STORY OF BYFIELD


                                             a New England Parish





                                                       JOHN LOUIS EWELL, D.D.


                                                  Professor of Old Testament Hebrew Exegesis and Church History,

                                                                    Howard University, Washington, D. C.





                                                                       With Maps, Plans, and Illustrations





















                                                                        GEORGE  E. LITTLEFIELD

                                                                                  67 CORNHILL



























                                                                             COPYRIGHT1 1904,

                                                                           By JOHN LOUIS  EWELL


































To my wife














IF one could only know in youth what he was to do in after

life how much better he could do it! Had I dreamed in my

early years of writing a history of Byfield, there were many

about me, who have long since passed on, who could have in-

stantly given me information which I have only obtained with

difficulty, or not at all; but up to four years ago I had never

thought of such a work. What led to it was the publication of

an article by me on Ezekiel Rogers and Rowley in the New

England Magazine for September, 1899. This brought to me

the urgent suggestion, particularly from Mr. Northend, that I

should write a history of Byfield. At first I would not enter-

tain the idea because my regular work was so engrossing, but

at length I yielded, and I have found the task, while a large

one, very pleasant. It has been lightened by the hearty co-

operation of so many friends that I cannot attempt to enumer-

ate them all, although under the head of authorities and, from

time to time, in the body of the work, I have had the privilege

of acknowledging my debt to some of them. I think, however,

that there should be mentioned pre-eminently the late Mr.

Northend, to whose most cordial and helpful assistance from the

beginning until his death I have tried to give due' acknowledge-

ment in more than one place in the book, and whose decease

before the publication of the work is a special grief to me;

Mrs. Forbes, who has evidently delighted to incur any pains or

expense that could aid me, and whose interest in the book has

been to me a constant stimulus and cheer; and she to whom

the book is dedicated, who has helped me throughout by un-

ending copying, investigation, and suggestion, and to whose


viii                                  PREFACE


enthusiastic co-operation    the history is largely indebted for

whatever value it may have.


   I have sought by this book to perpetuate the memory of

many of the men and women who have made Byfield worthy of

remembrance, and if I have felt obliged to criticise any of them

at all, I have remembered a remark of Professor Fisher that it is

a serious function of the historian to pass judgment on the dead,

who cannot defend themselves, and I have aimed to be generous

in my criticisms. I have also hoped that the portrayal of the

excellencies of the fathers may foster a similar character in their

descendants of the present and future for


                             They who on glorious ancestry enlarge

                             Do but confess their debt, not its discharge.


I have entitled my book a story because my aim has been to

present the more readable and interesting facts and features of

the history, rather than to give a complete chronicle. Hutchin-

son says, in his " History of Massachusetts," that " we are fond

of knowing the minutiae which relate to our ancestors "; believ-

ing this to be true, I have gathered up many a little incident in

the life of our people. At the same time I hope that many por-

tions of the story may interest those not of Byfield lineage who

would trace the mighty current of New England's influence back

to its modest springs.

   If I were to give several years more to the book I could render

it more exhaustive and accurate, but if I were 'to wait to make

it perfect I should never publish it at all, and so I send it forth,

bidding it bear a kindly greeting to all who may honor it with

their attention; --and may God bless Byfield, and all her people,

and her children's children, however far they may be scattered,

throughout all generations.


                                                                             J. L. EWELL.

BYFIFLD, August 31, 1903.

                    PRINCIPAL AUTHORITIES



          Record of Baptisms and Deaths, beginning 1709.

          Assessors' Records, beginning 1717.

          Church Records, beginning 1744.

          Parish Records, beginning 1762.

          Newbury Fund Records.

          Meeting-House Records.

          Records of the Sunday-School-Choir-Ladies' Benevolent Society

                   and Ladies' Vestry Association.

          Rowley Records.

          Newbury Records.

          The Parsons Diary.

          The Longfellow, Pearson, Hale, Root, Pillsbury, and Ewell Ledgers.

          Documents furnished by Mrs. S. E. P. Forbes, Miss Marion McG.

                    Noyes, Miss E. M. Morgan, Mrs. J. 0. Hale, Miss Loraine Peabody,

                    Mrs. G. H. Dole, Mrs. H. T. Pearson, Messrs. W. D. Northend,

                    P. L. Horne, S. T. Poor, H. Longfellow, G. W.Adanis, L. Adanis,

                    E. I. Dole.

          Letters from many of those just mentioned, also from the late Prof.

                   E. A. Park and Principal C. F. P. Bancroft, from Messrs. W. 0.

                   Webber and P. N. Spofford, Mrs. J. Howard Nichols, and very

                   many others.


          PAMPHLETS AND NEWSPAPERS in great numbers-many of them loans

                   from kind friends; among newspapers particularly the Newbury-

                   port Herald, Georgetown Advocate, and Byfield Parish Bulletin.

                   Among pamphlets special use has been made first of all of J. N.

                   Dummer's "Brief History of Byfield" --the highly praiseworthy

                   pioneer history of the parish. Special mention should also be made

                   of Cleaveland's Centennial Address at Dummer Academy; President

                   Wood's "Parker Cleaveland;" Northend's Address at the 125th

                   Anniversary of Dummer Academy; Ware's Eulogy on President

                   Webber; and Little's "Contribution to the History of Byfield,"

                   also termed by the author, "An Outside View." Many other pam-

                   phlets have been of great service; also scrap-books compiled by

                   Mrs. A. W. Lunt, the mother of Mr. W. H. Morse, and Mr. J.

                   N. Dummer.

x                      PRINCIPAL AUTHORITIES.


Books:  --

          Gage's History of Rowley.

          Coffin's History of Newbury.

          Currier's Ould Newbury and History of Newbury -the latter not

                   published until half of this history was written.

          Blodgette's Early Settlers of Rowley.

          Professor Parsons' Memoir of Chief justice Parsons.

          The Standard History of Essex County.

          Hurd's History of Essex County.

          Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of Essex County.

          Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit.

          Miss Emery's Reminiscences of a Nongenarian.

          The Hale, Chute, Cheney, Poore, Adams, Woodman, Stickney, and

                   Spofford Genealogies.

          Mather's Magnalia.

          Hubbard's History of New England.

          Winthrop's History of New England.

          Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts.

          Barry's History of Massachusetts.

          Dr. E. E. Hale's Story of Massachusetts.

          Bodge's King Philip's War.

          History of Rindge, N. H.

          Lechford's Plain Dealing.

          McClure and Parish's Life of President Wheelock.

          Dr. Parish's Sermons.

          The Westbrook Papers.

          John Quincy Adams' Diary.


          Of the many to whom I am indebted for oral information I will only men-

tion the departed, and I do so tenderly and gratefully --Mrs. Otis Thompson,

Mr. Benjamin Pearson, the sixth, and Mr. E. I. Dole.

          Fuller descriptions of some of these authorities 'will be found at the

beginning of several of the chapters.



PREFACE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           vii                    

PRINCIPAL AUTHORITIES   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        ix

ILLUSTRATIONS    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        xiii



            1.         WHAT AND WHERE IS BYFIELD? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        1


                                    THE INDIAN PERIOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .            8

            III.       ANCESTRAL  HOMES BEYOND THE SEA . . . . . . . . . . . .                     17

            IV.       THE PIONEERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .                     45

            V.        DURING THE MINISTRY OF THE   REV. MOSES  HALE .       70




                                    REV. HENRY DURANT, LL.D., THE REV. FRANCIS V. TEN-

                                    NEY, AND THE REV. CHARLES BROOKS  . . . . . . .      209

            IX.       THE WAR OF THE REBELLION AND SINCE . . . .  . . . . . .        252

            X.        CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         272




PASTORS OF THE  CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     303

PASTORS OF THE METHODIST CHURCH  .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     303

DEACONS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH   .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    304



MASTERS OF DUMMFR ACADEMY      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      306

LIST OF THE LOAN HISTORICAL EXHIBITION    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       307




xii                                                        CONTENTS



LIST OF THE HISTORIC SITES MARKED    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        307


ADVERTISEMENT OF THE FEMALE SEMINARY    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                         313

SOLDIERS OF THE WAR OF THE REBELLION       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        313

COLLEGE GRADUATES FROM BYFIELD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             319

SPINNING-BEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                          321

PARISH AND OTHER FUNDS    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .              322

AN AFTER WORD      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .              323


INDEX    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                          327





The Bi-centennial Celebration             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           Frontispiece

Photograph   by Ramsdell.

Judge Nathaniel Byfield. 1653-1733   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        Opposite Page          4

Frazer's Rock        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          "                      4

                                                Photograph by the author.

Thurlow's Bridge         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           "                     10

Photograph by W. S. Ewell.

"A plain Of salt grass, with a river winding down"  . . . . . . . . . . . . .           "                     10

Deed from Byfield Indians, with their Marks. 1681 . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    "                     15      

Yew older than the Conquest (1066);   Churchyard of

Bishopstoke, England  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    "                     26

Photograph by the author.

Ancient Parish Church, Walton, England  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     "                     26

Photograph by the author.

Cholderton, England, Home of the Noyes Family  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                  "                     34

Photograph by the author.

Kemerton Manor House, England  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        "                     34

Photograph by the author.

Dr. John Clarke (Clark) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    "                     52                  

Chief-Justice Samuel Sewall.  1652-1730    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    "                     52

The Original Longfellow House, built about 1676, as it

            appeared in 1875 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       "                     54

By permission of Harper and Brothers.

The Parsonage of 1703, as it appeared in 1875   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   "                     54

By permission of Harper and Brothers.

The Witham (Dickinson, Pillsbury) House   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    "                     62

Photograph by Prof. R. R. Moody.

"The Top House" (Robert Jewett House), Warren Street                                      "                     62

Photograph by Prof. H. R. Moody.

The Plan of the First Meeting-House   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    "                     72

Drawn by R. D. P.  Noyes.

The Plan of the Second Meeting-House  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    "                     72

Drawn by Rev. D. P.  Noyes.

Lieut.-Gov. William Dummer. 1677-1761  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   "                     82

Photograph by the author.


Dummer Academy            .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                           Opposite page  82

The Benjamin Pearson House .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                      "             92

A Page of the Baptismal Register kept by Rev. Moses                                         "                      

Hale          .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                      "              98

Rev. Moses Parsons. 1716-1783   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "           104

Mrs. Moses Parsons. Died 1794, aged 75 .  .  .  .  .                                                "           104

Eben Parsons. 1746-1819        .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                    "           104            

Gorham Parsons. 1768-1844   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "           104

A Page from Rev. Moses Parsons' Diary, recording the

Opening of Dummer Academy .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "           114

Master Moody's Schoolhouse - Built 1762-63.  .  .                                              "           116

Master Moody's Grave, York, Me .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                 "           116

Photograph by the author.

Samuel Webber. 1760-1810       .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                 "           138

Eliphalet Pearson, LL.D. 1752-1826   .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "           138

Chief-justice Theophilus Parsons. 1750-1813    .  .                                              "           138

The Tenney House          .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                   "           154

Photograph by the author.

Warren Street District Schoolhouse     .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                               "           154

Photograph by the author.

Grave of Eliphalet Pearson          .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "           154

Photograph by the author.

Closing Words of the Church Covenant as renewed in

1788, with the Autograph Signatures .  .  .  .                                               "           164

Map of Byfield, 1794, 1795        .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "           167

State House Archives.

Rude Map of River Parker in 1811, showing its Mills                                          "           168

State House Archives.

Elijah Parish, D.D. 1762-1825          .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "            176

Rev. William French. 1778-1860      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                               "            176

Hon. Samuel Tenney, M. C.  1748-1816 .  .  .  .  .  .                                               "            176

Fatherland Farm      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                  "            180

Moses Colman. 1755-1837       .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                               "            192

Map of Byfield in 1830    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "            210

State House Archives.

Rev. Henry Durant. 1802-1875   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "              214

Rev. Francis V. Tenney. 1819-1885 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                     "              214

Rev. Charles Brooks. 1831-1866      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "              214

The Plan of the Present Meeting-House, with the Original                     

Purchasers of Pews and Prices  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                               "            224

Isaac W. Wheelwright. 1801-1891    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                               "              232           

Zev. Daniel Parker Noyes      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                "            232


ILLUSTRATIONS.                                            xv


Luther Moody   . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   Opposite page          232

Martin Root, M.D.      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                               "                             232

The Present Congregational Meeting-House       . . . . .                             "                           252

Photograph by Herbert H. Moody.

The Congregational Meeting-House - Interior . . . . . . .                             "                           252

Photograph by Rev. R. M. D. Adams.

The Former Methodist Meeting-House  . . . . . . . . . . . .                             "                           254

Photograph by Ramsdell.

The New Methodist Meeting-House  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                              "                           254

Photograph by Ramsdell.

The New Schoolhouse, Byfield Station  . . . . . . . . . . . .                             "                          262

Birthplace of Secretary Moody    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                "                          262

Photograph by Ramsdell

Alexander B. Forbes. 1836-1903      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               "                             264

Mrs. S. E. P. Forbes            . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                 "                            264

The Parsons Mantel, Fatherland Farm Mansion  . . . . . . .              "                          264

Photograph by the author.

Hon. William H. Moody, Secretary U. S. Navy                                          "                           280

From a photograph (copyright, 1902), by J.  E. Purdy, Boston.

Chief-Justice John S. Tenney. 1793-1869                                                 "                         280

Prof. Parker Cleaveland. 1780-1858   .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             "                         280

Hon. William Dummer Northend, LL.D.  1823-1902  . . .                       "                         280

Rev. Herbert E. Lombard              . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               "                         292

Master Perley L. Horne                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                          "                         292

Nathaniel N. Dummer                   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               "                         292

Justin 0. Rogers        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .              "                         292

The Present Parsonage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        "                         292

Photograph taken during Rev. Mr. Gleason's Pastorate.

Map of Byfield in 1902   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        "                          300

Drawn by A. W. Ewell.













Special Authorities: Newbury and Rowley records.


BYFIELD is in Essex Co., Massachusetts. It is not a town,

as so many suppose, but a parish.  Its people were never

separated from their fellow-townsmen for civil, but only for

religious purposes.

   Originally each town made one parish, but as the towns grew

and their more remote portions were settled, the population fre-

quently became too large and too widely scattered to attend

worship in one place; so there would often after a time be two

or more parishes in one town.  These parishes must be marked

off by definite bounds, so that no one might evade his "ministry


   In the case of Byfield, it happen that the people in the cor-

ners of two towns, namely Newbury and Rowley, were set off in

a new parish, although many, who are so far posted as to know

that Byfield is not a town but a parish, suppose that it all lies in

Newbury. In fact, ever since 1838, when a part of Rowley was

incorporated as the town of Georgetown, Byfield has comprised

adjacent portions of the three towns of Newbury, Rowley,

and Georgetown. Indeed, it happened that the present meet-

ing-house was built partly on one side of the line between New-

bury and what is now Georgetown, and partly on the other, and



at least one pew is thus divided so that a man and his wife can

worship in the same pew but in different towns.

   As only the religious tax was assessed according to parish

lines, the bounds were not drawn and maintained with the same

exactness as those of towns. I have been unable to find any

boundary determined with distances and angles until 1809 when

the line between Byfield and the first parish of Newbury was

thus defined, and 1816 when a similar line was run between

Byfield and the second parish in Rowley, now in Georgetown.

A remonstrance to the line of 1809 and a counter statement by

the Byfield committee show that the original line, at least against

Newbury, ran "by farms and lots;" that is, so that each lot and

each farm might as far as possible fall on the same side of the

line. These "bounds were not transcribed into the act of in-

corporation," and there were "subsequent transfers," so that

the original lines can only be approximately determined.

   The original Newbury record runs thus:

          At a Legal meeting of the Freeholders and proprietors of the Town

          of Newbury Oct. 25th, 1706 Decon Cutting Noyes Chosen Moderator

          . . .upon reading the petition of the Inhabitants of the Falls in

          ye Town of Newbury . . . It was voated yt ye Dividing Line in

          Reforance to their procureing and maintaining a Minister amongst

          themselves and for yt only said Line shall begin at Rowley River's

          mouth and so up said River to Rowley Line and so all thence of the

          Southwardly side of the falls River and of the Northwardly side of

          the falls River Taking in John Chaney with his Land he Lives on

          and Mr. Moody's Farm and the Farm comonly called Mr. Long-

          fellow's Farm and Mr. Gerrishes Farm and the westerly part of ye farm

          called Thirloes farm until it comes to the Dividing line between Frances

          Thirloes Farm and Thomas Thirloes farm for so long a time as they shall

          maintain an orthodox minister amongst them Voted on ye Affirmative.

                             Ensigne Richard Kent dissented.


   In this record "Rowley River's mouth" means what we call

Oyster Point, that is, the junction of what is now called Mill

River with the Parker. The "falls River" was the Parker. Al-

though it is not definitely so stated, the Parker seems to have

been the northerly bound from Oyster Point to the dividing line

in "Thirloes" farm. The description of the northerly bound

in the record begins at the northwest corner of the Newbury

part of Byfield. John "Chancy" (Cheney) lived near the resi-

dence of the late Mr. Benj. Pearson; Mr. Moody on the place

where Miss Harriet Moody now lives.  "Mr. Longfellow's

Farm" is still in the family and the name. Mr. Gerrish lived

where Mr. Lacroix lives now, and "the Dividing line between

Francis Thirloes farm and Thomas Thirloes farm" is said to be a

stone wall just east of Mr. Asa Pingree's house. There the line

seems to have turned south and run to the river, which, as was

just said, appears to have been the northern bound from that

point to its junction with Mill River.

  The Rowley records have three important entries as to the

Byfield bounds. The first reads:

             At a legall meeting of the Inhabitants of the Towne of Rowley

          march the :  16 : 1702-3  It was Agreed and voated that the Inhabi-

          tants of the Towne of Rowley living on the North west side of the

          bridg called Rye plaine bridg and on the North west side of the hill

          called Long hill and Joyned with the farmers of Newbury that doth

          border on us in building a New meeting house for the worship of god

          Shall be Abatted their Rattes in the ministery Ratt in the Town of

          Rowley: if they do maintains with the help of our neighbours at New-

          bury an Athordaxs minister to belong to and teach in that meeting

          house that they have buillt : untill such times as it is Judged that there

          is a sufishent Number to maintains a minister in the Northwest part of

          our Towne without the help of our Neighbours at Newbury that doth

          border upon us; whose Names are as foloweth that have their Rattes

          Abatted: Samll Brockelbanke; Jonathan Wheeler; Richard Boynton;

          Benjamen Plumer Henry Poor John Plumer Dunkin Steward Ebenezer

          Steward Josiah Wood John Lull Jonanth Looke ; John Brown Nathaniell

          browne ; Ebenezer Browne James Chutte Lionell Chutte Andrew Stickne

          James Tenney

                                      Voted and pased on

                                                the Affirmative


    "Rye plaine bridg" is the bridge between the Georgetown

almshouse and J. L. Ewell's house; practically, "the North west

side" of that bridge seems to have taken in Warren Street.

This designation and "the North west side of the hill called


Long hill" seem to have included the greater part of what is

now Georgetown. A more definite record is found in the Row-

ley records under date of May 13, 1707, four years later than

the one just quoted. It reads as follows:


              It was Agreed and voated that there Shall be a line Setteled

          between our neighbors that belongs to the New meeting house and us

          belonging to the ould meeting house for paying Rattes to the ministery

          and Shall begin at the great Rock in Newbury line at the head of the

          great Swamp lotts and So along by the north west end of them lotts:

          to Thomas Jewets land and so between Thomas Jewets and Rye plaine

          land : to the bridg called Rye plaine Bridg and So to the way that

          runs to long hill beg[inn]ing at the path a[t] this Side francis Nelsons

          house and So to long hill and So along to the road at the elders plaine

          that goeth to Samuel Brokelbank's taking in all his farm and the farm

          layd out as the right of Thomas Barker and So to Bradford line and

          along as Bradford line runs to Newbury line.

                                                passed on the affirniitive.


   In this record the following points are pretty clear: "the

great Rock in Newbury line at the head of the great Swamp

lotts" is Frazer's Rock a little back of the present parsonage,

now the meeting point of Newbury, Rowley, and Georgetown.

A straight line from there to "Rye plaine Bridg" would pre-

cisely correspond to the present line between Rowley and

Georgetown. The "path" to Long Hill must be what is now the

highway between Mr. L. R. Moody's and Mr. E. P. Searle's.

There was no town road over Long Hill until 1713.  "The

elders plaine" was what is now Marlboro. Samuel Brockelbank

lived where Rev. Charles Beecher lived in my youth, and the

family of the late Melvin G. Spofford lives now. Thomas

Barker's farm was south of Pentucket Pond; from there the line

followed what is now the road from Georgetown through South

Groveland toward Bradford up to the present Groveland line.

   There are also lists of persons in Rowley and in Newbury

who had half their ministry rate abated in 1701. The reason is

not given in either case, but from their location as far as it is

known, it is probable that they had already begun to contribute

to the new religious enterprise, and so their ministry rate in their


Judge Nathaniel Byfield




Frazer's Rock

Boundary-point of Newbury, Rowley, and Georgetown

old religious homes was abated. The Rowley list is the same as

that quoted in the record of 1702-3 ; only, the earlier list lacks

the name of Lionell Chute. Of these men, Mr. Brockelbank's

home has been mentioned. Dunkin Steward appears to have

lived where Mr. Fletcher lately did in Warren Street. One

Chute homestead was where the cellar is, near the church

on the road leading from the church direct to Georgetown, and

another where the late Mr. James C. Peabody lived. Andrew

Stickney lived where J. L. Ewell does.

   The record of a similar abatement in Newbury is as fol-


   At a Legal meeting of the, Freeholdrs and Ppriorrs of Newbury

Decemr 9th 1701, MaSr [?] Thomas Noyes esqr Moderatr . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . Upon ye request of

Mrs Elizabeth Dumer Mr John Dumer  mr Joshua Woodman, Lut William

Moodey John Wicomb Nathan Wheeler mrs Jane Gerrish in behalf of

her Tenant mr Richard Dumer, John Smith, Phillip Goodridg Joshua

Woodman Jnr John Cheney Collen Frazer Phillip de-lano Robert Mingo

yt the one half of theyr minisrs rate heere may be abated for this next

[indistinct word, probably year] Rate that is to be made the Free-

holdrs and Pprietrs of Newbury grant theyr proposition.


   The location of a part of these has been mentioned. In addi-

tion it may be said that Mrs. Elizabeth Dummer probably lived

on Fatherland Farm, and the old Woodman place is on Fruit

Street, and the old Goodrich place on Forest Street, both near

the Byfield station. Mr. Frank Ambrose's house has an ell that

is known from of old as the Wicomb ell; Mr. Horsch's place was

anciently a Wheeler place; and "Frazer's Rock" suggests that

Collin Frazer lived near it, perhaps at the end of the pleasant

lane from Rev. Mr. Torrey's and Miss Tenney's, where there is

still a well of delicious water.

   Additional valuable information may be drawn from the pas-

toral church and parish record, particularly from the record of

baptisms and deaths kept by the first two pastors. These indi-

cate the families in connection with the church and the parish.

The bounds appear to have been changed repeatedly for the

convenience of various families. In the absence of maps and

the dearth of explicit statements, it is impossible to be precise

and positive, but I will now try to trace as nearly as I can the

entire circuit according to the evidence that I have been able to

gather from living lips and the records of the past. Alas, that

one to whose intimate knowledge and unfailing kindness I have

been greatly indebted on this and other points has already been

called away, --the late Mr. Benj. Pearson.

   Mill River was, though not originally, yet from a very early

time, the line, from its junction up to near Mr. Dummer's saw-

mill; then the boundary curved to the south so as to include the

Minchin, and probably the Dresser and Martin houses. It in-

cluded certainly from a very early time the house formerly on

Long Hill, and after the second parish of Rowley which lies in

what is now Georgetown was set off in 1731 it ran east of Mr.

Mooney's and Mr. Arthur Kneeland's, taking in Mr. Dawkins'

and all on that road as far as and including Mr. S. T. Poor's,

all on Thurlow Street as far as and including the second house

beyond the railroad crossing, where Mr. Aaron Kneeland lives,

all on the road from Mr. S. T. Poor's, including Mr. A. C. Poor's

on the lane, to the station, but just leaving that out, all on West

Street, all on River Street, and all on Forest Street as far as and

including Mr. Lyman Pearson's. The line probably ran between

Mr. Benj. Pearson's store and the hall on Central Street, run-

ning just north of Mr. Mighill Rogers' on Fruit Street. If the

hall is in Byfield, then all on that street south of the store to the

Byfield Woollen Mills, including those mills, and all on the road

from there to Newburyport, that is, Orchard Street, and includ-

ing probably the lanes running north from it until we come to Mr.

Pingree's, as was said before, and including Mr. Pingree's, would

be in Byfield. It will be seen that the original Byfield does

not take in nearly all of what now bears the name around the

Byfield station, but only the westerly portion. In justice and to

avoid historical confusion, it would seem that the post-office

now called South Byfield should be designated as Byfield, and

the one at the station as North Byfield; for the people around

the Congregational meeting-house, which is the ancient and

geographic centre of the parish, get their mail from the South


Byfield office. If I am not mistaken, the late Rev. Daniel P.

Noyes and Rev. Isaac W. Wheelwright always insisted that the

adjective "South " should be removed from the designation of

the southerly Byfield post-office. Possibly, however, it would

better meet the present conditions of the case and prevent in-

convenience to let the post-office at the station retain its name

and to change the designation of the other office to that of Old


   A radius of two miles from the Congregational meeting-house

as a centre would draw a circle roughly coincident with the

ancient outlines of Byfield, --that is, after the second parish of

Rowley was set off; before that the parish stretched to the west,

of the meeting-house some four miles. The parish is longest

from east to west, the distance from Oyster Point to Mr. S. T.

Poor's being about five miles. It contains, I suppose, in the

neighborhood of twelve square miles.

   As to the population of Byfield, the map in this history indi-

cates about 185 occupied dwelling-houses in 1892, excluding a

few which are outside the ancient lines. If we assign five per-

sons to each house --and this would seem a moderate estimate

for a number of the houses have more than one family each --

and then add 73 for the hamlet at the factory, we have about

1000 for the present inhabitants of the parish. This population

is increasing near the station and holding its own elsewhere.

   The parish bond of union has always been chiefly religious,

but growing out of that there have been strong social ties, and

these have attached many to it who did not deeply feel the re-

ligious attraction. Now for some seventy years the ancient

lines have had no legal value; everybody has attended church

and paid where he pleased, or nowhere if he pleased, and there

have been two religious centres in the old parish; but the two

churches are of one heart, and all within the old borders, and

multitudes without, feel a kindly interest in the story and the

welfare of Byfield parish.








Special Authorities; Mr. J. H. Sears of Salem, Mass., Prof. W. J. McGee

of Washington, D. C.




   BYFIELD is a good place to take lessons in geology.

Long Hill is a characteristic drumlin; that is, a long, high,

smooth, unstratified hill of glacial origin. It is over a mile

long, two hundred feet above the sea, and one hundred feet

above the adjacent ground. It bears a silent but potent witness

to the might of the ancient sheet of ice that once enveloped all

the region. The great glacier towered possibly thousands of

feet above it, and the hill was the deposit of the drift that was

borne along in its lower portion.

   What was known as Rye plain when the parish was set off,

or the region of Warren Street, has, in Mr. Witham's land and

thereabouts, interesting kettle holes. These are deep, circular

depressions. Mr. Sears pronounces Rye plain "an overwash

of post-glacial sand," that is, it was deposited in the period of

abounding waters and floods which resulted from the melting

of glaciers. These kettle holes are supposed to mark spots

where the rushing floods swirled around some detached mass

of ice, and so scooped out deep, crater-like hollows.

   Between Warren Street and Long Hill are extensive peat

meadows. Peat is a kind of half-made coal. Most of the

young are unfamiliar with it, but those who grew up in the

western part of  Byfield fifty years ago need no description of

it. Its brown-black to black color, its salve-like tendency to

stick to the hands when newly dug, the roots with which it

abounded, and the great prostrate trunks of ancient trees

which sometimes stopped the peat-knife, are familiar to memory.

There was a set of tools made expressly for cutting peat. After

the sod had been removed the peat was cut in long black

blocks about three or four feet long by four inches square, and

came up dripping from the peat-ditch; then it was spread on

the meadow, and when partially dry it was piled tip cob-house

fashion. After about four weeks it was dried through and was

fit to be stored under cover. It made a hot, durable fire. The

last thing at night would be to cover up a fresh piece of peat in

the coals and ashes, where it would be found all aglow in the

morning to rekindle the new day's fire. It emitted a peculiar

ground-like odor as it burned, and tended to smoke up the

walls and furniture, but there was nothing unhealthy in the

smoke or the odor, and it was a great boon to people in mod-

erate circumstances. With the larger incomes of today and

the accessibility of coal, and because it required so much labor,

peat has gone out of use; but the beds are there still, and the

day may yet come when somebody will be grateful to draw

upon their treasures.

   A boulder train runs from the northeast to southwest from

east of Mr. Leonard Adams' house to west of the meeting

house; some of these boulders are of great size and afford an

illustration of the gigantic facilities for transportation possessed

by the ancient glacier. Mr. Sears finds the most interesting

geologic feature of Byfield in the range of volcanic rocks which

extends from Clay Lane (Hillside Street) across Dummer

Academy grounds to Oyster Point and beyond. What mighty

forces must have once convulsed the region, now so quiet, to

have belched forth those huge masses through the earth's crust.

   At many points along the streams, in the pasture of J. L.

Ewell for instance, if I may take for an example what I am most

familiar with, one may see beautiful illustrations of ancient

terraces showing how much broader the bed of the stream was

in geologic time.

   Perhaps the most charming contribution of geology to By-

field scenery is afforded by what are technically called the

"drowned" valleys of the Parker and of Mill River below the

head of tide water. A subsidence of the land along the coast

admitted the flood tides to the valleys of these streams.

Hence we have our beautiful marshes or salt meadows. When

I was a little boy, the causeway at Thurlow's bridge was so

low that in high tides it would be covered with a foot or

more of water. I well remember the grandeur of the view of

the broad sheet of water, unbroken save by the bridge and

covering all the marshes, so that it looked like a large lake to

me as I sat between my parents in the chaise, while the faith-

ful family horse slowly splashed his way across the flood, ap-

parently not ungrateful to be permitted to take that moderate

pace which was congenial to his years.

   Byfield has many beautiful views. One is from the turnpike

bridge over the Parker. This is at its perfection on a summer

day near sunset, when high water occurs at that hour and the

wind is east. The full river winding down from inland through

broad level marshes, and visible far out toward its mouth,

bordered by steep, wooded hills alternating with gently sloping

fields and rocky pastures with here and there a farm-house, the

rich sunlight bathing all the landscape, the gorgeous-hued

western horizon, and the air full of the quickening flavor of the

sea, --all unite to impress upon the heart


                                                                            a sense sublime

                             Of something far more deeply interfused,

                             Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns.


   Another choice view is from Long Hill, whence the eye

takes in a broad landscape that includes the greater part of the

county; hill and valley, field and woodland, stretch away in

long and varied perspective in all directions.     From that

eminence it seems as though most of the land were still the

forest primeval. Toward the east the land view is bordered by

a long range of white sand-hills, with the clustering spires

of Newburyport to the left, and, beyond the sand, the blue

ocean extends to the horizon, speckled with the white sails and

the smoke-stacks with their long, trail of smoke to remind one

that the sea is a vast network of lines of travel whose roads






           "A plain

Of salt grass, with a river winding down."


"lead everywhere to all," while toward the west on a clear day

one may trace the blue outline of Monadnock fifty miles away.

   Some of my older readers may recall the dear old Long Hill

house, of which only the cellar has been left now for more than

twenty-five years, and the delight they once enjoyed of sitting

at Major Stickticy's west attic window and sweeping the broad

landscape of land and sea with his long spy-glass. I could

add many other views dear to all Byfielders, and some of them

with more than a local renown.

   The soil of Byfield varies; that of the Newbury portion is

usually good, some of the Rowley side is good, some poor,

most of the Georgetown part is poor. In 1794 Mr. Joseph

Chaplin made an excellent map of Rowley, that is, what is now

Rowley and Georgetown, and attached some interesting notes

in the corners of the map. In these notes he says of the centre

of the town, " Most of [it is] little better than barren and unim-

provable lands; and it is a fact that many families who inhabit

this part can scarcely subsist, though they pay little or not

axes." The region which he thus criticises comprises the

western part of Rowley-Byfield and most of Georgetown-By-

field, but Mr. N. N. Dummer has now for three years proved

that some of its light soil can be made, with the favor of Provi-

dence, to wave with broad and beautiful fields of full golden

heads of rye.




   The fauna of Byfield originally included the wolf, the bear,

the deer, and the moose. In the earlier part of Reuben Pear-

son's ledger are frequent entries for making moose-skin

breeches, but it is not probable that any moose were then found

in Byfield, for the moose is very shy of human neighbors,--

although one seven feet high was killed in Salisbury in 1733.

The wolf held his ground tenaciously. Hounds were imported,

and traps were set, and bounties paid for his head for a long

time. Rowley had several pens for catching wolves, one of

them west of the Nat Taylor barn below the Dole neighborhood,

and another "somewhere below Symond's Bridge " (the bridge,


I suppose, east of the Taylor barn) ; so two of the Rowley

wolf pens were close to the Byfield line and possibly one was

within it. On the Newbury side, the depression of an ancient

wolf-pit can, it is said, still be traced on Forest Street within

the Byfield line. In 1665, that is, thirty years after the settle-

ment  of the town, Thomas Thorlay (Thurlow) killed seven

wolves in Newbury.                 

   Mr. Parsons' diary says that a bear was killed on Dea.

Moody's farm in 1750. The first Benjamin Stickney of Long

Hill, who died in 1756, had a pig stolen from his pen in the

night by a bear, and being awakened, I presume by vigorous

squealing, he chased the bear with a hoop-pole, that is, a

slender pole which being split would make two hoops, and

rescued his pig. The gentle deer was early protected by law,

but not early enough to save it from extinction in this region,

although of late occasional specimens seem to be finding their

way down to us from New Hampshire. My own family caught

a full view of one in front of our house in the summer of 1900.

   Judge Sewall, in his beautiful prophecy for Newbury, predicts

that Christians shall be there trained for heaven "as long as

any free and harmless doves shall find a White Oak or other Tree

within the Township to perch or feed or build a careless

nest upon, and shall voluntarily present themselves to perform

the office of gleaners after Barley-Harvest," and Rev. Mr. Parsons,

who was pastor of Byfield from 1744 to 1783, writes on

one occasion in his diary, "pidgeons plentiful." I trust that

Byfield still trains Christians for heaven, but the wild pigeon is

almost unknown, although Mr. Lunt of Glen Mills is said to have

shot four in 1900. Mr. Elijah Searle, who is one of our most

observant citizens, tells me that he has not heard the whistle of

the killdeer for forty years. An otter is still caught at rare

intervals in our streams, and the wakeful raccoon occasionally

pierces the night-air with its cry. With the exceptions that

I have noted, the fauna of Byfield is much as it was of old.

    The flora is still rich. The flowering cornel or dogwood (not

the poisonous) lights up the woodlands with its gay profusion

of large white pink-tinted flower-like bracts, the maiden-hair

fern nestles in the crevices of the damp rocks, the Rhodora

unfolds its rich purple flowers in defiance of the biting east

winds of our bleak spring in solitary nooks, to prove that


                             Beauty is its own excuse for being,


the beauteous triad, the Calopogon, the Pogonia, and the

Arethusa allure their lovers into the wet meadows, the scarlet

cardinal flower makes many a brook gorgeous, and in late

autumn a more diligent search will be amply rewarded here

and there in moist places with finding the fringed gentian.


                   Thou waitest late and com'st alone,

                   When woods are bare and birds are flown

                   And frosts and shortening days portend

                   The aged year is near its end.


   There lies before me a very kind letter from Mrs. William

Horner of Georgetown, in which she specifies forty-two of the

rarer flowers that adorn the forests, fields, and meadows of

Byfield. She writes, "It is a fine locality for collectors, and I

have had many pleasant and profitable rambles there." Salmon

and shad and oysters formerly abounded in our waters. As

lately as 1840, Coffin tells us that there was not a day in the

year in which the inmates of the Newbury almshouse, which

was more recently the home of Mr. Alfred Ambrose, could not

obtain oysters enough for their own use. All of these have

disappeared from within our limits, but trout and pickerel,

perch and pouts are still caught in our fresh-water streams, and

our tide waters abound in alewives and smelts; and only last

week a horse was frightened by a sturgeon which leaped out

of the river just as he was crossing Thurlow's bridge.

   Byfield seems a pleasant place to her children. I have known

my great uncle, Alfred W. Pike, the teacher, to shed tears of

tender reminiscence as he retraced the paths of his childish

wanderings in Byfield woods; and the recollection of Byfield's

rural charms inspired some of Albert Pike's sweetest poetry.

I am sure that many of Byfield's sons and daughters whose

work has called them far away from their birthplace can

appreciate the feelings of Alfred and Albert Pike from a similar

attachment which binds their untravelled hearts to the scenes

of their childhood. More and more of them contrive to return

to the old homesteads in the summer, and more and more

people whose ancestral trees did not grow in our parish appre-

ciate its attractions as a summer home.




   Byfield was a favorite haunt of the Indian. When the white

man came, all the territory from the Merrimack south as far as

the North River of Salem and inland as far as Andover was

subject to Masconomo, whom Winthrop terms "the Sagamore

of Agawam," that is, Ipswich, where his home was. The

record of Masconomo does honor to his race. Would that it

had been commemorated by some of our poets who have sung

the praises of the Indian. When Governor Winthrop in the

"Arbella" cast anchor off Cape Ann over the Lord's Day in June,

1630, on the voyage which ended with the settlement of Boston,

Masconomo went aboard with one of his men and stayed nearly

all day. One wonders what impression the English.  Puritan

way of hallowing the Sabbath would make on his untutored

heart. Did what he saw on that day draw him quietly to the

religion of his new neighbors until, fourteen years later, he

petitioned the Massachusetts legislature to be instructed in the

Christian religion? Sixty years later still, that is, in 1704, we

find his grandsons testifying that it was with their grandfather's,

"Knowledge, Lycence, and good Liking" that the Englishmen

settled in his territory. He was  the unchanging friend of the

colonists until his death in 1658.  He was buried at his home

on Sagamore Hill in Hamilton, which was then a part of

Ipswich. At about 1700, Rowley and Newbury as well as

other adjacent towns quieted the title, if I may so say, of the

grandchildren of Masconomo by the payment of various sums

of money, and received deeds from them in return. Rowley

paid them L9, Newbury L10. This is, so far as I know, the

latest trace of the family of Masconomo, the noble sachem who

was so friendly to the white man and his religion.



   The River Parker was a favorite resort of the Indian, and

especially its falls, where the Byfield Woollen Mill now stands.

Along the stream he caught the sturgeon, and at the falls vast

quantities of alewives and salmon in their season. On these he

feasted when they were fresh, and he dried great quantities of

them for use at other times. Pause for a moment, if you

please, to picture in imagination those ancient days in Byfield

when primeval forests of lofty trees covered the places where

now pleasant houses and well-tilled fields smile, when the

streams were fuller and the springs more abundant, and the

Indian chased the deer and the moose with his bow and arrow,

tall and lithe, swift of foot, keen of eye and scent and hearing,


He was fresher from the hand

That formed of earth the human face,

And to the elements did stand

In nearer kindred than our race.


Twice just before the settlement of Byfield, the pestilence had

far more than decimated the original people, so that there were

very few living within the limits of the parish to meet the white

comers. An Indian known as "Old Will" figures in the early

records; he or his family claimed a tract of land near the

Falls. Finally in 1681 Henry Sewall bought whatever title his

heirs had to that property, which was called "the Indian field"

and contained about one hundred and sixty acres, as well as

all their rights to any other lands in Newbury, all for L20. A

copy of their quit-claim deed, with the marks of Job, Hagar,

and Mary Indian attached, has been kindly furnished me by

Mrs. J. 0. Hale.  The original document is still preserved in

Lowell. There are traditions and statements of the survival of

a lone Indian or two in the vicinity almost down to our own

day; for instance, Mr. Enoch Floyd, who died in 1872 in his

ninety-fifth year, saw the wigwam of one near where Mr. Benj.

Pearson's sawmill stands, and Mr. Giles Woodman tells me that

in his childhood he saw an Indian named Thomas die in the

Bailey house on Forest Street; Mr. Woodman also tells of the

marriage of a daughter of Thomas to one of our white people,


so that the aboriginal race is continued in one of our worthy

families. The Virginian aristocracy are said to be proud of

such a tincture, and I know not why it should not be equally

honorable in Byfield.

   Although our fathers had little to dread from home Indians,

those from without their borders kept them constantly under

arms and forced them to build garrison houses, as they were

called, for their protection; and Byfield experienced one Indian

tragedy in the evening of that autumn Lord's Day in 1692,

when Mr. Goodrich, his wife, and two daughters were killed

while they were at family prayers, and another little daughter,

seven years old, was carried captive. The house which was set

on fire by the savages, but only partially burned, was taken down

in recent years. It stood on a lane running south from North

Street. The willow planted four generations ago still shades

the cellar, and one can still trace the path by which the

Indians stole around the wooded hill that fateful Sabbath

evening so long ago. All these long and tragic struggles

live only in the pages of Gage and of Coffin, and all the

memorials that Byfield has of her strange Indian people who

dwelt here so long but wrote no records, are the relics that

one and another have collected, notably Mr. F. Bateman and

the late Mr. J. C. Peabody, and the hardly recognizable Indian

burying-grounds like that near Mr. Stephen Kent's on Central


                                      Hither the silent Indian maid

                             Brought wreathes of beads and flowers,

                             And the gray chief and gifted seer

                             Worshipped the god of thunders here.


   The bright pure faces and healthy forms of the Indian boys

and girls who now receive training at Hampton and similar

institutions permit us to hope for a better future for some of

our Indian tribes who yet survive.




Special Authorities. Town and county histories, genealogies, etc., in the British

Museum and English parish registers.




I  was in England in 1869, but with me as with many

others, the genealogic passion did not awaken in youth,

and it was not until 1888 that I began to search out the English

homes of our forefathers. On a bright June morning of that

year, I took a delightful walk of three miles from Sibsey rail-

way station to Stickney. Stickney is in the fen country or

lowlands of Lincolnshire, some eight miles north of Boston.

The roadsides were fringed with sparkling English daisies, and

the pastures were bright with buttercups; the hawthorn hedges

perfumed the air with their blossoms, and the hedges and the

lofty English elms which towered above them were vocal with

the morning carols of a multitude of tuneful birds. Great

flocks of sheep and many cows were grazing on either side.

The houses were of red brick with red tiling, and here and

there a "back linter " (lean-to) or a cluster of purple lilacs in

the front yard reminded me of my own dear grandmother

Stickney's home on Long Hill.

   I found Stickney a pleasant hamlet of six hundred and

eighty-four souls, with an ancient church more than four hun-

dred years old. The rector, Rev. G. H. Hales, was a graduate

of Eton and Cambridge, who was not ashamed to own that

between the two courses he had worked as a mechanic--I

suppose to earn money to complete his studies. All honor to

such scholars. After the hospitable English manner, he

brought out those thin slices of well-buttered bread so refresh-

ing to a pedestrian, and offered me my choice of sherry or tea

as a beverage. Unlike any other English village that I have

visited, so far as I know, and I have usually inquired upon

that point, the farmers of Stickney were small freeholders, not

one owning as much as two hundred acres. The village

enjoyed a free school, which was founded in 1678. Altogether

it seemed a typical English hamlet, such as charms the reader

of Howitt's "Rural England," and I could hardly have begun

my filial journeys more pleasantly.




   Two days later I was at Spofforth. I do not know that there

are any Spofforths or Spoffords, as we spell the name, now

within the present limits of Byfield, but before the second

parish of Rowley, in what is now Georgetown, was set off, there

were several prominent families of that name in our parish, and

there have been those of Spofford blood ever since. Spofforth

is in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The parish has one

thousand six hundred and nine people. The village is very clean,

solid, and attractive in appearance. Its houses are of stone,

though many of the roofs are of thatch. I stopped at the

Castle Inn, so named from the ruins of Spofford Castle just

outside the village. The high-backed "settle" where the

farmers sat before the fire that cool June evening and sipped

their ale and gossiped in broad Yorkshire dialect, revived

faint recollections of similar seats that I had seen in New

England. They pronounced 'coming' co-ming, 'niece ' nace,

and 'no' noah. The rich old furniture of my bedroom would

have tempted an American lover of the antique to extravagant

bids. Two features of my breakfast were a pitcher of real

cream and mutton chops of a sweetness unusual even in that

land so famous for its delicious mutton.

   The ruins of the castle are imposing and beautiful; how

splendid, then, it must have been in its glory, with its banquet-

ing hall seventy-five feet long and thirty-six broad, when

                   Lord Percy made a solemn [stately] feast

                   In Spofford's princely hall.

The church has a similar antiquity to that of Stickney. The

walls of its tower are eight feet thick, and are so massive that

although it has no foundation but mother earth, it stands plumb

after all the centuries that have passed over it. The spacious

and noble rectory deserves the name that it has in some book

of " the great rectory of Spofforth," and its grounds are larger

and more beautiful, as they live in my memory, than any that I

have seen since in similar English parishes. I suppose the

incumbent at present (1901), the Rev. Wm. Pearson, would be

generally regarded as a fortunate clergyman, for his net income

as rector is L8oo. From this country parish there have gone

forth an Archbishop of York and even one of Canterbury.

Altogether Spofforth abounds in suggestions of the substantial

worth, the refinement, and the thrift which have been to so

high a degree characteristic of the American Spoffords.




   In 1895 my quest of English places associated with Byfield

led me to Sandwich and Rowley. As I paid a second visit to

Rowley, I will defer speaking of that place. I visited Sandwich

because Henry Ewell, who was in all probability the ancestor

of the Byfield Ewells, came from Sandwich to Plymouth on

"the good ship Hercules " in 1634, and became one of the

first settlers of Barnstable.

   My route to Sandwich took me through the vast hop fields

of Kent. Sandwich is to-day one of the quiet towns where

Sunday lasts through the week, but this is only because the

sand has choked the sea. Of old its location, looking out across

the straits of Dover to the French coast, gave it great promi-

nence. An eleventh-century chronicle terms it "the most

famous of all the English ports." From its exposed situation

it suffered greatly from the Danish pirates and invaders, now

being laid waste with fire and sword, and now persuading them

to turn back by a gift of three thousand pounds, and yet

again having its hostages sent back with hands, noses, and ears

cut off. On the other hand, it was from Sandwich that the

proud fleets of Edward III. set sail to subdue France, and it

was to Sandwich that they returned when successful, with

princely prisoners and splendid  trophies. Later, Queen Elizabeth

was royally entertained in Sandwich. The beautiful mansion

which was the centre of the festivities on that occasion is still

standing and in perfect condition; before it a hundred children

on a platform spun "fyne bag yarne" in her presence, and

within the banquet was spread for the virgin queen, and upon

the lawn in the rear a silver cup was presented to her.

The Reformation found early acceptance in Sandwich, and

here the new faith suffered persecution. After the massacre of

St. Bartholomew's in France in 1572, this generous town by the

sea received those who fled to it across the straits with open-

handed hospitality. So Henry Ewell was only acting in the

spirit of his enterprising and progressive town when he became

a member of Plymouth Colony and a founder of one of its


   I pass now to my European tour of 1901, which had for its

principal object somewhat extended journeyings among the

homes that furnished the settlers of Byfield or the progenitors

of those settlers.




      My first visit was to Coventry in the County of Warwick.

Coventry is a busy, thriving town of 70,276 people, with "three

tall spires," known to every reader of Tennyson as the home of

Lady Godiva and the "one low churl" who


                   Peeped--but his eyes, before they had their will,

                   Were shrivelled into darkness in his head.


   I stopped over at Coventry on my way from Liverpool to

London, because the Sewall family was from Coventry.

Coventry had a very conspicuous and honorable position in

olden times, and it is no small honor to the Sewall family that

for four or five terms within fifty years it supplied the city with

mayors. The city hall has an ancient fresco with a multitude

of shields containing the names of the mayors of former genera-
tions and the dates of their terms of office. Here I read

"Henry Sewall 1587," "Henry Sewall, 2nd Time, 1606," "Wil-

liam Sewall 1635," "William Sewall 1637." These dates do not

altogether agree with those in the Sewall diary, but I copied

them carefully. That diary has also a William Sewall, vintner

or wine merchant, put down as mayor in 16l7. The noble

parish church of St. Michael's has a "brass" in memory of

Ann Sewall, wife (as nearly as I could decipher the word) of

William Sewall. This William was probably the mayor of 16l7,

for his wife was named Ann. Upon this brass there is the

kneeling figure of a woman in Elizabethan dress, and under-

neath is this beautiful tribute :  


                   Her jealous care to serve her God,

                   Her constant love to husband deare,

                   Her harmles harte to everie one,

                   Doth live although her corps lye here:

                   God grannte us all while glass doth run,

                   To live in Christ as she hath donne.


   My day in Coventry was intensely hot for England, about

87 Fahrenheit. My discomfort was increased by the fact that

I was still wearing the heavy clothing in which I had landed that,

morning; but it grew delightfully cool toward night, and as I

sped away to London in the twilight of the long English mid-

summer day I felt amply repaid for stopping over in the heat

by the tokens that I had seen of the position and worth

of the English Sewalls.




   My second excursion was to Newbury, Ashsprington, and

Bishopstoke, all in the south of England. Newbury was the

home of the Rev. Messrs. Parker and Noyes, and was so prom-

inently connected with the original emigration that it gave a

name to one of the two settlements out of which Byfield grew.

It is a town of 11,002 people, fifty-three miles a little south of

east from London. Its situation in the lovely and fertile valley

of the Kennet is charming. It is an historic spot: it was

formerly a great centre of the broadcloth trade; two great

battles of the war between Charles and Parliament were fought

in its neighborhood; and at an earlier period one of its people,

John Smalwode, better known as "Jack of Newbury," was a

foremost citizen of England. Being ordered to furnish three

or four soldiers for a campaign against the Scotch, he fully

armed and equipped a hundred and led them himself. He

entertained Henry VIII. and Catherine of Aragon beneath his

roof, and would have been ennobled but he declined the honor.

A fact more significant in the emigration from Newbury to New

England is that the Reformation gained a strong foothold in

Newbury very early. In the reign of Henry VIII. there was are

formed congregation of two hundred meeting there by stealth

three or four of them were burned at the stake, and Fox has

immortalized the name of one -- Thomas More. The moderator

of the Westminster Assembly, Dr. Twisse, was the minister of

the Newbury parish church, and his body was buried in West-

minster Abbey, though the partisan spirit of the Restoration did

not allow it to remain there.  Mr. Parker was the curate of Dr.

Twisse, and Mr. Parker and Mr. Noyes taught in the ancient

grammar school. Mr. Parker had studied not only in Oxford,

but also in Dublin and in Leyden. A few weeks later I found

this entry in the records of Leyden University: "July 15, 1614,

Thomas Perkerus Anglus 20 Y." Put alongside this record

the following from the parish baptismal register of New-

bury: "1593 Dec. 9 Thomas Parker son of Thomas." This

Thomas would be twenty years old July 15, 1614, so no doubt

the "Thomas Perkerus Anglus [Englishman] 20 Y," of

Leyden is the Thomas Parker who was baptized in Newbury

Dec. 9, 1593; so Cotton Mather's statement that Mr. Parker

first pastor of our Newbury, was a Leyden student is con-

firmed. Now the Pilgrim Fathers were in Leyden from 1609

to 1620, and Thomas Parker would surely find a congenial home

with them; and thus Newbury and Byfield are linked in a direct

and interesting way with the Plymouth colony. The parish

church of St. Nicolas was over a hundred years old before Mr.

Parker emigrated to New England, but it still stands with its

original beauty only chastened by the gentle touch of time, and


its present pulpit is that of Twisse and Parker. Its register is

perfect back to 1538, the very year when parish registers were,

first commanded to be kept in England. In the considerable

number of such registers that I examined, I met with no other

that ran back so far. Most of the ancient names of our New-

bury are still found in or around the old home town, and it is,

fortunate in its accomplished historian and antiquarian, Mr.

Walter Money. I was much indebted to his great kindness,

and courtesy.   It will appear, I trust, from these brief notes that

it was very natural that such a stronghold of  Puritanism should

have sent forth a vigorous colony to America, and that Mr.

Parker and Mr. Noyes were its fitting leaders.




From Newbury I went to Ashsprington, far away in the south-

west peninsula of England, 222 miles from London. The con-

nection of Ashsprington with the Parsons family drew me

thither. It is a little hamlet of four hundred people, four miles

from Totnes in Devon. Devon is one of the most picturesque

counties of England. Its high hills, deep valleys, and rich green

verdure make it a charming region. The winters are very

mild. There had been no ice in Ashsprington for six winters

before my visit, and the camellia thrives there the year round

in the open air. In, my brief stay I noticed several interesting

peculiarities of dialect: 'no' was pronounced naw, 'left,' lift, and

the cases of ' us 'and 'we' were transposed. A farmer remarked

to me, " Us haven't had any rain for a long while." The village

is delightfully primitive. It is hidden away in a nook among

the hills, so that in driving out from Totnes we did not see it

until we were just upon it. Its street is hardly more than a

narrow lane bordered with high walls and cottages with thatched

roots. The little inn has but one bed for guests, and as

that was spoken for I had the greatest difficulty in obtaining

a lodging. I had sent back my vehicle to Totnes, so I walked

down the very steep valley a mile farther to two other

inns, but they were equally "full up" and I was obliged to

climb the hill back to Ashsprington lugging my hand-bag; but

there the postmistress had pity on me and gave me food and

shelter. The floor of her humble but cleanly house was of

lime and sand, hard and smooth. The church tower dates

from the fourteenth century, and a yew of as great ace shades

the tower. At the entrance to the churchyard is a lich -- that is,

corpse -- gate with a slab in the centre to rest the corpse upon.

Lich gates are a common feature of rural churchyards in

England, but I have nowhere else noticed the slab. The one

at Ashsprington is in keeping with the antique simplicity of

the hamlet. I take it that 'lich' is connected with the German

'leiche' and 'leichman,' both of which mean corpse; so the word

reminds us that we belong to the great Teutonic stock. Almost

all the village -- houses, lands and all -- is owned by one person.

This is usual in rural England. For common people to own

their houses seems to the mass of English people a Utopian

dream. The ancient register is kept in a tiny damp closet in

the church wall, and is in places almost illegible. It was the

first time I had grappled with the strange chirography of the

Tudor and Stuart periods, but I had others follow up the

search, and neither they nor I found Geoffrey Parsons' baptism

in that register. I did find other Parsons entries; one under

the head of burials reads as follows: "Elizabeth Daughter of

Jeoffrey Parson Dec. 19, 1698." Professor Parsons, in his memoir

of his father the Chief justice, says (p. 96) that the ancestor of

their family in America, Jeffreys Parsons, probably came from

Devon, and there is a letter extant written by a Mrs. Elizabeth

Parsons Morgan of Ashsprington in 1714, whose contents show

that there was a branch of the family established there then.

Savage says in his genealogical register that Geoffrey (or

Jeffrey) Parsons was born at Alplington near Exeter in 1631.

I shall come back to his English origin farther on in this

chapter, but, wherever he was born, I think the evidence en-

courages the pleasing belief that the primitive picturesque

hamlet of Ashsprington with its ancient church and yew and

lich gate were familiar to Jeffreys Parsons.




   My next visit was to Bishopstoke. I stopped over on my

journey for an hour or two at Salisbury, but as I subsequently

made a longer stay there I will defer speaking of its magnificent

cathedral and its connection with Byfield. I visited Bishop-

stoke because it was the birthplace of Chief justice Sewall, and

the home of Richard Dummer. It is in the south of England

a little north of Southampton. I asked for a ticket to Bishop-

stoke and received one to Eastleigh, but I understood the

"booking " clerk, or ticket agent as we call him, to say that

they were the same place. I alighted at Eastleigh late Satur-

day evening and inquired for a good hotel and was directed to

the Eastleigh Hotel, half a mile and more to the east. There

I found very clean and comfortable quarters ; but Sunday

morning after I had eaten breakfast I discovered that Eastleigh

and Bishopstoke were different places, though contiguous, with

one railway station ; so I took up my band-bag and set out for

a westerly walk of a mile and a half to Bishopstoke. After

passing the station I followed a delightful country road between

luxuriant pastures where herds of horses and cattle were graz-

ing, and then I traversed a foot-path with a green hedge on one

side and a rushing stream on the other, and presently I passed

through an ancient churchyard with several large stones of the

Dummer family whose inscriptions were almost illegible, and

where a venerable yew, which I subsequently learned was

eleven hundred years old, shielded me from the heat of the

July sun as it had shielded thirty generations before me. Had

it mind and tongue, what a story such a tree could tell! And

so I came into Bishopstoke. The parish church was well filled

and the sermon was a good one, but the edifice was not the

one of Dummer and Sewall. That was taken down about 1825.

I have a pen-and-ink sketch of it which shows it to have been

a most ancient and quaint structure, one that in these days

would be "restored " rather than demolished. It had dormer

windows and an entrance into the roof by an outside stairway.

In the vestry of the present church there hangs an ancient


document which, like some other records to which I refer in

this book, has been already copied, but I will give a portion of

it that it may fall under the eye of some who would not other-

wise see it, and it deserves a wide circulation. It begins:

                   "Bishop Stoke in the county of Southampton.

          "A memorial of the several Persons who have been Benefactors

to the Poor of the Parish of Bishop Stoke whose names are

recorded as well for the Encouragement of all other Persons

who shall be like minded as for the Prevention of the Mis-

application of what has been and shall be so charitably GIVEN"

The first two mentioned in the list are Thomas Dummer and

Richard Dummer.  The entry concerning Richard Dummer

reads as follows: "Richard Dummer likewise a parishioner

there in the seventh year of King Charles the First did surrender

a CLOSE of LAND called five acres to Stephen Dummer his

brother and his heirs with condition for payment of the like

sum of forty shillings yearly for the Use of the Poor and Needy

inhabitants of the said Parish, etc., etc." This Stephen Dummer

was the father of Jane who married Henry Sewall, Jr., and one

of their children was the Chief justice. The seventh year of

Charles I. would be 1632. That very year Richard Dummer

came to Roxbury, whence he removed to Newbury in 1636.

It is very pleasant to find him giving to his parish this gen-

erous parting token of his affection. The gift also illustrates

the large-hearted, open-handed character of his whole life.




    My next pilgrimage was to Watton, the birthplace of Thomas

Hale, the ancestor of the Byfield Hales. Watton is a hamlet

of 817 people in Hertfordshire, about thirty miles northwest of

London. I reached it by a delightful drive of five miles from

the railway station of Hertford (local pronunciation Harvord).

Although where there are railroads in England there are much

more frequent trains than in America, it is remarkable that so

many places are several miles from the nearest railroad. But

while this increases the expense a little, it adds greatly to the

pleasure and profit of travel. One sees the country far more

Yew Older than the conquest (1066);  Churchyard of

Bishopstoke, England


Ancient Parish Church, Walton, England

intimately by a drive along a highway than on a train, and the

driver's talk is apt to be well worth hearing. This was a

characteristic drive in central England. The road was broad

and smooth and hard, the sidewalks excellent, and the hedges

luxuriant and well kept, and the road was bordered by rows of

noble trees, such as the oak, the elm, and the linden. Our

horse was a good roadster. For a long distance before reach-

ing Watton, our course lay alongside Woodhall Park, a great

estate of 13,000 acres, the residence of the member of parlia-

ment for the borough, whose father had been in parliament

before him, I was told, for forty years. Great herds of graceful

deer were grazing in it, and majestic swans were gliding up

and down the river that ran through it. My driver's dialect

interested me, -- as a single specimen of it, I may mention

that to him a post was a paust. The parish church is the centre

of every English hamlet. This one, as almost always, is very

old. Its tower is massive and noble. It has some fine old

brasses; one in particular has a beautiful effigy of a knight

in full armor -- with hands clasped in prayer, and bears the date

of 1361.   It was pleasant to find that the Rev. Edward

Bickersteth, the author of "Yesterday, To-day and Forever,"

was once the pastor of this parish. The tablet to his memory

says that he is "Known, revered and loved by the servants

of the Lord in every land." It was twilight when the young

rector kindly went with me to search the ancient records.

He lighted a candle, unlocked the old iron-bound oaken chest,

which is over five hundred years old, -- I think he said, --

and took out the venerable parchment register yellowed with

the centuries. Within ten minutes I had found and deciphered

the record, "A Domi [Anno Domini] 1606 June 15 Thomas

Hale ye sonne of Thomas and Jane baptized." The rector

was astonished and I was delighted at my speedy success.

Puritanism was in the air of England in those times, but the

heavy hand of Laud was upon it, and when young Hale of

Watton heard of the Puritan colony that was organizing in

Newbury, he no doubt determined to cast in his lot with it and

seek liberty of conscience in flight.




   The "Chute Genealogies" says, "Lionel Chute, jun., the emi-

grant ancestor of the family in America, was born in Dedham,

Essex County, England, about 1580." This statement took me

to Dedham. It is in a lovely region which is a haunt of artists.

It has an ideal English country inn. Memories of the great

landscape painter, John Constable, who was born in its neigh-

borhood, fill the region. He was faithful to nature and to his

high ideals throughout his pathetic career, although it was not

until after his death that the rare excellence of his art was

recognized. Such a life is full of instruction and inspiration

for the young. John Constable, however, has no special con-

nection with Byfield; but another Dedham name has, and that

is the name of John Rogers, not the martyr, but the great

Dedham Puritan preacher from 16O5 to 1636. The windows

were taken out of the parish church so that more people might

hear him.  His rule was so to preach every time that he could

come down from his pulpit with a clear conscience. One of his

enemies said that his preaching poisoned the air for ten miles

around, but a friend said that more souls were saved under his

preaching than in any other part of England. Once, twice,

thrice, he was silenced by the church authorities in their stick-

ling for outward uniformity. At length the persecutions he

suffered seemed to break his heart, and he is said to have fallen

in his pulpit and to have been carried out but to die. His

descendants filled the pulpit of the first church in Ipswich,

Mass., for a hundred and fifty years, one of his grandsons was

president of Harvard College, and his posterity is said to be

more numerous in America than that of any other early emi-

grant family (Stephen's "Biographical Dictionary"). This illus-

trious Puritan preacher has a double connection with Byfield,

for he was brought up in the family of Richard Rogers, the

father of Ezekiel Rogers, first pastor of Rowley, one of the two

mother parishes of Byfield, and no doubt his preaching was a

potent factor in determining Lionel Chute to go with the

Puritan colony beyond the sea.




    My next visit was to Wethersfield, the home of Richard

Rogers, the father of Ezekiel Rogers and the foster-father of

John Rogers. Wethersfield, like Dedham, is in Essex, and

like Dedham and Watton, it lies off from the railroad. One

must drive nine miles from the station to reach it.  I struck

"bank holiday" that day, and conveyances were in great

demand and expensive, but my drive was delightful.   I passed

some characteristic English sights, such as a great pack of

hounds numbering perhaps, a hundred, with huntsmen gay with

buff and scarlet liveries, and a farmer with a large flock of

sheep, he in front in his cart, and his dog in the rear keeping

all the flock in their place. My driver was a master of the

reins and had the bearing of a duke, but from his questions

when we came to guide-boards, I inferred that a knowledge of

letters was not one of his accomplishments. I found Wethers-

field a delightfully primitive little hamlet abounding in babies,

with here and there a windmill and a great tree, an oak I think

it was, on the grassy little green in the centre of the hamlet,

and a flock of sheep enjoying its shade. The good vicar was

away like almost everybody else on the holiday, and his wife

seemed at first shy of me as a sort of transatlantic tramp, but

when she was convinced that I was not a fraud, she became

very communicative and followed me to the church, telling me

all she knew and deeply lamenting the absence of the vicar

with the keys to the church treasures. One of its possessions

is, it seems, an ancient black-letter Bible which used to be

chained in the church, where all might come and read. The

Wethersfield church was one of the most ancient in appearance

that I saw in England. It is built of flint stones, some of them

not larger than hens' eggs. Richard Rogers, like John, was,

strictly speaking, a lecturer, that is, not the regularly appointed

minister of the parish supported by the compulsory tithes, but

one selected by the people and paid by voluntary contributions.

The parish clergymen even after the Reformation were not as a

rule earnest preachers, and so their Puritan parishioners, in

many instances, voluntarily taxed themselves additionally to

secure pious, learned, and whole-hearted preachers. These

were termed lecturers, and their sermons were called lectures.

They were apt to find their path a thorny one. Richard

Rogers, like John, felt the heavy hand of ecclesiastical tyranny.

He was a voluminous writer. I found six of his works in the

British Museum varying in size from the elegant little book for

the pocket, with bordered pages, up to the folio, and more than

one of them had reached a fifth edition. His daily life of

goodness and piety won for him the title of "the Enoch of his

day." His portrait, full of fatherly benignity, is honored by a

place in the long row of Puritan worthies that adorn the walls

of the library of Mansfield College in Oxford. Mrs. Rogers

was a, woman of rare attractiveness of character, of whom it

would be a pleasure to speak at length. It was in this ancient

church and this primitive hamlet and this godly ministerial

home that Ezekiel Rogers was trained to be the founder of the

first Church of Christ in Rowley.




   Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk was the next place connected

with Byfield that I visited. It formerly contained a shrine of

world-wide fame -- that of St. Edmund, the old Saxon king who

was foully murdered by the Danes in 870, and in whose memory

Canute after his conversion built there a vast and splendid

monastery. Bury St. Edmunds was the home of Edmond

Moody in the reign of Henry VIII.   In 1524 the young, king

was hunting, with Edmond Moody for an attendant. The king

had let loose his falcon and rushed after it with a stout pole; a

ditch crossed his path and he attempted to leap it by vaulting;

the pole broke and the kin fell into the mire and water face

downward, where he would have drowned had not Moody

lifted him out. For this act he was knighted, and took for

his arms two hands holding up a Tudor rose, a fitting memorial

of the rescue of the great Tudor king by his hands. This has

been the heraldry of the Moody family ever since, and many a

time have their arms, stanch and true, succored a worthy cause.



   On my way from London to Southampton to take a steamer
for the continent, I stopped at Basingstoke and drove out five

miles to Dummer, the ancient seat of the Dummer family, of

which we found a branch at Bishopstoke. Dummer is fifty

miles southwest of London. Two things I recall of my drive;

one was the moderation of our horse, whose speed my driver

sought to increase by a lavish use of the whip, but with little

effect; this was especially trying in a chilly rain with an open

dog-cart; a  more pleasant memory is that of the magnificent

trees that grew here and there on top of the mounds or dikes

which served for fences along the highway. The settlement of

Dummer is one of immemorial antiquity. Before the Norman or

the Saxon or the Roman had set foot in Britain, the Celt had

his home in Dummer, and reverently deposited the ashes of his

dead in rude urns which are from time to time uncovered in our

own day. The little church had the most venerable look of

any that I visited in England. The walls curiously contracted

in thickness on the inside toward the top, so that the space

within was decidedly broader at the top than at the bottom.

The pillars in the walls were great unhewn oaken trunks, from

which only the bark had been removed. The church contains

a beautiful brass of "William atmore als dommer " [Dummer],

who was born Feb. 13, 1508, but the date of his death is lack-

ing, probably because he set up the memorial of himself and

his family during his life, and his survivors neglected to fill in

the blank. The Dummers of Dummer appear to have been

wealthy, for they owned land in the city of Winchester, perhaps

fifteen miles away. Most of the rural parish clergymen whom

I had thus far visited in the homes of our forefathers seemed

to have a generous support, but I twice found in the parsonage

tokens of straitened circumstances, -- in one instance, I fear,

even of poverty.




    I traced but one of our families back to the continent, from

which of course they all originally came, only taking in England

on their way, though they made a long stop there. I visited

Dol in Brittany, which is the westernmost province of France,

because Coffin says that it was the seat of the Dole family before

the Normans conquered England in the eleventh century. The

connection of the family with the town has been disputed;

but my Dol trip was unique, and I will venture to give it.

My voyage from Southampton down to St. Malo was exceed-

ingly disagreeable. It was a chilly, boisterous drizzly night,

the little boat was "full up" with passengers, there were

no state-rooms, no sheets on the beds, and but scant separa-

tion between the quarters of the men and those of the

women, and there was plenty of sea-sickness, -- there was only

one redeeming feature, the boat was a swift one,-- but all

my memories of Dol are bright with sunshine and pleasure.

The old cathedral vast and gray is said to be forty feet longer

than Westminster Abbey, while not far from it I noticed one of

the huge piles of brush-wood fuel much loftier than the neigh-

boring house-tops -- a characteristic feature of Brittany; so

near is the commonplace to the sublime. From Dol I took a

delightful walk out to a menhir a mile and a half from the town.

A menhir is a solitary upright stone erected by an ancient

people. There are some sixteen hundred of them in France,

this being one of the ten noblest specimens. I judged it to be

thirty feet high. Like the urns of Dummer it is attributed to

the Celts, and was doubtless erected for some religious or com-

memorative purpose. The use of such memorial pillars is very

wide-spread and ancient. In the Bible, for instance, we find

Jacob and Samuel setting, them up. Dol is full of history. One

item is that here William the Conqueror was conquered and de-

spoiled in battle shortly before his death; but the grim old war-

rior gracefully bowed to his fate and gave his daughter to the

one who had vanquished him.




   After my return from the continent to England, and on my

last day in London, when I had finished my packing and shop-

ping, at a quarter past three in the afternoon, I broke away from

the endless grime and din of the world's metropolis and took a

little run out into the green fields of Surrey as far as Ewell,

seventeen miles to the south of the city.  So far as I know

at present, this is the original home of the Ewell family in

England, although there are none of the name there now.

From its nearness to the capital it is full of beautiful country-

seats. In the churchyard there is an ancient church-tower

thickly mantled with ivy and very picturesque; opposite the

churchyard is Ewell Castle, at present the home of the Gads-

dens, represented in America by the historic family of that

name in Summerville, S. C. The lady of the castle very politely

showed me through it and its spacious grounds. To the rear is

the site of Henry the Eighth's magnificent palace of Nonesuch,

and there hangs in the hallway of the castle a drawing of the

palace showing its great extent and splendor.




   The next morning with many a fond regret, I bade good-bye

to dear old London, to which I have become warmly attached

by successive visits during more than thirty years. I have al-

ways made it my headquarters when abroad, and have found in

it not only an endless wealth of art and history, but also true

friends and honest tradesmen. On my somewhat roundabout

journey from London to Liverpool, I visited a number of Byfield

shrines. At about noon that day I left the train at Grately, a

little station near Salisbury. From Grately, I proposed to walk

three miles to Cholderton, the English home of our Byfield

Noyes family. I tried to get a hearty lunch at the station inn

before taking my walk, but it could offer me no meat but cold

boiled salt pork, though it had abundance of drinks, which men

and women were liberally patronizing; so I contented myself


with "light refreshments." On my walk broad rolling fields

stretched away on either side dotted with great flocks of sheep.

Cholderton, like many another English hamlet, nestles in a val-

ley, so that you do not see it until close upon it. The name has

been spelled in twelve different ways. The green valley of a

winter stream which is dry in summer, with its numerous little

rustic bridges, adds to the picturesqueness of the place. The

parish only numbers a little over one hundred and fifty people;

but two of its rectors have become bishops. The rectory is

roomy and homelike, with an ancient warming-pan hanging in

the hall-way -- typical of warm hospitality. On that day the

stranger from across the sea was entertained in the rectory li-

brary with the cup of tea and buttered slices of bread so char-

acteristic of an English welcome and so acceptable to a dusty

foot-traveller. The rectory grounds abounded in beautiful beds

of flowers, and the little church is rich in pictured windows.

The long list of rectors stretches back to 1297, of whom two in

the seventeenth century were named Noyes, and the first of

these was the father of our Newbury emigrants, the Rev. James

and his brother Nicholas. There could hardly be a more pleas-

ant setting for the memory of these men than Cholderton with

its hospitable rectory and beautiful church.




   That night I spent at Salisbury. The place had a double

attraction for me: its cathedral, and the founder of the cathedral,

Bishop Richard Poore. He laid the solid foundations in 1220,

and the structure was completed according to his plans in 1258.

Each English cathedral has its own peculiar charms. Those

of Salisbury are very great. It stands in a "close" of half a

square mile; this enables its beauty and grandeur to be seen

to great advantage.     Built on a single plan and in a com-

paratively short time, its architecture has unrivalled unity;

and then there is its stone spire, the first of that material, it is

said, that was erected in England, and it is so slender, so richly

carved, and so lofty, -- the tallest spire in England, four hun-


Kemerton Manor House, England

Dating from about 1500


Cholderton, England, Home of the Noyes Family


dred and four feet high. I visited the cathedral by starlight

and lingered in contemplation, loath to leave such a "poem in

stone," -- and the world owes this majestic temple to the genius

and piety of a Poor!




   The next visit of which I will speak, and the last connected

with Byfield that I made on my way to Liverpool, was to

Kemerton in the north of Gloucestershire and the west of Eng-

land. I went there because it is an ancient seat of the Parsons

family. As usual it lay off from the railroad, and the walk to it

was delightful until a hard rain beat down upon me; but one

of the things to be thankful for in, my journeyings was that so

far as I recall I was in no case prevented or hindered by sick-

ness, accident, or weather. The ancestral manor-house was in

true English fashion hidden from the road by a high wall, but

as I passed through the gate and up the winding avenue, a

broad and noble mansion was disclosed nearly covered with

luxuriant ivy. Some four centuries have passed over its roof

and some twelve generations have gone in and out over its

threshold, but for aught one can see it may greet as many more

centuries and shelter as many more generations. The name of

the family is now Hopton, but it should be Parsons by right of

descent. They took the name of Hopton in 1817 on succeed-

ing to the Hopton estates.

   The Parsons family has long been noted in England. I

counted more than thirty of the name in Burke's "Landed Gen-

try."  One was Earl of Rosse in the eighteenth century. Was

our American emigrant one of the Kemerton family? In all

probability. It will be remembered that his baptism could not be

found in the Ashsprington record. Professor Parsons says in his

life of the Chief justice (page 6)" . . . perhaps about 1645 Jef-

frey (or Geoffrey) Parsons sailed from England for the West

Indies. He was then very young. He remained at Barbadoes

with an uncle some years and then came to Gloucester on Cape

Ann about 1654." Burke says ("Landed Gentry," page 1006),

"The family of Parsons has been long settled in the island of


Barbadoes, where one of the original settlements was called after

it and retains its name to the present time." Miss Winifred A.

Hopton of Kemerton writes me: "We find the following entry

in the church register, '1627 Godfrey the sonne of John Par-

sons of Kemerton and Alice his wife was baptized . . . Novem-

ber."' Now Jeffrey, Geoffrey, and Godfrey are only different

spellings of the same name.  Jeffrey is the English, Geoffrey

the French, and Godfrey is English for the German Gottfried,

which means peace of God. We therefore conclude that Jeffrey

or Geoffrey or Godfrey Parsons may have been baptized in the

ancient church of his ancestors in Kemerton and have gone

from there to Ashsprington where I found evidence of the

presence of members of the Parsons family, and thence to

Barbadoes, and ultimately to Gloucester in Massachusetts.

I had received a cordial invitation to visit the manor house,

and I lunched there with great pleasure. The lady of the

house is a widow; her husband, Capt. Charles Edward Hopton,

was an officer in the Crimean War. She has four sons and

three daughters. I do not remember the calling of all her

sons. One, I think, is a clergyman. The family is a worthy

example of the English country gentry and a worthy repre-

sentative of the ancient Parsons stock. The fact that such

a family retains its home in a little hamlet like Kemerton is

typical of our English cousins. The word 'manor' comes

from the Latin maneo, which means to remain or stay, and the

English gentry love to stay in the country. They visit much in

the metropolis and abroad, -- one of the Hopton young ladies

was just home from Paris, -- but their choice for a manor or

remaining-place is the country. They are great lovers of the

open air. Even in-doors they want as much out-of-door air as

possible. The sister of the young rector of Ashsprington re-

marked to me laughingly, "We English people are horrid for

drafts;" and many an American would think so, but their love

of the country and the open air does great things for their

health and vigor.




   What Newbury, England, is to our Newbury, that Rowley,

England, is to our Rowley and even more, for while only a

curate led the Newbury colony, the rector himself came with

those from Rowley, and he was followed by a far larger pro-

portion of his flock. There are five Rowleys in England.

Our English Rowley is near Hull. I went directly from Liver-

pool across to Hull, one hundred and nineteen and a half miles.

The scenery was in marked contrast to the garden-like counties

of southern England. The train went through many a tunnel

and many a great manufacturing town grimy with soot and dim

with vast clouds of smoke. At Manchester, for instance, at

half-past two in the afternoon, though it did not rain, it seemed

like twilight from the smoke. We also threaded many a steep,

narrow, rugged valley, but at length when we drew near to the

east coast, we came into a flat, low country diked like Holland, to

which it looks out across the North Sea. I spent the night at

Hull in a clean and pleasant hotel with excellent food. It was

a temperance house, and I usually stopped at such, but I could

not in all cases recommend them so heartily. The next morn-

ing I went out on the Hull and Barnsby railroad a twenty-one-

minute ride to Little Weighton (formerly written and still

pronounced Weeton), and from there a short mile's walk,

brought me to the gate of the Rowley rectory grounds. The

land is high and rolling with broad views, great flocks of sheep

and herds of cattle and horses were grazing in the pastures, the

hawthorn hedges had already begun to take on autumnal tints,

although it was but the tenth of September, and here and there

a lingering songster of summer regaled me with its carol. The

rectory and the church stand near each other in the broad

rectory acres, but there is not another building to be seen for

a long distance. When Mr. Rogers came to America all his

immediate neighbors are said to have come with their pastor,

and their humble cottages, left tenantless, decayed and fell to

the ground; occasionally to this day one comes upon a brick

or some trace of a cellar where there was once a house. Hence
the church and rectory stand in solitude. The "New England

Magazine " for Sept. 1899 contained an article by me on Mr.

Rogers, and I will not repeat much of what I there said. He

was an able and faithful preacher, whom the people flocked

to hear from all the neighboring region, but, to quote his own

words, "for refusing to read that accursed book that allowed

sports on God's holy Sabbath or Lord's Day, I was suspended,

and became one of God's poor exiles." On my former visit to

Rowley in 1895, Rev. H. C. T. Hildyard was rector. He was

then over threescore and ten, and had been in charge of the

parish for forty-five years. He was tall and still erect and

ruddy, a noble specimen of the English country gentleman and

clergyman. Three years later he passed away; in 1901 I was

entertained by the new rector, Rev. Robert Hildyard, the

nephew of his predecessor and a scholarly and faithful pastor.

It may be worth mentioning, as showing one point of difference

between the average English clerical home and those of the

United States, that as I sat down to lunch my hospitable host

said, "Now, Mr. Ewell, what will you have to drink, -- cider,

claret, whiskey, or beer? "I think he proffered me a wider

range of choice, but I only definitely remember the four that I

have mentioned. The Hildyard family has been in the region

since 1110 and has held the Rowley livery since 1704. Gen.

Hildyard of South African fame is an uncle of the present

rector. The part of the rectory farthest from the church is as

old as Mr. Rogers' day, and I was shown an elegant silver

flagon -- an heirloom of the rectory -- bearing the date of

1634; so that would be a memento of Mr. Rogers. I suppose it

to have been used in the communion service. The church

bears the name of St. Peter, and was already venerable with a

history of three centuries when from its pulpit Ezekiel Rogers

commended himself "to every man's conscience in the sight of

God." Within on the right is a beautifully carved lectern or

reading-desk, the work of the late rector's own artistic hand; on

the opposite side are a new pulpit, and in the rear new choir

"stalls" or seats. The pulpit bears the inscription:


To the Glory of God,


In memory of the

Rev. Henry C. T. Hildyard

Rector of Rowley,

The pulpit and choir stalls

Were placed in this Church

by Relatives, Parishioners

and Friends.

July 20, 1900.


Among the "Friends" who contributed, our Rowley and Byfield

were represented.

   What ancestors of Byfield families came from Rowley, Eng-

land? Mr. Rogers' colony numbered " about sixty families;"

of these "about twenty families" came over with Mr. Rogers,

while the others joined him between his arrival here and the

settlement of our Rowley. The Rowley, England, parish regis-

ter will not help us very much, for it only runs back to 1653.

Mr. Rogers' leaving would seem to have brought the parish life-

almost to a standstill, so that it began anew, as far as records

go, fifteen years later. Mr. Gage gives (Hist. Rowley, p. 132) a

list of seventeen families that probably were of the twenty that

came with Mr. Rogers; of these, Jewett, Nelson, and Tenney, at

least, are Byfield names, and the Spofford family has been largely

represented in the parish, and no doubt a large proportion of

the others became by marriage ancestors of our Byfield people.

Mr. Blodgette believes the Tenneys to have come from Rowley.

It is certain that the Northends, though not in Mr. Gage's list

of seventeen, were from Rowley. One entry in the Rowley

register reads: "1657, Jeremiah Northend of Little Weeton [a

part of the parish  gent aged thirty years, mindeth to take to

wife Mrs [not necessarily a widow, mistress was then a title of

rank corresponding to gentleman] Mary [following word illeg-

ible]"  Another entry is "Mr. Jeremiah Northend dyed Apr.

11, 1702. He went with Mr. Rogers to America when about

twelve years old and staid there about nine years." This

Jeremiah was cousin to Ezekiel Northend, who also came with

Mr. Rogers and who was the ancestor of our Byfield Northend

family. The Northends were large land owners in Rowley and

its vicinity and lords of the manor of Little Weeton and Huns-

ley, in Rowley parish. Hunslow Hill in our Rowley was prob-

ably named by the Northends in fond recollection of their

ancestral manor house. I presume a careful examination of'

the registers of neighboring parishes would bring to light the

homes of others of Mr. Rogers' company, though most of them

were probably entered in the lost records of Rowley itself.

So the pleasant and ancient parish of Rowley shares with New-

bury the honor of being above all other English localities one of

the two cradles of our composite Byfield stock.




   My last filial visit was to Bradford. I went there because it,

is thought to have been the home of our Jewetts and Brockle-

banks, although the American home of the latter family only

came within Byfield bounds down to 1731, when the second

parish in Rowley, as I have already said, was set off. Prob-

ably a number of Rowley's settlers were from Bradford, else

they would hardly have, given the name Bradford to one of

their two streets, and to the fair daughter settlement on the

Merrimac. Bradford is in the southwest, of Yorkshire. It is

an exceedingly black manufacturing town of 291,535 people.

The soot is so pervasive and insinuating that even the young

girls who are clerks in stores can hardly keep their hands clean.

But Bradford has something to show for its grime, for it is the

metropolis of the worsted industries, and has the largest silk

and velvet manufactures in the world. It is in a densely popu-

lated region. Leeds, another black town, with 400,000 people,

is only nine miles away. Between Leeds and Bradford, I passed

through a station marked Horsforth. The thought instantly

occurred to me, Horsforth was the English home of the Long-

fellow family. I regretted exceedingly that I could not stop

over and pay my respects to the place associated with one of

the most honored and dearest names not only of Byfield but

of America, but my steamer was to sail in less than three days,

and the flight of time was inexorable. The growth of Bradford

has been remarkable. It had but 2,000 people when Ezekiel

Rogers emigrated, and only 13,000 in 1800. The introduction

of steam power gave it its wonderful impetus. Its noble parish

church of St. Peter's is 450 years old; and the church tower

still bears the marks of cannonading during the Cromwellian

wars. The interior is very interesting, particularly a great

window with four sections in honor of four English saints. I

cannot forbear to give several of the quotations from those thus

honored, inscribed beneath their portraits in the window. 

Under Aiden is written, "If thy love, 0 my Saviour, is offered

to this people, many hearts will be touched. I will go and

make thee known." Under Bede, "No man thinketh more

than need be ere he go hence, what to his soul of good or of

ill doomed shall be." And under Wilfred, "So teach the

young, that whether their after lot shall be to serve God in the

holy office or to serve the king in council or in arms, they may

be found fit."

   The name of Jewett occurs frequently in the records of the

time of the Rowley emigration, also Jowett and Jewitt, which are

probably only variations of spelling. Brocklebank does not

occur, but Brooksbank does repeatedly, which may possibly be

the same name. In the current Bradford directory there is one

Jewett, and he is put down as a blacksmith. It will be recalled

that three generations at least of the Warren Street Jewetts

were, blacksmiths, Maximilian, David, and David's son, Maxi-

milian. The old Rowley names are very common both in the

parish register and the directory. From the former I copied

Wood, Dickinson, Hopkinson (with various spelling), Pearson,

Pickard, Northend, Todd, Smith, Browne, Nelson, Barker,

Bailey, Proctor, and Jackson, and in the directory I found

nearly two columns of those named Barker, three of them put

down as gentlemen, eighteen named Boyes, nine named

Brockebank, four named Carlton, one Chaplin, thirty-four

named Lambert, three of them gentlemen, eighteen named


Nelson, two named Palmer, ten named Parratt, and twenty-

seven named Hopkinson, of whom one is put down as

gentleman. As far as names go, Rowley might have been

almost a colony from the English Bradford, and certainly the

honest industry and triumphant enterprise of the great York-

shire manufacturing town make it something to be proud of

that we of Byfield may claim so near a kinship to it. I left

Bradford Thursday, Sept. 12, and sailed Saturday, Sept. 14 --

a sad day in American history; but its grief had some com-

pensation in the revelation that blood is not only thicker than

water, but that kindred blood beats responsive though separated

by the water of the broad Atlantic. The news that President

McKinley was dead was received in Liverpool at about 9 A. M.,

and before noon flags were flying everywhere at half mast. I

should be very thankful, if at some future day I might prose-

cute these filial pilgrimages farther, and I present my sincere

regrets to all our good people of Byfield, and of Byfield stock,

whose ancestral homes across the sea I have not thus far been

able to visit, or in some cases, as that of the Pearson family,

even to locate.




   Most of our ancestors came, as has appeared in this chapter,

from small country places, and probably most of them were

farmers; so that by heredity we ought to have a kindly appre-

ciation of the soil and of husbandry. The civilization of Eng-

land was much inferior then to its present condition, and the

comforts of life were fewer, but they had much to leave, -- houses

and highways, books, schools, and church edifices, and the

tender ties of kindred and neighborhood, -- and they came forth

into the primeval wilderness where there was neither house nor

building of any kind nor highway, but the vast forest tenanted

by the wild beast and the savage. In coming they hoped, I

suppose, to improve their pecuniary condition if they could

survive the hardships and perils, but the mighty force that

impelled them was a religious one. Archbishop Laud was bent

on enforcing religious uniformity, gospel preaching was perse-

cuted, clergymen were required to read from the pulpit a

proclamation enjoining a Sunday afternoon of gay sports, and

at every point there was pressure to return in a large measure

to the ceremonies of the Church of Rome. Milton's "Lycidas"

has a noble passage in which he depicts the mercenary spirit

of those with whom Laud was filling the pulpits, where


                   The hungry sheep look up and are not fed.


Neither was there any peace for those who withdrew from the

Established Church and sought to worship God according to

their convictions. All public worship throughout the kingdom

must conform to Laud's ritual. So grievous was the oppression

that George Herbert, than whom never soul loved the Estab-

lished Church of England more passionately, wrote:


                   Religion stands on tip-toe in our land,

                   Ready to pass to the American strand.


In the year 164o the pressure began to relax, and the tide of

emigration ebbed, but before that the fathers of Newbury and

of Rowley, and so of Byfield, had fled from the storm.

It may seem strange, considering that our fathers were

Puritans or Separatists, that I have given so much attention to

the parish churches, connected as they are with the establish-

ment that drove them out, and have said nothing of the non-

conformists, who are of the same spiritual lineage with them.

This implies no lack of appreciation of the history and spirit

of the English dissenters, but it was the parish churches to

which our fathers belonged, and from which they came out,

and where alone the records of them are to be found. I am

glad to add that no memory of the past should occasion any

bitterness toward the Anglican Church of to-day. There is in

England now absolute religious liberty, and I everywhere met,

on the part of clergymen, officers, and people of the Church, as

it is called, the most cordial reception and hearty co-operation

and a generous admiration of the Christian heroism of the

founders of New England.

   No chapter of this history has cost the author so much time,

labor, and expense as this, but none has afforded him more

pleasure, and he will feel doubly repaid if it shall strengthen

the appreciation of our emigrant ancestors and of the mother





THE PIONEERS (1635-1702)


Special Authorities:  Records and documents in the Salem Probate Office,

Winthrop's History of New England, Sewall's Diary and Letter-Book, Johnson's

Wonder-Working Providence, and Mather's "Magnalia."




ALL through this history it is often difficult to determine

who belonged to Byfield, because people are usually

mentioned simply as citizens of their respective towns. When

Mr. Smith, for instance, is said to reside in Newbury, it remains

to be determined whether or not his home was in the Byfield

part of Newbury, and the problem is particularly difficult in

the earliest period, when there was no organized Byfield with

its records.

   The Newbury people came first. Governor Winthrop tells

us of the arrival of the "Whale," May 26, 1632, after a pros-

perous voyage of forty-eight days. She brought about thirty

passengers, all in good health, and sixty-eight cows, having lost

two cows on the voyage. One of her passengers was Richard

Dummer, of Bishopstoke, a name ever to be cherished with

honor, not only by Byfield but by our whole country, alike for

his own worth and that of his posterity. I suppose most of

the cows belonged to him. Two years later, Henry Sewall, Jr.,

father of the Chief-justice, and ancestor of many other noble

souls, landed from the "Elizabeth and Dorcas." Her voyage

had been a sad contrast to that of the "Whale," for in it sixty

of her passengers had died. Mr. Sewall also brought "much

cattle" with him. The following year, -- that is, in 1635, -- a

little company of perhaps fifty people, who had been collecting

at Ipswich, made their way from there through Plum Island

Sound and up the Parker to near where Oldtown bridge is

now, and there landed, and on a Lord's Day, probably in June,

Mr. Parker, in the open air, "under the branches of a majestic

oak," preached his first sermon in Newbury, and a church was

organized, with Mr. Parker for pastor and Mr. James-Noyes for

teacher, and so in blended piety and beauty the life of our New

England Newbury began. Four years later, that is, in 1639,

Mr. Rogers and his company of twenty Yorkshire families,

who, like their Newbury friends had already spent a winter

this side the water, and who had grown by accessions to sixty

families, began at Rowley their conflict with the stubborn wil-

derness; but the wilderness, despite its fierce tenants, was more

acceptable to them than the tyranny at home, for it afforded

them "freedom to worship God."

   Almost from the first, the settlers began to make their way

westward into the forest. The falls of the Parker were very

attractive. Even the Indian had appreciated them, and had

derived his name for the river from them, and called it Quas-

cacunquen, which means "falls." Another attractive point was

where the Glen Mills are now, on Mill River; and still another

was the rich lands on the Merrimack, in what is now Bradford

and Groveland. The far-sighted Mr. Rogers had demanded and

secured these lands as part of the Rowley grant. To go in-

land, they would first of all make large use of the waterways

of the Parker, Rowley River, and Mill River, as the Indian had

before them, although they would instantly improve upon the

canoe that he had made by toilsomely hollowing out a great

log with his stone axes, for they would build the little dory and

hoist upon it the sail. By land they would follow the Indian's

simple trail, and like him go up the streams to where they were

fordable. These enterprising pioneers would strike out into the

forest and seize points like those I have mentioned, and rely

upon the trail or the stream to connect them with the main

settlement until a road could be made. As a mill was erected

in 1636 at the falls of the Parker, which we will henceforth for

convenience, and following the ancient custom, term "the

Falls," probably the first road into the interior that struck

Byfield would be north of the Parker and across Cart Creek to

the Falls. Seven years later, John Pearson built a fulling-mill


near the site of the present Glen Mills. That would no doubt

very soon result in a road from Rowley to that paint. As early

as 1654, Thurlow's Bridge was built. This was a great step for-

ward in lines of communication, and a notable event. Mr. Cur-

rier tells us, in his "Ould Newbury," that this bridge stands third

in the list of " bridges in continuous use in New England for two

and a half centuries." Mr. Little says, in his "Outside View,"

that it was thrown across the river as far down as logs could

reach across. Even after the bridge was built, it was no easy

matter to make a good road from Thurlow's Bridge across the

marsh to Rowley. The Newbury records for some years show

the difficulty of the undertaking. But it was accomplished, and

thereafter until 1758, when Parker River Bridge was built, that

is, for a century, the great highway from Boston to Portsmouth

and the cast ran through Byfield. So it was the great good for-

tune of Byfield almost from the beginning to feel the pulse-beats

of the outer world. The "path," which went ahead of the high-

way, would serve for the horseman, and after a fashion gradually

for the rude cart and even better vehicles. It was not until

1662, or thirteen years after Bradford began to be settled, that

a road was laid out to connect it with Rowley, and it was six

years later still before it had one to Newbury. The Long Hill

house was built in 1700, but there was only a path over Long

Hill until 1713. We owe a great debt to our fathers for the

toil and expense which it cost them to bequeath to us our

roads. It was not the work of a year nor of a generation to

bridge the streams, and fill the swamps and marshes, and blast

out the rocks, and shave off the crests of the hills, and put on

the gravel, so as to afford our present commodious roads, and

each generation can best show its gratitude for them by leaving

to its successors better highways than it inherited.




   Richard Dummer, who has already been repeatedly mentioned

in these pages, was the most prominent of the first settlers of

Byfield. He was, perhaps, the richest man in the colony. His

broad lands are said to have stretched on the south side of the

Parker from Oyster Point to Wheeler's Brook, and to have

comprised a thousand and eighty acres. His herds were so

numerous and so aggressive that in 1660 Rowley voted to put

up "a substantial and strong three-railed fence . . . between

Newbury and Rowley, to prevent cattle coming from Mr.

Dummer's farm." His "mansion," as it was termed, appears

from an ancient deed to have been on Fatherland Farm. Only

one year after Newbury was settled, this energetic man, who

had already done a similar thing at Roxbury, with the co-

operation of a Mr. Spencer, erected, as has been said, a mill at the

Falls. Then for the first time the waters of the Parker were

troubled by artificial barriers and machinery, but from that day

to this they have been compelled by the dam and the wheel to

lighten human toil and augment human comfort. This mill

appears to have been at first a saw-mill, -- a most welcome

addition to the resources of the colonists: something beside

hewn logs would now begin to appear in their buildings. In

1638 we find the town entering into a certain contract with the

owner, "in case Mr. Dummer doe make his mill fitt to grynd

corne." The grist-mill would be as great a boon as the saw-

mill.  Before that, all the grain used in the family must be

pounded with pestle and mortar after the Indian fashion. The

late Mrs. Benjamin Winter, of Georgetown, had such a pestle

and mortar, an heirloom of primitive toil and simplicity, handed

down in the Spofford family.

   It is noticeable that while Messrs. Dummer and Spencer built

the mill in 1636, Mr. Dummer appears as the sole owner in

1638. The reason introduces us to perhaps the greatest reli-

gious  convulsion in the history of Massachusetts. Mrs. Ann

Hutchinson had followed her beloved pastor, John Cotton, from

old Boston in England to its infant namesake on the Charles in

1634. Soon after her arrival she began to proclaim her peculiar

views. She seems to have been a worthy woman of rare gifts

and charms, but somewhat inclined to mysticism and religious

subtleties, and withal a little censorious toward the ministers.

Many leading colonists were captivated with her suggestions.

Rev. Mr. Cotton himself accorded them a large measure of

indulgence and approval. Mr. Dummer and Mr. Spencer both

espoused her cause. Probably Mrs. Dummer led the way for

her husband in accepting Mrs. Hutchinson's views, for John

Eliot says of her that she was " a Godly woman," but "was led

away into the new opinions in Mrs. Hutchinson's time." The

conservative party triumphed under the lead of Governor Win-

throp, and the adherents of Mrs. Hutchinson were condemned

and disarmed, including Mr. Dummer and Mr. Spencer. Both

Dummer and Spencer returned to England, perhaps in disgust,

but the former shortly came back. In 164o, when the Governor

was embarrassed through the dishonesty of his steward, "and the

various towns sent in a contribution of 500 pounds, Mr. Dummer

in a more private way, with unequalled liberality, sent him 100

pounds" (Allen, "Biog. Dict."). This was more than the whole

tax of Newbury and half the contribution of all Boston. Such

an act was not merely generous, -- it has the added perfume of

a beautiful magnanimity. Byfield was a great gainer from the

severity of the colonial government toward Mr. Dummer, for

that appears to have led him to make the Falls, where he

already had so large an estate, his home (Eliot, " Blog. Dict.").

Mr. Dummer seems to have been an enthusiastic promoter of

fruit culture. When I was a school-boy at Dummer Academy,

in the fifties, there stood in front of the mansion-house a straight

and lofty mulberry tree, whose fruit used to be the delight of

the students.  That and some of the old apple-trees on the

farm were thought to have been planted by him some two hun-

dred years before.

   Mr. Dummer became involved in a most unfortunate and

protracted controversy with his pastor, Mr. Parker. At least,

as early as 1643, Governor Winthrop speaks of the Presbyterian

church government of Newbury. Johnson's "Wonder-Working

Providence," which appeared in 1654, says, "The teaching

elders in this place [Newbury] have carried it very lovingly

toward their people, permitting them to assist in admitting of

persons into church society, and in church censures, so long as

they act regularly, but in case of maladministration they assume

the power wholly to themselves." Dr. Dexter calls Mr. Parker

and Mr. Noyes "par nobile fratrum" (noble pair of brothers),

but this was not Congregationalism, and as early as 1645 their

arrogation of power had begun to agitate the little settlement.

Forty consecutive large octavo pages in Coffin's history are

mostly filled with a narrative of the contest, and nearly all is in

small type, besides briefer notices of its progress in other parts

of the book. The conflict culminated in 1670, when the breach

between the pastor and his party, and those who stood fast in

the old Congregational paths, had been deepening and broaden-

ing for at least twenty-five years. In that year, a paper was

presented to Mr. Parker signed by Richard Dummer and

Richard Thorla, Mr. Dummer's neighbor, in behalf of what

claimed to be the majority of the church, deposing him from

the pastorate "until," as the paper said, "you have given the

church satisfaction." The deposition however contained this

remarkable qualification: "In the meantime as a gifted brother

you may preach for the edification of the church if you please."

It is evident that the opposition was not to the pastor's doctrine

and still less to his life, but simply to his church polity. Mr.

Parker and Mr. Dummer were then both old men, Mr. Parker

being about seventy-four, and Mr. Dummer about seventy-nine;

possibly it was a little harder for each one to appreciate an

opponent's position and to be conciliatory than in earlier life.

Mr. Dummer's party numbered forty-one church members

whose names are on record; the next year forty-one church

members are recorded by name on Mr. Parker's side, but there

is no name common to the two lists; this indicates that the

Yankee Puritan backbone was displayed and nobody would

change sides. Meetings were disturbed by "an hubbub, knock-

ing, stamping, hemming, gaping;" and there are indications

that which side a candidate would take affected his admission

to the church. Council after council sought to pour oil on the

troubled waters, but could not allay the storm. It is not strange

that one council should speak of the devil's "too much influence

upon the spirits even of godly Minded ones," and of "the

remnants of the powers and deceits of the old man in the best."

The matter was taken into court, where fines were imposed on

Mr. Dummer and thirty-eight others, ranging from the equiva-

lent of $22 down to $1.  Still the strife raged. It came be-

fore the legislature, which on the 19th of May, 1672, adopted

a lengthy statement concerning the whole matter, and sent

a letter to the church, for then church and state were con-

nected. In this letter the Congregational method of doing

church business is explained and upheld; the "offences and

provocations given" Mr. Dummer and his party are admitted,

as is their claim to be the majority, but their course, is con-

demned "as a violation of church order in the gospel and

usurpation upon the liberties of their brethren." Even this

action of the colonial legislature did not produce peace, for, on

the 8th of October of the same year, the legislature appointed

a committee comprising some of the most eminent citizens

of the colony "to repair to Newbury and call both parties

together," and if possible effect "Christian submission one to

another," but to report "any refractoriness in any amongst

them to the next court of election." This is the last notice that

has come down to us of the unhappy church quarrel that had

lasted at least twenty-seven years. We may hope that this com-

mittee of peace-makers was successful. Mr. Parker lived nearly

five years longer and Mr. Dummer more than seven. Let us

trust that their closing years realized much of the peace and

love of the better country to whose border they were come.

There appears to have been an impetuous vein in Mr. Dummer's

character, but this very impetuousness probably contributed

much toward the achievements of his life. His long, active,

beneficent, and somewhat stormy career closed December 14,

1679, when he was eighty-eight years old, "and he died in a

good old age, full of days, riches, and honor." But his stock

took root in the earth, and the long succession of his worthy

descendants has been unbroken down to our day. Mr. N. N.

Dummer, of Byfield, is one ,of them.




   Opposite to Mr. Dummer, on the north side of the Falls, was

the great pasture of Mr. Henry Sewall, Jr., comprising five

hundred acres. Mr. Sewall had a house on the Longfellow lane,

about a hundred rods north of the present street, but it could

hardly be called his home. His lands stretched to Cart Creek

on the east. On the other side of Cart Creek was Dr. John

Clark's farm of four hundred acres. He lived where Mr. Asa

Pingree does now. He was a very prominent citizen in the new

colony. He is said to have received while yet in England a

document certifying to his skill in operating for the stone. It

was a piece of rare good fortune for the little wilderness settle-

ment to have so eminent a surgeon within its border, and the

town showed its appreciation of his services by exempting him

from taxation. Dr. Clark is reputed to have been a lover of

the horse, and to have introduced a breed that long bore his

name. The inventory of his estate corresponds to his equine

and surgical distinction. One entry reads: "Horses, young and

old, 12 @ , L5 each L6o," and another entry is: "Books and

instruments, with several chirurgery materials in the closet,

L60."  The striking portrait of Dr. John Clark, owned by the

Massachusetts Historical Society and reproduced in Coffin's

"Newbury," is probably that of our Dr. Clark.  Unfor-

tunately for our parish, the attractions of Boston soon drew

him thither. He had descendants in the medical profession in

a direct line to the seventh generation.     Dr. Clark was suc-

ceeded on the same farm by Mr. Richard Thorlay, the bridge

builder. The beautiful new reredos of Winchester Cathedral

has a statue of one of its ancient sainted bishops, with a bridge

in his hand to commemorate the fact that he was a pioneer

bridge builder. Mr. Thorlay has that title to canonization.

Mr. Thomas Thurlow, of West Newbury, is his descendant.




   When we turn to the Rowley side of the parish, we find

Mr. John Pearson to be the best known of the early settlers.

Like those that have been mentioned on the Newbury side,

Mr. Pearson served his generation. In 1643 he built a fulling-

mill on the Byfield side of Mill River, a few rods south of

the present Glen Mills. Such a mill did not supersede the




wheel and loom at home. It was simply a mill to which the

homespun cloth was brought to be rudely finished; it added

compactness to the cloth, and so made it warmer and more

durable, at the same time it improved its appearance. John-

son's "Wonder-Working Providence" says of Mr. Pearson and

his neighbors: 'These . . . were the first people that set

upon making of cloth in this western world, for which end they

built a fulling-mill;" thus early -- sixty-seven years before the

parish was incorporated -- did Byfield take a leading place in

industrial progress. This mill remained in Mr. Pearson's family

and name for six generations, and his son Benjamin became a

miller on the main stream of the Parker, where his descendants

of the same surname and given name have continued in honor-

able and successful business to the present day.




Thomas Nelson erected a grist-mill on the same stream and

the same falls, probably a year or two earlier. This was the

pioneer grist-mill in Rowley. Mr. Nelson was an emigrant of

large means and the ancestor of a numerous and worthy pos-

terity in Byfield, Georgetown, and far and wide. There is every

reason to believe that the great admiral was of the same family.

With the second generation, the number of settlers in Byfield

increased. Then the Tenneys struck westerly into the wilder-

ness to near the foot of Long Hill, and built a house nearer to

the river than the present one. This was destined to become

one of the historic homesteads of New England. Toward the

close of the century, at least three brothers-in-law of judge

Sewall were residents of Byfield: Moses Gerrish, William Long-

fellow, and William Moody. Henry Sewall, Jr., divided his

Falls lands between his three daughters, who married the men

just mentioned. The lines of division are said to have run

straight up from the river.  Mr. Moses Gerrish married Jane

Sewall September 24, 1677. Her share included where Mr.

Lacroix lives now. Possibly the Gerrishes lived in  the oldest or

westerly part of Mr. Lacroix's house. Before he renovated the

house, that part bore the marks of great antiquity. Mr. Gerrish's

family became very prominent and useful both in the parish

and far beyond its borders. Mrs. Lacroix is a descendant of

Henry Sewall through the Longfellows, so the farm is even now

inhabited by the good old Sewall stock. Mr. William Long-

fellow married Anne Sewall November 10, 1678.  Her portion

or a part of it, still remains in the family and the name. Mr.

Longfellow seems to have been good company, but not over

provident, nor liable to the charge of undue attention to his

dress. He was drowned in Phips' unfortunate expedition against

Quebec in 1690.  Judge Sewall's writings have graphic allusions

to him. It need hardly be added that the poet Longfellow was

descended from William and Anne (Sewall) Longfellow. An

interesting tradition puts the building of the first Longfellow

house at 1676. It stood until recent years. Two memorials

of the home are said to still survive: a stone horse-block and

a sweetbrier rose bush -- a beautiful suggestion of the solidity

of the Sewall stock and the sweetness of song which a Long-

fellow was to bequeath to the world. William Moody married

Mehitable Sewall November 15, 1684. Miss Harriet Moody,

his descendant, and the widow of William Goodrich live on the

original Moody place. Mr. Moody was a worthy, enterprising

citizen, a miller, and the record of his descendants in this

history will show their sterling, worth. Mr. William H. Moody,

Secretary of the Navy, is one of his posterity. About 1687

Mr. Peter Cheney entered into an agreement with the town

of Newbury to build a fulling-mill and a grist-mill on the

Parker, both apparently at the upper falls or near the present

railway station. Those whose names were mentioned in Chap-

ter 1. as having their ministry rate abated would all, of course,

be already within the limits of Byfield. Thus, what was to

become the new parish was gradually being peopled.




As most of Georgetown belonged to Byfield until the second

parish of Rowley in what is now Georgetown was set off in

1731, I will speak of the pioneer family in that section, that of

John Spofford. He was one of the first settlers of Rowley, and

The Original Longfellow House,  Built about 1676

as it appeared in 1875

(By permission of Harper and Brothers)



The Parsonage of 1703, as it appeared in 1875

(By permission of Harper and Brothers)

probably one of Mr. Rogers' little Yorkshire band that formed

the kernel of the company. He was, so far as is known, the

ancestor of all of the name in the United States and Canada,

and of a great multitude that bear other names. Paul Spof-

ford, for more than fifty years a leading merchant of New York,

whose son Paul N. has been helpful to the author in the prepa-

ration of this book; George Peabody, the banker; Dr. Richard

S. Spofford, of Newburyport, and his son Hon. Richard S. Spof-

ford, " champion of the hardy New England fisherman; "Judge

Henry M. Spofford of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, and

Ainsworth R. Spofford of encylopedic knowledge -long may

he adorn his office in the Congressional Library!  --are a few

of his prominent descendants. When John Spofford the emi-

grant had lived thirty years in the pleasant little hamlet of

Rowley, impelled by a true Anglo-Saxon spirit of conquest, he

went westward more than six miles, and more than three miles,

probably, beyond any white settler, and made a new home on

what is still called from him Spofford's Hill. Think of the

loneliness and peril of such an outpost! But imagine also the

fascination to a sturdy pioneer of battling with hardship and

peril, and changing the wilderness into a fruitful field. The

town owned a tract of three thousand acres on the hill; from

that it leased to him a farm of ninety acres. He and his de-

scendants retained the lease eighty-one years, and at the end of

that period it reverted to the town, but in those eighty-one years

they had become owners of nearly a thousand acres adjacent.

Certainly this was a good specimen of the thrift of our fathers.

After the Byfield church was formed, until the second parish

was set off, his family in common with the others of that

region attended the Byfield meeting. I would like to extend

this study of the honorable record of the settlement of By-

field, but it would swell the book to an undue size. Let

those that have been mentioned be taken as specimens. No

generations in our history are more worthy of commemoration

than those which let the sunlight into the primeval forest,

broke up the virgin soil, and bore and conquered the privations

and perils of this new land.




   Some have misapprehended the differences between our two,

mother churches of Newbury and Rowley. There were marked

differences, but not in doctrine. The catechism of Mr. Noyes

of Newbury breathes the same spirit and maintains the same

doctrines as that of Mr. Rogers of Rowley, and Newbury, as

well as Rowley, insisted on doctrinal soundness in candidates

for membership. In the heat of the quarrel about Mr. Parker,

both parties agreed that "orthodoxy" must be a condition of

admission to the church.  The differences, were, however,

marked. Rowley had, like almost all the early New England

churches, a Congregational polity, while Newbury's worthy

pastor was, as we have seen, bound to rule his church

in a Presbyterian fashion; but chiefly, while Rowley, like

almost all her neighbors, examined the "experiences" of can-

didates with rigid scrutiny, Newbury laid little stress on in-

ternal evidences of conversion, though it is not to be inferred

that Newbury underrated experience.  Both Mr. Parker and

Mr. Noyes were men who walked with God, but they did not

set candidates on a minute and painful work of introspection: it

was enough for them if they were "orthodox and of good con-

versation." We read in Mather's Magnalia "that Mr. Noyes

held " that such as show a willingness to repent and be bap-

tized in the name of the Lord Jesus, without known dissimu-

lation, are to be admitted." It has been said of three branches

of the Christian Church of our day, that the decisive question

with one is, "What do you believe?" with the second, " How

do you feel?" and with the third, " How do you live?" Mr.

Noyes put the first and the third, but passed over the second.

All honor to him for being a pioneer in this direction.




   Byfield affords interesting relics of a remarkable early in-

dustry in various inscribed stones. A considerable number

of these are to be seen about the buildings of the late Mr.

Alfred Ambrose; there are also the ancient mile-stones at

Dummer Academy, at Mr. Silas Noyes', and elsewhere, and

there are gravestones of the same character.  It is likely

that the work was done near where Mr. Ambrose's house

now stands, as there are so many specimens about those

premises. The stones are ornamented with rude sculptures

of fleur-de-lis and scrolls and other devices, some of them, in

the opinion of Dr. Hovey of Newburyport, of a pagan and

phallic character. The material, according to his interesting

sketch (Scientific American Supplement, November 24, 1900),

is diorite, hard to work but very durable, and it is found in

the neighboring pastures. The dates range from 1636 to 1756.

What a strange eccentricity possessed those stone-workers in

the strict Puritan settlement, and how enduring is the record

left us of hands that forgot their cunning so long ago!




   Repeated allusions have already been made in this history

to our  fathers' troubles with the Indians. Hardly any New

England settlement was free from these. While Byfield that

was to be, suffered no general massacre, she had an average

share of conflict, although the sachem of the immediate region,

Masconomo, was always friendly. The Pequot War of 1637

occurred before Rowley was settled, but Newbury was called

upon for eight men, and Byfield was represented among them.

From 1637 until 1675 there was comparative peace, although

Rowley and Newbury were represented in a little expedition

of 1642, and Rowley had men in an expedition of 1653. In

1675-76 there came the life-and-death struggle of New Eng-

land, and especially of Massachusetts and Plymouth, with King

Philip.  In this struggle six hundred colonists fell on the

battle-field, and there was scarcely a family in which some one

did not suffer; more than six hundred buildings were burned,

and the cost of the war -- half a million dollars -- was as great

in proportion as that of the war for independence (Barry's" History

of Massachusetts," I., p. 447). The pages of Coffin

and of Gage show how heavily the conflict bore on Newbury

and Rowley. Coffin tells how frequent and large were the

impressments of soldiers, and how great were the war ex-

penses of Newbury. In 1675 the "minister's rate" was in

round numbers L104, while the war cost them, L458, or more

than four times as much. Gage dwells fondly on the heroism

of Captain Brocklebank of Rowley and his fellow-townsmen,

who fell on the bloody field of Sudbury.    

   After a breathing spell of only twelve years, the colonies were

again plunged into the terrors of another Indian war, which

raged from 1688 to 1697. It was not now a contest with Indians

near home, but with those that swarmed out of the vast forests

to the north and east; nor yet with the Indian alone or chiefly,

but with the Indian stirred up and backed by the Frenchman in

the long contest between France and England for the mastery

of North America. It was in this war that Mr. Goodrich and

his family were smitten, as was narrated on page 16. One of

the eastern Indian massacres also touched Byfield closely, for

its most noted victim was one of Byfield's noblest sons. At

the opening of the year 1692, southern New Hampshire, and

what is now the southwestern part of Maine, had already

suffered so severely that the good people of Connecticut had

collected a large store -- a vessel load, apparently of provi-

sions and clothing for their succor, and Judge Sewall, of Boston,

was glad to be the agent for the transmission of the timely

charity. On the ninth of January he wrote a very kindly

letter to Rev. Shubael Dummer, of York, Maine, and two others,

concerning the fraternal gift. Mr. Dummer was a son of our

Richard Dummer, a graduate of Harvard, of the class of 1656,

and a man of beautiful Christian character.  His flock was

poor, and he had been their generous helper from his own

means. He had labored among them devotedly some twenty

years, turning a deaf ear to every call to a more prominent or

an easier field; but sixteen days after the writing of that letter,

in the dead of winter, when the little frontier hamlet had begun

to feel secure, partly because for several months there had

been a lull in the storm, and partly, no doubt, from the depth

of the snow, the Indians burst upon them, having made their

way over the snow on snow-shoes. In this attack they killed

about fifty, and took captive nearly a hundred. Mr. Dummer

fell with the slain, and his wife was carried into captivity

"where through snows and hardships among those dragons

of the desert she also quickly died." Cotton Mather, whose

sketch of Mr. Dummer is one of his best bits of biography,

after enumerating his excellences says, " In a word, he was

one that might by way of eminency be called a good man."

And Sewall laments ("Letter-Book," I., p. 129):  "[His death)

is the more sorrowful to me because he was my mother's cousin

german and my very good friend."  Mr. D writt me a Letter

of the 19th Jan. full of love.... "

   Mrs. Almira A. Lunt, to whom I am much indebted for in-

teresting facts as to old Byfield, sends  me an extract from a

letter to her from Mr. Parker C. Pillsbury, concerning the house

where Mr. Herbert Witham now lives. Mr. Pillsbury was born

in that house. He writes: "It was built in the time of the

Indian depredations. My great-grandmother occupied it in the

time of the Indians. It was lined from the sill to the girth with

bricks between the plastering and the boards.  There were

doors outside the windows to shut at night. The outside doors

were barred inside. One night the Indians came and attacked

the house, making an attempt to cut the outside [doors] down

to get into the house.   My great-grandmother took a pail of

scalding water, went upstairs, and poured it on their heads, and

they were glad to retire."  It will be remembered that the

Witham house has its second story project over the lower story,

and it is said that there was formerly an opening through the

projecting part to fire upon  assailants, or, as in this case, to

give them a hot-water baptism. All honor to the brave fore-

mothers of Byfield!

   A local history is not the place to discuss the general ques-

tion of the moral character of our fathers' dealings with the

Indians. The Indians were uncivilized heathen, and perpe-

trated the most fiendish cruelties in war, but that they were

never despised, defrauded, and oppressed, even by the Puritan

settlers of New England, I should not like to maintain. It

takes a larger infusion of Christianity than the world has yet

experienced to lead a strong race to do justice to a weak

one. The voluminous pages of Sewall's "Diary" and "Letter-

Book," which afford our best mirror of those days, give abun-

dant proof that he did not think that the Indian and the Negro

received a full measure of justice and Christian kindness and

effort from the white settlers; but the record of the settlers of

our region, so far as it has come down to us, is a favorable one.

This conduct made Masconomo friendly not only to them but

also to their religion; and we have seen (p. 14) how our

towns paid money to his grandchildren to get a clear title.

One individual at least also paid a considerable sum to Indian

claimants of the land he occupied. This was Henry Sewall, Jr.,

who in 1681 paid Job Indian, Hagar Indian, and Mary Indian,

the heirs of  "old Will Indian late of Newbury Falls" L6 13S. 4d.

each, or L20 in all, for their quit claim deed to one hundred

and sixty acres or more of land. The original document was

found among the papers of the late Paul Moody and is now in

the possession of Mr. Patrick of Lowell.

   Through the kindness of Mr. J. 0. Hale, I am permitted to

insert a transcript of it in this history with its "marks" made

by representatives of a race that has vanished from our borders.

L 20 seems perhaps a moderate price for one hundred and sixty

acres, but land was not worth so much to those who only

roamed over it and hunted its game and fished in its waters as

to those who unlocked the treasures of its soil. Besides, this

may have been only a final payment to quiet all claims. He

may have previously paid a much larger sum to "old Will"





   The massacre of Mr. Goodrich and his family in Byfield,

and of Rev. Mr. Dummer, a son of Byfield, at York, both took

place, as has been said, in 1692. This is the most tragic year

in New England history, for in it the witchcraft delusion

reached its culmination. The mania cast its dark shadow over

both Newbury and Rowley, for Elizabeth Morse, who a few

years earlier barely escaped the gallows under the fearful

accusation of being a witch, lived in Newbury, and Margaret

Scott, who was hung in 1692, was of Rowley; but neither of

these victims lived within the limits of Byfield. Our parish

has in history only the romantic corona of that dark eclipse

of reason and humanity. The falls of the Parker was the

traditional spot where the witches entered into covenant with

the Evil One, and received his sacraments of baptism and

hellish bread and wine.

                   For Tituba my Indian saith

                   At Quascycung she took

                   The Black Man's godless sacrament,

                   And signed his dreadful book.


Quascycung or Quascacunquen was primarily the falls of the

Parker, although the whole river came to bear the same name.




   I shall not attempt a full picture of the life of Byfield in the

seventeenth century, but only here and there a lineament. The

people lived at first in log-cabins with thatched roofs, and floors,

in some instances it would seem, of mother earth; but as saw-

mills multiplied and their means increased, they exchanged

these primitive abodes for frame houses, often large and of

two stories, in size corresponding to their families. In these

houses, the second story frequently projected over the lower

one for defence against the Indian, and the roof ran down to

the lower story in the rear, making a back "linter" (lean-to).

In the huge chimney was the bench where the family could

sit cozily and watch the great fire of logs or read by its light.

I have a faint recollection of such a chimney in the Long Hill

house before its alteration by the late Major Stickney.

   Mr. Witham's house, which was in my youth the Pillsbury

house and was still earlier the Dickinson house, is probably

an heirloom from the seventeenth century. Its architecture

closely resembles that of the old house on Kent's Island, not

now standing, that is said to have been built in 1653. The

exterior has already been described. The interior is interest-

ing. The large living-room has a huge fireplace in which two

cook-stoves stand side by side, a beautifully carved wooden

latch on the great cellar door, a crane five or six feet long

thoroughness with which our fathers built, the character of their

architecture, and the perils that beset them.

   They married young and had large families of children, for

which they thanked God. Judge Sewall had five sisters who

married in Newbury and Rowley. Their average age at mar-

riage was nineteen years, and their average number of children

was eight. The pastor of one of these sisters, the Rev. Mr.

Payson of Rowley is said to have had twenty children by one

wife -- little danger that such a stock would be crowded out

of the land by any rival.

   I give the following inventory in full, as I am sure my readers

of the fair sex would not forgive me if I abridged it:


   An Inventory of the eftate of mrs ffrances Dumer of newberry de-

ceafed, the goods fhe was poffeffed off apprifed as money 23 appril


          Imp. I bed & bolfter & 3 pillowes                                    4.  10.  0

          a worfted rugg 26s/ Courled [Coverlet] 3 blankets 37s/     3.    3.  0

          1 fuit of Curtens & Vallence 30s/ a wt rugg 7s/                1.  17.  0

          Silver goblet     4 fpoons 32s/ thimble 2/                           5.    4.  0

          3 fcarfes ye best at 27s/ the du cape 9s/

          a luteftring fcarfe 17s/ the best hood 7s/                           2.    19.  0

          the two worft hoods 8/                                                    0.    2.    0

          Silk cape & whifk, fleevs filk ftokins

                   7s/ in all                                                                 0 .  11.   6

          1 Pr ftockins 3/ 3 Pr gloves 3/6                                        0.    6.    6

          a fann 4s/ a fay apron 8s/                                                 0.   12.   0

          1 pr bodies 10/ an otter muff 5/                                                 0.   15.   0

          2 filk Petticots 47s/ a farrendine mantle 30/                       3.   17.   0

          1 filk gown 3th  5s/ a ftomacher                                       3.     5.   0

          1 prunel1a black gown 34 & petticot 14                             2.     8.   0

          1 farge coat wt a lace 23 and a white

                   woolen Coat 8s/                                                              1.     11.  0

          1 dutch farge gound 28/ a morneing

          gound of ftuff 8/ 1 farge petticot 18                                           2.     6.    0

          Rideing hood & fafegard 16s/ 2 old peticots 16/               1.     12.  0



"The Top House" (Robert Jewett House), Warren Street




The Witham (Dickinson, Pillsbury) House

Probably built in the Seventeenth Century

3 pr ftockins 1 pr fhoes                                                 0.    7.    0

1 pillion & cloth 7s/ & a cufhion                                    0.    7.    0

Bermuda hat 2/  4 pilowbers 6s/

            and a balket 6d                                                 0 .   8.    6.

1 whit mantle 1s/6d  Sex

            napkins 6/                                                         0.    7.    6

1  pr cotten & Linnen fheets 20/

            a tablecloth 3/9d                                               1.    3.    9

1  pr old cotton & linen fheets 3/                                   0.    3.    0

pr fheets half wore 12/ and

            1 pr old ones 6s,/                                              0.    18.  0

a fheet & towel 3s/ 4 dowlas fhifts 26s/                         1.      9.   0

3  fuftin waftcots 4s 6d  7 wt aprons 17s/                      1.      1.   6

7  handkerchifs 9s/ 6 neck

            handkerchifs 13s/                                            1.      2.   0

1  ps holland 6s/ 8 caps 16s/ 2 old ones 1s                     1.     7.   0

plain wt capes  4 of ym 10s/                                      0 .   10 .  0

wt fleivs 9 pr 12s/ a pr gloves

            a blue apron    9d 1  pillowbear 3d                     0.     13.  0

a wt bag of remnants of cloth thred

            filk & other things                                              0 .      5.   0

2 litle boxes 2s/ a bible & 2 books 6s/

            more peuter 10s/                                               0 .     18 .  0

a morter & Peftel 4s/ 2 chifts 9s/                               0  .     10  . 0

            two trunks 14/ 

a cabinet 4s/ 1 cupbord 20s/ a table 10/

the Gally potts 1s/                                                          1.         5 .   0

1 knive & glafs 1s/ 10d                                              0.         1 .   10

                                                                                                45    14 - 01

                                                            JOHN BAYLY

                                                            JOHN CALDWELL fenr

   At a Court held at Salem June 30. 1685

An Inventory of the estate of mrs frances dumer deceafed being pre-

rented to us of 45 pound 14/8 by her fone Richard dumer we fe caufe

to ordor to mr Shubael dumer eldeft fone the one half of it And to

mr Jeremy dumer and Richard dumer the other half to be equaly

divided between you two.

            The Court orders this to be entred as attefts

                                                JOHN APPLETON Cler.

Essex. ss. Probate Office October 10 1903.

            A true copy from Book 302 page 141.

                        Attest. J. T. Mahoney. Register.


Four years later the inventory of the emigrant Richard

Dummer's son Richard was taken. I give extracts from this
inventory to show the possessions of a man of large means in

those primitive times.         (304 Essex Co., Prob. Records 302.

Original Document.)

   An Inventory of ye Estate of Captn Richard Dummer Esqr Late of

Newbury who deceased July 4th 1689

          His Wearing apparell                                              30 00 00

plate 24 ounces &

plate buttons                                                          L2

1 Fowling peice        L3

musquet 1 - 10 = 0  1 Carbine 30s

1 Raipier 25s         1 Shoulder belt 35s

a buff belt 12s       a cane 7s                         09 - 19 - 0

To Bookes                                                  05 = 00 = 00

Housing Landes upland & Meadow

Gardens orchardes Tenements

forming togather with the

freehold & privilidges                                   2000 = 00 - 00

7 Bedes bolstezes & bedsteedes

& other Furnuture                                        31 = 00 - 00

23 pairs of Sheetes                                       29  = 19 - 00

. . . . . .                                                                    . . . .. . . . . .

To a glas case &

Looking glas                                                2 = 10 = 00

. . . . . .                                                          . . . .

Iron pots dripinpans

candlesticks tongs Tramiles

fender & Spitt                                              05 = 02 = 01

Brass kittle & other brass                                       05 = 00 = 00

a Copper pott & Skimer & a Ladle                         00 = 15 = 00

Putter                                                                    06 = 19 = 00

a Case of Knives                                          00 = 05 = 00

["sheepes wole," flax yarn and

hemp yarn are inventoried.]

To a Hors & Furnitture                                20 = 00 = 00

Item Neat Catle breeding Maires

and a Colt Sheep & Swine                            147 = 00 = 00

Item a Neagro                                              60   = 00 = 00

2432 = 00 = 00

These inventories are instructive. Like almost all manu-

scripts of the period they display great fertility of invention in

spelling, and a great dearth of punctuation marks. Mrs. Dum-

mer's inventory shows that the proverbial economy of the

Yankee marked our stock from the beginning: not only "half

wore" but "old" clothes are carefully enumerated; even the

white bag of remnants is not overlooked. Our lady's ward-

robe enabled her to dress if she pleased in silk-from cap to

stockins." She was equipped for horseback riding with pillion

"cloath" and "cushing," but of shoes only one pair is recorded.

Her library was limited to "a bible & two bookes more." Little

mention is made of "cotten;" it was still an expensive rarity,

for the days of Arkwright and of Whitney had not yet dawned.

The probate office of that time was deficient in arithmetic:

there are at least ten errors in the figures carried out, and the

footing up is several pounds astray, and the clerk's quotation of

the footing is incorrect. The oldest son had a double portion as

the first-born. He was the one who seven years later was mur-

dered by the Indians (p. 59). This inventory ought to be re-

viewed by a lady; the general impression which it makes upon

the masculine mind is that of great variety and abundance.

   If we may judge from the inventory of Captain Dummer, a

leading citizen sixty and more years after the first settlement

would be fairly well clothed, excellently armed, and scantily

supplied with books. He would have some plate, but brass

and "putter" (pewter) would enter largely into his household

equipment.     The great brass kettle and the broad pewter

platter that are cherished heirlooms in so many of our homes

are typical of those times. He would lead an independent life,

with broad acres, large flocks and herds, and a good store of

flax and wool.     Slavery was not a prominent feature of the

times, but the "neagro" was there as property, and was valued

in pounds sterling just like the sheep and swine. No carpets

appear in either inventory:  it was the era of scoured and

sanded floors. Forks are likewise absent; the fingers still plied

briskly their immemorial task at meal time between the plate

and the mouth.

The table of those times if compared with ours had less fresh

meat and more salt, but it had more game and fresh fish,

including salmon from their own streams; they had no potatoes,

but plenty of turnips of that choice flavor which only a virgin

soil could impart. Trenchers, that is, square pieces of board

such as are still used in Winchester College, England, served

for plates. With their "victuals" they drank neither tea nor

coffee, but liberal draughts of cider. 

    They had no newspapers, but had time and, mind for solid

reading, mostly religious and so stiff and dry in style as hardly

to deserve the name of literature, -- but they did have and

read and ponder the choicest classic of all our literature, our

English Bible.

   Letters were, to most, a great rarity; the mails were few

and slow and expensive. In 1693, more than fifty years after

Byfield was settled, it took nearly a cord of oak wood to pay

the postage on a letter from here to Virginia.

   Their clothing, if of cloth, was homespun, and the great loom,

as I remember that of my grandmother, would fill a room;

but they wore many a skin of sheep and deer and moose,

which did not tax the fingers of wife and daughter in their

preparation. The courts watched with a jealous eye and sup-

pressed with a substantial penalty any attempt of ambitious

women to dress beyond their husbands' rank and means.

   They were largely a pastoral people, with great flocks and

herds that were securely penned at night to save them from

bears and wolves. Newbury is estimated to have had in 1685

over five thousand sheep. The humble ass also was common.

Swine abounded and were yoked and ringed in the spring to

keep them out of mischief; and the poor dog had one "legg

tyed up " in the same season so that he might not "bee found

scrapeing up fish in a corne fielde," that is, the fish used as

dressing for the corn.

   Cattle of different owners were distinguished by marks cut in

the ears. "Richard Dol ye 3rd" -- a Byfield man -- had for

the ear-mark of his cattle "a slip in ye uper [side]" and "a

fork in ye left ear," &c., with a diagram, all carefully entered in

the town records. It was so important that the car-marks be

accurately recorded that room was found in the town books

of Newbury for the following poetry (?) of warning:

          "To the Clarcks suckgessively


                   Examine well the marks set

                             Down before

                   By you there be Recorded

                             Any more

                   Least some persons through

                             Mistake do wrong

                   In that which

                             dont to them belong.

                                      JOSHUA MOODY, Clarck 1


   Driving in the springless cart or farm wagon along the rude

"paths" and roads could not have been attractive, but horse-

back riding was as exhilarating exercise then as now -- com-

panionable also, for the maiden or matron often rode on a

pillion behind the man. One trait of travel gave the good

horse a frequent minute to breathe, for the rider often had to

dismount to open and shut the gate that barred the road to

keep different herds of cattle separate.

   Very early in Newbury, within four years after the settlement

of the town, provision was made for the public school, and fre-

quent entries in the ancient record attest our fathers' deter-

mination that their children should not grow up in ignorance.

Their pastors often taught the week-day school, at least for

the more advanced pupils, as well as preached on the Lord's

Day. But schooling in those times was not altogether free: the

town paid part, and the parent part; in 1681 in Newbury such

scholars as studied only English branches paid threepence a

week. The fact that the great eastern highway ran through

our borders was an educating influence of no small power.

   While there was little luxury, there was a high degree of

general comfort and thrift. No pauper is mentioned in Rowley

until 1678, and Newbury was nearly as favored.

   In some respects their life was not so healthy as ours, and

their knowledge of medicine was very defective; against the

                             1 Clerk, that is, Town Clerk.

dreaded visits of the small-pox, for instance, they had not yet

even the protection of inoculation; but they were a robust

stock, following the healthiest of all callings, and many of them

lived to a hale old age.

   The general standard of integrity was high, and the moral

conduct of families was under the close scrutiny of the tithing-

men, of whom each one had the oversight of a specified num-

ber of families. It was not until a later period that their duties

were narrowed to the maintenance of order in the meeting-house.

   On the Sabbath, -- they never used the pagan term "Sun-

day," -- everybody went to meeting -- never to church; they

reserved that term for the Lord's people.  Some of them

had to travel six miles to their respective meeting-houses in

Rowley and Newbury, but they were all there. When they

arrived they all took the seats that had been assigned them.

Three facts were considered in the delicate matter of deter-

mining these seats, -- age, social rank, and the amount of the

minister rate paid by each one. Before the close of the period

family pews began to be built in the meeting-houses. The house

was not warmed, but their veins were full of healthy red blood,

and their homespun woollen clothing was unadulterated with

cotton. In winter as in summer, the minister was expected

to preach until the hour-glass ran out, and he rarely disap-

pointed them. On one occasion a young preacher in the

Newbury meeting was so bashful that he did not dare glance

at the hour-glass, and so preached on and on for two and a

half hours! The timid youth ultimately concluded that he

was not called to the ministry, and is known to history as

Chief-Justice Sewall -- the one so often quoted in this history.

They were honest, cheerful, and brave; pure and hard-

working; a virile, God-fearing, home-loving people, who looked

to heaven as "their dearest cuntrie." There may be others,

but the only books in existence, of which I am aware, that

came over with the progenitors of the Byfield people, are the

Stickney and the Moody Bibles. This fact is typical of their

character. As Mr. John Higginson said in 1663, "New Eng-

land is originally a plantation of Religion, not a plantation of

Trade . . . worldly gain was not the end and design of the

people of New England, but Religion.  And if any man

amongst us make Religion as twelve and the world as thir-

teen, let such an one know he hath neither the spirit of a true

New England man nor yet of a sincere Christian."







Special Authorities: MANUSCRIPT. The records of the church and of the Parish

for all this period are lost. We have the record of baptisms from 1709, in a pre-

cious little manuscript volume, which was substantially bound and put in a neat

and durable case through the kindness of the late Mr. Cyrus Woodman of Cam-

bridge. Mr. Woodman was a descendant in the sixth generation of Mr. Joshua

Woodman, whose familiar stone in the Byfield burying-ground informs us that he

was the

                             first man child borne

                                      in Newbury

                             & second inturid in

                                      this place.

The assessors' book begins with 1717.  It is a thin folio bound in parchment, and

the corners are tied together with inserted leathern strings. The memorial

address upon Judge Byfield, delivered by Hon. Francis Brinley before the Rhode

Island Historical Society in 1870. The manuscript is owned by Miss Emily M.

Morgan of Hartford, a descendant in the fifth generation from Judge Byfield. The

account book of Stephen Longfellow, the blacksmith, begins in 1710. He made

his entries wherever in the book it pleased his fancy. The latest date that I have

noticed is 1752. It is an invaluable mirror of its times. The present owner is

Mr. Horace Longfellow, his descendant.

   PRINTED. Hutchinson's second volume has much information as to Governor

Dummer, and is very instructive as to the state of affairs in the province of Massa-

chusetts. The Westbrook Papers are full of information as to Governor Dum-

mer's public life.


   THE cause of the formation of the new parish may be

inferred from what has already been written: the grow-

ing population in those parts of Rowley and Newbury that

were at an inconvenient distance from the established places

of worship.

   The beginnings of the organization of Byfield are obscure

from the dearth of records, although the main facts are well

known. In 1701 seventeen persons in Rowley and fifteen in

Newbury had half of their ministry rate abated; probably, as I

have said before, because they had already set up a new preach-

ing service or were about to do so. In these lists one was a

woman, Mrs. Jane Gerrish, and one Robert (or Robin) Mingo,

a negro. He joined the Byfield church, April 28, 1728. He

became a citizen of Rowley and at one time lived in a small

house on land now owned by Mr. L. R. Moody, east of

Leighton's corner (Gage, p. 406). Thus the brotherhood of

mankind was recognized by the Byfield church in its be-

ginnings. May all its future be true to that happy omen. In

the next year -- 1702, -- we have the following very instructive

entry in judge Sewall's diary:


"Augt. S. 1702.  My dear sister Moody dies a little before sunrise.

. . . Augt 11. Set out from Salem [He had left Boston, his home,

the day before] as the School-Bell rung. . . . When came to Rowley

our Friends were gone. Got to the Falls about Noon. Two or three

hours after the Funeral was, very hot sunshine. Bearers, Woodman,

Capt. Greenlef, Dea. Wm Noyes, Jno Smith, Jona. Wheeler, Nathan

Coffin.  Many Newbury people there though so buisy a time; . . .

Mr. Hale, their minister [was there]. . . . About a mile or more to

the Burying place. . . . Our dear sister, Mehetabel is the first buryed

in this new Burying place, a Barly-earish, pure Sand, just behind the

Meeting-house. . . . I went back to the House, lodg'd there all night

with Bror Moodey. Gave Wheelers wife a piece of 8/8 1 to buy her a

pair Shoes, Gave cousin Lydia a piece of 8/8. Augt. 12 pray'd with

them and sung the 146 psalm. Went to Jno Smith's and took the

Acknowledgement of the Deed for the Land of the Meeting-house and

burying place."

    He wrote to Governor Dudley of his bereavement ("Letter-

Book," I., p. 274):   ". . . She liv'd desir'd and dyes Lamented

by her Neighbours . . . very ingenuous, tender-hearted, pious

creature. . . . " Mrs. Moody was about thirty-seven years old,

and the above extracts show how tenderly she was loved and

lamented. They doubly deserve a place in these pages because,

of her honorable posterity. They also reveal the generous and

pious character of the judge, and his close connection with the

new parish, but they are inserted at this point because of their,

historical significance. They prove that Mr. Hale was already


          1 A Spanish coin of eight reals, the original of our dollar.

their minister, and that the meeting-house was built.1  The

description of the burying-place shows that there was little loss

to agriculture when it was set apart to a sacred use. The in-

scription on Mrs. Moody's stone is as follows:


                             Dater of Mr. Henry & Jane

                             Sewall, wife of Mr. William Moodey,

                             Promoted settling the worship

                             of God here, and then went to

                             her glorified son William,

                             leaueing her son Samuel & four

                             Daters with their Father, August ye

                             8th, 1702, Aetat 38 2 was the first

                             interred in this place.    (Gage, p. 431.)


It is interesting to notice that the one act of her life which was

selected for record on her gravestone was her aid in the estab-

lishment of the infant parish, and the term employed is also

interesting -- "the worship of God." It is pleasant also to learn

that a woman had so honorable a share in the good work.

Mark likewise the strong faith in a blessed life beyond for the

mother and for her child that had gone before. How much

instruction and suggestion one brief epitaph may afford!

   In 1704 we have another valuable record from Judge Sewall

("Letter-Book," I., pp. 296, 297).  It reads thus:

          To Col. Nathan.  Byfield, at Bristow [Bristol, R. I.].

                                                                   Mar. 4, 1703/4.,

My Brother Moodey of Newbury came to visit us this week: He

tells me that the inhabitants from the upper part of the River Parker,

who have Mr. Moses Hale for their Minister, having made his house

habitable, took the advantage of Meeting in it upon the four and

twentieth of February last, being the fifth day of the week, to consult

about the concerns of their Infant-Parish:  At which time they unani-


1 No picture of our first meeting-            Noyes' plan of the interior was no doubt

house has come down to us. We may               based on careful research.

surmise how it looked from the cut          2 She was in her thirty-eighth year,

of the Oldtown meeting-house of 1700    having been born May 8, 1665.

in Coffin's Newbury, p.111.  Rev. D. P.

The Plan of the First Meeting-House, Drawn by

Rev. D.P. Noyes


The Plan of the Second Meeting-House drawn by

Rev. D.P. Noyes


mously agreed to have the Place called Byfield. My brother is to

carry home a Book to Record their Transactions relating to their

Settleing the Worship of God in that Quarter; and this among the

rest. I presume they will henceforward look upon you as their God-

Father; and will be ready gratefully to Acknowledge any Countenance

and Favour you shall please to afford them. . . .


   So the parsonage was " habitable " by February 24, 1704.

The stout-hearted little company seem, after a brief rest, if

any, following the completion of their meeting-house, to have

set about building a house for their young minister, but if

there was speed there was no haste; for the house still stands

after a lapse of one hundred and ninety-nine years plumb and

stanch, and promising with good care to greet future cen-

tennial celebrations. It was the home of all our pastors until

June 21, 1847, when it was leased to Rev. Mr. Durant for nine

hundred and ninety-nine years. What household joys and sor-

rows, and what social gatherings its walls have witnessed; and

how many of our families have tender ancestral associations

with that venerable structure!

   The first recorded parish gathering within it is not the least

interesting. The naming of the baby is always an important

event, and at this meeting the "Infant-Parish" received its

name. The reader will notice that judge Sewall says that the

meeting took place on the fifth day of the week. He had too

thorough a horror of heathenism to speak of Thursday --Thor's

Day. The parish had been called "Rowlbery" to commemo-

rate the two towns to which its people belonged, and the Judge

had suggested Belford; Bel being Mr. Moody's pet name for

his wife Mehitabel, and there being a ford at the falls. For

long after it was familiarly termed Newbury Falls, but its

proper title from this time was Byfield. This naturally leads

to a sketch of the worthy, gentleman whose name it bears.



   Judge Nathaniel Byfield was the son of the Rev. Richard

Byfleld, of Long Ditton, Surrey, England, who was a member

of the famous Westminster Assembly of Divines. The Judge's

mother was a sister of Dr. Juxon, Archbishop of Canterbury.

So he was of high birth. He was the youngest of one and

twenty children, and one of the sixteen that -- "sometimes fol-

lowed their father to the place of publick worship." Picture the

little Nathaniel, who was to win so many honors, trudging at the

rear of that unique procession! He was born in 1653, and

came to America in 1674. He was the principal original pro-

prietor of Bristol, R. I., which he made his home for forty-

four years. In 1873 Bristol gave his name to an elegant and

commodious school-house in grateful recognition of its mani-

fold indebtedness to his foresight and liberality. He held

many hich offices. He was Speaker, Judge of Probate, Judge

of Common Pleas for forty years, member of the Governor's

Council, Judge of the Vice-Admiralty, etc., etc.  He received

commissions for the last-named office from three sovereigns of

Great Britain, and not one of his decisions was ever reversed.

Being deep in politics he had enemies, of whom one was

Jeremy Dummer, grandson of our Richard and brother of

our Lieutenant-Governor William.  Jeremy Dummer was the

able agent of Massachusetts in England.1  Judge Byfield was

opposed to Governor Dudley, whom Senator Lodge terms

"untrue to his country and to the honored name he bore,"

and went to England in 1714 to supplant him. Dummer sided

with Dudley, and there is a lively letter of his extant, in which

he describes an interview with Byfield and their mutual hos-

tility. Dummer told Byfield that he should stand by Dudley

with what friends and interest he could make; to which Byfield

"replied that he would by the help of God get him turned

out and therein please God and all good men. Accordingly


1 Dr. Chauncy pronounced him one        thanks for the many blessings with

of the "three first sons of New Eng-        which He has been pleased to fill up

land," and Bancroft said that his writ-     the short scene of my life, firmly con-

ings contained "the seed of American      fiding in the Benignity of His nature,

independence." He was the friend of        that He won't afflict me in another

Bolingbroke and not a Puritan in his        world for some follys I have committed

belief. The opening paragraph of his        in this, in common with the rest of

will reads thus: "in the chief place           mankind, but rather that he will gra-

and before all things, I do on this sol-      ciously consider the frail and weak,

emn occasion commend my soul to          frame that he gave me, and remember

Almighty God and render him infinite      that I was but dust."

[Dummer continues] we have both been pretty diligent, but

I think he is now a little out of breath. [The judge was then

sixty-one years old and a very large man.] . . . I believe he

now heartily wishes himself safe in his own government at

Poppy-squash" [Dummer's nickname for Pappoosquaw Point,

Judge Byfield's Bristol home]. The letter contains much more

in the same vein.  Judge Byfield, although born in England,

was a stanch advocate of the rights of the colonists. He

maintained in New England much of the establishment of a

wealthy gentleman in old England. He was a man of sincere

piety, great energy, courage, and executive ability, a ready

and effective speaker, and at once very economical and sys-

tematically and bountifully generous.  His liberal-mindedness

appears in his denunciation of the witchcraft mania and the

sentences pronounced on the unfortunate victims. In 1724 he

moved back from Bristol to Boston, where he died June 6,

1733. Dr. Chauncy, his pastor, says of him in his funeral ser-

mon," The Father of Spirits was pleased to form within him

a soul much beyond the common size." Our parish may

always count it an honor to bear his name.1




   On November 17, 1706, Mr. Hale was ordained, and prob-

ably the church was organized the same day. There appear to

have been sixteen members from Rowley: probably there was

a little larger number from Newbury, and possibly there would

be one or two from other churches. The total number would

hardly reach thirty-five. Gage has preserved to us the names

of the sixteen from Rowley; they were: Samuel Brocklebank,

Jonathan Wheeler, Benjamin Plumer, Nathan Wheeler, John

Brown, Andrew Stickney, and Colin Frazer, with their wives,

also Mary Chute and Elizabeth Look. Of these, Samuel

Brocklebank lived, as I have said before, in the Beecher house,

Benjamin Plumer possibly near him, one of the Wheelers


1 Our parish was named for Judge                    to mean cultivated field. I give this on

Byfield, but the name in itself is appro- the authority of Mr. W. Wheater, the

priate, for Byfield is said to be the                     eminent antiquarian scholar of Harrow-

equivalent of Bega-field and the latter    gate, England.

perhaps where Mr. Horsch now lives, Andrew Stickney where

Mr. Ewell lives. Mary Chute was the wife of James Chute, who

probably lived on the James Peabody place; Elizabeth Look's

home was probably on North Street; and Colin Frazer probably

lived near Frazer's rock. Of these sixteen, seven were men;

so the strength of manhood and the gentleness of womanhood

were blended in almost equal measure. Happy church! and

happy it will be when such a proportion shall exist once more

in our Byfield church and in all our churches. Man needs

the gospel as much as woman, and the church needs both

sexes equally in order to satisfactorily accomplish her mission.

This seventeenth of November seventeen hundred and six, Old

Style, was a red-letter day in the history of Byfield. Perhaps

no better tribute could be paid to that devoted and courageous

company of men and women, who made up what may be

called the charter membership of the Byfield church, and to

their associates in the parish, than is found in the following

letter from Judge Sewall to Judge Byfield:

                             To Nathaniel Byfield Esq.

                                      Janr. 6th, 1706/7

SIR, - The enclosed News letter mentions the little Parish, that

bears your Name, and was so called for your sake. The Parishioners

have struggled with many Difficulties in their little and low beginnings.

The Work they have accomplished is Noble. They have settled the

Worship of GOD in a place where the Inhabitants were under very

hard Circumstances, by reason of their Remoteness. Their hands are

few and weak. If you shall find it in your heart, one way or other to

give them a Lift, I am persuaded you will therein be a Worker with

GOD; And I hope, neither You nor any of your Descendants, will

have cause to Repent of it. . . .

                                                          your humble Servt. S. S.


Judge Byfield did not forget his namesake parish, but gave

it a "Lift" as the judge had suggested, some three years after,

by the gift of a bell weighing two hundred and twenty-six

pounds. How eagerly the parishioners, from Spofford's Hill

to Dummer Academy, must have listened for the welcome tones

of that bell ringing out on the crisp winter air the first Lord's

Day morning after it was hung! Heaven speed the return of

the day when all the people within the present limits of the

parish, who do not worship elsewhere, shall delight to respond

to the serious, gentle invitation of our church bell, the music

nighest bordering upon heaven."

   The parish was incorporated October 30, 1710, as "the Parish

or Precinct upon Newbury Falls commonly called Byfield," and

from this time Byfield may be regarded as its legal title.




   Who were the deacons of the new church? This question

has never, so far as I know, been fully answered. William

Moody, the husband of Mehetabel Sewall, was one. But who

was his associate? It has been said that Joshua Boynton, who

was born in 1640, was one of the first deacons, but I find no

evidence to support that statement. I know no law requiring

a small church to have two deacons, but the Weston church

records contain this entry:

          "Deacon John Cheney and Mary his wife recomendd and

dismissd from a Chh in Newbury (under ye Pastoral care of Mr

Hale) rec'd into or Comunion Aug. 23, 1724."  ("Cheney

Family," p. 232) John Cheney was a son of Peter the mill-

builder and owned for a time part of the estate now held by

Mr. Benjamin Pearson and his family. He was a worthy and

enterprising man, who made four or five removals during his

life. This record indicates that he was a deacon in the Byfield

church in or before 1724.  He was born in 1666, and lived in

Byfield as early as 1693; so that it is very possible that he was

one of the original deacons. This is a convenient place to

pursue the inquiry as to the early deacons. Mr. Hale's bap-

tismal record speaks of the children of Daniel Jewett from time

to time, but beginning with 1723 we read of the children of

Dea. Daniel Jewett. We infer that Deacon Cheney had as

early as sometime in 1723 left Byfield, and that Daniel Jewett

was chosen in his place. Dea. William Moody died in 1730.

The baptisms of the children of Samuel Moody, the son of

Deacon William, are recorded from time to time, but beginning

with 1732 he is termed Dea. Samuel Moody; so undoubtedly

he was chosen to succeed his father as deacon. He served until

October 4, 1763.  We read in the "Chute Genealogies," page 15,

of James Chute who was born in 1686 in what became Byfield:

"He lived there more than eighty-two years, an honest, pious,

sober citizen; more than half of this time deacon of the Con-

gregational Church."1  According to this statement he was

deacon as early as 1727.  His last child was baptized January

1, 1727, as the child of simple James Chute, but this does not

disprove his election as deacon the same year; but what of

Dea. Daniel Jewett? The last entry of a baptism of a child

of his is in 1725. We may infer that he ceased to be deacon

probably through death and was succeeded by James Chute

about 1727. Miss Emery says ("Reminiscences of a Nonage-

narian," p. 325) that the Joshua Boynton who was born in 1677

and who died in 1770 was deacon of the Byfield church for forty

years, but the facts here presented show that this statement is

altogether a mistake, and that he cannot have been deacon at

all, for there is no question who were deacons after 1763. So

the list of deacons for Mr. Hale's pastorate according to my

present knowledge stands thus:

                   William Moody, 1706-1730.

                   John Cheney, 1706 ( ? )-1723 ( ?)

                   Daniel Jewett, 1723(?)-1727(?).

                   James Chute,  1727 ( ? ) -1763.

                   Samuel Moody, 1730 (? ) -1763.



   Now that both church and parish are fully organized and

have entered upon their long and beneficent career, it seems the

right point to notice the one who was the centre of the new

organization, their pastor, the Rev. Moses Hale. He belonged

to one of the original families of the Newbury settlement, for he

was the son of John Hale and the grandson of Thomas Hale,

whose baptismal register I found in Watton, England. He was


1 He can hardly have been officiating            discharge the office in 1763, probably

deacon forty-one years. He ceased to           owing to the infirmities of age.

liberally educated, being a graduate of Harvard of the class of

1699. When Byfield chose him for its first pastor it established

a precedent that was followed up to the bicentennial, that the

pastor of the Byfield Congregational Church be a college-bred

man. It is a strong tribute to his worth that his townspeople

who had known him from his infancy should have chosen him

for their pastor. He was born July 10, 1678; therefore if he

began to preach among them in 1702 it was at the age of

twenty-four. They listened to him, observed his daily walk, for

four years and liked him so well that they chose him for their

ordained pastor. Although but twenty-eight years old at his

ordination he had already been sorely chastened in the loss of

the wife of his youth, "Mrs." Elizabeth Dummer- "Mrs." being

a title of honor and not implying a previous marriage; she was

the granddaughter of Richard Dummer the first settler. This

bereavement occurred January 15, 1704, but at the time of

his ordination he was once more most happily married. His

second wife, like his first, was from among his own people.

She was Mary, the first child of Deacon William and Mehetabel

(Sewall) Moody. She was born May 30, 1685. I have not

the precise date of her marriage, but at the time of the ordina-

tion she would be twenty-one years old. It is said to be a

hazardous thing for a pastor to marry one of his flock, but in

this case no doubt the beauty of her own character and the

worth and prominence of her family made the people welcome

her to be the mistress of the parsonage. Their union was

blessed with ten children, and seems to have been in all respects

most happy. Would that we had a picture of them in the

bloom of their youth on that ordination day. Mr. Hale will

come before us from time to time while we consider his pastor-

ate. His wife, although she was spared to a good old age of

seventy-two years, occupies a more retired position, though one

equally honored and useful. The record of her death made

by Mr. Parsons, who succeeded her husband in the pastorate,

reads: " The Widow Mary Hale, Relict of Rev. Mr. Moses

Hale the first minister in Byfield died July 17, 1757, aged

almost,72 years. A Virtuous Woman that is praised."


Mr. Hale had an interesting parish, and there is material for

a good acquaintance with some of its people.  Judge Sewall,

although not strictly a parishioner, deserves the first mention.

Samuel Sewall was born in Bishopstoke, England, March 28,

1652, came to Newbury in 1661, and was graduated from

Harvard College in 1671. After filling many offices eminently

well, including those of Judge of the Superior Court and Judge

of Probate, he was made Chief-Justice in 1718. He died Jan-

uary 1, 1730.  Judge Sewall was very pious, and at the same

time fond of good society and good cheer, a successful merchant,

a promoter of agriculture and learning, and the friend of the

Indian and the negro. His tract entitled "The Selling of

Joseph" has been pronounced "the earliest public challenge to

slavery in Massachusetts." He is best known by his public

confession in the Old South Church in Boston of his "Guilt

. . . and shame" in sentencing the so-called witches to death.

His character is one of the noblest in our colonial annals.  I

have tried to do him more ample justice in a previous publica-

tion.1 His home was in Boston, but there was a frequent inter-

change of visits between the Judge and his Byfield relatives and

he very often remembered them with tokens of regard. On

one occasion he sent "70 odd" (i. e., more than seventy) ser-

mons to Rowley and Newbury; at another time he sent Mrs.

Hale "a Lutestring Scarf," and to her husband two funeral

sermons and a News Letter.2  In the autumn of 1719 he paid a

visit to Byfield which is described at unusual length in his diary,

and may be regarded as a specimen of many others. Tuesday,

September 29, he writes, ". . . about 3 P.M., set out for Salem

with Scipio [apparently a negro servant], got thither in the

dark." The rain detained him over Wednesday at Salem. Part

of his entry for Thursday, October 1, is: " Ride to Rowley. . . .


I Papers of the American Society of              be said to have been established." It

Church History, Vol. VII., pp. 25-54.           was a weekly, and the first number was

2 The Boston News Letter was the                published April 24, 1704. -- Palfrey's

first newspaper in America "which can         "New England," IV., pp. 303, 304.

Dine with my Sister [Mrs. Northend], and then pass on to the

Lieut. Governour's; Bror. Moodey gets us oysters, Scipio waiting

on him. I help to gather Indian Corn." His entry for Sunday

is "8r [October], 4, Lord's day. I ride to Byfield Meeting-

house; hear Mr. Payson's son [probably the son of Mr. Payson

the Rowley pastor], of the Unparallelness of Josiah. Sat with

Madam Dummer and M. Pemberton in her Pue. I dine with,

Cousin Hale [Mr. Hale was really his nephew by marriage].

He preaches at Hampton. By reason of the rain Madam Dummer

comes not p. m. and I sit in the Pue alone. After the exercise

I go into the buryingplace, now full of stones and view my dear

sister's; after I had found it, Rode to Madam Dumer's, and

lodg'd there the 4th. night." The next day his daughter, who

was in poor health, rode "in the Calash" to Mr. Hale's, "who,"

he writes, "has a pleasant chamber for her," while he dined

and "Lodg'd at Bror Moodey's" and distributed presents,

among   others, to "the Negro Main and Negro Charioteer 5s

each," and " 4s for 2 other Negros." The word "calash has

been applied to various vehicles for driving; the mention of the

Negro Charioteer" would indicate that in this case it was a

large carriage such as only the wealthy could afford. For

Tuesday he writes, "visited Cous. Gerrish, Adams, Longfellow.

Din'd on Fish [was it salmon from the Parker?] at Cous.

Gerrishes.  Lodged at Bror Moodey's. "Mr. Moody lived

where Miss Harriet Moody does now, Mr. Gerrish where Mr.

Lacroix does, Mr. Adams in the house now occupied by Mr.

George W. Adams, and Mr. Longfellow on the Longfellow place.

For Wednesday his entry is " Octobr. 7.  Mid-week. Went with

Mr. Hale to Rowley Lecture; . . . Went to my sister's [Mrs.

Northend]. . . ." In the entry for Thursday we read, ". . . twas

night by that time we landed [at Boston], having no sail . . .

found all well Laues Deo [Praise to God]." So ended happily

the ten days' trip to Byfield. What a pleasant picture of the

simple pleasures of the Judge: his readiness to lend a helping

hand to the Lieutenant-Governor in harvesting, the leisurely

and restful manner in which he travelled, and his attachment, to

his country cousins! Such a vacation must have been a true

recreation. The meeting-house in which he worshipped that

rainy Sabbath passed away long ago, but the burying-ground

remains with its quiet sleepers, and, with some changes, at

least four of the houses where he stopped: those of Mr.

Adams and Mr. Gerrish, the parsonage and the Governor's

mansion. The close connection of Byfield with so eminent and

worthy a personage as Judge Sewall must have kept the parish

in quickening connection with the greater world.




Each of the first three pastorates has one pre-eminent char-

acteristic; the first of them has for its special distinction its

close connection with the government of the province, and

this came through Lieut.-Gov. William Dummer. Like Judge

Sewall he was not a native of the parish, but he was of original

Byfield stock. He was a grandson of Richard the illustrious

pioneer, and a son of Jeremiah Dummer a silversmith of Boston.

He was born in Boston in 1677. His wife -- one account would

indicate that she was his second wife -- was Katherine Dudley,

thirteen years his junior.    She was an English girl, but of

American ancestry. Her father was member of Parliament and

Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Wight, and from 1702 to

1715 Governor of the province of Massachusetts. So both by

birth and marriage, Mr. Dummer belonged to the highest social

position in that age when the aristocratic distinctions of them

other country were so carefully maintained in New England.

Senator Lodge's severe criticism upon her father has been

quoted, but Mrs. Dummer's education and accomplishments,

her graceful person and manners, her abounding benevolence

and devoted piety, adorned her high position. They were

married April 26, 1714.  October 15, 1713 Mr. Dummer's father

had deeded to him what we know as the Academy farm prob-

ably in view of the approaching marriage and to provide a

home for his son and his son's bride. The mansion house, that

precious treasure of Byfield, was no doubt built shortly after.

Mr. Dummer had two residences, one on School Street in

Boston, his winter home, the other the Byfield mansion house,

Lieut.-Gov. William Dummer



Dummer Academy


but he belonged to Byfield rather than Boston, for he was a

member of this church at least after the beginning of Mr.

Parsons' ministry in 1744 and probably much earlier though

the records are lost. Samuel Shute, a soldier of Marlborough,

was appointed Governor in 1716 and at the same time Mr.

Dummer was appointed Lieutenant-Governor. That same year

the new Governor journeyed from Boston to Portsmouth, which

was included in his little realm, and was received with military

ceremony in Newbury, probably in the Byfield part of it, and

escorted to the Lieutenant-Governor's, where he was "finely

entertained that night "according to the Boston News Letter.

President Leverett of Harvard College was a fellow-guest.

Probably this was in the new mansion house, and this stately

welcome of the Governor of the Province and the President of

Harvard College fittingly inaugurated that long series of hospi-

table receptions of the most eminent men and the fairest ladies

of the province which make Dummer Academy Mansion one

of the historic houses of America.

   Governor Shute's administration was a continual struggle be-

tween the soldier in the chair, bent on maintaining every iota of

the royal prerogative, and the people, who were no less resolute

in asserting their ancient rights and in particular were bound to

keep a firm hand on the purse strings. At length the soldier

grew weary of his contest with the farmers, and in 1723 he

scuttled back to England leaving the Lieutenant-Governor to

preside. Mr. Dummer was now the acting Governor for some

six years. His position was delicate and difficult, for he was

the representative of the Crown and so in opposition to the

mass of his fellow-provincials who were jealously contending

for self-government. He, like his predecessors, pleaded for a

fixed salary, but this the sturdy patriots would never grant to

any governor whom they did not elect. At one time he re-

turned a sum of money that they had voted for his immediate

need, as being too pitifully inadequate to be worth accepting.

His administration was signalized by a fierce-war with the

eastern Indians, who were backed and spurred on by the French,

as a part of their long struggle with the English for the mastery.

of North America. The war is known in history as Dummer's

War. While not a life-and-death struggle like King Philip's

War, it sorely taxed the strength of the province. A large

military force was maintained and a fleet co-operated. The

cost to the province was one hundred and seventy thousand

pounds. New light has been thrown on the war by the recent

publication of "The Westbrook Papers." Colonel Westbrook

was put in command of the forces by Governor Dummer.

These papers add very much to our knowledge of the Governor.

His care for the soldiers appears in his generous shipments of

molasses "that you may Brew Spruce Beer which I sup-

pose will do good both to the sick and well." He shows his

regard for religion in ordering a guard for the minister and peo-

ple of an eastern settlement "in their Going to Church." His

economical spirit leads him to rebuke Colonel Westbrook for

sending, a letter by express when there was "nothing in the Let-

ter that required such a Charge but it might have come as, well

by the Ordinary Post." His bluntness crops out in a complaint

to his secretary at one time, "Collo Westbrooks Packett is

enough to make anyone sick." His promptness, breadth of

view, and wisdom appear at every point. If we may draw the

distinction brought out by Ambassador Porter in his oration at

the West Point Centennial, Governor Dumrner was military but

not warlike -- i.e., while whole-hearted in war he did not love

war: hence he sent commissioners to Vaudreuil, the French

Governor, that he might live in amity with his neighbors. His

generous spirit shines out in his final despatch to Colonel West-

brook. Although he had plainly criticised him in minor points,

he here uses the language, "Giving you hearty Thanks for

your Faithfulness Diligence and Good Conduct." In the sum-

mer of 1726, Governor Dummer, Lieutenant-Governor Went-

worth of New Hampshire, Paul Mascarene, Commissioner of

Nova Scotia, and other prominent colonists met the Indian

sachems at Falmouth, now Portland, and, amid the blended

ceremonies of savagery and civilized state, ratified a treaty

whose justice and humanity made it the basis of a twenty-years

peace. Governor Hutchinson says, "This treaty has been ap-

plauded as the most judicious which has ever been made with

the Indians." This meeting on the beautiful shore of Casco

Bay, a meeting so picturesque in its composition and so bene-

ficent in its fruitage, might well employ the brush of the painter.

When William Burnet, "son to the good bishop of Sarum," as

the broad-minded Dr. Parish says of him (Parish's " History

of New England," p. 270) arrived as Governor July 13, 1728,

Lieutenant-Governor Dummer of course descended from the

chair that he had filled so worthily; but when the new Gov-

ernor, "disappointed  and " depressed," as Dr. Parish again

tells us, in his contest with the sturdy patriots, died suddenly

of fever September 7, 1729, the administration once more de-

volved on Lieutenant-Governor Dummer, and he retained it

until a new Governor and a new Lieutenant-Governor arrived

June 30, 1730.

   All parties have united to praise the administration of Gov-

ernor Dummer. Perhaps no tribute is more valuable than that

of Cotton Mather, who would not be prepossessed in favor of

any royal Governor. He wrote that they were "Inexpressibly

Happy in our Lt Governor's wise and Good Administration."

Mr. Dummer was subsequently elected to the provincial Council

which seems to have had much the power of our present Senate,

and this body showed its appreciation of him by making him its

President; but after two or three years he was left out because

he was "thought too favorable to the prerogative." "He

seemed," says Hutchinson, "to lay this slight more to heart

than the loss of his commission [as Lieutenant-Governor], and

aimed at nothing more, the rest of his life, than otium cum

dignitate, [leisure with honor], selecting for his friends and ac-

quaintance men of sense, virtue, and religion." In 1729 he gave

to his home church a silver communion service inscribed with

his name and the crest of his family coat of arms. A part of

this service has survived all the vicissitudes of the generations

and is still used in the sacred service to which it was originally

consecrated. In 1742 he gave to the Hollis Street Church in

Boston a large and rich folio Bible on condition that it should

be read as a part of public worship on the Lord's Day. This

gift shows his liberal-mindedness, for the Puritans banished the

reading of the Bible from public worship, unless it were ex-

pounded, as "dumb reading" and akin to the use of a liturgy

or it stinted prayers." It was not until twenty years after this

gift that the original church in Newbury, for example, voted

that "it is agreeable that the Scriptures be read in public."

Governor Dummer will once more come before us in an illus-

trious manner in the next period of Byfield history.




   Another prominent citizen was Lieut. Stephen Longfellow,

the blacksmith. He lived in the first Longfellow house. He

was the great-great-grandfather of the Poet, who dedicated

"The Village Blacksmith" to him. His account-book resem-