Three Centuries of Gloucester

Cape Ann Before the English Came 

A great many years ago the climate of North America became so cold that the snow of winter did not melt wholly away in the summer. Thus every year banks of snow grew deeper, until they covered the whole northern part of the continent with an unbroken blanket. As the snow grew deeper, it packed down underneath, until it became ice. Along the edges the ice melted away, but in the middle and toward the north it kept increasing in thickness, until it was thousands of feet thick. From this thickest part it slowly crept outward to the sea on the east, where it broke off in great icebergs, which floated away to melt in the Atlantic. The edge of the ice was many miles east of the present shoreline, so that Cape Ann was buried under thick ice moving slowly southward toward the sea. By this great ice-sheet all plants were killed. All animals were forced to migrate to the south, unless they could get their living from the sea. The ice pushed along all loose rocks, and swept the solid rock clean of ail gravel and soil. Then it scratched the rocks beneath, and these scratches may be seen wherever the dirt is dug away from the rocks. They always run from northwest to south-east, as straight as if they were drawn with a ruler. By and by the climate grew warmer again. The ice retreated toward the north. The retreat was not steady, but varied according to the weather. After a severe winter it would push forward a little, only to melt back again if the next winter was mild. Some-times the edge of the ice remained for a good many years at the same pace. The present appearance of the land about here is largely the result of the changing conditions of the time, when the ice was slowly melting away for the last time. If the ice-edge advanced a little into the piles of boulders which it had left behind, it would push them up into windrows, which are called moraines. Several such moraines are found on Cape Ann. Lamb Ledge near Perkins street, Raccoon Ledge on Dogtown, and the great piles of boulders back of the Sawyer school are examples. Piles of gravel pushed up in the same way are called kames. A fine one may be seen on the south side of the railroad track half way between Rock-port and Gloucester. Near the Rockport station is an "esker" formed, it is supposed, in a tunnel under the ice. The water running out at the ice-front made this tunnel. Then it became choked with gravel and pebbles. After the ice melted away, it was left as a long, narrow mound. Sometimes the thin edge of the ice, moving forward a short distance. instead of pushing a pile of gravel away, slid up over it, rounding it off to a beautiful oval hill. Such hills are called drumlins. Pigeon Hill was made in this way. 

As the ice meted away, plants began to grow again and the animals returned from the south. Whether there were any men in America before i efore the ice-age is not certain, but after the ice-age it is ed that men came to live in the land where the ice had been. Cape Ann was then not quite so high as now, so that the ocean filled the lower valleys. Old beaches may now be found many feet up hillsides. The early inhabitants of America seem to have migrated to America, many thousand years ago. They resemble the people of eastern Asia, more than those of Europe, and the distance between Alaska and Siberia is small. When first seen by white men, they were still savage. They had no records or even reliable traditions. They had no government. Their farming, carried on almost wholly by the women, furnished them with Indian corn and a few vegetables, but their main reliance was hunting and fishing. They lived in little villages of deerskin wigwams, scattered about in the woods of Cape Ann. They paddled in birch-bark canoes over its waters and rambled on hunting trips through its woods. Often they were raided in the fail by Indians from Maine, who could not raise corn and came to steal that of the more fortunate Massachusetts Indians. All the New England Indians, and many others, were of the Algonquin family. Their language as put into writing may be seen in the old Bibles printed for them by missionaries in the 17th century, but it is said that scarcely anyone can now read it. From this language comes many names of places scattered over a large part of North America. The only one on Cape Ann is Annisquam. Stone arrow-heads, hatchets, spear-heads, sinkers, pestles and many other tools have been found on Cape Ann. There are also shell-heaps near the clam-flats; for the clams furnished a never-failing food supply. Long before the coming of the first English settlers, Indians were acquainted with whites; for white traders, fishermen, and explorers sailed along the coast. From some traders the Indians of the M i Massachusetts coast, about 1617, caught some contagious disease—it is not certain what—and so many of them died that the first settlers found almost none here. Therefore, the Indians are not mentioned at all in connection with the early settlement of Gloucester. Only the name Annisquam, and the fact that the town many years later paid some money to an Indian for his claim to land here, seem to show that a few must have been here in 1623. 


Early Explorers 

For a little while let us shut our eyes and make pictures in the darkness. No doubt it will be difficult; because the pictures that come first are pictures of long wharves, studded with painted buildings, small houses dotting the shore, bridges, and, back of these, church spires and school towers. But these pictures we must blot out, and make old time sketches of long, long ago ! Gone are the wharves, the bridges, the church spires ! All along the shore are stout trees, standing side by side and making a dense forest, where roam wild animals, of many kinds and sizes, from the tiny chipmunk to the big antlered moose. In these forests and along these shores lived the Indians. Here in small clearings they planted their corn, put up their wigwams, and danced their wild dances. And many miles across the water lived the white man, some of them, happily, adventurers, eager to sail out over the vast ocean to find new lands and peoples. So, from the bleak country of Norway came Leif Ericson, a bold sailor who feared nothing. Down the coast of our New England he sailed, touching here and there, and leaving the record of his visit carved on the great rocks. To these Norsemen, in their small, strong boats, this was but a happy adventure. The follow-ing summer Thorwald came to try his luck, which was poor indeed! First, history tells use he was caught in a storm and his' boat so damaged that he was obliged to shove out a plank to go ashore. Then came the Indians ! There was a fight in which Thorwald was mortally wounded by the arrow of an Indian, and so died in this strange new land. Somewhere along our coast he was buried. Centuries later a tomb built of cemented stones, containing a skeleton and an iron sword, was discovered. Doubtless you have all read the poem—"The Skeleton in Armor"—in which the poet Longfellow tells such a fascinating tale. And you have seen pictures of the round stone tower at Newport, which some wise man has said was, after all, only a windmill. Of course, deep in our hearts we like to connect this tower with the sailors of eight hundred years ago, who, by their dauntless courage, set fire to the imagination and made a background for charming legends. The coming of Ericson and Thorwald was so far as we know, the only visits of the Norsemen. For many years our land was left undisturbed by adventurers. The Indians were in possession and had only each other with whom to wage war. But this peace was not to last. The land was destined to have a far different history. Abroad, men were making their plans and spending vast sums of money for ships of discovery. 

In 1604 Samuel de Champlain, in his second voyage to the new world, sailed down the coast of what is now the state of Maine, and, on July 16th, 1605, came to the shore of Cape Indians, Ann. In th his eir canoes writings he tells us of what he saw—the fires of the  along the shore, and at last the savages themselves ! On the pebbles and sands of the coast they did for him one of their wild dances and received as presents knives and biscuits. You can picture readily that little scene—the bright colors, the dance, the harsh noises of the savages, and the drab, little company of white men standing by, their arms full of knives and biscuits ! It was on this day of his meeting with the Indians that Champlain and his men passed Gloucester Harbor, sailing fast with a favorable wind. Even at a glance the great sailor felt the beauty and safety of the port; for later, when the fog set in, he turned about and came back, landing on the shores of our city. He tells of the luscious grapes growing here, the pumpkins and some good roots which the savages cultivated. He teals once again of the Indians and how their chief, Onemechin, came down to the boats and was given as a present a coat. But Onemechin, poor fellow, had no use for it. He put it on and took it off, trying all the while to move his arms about. But, alas ! It would not do, so he gave it away. Can't you hear the gruff sounds he made, all the time thinking strange things about these white men who wore such queer clothes ? Champlain and his men spent several days with the Indians, enjoying the beauties of the shore. When he sailed away, he called the place Le Beauport, which is the French for beautiful harbor. Does it not make us proud i to know that a man like Champlain, who had seen many parts of this wonderful world, was struck by the beauty of our harbor? Champlain, as you know, was a native of France, and the French had made many discoveries in the early this part of the seventeenth century. The English had done little up to his time, although you have probably heard of the man with the long name—Bartholomew Gosnold—who sailed by our harbor and along the coast. Then there was a Captain Pring, in his ship the Speedwell, who came looking for sassafras, a tree which was supposed to be a cure for all sickness. And last, and perhaps the most romantic of all—even more so than the picturesque Norsemen—was Captain John Smith of Virginia fame. In 1615 the good captain set sail for what is now the coast of Maine to search for gold and copper. While his men were whaling, he and a few of his company, in small boats, sailed down the coast and traded with the Indians—perchance a string of bright colored glass beads for a costly skin of fur, or some other trifle that pleased the eye of the childlike Indian. He had little, if any, trouble and found this trading a happy occupation. He made maps as he l sailed along and named some of the headlands. 

Gloucester as a Town 

The green depths of the forest closed upon Roger Conant and his little band of backward-glancing men. The sounds of their departure grew fainter, and were lost in the roar of the ocean and the shriek of the sea gull. Only the cleared places and the deserted fish stages were left to show that the white man had ever been on Cape Ann. Even the house in which Roger Conant lived had been taken down and carried away to Salem, where some of the timbers may yet be seen in an old house on Turner street. Yes, the white men were gone. One more its old-time solitude rested upon Cape Ann. Once more the Indian paddled his birch bark canoe up and down the beautiful river, or into the sheltered coves between the rocky headlands. Again he roamed through his native forests, with no one to say to him, "Thou shalt not." Then one day came a terrific storm, with thunder and lightning and high winds; and when the storm had passed, a ship came sailing into the harbor and dropped anchor. It was the "Talbot," on its way from England to Salem. Among the passengers was the Rev. Francis Higginson, who had come to be the minister at Salem. The storm had prevented the "Talbot" from making Salem harbor; so, the captain put into the harbor at Cape Ann and spent the Sabbath here. Mr. Higginson afterward wrote a book about his voyage to America. In it he described our harbor as "a fyne and sweet harbour, where there was an island, whither four of our men with a 

boate, went, and brought back agayne ripe strawberries and goose-berries, and sweet single roses." This, of course, was Ten Pound Island. It was June 28, 1629, that the "Talbot" anchored in the harbor, and from that time fishermen visited Cape Ann almost continu-ously. One party came from the Plymouth Colony in 1630, under the leadership of a son of Rev. John Robinson, the beloved pastor of the Pilgrims, whom they had left behind them in Holland. We know that in 1633 a number of people were here and that they gathered for worship on what is now Centennial avenue, close by the old burying ground, but nearly all traces of these early fishermen are lost. On May 22, 1639, the General Court gave a grant of land on Cape Ann to Mr. Maurice Thomson, a merchant of London, who wished to engage in fishing here. A house was built for Mr. Thom-son, but he never came to live in it. A traveler of those early days speaks of sailing by Cape Ann and seeing the lonely house stand-ing unoccupied. This same traveler, Thomas Lechford says that eleven fishermen, with their chaplain, Master Rashley, lived on the Cape in 1639. Finally, one day in 1642, boats came into the harbor, bringing a number of settlers from the Plymouth Colony, under the leader-ship of the Rev. Richard Blynman. They had heard of the wonder-ful fishing; they had come to make their homes here and to try their fortunes on the stormy seas. From the forest the Indian peered and watched the palefaces. How he must have wondered at the strange ways of white men, t who made wigwams, not of skins, but of tree trunks s piled upon each other! When the settlers met in the largest wooden wigwam to take counsel together, he understood and approved, for this was an ancient Indian custom. Sometimes they met to talk about the fishing and the crops, and this, too, he understood. But when they met to talk about the Great Spirit, how astonished he must have been to see the white squaws 1 children go in and sit down with the white chiefs ! How he must have feared the long black tubes which spat fire; which spoke such loud voices, when lifted to the shoulders of the palefaces, that the flying bird or prowling animal fell dead at the sound d But, most of all, he must have wondered to see the white men dig away the earth to let the waters. of the beautiful river rush into the waters of the great harbor! 

And now his long rule in this part of the land of his fore-fathers was at an end. The scenes of savage, dirty Indian life gave place to the busy sights and sounds of the white man's colony. The large building at which the Indian had wondered was the meeting house--church, school, and public hall in one. Here, on the 3rd of May, 1642, the settlers met and formed a town. For a 

town, you know, is not merely a number of houses standing close together. A town is a number of people, who agredeo all they to help each can other, and defend each other against danger, and to make the place in which they live a good place, a beautiful, place, a place that will be an honor to the rest of the country. The settlers called their town Gloucester, after the old English cathedral city where so many of them were born. They chose a clerk to keep the records, or history, of Gloucester, and selected five men to take care of the town business. These five men were called selectmen. The center of the town was what is now called Riverdale Green. Here stood the meeting house, and round it nearly all the settlers lived. This was the English way of laying out a town. A road led from the Green down to the landing place at what is now the foot of Washington street. A few of the settlers lived at Fishermen's Field, others on the Neck of Houselots, now Wheeler's Point, and still others at Planter's Neck, which we call Annisquam, the lovely name from the long-forgotten Indian tongue. Working hard, the settlers laid out a few more roads and cleared away some of the forest. The fine timber from the forest they used for their houses and boats, and also for a sawmill and a corn mill. Under Mr. Blynman's direction, a canal was cut, so that the Riverdale settlers might sail their boats into the harbor without going all the way around Cape Ann. And because of this, when the City of Gloucester built a new bridge over the canal in 1906, it was given the name of Blynman Bridge. Mr. Blynman was a gentle, lovable man, who was of great help to the settlers in building the new town. He did not stay in Glou-cester long, but after a few years returned to England to end his days in his native city of Bristol. Because of danger from wild beasts and stray Indians, the setters had to be familiar with firearms. Every man kept them in his house and carried them to church with him on Sunday. Even the boys from 10 to 16 years of age were used to them. A little com-pany called a "train band" was formed, and 10 muskets belonging to the Colony were lent the Gloucester settlers. Once a year came "Training Day," when the train band paraded and drilled, and the minister preached a sermon. Whenever the able-bodied men of the town left to assist in putting down Indian uprisings, or engaged in long expeditions against foreign enemies, this military training made them the best of soldiers. In their old homes in England, the settlers had not been al-lowed to hold public meetings to discuss their ideas about religious and national matters. One of the reasons that brought them to America was the fact that they wished to be free to speak what was in their minds on these subjects. In order to do this, the set-tiers held town meetings in which the affairs of town and Colony were talked over, and every man had the right to give his opinion on every subject discussed. Ever since, for almost three hundred years, American towns have held town meetings and enjoyed the same freedom of speech as did the first settlers of Gloucester. 


First Settlement at Cape Ann 

Just what does the year 1623 mean to you, boys and girls ? I am not going to tell you immediately, because I want you to read this story and discover the answer for yourselves. Then, I hope you will remember that date for a long, long time. You recall reading about Bartholomew Gosnold and John Smith, don't you ? When these men returned to Old England, they had marvelous tales to tell their people at home. Their friends in the seaport towns gathered round them wide-eyed and open-mouthed; for never had explorers recounted more wonderful ad-ventures. I imagine they told stories of the Indians they had seen and the new routes they had used in trying to find India; but best of all was the story Gosnold told. He said that as he was exploring Massachusetts Bay, the fish were so plentiful they actually pestered his ship. The townsfolk had heard of fish a-plenty, but never before in such immense quantities. Their interest knew no bounds. It was then that men of commerce began to dream of great wealth to be gained from the waters of the New World. And soon they began to lay plans, that their dreams might be realized. The leaders reasoned in this manner : "Why not settle a colony on the shores of Massachusetts Bay ? Then, while some of the colonists were getting big catches, the others could be raising enough grain to supply themselves and the fishermen as well ?" In this way, you see, they believed the colony would be self-supporting. As soon as this plan was accepted, John White, a minister of Dorchester, England, began to gather men from the seaport towns for this new venture. In a short time, a ship of fifty tons was fitted out and started on its voyage for the New World. At length they arrived at Cape Ann and, although it was late in the season, they were successful in their fishing. Just as we should expect after Gosnold's interesting tale! The vessel, laden with fish, now proceeded to Bilbao. Have you ever heard of Bilbao? If you will look at a map of Europe, you will find it is a large seaport in the northern part of Spain. But much to the discouragement of the Dorchester Company, the distance and dangers were too great to make this a profitable trip. For you must remember that there were no magnificent steam-ships carrying thousands of tons, but only little boats of about fifty tons, depending wholly on the wind for their speed. Back on Cape Ann this vessel had left fourteen of its number. These men were joined by eighteen other colonists the next year. You remember the Plymouth Colony that was founded in 1620. This little settlement was in a pitiable condition, many of its people were on the verge of starvation. Their leading men were, of course, greatly troubled and sought to find some way out of the difficulty. They had, no doubt, heard of the success of the Dorchester Company. Why couldn't they fish in the waters of Massachusetts Bay? So it was decided that Edward Winslow should go to England; for, if they were to carry out their plans, they needed money with which to work. in another way they were decidedly fortunate. Lord Sheffield gave them the right to use that part of New England known as Cape Ann for their work. All went well. They were soon on their way across the Atlantic in a ship called "The Charity." When they arrived at Cape Ann, the season was late, the fish had gone southward, and the weather in this part of the country was too severe for them. As the land around Cape Ann had been granted to the Ply-mouth people, the Dorchester Company had to obtain permission from them to stay on Cape Ann. The two settlements came to an agreement—that each should have a fish stage here. You will be interested to know that these stages were set up on the shores of our own Stage Fort Park. One day a ship belonging to some West Country merchants appeared in the harbor. Its commander, a man named Hewes, finding that the Pilgrim stage was unoccupied, seized it and intended to i keep it by force of arms, if necessary. He found some hogsheads on the stage and began piling these up for defense. Captain Myles Standish, the courageous soldier of Plymouth, demanded that these pirates at once leave the stage. You can imagine how serious maters looked. Myles Standish would have been willing to fight to a finish, and probably Hewes was a man who was willing to stand his ground. Just when the words were the hottest, Roger Conant, the governor of the settlement, appeared and, stepping forward, suggested this plan. He said in part, "Why can we not live peaceably together? We are all Englishmen. Let us agree that neither will take an unfair advantage of the other. How much better this will be than the shedding of blood." So they decided to settle their differences in a peaceful way. No doubt you have heard of troubles in our times being settled by arbitration. Perhaps you have wondered what it meant. When a country arbitrates with another, they each appoint a person or persons to think over their difficulties and to find a way to settle them peaceably. Roger Conant, in this case, proved an able arbitrator. Try to remember that this was the first difficulty in America to be settled by this method. How much better to talk over our difficulties than to resort to blows immediately. That year the fish were plentiful, and at the end of the season both vessels went home to England with a large fare. You would imagine that, from the fact that Gloucester became a great fishing port, the fishing business was a success from the beginning. History, on the contrary, tells us a different story. The Dorchester Company became heavily involved in debt and had to give up their stage on Cape Ann. The Plymouth people were fairly successful. However, misfortune came upon them. Their salt-house was destroyed by fire, so that they, too, gave up their fish-ing plans for a time. Most of the Dorchester Company went back to their homes in England. A few, wishing to remain in the New World, moved to Naumkeag, or Salem, in 1626. One of these was Governor Roger Conant. Let us pause for a moment over this noble pioneer. When some of his followers decided later to leave Naumkeag for the Virginia Plantations, Conant, with marvelous steadfastness of purpose, replied to them in these stirring words: "I shall wait the providence of God in the place where we now are. Yea, though all shall forsake me. For, if you depart, I shall soon see more company." A man of peace but firm in his undertakings. A trust in God that could overcome all difficulties. No doubt, he caught a glimpse of the future when "the little should become a thousand and the small one a great nation." 

There were no cars or trains in those days to carry the colonists from place to place. Through the thick, unbroken forests of Cape Ann they wended their way, driving their cattle before them. We are told that the path they used later became the highway that connects Gloucester with Salem. We can imagine how many times they gave a backward look on the little settlements they were leaving, with a bit of sadness as their steps took them farther and farther away from their first home in the new country. And, per-haps, they were wondering what the future would have for them in their new home. 

Thus, boys and girls, Cape Ann had its beginning in 1623. From this humble little settlement grew the Massachusetts Bay Colony and our own splendid state. You and I know her present history. Of her future we have no fear. May we strive to keep her record clean! 


Colonial Gloucester 

Early Period Part 1. 

The first men and women who came to Cape Ann had lived in comfortable homes in England, where plenty of food was raised on broad farms, here the climate was mild, and where there was much to make life easy and pleasant. When they landed on the shores of Massachusetts Bay, they found the soil was stony, the winters long and bitter, and life meant very hard work. Behind them was a wide ocean; before them a vast wilderness, full of strange, wild animals and savage Indians. On the few spots which could be cultivated, these earliest set-tlers built their houses, rude ones of logs, with chimneys made of stones and clay. The doors always faced south, because that was the warmest side and in winter would not be so easily blocked with snow. Each house had, perhaps, one small window, covered with oiled paper. For some years the settlers sent to England for this oiled paper; but when glass came to be used in windows, small panes took the place of paper. These first houses were probably lighted at night with pine knots, and were heated by fireplaces. The furniture was very simple. There were tables and beds, stools instead of chairs, and chests to hold the small stock of household linen. It is said that every family who came to America brought one or more chests, which were used for trunks and packing cases as well as for furniture. The settlers ate from dishes of pewter and tin. They all had huge brass or copper pots and iron kettles in which to cook the food in the fireplaces. The kettles were often big enough to hold fifteen gallons, and the iron pots sometimes weighed forty pounds each. The settlers handed these kettles down to their children and grandchildren, and boasted how many years they had been used by a single family. What hard work it must have been for the women and children to lift these heavy pots and kettles! We may guess how large they were from the story about two Boston children, who, left alone in the house, saw some Indians coming, and not knowing where else to hide, turned two kettles upside down and crept under them. There the children were found safe by their parents, who came home in great fear lest the Indians had killed or stolen them. These earliest houses and furnishings were not worth much. A yoke of oxen was worth more than a man's house and barn together. Later on, frame houses were built. These dwellings were daubed with clay, and had roofs covered with thatch, or reeds ; but in a short time the settlers stopped using clay on the walls and used it only for the chimneys. When more people came to Cape Ann, larger and better houses were built, some of which are standing today. These had sloping roofs and low ceilings, with great beams across them. Nearly every room contained a fireplace. All the Massachusetts Bay settlers suffered very much from cold during the long winters. One well known colonist had nineteen fireplaces in his house; and yet he says, in a book that he wrote, that one winter day while he sat beside a roaring fire, the ink with which he was writing froze in the inkstand. I think that the babies must have felt the cold more than any-body else. They did not have the woolen blankets and warm cloth-ing that our modern babies have. They wore chilly little linen shirts and caps, and thin dresses, sometimes beautifully embroidered, but offering little protection against the cold. As long as someone held the baby in the fireplace, it must have been comfort-able. Then, too, baby was warm in its wooden cradle, with a big hood at one end to keep off the drafts, but probably only the strongest babies could survive the long, cold winters. The first men, women, and children who settled here and founded a new country had to work hard. The great wilderness could give them wealth yet, the simplest, everyday living meant a great deal of labor. When we want a fire, we light a match, but the colonists had to spend a. long time striking flint and steel together to make a spark to kindle a bit of tow. They tried to avoid this hard task by keeping the hearth fire burning day and night. if it did go out, they went to the nearest neighbor's and brought back red hot coals on a shovel, although sometimes they spilled the coals and burned down the houses. When we want new clothes, or a cake of soap, we buy them at a store, but this could not be done by the first settlers. If new clothes were needed, the women must comb, card, spin, weave, and dye the cloth, which was then sewed by hand. Beside their usual daily tasks, the women made soap and cooked herbs for medicine. The pine knots used to light the log cabins soon gave place to oil from fish, which was burned in a sort of lamp. Afterwards candles were used for many years. This meant long hours of dipping a piece of string over and over in grease and tallow. The children helped make the candles, and probably thought it great fun, as they had little to amuse them, there being few books and pictures, and probably no toys. In those days it was thought wrong to allow children to spend much time in play. The boys helped father on the farm or in the fishing boat; the girls helped mother in the house. We can imagine how the children must have enjoyed the few pleasures that were allowed them. The earliest colonists, who were called Puritans, did not believe in celebrating Christmas. Thanksgiving, training, and election days were the only celebrations, and even on these days not many amusements were permitted. When we look back and see how plainly the first settlers lived, how hard they worked, and how great was their courage in facing life in a strange country, three thousand miles away from home and friends, we realize that their lives of toil and sacrifice laid a firm foundation for the great nation which we are today. 


Colonial Gloucester

 Early Period—Part Two.

 Our forefathers toiled so hard during six days of the week that it was a great relief to them when Sunday came, for on Sunday no one was allowed to do work of any kind. The Sabbath began on Saturday at sunset and ended at sunset on Sunday. During that time, there could be no visiting, no heavy eating, not even the smell of cooking, and no traveling, except to church. 

At first there was a law that everybody must go to church. There were several services, which were always long. Sometimes the sermon lasted two or three hours but it must have been pleas-ant to the people, after a week's hard work, to sit still and listen to the minister. Of course, they had no newspapers at first, and very few books ; so the long sermons taught them much, and news and gossip could be exchanged on the way to and from church. Probably the children did not care as much for the long services as their elders; for the pews were too high to look over, and the seats were narrow and uncomfortable. Little girls sat beside their mothers in the gallery and must have found it hard to sit quiet for hours, listening to the minister's long talks. The men occupied the floor of the meeting house, whereas the boys sat together, either in the gallery or on one side of the floor. Boys of two or three hun-dred years ago were very much like boys of today; for one of the duties of the tithing-man, as he was called, was to keep order among the boys by means of a long pole with a round knob on the end, which he brought smartly down on the head of any boy who made too much noise during meeting. The other end of the tithing-man's pole had a squirrei's tail ,or ia feather, with which he tickled the face of any lady who was so unfortunate as to fall asleep during the service. When the tickling woke her, she must have been glad that the high back of the pew hid her blushes from her smiling neighbors. For a long time the law said that people who did not go to church should be brought before the court and punished. Even when there was no such law, those who did not go were not thought very respectable. Only church members were given a share in the government, although everybody had to pay taxes to support the church as well as the other public institutions. In 1688, about one-quarter of the settlers lived in what is now West Gloucester. As it was a long way around the head of Annisquam River and the roads were poor, most of the travel was prob-ably done by water. In summer, all these people, who lhied so far from the church, could go there by boat; for, although it was against the law to use boats, horses or wagons ,on Sunday, they could be used for church going by those who lived a long way from the meeting house. The Puritans were very strict about this mat-ter of distance, and would not think of using a boat ,or wagon if they could possibly walk. Strict as they were, our forefathers must certainly have enjoyed crossing beautiful Annisquam River by boat on a pleasant summer morning. We are apt to think that they Puri-tan Sabbath must have been very tiresome, but we should remem-ber that it was a real Day of Rest for hard-working people. The minister was an important person in the town. His salary was paid in Indian corn, pease, barley, fish or pork; for, although there was a mint in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the settlers of Cape Ann had very little to do with gold or silver coin. Often they used wampum or bullets for money, paying their taxes in this way, but as a rule the products of the earth and sea were their currency. In addition to his salary, the minister was allowed a certain amount of firewood from the town land, for which he preached a lecture every three weeks from March to September. These lectures were upon matters that had to do with daily living. The minister did not perform the marriages. This was done by a magistrate, or judge, and there was none in Gloucester until about 1700. People who wished to be married had to go to Ipswich or Salem. Besides preaching, the minister spent a great deal of time in visiting the sick and the dying. The long, cold winters brought much illness to the people who were not used to a severe climate, and fevers and small-pox were common. It was not unusual for the minister to be called out of bed on a bitter winter night, when he himself was far from well, to attend sick people. One of the early ministers, Parson Chandler, says in his diary: "I was very much not well but visited about 18 persons sick with the measles * * * * I could scarce hold up in the evening; visited Mary Pierce ; after, visited Capt. Babson, very dangerous, near death; I came home and went to bed ill; about 2 o'clock, they sent for me to Capt. Babson; I sent word I was ill and unable, but by their repeated opportunity (importunity), considering the distress of the family, I rose and went; while I was attempting to pray with him I fainted away." Of such stuff were the early settlers made. ABBIE F. RUST. 

Colonial Gloucester Early Period—Part III. 

When the first settlers came to Cape Ann, each man, as we have seen, chose a piece of land on which to build his house. Some chose land at the Harbor, some at Fishermen's Field, and some at what is now Riverdale. But there were so few men in the town that acres and acres of land were not used. This was called common land. Most of this common land was covered with forests, and for forty, or fifty years nothing was done with it. Then the town decided to give six acres to each man who owned a house, and six acres to each young man who had been born here, lived here, and paid taxes. And so, on one bright day in 1688, all the men went to 

the Meeting House on the Green and drew lots for shares of the common land. In 1700 there were still large tracts of common land owned by no one; but as new settlers were coming all the time, the town began to be a little more careful about giving away land. In 1707 another drawing was held at the Meeting House, when each com-moner and the minister received lots of six, eight, and ten acres apiece. You remember that the first settlers thatched the roofs of their houses with reeds. These reeds grew along the banks of Annisquam River, and the river banks were part of the common land. In 1709 the commoners drew lots once more and divided the thatch banks among themselves. As time went on, the common land was sold, and the commoners died, until now all we know about them is in a big book in City Hall, which tells what they did and who some of them were. A number of years' after Gloucester became a town, an Indian named Samuel English claimed all of Cape Ann, because it had once belonged to his grandfather, the sagamore, or chief, of the. Naumkeag tribe. After much dispute, the town paid Samuel English about fifty dollars, in order that it might own the land forever, free from any more Indian claims. Cape Ann was so well guarded by water and rocky shores that few of the savages in the vast forests to the westward came near enough to harm the settlers. But whenever the Indians put on their war paint, danced the war dance, and attacked the settlers in some other part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, brave Gloucester men were always among those who went to the defense of their brother colonists. In 1676, the Indians rose in what is called King Philip's War (after the Indian leader), and sixteen men, one-quarter of all the men in town, went to the war. After Philip was killed and the Indians subdued, the town of Gloucester gave these sixteen soldiers lots of the common land at Kettle Cove as a reward for their services. Not many years after, in the summer of 1692, there was great excitement in the neighboring town ofSalem. Men and women be-another. This 'excitement is said gan to call each other witchesatn to be terribly afraid of one to have started with the pranks of a few small children, who miere amused at tales of witchcraft told them by an old negress .rom the West Indies, and who spent their time playing at being witches. At last their mischief went so far that they were ashamed to confess that it was only fun, and the good people of Salem, thinking the children were in earnest, became one in our history. Nei hb g ors aeccualem ofgth eS witchcraft is a very dark so excited that the story sed each other, husbands their wives, and children their parents. Some were hanged, some pressed to death under heavy stones. Everybody was thoroughly frightened, and it seemed as if the only way to escape being called a witch was to accuse someone else first. The terrible excitement spread to Gloucester and one of the first to be put in prison was Abigail Somes, who stayed seven long months in Boston Jail. Another who was accused, but not put in prison, was Mrs. Ann Dolliver, whose father, Rev. John Higginson, was then minister of Salem. Mrs. Dolliver lived in the old Dolliver homestead, which you can see still standing on Main street, near the foot of Chestnut street. The witchcraft scare lasted several months, but at last, when winter was nearly over, it died out. Probably the people of both Salem and Gloucester came to be very sorry that they had allowed their feelings to sway them so far as to put to death helpless old men and women for something which we know now was only imagination. Our forefathers had other troubles besides those with witches and Indians. They had come to America to have as much freedom as possible, and they were unwilling to pay the heavy taxes which were laid on them by some of the rulers of England. One of these, King James II, would not let the people of the Massachusetts Bay Colony choose their own governor. He sent over Sir Edmund Andros, who was a very harsh governor, and who tried to make the people pay the heaviest taxes that had ever been asked of them. Indeed, some of the towns would not even try to pay, and Gloucester was one of these towns. Because they would not collect such unjust taxes from the townspeople, five of the selectmen and two of the settlers of Gloucester were taken before the court at Salem and ordered to pay a large fine. But the town very cheer-fully paid the fine, rather than submit to such harsh treatment. While Andros was trying to find a way to make the colonists pay the taxes, a new king, William of Orange, took his seat on the English throne. King William sent over Sir William Phips to take Andros' place. With the coming of the new governor, the colonists had an easier time, although all of their old liberties were not given back to them. This refusal on the part of the settlers to pay heavy taxes was one of the causes that led to the Revolutionary War and the found-ing of a new government, under which the colonists enjoyed the freedom that they had dreamed about and had suffered so many hardships to obtain. 


Last modified: Sunday, 6 October 2019, 2:37 PM