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possessing his father's hatred of the tyrant, and his resolute spirit, instantly set out for Boston, and came rushing in with the country people, who were in such a rage and heat as made all tremble again. Nothing would satisfy the country party but binding the governor with cords, and carrying him to a more safe place. Soon was captain Fisher seen among the crowd, leading the pale and trembling sir Edmund by the collar of his coat, from the house of Mr. Usher, back to Fort Hill. History has informed us of this incident, in that revolution, but it has never informed us who took the lead of the country people, and who had the honor of leading the proud representative of a Stuart prince, the oppressor of the colony, through the assembled crowd, and placing him in safe custody at the fort.
The gentleman here noticed, was likewise much employed in the various affairs of the town. Did any enterprise require a hardy and skilful agent, he was the man most likely to be selected. In 1663, he was selected to go with John Fairbanks through the wilderness in search of a tract of good land, which a vague rumour had hinted was about twelve miles from Hadley. He had the honor of being sent ambassador to king Philip, to negociate a treaty for his lands at Wrentham. Mr. Dexter, in his century sermon, says he was learned in the law.
Captain Timothy Dwight—was a child when his father brought him to Dedham, in 1635. He was admitted into the church in 1652. He was the town recorder, selectman, an agent in much town business during the lives of Lusher and Fisher. He was also after their decease, a deputy to the general court. He was a faithful and upright man, and greatly esteemed for his personal merit, and for his public services. His character is given in the church records, which state “ that he was a gentleman truly serious and godly, one of an excellent spirit, peaceable, generous, charitable, and a promoter of the true interests of the church and town." He died, January 31, 1717. Among the posterity of this gentlemen, are now many respectable families in New England. The late Timothy Dwight, formerly the much respected president of the college at New Haven, was one of his descendants. He had six wives, and the last was buried on the same day with himself.
Of the other excellent men of this time, of elder'Hunting, of deacon Chickering, of Anthony Fisher, and others, perhaps of equal merit, nothing can now be added. It would be an act of great injustice to the character of the inhabitants, to withhold from them the just praise of willingly and promptly executing all the useful enterprises of the first half century. The merit of suffering, and acting, for the common interest, was that of the whole, and not of a few men.
The inhabitants had the wisdom to appoint able and upright public agents, and then support them under circumstances of great difficulty.
Historians and antiquaries in New England have been diligent to collect a full account of what are now considered the follies and errors of the first settlers in Massachusetts. The victims of their intolerance have had their just complaints made known. The several disorders which existed in many of the early plantations, are minutely described. The foolery about women wearing veils, the officious interference of the ruling elders in matters which did not belong to them, and the delusions of witchcraft, have been particularly described, and
often published. Many of the least useful men among the magistrates and elders, have made the greatest figure in the early history of the state. This is all well, so far; it is not to be regretted by any means, that we have so full a history of these things. But I am apt to believe that our early history, as it is now before us, does injustice to the whole colony. The spots and blemishes we may admit, are all described by a faithful hand, but the bright and the beautiful parts of the scene, are not fully exhibited to our view. Here for instance, is a little company settled in the woods of Dedham, guided by their good common sense, with tolerant principles in religion, superior to that of the age, peaceable, orderly and industrious. Their principle men of the same character, not ambitious to make a display on a public stage; yet they are not known, they would naturally be overlooked, for crimes and follies constitute a great part of all histories. The success and good character of the Dedham plantation, afford no materials for a good story, while the disorders among the militia at Hingham, the church quarrel at Weymouth, the riots at Mount Woolaston, make those places somewhat famous. That inquisitor, Weld, the minister of Roxbury, as he has been justly styled, who
was so forward to prosecute Mrs. Hutchinson for heresy, is quite an important personage, although he was only a few years in the colony. John Allin, who if we may believe the best judges among his cotemporaries, was a man of great worth, is so little known, that Cotton Mather, his professed biographer, regrets that he scarcely knows any thing about him.
Annals of the town from 1686, to 1736. Parishes begin to be settled. Vacancy in
the ministry eight years. Town indicted for not keeping a grammar school. Inhabitants and proprietors of Dedham become distinct bodies. Sherburne dividend. Three sets of town officers chosen one year. Schools badly supported. Law against new comers. Bills of credit. Disputed elections. School farm. Tyot, or second parish, incorporated. Clapboardtrees, or third parish, incorporated. Census. Review of the last fifty years.
1682. A vote was passed that no one of the inhabitants should remove to a greater distance than two miles from the meeting house, without special license, as any person so removing, would expose himself, in time of danger, and to the want of town government.
Soon after this time, most of the small houses, first built in the village, being decayed, the inhabitants abandoned them, and their small home lots, and settled on larger tracts of land, within the town. In about fifty years from the commencement of these settlements out of the village, it became necessary to establish three new parishes. Tyot, Clapboardtrees, and Springfield, since incorporated into a town, by the name of Dover.
In August, 1685, began a vacancy in the ministry, and continued until November, 1693, during which time, the town was in a low and divided state. During this time the inhabitants elected four candidates into the ministerial office, viz: Mr. Samuel Lee, Mr. Willard, of Boston, Mr. Jonathan Pierpont, and Mr. Nathaniel Clap. Mr. Pierpont's answer, negativing his call, strongly insinuates that the state of things here was bad. “When,” says he, “God invites laborers into his vineyard, it does not become them to say “I won't come, but will you not permit me to say in this case, I dare not come.
1691. The town is indicted for not supporting a school. It had been before indicted in 1674. The pressure of the Indian war was then a good excuse, if excuse can be given for neglecting so important an institution. The selectmen report that the lands near Mendon and Wrentham, now Bellingham, are not worth laying out for a dividend.
March 4, 1694. The inhabitants of the town have a town meeting, and adjourn. Then the proprietors of Dedham immediately hold another distinct meeting in the same place. This is the first actual separation of the two bodies which I notice in the records.
1695. The proprietors vote to lay out the lands within the town bounds, on the northerly side of Sherburne road, to the lower falls, which lands are in Sherburne. In 1698, 3400 acres were accordingly laid out, and assigned to those who could then show their rights therein.
March, 1698. Voted to give a bounty of ten shillings addition to the present bounty of twenty shillings, to any person, for each full grown wolf by him killed. A considerable number of bounties, provided for by this vote, are soon received.
1700. Voted to raise thirty pounds to repair the meeting house, half to be paid in wheat, at five shillings per bushel, RYE at four, and corn at two shillings, and a day's work at two shillings.
1701. The great causeway on the bank of Charles river is begun and soon finished.
1702. Voted that the law of the town, forbidding any person, not an inhabitant, to purchase land in the town, and forbidding townsmen to sell to new comers, is in force, and that means be used to get it approved by the general court.
1702. Voted to repair the meeting house, and that short pews be made by the pulpit stairs, where the boys shall be seated.
March 6, 1703. A town meeting is held all day, and do no business but adjourn to March 13. Then the adjourned meeting cannot succeed in doing business, and adjourns to March 17. A set of town officers is then chosen. A. new meeting is called on the 27th, when another set of town officers is chosen. On the 17th of April, a third set of town officers is chosen by order of the court of sessions.
1705. Mr. Belcher acknowledges on the town book, that sundry persons, who had promised him at his ordination, to make such addition to his voted salary of sixty pounds, equal to one hundred, had honorably performed their engagement.
November 27, 1711. Forty persons residing in that part of the town now called Needham, ask leave to be set of