Page 31was truly as sweet to her, as the black broth of the Spartans was to them. With regard to bread-stuffs, rye and Indian corn were long the only ones used. In 1720, flour was baked and eaten in a few rich families, as a rare treat. Within thirty years the consumption of it has increased.
Page 32and the same in returning. This was an accommodation exceeding any of preceding years. But it was far less than now exists. Such facilities for travelling are twenty times greater than they were then. About thirty-five years ago [ca. 1799], horse-wagons began to be employed. Gradually increasing, they have almost altogether superseded riding on horse-back among our farmers. They are used to carry articles to market, which were formerly borne to town in wallets and panniers, thrown across a horse. They have prevented the method of going in a cart, as often practised before they were invented, by social parties, when wishing to make a visit of several miles. Should the improvements in journeying be as great for two centuries to come, as they have been in the two already elapsed, posterity will as much wonder that we are contented with the present degree of such improvements, as we do, that our ancestors were satisfied with their mode of travelling.
Page 33rope; one of the ties by which our ancestors were bound to the mother country.
REPUTATION OF OUR ANCIENT INHABITANTS
Page 34beings. There were two betrayers of the public weal, even among the first twelve, who accompanied the younger Winthrop to the wilds of Agawam. In these betrayers we have a specimen two centuries old, of the more than brutal degradation, of the enormous iniquity, and of the most painful consequences, to which intoxication has always led some of its votaries, and to which it especially and constantly exposes the whole of them. It would be far better for the temporal and eternal welfare of men to be Rechabites, Nazarenes indeed, — to have their lips never moistened, except with the pure drink, which God in his wisdom has made and has caused to gush from the fountains of earth, than to partake of the choicest wines and spirits, which the perverted genius of science has invented, and thus to continually enlarge the multitudes, who sacrifice themselves on the crowded altars of Intemperance.
FACE OF THE COUNTRY
Page 35Vineyard -- Dean's -- Wigwam -- Brown's and Independent, Sagamore hill, and the others which follow it in the paragraph, are all in Hamilton. The two last are modern names.
Page 36"A faire and delightful river, whose first rise or spring begins about twenty-five miles farther up the country, issuing forth a very pleasant pond. But soon after, it betakes its course through a most hideous swamp of large extent, even for many miles, being a great harbour for bears. After its coming forth this place, it groweth larger by the income of many small rivers, and issues forth in the sea, due east against the Island of Sholes, a great place of fishing for our English nation." 1634, Chebacco, having falls and running from Chebacco pond, in Essex. 1635, North, or Egypt, flowing into Rowley river. 1637, Muddy, emptying into the same -- Rodgers Island. 1707, Mill, running out of long swamp into the great pond, beyond Chebacco river.
Page 37good land for husbandry, where rocks hinder not the course of the plough." The land, in general, does not abound with rocks. These are primitive and the common granite, exhibiting their constituent parts in different proportions. 1831, the land contained the following divisions: 778 acres of tillage, 2000 of English upland and mowing, 469 of fresh meadow, 3367 of salt marsh, 7423 of pasturage, 403 of woodland, 1090 of unimproved, besides 1690 of unimprovable, 3579 covered with water, in addition to 468 of roads.
Page 38prime order. The increase of the earth is reaped, but sufficient nourishment is not returned to supply the exhaustion. The impression is entertained by no small number of our yeomanry, that by cultivating their ground as long as it will bear with a moderate supply of manure, they realize more profit than by different management. But others neither think nor act so. Experiment evidently decides in favor of the latter class. Some persons have made considerable exertion to improve their swamps and meadows. Their enterprise has not been in vain. Lots, once of little or no profit, now yield plentiful crops of hay. No doubt the influence of the Agricultural Society of our county has tended to improve our farming interest; and would have done more, had a larger number of our inhabitants united with it, attended its meetings, and acted according to its instructions. Husbandry is an essential, honorable employment. Without it potentates could neither reign nor live; all the gold and rubies of the globe would be worth no more than the dust of the streets. To redeem such a calling from the unmerited disrespect, which has been cast upon it, our farmers have only to increase their stock of useful knowledge, and to advance in the good degree of morality, which many of them may justly claim.
Page 39of grain with them, or obtained some to plant from their neighbours. 25As early as 1629, the officers of the Massachusetts Company wrote to John Endicott; — “We have sent grayne for seed, wheat, barley, and rye in the chaff.” These with oats have been continually cultivated in larger or smaller quantities, according to the demand and seasons for them. Such grain has fallen and risen in price as corn has. It has been observed, that, when rye was mildewed, barley was not; and the latter was so blasted, the former escaped. English grain is found to be better when sown in the fall than in the spring. It was long ago discovered, that grain of this kind would suffer a blight when growing near barberry bushes in flower. Before the Revolution, when beer was more commonly used than afterwards, barley was raised here in considerable quantities and made into malt for brewing. The fact that the several kinds of grain, except corn, were exotics, and brought from England, has given them the name of English for about two centuries. 1831, there were raised 60 bushels of wheat, 330 of rye, 698 of oats, 12,128 of corn, 467 of barley.
Page 401075 tons of English hay, 224 of meadow, and 1880 of salt marsh.
Page 412s 6d., or privately in his own or another’s house, before acquaintances or strangers.
Page 42nut or Chees-nut, and Sassafras. The last was, may years ago, an article of commerce, and was applied to medical purposes.
Page 43wool is wrapped round them and they are dipped into melted tallow, till they be as big and round as an egg. This thing, thus prepared, is laid by some dead carcase, which toles the wolves. It is swallowed by them, and is the means of their being taken."
PRICES OF GRAIN AND OTHER ARTICLES FOR TAXES,
Page 48sturgeon have entirely, disappeared from our waters. There were companies, of Matthew Craddock and others, who caught large quantities of sturgeon for the European market, in Ipswich, while it was owned by Indians. The sounds of these fish were made into isinglass. Smith remarked of Massachusetts; "No river where there is not plenty of sturgeon or salmon or both, which are to be had in abundance, observing but their season. But if a man will goe at Christmas to gather cherries in Kent, though there be plenty in summer, he may be deceived; so here these plenties have each their season."
Page 49and two rods of ground about the water by the side of this pond.
Page 50end of the town to Egypt River, and from the east end in the way to Jeffrey's Neck, to be done at the charge of those who own the land within said compass. Liberty is granted them to fell trees to make the fence, from lands ungranted.
Page 51the road from the town to Reedy Marsh. Another from Mr. Norton's farm is to be two rods wide.
Page 52hill to Gidding's corner, which had been closed up, belonged to the town for they had formerly maintained it. This road was soon re-opened and continues.
Page 56town affairs. Not a few expressions, which we often use without tracing them to their source, were once associated in other minds with important occasions. At first the Selectmen were elected only for three months. They continued to be seven till 1723, when they were five. The next year and afterwards to 1741, they were restored to the old number.
Page 58veniently to attend on its religious services. Individuals are appointed to keep order in the meeting-house.
Page 59twenty feet long, at his house." As wooden chimneys plastered with clay, and thatched roofs, were common then, such an order was highly necessary.