeble word of utter condemnation for this shameless act of bigotry, the details of which I learned as a little boy at my mother's knee.
The motives to a still further exodus from Worcester on the part of the Scotch were of course still further intensified by this scandalous destruction of their property in 1740, and it is significant, that the third and fourth purely Scotch-Irish towns in Massachusetts, namely, Western (now Warren), in Worcester County, and Blandford, in Hampden County, were both incorporated the next year, 1741. These two towns, even more than the two earlier ones, Pelham and Colerain, have continued and still remain in the hands of the descendants of the Worcester families. In Blandford the families of Blair, Boise, Knox, Carnahan, Watson, Wilson, and Ferguson, were prominent; and in Western some of the same names, especially the Blairs, with Reeds and Crawfords, and many more. Notwithstanding these successive migrations from Worcester, a very considerable number of families remained there, among them, the McClellans, the Caldwells, the Blairs, the McFarlands, the Rankins, the Grays, the Crawfords, the Youngs, the Hamiltons, the Duncans, the Grahams, the Forbushes, the Kelsos, the Clarks, the Fergusons, the McClintocks, the McKonkeys, the Glasfords, and the McGregors. The later movement of individual families from Worcester and Pelham and Coleraine and Western and Blandford carried Scotch-Irish blood into every town of Western Massachusetts, and ultimately into most of the towns of Vermont, while the reflex movement from and into Massachusetts to and from the contemporary settlements in New Hampshire and Maine, soon to be characterized, served to keep in touch and sympathy, in mutual acquaintance and interchange of ministers, and more or less of intermarriage, all these local centers of our race in New England.
The two most distinguished men who have come out from this Worcester branch of the great migration of 1718, have been Dr. Matthew Thornton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Professor Asa Gray, at the time of his death the most accomplished botanist in the world.
Matthew Thornton (or Thornington, as the name was then spelled) was a lad of four years when the five ships zigzagged into Boston harbor. His father, James Thornton, instead of going to Worcester directly that autumn, was one of a company--Willis estimates them at about three hundred--who wintered on shipboard in Portland harbor. In the spring, with few others, he settled at Wiscasset, in the Kennebec country. After a very few years there, we find both father and son in Worcester, where the boy received whatever primary education he had, and after studying medicine, which was rudely taught in those days, commenced practice in Londonderry, among those who were from his native land, and who proverbially possess warm national remembrances. Here he acquired a wide reputation as a physician, and in the course of several years of successful practice became comparatively rich for those times. He also sustained several public offices, taking, as Scotch-Irishmen are wont to do, an active and influential part in the public affairs of his locality.
He became surgeon to a regiment of New Hampshire men in the famous expedition against Cape Breton under Pepperell in 1745; and it is related of his regiment of five hundred men that only six died previously to the surrender of Louisburg, although a company from Londonderry commanded by Capt. John Mooar, were employed for fourteen successive nights, with straps over their shoulders, and sinking to their knees in mud, in drawing cannon from the landing-place to the camp, through a morass. Scotch-Irishmen always hated the French next to the Devil!
At the breaking out of the Revolution, Thornton held the post of colonel in the New Hampshire militia, and had also been commissioned a justice of the peace by Benning Wentworth, acting under British authority; but after Lexington and Concord, on the 19th of April, 1775, John Wentworth, then governor, retired from the government of New Hampshire and went to England. Under these circumstances the colony called a "Provincial Convention," of which Thornton was appointed president. There was no state constitution as yet and no declaration of independence, but there was no other constituted government in the province besides this provincial convention, and I am fond of thinking, and believe it to be historically correct to affirm, that this extemporized but indispensable New Hampshire convention, presided over by a Scotch-Irishman, Ulsterborn, was the first independent sovereignty upon this continent! It certainly assumed the functions of an independent government in the name of the people of the colony.
Thereafter the public career of Matthew Thornton, both in state and nation, is well known to the world, and a station on the railroad, from Boston to Concord, commemorates in its name, "Thornton's Ferry," a fine estate on the banks of the Merrimac, confiscated by New Hampshire from its Tory owner, which became by purchase the home and burial place of the first of our kith and kin to gain a national reputation here in the line of statesmanship.
An anecdote of Judge Thornton has been preserved, which may serve to illustrate the keen and ready wit possessed by him in common with most of the Scotch Irish race. In his old age, 1798, he happened to attend a session of the New Hampshire legislature, which met in a town adjoining his own. He was eighty-four years old. He had served many years before in all three branches of the legislature. Meeting at this time an old Londonderry neighbor, who was now a member of the House, the latter asked the judge if he did not think the legislature had improved very much since the old days when he held a seat? if it did not have more men of natural and acquired abilities, and more eloquent speakers than formerly, "for then," said he, "you know that there were but five or six who could make speeches, but now all we farmers can make speeches." "To answer that question, I will tell you a story I remember to have heard related of an old gentleman, a farmer, who lived but a short distance from my father's residence in Ireland. This old gentleman was very exemplary in his observance of religious duties, and made it a constant practice to read a portion of Scripture morning and evening before addressing the throne of Grace. It happened one morning that he was reading the chapter which gives an account of Samson catching three hundred foxes, when the old lady, his wife, interrupted him by saying, 'John, I'm sure that canna' be true; for our Isaac was as good a fox-hunter as there ever was in the country, and he never caught but about twenty.' 'Hooh! Janet,' replied the old gentleman, 'ye mauna' always tak' the Scripture just as it reads; perhaps in the three hundred there might ha' been aughteen, or may be twanty, that were real foxes; the rest, were all skunks and woodchucks.'"
Professor Asa Gray, the cosmopolitan botanist, was born in Paris, N. Y., in 1810, and died in his seventy-eighth year, in Cambridge, the seat of his labors and the center of his fame. He was a great-great-grandson of the first Matthew Gray of Worcester, to whom I also stand in the same genealogical relation. Some ten years ago I spent, by invitation, an evening at his house, in order to unfold to him a little the story of our common ancestors in Worcester. He was very courteous, and apparently attentive; but I soon discovered that the drift and training of his mind had led him to care vastly more about the genealogy and physiology of plants the world over than about the genealogy and mode of life of that Scotch-Irish ancestry from whom, nevertheless, he derived directly all the peculiar traits of his own mental activity. He was canny, absorbed, analytic, comprehensive, religiously consecrated.
In 1885, on attaining his seventy-fifth year, he was the recipient of a large and beautiful silver vase, the gift of the botanists of the United States to their honored master, and a flood of congratulations from friends at home and abroad. The following terse and appropriate lines were sent by James Russell Lowell:
"Kind Fate, prolong the days well spent,
Whose indefatigable hours
Have been as gaily innocent
And fragrant as his flowers."
Comparatively early in life he became a member of most of the learned societies of the world, and at length even the most exclusive gladly opened their doors to him. The Royal Society of London was one of these, and he was also one of the "immortal eight" foreign members of the French Institute. During his last visit to Europe, in the last summer of his life, he was received with distinguished honors every-where, among which were the highest degrees ever conferred by the great universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.
He himself tersely and modestly stated his own fundamental beliefs as follows: "I am, scientifically and in my own fashion, a Darwinian; philosophically, a convinced Theist; and religiously, an acceptor of the creed commonly called the Nicene, as the exponent of the Christian faith."
2. LONDONDERRY. The core of the company that settled Londonderry, N. H., in April, 1710, consisted of sixteen men, with their families, namely: James McKeen, John Barnett, Archibald Clendenin, John Mitchell, James Sterrett, James Anderson, Randall Alexander, James Gregg, James Clark, James Nesmith, Allen Anderson. Robert Weir, John Morrison, Samuel Allison, Thomas Steele, John Stuart. Thirteen of these men lived to an average age of seventy-nine years; six of them attained to nearly ninety, and two of them overpassed that limit; and one, John Morrison, lived to see ninety-seven years. All of the Scotch-Irish of that generation, wherever they located in New England, unless their personal habits were such as shorten life, attained on the average to a very advanced age. The pioneers in this second settlement were most of them men in middle life, robust and persevering, and adventurous and strong-willed, fronting death with no thought of surrender. Most of them were the descendants of Scotch Covenanters who had passed over to Ulster later than the mass of the settlers there, and they had kept together in church relations, as well as in residence, more closely than most of the Scotch settlers. Their residence was in the valley of the Bann, mostly on the Antrim side of the river, in or near the towns or parishes of Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Ballywatick, and Kilrea; and when they decided to emigrate, they still wished to keep together in church relations, and those of them who had been under the pastoral charge of Rev. James McGregor, who came with them, especially the McKeen families and their numerous connections, desired to form a distinct settlement here and become again the charge of their beloved pastor.
With this end in view, about twenty families, taking others with them, amounting in all (as Willis estimated) to three hundred persons, sailed from Boston in the late autumn to explore Casco Bay for a home, under a promise from Governor Shute of a grant of land whenever and wherever they decided upon a location in any still unappropriated quarter in New England. They wintered, hungry and cold, in Portland Harbor. In the early spring they explored to the eastward, but there is no record how far they went or what they found. It is enough for our present purpose that Maine seemed to offer no genial home to those sea-worn and weather-beaten voyagers. Though they left a few of their number in Portland, to whom we shall recur later, and probably a larger number on the Kennebec at or near Wiscasset, the bulk determined to seek a milder climate and a more favorable location. Undoubtedly while still in Boston their attention had been called to Southern New Hampshire as well as to Maine, both at that time under the jurisdiction of the governor of Massachusetts, for they sailed directly back to the mouth of the Merrimac and anchored at Haverhill, on that river, where they heard of a fine tract of land about fifteen miles to the northward, then called Nutfield, on account of the abundance of the chestnut and walnut and butternut trees which, in connection with the pines, distinguished the growth of its forests. A party, under the lead of James McKeen, grandfather of the first president of Bowdoin College, and brother-in-law of Pastor McGregor, went up and examined the tract; and ascertaining that it was not appropriated, they decided at once to take up here the grant obtained from the government of Massachusetts of a township twelve miles square of any of her unappropriated lands.
Having selected the spot on which to commence their settlement, and having built a few temporary huts on a little brook which they called "West-Running Brook," a tributary of Beaver Brook, which falls into the Merrimac at Lowell, and leaving two or three of their number in charge, they returned to Haverhill to bring on their families, their provisions, their implements of labor, and household utensils. Mr. McGregor and some others had passed the winter at Dracut, on Beaver Brook, just north of Lowell; and two parties, one from Dracut and the other from Haverhill, were soon converging through the forests toward West-Running Brook, when they met, as tradition says, at a place ever after called "Horse Hill," from the fact that both parties there tied their horses while the men surveyed the territory around as the future home. This day was April 11, old style, 1719. The next day, having in the meantime explored with the leaders more fully what they had selected for the township, the good pastor, under a large oak on the east side of Beaver Pond, delivered to his people, now partially re-united, the first sermon ever preached in that region--Isaiah, 32, 2: "And a man shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." The spot where this religious service was held, especially the tree around which these hardy pioneers assembled, was for a long period regarded with great reverence by the people of Londonderry. When at last it decayed and fell, the owner of the field in which it stood planted a young apple tree among its rotten roots, which now serves, and will long serve, to designate the venerated spot.
These first families, in order to secure the advantages of near neighborhood, and be better able to protect themselves against the attacks of the Indians, with which all the New England colonies were at that time threatened, planted their log-houses on each side of West-Running Brook, on home-lots but thirty rods wide and extending back on a north and south line till they inclosed sixty acres each. These lots constituted what has ever since been called the Double Range. For fifty years or more this range continued to be a populous section of the town. The first season the settlers cultivated a field alongside the brook, then and ever since called the "Common Field;" but the best land in the township was not in that section, for it lay too low, and as each settler had allotted to him another sixty acres elsewhere, after a while the lowland began to be deserted of houses, and nothing is now to be seen along the Double Range but meadows, dotted here and there by the cellar-holes of these earliest planters. No price was paid for the land, since it was the free gift of King William to his loyal subjects of the old country, some of them faithful champions of his throne in the siege and defense of Londonderry.
The first dwellings were, of course, of logs, and covered with bark. It is to be noticed, however, that in these exiles for rightousness's sake, sound and pious as they were, there was as much human nature to the square inch as in the rest of mankind. When John Morrison was building his house in the Double Range his wife came to him, and in a persuasive, affectionate manner said to him, "Aweel, aweel, dear Joan, an' it maun be a log-house, do make it a log heegher nor the lave,'' (than the rest). Beaver Brook, however, tumbles well in its course from the pond to the Merrimac, and saw-mills were soon built, and within a year or two good framed houses were erected; the first for Pastor McGregor, only quite recently demolished, and the second by John McMurphy, Esq., who bore a commission as justice of the peace, dated in Ireland, and so antedated the commission signed by Governor Shute, April 29, 1720, to Justice James McKeen, in some sense the foremost man of the settlement.
Two stone garrison-houses, strongly built and well prepared to resist an attack of the Indians, were put up the first season, and to these the several families retired at night whenever, for any reason, special danger from that source was apprehended. But it is remarkable, that neither in Lovell's War, when Londonderry was strictly a frontier town, nor in either of the two subsequent French and Indian wars, did any hostile force from the northward ever even approach that town. Tradition has always been busy in ascribing the signal preservation of this colony from the attacks of the Indians to the influence of Pastor McGregor over Governor Vaudreuil, of Canada. It is said that they had known each other in the Old World at college; that a correspendence was kept up between them on this side the water; that at the request of his friend the governor caused means to be used for the protection of the settlement; that he induced the Catholic priests to charge the Indians not to injure any of these people, as they were different from the English, and that the warriors were assured beforehand that no bounty would be paid for such scalps, and no sins forgiven to those who killed them. It is certain that the early inhabitants of Londonderry believed in all these assertions; and it is some confirmation of them that a manuscript sermon of McGregor's, still extant, has on the margin the name and various titles of the Marquis Vaudreuil, by which, of course, he would be addressed upon occasion.
At any rate, the earliest pioneers were much indebted to the volunteer services of an Indian of some tribe and connection. Taking Mr. McGregor to a high hill, he pointed to a tall pine some nine miles distant, and told him that in that direction and neighborhood there were falls in the river, where he would find an abundance of fish. By the help of his compass the pastor, with a few of the settlers, was able to mark out a course to Amoskeag Falls, where the city of Manchester now stands, and with a scoop-net, which they had provided, readily secured an ample supply of salmon and shad, with which the Merrimac then abounded. This was for a long time a valuable resource to the inhabitants of Londonderry. The salted fish constituted an important article of their food, especially before their new fields became productive. But their food at best was scant and poor for many years. Bean porridge, barley broth, hasty pudding, samp and potatoes, were the chief reliance.
In securing a perfectly valid title to their lands, and the democratic privileges of a town corporate, the people of Londonderry experienced no little embarrassment. The executive jurisdiction of Governor Shute over the territory was acknowledged by every body, and the validity of his grant to them of the land in the king's name; but could they also get a prior title direct from the original Indian chiefs claiming to own the land? Rev. John Wheelright, of Exeter, had obtained by fair purchase, in 1629, from the four principal Sagamores, all the territory lying between the river Piscataqua and the Merrimac. Colonel John Wheelright, of Wells, Me., had inherited from his grandfather that portion of this right, now occupied by the Scotch-Irish; and he gave to a committee of these, partly at the instance of Lieut.-Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire, a formal deed of the land ten miles square, corresponding to the grant of Governor Shute; and in consideration of this service both Wheelright and Wentworth received certain lots of land in Londonderry, which proved in the sequel to be some of the best farms in the town.
Before this was accomplished, however, appeared the first state paper of the Scotch-Irish in America, the original of which is now among the collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, which I proceed to quote in full, because it shows there were men among them--probably in this case James Gregg and Robert Wear, who signed it--who knew how to put sharp points into clean words, and especially because it shows that they thoroughly appreciated already the town-government system of New England, and wanted all its advantages for themselves:
"The humble petition of the people late from Ireland, now settled at Nutfield, to His Excellency the Governour and General Court assembled at Portsmouth, Sept. 23, 1719,--Humbly sheweth: That your petitioners having made application to the General Court met at Boston in October last, and having obtained a grant for a township in any part of their unappropriated lands, took encouragement thereupon to settle at Nutfield about the Eleventh of April last, which is situated by estimation about fourteen miles from Haverel meetinghouse to the North-west, and about fifteen miles from Dracut meetinghouse on the River Merrimack north and by east. That your petitioners since their settlement have found that the said Nutfield is claimed by three or four different parties by virtue of Indian deeds, yet none of them offered any disturbance to your petitioners except one party from Newbury and Salem. Their deed from one John, Indian, bears date March 13, Anno Dom. 1701, and imparts that they had made a purchase of said land for five pounds. By virtue of this deed they claim ten miles square westward from Heverel line; and one Caleb Moody of Newbury, in their name, discharged our people from clearing or any way improving the said land, unless we agreed that 20 or 25 families at most should dwell there, and that all the rest of the land should be reserved for them. That your petitioners by reading the grant of the Crown of Great Britain to the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which determineth their northern line three miles from the River Merrimack from any and every part of the River, and by advice from such as were more capable to judge of this affair are satisfied that the said Nutfield is within his majesties province of New Hampshire, which we are further confirmed in, because the General Court met at Boston in May last upon our renewed application, did not think fit any way to intermeddle with the said land. That your petitioners, therefore, embrace this opportunity of addressing this Honorable Court, praying that their township may consist of ten miles square, or in a figure equivalent to it, they being in number about seventy families and inhabitants, and more of their friends arrived from Ireland to settle with them, and many of the people of New England settling with them; and that they being so numerous, may be erected into a township with its usual privileges, and have a power ot making town officers and laws. That, being a frontier place, they may the better subsist by government amongst them, and may be more strong and full of inhabitants. That your petitioners being descended from, and professing the faith and principles of, the established Church of North Britain, and loyal subjects of the British Crown in the family of his majesty King George, and encouraged by the happy administration of his majesties chief governour in these provinces [Gov. Shute], and the favorable inclination of the good people of New England to their brethren, adventuring to come over and plant in this vast wilderness, humbly expect a favorable answer from this Honourable Court, and your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray, etc. Subscribed at Nutfield in the name of our people, Sept. 21, 1719."
Under the auspices, perhaps it would be proper to say patronage, of Lieutenant-Governor Wentworth, Nutfield was incorporated as a town in June, 1722, containing ten square miles indeed, but not equilateral, "duly bounded," panhandled, gerrymandered, so as to reach up to their fishing station on the Merrimac at Amoskeag Falls--this portion afterward called Derryfield, and now Manchester. The following entry upon the town record must not only be viewed as a genuine token of gratitude for past favors received, but also in part as expressing a sense of pre-thankfulness for "the substance of things hoped for:" "The people of Nutfield do acknowledge with gratitude the obligation they are under to the Hon. John Wentworth, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of New Hampshire. They remember with pleasure that His Honor, on all occasions, showed a great deal of civility and real kindness to them, being strangers in the country, and cherished the small beginnings of their settlement and defended them from the encroachment and violence of such as upon unjust grounds, would have disturbed their settlement, and always gave them a favorable ear and easy access to government, and procured justice for them, and established order, and promoted peace and good government amongst them; giving them always the most wholesome and seasonable advice, both with respect to the purity and liberty of the gospel, and the management of their secular concerns, and put arms and ammunition into their hands to defend them from the fears and dangers of the Indians; and contributed liberally, by his influence and example, to the building of a house for the worship of God; so that, under God, we own him for the patron and guardian of our settlement, and erect this monument of gratitude to the name and family of Wentworth, to be had in the greatest veneration by the present generation and the latest posterity."
In the meantime and afterward, the people of the town now christened Londonderry at its incorporation, though the ancestors of most of them came from the parallel valley dividing County Antrim from County Londonderry--the seige and defense of the Ulster town in which some of them had taken a personal part giving that name the preference--were surveying their heritage, building their first meeting-house, and laying out upon the higher grounds, new ranges for farms. Among the first of these was the English Range, so-called, to accommodate a few heads of families from Massachusetts who had cast in their lot with, and were welcomed by, the Scotch-Irish. Number One on the English Range was assigned to Joseph Simonds, who was one of the first twenty heads of families, who was one of the four undertakers to build in 1719 the first saw-mill on Beaver Brook, and who (which is much less worth the mention) was one of the great-great-great grandfathers of my children. A few weeks ago I had myself driven leisurely in a buggy over all parts of ancient Londonderry; I crossed the original farm of Joseph Simonds, No. 1 in the English Range, and was told by Mr. Choate, proprietor of the same or adjoining estate, that "the best lands in Londonderry were on the English Range;" I rode also over the crest of Aiken's Range, and along the brook bearing the same name, and farther west toward the so-called High Range, past the second-built church, and then bearing east past the site of Dr. Morrison's church, and near the place of the Hill church and graveyard, and, crossing the railroad again, with Beaver Pond on the left, climbed the hill past the original meetinghouse, which John Wentworth helped to build, and the original graveyard there--God's own sown field--and on the road towards Parson McGregor's first framed house touched the highest land in old Londonderry; whence returning to Derry village, we crossed the old "West Running Brook," and passed also by the "Common Field," and on Beaver Brook again, the place of the first saw-mill, which Joseph Simonds helped to build, and where logs have been rolled in and boards tossed out from that day to this.
It was not all harmony in state or church in ancient Londonderry. The town thrived and the congregation became very large. "Many men of many minds." The Scotch-Irish were a straight-thinking and a plain-speaking people. Parson McGregor died in 1729. Though but a youth at the time, he took part in the defense of the Ulster Derry, and always claimed to have himself discharged the large guns from the tower of the cathedral which announced to the starving besieged below the approach of the ships up the Foyle that brought them the final relief. Soon after the death of McGregor, Rev. Matthew Clark, then seventy years old, came direct from Ireland to Londonderry, and was asked to supply the desk and take pastoral care, but not to become formal pastor. There is extant an original portrait of this man, representing him with a black patch around the outer angle of the right eye, the patch covering a wound that refused to heal, received in one of the sallies of the besieged at Londonderry. He had been an officer in the Protestant army during the civil commotions in King William's time, and had been particularly active in the defense of Derry. It is related of him that, while sitting as moderator of the presbytery, the martial music of a training band passing by recalled the smoldering fires of his youth, and made him incapable for a little time to attend to his duties, and his reply to the repeated calls of the brethren was, "Nae business while I hear the toot o' the drum!" and when he died at the age of seventy-six, in January, 1735, in compliance with his special request on his death-bed, his remains were borne to the grave by those only who had been his fellow-soldiers and fellow-sufferers in the siege of Londonderry! This is at once the most picturesque and the most pathetic scene in the story of the Scotch-Irish in New England. Forty-five years after the event, this modern Israel, this "Warrior of God," in two senses, borne along between the mingled pines and nut-trees of a new God's acre in the wilderness, by those only who, with him, had stood to the outermost verge of their lives for the faith once delivered to the saints!
Two years after the death of Matthew Clark, David McGregor, son of the first minister, who had received his literary and theological education chiefly under the tuition of Clark, himself an university-bred man, took pastoral charge of the new West Parish in Londonderry. Two meeting-houses had already been built in this parish--one on Aiken's Range, and the other, called the Hill Meeting-house, nearly a mile west. Here were the seeds of a deep-seated and long-continued quarrel. Moreover, there was great dissatisfaction with Mr. Davidson, the third pastor in the old parish. The population was increasing, and was already beginning to diffuse itself into new settlements in the neighborhood. At a sacramental season in 1734, only fifteen years from the first settlement, there were present, according to the church records, seven hundred communicants. The everlasting place-of-the-meeting-house question, which has wrought more plague and alienation in New England than all theological dogmas put together, was stirring up the ministers and the sessions and the people into a hotch-potch; and this, as at Worcester, with other matters of disagreement, intensified the spirit of separation, and multiplied in course of time new colonies going forth to post themselves elsewhere. During the quarter-century preceding the Revolution, ten distinct settlements were made by emigrants from Londonderry, all of which became towns of influence and importance in New Hampshire. Two strong townships in Vermont, and two in Nova Scotia, were settled from the same source within the same time; besides which, numerous families, sometimes singly and sometimes in groups, went off in all directions, especially northward and westward, up the Connecticut river and over the ridge of the Green Mountains, to carry every-where the sturdy qualities, the fixed opinions, and the lasting grudges characteristic of Scotch-Irishmen.
Neither the crown nor the colonies ever appealed in vain to these brave people, now widely scattered, for help in the old French wars. Not a route to Ticonderoga or Crown Point but was tramped again and again by the firm-set feet of these New England Protestants. They were with Colonel Williams in the "bloody morning scout" at the head of Lake George in 1755, and in the battle with Dieskau that followed; they were with Stark and Lord Howe under Abercrombie in the terrible defeat at Ticonderoga in 1758; many of them toiled under General Amherst at his great stone fort at Crown Point in 1759, whose broken ruins even astound us to-day; and others still were with General Wolfe on the Heights of Abraham the same year, where and when was fought the most vital and decisive battle ever seen upon this continent. Major Robert Rogers, the famous commander of the three companies of rangers raised by New Hampshire in 1756, was himself a native of Londonderry, and most of his men were enlisted in the same locality.
When it came to the Revolution, however, Rogers's loyalty to the English king, for whom he had risked his life in numberless scouts and fights, overrode his sense of the grievance of the colonies, and he was proscribed as a Tory by the act of New Hampshire. Not so John Stark. Stark was captain of one of Rogers's companies of rangers, and at one time commanded the whole corps, with the rank of major. Rogers went to England in 1777, and Stark, the same year, went to Bennington! In August next will be consecrated there, with fitting ceremonial, to national and local liberty, a limestone shaft 301 feet high, whose foundations are cut into the solid and everlasting rock--a shaft paid for from out the treasuries of the three states which furnished Stark his men for that fight; from out the treasury of the United States, under whose colors, a little later, he fought Burgoyne in person at Saratoga, and from out the scattered contributions of patriotic men and women all over the land; a shaft which will stand a silent witness for many things and many men--for the Berkshire militia, for the Green Mountain Boys and the Catamount tavern, but most of all for John Stark, the most distinguished Scotch-Irishman of New England, a native of Londonderry, and for the seventy Derry volunteers who went with him to Bennington, and whose names are of record, and for Robert McGregor, a grandson of the old pastor, who was on Stark's staff in 1777!
Colonel George Reid, another native of Londonderry, pure blood, held a command in the New Hampshire forces during the entire war of the Revolution; was in the battles of Bunker Hill, Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, Saratoga, and Stillwater; was with the army in all their hardships at Valley Forge during the severe winter of '77--'78. He took an efficient part in Sullivan's expedition against the Six Nations, and was in chief command at Albany during the last summer of the war. Afterward he was appointed by his old commander and companion-in-arms, General Sullivan, then president of the State of New Hampshire, to command, as brigadier-general, all the forces of the state in a most critical juncture of the civil and military affairs of that section.
It is not so generally known that James Miller, who brought out more reputation from our last war with Great Britain at the northward than any other American save Winfield Scott, was a Scotch-Irishman out of the loins of Londonderry. He was born in Peterborough, N. H., in 1776; studied for a while in his youth at Williams College, in Massachusetts; became interested more or less in military affairs, and was recommended to the War Department at Washington by General Benjamin Pierce, father of the late president, and was commissioned Major in the Fourth U. S. Infantry March 3, 1809, the last day of Jefferson's Administration. The war with England soon breaking out, young Miller was ordered to Indiana Territory under General Harrison, and his regiment was in the battle of Tippecanoe. Under General Hull at Detroit, James Miller and Lewis Cass, both young officers in the army, and the two becoming thereafter life-long friends, planted with their hands the United States flag on Canada soil, at Sandwich, July 14, 1812. Both were afterward taken prisoners with Hull, though Cass snapped his sword before surrendering it; and both made public complaint of what they deemed the cowardice of Hull, on the basis of which and other like testimony he was tried by court-martial and condemned, but was pardoned by the president, and lived to vindicate his action in a pamphlet now generally regarded as exculpatory and triumphant.
After Miller was exchanged he was put into command of the Twenty-seventh Regulars, and ordered to the Niagara frontier under General Jacob Brown. The story of the battle of Lundy's Lane is known to all Americans; but I have recently had the pleasure of reading a letter written by Colonel Miller three or four days after the battle to his wife--"My Beloved Ruth"--in which he gives interesting details of the storming of the battery and the capture of the cannon, which are not down in the books. Brown's order to him, as he transcribes it for his wife, is a little different from what it stands in the histories--"Colonel, take your regiment, storm that work, and take it!" "I'll try, sir!"
With three hundred men he moved steadily up the hill in the darkness, along a fence lined with thick bushes, that hid his troops from the view of the gunners and their protectors, who lay near. When within short musket range of the battery, they could see the gunners, with their glowing linstocks, ready to act at the word Fire! Selecting good marksmen, Miller directed each to rest his rifle on the fence, select a gunner, and fire at a given signal. Very soon every gunner fell, when the colonel and his men rushed forward and captured the battery--not, however, until a terrible hand-to-hand fight in the darkness with the protectors of the guns had ensued. The British fell back. Rallying, and being re-inforced by three hundred men sent forward by Drummond from Queenstown, they were repulsed the second time. Let Miller tell the rest of the story in words to his wife:
"After Generals Brown, Scott, and others were wounded, we were ordered to return back to our camp, about three miles [Chippewa], and preparations had not been made for taking off the cannon, as it was impossible for me to defend them and make preparations for that too, and they were all left on the ground, except one beautiful six-pounder, which was presented to my regiment in testimony of their distinguished gallantry. The officers of this army all say, who saw it, that it was one of the most desperate and gallant acts ever known; the British officers whom we have prisoners say it was the most desperate thing they ever saw or heard of. General Brown told me the moment he saw me that I had immortalized myself. 'But,' said he, 'my dear fellow, my heart ached for you when I gave you that order, but I knew it was the only thing that would save us.'"
Miller had indeed immortalized himself already; and five years later, in the piping times of peace, he resigned his commission in the army, an act he regretted as long as he lived, and received the appointment of Governor of Arkansas, a place he held for four years. He returned to New Hampshire, an invalid, in 1823, and received the appointment of national collector at Salem and Beverly in Massachusetts, a post he held for twenty-four years, when he resigned, and was succeeded by his youngest son, who held it eight years longer. He was doubly immortalized in this last period of his life by having Nathaniel Hawthorne, a subordinate in the custom-house, "a chiel amang them takin' notes," and the notices of James Miller in the miscellaneous writings of Hawthorne honor the pen and heart of the one as much as the life and conduct of the other. Miller died 7th July, 1851, and lies buried in Salem. He was a Scotch-Irishman indeed, in whom was no guile.
Londonderry and the towns populated from it have furnished ornaments to society all over New England in every walk of life. Let me rather say, all over the country, particularly North and Middle and West. I will only mention two by name in this connection, Horace Greeley and Geo. W. Nesmith. Greeley was a man known and read of all men. His faults were as open as his virtues, and both rested back alike upon a true and rough manhood.
as Thor--a shower of fire
His smitten anvil flung;
God's curse, Earth's wrong, dumb Hunger's ire--
He gave them all a tongue!"
Geo. W. Nesmith died only a month ago, in his 90th year, and passed his life in the near neighborhood of Daniel Webster's birthplace in New Hampshire, both of them graduates of Dartmouth College, and the two remarkably intimate with each other till Webster's death in 1852, though Nesmith was by much the younger man. In the very crisis of the fate of his college, Webster defended and emancipated it in the Supreme Court of the United States; perhaps in part from that very reason, so strongly was the younger man drawn toward the traditions of the elder. Nesmith flung his old age till the very last into a supreme effort to sweeten and harmonize troubles that have come upon his college, not troubles of the same crucial type as struck in the first quarter of the century, but still troubles that impede its usefulness and lessen its prestige.
I have no list of the governors of New Hampshire from 1775, when all direct authority of the British crown was suppressed there, and even if I had I could not certainly tell what proportion of them have been of Scotch-Irish origin; but I have been pretty familiar with the names of New Hampshire governors for fifty years, and I venture in this great presence the historical conjecture, that nearly, if not quite, one-half of them from that day to this have been of our own strain of blood.
3. KENNEBEC COUNTRY. Full as New Hampshire became of the Scotch-Irish, especially in the southern and eastern halves of it, it is likely that this element became still more predominant in what is now the State of Maine. We have already noted the but half-suppressed anxiety of Governor Shute at Boston to get as many as possible of the five ship-loads into his province to the eastward, as a frontier-barrier against the French and Indians of Canada. Although many of the supposed three hundred persons who wintered in the harbor of Portland returned the next spring to the Merrimac to settle Londonderry, some of them remained in Maine. We know certainly, that John Armstrong, Robert Means, William Jameson, Joshua Gray, William Gyles, and a McDonald remained and founded families in Portland. James Armstrong, for example, an infant son of John, was born in Ireland in 1717, and the parents had a son Thomas, born in Portland in 1719. It is pretty certain also, that parts of that company were left on points along Casco Bay and the mouth of the Kennebec, at or near Wiscasset, before the main part returned to the Merrimac.
We happen to know with almost absolute certainty the fortunes of one of the families left behind in Portland, when the future Londonderry settlers returned to Massachusetts. This was the family of Joshua Gray. He had a Celtic-Irish wife, and a large family. The names of the sons of this family were Reuben, Andrew, James, John, Samuel and Joshua. In the spring of 1759, the year of Wolfe's battle on the Heights of Abraham, Governor Pownall, of Massachusetts, fitted out an expedition of 395 men in order to capture from the French the mouth of the Penobscot River. They left Portland May 4, and arrived at Wasaumkeag Point, May 17. Among the enlisted men were Andrew and Reuben Gray. In Governor Pownall's journal may be found the following: "May 26. Visited Pentaget with Captain Cargill and twenty men. Found the old abandoned French Fort, and some abandoned settlements. Went ashore into the Fort. Hoisted the King's Colours there and drank the King's health. Embarked in the sloop King George for Boston."
The place thus described is now known as Castine, from Baron Castine, whose name is a very familiar one along the eastern coast of Maine; and among the twenty men who accompanied Governor Pownall on that occasion was Reuben Gray. A strong fort was planned at Wasaumkeag Point, and the work of building it was carried forward so diligently, that it was completed July 5, 1759, the expense being £5,000. A garrison was kept there until 1775, when the fort was dismantled by Commodore Mowett in a British man-of-war, and later in the same year entirely destroyed by Colonel Cargill, of New Castle. The building of this fort marked the beginning of settlements by the English around the Penobscot Bay and river region, the first settlers being members of the military expedition, who, on being discharged, established themselves near the fort, where their homes could have its protection against the French and Indians. The two Gray brothers, Reuben and Andrew, being of a venturesome disposition, crossed the bay and located at what is now called Penobscot, and were the first settlers of English origin to build their homes on that historic peninsula. Several brothers of Reuben and Andrew followed them to the Penobscot, and at last also, their old father and mother. The distinction is claimed for Reuben's son, Reuben Gray 2d, of being the first male child of English parentage born east of the Penobscot River, the date of his birth being 1762. The old father, Joshua, died about the opening of the Revolution, but the Irish widow continued until after the close of the war. The first Reuben seems to have died about 1820; and the second certainly in 1858; and about ten years ago, as my two oldest boys, with other students of Williams College, were making sailing excursions along the coast of Maine, they ran across, at Brooksville, within the mouth of the Penobscot, Captain Abner Gray, son of the second Reuben, then nearly eighty-five, as straight as an arrow, helpful and hospitable, and that chance acquaintance led to the correspondence that has given us these facts about the Scotch-Irish on the Penobscot. The Grays of this very family are still in large numbers in Brooksville and Bucksport, on the lower Penobscot, and so are Wears, and Orrs, and Doaks, and other Scotch-Irish families.
In published extracts from court records of the Province of Maine I have read the affidavits of several of the early inhabitants, who stated that they came to Boston in August, 1718, from Ulster, and thence that autumn to Maine, where they settled in Brunswick and that neighborhood; which is another independent evidence that parts of our now famous five ship-loads furnished the first Scotch-Irish settlers of Maine, as well as of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The next attempt to introduce this class of immigrants into Maine seems to have been from a source entirely independent of the previous one, though nearly contemporaneous with it. Robert Temple, who had been an officer in the English army, and was a gentleman of family, was the leader in the enterprise. His motive was to establish himself as a large landed proprietor in this country. He says in a letter to the Plymouth proprietors: "In September, 1717, I contracted with Captain James Luzmore, of Topsham, to bring me, my servants, and what little effects I had to Boston." "My eye," he continues, "was always toward a good tract of land as well as a convenient place for navigation." Returning from an examination of Connecticut, he says: "I was resolved to see the eastern country also before I should determine where to begin my settlement." The proprietors of the west banks of the Kennebec took him down to see their land, but he gave the ultimate preference to land on the east side of the river, which belonged to Colonel Hutchinson and the Plymouth Company, and he became a partner in that concern and engaged to bring a colony to it. Within two years he chartered five large ships to bring over families from Ulster to carry on the settlement. They were the same sort of people that came to Boston, and from the same general localities. During the two years, 1719 and 1720, several hundred families were landed on the shores of the Kennebec from its mouth to Merrymeeting Bay. Many of the families settled in what is now Topsham, which received its name from Temple's place of departure on his first voyage, the port of Exeter in Devonshire; another portion settled in the northerly part of Bath, on a tract of land stretching along on Merrymeeting Bay to the Androscoggin, and was called Cork, and sometimes Ireland, from the country of the settlers, which name it still retains; and still others straggled along on the eastern side of the bay and river, and descendants of these still occupy and improve portions of the country. The familiar Scotch names, McFadden, McGowen, McCoun, Vincent, Hamilton, Jolmston, Malcolm, McClellan, Crawford, Graves, Ward, Given, Dunning, Simpson, still live to remind the present generation of the land from which their ancestors came.
Unhappily, the Indian troubles, which we call "Lovell's War," commenced shortly after Temple's people got fairly seated on the Kennebec, broke up some of the settlements, which had begun to assume a flourishing aspect, and scattered away many colonists from the rest; some of these sought a refuge with their countrymen at Londonderry, N. H., but the greatest part of them removed to Pennsylvania; Brunswick and Georgetown were destroyed and deserted; in the summer of 1722, nine families were captured at one time by the Indians in Merrymeeting Bay; but Temple himself and many of his people remained, and the descendants of both have connected their names indissolubly with Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and with both state and church in Maine. Temple himself received a military commission from Governor Shute, and rendered good service in the defense of his adopted country. His posterity have served it long and well. His eldest son, Robert, married a daughter of Governor Shirley; the second son, John, lived to become a baronet, and married a daughter of Governor Bowdoin, of Massachusetts. Their daughter, Elizabeth, married Thomas D. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, and those are the parents of Robert C. Winthrop, of Boston.
After the breaking up of the Norridgewock tribe on the Upper Kennebec, some of Temple's Scotch settlers returned to the deserted places on the eastern shore, and new adventurers sought the vacant seats. In 1729, Colonel Dunbar, a native of Ireland, of Scottish descent, in the hope of separating Maine from the Massachusetts government, obtained a commission from the crown as governor of the territory. He had previously been commissioned as surveyor-general of the woods, with a view to preserve the pine timber for the British navy. He selected Fort Frederick, at Pemaquid, as the seat of his government, and was placed in possession by a detachment of troops from Nova Scotia in 1730. Rightful were the claims of Massachusetts to the eastern shore, but Dunbar took immediate measures to occupy and improve the lands in his new province by inviting his countrymen, the Scotch-Irish, to settle upon them through liberal inducements both of lands and privileges. He granted one-hundred-acre lots on Pemaquid in the neighborhood of the fort, laid out and improved a large farm for himself, and ceded to his countrymen, Montgomery and Campbell and McCobb, large tracts, which soon became towns. In the course of two or three years, more than one hundred and fifty families, principally of Scotch descent, were introduced into this territory. Some were drawn from the older settlements of the stock in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and some were fresh colonists from Ireland. These had their pastor, Rev. Robert Rutherford, and their Presbyterian institutions, which they cherished with great tenacity for a long time. Among these families were McClintocks, Hustons, McLeans, McKeens, Caldwells, Dicks, Forbushes, Browns, McIntyres, and McFarlands.
Massachusetts continued to protest against the government of Dunbar, excellent as were its results, and it was terminated in August, 1732, and jurisdiction restored to Massachusetts. Dunbar returned to England in 1737, where, like Penn, he was committed to prison for debt, but afterward released through the liberality of his friends, and in 1743 was appointed governor of St. Helena, an English island since rendered famous by the exile of a more distinguished ruler than this early Scotch-Irish governor of Maine.
Samuel Waldo, who had been a sort of agent of Massachusetts in displacing Dunbar, and who had an interest in the territory as a patentee, and who had seen the benefit arising from the admirable class of immigrants whom Dunbar had introduced, proceeded to profit by the example in respect to his own ample possessions lying between the St. George and the Penobscot rivers. In 1734, Waldo carefully examined the resources of his land grant, and fortunately discovered the invaluable quarries of limestone, which have proven from that day to this day a source of continued riches and progress to the inhabitants of that peninsula. The first movements in the manufacture of lime there, which are now so extended, and which seem at present to claim the attention of our legislators at Washington, were so small that the lime was shipped to Boston in molasses casks. The St. George river, on which the first settlements were made, is a plunging stream, and afforded then and now fine mill sites for handling both wood and stone, and the near forests gave an abundant supply of timber.
Waldo's first settlers upon his eastern grant were all of Scotch descent from the North of Ireland--some of them of recent immigration, and others had been in the country from the first arrival in Boston in 1718. This company consisted of twenty-seven families, arrived upon the spot in 1735, and each family furnished with one hundred acres of land on the banks of the St. George, in the present town of Warren, Maine. The names of some of these pioneers will show to those familiar with the history of Maine how much the state is indebted to this enterprising proprietor, Samuel Waldo, for placing in permanent contact with the soil these most useful settlers. Among the names are Alexander, Blair, Kilpatrick, North, Patterson, Nelson, Starrett, Howard, McLean, Spear, Creighton, McCracken, and Morrison. The Old French War broke out in 1744, which greatly interrupted developments in Maine for ten years, when Waldo went to Scotland again, and formed a company of sixty adults and many children, who reached St. George's river in September, 1753, and were settled in the western part of Warren, to which they gave the name of Stirling, the ancient royal city of their country. These were mostly mechanics; the names of some of them were Anderson, Malcolm, Crawford, Miller, Auchmutey, Carswell, and Johnston; and this we believe to be the last immigration into New England of people of Scottish extraction, in any considerable number, prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.
From these three centers of diffusion, now briefly indicated--Worcester, Londonderry, Wiscasset--the Scotch-Irish element penetrated and permeated all parts of New England: Maine the most of all, New Hampshire next, then Massachusetts, and then in lessening order Vermont and Connecticut and Rhode Island. They were all in general one sort of people. They belonged to one grade and sphere of life. They were for the most part very poor in this world's goods. The vast majority of all the adults, however, could read and write. If they had but one book to a family, that book was surely the Bible, which is itself, as we sometimes forget, a large collection of books of very varied character; and if there were two volumes to a family, the second place in most cases was disputed between Fox's "Book of Martyrs" and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." Their personal habits, their mental characteristics, their religious beliefs and experiences, and their very superstitions, were held largely in common; and all these were in more or less pronounced contrast with corresponding traits of the English Puritans who had nestled before them in most parts of New England.
So far as their physical natures went, they had received in the old country a splendid outfit for the race of life, in large bones and strong teeth, and a digestive apparatus the envy of the mountain bears. Men and women both were trained to an almost tireless physical industry. The struggle for physical subsistence had been with them no mere figure of speech. First of European countries, the potato had been found by Ireland, to which it had been brought from Virginia by slave-trader Hawkins in 1565, an invaluable resource of food for the poor; and each and every company of Scotch-Irish brought with them to New England, as a part of the indispensable outfit, some tubers of this esculent, which they prized beyond price. The pine lands of New England, which are always sandy, are adapted to the potato; and if there were no suffering from hunger in those large families during the first years of their sojourn, it should doubtless be put to the credit of the easily-cultivated, much-multiplying Irish potato!
Each and every company of these people brought also with them into New England the agricultural implements needful for the culture of the flax-plant, and the small wheels for spinning the flax-fiber, and the looms for weaving the linen textures. Nothing connected with the newcomers excited so much interest in English and Puritan Boston, in 1718, and the three following years, as the small wheels worked by women and propelled by the foot, for turning the straight flax-fibers into thread. There was a public exhibition of their skill in spinning flax, by the Scotch-Irish women, on Boston Common in the spring of 1719, at which prizes were awarded to the foremost. Drake's "Boston" gives an account of the sensation produced by the advent of this strange machine there, and of societies and schools formed to teach the art of thus making linen thread. For four years the novelty exercised its fascination, and the first ladies of the town paraded on the common to exhibit their newly-learned art, derived from their stalwart sisters from over the sea. It is not historically set down in the records in so many words, but at this safe distance, and (as it were) under the protection of the guns of Fort Duquesne, we may venture the assertion, that the Boston girls were hard to beat in their newly-found and most useful avocation!
When Londonderry was incorporated in the name of George III, June, 1722, the charter enacted "that on every Wednesday of the week forever they may hold, keep, and enjoy a market for the buying and selling of goods, wares and merchandise, and various kinds of creatures, endowed with the usual privileges, profits and immunities, as other market towns fully hold, possess and enjoy; and two Fairs annually forever, the first to be held and kept within the said town on the 8th day of November next, and so annually forever, and the other on the 8th day of May in like manner. Provided, if it should so happen, that at any time either of these days fall on the Lord's day, then the said Fair shall be held and kept the day following it. The said Fair shall have, hold and enjoy the liberties, privileges and immunities as other Fairs in other towns fully possess, hold and enjoy."
For more than one hundred years these semi-annual fairs were maintained without a break. Their original design was good, namely, to afford opportunity to people of neighboring towns to meet and exchange their commodities with each other for a mutual profit--and we will just note in passing that the Scotch-Irish of that day had not made the grand modern discovery that exchange of commodities is a crime to be prevented by the exercise of all the powers of the United States government. The assemblages at these fairs were usually large, merchants from Haverhill and Salem and Boston were present with their goods, and every variety of home growths and manufactures was collected for exchange. Every thing at first was conducted with a decent order and propriety, although the fair was always held in and around the only tavern of the town, and there was always much drinking over the bar and some intoxication. As time went on and as stores became multiplied in the towns, and as means of communication improved, the benefits of these fairs and the grounds for their maintenance diminished, and the obvious evils increased, until they proved a moral nuisance, attracting chiefly the more corrupt portion of the community, and exhibiting each year for successive days scenes of vice and folly in some of their worst forms. Serious attempts were made from time to time by the town to mitigate these evils, but with little success. In 1798 the following vote was passed at the annual town-meeting:
"From the misconduct and disorderly behavior of most of the people which frequent the fair, as now holden, the good intention and original design are altogether defeated, it is hereupon enacted, that it shall be confined to two days, one day each spring and fall--voted also, that no booth shall be used after 9 o'clock in the evening of said days, for selling merchandise or liquor, or furnishing any kind of entertainment, without forfeiting and paying a fine of one pound." And at last the final suppression of the fair was brought about in 1839, as the result of the temperance reformation in Londonderry, for when the bar was removed from the tavern and no intoxicating drinks were to be had in the place, the crowds assembled as usual, but at once withdrew.
The ministers were particularly skilled as between each other in humorous attack and retort. It was the one chief relief from the soberness and intensity of their lives. For example, two of these clergymen were walking along together on an icy road. Suddenly one of them slipped, and fell flat. Rev. Upright eyed his brother for a moment solemnly, and quoted: "The wicked stand in slippery places." Instantly retorted Rev. Prostrate, "I see they do, but I can't." William Stinson, born in Ireland, came to Londonderry with his father while still very young. Thence he migrated to Dunbarton, N. H., where he lived alone in his log-house, destitute of most of the con. vcniences of domestic life, and laid there and thus the foundations of a large fortune for the time. Rev. David McGregor, of Londonderry, called on him there (they had been boys together), and dined with him. Not having a table, or any thing that would answer for a better substitute, Brother Stinson was obliged to make use of a bushel basket placed bottom-side upward. Both were grateful beforehand for the frugal meal frugally served, and Rev. Mr. McGregor, being asked, of course, to solicit the Divine blessing, pertinently and devoutly implored that his host mignt be blessed "in his basket and his store." This was literally verified in the time to come!
Rev. Matthew Clark, who carried to his grave an unhealed wound from a sword-cut received in the siege of Derry, was accustomed, even to old age, and even in the pulpit, to quick and witty turns, which we must suppose were very effective. At any rate, they are very interesting to us, accustomed as we are, more or less, to dull preaching. The old cavalry captain with the black patch over his eye-brow was preaching one day on the over-confidence of Peter, that he would never deny his Lord, and his subsequent humiliating fall, and remarked: "Just like Peter, aye mair forrit than wise, ganging swaggering about wi' a sword at his side; an' a puir han' he mad' o' it when he cam' to the trial, for he only cut off a chiel's lug, an' he ought to ha' split down his head!"
This same old warrior of God is said also to have commenced a discourse from Philippians, 4:13, in the following startling manner: "'I can do all things.' Ay, can ye, Paul? I'll bet ye a dollar o' that (placing a Spanish milled dollar upon the desk). Stop! let's see what else Paul says: 'I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.' Ay, sae can I, Paul; I draw my bet," and he thereupon returned the dollar to his pocket!
This gift of enlivening humor, so common and so much cultivated among them, afforded a much needed relief to their isolated lives, and afforded a relief also to their usually downright and dogmatic expression of their opinions. They were open and above-board in all their opinions and in all their talk. They did not back-bite with their tongues. There was biting, a plenty of it, but it was in a forward movement, fronting the opponent, whoever he was. Subterraneanism was something these people abhorred. If any one had a ground of complaint against another, or, what was much the same thing, if he supposed he had, his method of procedure was not like that of besieging castles in the Middle Ages, by gradual approaches, but, on the contrary, was exceedingly direct and personal. The party of the second part was pretty sure to be the first one to hear of the grievance, and of the quick feelings excited by it. They seemed to like to fight their own battles directly, and rarely enlisted substitutes! They were a pugnacious people among themselves, these Scotch-Irish. Their views were mostly definite, and sharpened to a point. There was a wholesome breeziness among them, that is refreshing to look back upon. They were fond of regarding the Christian course under St. Paul's favorite figure of a warfare; whatever else they failed to do, they meant to fight a good fight, and to keep the faith once delivered to them--the present saints.
In conclusion, let me mention just a few living Scotch-Irish people out of the New England stock, with whom I chance to be acquainted directly or indirectly, whose acquaintance I highly prize, and who are each and all distinguished in their sphere: Hugh McCulloch, born and bred in Maine, known and honored of all men; Charles J. McCurdy, a nonagenarian jurist of Lyme, Conn.; Manton Marble, of New York; George W. Anderson, of Boston; Rev. Dr. George Mooar, of Oakland, Cal.; Miss Philena McKeen, Andover, Mass.; Mrs. Gov. Fairbanks, St. Johnsbury, Vt.; Robert C. Mack, Londonderry, N. H.; Senator Blair and Congressman Moore and Acting Governor Taggart, all of New Hampshire; Professor L. W. Spring, of Williams College; Major H. B. McClellan, of Kentucky, and Henry H. Anderson, of New York.
PARTIAL LIST OF AUTHORITIES.
1. Lincoln's History of Worcester.
2. Wall's Reminiscence of Worcester.
3. Worcester Records of Births and Deaths.
4. Registry of Deeds, Worcester.
5. Published Inscriptions on Gravestones in Worcester.
6. Parker's Londonderry, N. H.
7. State Papers of New Hampshire, particularly "Towns," vol. 14, and "Muster-Rolls," vol. 2.
8. Communications from Robert C. Mack, Londonderry, N. H.
9. Holland's History of Western Massachusetts, "Coleraine," "Blandford," "Pelham," and passim.
10. History of Peterboro', N. H.
11. McKeen's History of Bradford, Vt.
12. Thompson's Gazetteer of Vermont, "Londonderry," "Landgrove," etc.
13. Caleb Stark's Life of John Stark.
14. American Biography, sub verbis, "Matthew Thornton," "Asa Gray," "Charles J. McCurdy," etc., etc., etc.
15. Hugh McCulloch's "Memorials of Half a Century."
16. Green's "Short History of England," as revised by Mrs. Green.