Stoughton History as of 1884
D. Hamilton Hurd's, History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men.
(Philadelphia, Pa., J. W. Lewis & Co., 1884).
[The following chapter was contributed by the Hon. Halsey J. Boardman, of Boston, being an address delivered by him at Stoughton, July 4, 1876. It is an invaluable contribution, and fittingly forms the first chapter in the history of the town].
Amidst the pealing of bells, the roll of drums, the thunder of cannon, and the inspiring strains of martial music the one hundredth anniversary of American independence is ushered in, the most memorable day of the nineteenth century. A whole country from the rugged shores of Maine to the golden sands of California, multitudinous cities born since the event they to-day celebrate, prosperous towns created with astonishing celerity, small villages remote from the whirl and excitement of business, all join in celebrating the occasion. The anthem of liberty wakes echoes in the hut of the squatter in Western wilds not less than in the luxurious homes of crowded cities.
This universal commemoration is not solely because the Revolutionary fathers by their immortal declaration just one hundred years ago trampled the British yoke beneath their feet, not alone because the heroic struggle they carried on against fearful and almost hopeless odds was finally crowned with success, but for the reason that the Union has survived until all its founders have mingled their dust with the soil many of them had stained with their blood; because the country has grown and prospered year after year as no other country has ever grown and prospered ; because it has withstood and risen triumphantly from that supreme shock and trial of nations, a desperate civil war, in which the sons of those sires who, then united, hurled the British invader from our shores, now, arrayed against each other, fought the one side to destroy, the other to uphold the old flag with ancestral valor, for when Greek meets Greek then conies the tug of war.
Fifty years before the birth of the nation the Great and General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay enacted a law for the incorporation of the town of Stoughton. It is, therefore, felicitous that on the day we celebrate the centennial of the Republic you can also pause midway between the first and second centennial of your town to commemorate its history and dwell upon its associations. Taking its name from Governor William Stoughton, it included originally a much larger section than it at present comprises. The territory embraced at the time of incorporation, together with a part of Wrentham, had in the year 1637 been allotted to Dorchester, and was known as the " New Grant" from that time until Dec. 15, 1715.
From that date until December. 1726, it was called the Dorchester South Precinct, a part having been set off to Wrentham in the year 1724. The town of Stoughton was incorporated on the 22d day of December, 1726. At that time Samuel Adams, the pioneer of the Revolution, was four years old, and John Adams was not born till nine years later. It included the present towns of Canton, Sharon, and Stoughton, and nearly if not quite all of Foxborough and about one-quarter of Dedham. In those days the law of subtraction rather than annexation prevailed. The act of incorporation is entitled an " Act for dividing the towns of Dorchester and erecting a new town there by the name of Stoughton." The preamble sets forth that" The town of Dorchester within the county of Suffolk is of great exteut in length, and -lies commodious for two townships, and the South Precinct within the bounds of Dorchester is competently filled with inhabitants who have made their application to the said town and also addressed this Court that the said lands may be made a distinct and separate township." Then follows the act of incorporation, to which is attached a condition, making it incumbent upon the inhabitants to procure within the space of twelve months from the publication of the act a learned orthodox minister of good conversation, and make provision for his comfortable and honorable support, and likewise to provide a schoolmaster to instruct their youth in writing and reading. And it is further enacted that they shall pay such taxes as are assessed to Dorchester which properly belong to the new town. The Second Precinct, constituting what is now Sharon and Foxborough, was incorporated July 2, 1740, leaving what is now Canton and Stoughton, the Old Dorchester South Precinct, or First Parish.
The Third Precinct, or Parish, represents what is now Stoughton, and was incorporated Nov. 9, 1743. The chief reason set forth in the petition for an act of incorporation is the remoteness of a place of worship, it being nearly seven miles. The first town-meeting was held in Stoughton, Jan. 2, 1727, to choose town officers, and I notice that George Talbot was chosen one of the selectmen and assessors. On the 20th of June, 1765, the present towns of Sharon and Foxborough were incorporated under the name of Stoughtonharn. The town of Canton was incorporated by an act passed Feb. 23, 1797, which contained among other provisions that, whereas in consequence cf the division only one selectman will remain in said Stoughton, "Be it enacted that Jabez Talbot, the selectman remaining within said town be, and he is thereby invested with all the powers which a majority of said selectmen would have had so far as relates to certain purposes specified." I doubt not the trusts confided to Jabez Talbot were well administered, as a thorough knowledge of administration affairs has been conspicuous in this family.
A classified list of the persons taxed in the ancient town of Stoughton for the year 1776 shows that one hundred and forty-two lived in what is now called Stoughton. Samuel Capen, Samuel Paul, Robert Swan, and Nathaniel Wales are familiar names in the list.
In the year 1773 the dawning of the spirit of independence became manifest. The custom prevailed of having the wishes of the people expressed at the town-meetings recorded by the town clerks and transmitted to the General Court or Continental Congress. At a town-meeting March 1, 1773, a letter from the Boston Committee of Correspondence sent to the town was received and read, and the town sent in reply a lengthy communication, setting forth that in their judgment their rights as men, as Christians, and as British subjects have been greatly infringed upon and violated by arbitrary will and power, and they are apprehensive that in future time this may prove fatal to them and their posterity, and to all that is dear to them, reducing them not only to poverty but slavery. They remonstrate against it, and propose to unite in all constitutional methods to regain the rights that have been ravished from them. They further instruct their representative to exert himself for these ends, and that a petition be presented to the king for redress, at the same time expressing unswerving loyalty to him and invoking the Divine blessing upon him.
At a town-meeting on the 26th of September, 1774, choice was made of Thomas Crane for representative to the Great and General Court to be holden at Salem. He was instructed by vote to adhere firmly to the charter of the province as granted by their Majesties William and Mary, and to do no act acknowledging the validity of the act of the British Parliament for altering the government of Massachusetts Bay. They then state that, as they have reason to believe a conscientious discharge of his duty will pro-duce a dissolution of the House of Representatives they therefore instruct him to meet with other members in a General Provincial Congress, to act upon such matters as come before them in a manner most conducive to the true interests of the town and province, and most likely to preserve the liberties of all North America.
At a town-meeting, Jan. 9, 1775, the town made choice of Thomas Crane to represent them in a Provincial Congress to be held at Cambridge the 1st of the February following. At the same meeting the town voted not to lend their town moneys to Henry Gardner, of Stowe ; but at an adjourned meeting, Jan. 16th, same year, their patriotism increased to such a degree that they reconsidered their former vote and voted to lend all their province money to Henry Gardner, of Stowe, as is recommended by the Provincial Congress. Among other votes passed at this meeting was one to the effect that they approved of the resolves of the Continental Congress and their association ; another to appoint a committee of inspection of nineteen persons, and that this committee use their interest that the resolves and the association of the Continental Congress be closely adhered to. At town-meeting, May 25, 1775, the town voted that Messrs. Peter Talbot, Christopher Wadsworth, and Benjamin Gill be a committee of correspondence, to correspond with the several towns in this province, the six following months.
It is evident by the frequency of the meetings and the vigor of the proceedings during the years 1775-76 that they fully believed the " price of liberty was eternal vigilance." They even foreshadowed the Declaration of Independence and promised in advance their co-operation, for at a meeting on thę 22d of May, 1776, forty-two days before the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, they voted " that if the Honorable Continental Congress should for the safety of this Colony declare us independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, we, the said inhabitants, will solemnly engage with our lives and fortunes to support them in the measure;" and believing that faith should be accompanied by works, they voted on the 8th of July following to raise a sum of money to be levied upon polls and estates to give to each man, to the number of thirty-eight, that shall enlist in the service of the northern department against Quebec," the sum of six pounds, six shillings, eightpence, as an addition to their bounty," or what we called in the late war a town bounty. Col. Gill, Capt. Endicott, Samuel Tucker, Ezekiel Fisher, Capt. Billings, Aaron Wentworth, Esquire Crane, Dr. Holmes, John Hartwell, John Withington, Capt. Swan, William Shaller, Wm. Capen, and Lieut. Johnson each offered to pay the poll-tax for two men that would enter the service as aforesaid. July 22, 1776, it was voted to assess six pounds, six shillings, eightpence for each non-commissioned officer and soldier that shall enlist and march to join the army against Canada; but if they render service at or near Boston, then they are not to have said sum or any part thereof.
On the 30th of September, 1778, action was taken relating to the formation of a new Constitution of the State. A resolution was passed sturdily declining to empower the House of Representatives to enact a plan of government, alleging as reasons that they were totally unacquainted with the capacities and patriotism and character of the members that compose the said House and Council, excepting our own member; also because they were not elected for that purpose, and the present embarrassed state of public affairs calls for the steady attention of every member of said House. They resolved to choose one or more members to unite with representatives from other towns for the sole purpose of adopting a plan of government. They further resolved that it appeared to them absolutely necessary for the liberty and safety of this State that the plan of government, when formed and published, should not be established till the people of this State have time and opportunity to thoroughly examine the same, and shall consent that it be established by the said State Convention.
On the 18th of February, 1777, it was voted to give fourteen pounds to each soldier enlisting for three years or the war. Numerous meetings were held during this and the following year. On the 28th of May, 1778, most elaborate instructions were given to Thomas Crane, their representative, but as the cry among the ancient Romans was that Carthage must be destroyed, so the central purpose in all their instructions was a vigorous prosecution of the war. Esquire Crane was also directed to oppose the Constitution then offered, because it had no bill of rights for its foundation, and was therefore inconsistent with the happiness and safety of the public. The citations I have made give but a very imperfect idea of the spirit of patriotism and of self-sacrifice that is so conspicuous in your town records of the Revolutionary period. The intelligent comprehension of the principle of government, the jealous guardianship of liberty, their self-reliance, the stern determination to resist oppression on the one hand and to secure and enforce all proper restraints on the other, are remarkable. Steadfast purpose and unfaltering will breathe forth upon every page.
The history of nations shows that republics are a short-lived family. The republics of Greece and Rome, of Holland and France, of South America and Mexico, have chiefly been conspicuous in their failure. Our country is so large that, whatever superiority of race on the part of early Anglo-Saxon settlers there may be, the rapid immigration invited from all parts of the world would largely neutralize it. In the face of the long list of failures, so unvarying that they seemed inevitable, what gave the founders of this republic courage to make another experiment ? Liberty is seductive'; but liberty without law is merely license; the result is chaos ; and any attempt at self-government ignobly fails when laws are not strictly enforced. A small population in a compact territory affords the most favorable chance for self-government; but how difficult to govern in the same way is a mighty nation, extending over a large territory, pursuits divers, interests conflicting, no intimate interchange of sentiment one section with another. But even the small population in a compact territory has failed to perpetuate a republican form of government; how much less likely to succeed would the large nation be. Granted that the framers of the Constitution were wise, that they gave most careful research and study to the great problem before them; granted that their work was as admirable as human skill could make it, still that would not have insured success. The reason must be found elsewhere, and is this: that the development of the people has kept pace with the foreseeing wisdom of the fathers. This country has existed as a republic largely because of the general diffusion of education, the enlightenment of the masses, and the circulation of the press; so that it is possible for every citizen to become acquainted with current events, and daily watch the progress of national affairs. He is enabled to take a comprehensive view of public questions, and thus overcome tendencies to bigotry and prejudice. In this way the grand consummation has been reached, and in the words of the martyr Lincoln, " a government by the people and for the people" has become possible. It has been demonstrated that it can endure the trying ordeal of success and prosperity. It has successfully encountered the enervating tendencies of wealth and luxury. It has resisted effectually the disintegrating influences of conflicting interests, showing a cohesive power without a parallel; and in our late civil war, a devotion hitherto apparently dormant, and therefore unsuspected, was displayed pre-eminently; bravery and self-sacrifice in the field, courage on the toilsome and weary march, and heroic endurance in rebel prisons. How fully were realized and exemplified the
memorable words of Sir Philip Sidney, " glorious is it in a noble cause to bear its suffering and misery." And the bones of Northern men that have whitened on battle-fields along the Mississippi, upon lonely mountain sides on the low lands where the magnolia blooms, "grieving if aught inanimate ever grieves over the unreturning brave," and in the gloom of the wilderness where thousands, like the "Light Brigade at Balaklava," rushed into the very jaws of death, bear testimony to the priceless value of our national life.
One grand element that has contributed to the example of self-government we present is the race to which we belong. I confess the multitudes that have come, and still are coming, from across the ocean through our open gates constitute no small part of the forty-four millions that to-day live under the national flag. Yet Plymouth Rock receives homage from every State, and the nucleus there formed has assimilated in no small degree to itself the foreign elements that have clustered around it. The Puritans, of whom so many of you are lineal descendants, had in grafted upon their robust natures and strong wills a love of liberty, and what they esteemed a pure religion, that no danger could appall nor sufferings lessen. With rare fortitude they endured hardships cheerfully that lay in the pathway of achievement. I have too much respect for their judgment to suppose that they courted hardships. I do not for a moment presume they voluntarily chose the sterile lands of Cape Cod for agricultural purposes. They showed the good sense to elect the fertile valleys of the Hudson ; but a chance breeze and a bribed captain landed them on the icy shore of Plymouth. Grim winter extended its cold arms to receive them ; thirty savage tribes and an unbroken wilderness offered an impassable barrier to any overland route to their place of destination ; but their courage never faltered, for it Amid the storms they rang, And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang to the anthem of the free."
And their religious enthusiasm inspired them in dangers, in disease and death. How marvelous was the courage of the early reformers.
When Martin Luther was summoned before the Diet of Worms, and friends told himówhat he well knewóthat if he went, it would be at the peril of his life, he answered, " Were there as many devils as tiles upon the housetops, I would go." And when Catholicism combined to crush out Protestantism from the Netherlands, William of Orange gave utteranceto the immortal words that rather than suffer it they would tear up the dikes and give Holland back to the ocean. Theodore Parker will not be suspected of fondness for Calvinism ; yet he declared that out of the rugged doctrine of John Calvin had developed the grandest virtue of the human race. And what soldiers its disciples made! I claim that the army of Oliver Cromwell was the finest the world ever saw an army that was always successful, so that upon sight of the enemy they raised a shout of joy, for battle to them meant victory. Uniting perfect discipline with religious zeal, they fought under a firm conviction of duty. Marshal Turenne expressed the delight of a true soldier when he learned that it was the fashion of Cromwell's pikemento rejoice greatly when they beheld the enemy; and the banished cavaliers could not repress an emotion of national pride when they saw a brigade of their roundhead countrymen, outnumbered by foes and abandoned by allies, drive before it in headlong rout the finest infantry of Spain, and force a passage into fortifications pronounced impregnable by the ablest marshal of France, - snatching victory from the very jaws of defeat To such men liberty to act according to their own conscience was dearer than life ; and the qualities that made them eminent in war also made them conspicuous in peace. According to Macaulay, when they were disbanded, the royalists confessed that in every department of honest industry these warriors prospered beyond other men ; that none was charged with theft, that none was heard to ask an alms, and that if a baker, a ina-son, or a wagoner attracted notice by his diligence and sobriety, he was in all probability one of Cromwell's old soldiers.
War is demoralizing, and in no respect more strikingly than in its effect upon the soldiers engaged. Moral firmness alone can transform the inmates of camps and the veterans of battle-fields into \ the peaceful and industrious citizen, and our own soldiers, both in the Revolution and the late war, clearly betrayed their ancestral traits in their return to the vocations of daily life.
The Puritans and their descendants, by virtue of this quality of courage, of fortitude, of intelligent industry, prospered in spite of sterility of soil. Their thrift prevailed over natural disadvantages. They grappled with the forests, and with brawny arms overthrew them, and such was their persuasive energy that they converted sand and rock into fertility.
And when the West disclosed its vast superiority of soil, instead of deserting the homes of their fathers for the fairer promise towards the setting sun, they supplemented the sinewy arm by the active and inventive brain, and manufactories sprang up filled with cunning machinery, so that the hum of industry filled the land. " Where once the rank thistle nodded in the wind and the wild fox dug his hole unscared," evidences of civilization appear on every side.
While race has contributed to the permanence of our institutions, education, as I have before indicated, in the broadest sense is the great bulwark. Like the primeval rocks to the sea, it underlies and overtops them. By it the experience of the past has been fully utilized and an approximation to the true standard of self-government been reached, for, as it means a government by the people, therefore whatever broadens their knowledge increases their capacity for statesmanship. By education all things that come to us in life take deeper root; they widen their significance. We learn to use that which otherwise would be valueless, as the best appliances in tools and machinery are valueless without the skill to detect and employ them. Instances are recorded of self-taught men who have, unaided, forced their way into the laboratory of nature, who read the unwritten language of things, who discover truths in the melody of birds, in the sighing winds, who read it in the beauty that trails along the tall grass, and is radiant in leaf and flower; men who go beyond the surface of things, beyond the defined limits of human ē knowledge into untrodden space, and, as has been said, sharpen their eyes until they see into the earth and lengthen their arms until they reach the stars. But these exceptions are rare; few of us have time or inclination to investigate. We act upon what is told us. what we read, what we learn. The tables of education must be spread for us, or we are likely to lose our intellectual nourishment. Our fathers recognized its importance. After providing for their spiritual welfare by securing a good orthodox minister, they gave next their attention to the schoolmaster, and the modest school-house found place wherever the early settlers dwelt.
The third element that secures to us a republican form of government is a love of liberty, freedom to manage our national affairs whether they relate to civil or religious questions, and by common consent, since our fathers recovered from the mania of hanging Quakers and drowning witches, religious toleration has prevailed. Love of liberty is to the republic what the spirit is to the body, animating and inspiring it. Not stronger among Americans than among other races. We cannot forget the frantic struggle of Poland and Hungary to be free. We cannot forget how France in her ill-fated but heroic efforts has floated again and again upon a sea of blood. We remember with sorrow the misfortunes of Lafayette, Kosciusko, and Kossuth ; we admire individual gallantry like .that of Arnold von Winkelreid, of glorious memory, who threw himself on the spears of his country's enemies, -
"Make way for liberty!' he cried :
Make way for liberty!' and died."
And we are inspired by the burning words of Roger De Lisle,-
"Oh, liberty, can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy glorious flame;
Can tyrants' laws or bolts confine thee,
And thus thy noble spirit tame?"
words which not only kindled the torch of freedom in France, but wherever the spirit of independence dwelt. But while Americans may not either in deeds or literature have created the sensation that other races have, yet they have been eminently practical; their success has been due to the fact that they have never lost their head in their struggles for liberty. Victories did not unreasonably elate nor defeat unduly depress.
I am mindful that your anniversary and the nation's anniversary occur at a season of depression and want; that while commercial gloom settles over our large cities, in the country villages the wheels of manufactories are stopped and labor begs in vain for employment, but we realize to-day how much greater trials our fathers endured and how bravely they endured them, and we know that they received their reward in blessings that crowned their days. We know that behind the black cloud that overhangs us the imperial sun walks in splendor, and we know that we dwell in a country that has all the elements of success and prosperity, and therefore the future must be secure. And over your past it is fitting that you should rejoice ; that you should have accomplished so much ; that such energy has been displayed; that religion and education should have received such generous support from your hands. Splendid promise so often results in splendid failure, that when a great work or a good work is fairly accomplished congratulation is in order, and not till then. And it is said the ancients wisely praised not that ship that started with flying colors from port, but only that brave sailor that came back with torn sheets and battered sides, stripped of her banners, but having out ridden the storm. Doubt not that in days of disaster relief is at hand. Judge the future by the past. Distrust not humanity because man is false and shouts for reform while he practices knavery, for if the heart of the people was not right and honest, professions of virtue would not be necessary and successful in securing trusts only to betray them.
The season is auspicious for your festivities. The benediction of a summer sky bends above our heads, and the perfection of midsummer splendor lies at our feet. All nature is in harmony with the occasion. Her deep green and rich bloom lend us the choicest decorations. Though one hundred years have gone, we believe that our national life is but just begun; that the republic shall endure when the very stones over our graves have crumbled to dust; that the flag that waves above us to-day shall float as long as the earth bears a plant or the sea rolls a wave; and when a century hence the people of this ancient town meet to celebrate their own anniversary, the second centennial of the republic, while they proclaim the valor and the patriotism of the fathers of freedom in this land, they will also remember with pride this generation, and your children's children will be cheered and inspired by your deeds and your memories "as after sunset the dew revives the world."
Universalist Church (written by Rev. C. R. Tenney)
There are tablets in the church belonging to the parish in Stoughton, one on either side of the pulpit, which present its history in brief. Perhaps these tablets may be a sufficient history for some; they at least suggest all that need be said in a more extended account as may properly be presented at the beginning of this article. The one on the right of the pulpit reads as follows:
Church organized Aug. 10, a.d. 1744. First Church, completed May 23, A.D. 1745.
Second Church, dedicated June 2, a.d. 1808.
Altered a.d. 1848. Remodeled and enlarged a.d. 1870.
On the left of the pulpit appears the ministerial succession of the church:
Rev. Jedediah Adams.
Ordained Feb. 19, a.d. 1746.
Died Feb. 25, a.d. 1799.
Rev. Edward Richmond, D.D.
Ordained Dec. 5, a.d. 1792.
Resigned Jan. 15, a.d. 1817.
Rev. Ebenezer Gay.
Ordained Jan. 7, a.d. 1818.
Resigned July 9, a.d. 1822.
Rev. William L. Stearns.
Ordained Nov. 21, a.d. 1827.
Resigned March 30, a.d. 1831.
Rev. M. B. Ballou.
Settled April 17, a.d. 1831.
Resigned April 1, a.d. 1853.
Rev. James W. Dennis.
Settled April 1, a.d. 1854.
Died Dec. 12, a.d. 1863.
Rev. A. St. John Chambre.
Installed April 1, a.d. 1S64.
Resigned April 1, a.d. 1872.
Rev. Joseph K. Mason.
Ordained Dec. 10, a.d. 1873.
Resigned Dec. 25, a.d. 1875."
Rev. H. B. Smith.
Settled April 24, a.d. 1876.
Resigned Nov. 30, a.d. 1879.
Rev. C. R. Tenney.
Settled Sept. 1, a.d. 1882.
The history of the parish antedates that of the church. It begins Nov. 9, 1743, with a petition to " his Excellency, William Shirley, Esq., Captn-General and Governour-in-Chief in and over his Majesty's Province, to the Honorables, his Majesty's Council and Representatives, in General Court assembled," for a division of the First Precinct of the town of Stoughton. This petition was urged by George Talbot, Simon Stearns, and Ralf Pope, the reason for it being, as set forth by the petitioners, " the vast difficulties both with regard to the public worship of God and the management of the affairs of the Precinct to which we belong, on account of the great distance many of us live from the place of public worship, it being almost seven miles." The u place of public worship" here referred to was what is now the Unitarian Church at Canton Corner. The prayer of the petitioners was granted on the day on which it was preferred, and thusówhat is now Canton being the first, and what is now Sharon being the secondówas the Third Precinct in Stoughton incorporated. The first meeting of the new precinct was held Dec. 12, 1843, at the house of Capt. George Talbot. Capt. George Talbot was elected clerk, and he, with Simon Stearns and Ralf Pope, constituted the first prudential committee. At this meeting a vote was passed to raise forty pounds for preaching " the present year and the year ensuing as far as it will go." At a meeting held December 26th it was voted to build a meeting-house, forty-five by thirty-five, on land given for the purpose by Daniel Talbot. The church was incorporated Aug. 10, 1744. About a month later a call was extended to Mr. Thomas Jones to become pastor. The precinct seems to have concurred with the church only so far as to hire Mr. Jones for three months. When the church was completed does not appear, but it was ready for a service of baptism May 23,1745. On the 6th day of September following it was unanimously voted to call Mr. Jedediah Adams, of Braintree (now Quincy), to the pastorate of the church, three hundred pounds old tenor being allowed " for his settling with us, as- also for a salary, yearly, of one hundred and eighty pounds." Later twenty cords of wood per year were added to the salary, and it was voted that the pay should vary with variances in the price of corn and meat in the Boston market. Mr. Adams' pastorate began Jan. 5, 1746, though the ordination did not take place until February 19th.
There is not very much to be noted during the pastorate of Mr. Adams except the general and very even prosperity of the precinct. In 1765 the Third Precinct became the Second, the Second having become a separate town - Sharon. At a meeting held April 10, 1782, move was made for another division of the town, and Thomas Crane, Maj. Robert Swan, Capt. Jedediah Southworth, Capt. Peter Talbot, and Capt. James Pope were appointed a committee to consult as to the necessary measures to be taken. By their recommendations petitions were presented to the town and to the General Court, but were refused. At the same meeting a committee was appointed to " inspect ye conduct of ye people on ye Lord's days, and call those by name in time of divine service, that profane the Lord's day." If the precinct could manage the Court it could manage its own members. The money with which the people now had to deal was perplexing to them ; one treasurer's report they were not able to understand until it was translated into silver currency. Then a balance of over twenty-four hundred pounds became only thirty-two pounds, one silver dollar being worth seventy-five of those in circulation. In 1785 the precinct received a bequest of land, enlarging the church lot from Christopher Wadsworth. At about this time a committee, consisting of Samuel Talbot, Jedediah Southworth, and Joshua Morse, recommended that for the future the town raise all the money for the purpose of schooling and that none be raised by the precinct. It seems that in 1792 Mr. Adams' health began to fail, for it was voted at the March meeting of the precinct " to be in a way to settle a minister." On May 28th it was voted to give Mr. Edward Richmond a call to the work of the gospel ministry. Mr. Richmond's letter of acceptance shows him to have been a man of pious sentiments and feeble health. He invokes the blessing of God upon himself and people, and the indulgence of frequent exchanges in his ministry. The ordination was appointed to take place on the 28th of November. Thanksgiving being appointed on the next day, the ordination was postponed until December 5th, when Rev. Edward Richmond became the colleague of the aged Mr. Adams. Final settlement was not made with Mr. Adams until 1795, when forty pounds were offered him for a discharge in full for his services as a minister. Though the amount due him was much more than this, yet, " consulting ye best interest of ye parish, and wishing to have them in peace and harmony," he satisfied himself with the offer. Mr. Adams lived, and was practically senior pastor of the parish, until Feb. 25, 1799. Then, in his eighty-ninth year, and the fifty-third of his pastorate, occurred his death. Having received the honors of Harvard University in 1733, and having constantly added by " natural inquisitiveness" to his store, he must have served his charge with a large knowledge, as well as with a pure character. His colleague "wrote of him at the time of his death, " Constitutionally mild and benevolent, he was easily formed to a candid and liberal mode of thinking. His manners soft, modest, and unassuming, received the finishing touch of genuine politeness. It may be truly said of him that he was learned without pedantry, polite without affectation, moral without austerity, pious without superstition, and devout without enthusiasm."
It is a pity that during the pastorate of Mr. Adams no church record was kept so as to be now available; only the incorporation of the church, and the first church covenant, the covenant of the Congregational Churches in general, with the names of twenty-four signers, are in the old church book. The church record, as preserved, really begins with the call of Rev. Mr. Richmond, dated May 28, 1792. In 1795 Lieut. Roger Sumner and Lieut. John Holmes were chosen deacons of the church. In 1799, probably on the incorporation of Canton, the second precinct became the parish in Stoughton. In 1797 the treasurer's report is for the first time in dollars and cents. The church is looking after absentees, and clothing those unable suitably to clothe themselves for attendance upon divine service. Now denominational difficulties begin to arise, the Methodists claiming the money of some taxables in the regular precinct church. A movement is made for the protection of the ancient buttonwood-trees still standing on the church green.
Thus early the spirit of the "Improvement Society" appears. A church member, Jeremiah Vose, is dealt with mercifully for intoxication and profanity. At the parish meeting a man is chosen " to see that the women stow dost in the seats in the meeting-house on Sunday."
In 1798 and 1799 resort was had to law by other denominations, Methodists and Baptists, to secure the money of some taxes in the parish church. Dr. Peter Adams, Capt. Samuel Talbot, Capt. John Pope, Mr. Samuel Shephard, and Lieut. John Atherton were chosen to defend the parish. Their defense seems to have been successful, only as much being allowed these other denominations as the committee on public worship was willing to allow. In 1800, Mr. Richmond, reminding the parish of the depreciation in the value of money since his settlement, asks with manliness and modesty for an increase in his salary. In spite of this request the salary was not permanently advanced until 1816, though from year to year money was voted him in addition to it. In 1801 a new meeting-house began to be talked about. It was difficult for the parish to agree as to the house, and before 1805, when the job was given into the hands of Mr. Richmond, builder, of Middle-borough, the pews were sold three times. The fourth sale stood, and plans were made for a house fifty-eight by fifty-eight feet, to be built at a cost of seven thousand five hundred dollars. A quarter of an acre of land was now given the parish by Mrs. Abigail, widow of Lemuel Drake. Upon this the main body of the church now stands, the most of the former bequest by Lieut. Daniel Talbot being included in the yard in front of the church. The church lot, containing one acre and twenty-three rods, was now complete. In 1802 the singing of the psalm or hymn, " in separate parts," by the deacon at the service of communion was discontinued, and the regular singers - the present musical society - were invited to assist at such service. In 1803 the church stopped after sacramental lecture, and received from Mr. Ephraim Copeland, of Boston, " an elegant quarto Bible for the use of the sanctuary. It was then voted that in future a portion of sacred Scripture be read as a book of publick worship." In 1805 the parish received a farm, the bequest of Lemuel Drake. This property is still held by the society, and is known as the Chemung lot. In 1806, July 2d, 3d, and 4th, the meeting-house was raised. In 1807 the bell and clock were placed, and it was voted that the bell should be rung, as now, at nine o'clock Sunday mornings for regular church services, and tolled on the death of members of the parish. In 1808, Rev. Nehemiah Coye (Methodist) demanded the taxes of members of the parish. It was finally voted that the taxes of Stephen Briggs and Jacob Monk be paid over to said Coye, and that the taxes of these gentlemen be remitted, and they be left out of the parish bills in the future so long as they remain steady members of the Methodist society, and help support a regular Methodist minister. In this year the church passed a vote inviting the sisters to stop when any business was to be transacted after divine service. This courtesy seems almost to have been induced by service rendered. The ladies had made a generous contribution toward furnishing and trimming the new pulpit. The church was formally accepted by the parish May 23d, and dedicated June 2d. Before the dedication it was desirable that the green should receive attention. It was voted that the people be notified when to work, that the work be done gratis, and a that the parish be at the cost of their grog." About this time it was voted " to give up the pews over the westerly stairs to the blacks or people of color until March." For several years, now, things go on pleasantly and prosperously. In 1813 a sermon of Mr. Richmond's was asked for publication, and a committee was appointed to ask him not to preach politics in the pulpit either on Sundays or days of thanksgiving or fasting. In 1815 Watts' Hymn-Book was displaced by Belknap's. In 1816 the society seems, for the first time, to have a stove for the church, - a present from William Austin. In December, 1816, difficulties growing beyond hope of adjustment, Mr. Richmond sent in his letter of resignation. The reason for this action was, he said, that it had u long been evident that the labors of others were more acceptable." It is doubtless true that some of his parishioners desired a change in the pastorate, yet this desire cannot have been as general as he imagined. But a short time before twenty pounds had been permanently added to his salary, and now his resignation was accepted reluctantly,óat the first vote it was not accepted. Finally a committee, appointed to consult with Mr. Richmond, " with great reluctance" advised the acceptance of his resignation, and he was dismissed. The council which was called to ; ratify his dismission, expressions of the society recorded and traditionary, together with such works of his as are now available, bear testimony that he was a man of character and ability. Whatever dissatisfaction existed was not on account of these things. Neither was it on account of Mr. Richmond's theology, though in the unsettled condition of opinion I in those times there may have been some who objected to him on this score. The opposition was chiefly political, without doubt, and had been growing since the time when he was asked not to preach politics. January 15th Mr. Richmond's pastorate came to an end. In September of the same year, Mr. Ebenezer Gay, of Walpole, was called; after some discussion and variation of the conditions of the case, Mr. Gay accepted it, and was ordained Jan. 7, 1818. The church voted that strangers of regular standing in any denomination be invited to stay to communion. In May, 1819, the church voted it ': inexpedient any longer to require of candidates for admission a particular confession of antecedent immoralities." There was an article in the warrant this year to " see if it is the will of the parish that Mr. Thaddeus Pomroy be debarred from preaching again in the meeting-house in Stoughton until he makes acknowledgment for once and again insulting and disturbing the society in said house."
In 1820 dissatisfaction with Rev. Mr. Gay begins to appear. Repeated endeavors were made to have him dismissed until 1822, when conditions were made with him and his pastorate immediately terminated. The reason for dissatisfaction was his strict Calvinism. Opposition to liberal views was carried so far under him that formal complaints were made against those who revealed sympathies for Methodism, and a Universalist, Mr. Samuel Bird, was excommunicated. The church was not used to such severe interpretations and applications of theology. According to those whose opinion is of worth in the matter, it had inherited no such theology from the mother church, now the Unitarian in Canton. The first pastor, a member of the liberal Adams family in Quincy, and predisposed, as Dr. Richmond has shown us from his very make up, "to a candid and liberal mode of thinking," did not certainly cultivate in the church any such views. And Dr. Richmond himself was liberal, becoming afterwards, if he was not now, a professed Unitarian. The church had not been used to such theology as that presented by Mr. Gay. That : was the reason, doubtless, why he was dropped so quickly. And that he was thus dropped is another evidence that the church had not been schooled to : such views. In 1821 seventy-eight members were reported as in good and regular standing in the church. On July 3, 1822, nine of these were present at a meeting at which a majority of seven voted to separate themselves " and hold public worship in such places as Providence may from time to time direct." These, with others who were gathered to them, and led by Rev. Mr. Gay, first held their services in a hall over what is now Swan's store, corner of Washington and Wyman Streets, and were the beginning of the present Congregationalist society in this town. Mr. Gay carried the church records with him to his new movement. They were recovered some years afterwards by the First Church. It was some time after the separation before the parish settled upon a pastor. There seems to have been a short pastorate, beginning in 1824 and continuing a little past the annual parish meeting, in 1825, which has found no mention on our tablet. The minister was Mr. Ephraim Randall. During this time some who had gone away showed a disposition to return, and a committee was chosen to confer with them. A vote was passed in 1825 to raise three hundred dollars for the ensuing year, three-fourths to be for Unitarian and one-fourth for Universalist preaching. In 1826 it was voted to have eight months Unitarian and four months Universalist preaching. In 1827 it was Voted to inform the Unitarian association of (i the penniless condition of the church," and ask for help. October 8th, Mr. Wm. L. Stearns was invited to settle over the parish for five years, at four hundred and fifty dollars per year. Mr. Stearns accepted the call, and was ordained November 21st. The next year the parish received help to the amount of one hundred and fifty dollars from the Evangelical Missionary Society. For the first time apparently the church was insured this year,ó amount, three thousand dollars. On Dec. 13, 1830, a vote was passed to dismiss Rev. Mr. Stearns from the pastorate, " his religious sentiments not agreeing with the majority of the society." Mr. Stearns was Unitarian, the prevailing sentiment was Universalist, and Rev. Massena B. Ballou, who still lives in town, and who had been invited to the pastorate before Mr. Stearns' settlement, was again called, and immediately became pastor. (The Unitarians now separated themselves from the parish, and started a society of their own. It was not long, however, before they were back in the old church. The history of the parish under Mr. Ballou's administration shows steady prosperity. In 1832 a new bell was purchased, Lemuel Gay, Jonathan Linfield, and Wm. S. Belcher being the committee to obtain it. In 1834, voted that the inhabitants of East Stoughton have their proportion of the preaching. April 23, 1835, a new and distinctively Universalist covenant, or " church agree-! nient," was adopted, and shortly after a constitution ! for the government of the church. Brother Robert ' Porter, Jr., and Brother Albert Johnson were elected j deacons.
In 1830 the church devotes the interest of its funds to the purchase of a Sunday-school library. At this time fifty-three members had joined the church, and signed the covenant. In 1840 the church gave its fund of two hundred and forty-four dollars to help pay a little parish debt. In 1841 Deacon Johnson requested dismission from the deaconate, and Thomas Capen was elected in his place. In the next year, on motion of Amasa South worth, a vote was passed opening the house to temperance meetings when it should be sought for them. In 1843 candidates were elected to General Convention, and the church began to feel the strength of membership in a larger organization. In 1848 the parish found itself strong enough to remodel the church, at an expense of fifteen hundred dollars. The upper part was finished off to hold meetings in, and the vestry, called from that time Chemung Hall, was created. This year the pews began to be let at auction. In 1853, as he writes at the time, "after an agreeable and happy connection of twenty-two years," Mr. Ballou closed his pastorate with the parish. The reason for his withdrawal was poor health. The committee appointed to draw up resolutions in view of Mr. Ballou's resignation bore unqualified testimony to his usefulness in the ministry, and his manly, Christian conduct everywhere. In their loss of a pastor, they had the best comfort possible to them, in the fact that the friend would remain with them,ótheir neighbor still and fellow-worker. Eighty-four years old, Mr. Ballou is still a valued member of the parish, interested as ever in its work, and comforted by its faith. In 1854, Rev. J. W. Dennis was called to the pastorate. Brother Albert Johnson was chosen deacon, and it was voted to celebrate communion the first Sunday in each month. In 1855, Mr. Dennis seems to have been kept from his pulpit by sickness. A record in the parish book is something of an index to the feeling which existed toward him at the time. An article was in the warrant " to see if the parish will authorize their treasurer to pay Rev. J. W. Dennis his salary for the quarter ending June 30th. Voted 'yes unanimously." In 1856 movement was first made for an organ. On the committee appointed over this business were Jesse Holmes, James Hill, Jr., Alanson Belcher, James Atherton, Luther Leach, James Swan, Albert Dickerman, S. W. Hayden, and Wm. S. Belcher. The organ was not procured until the next year, and the final report of the committee, rejoicing in the liberality of the parish and exulting chiefly in the fact " that now the organ speaks for itself," was not made until 1858. Steadily gaining, spiritually and materially, nothing of particular note took place until 1863, when Mr. Dennis, on account of sickness, handed in his resignation. Though willing to grant all necessary time for the treatment of his troubles, the parish was not willing to accept his resignation. They did not accept it. Even though they buried him before the end of the year, they never accepted his resignation. They hold him among them now, and he works for them, making them better when they think of him. In 1864 Rev. A. St. John Chambre became pastor. In 1865 the afternoon service was dropped and the Sunday-school was held at the hour devoted to it. The success of Mr. Chambre's pastorate at this stage appears in the improved state of the finances of the parish. From twelve hundred dollars the first year the minister's salary was easily advanced to two thousand the third, and in the sixth (1870) the parish was able to remodel its church at a cost of over eleven thousand dollars. This amount was paid within a little over two thousand dollars when the work was done, and the parish found itself in possession of a most comfortable, appropriate, and beautiful temple of worship. The committee who had this work in charge were composed of the following gentlemen: Luther S. Leach, Horace N. Tucker, Robert Porter, Jr., James Atherton, J. F. Ellis, Henry Ward, Rev. Mr. Chambre. In 1872, by the death of the clerk, the parish lost its organization, and appeal had to be made to a justice before a meeting could be called. Mr. Chambre resigned his pastorate April 1st of this year, after nine years of able and successful service. In highly eulogistic resolutions the parish has put on record its appreciation of him and his service. In 1873 Joseph K. Masson, while yet a student, was called to the pastorate. No event of particular moment marks the period of his stay. Young, inexperienced as the new minister was, his ability was yet equal to holding the society up to the high standard to which it had been raised, until, in 1875, he was reluctantly surrendered to a persistent society in Connecticut. In April following Rev. H. B. Smith was unanimously invited to the pastorate. With good ability and the hearty co-operation of the people, the promise of Mr. Smith's success seemed bright. By his efforts, apparently, the parish membership was considerably increased. He rendered the society good service in raising the debt of about three thousand dollars in 1879. On account of domestic trouble, , however, he was obliged to resign in November of this year. The troubles of the minister were the misfortune of the society as well, and this, with two years of candidating and the loss of a few strong men by death, materially depleted its strength. With good congregations and a large Sunday-school, it is yet strong, however, and hopes for further growth. The pastor is Rev. C. R. Tenney, settled Sept. 1, 1882.
Among names prominent through all the history of the society, and still connected with it, are Atherton,
Monk, and Talbot. The first clerk of church and parish was a Talbot. The present clerk of the parish, who has held the office with one short break since 1845, is Jabez Talbot, of the same family. Very early other names appear, among which are Capen. Southworth, Gay, Bird, Drake, Swan, Johnson, Wales, Belcher, Holmes, Crane, and Paul. These names have (riven the parish its prosperity. It surely shall not want prosperity while they remain.
The records of the parish are the main source of this sketch. These records have been remarkably well kept by the following list of clerks: George Talbot, succeeded in 1746 by Capt. Preserved Capen; succeeded in 1758 by David Capen ; succeeded in 1769 by Benjamin Bird; succeeded in 1770 by Robert Capen ; succeeded in 1771 by David Capen ; succeeded in 1790 by Andrew Capen ; succeeded in 1793 by Peter Adams; succeeded in 1797 by Seth Morton; succeeded in 1800 by Abram Capen; succeeded in 1805 by Jedediah Atherton; succeeded the same year by Seth Morton; succeeded in 1807 by George Monk; succeeded in 1808 by Richard Talbot; succeeded in 1810 by Jonathan Battles; succeeded in 1812 by Solomon Talbot; succeeded in 1814 by John Toy; succeeded in 1816 by Elijah Atherton ; succeeded in 1818 by Abner Drake ; succeeded in 1821 by Jeremiah Capen; succeeded in 1822 by Israel Guild; succeeded in 1823 by Elijah Atherton; succeeded in 1826 by James Swan; succeeded in 1830 by Ahira Porter; succeeded in 1831 by Enos Talbot; succeeded in 1845 by Jabez Talbot, Jr.; succeeded in 1867 by F. B. Upham; succeeded in 1871 by Luther Leach; succeeded in 1875 by Jabez Talbot, Jr.
Congregational Church - (written by Rev. C. L. Rotch)
The present church organization is the result of a division in the old church, which occurred in 1822. At this time a majority of the society and a minority of the church became interested in Unitarian and Universalist doctrines. The majority of the church holding to the orthodox faith withdrew, and thus left the property in the possession of the other party. We find the early records filled with the account of this separation and the controversies that grew out of it. This, however, is now only a matter of historical interest to either society, and they exist side by side with the utmost good feeling.
The following is a list of pastors of the old church before the separation in 1822 :
There were seventy-eight members of the church in 1821, one year before the separation, twenty-seven males and fifty-one females.
Nathan Drake and Samuel Tolman were deacons of the church, and remained with the orthodox party after the separation.
The church met July 1,1822, and appointed a day of " fasting, humiliation, and prayer" on account of the difficulties of their situation. It was also voted at this time to call a council to advise in regard to the dismission of the pastor and the settlement of the difficulties which threatened such evil to the church. At the close of the public religious services of this day of fasting, a meeting of the church was called at the house of the pastor, at which the following motion, brought forward by Deacon Drake and laid upon the table at a former meeting, was passed, seven voting in the affirmative and two in the negative:
"In consequence of the exertions which have been made of late, by certain persons in this place, to deprive us of the enjoyment of gospel privileges and the dispensation of those doctrines which are according to our belief and profession, in separating from us our present pastor; and this with the proposed design to substitute in the room thereof a more liberal and loose kind of preaching! Be it voted by this church that it is expedient for us to associate and form ourselves into a religious society, with certain other persons in this place who may be disposed to unite with us for the purpose of maintaining the gospel according to the principles and practices of our forefathers, who came to this country for the sake of establishing a church founded upon Christ and Him crucified ; and of maintaining and defending the doctrine of grace, and that we henceforth hold public worship in such places as Providence may from time to time direct." A council was called which approved the action of the church, while regretting that difficulties had arisen rendering the division necessary. We find at this time that Dr. " Watts' Psalm and Hymns" were reintroduced.
The church first met for worship at the house of Mr. Daniel Hayward, now Mr. Swan's store. " There in an upper room the church held their first communion after the separation, and there their beloved pastor preached to them his farewell sermon from Acts xx. 25." After a few months they met for worship in " a commodious hall" in the store belonging to Mr. William Holbrook. Here they continued until their new church was built and dedicated June 1,1825. The dedicatory sermon was preached by i Rev. Ebenezer Gay, the church never having been in a condition to settle a new pastor. The church record their gratitude to the neighboring ministers and churches, and also to the Domestic Missionary Society for financial aid. They were blessed with the labors of a number of devoted ministers. Among these was Mr. Job Cushman, during whose labors the church was blessed with " a small revival, but however small, a greater one than was ever known in the town before."
Rev. Calvin Park, D.D., was invited to supply the pulpit in May, 1825, and in October of the same year was called to the pastorate, which invitation he accepted. A council was called for his installation, and convened Dec. 13, 182G. This was an exceedingly large and able council, consisting of eighteen churches. In this installation Rev. John Ferguson, of East Attleboro, made the introductory prayer; Rev. Dr. Em-mond, of Franklin, preached the sermon ; Rev. Richard S. Storrs, of Braintree, made the installing prayer; Rev. Elisha Fish, of Wrentham, gave the charge to the pastor ;. Rev. Ebenezer Burgess, of Dedham, gave the right hand of fellowship, and Rev. William Cogswell made the address to the people.
The weekly prayer-meeting, to be held in different parts of the society, was instituted by vote of the church March 25, 1827. On May 13th of the same year the Sabbath-school was opened and Mr. Samuel Tolman chosen as the first superintendent. He having declined to serve, the pastor was elected Oct. 15, 1829. The church adopted the articles of faith and covenant of the church of Dedham instead of that under which they were originally organized.
The church voted, Nov. 20, 1831, to hold a protracted meeting. Those meetings were well attended, and resulted in great good. Thirty persons seem to have united with the church as the result of those meetings. The church took the following action on temperance July 19,1832 : " As the friends of God are at the present time making great efforts to prevent the use of distilled liquors, and believing the use of them as a drink is a sin against God and essentially hurtful to the best interests of man, both temporal and spiritual, we do as a church hereby solemnly resolve that we will abstain wholly from the use of them, except as a medicine; that we will not provide them either for company, or for those who may be engaged in our employment, and that we will make exertions to suppress both the use and the traffic of them throughout the community."
Dr. Park resigned the pastoral office May 24, 1840, but at the request of the church he continued with them until his successor was chosen.
At a council held Nov. 4, 1840, Dr. Park was dismissed, and Rev. Henry Eddy, who had been called by the church, was installed. Seven churches united in this council. In the installing services, Rev. Paul Couch, of North Bridgewater, made the introductory prayer. Rev. R. S. Storrs, D.D., of Braintree, preached the sermon. Rev. Calvin Hitchcock, D.D., of Randolph, made the installing prayer. Rev. Ebenezer Burgess, D.D., of Dedham, gave the charge to the pastor. Rev. Edward Cleveland, of Stoneham, gave the right hand of fellowship, and Rev. D. A. Grosvener made a concluding prayer. Friday, Jan. 1, 1841, was observed as a day of fasting, on account of the low state of religion. These days of fasting were often appointed by the church.
Some difficulty having arisen in regard to Rev. Henry Eddy's dismission, he requested the church to unite with him in calling a mutual council. These matters were afterwards satisfactorily adjusted, and he was regularly dismissed by a council held Aug. 13, 1844.
At a meeting of the church held June 11, 1846, Rev. Wm. W. Corn well was called to minister to them as acting pastor, and he seems to have served the church for at least one year.
The Monthly Foreign Missionary Concert was instituted June 11, 1846.
The church met Sept. 26, 1850, and voted unanimously to call the Rev. Albert Perry, of New Ipswich, ; to become their pastor. The council called for the installation of the Rev. I Albert Perry, consisting of eleven churches, met Jan. 18, 1851.
The new church was dedicated Wednesday, June 28, 1852, a large number being present. The fol- | lowing were the principal participants in the services: Invocation and reading of Scriptures by Rev. L. R. Phillips, of Sharon, Mass.; introductory prayer by Rev. S. R. Eastman, Berkley, Mass.; sermon by Rev-Albert Perry, pastor, text 1 Thess. v. 21; dedicatory prayer by Rev. Luther Sheldon, D.D., of Easton; closing prayer by Rev. D. Huntington, of North Bridgewater.
The church, fifty-eight by seventy-five feet, will seat five hundred people, and cost about twelve thousand dollars.
At a meeting of the church, held on fast day, April 8, 1852, it was voted to hold the annual meetings on such day as the pastor might designate. Their custom had been heretofore to hold such meetings on the day of public fast.
By a motion and discussion in a meeting held Oct. 12, 1854, it seems that the church was then using unfermented wine at the communion.
On account of failing health the Rev. Albert Perry resigned his pastorate June 21, 1856. The church, with much regret, felt compelled to accept his resignation. The following is found among the resolutions passed at the time:
" Resolved, That an acquaintance of five years has added to our respect for his superior intellectual endowments, a strong love for the peculiar sympathy, kindness, and Christian charity of his heart, and that as it is our earnest wish, so it shall be our fervent prayer, that a gracious Providence may yet restore j him to health, and spare him for much useful service to the church." !
At a meeting of the church, held Feb. 17, 1856, Rev. Thomas Wilson was called to the pastorate of the church. He having accepted the invitation of the church, a council was called which should act in the dismission of Rev. Albert Perry and in the installation of his successor. The council, which met March 13, 1856, represented eleven churches.
The installation services were as follows: Invocation and Scriptural reading, Rev. Lyman White, of Easton; sermon by Rev. Leonard Swain; installing prayer by Rev. L. R. Phillips, of Sharon; charge to the pastor by Rev. Amos Blanchard, D.D., of Lowell; right hand of fellowship by Rev. James H. Means, of Dorchester; address to the people by Rev. Charles 'L. Mills, of North Bridgewater; concluding prayer by Rev. Paul Couch, of North Bridgewater.
At the annual meeting of the church, held April 10,1856, the " prudential committee of the church" was first instituted. It was also voted that all members received from other churches shall publicly assent to the covenant of this church. The " penny contribution" in the Sabbath-school was inaugurated at the annual meeting April 16, 1857. By vote of the annual meeting, April 15, 1858, the time of such meeting was fixed at the close of the preparatory lecture before the January communion.
A communication was received from the 'Methodist Episcopal Church at Stoughton, at the annual meeting in 1866, returning thanks for providing them with a place of worship for some months while they were "houseless," and praying that the blessing of God might rest upon both societies in their individual labors and common sympathies and interests.
The week of prayer was first observed by the church in 1868 by vote of the annual meeting. By vote of the church, at a meeting held after communion service, March 7,1869, it was voted to introduce " Songs of the Sanctuary" instead of the " Church Psalmody," that congregational singing might be cultivated thereby. By a vote of the church, May 26, 1870, the use of the church was granted to the Universalist society while they were remodeling their house.
It was voted by the church that fellowship meeting be held at the the close of preparatory lectures as recommended by the Norfolk Conference of churches, Nov. 13, 1870. The church received a communication from the Universalist society, returning thanks for the use of the church during the previous six months. This letter was most kindly written.
At the annual meeting held Dec. 30, 1870, it was voted that the officers of the church be chosen by ballot. At a meeting held after the communion, Jan. 1, 1871, it was voted to substitute, on trial for six months, a " Bible Service," instead of the afternoon preaching, - yeas 23, nays 6. At this time the pastor was chosen superintendent of the Sabbath-school upon the resignation of A. H. Drake. The church voted April 30, 1871, to observe the communion at the close of the morning service. It was voted May 5,1872, to continue permanently the "Bible Service." By vote of the annual meeting, Jan. 9, 1873, the pastor was authorized to issue a pastoral letter to each member of the church as recommended by the several conferences.
Feb. 15, 1874, the church voted Monday, the 16th inst., as a day of fasting and prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit in His converting and sanctifying power. A petition was also drawn up, and signed by all persons present, requesting Rev. A. B. Earle to come and hold a series of meetings in union with the Methodist Episcopal Church.
July 3, 1874, the church voted that the pastor and deacons take what measures they may thiuk advisable towards obtaining unfermented " fruit of the vine" for use at the communion. Oct. 31, 1875, Rev. Thomas Wilson resigned his pastoral relation over the church, to take effect March 13,1876, the completion of the twentieth year of his ministry to the church. Nov. 11, 1875, the church invited the B. B. M. C. Association to hold a series of meetings in connection with the church.
On Feb. 11, 1876, the church accepted the resignation of their pastor. We find this among the resolutions passed at the time: " Resolved, That we recognize in him a faithful disciple of the Master whose gospel he has so long preached among us; a man zealous in the discharge of the duties of his sacred office, firm in his convictions of right, quick and constant in his sympathies with those who suffer in body or in mind; a safe counselor and a true friend, an open and decided enemy of wickedness in places high as well as low; and while preaching in all purity the doctrine of salvation through repentance and faith in God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, exemplifying the power and excellence of that faith in his own daily walk and godly conversations before men."
A council met by call of the church March 7, j 1876, and in a regular manner approved of the action of the church in accepting the resignation of their pastor and most cordially recommended him to the churches.
The church received, June 1, 1876, the revision of their committee on revision of constitution, articles of faith, etc.; this report was finally completed and accepted June 22d of the same year. It was voted at a meeting of the church, held June 22, 1876, to call Mr. John Herbert, of Peacham, Vt., to become their minister,óthis was unanimous.
At a meeting of the church, Feb. 14, 1877, it was voted to receive members from other churches upon vote of the church.
At a meeting held March 14, 1877, a new creed and covenant, reported from a committee previously appointed, were adopted, and with slight alterations have been used by the church since.
At the annual meeting, 1878, committees were chosen for the following purposes : Visiting the sick, on charity, and on spiritual condition of the people. At a meeting held soon after this a committee on singing was appointed. They reported a diversity of opinion. It was finally voted to have congregational singing, led by a choir of young people. A committee on calling was raised at a meeting held March 27, 1878.
At a meeting held Jan. 9, 1879, L. M. Flint was made a committee to invite the B. B. M. C. Association to labor with the church, and Deacon Clapp a committee to invite the Methodist Episcopal Church to unite in this work.
The pastor resigned on account of trouble with his throat. At a council called to advise in regard to Rev. Z. Herbert's dismission, the action of the church was approved, and the following resolution was passed; " We find Brother Herbert to be a wise counselor, a faithful and efficient pastor, and a sincere and earnest Christian."
At a meeting of the church held Dec. 18, 1879, it was unanimously voted to extend a call to Rev. 1). 0. Clark, who had supplied the pulpit for three months. This call was not accepted, but Rev. D. O. Clark continued to act as pastor for two years longer. At a meeting held Jan. 8, 1880, the deacons and prudential committee were instructed to meet with the pastor the first Monday of each month, to attend to any business which may come before them.
At the annual meeting, 1881, it was voted to increase the number of deacons to three, and that they should be so elected that one should retire each year. The church renewed their call to Rev. D. 0. Clark to become their pastor; but he was still unwilling to accept. Jan. 19, 1882, the church, by unanimous vote, extended a call to Rev. P. B. Wing to become their pastor.
At a meeting of the church held April 27, 1882, it was voted to call Rev. C. L. Rotch, of New Sharon, Me., to become their pastor. This call was accepted, and he has continued in office since, being installed by council the following October.
The following is a list of deacons, and when elected, so far as appears on the records: Nathan Drake, Samuel Tolman, in office at the time of separation, 1822; Ebenezer Drake, Dec. 25, 1832 ; Fisher Gay, Jan. 4, 1833; Benjamin Clapp, Feb. 1, 1854; Ezekiel Dickerman, Sept. 1, 1865; Nathaniel Gay, 1873; Samuel Clapp, 1.878 ; E. M. Norton, Jan. 19,1881; Nathaniel Gay, Jan. 19, 1882, re-election; Samuel Clapp, Jan. 19, 1883, re-election.
The Sunday-school superintendents, so far as they appear on the records, and time of election, have been as follows: Deacon Samuel Tolman, 1827; Rev. Calvin Park, D.D., 1827; Mr. Edwards A. Park, 1828; Mr. Stilman Drake, 1829; Mr. Joseph Gates, 1829 ; Mr. Fisher Gay, 1830 ; Mr. Francis Sumner, 1832; Mr. D. Hay ward; Deacon Ebenezer Drake, 1839; Dr. Cyrus S. Mann, 1852; Mr. S. Gardner Pettee, 1861; Mr. Albert H. Drake, 1870; Rev. Thomas Wilson, 1872; Mr. Levi M. Flint, 1876; Rev. John Herbert, 1877 ; Mr. L. M. Flint, 1878; Mr. E. M. Norton, 1880; Mr. L. M. Flint, 1880; Bev. D. O. Clark, 1881; Deacon E. M. Norton, 1882.
Methodist Episcopal Church. (written by Rev. C. H. Ewer)
Methodism in Stoughton dates back to 1810. Occasional services: were held about that time by Rev. John Tinkham, a local preacher, resident in Easton. Mr. Tinkham made frequent visits to the sick in this vicinity, and his labors in this direction were so appreciated that I he was invited to hold regular preaching services at the house of Mr. Hezekiah Gay.
The first Methodist class was formed Jan. 30, 1812, by Rev. Artemas Stebbins, preacher in charge of the Mansfield and Easton Circuit. The class consisted of five members, viz.: Atherton Belcher, James Smith, Rebecca Gay, Deborah Leonard, and William Smith. With the organization of this class, Stoughton (Factory Village) was added to the list of appointments on the Mansfield and Easton Circuit. In 1818 the membership had increased to forty, and a church building was erected at Factory Village (now West Stoughton) at a cost of about seven hundred dollars.
In 1827 another class was formed at North Stoughton. In 183-i, Stoughton became a station by itself, but was united to North Stoughton in the list of appointments, and one preacher supplied both places. The preaching services at North Stoughton were usually held at the house of Mr. Elijah Gill.
In 1835 it was decided to build a new church at the centre of the town. Some of the North Stoughton\ society did not concur, and the result was the erection'1 of a new church building in each place. The church at the centre cost about two thousand two hundred dollars, and was dedicated Sept. 16,1835. The North Stoughton society failed to receive a preacher from Conference the following year, and became a Protes-taDt Methodist Church.
In 1866 the present church-edifice was erected. It is finely located on one of the principal streets, and is every way suited to the uses of the society. A parsonage is also owned by the church, subject to a small annuity during the lifetime of the donor, and otherwise both church and parsonage are free from debt.
There is also a Roman Catholic Church in Stoughton, a Methodist Church at North Stoughton, and a Baptist Church at East Stoughton, but we have been unable to secure any information concerning them.
The Press -The Stoughton Sentinel
Saturday morning, Nov. 10, 1860, there appeared the initial number of a newspaper, published and edited by William H. Jewell, and called The Stoughton Sentinel. This issue was printed in the neighboring town of Canton. It was quite an ambitious start, and its first numbers indicated interest and enterprise. Born in times of great national troubles, their echo is seen in its columns. The editor believed in the right of secession, and this fact doubtless had much to do with the early demise of the enterprise. Saturday morning, Nov. 7, 1863, Messrs. William W. and C. A. Wood, again taking the name of Sentinel, issued a bright, entertaining sheet, its object " to entertain, to instruct and improve." This enterprise continued until the 15th of October, 1864, when the paper appeared as a half sheet, with the following notice at the editorial head: " Both of the editors of the Stoughton Sentinel having gone to war for 100 days, the paper will be published in its present shape during their absence." The paper appeared until Sept. 9, 1865, when it yielded to death's call, not being sufficiently supported to pay. Messrs. Pratt & Hasty, of Randolph, again took up the broken thread in 1870, and printed it in Randolph. Mr. H. E. Wilkins was identified with this movement and lent, it substantial aid. Soon Mr. Hasty, becoming alarmed for his precedence with outsiders, removed to Stoughton. Mr. Hasty continued the paper until 1877, when he died. Mr. A. P. Smith then became editor and proprietor, and continued until August, 1883. In September, 1882, Mr. L. W. Standish, a Stoughton boy, came from Wakefield, where he had served apprenticeship as a printer, and where he had evinced ability as a writer, and took charge of the editorial work of the paper. Under his well-directed efforts the circulation of the paper was doubled in a few months, and it soon became well known and quoted in these parts. In August, 1883, Mr. Standish purchased the paper and office of Mr. Smith, and is now at its head. The paper has about one thousand circulation weekly and a large advertising patronage. The Sentinel is now known as having an opinion on all matters relating to Stoughton's welfare, and its position carries weight. It occupies a high place among the list of country papers, and is widely quoted.
Rising Star Lodge (Contributed by Mr. Leonard A. Thayer.)
Was instituted Dec. 10,1799, with the following charter members : Peter Adams, Benjamin Capen, Joseph Richards, Nathan Gill, Abraham Capen, David Wads worth, William Capen, Amos Upham, John Atherton, Jr., and Consider Southworth.
The first regular meeting after the charter was obtained was held at the house of Lemuel Drake, in Stoughton, on the eve of the 9th of January, 1800, and the following officers were chosen : Peter Adams, M.; Benjamin Capen, S. W.; Joseph | Richards, J. W.; Nathan Gill, Treas.; Abraham 1 Capen, Sec.; David Wadsworth, Sr. D.; William | Capen, Jr. D.; Amos Upham, First Steward; John j Atherton, Jr., Second Steward.
Permission was given by the Grand Lodge to re- j move the lodge to Canton, March 15, 1810. It was j thence removed from Canton to Sharon, June 13, | 1814, and then back to Stoughton Dec. 27, 1817.
The first time the lodge appeared in public was on i the 22d of February, 1800, on which occasion they joined a procession composed of militia, visitors, and j school-boys, " to pay funeral honors to their late ! brother, George Washington, late general of the ! armies of America." The procession moved to the j burying-place in this town, then back to the meeting- j house, where an oration was delivered by the Rev. ! Edward Richmond, D.D., suitable to the occasion.
It has always been said with pride by the old j members that while many lodges surrendered their charters during the Anti-Masonic excitement of 1831, j this lodge never missed a meeting, as the records will show.
The Masters of Rising Star Lodge of Free and ! Accepted Masons from its organization to the present time have been as follows: Peter Adams, 1800 -5; Benjamin Capen, 1805-6; Amos Upham, 1807-8; Elijah Crane, 1809-11; Thomas Kol-lock, 1812-13; Consider Southworth, 1814-15; William Dunbar, 1816 ; Elijah Atherton, 1817-20; Willard Gould, 1821 ; Joel Talbot, 1822 ; Thomas Crane, 1823; Lemuel Gay, 1824-25, 1852; Jonathan Reynolds, 1826-27 ; Nathaniel Blake, 1828-29; James Swan, 1830-31, 1851; Azel Capen, 1832-34, 1850; Ansel Capen, 1835-36; Samuel Chandler, 1837-39; Consider A. Southworth, 1840-41; John H. Wales, 1842-43; Simeon T. Drake, 1844-46 ; Ebenezer W. Tolman, 1847-48; Rev. Benjamin Huntoon, 1849; George Talbot, 1853-57; Enos Talbot, 1858-60; George B. Blake, 1861-62; Jonathan R. Gay, 1863-64, 1868; Benjamin Ward, 1865-66 ; Bradford Kinsley, 1867 ; George F. Walker, 1869-70, 1874; Joshua Britton, 1871-73; Leander G. Britton, 1875-76; Elmer W. Walker, 1877-78 ; James H. May, 1879-80; Robert Jackson, 1881-82 ; Albert E. Standish, 1883.
The following are the officers for 1884: Albert E. Standish, M.; Ewen Boyden, Jr., S. W.; Gurdon Southworth, J. W.; Washington Tower, Treas.; Leonard A. Thayer, Sec.; Henry A. Standish, Chap.; George F. Walker, M.; Ira F. Burnham, S. D.; George O. Wentworth, J. D.; H. Augustus Monk, Sr. Steward; William Curtis, Jr. Steward; William Atherton, Organist; James W. Richardson, Tyler. Present membership, eighty-two.
Mount Zion Royal Arch Chapter, F. and A. M. (by Samuel Wales Hodges)
The membership of Rising Star Lodge of Freemasons in Stoughton comprised very many of the leading men in the vicinity, and its reputation for good Masonic work was well known. Many of its leading members had become Royal Arch Masons, and their love of the craft culminated in a meeting at the Masonic Hall in Stoughton on Oct. 12, 1820. The meeting was opened, as all great and good undertakings should be, by first invoking the divine blessing. This was done by Rev. Thomas Rich. The petition for the charter was then read, and it was decided to i present the same to the Grand Chapter in December. j The following were selected as officers: H. P., John Edson ; K., Elijah Atherton ; S., Thomas Tolman; C. of H., David Manley; P. S., Timothy Dorman; R. A. C, Jonathan Reynolds; Treas., Royal Turner; Sec, Artemas Kennedy; M. 3d Veil, Joel Talbot; M. 2d Veil, Consider Southworth ; M. 1st Veil, Luther M. Harris ; 1st I Steward, Leonard Kinsley; 2d Steward, Leonard i Alden; Chap., Rev. Thomas Rich. No Tyler was selected. Among the petitioners were also Abram Capen and Benjamin Capen, of Stoughton, and Wm. ' Dunbar, of Canton. Consider Southworth was chosen a committee to get the approbation of Adoniram Chapter, and Thomas Tolman to obtain the approbation of St. Andrew's and St. Paul's Chapters, and John Edson, Elijah Atherton, and Thomas Tolman were appointed to present the petition to the Grand Chapter, and the same were appointed to call the first meeting, if the petition was granted.
The dispensation was issued Dec. 13,1820, and was signed by Jonathan Gage, Grand High Priest, John J. Loring, Grand Secretary. The chapter immediately went to work with the officers as named above, and its first candidate was Maj. Lemuel Gay, for many years postmaster, and a leading citizen of the town ; closely followed by Nathaniel Blake, the leading owner in the stage line from. Taunton (through Stoughton) to Boston; Richard Talbot and Mather Holmes, whose names frequently occur on the town records; Abel Wentworth, of Canton; Robert L. Killan, of Hanson ; and others from Bridgewater, Randolph, and other towns in the vicinity. Among the first officers were John Edson, a man of character; Elijah Atherton, for many years the leading trial justice of the vicinity: Thomas Tolraan, a lawyer, for a long period treasurer of the Grand Lodge F. and A. M. of Massachusetts; Timothy Dorman, of Randolph, whose initials, T. D., will be long remembered in connection with the old-fashioned clay tobacco-pipes; Royal Turner, of Randolph, many years president of Randolph Bank ; Consider Southworth, the pioneer manufacturer of Southworth sewing-cotton and loom-harness twine; Capt. Jonathan Reynolds; and Joel Talbot, ever to be remembered as good citizens and active townsmen ; and Benjamin Capen and his brother Deacon Abram Capen, the owner of the hotel, and who furnished the hall for the Masonic fraternity.
The work of the chapter was continued with " fervency and zeal," so that about twenty were added during the following six months, rendering the success of the chapter beyond question.
On the 22d of August, 1821, a charter having been granted, Mount Zion Royal Arch Chapter was duly consecrated at Stoughton by the officers of the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts. This was a gala day for the craft, and the citizens of the town. The record says, " The officers of the Grand Chapter were received by the committee of the chapter, at the house of Rev. Mr. Gay, resident clergyman, and escorted to the Masonic Hall. A procession, consisting of nearly four hundred members of the order, and a large number of ladies, was formed, and all marched to the meeting-house of Rev. Mr. Gay, where the ceremonies of consecration and installation were performed, agreeably to the ancient forms and usages of Freemasonry. An address was delivered by Rev. Companion Joseph Richardson; prayer was offered by Richard Carraque: music by the Stoughton choir, which was judiciously selected, and well adapted to the occasion. After the close of the services in the meeting-house, the procession was reformed, and they proceeded to the bower, and partook of a dinner prepared by Companion Abram Capen. The total expenses of the occasion, except the dinner, were twenty-eight dollars and fifty-five cents. [This Stoughton choir was the " Musical Society in Stoughton," organized about 1762 to furnish music for church service, in which they were remarkably successful. The society is in existence to-day, and in a very flourishing condition. It was and is confined to citizens of Stoughton. In about 1786 another society was formed out of this, called the " Stoughton Musical Society, which drew membership from the surrounding towns as well. These two are supposed to be the oldest musical societies in this country].
The first death of a member was that of Leonard Alden, of Randolph, in August, 1822, and Royal Turner, of Randolph, was elected to prepare and deliver the eulogy. This was subsequently carried out at the meeting-house. Prayer was offered by Rev. Benjamin Hunton, of Canton, and the singing was by the Stoughton choir, who were thanked for their services.
On the 24th of June, 1825, the chapter participated in the ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of the new court-house in Dedham. Nov. 8, 1824, the chapter gave its consent to the formation of a new chapter in Medway; Nov. 17, 1828, for a new chapter in Dedham; May 4, 1860, for a new chapter at Foxboro'; Oct. 18,1861, for a new chapter in Bridge-water; Feb. 25,1870, for a new chapter in Hyde Park. The charter members of the above new chapters were largely from Mount Zion Chapter.
One episode of the old Anti-Masonic political times may be recorded. During the great excitement, in 1831, feeling ran high in Stoughton, and Anti-Masonry was triumphant. At a town-meeting held in Stoughton April 4, 1831, the selectmen presented a list of persons to act as jurors. This list was referred back to them for revision. A second list was disposed of in the same way, when the third revise was presented to the town. They voted to accept it after striking off the names of Leonard Hodges, Elijah Atherton, Jonathan Reynolds, and Benjamin Capen, and substituting therefore Ruel Packard, Thomas Capen, Daniel Hayward, and Eliphalet Gay. Although nothing is said in the record of the question of Masonry, the people of the town and the Masons understood that these names were stricken off because they were Masons, and the substitutes were elected because they were Anti-Masons. In the light and intelligence of the present age it seems impossible that such a thing could have occurred. At the next meeting of the chapter, held April 25, 1831, three applications for the degrees conferred by the chapter were received.
June 21, 1831, the chapter voted a donation to the Seamen's Friend Society of Boston. This is but one of a series of donations to charitable objects by the chapter, they having cheerfully accepted and honestly carried out the benevolent instructions of Masonry.
Mount Zion Chapter has, during more than sixty ! years of life, contained within its membership some of the brightest lights of Freemasonry, and its own star has never been dimmed during any of the years ; of the crusade against the craft. Its roll of membership contains the names of those who have been the j most active in their localities in all good works, and : its own large charities have been administered with- ! out ostentation. No stain has marred the purity of i the "banner it threw to the breeze at its birth, and no | doubt its future life will be a repetition of its past, : with the good even more abundant. ,
Stoughton Lodge, No. 72, I. 0. 0. F. (by Wilbur F. Fuller)
Was instituted May 5, 1845, with the following charter members : Elisha Page, Elbridge Jones, Ezra Stearns, Williams W. Hawes, Luther Hayden, Josiah Adkins, William Hayden, John F. Craig, Hosea Osgood, Jr. The following are the names of the Past Grands who are members of this lodge at the present time: R. Warren Jones, George W. Hussey, Samuel Capen, Francis M. Ellms, Warren P. Bird, Henry W. Darling, Robert Burnham, Henry W. Mead, Henry Drake, Thomas W. Bright, Joseph D. Jones, Charles H. Drake. Jr., Chester Clark, Philip B. Whiting, Abraham F. Lunt, Wilbur F. Fuller, Daniel P. Gray, A. St. John Chambre, Lysander Wood, Edward W. Stevens, Nathan R. Lothrop, Newell S. Atwood, W. Holmes, Clarence W. Mead, Albert E. Standish, Henry H. Waugh, Hiram Smith, Melvin O. Walker, F. Walker, Albert H. Whiting, Charles Tenny, Oscar A. Marden, J. W. Richardson, Edwin M. Norton, Benjamin F. Pierce, Henry A. Standish, Charles S. Young.
The present officers are: N. G., H. I. Wood; V. G., Frank F. Smith; Rec. Sec, Wilbur F. Fuller; Per. Sec, James W. Richardson ; Treas., Charles R. Seaver; Trustees, N. S. Atwood, Charles Tenney, Abram F. Lunt.
Number of members at present time, one hundred and twenty-eight.
The following is a list of the Past Grands of Stoughton Lodge, No. 72, I. 0. 0. F., with the date of their installation as Noble Grands :
Past Grand Samuel W. Hodges is Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and Past Grand George W. Hayden is the present Grand Herald of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
The Boot and Shoe Interest. (written by C. Farell)
The principal industry of Stoughton, for the past fifty years or more, has been the manufacture of boots and shoes. The business was begun by John Linfield in 1816, who started the manufacture of shoes in the building afterwards owned and occupied by Robert Porter, and which was removed, in 1880, to make room for the erection of the town-house. A somewhat remarkable incident in connection with this fact is, that Jesse Holmes, the present postmaster of this village, worked at stitching shoes for Mr. Linfield more than sixty years ago, on the same site where he now daily distributes the mails.
In 1821, Isaac Beals moved from the east part of the town to the centre, and commenced the manufacture of boots. The building in which he began was afterwards occupied as a dwelling by Luther and Robert Swan, and was destroyed by the fire of 1880,
which consumed nearly half of the business centre of the village. Mr. Beals remained but a few years in the business, during which time there was associated with him Simeon Drake, who afterwards became a prominent manufacturer.
The apparent success of this firm encouraged many of the young and enterprising men of that day to embark in the same enterprise, nearly all of whom became successful business men. Among the most prominent of these were Nathaniel Morton, Martin Wales, L. & W. Belcher, Beals & Holmes, Hill & Drake, George B,. Monk, and James Littlefield & Co.
To these men is due not only the credit of establishing the business as a permanent industry, and the building up of the town, but also the acquiring of j that reputation for the superior quality of boots and shoes which Stoughton has for so many years justly enjoyed.
Up to 1860 the largest demand for fine goods was from the South, consequently the manufacturers ofj Stoughton bent their energies principally towards the Southern trade. It was owing to this fact that the late civil war was peculiarly disastrous to the greater number of these manufacturers, some of them never recovering from the effects of their heavy losses.
The men doing the largest amount of business at the beginning of the war were Atherton, Stetson & Co., James Hill, G. & S. Wales, S. Pettee & Son, N. Morton, Bradford Kinsley, Monk & Reynolds, L. & W. Belcher, Samuel Savels, J. W. Jones & Co., J. Swan & Co., J. & D. French, J. E. Drake, F. N. Littlefield, and E. Tucker. The amount of business done in 1860 by the above-named firms was about one million three hundred thousand dollars, and they employed very nearly twelve hundred hands, many of those employed coming from surrounding towns.
Previous to 1860 no shoes of any amount had been made here, but after the loss of the Southern trade, the manufacturers, being obliged to find a new market for their goods, turned their attention more fully to this branch of the industry, in order to supply the local trade, and for some years after the war Stoughton's principal market was the New England States.
In 1872 a corporation was formed, to be known as the Stoughton Boot and Shoe Company, with a capital stock of thirty-five thousand dollars. This corporation, for eight years did a large business in the manufacture of boots and shoes, employing about one hundred and fifty hands, and doing a business of two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars annually during the best years of its existence. They were the first manufacturers to introduce steam into the shoe-factories of the centre of the town.
There are now (December, 1883) engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes in Stoughton the following firms, doing a business annually of about nine hundred thousand dollars, and employing about seven hundred hands: D. French & Son, J. & H. Fitzpat-rick, Henry Tucker, E. Littlefield, Upham, Brothers & Co., Farrell & Marston, Charles Tenney, J. H. May & Co., F. Capen & Co., Reynolds Brothers, Alanson Belcher, Samuel Savels, and H. Folsom & Co. The business is annually increasing, and the most of it is in the hands of young and enterprising men, who are trying to make the annual product more than it was in the palmiest days before the war.
The following is a list of representatives from Stoughton, taken from the town records by Henry C. Kimball, Esq. The omissions in certain years indicate that the town voted "not to send," either from motives of economy, - the pay of the representatives being formerly defrayed by the town, - or from the difficulty of obtaining a majority vote for any candidate, the town having in one instance voted eighteen times unsuccessfully, on successive days:
Moses Gill, 1731-33, 1737. William Royall, 1734-36,1738. "William Crane, 1739. Ralph Pope, 1740-41. John Shepard, 1742-48,1750-51, 1754. Joseph Hewins, Jr., 1749, 1753. Joseph Hewins, 1754 to complete term, 1761-63. Richard Baily. 1755-60. Daniel Richards, 1764-65. Hezekiah Gay, 1766-74. Thomas Crane, 1775, 1777-78, 1780-81. Thomas Crane and Benjamin Gill, 1776. Elijah Dunbar, 1779, 1782, 1793. Elijah Dunbar and Frederick Pope, 1787. John Kenny, 17S3. James Endicott, 1784-86,1790. Frederick Pope, 1788-89, 1791-92, 1794-96. Elijah Crane, 1795. Jonah Dean, 1799. Lemuel Gay, 1800-1, 1803-9. Samuel Talbot, 1810-12,1815-16. Benjamin Richards. 1813-14. John Drake, 1821, 1825. Abner Drake, 1828-31. Jesse Pierce, 1833. Jesse Pierce and Jabez Talbot, 1834.
Jesse Pierce and Martin Wales, 1835-36. Martin Wales and Massena B. Ballou, 1837. Jesse Pierce and Consider Southworth, 1840. James Swan, 1841. Enos Talbot, 1842-43. Nathan Drake, Jr., 1844. Charles A. French, 1846. Albert Johnson, 1849, 1851. Isaac Smith, 1850. Samuel W. Curtis, 1852. Charles S. Richardson, 1853. Abel T. Upham, 1855. Charles A. French, 1856. Elisha C. Monk, 1857. Cyrus S. Mann, 1858. William H. Tucker, 1859. ElmerH. Capen, 1860. Frederick Capen, 1861. Jesse Holmes, 1862-63. Albert Dickerman, 1864. Nathan Tucker, Jr., 1865. Jonathan R. Gay, 1866. Thomas Wilson, 1867. Orlando B. Crane, 1868. Henri L. Johnson, 1869. George H. Goward, 1870. Samuel L. Crane, 1871. Henry Jones, 1872. Adam Capen, Jr., 1873. Ezra Stearns, 1874. Leonard A. Thayer, 1875. Warren P. Bird, 1876.
In 1876, Stoughton, Randolph, Sharon, and Walpole were combined to form Representative District No. 7, of Norfolk County, and since that time Stoughton has had only the following representatives: Newell S. Atwood, 1880-81. David H. Blanchard, 1882.
The town clerks of Stoughton from its incorporation in 1726 to 1884 have been as follows:
Stoughton furnished five hundred and twenty-two men for the war, fifteen of whom were commissioned officers. The whole amount of money expended by the town, exclusive of State aid, was seventy-nine thousand eight hundred and seventy-two dollars and fifty-five cents. The town also expended thirty-nine thousand six hundred and fifty-two dollars and twelve cents, which was repaid by the State, for aid to soldiers' families.
The selectmen during the war were as follows : 1861-63, Jedediah Adams, Samuel Capen (2), Clifford Keith; 1864, Jedediah Adams, Clifford Keith, William H. Tucker (2); 1865, Jedediah Adams, Clifford Keith, Samuel Capen (2).
The military record of Stoughton during the war of the Rebellion, embracing a list of soldiers' names, etc., was destroyed by fire a few years since.
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