History of Cape Cod, Massachusetts


These volumes are submitted to the public, without claiming for them that they are entirely free from mistakes or errors. Such total exemption can hardly be expected of a work of the kind. But that the present work is as free from any of date or fact, as the utmost care would effect, is confidently believed. It might, indeed, have been, in its details, more particular and circumstantial: but the aim of the writer has been to avoid prolixity, as also carefully to avoid offense to persons or families, so far as obligation to truth would permit.

The constant deterioration, and sometimes destruction, of public records, and the scattering and loss of family documents in the form of letters and other manuscripts and private papers, urge the importance of preserving in more durable form what may be proper for the public eye, and of most interest. It has been well remarked, that "in treasuring up the memorials of the fathers, we best manifest our regard for posterity."

It is not to be expected that the affairs of a single county will be greatly interesting to the public generally; but to such, at least, as are connected with Cape Cod, these volumes will, we trust, be of some interest. They, surely, will not regret that a portion of Its history is rescued from oblivion. Even in regard to those portions of the history of more recent date, such as shall be on the stage fifty or one hundred years hence will have feelings similar to our own in regard to the long past.


Table of Contents

Situation, Name, and Extent. First Discorery by Gosnold. Subsequent Visits by Navigators. De Monts, Weymouth, Captain Smith, and others. Dermer, Pourtrincourt, Hudson, &c. 27

Prior Discoveries, and Prominent Theories and Reminiscences. Columbus, Americus Vespucius, De la Vega, the Cabots, Willoughby, Frobisher, Gilbert, and Raleigh. The Ancients. 46

The Assay of the Leyden Pilgrims at a Settlement, and their Arrival at Cape Cod. The Compact. Election of Governor. First Christian Sabbath. 59

Explorations of the Cape by the Pilgrims. Mistaken Policy towards the Natives. 69

Further Explorations by the Company, and final Departure of the Mayflower for Plymouth. Patent for Northern Virginia. Pierce's Patent. 80

Subsequent Intercourse with the Cape. Iyanough of Cummaquid. Aspinet of Nauset. Effects of Hunt's Perfidy. Indian Tribes. The Ship Fortune touches at the Cape. Cape Cod a Granary for the Early Settlers at Plymouth. Mattachiest. Monamoyick. Manomet visited by Dutch, French, and English. 94

Continued Intercourse with the Cape. Trading House established at Manomet. Patent. Great Storm. Troublous Times. Declaration of Rights. 111

Settlements on the Cape begun. Sandwich. Important Events, and Progress of the Colony. Yarmouth and Barnstable. Deputies to the General Court. Qualifications for Habitancy restricted. A rigid Surveillance over the new Settlements. 127

Patent surrendered and Charters granted. Court instituted. Laws, Vindication of the Clergy, and Lands granted. Narragansetts. The Ministry. An Abandonment of Plymouth and Removal to Nauset contemplated. Lands bounded. Differences adjusted. Confederation. Nauset settled. Laws enforced. 151

Customs, Dress, Mode of living in the Early Days of the Colony. General Simplicity, Industry, and Economy. 178

Progress of the Colony. Toleration. Municipal Regulations. Extension of Settlements on the Cape. Witchcraft. Long Hair and Beards. Society in England for propagating the Gospel among the Indians. Watch over the Churches. Fisheries. Civil and Moral Delinquencies. Preparations for War. Severities towards the Quakers. Remarkable Events. 192

Laws enacted. Religious Dissensions and Insubordination. Quaker Troubles. Lands at Yarmouth, Sandwich, Barnstable, &c. Oath of Fidelity. Selectmen. Settlement at Monamoyick. Saconnessit. Indian Church at Mashpee. Divers Troubles, Complaints, and Accusations. 216

Doings of the Royal Commissioners. Concessions in Favor of Religious Freedom. Grant of Lands at Monomoyick, and attendant Difficulties. Religious Instruction of the Indians. Remarkable Events. Schools. Difficulties with the Indians apprehended. Settlement of Ministers required. The Fisheries. Free Schools. Indians give in their Adhesion. 254

The Indian War. Its Progress. Great Sacrifice of Life and Property. King Philip slain. Distress of the Colonies. The Cape vindicated. Irish Sympathy. The Acquisition of Mount Hope. Severe Laws against the Indians. Commission from England. Select Courts. Oath of Fidelity. Charters vacated. 277

The Colony divided into Counties, and Barnstable County erected. Arrival of Andros, and the Governor superseded. Extension of Cape Towns. Revolution in England, and Restoration of the Government. French and Indian War. Annexation of Plymouth Colony to Massachusetts, and Extinction of the former Government. Audios dismissed. Efforts to obtain a Charter. 309

Arrival of the new Charter, and Assumption of Government by Sir William Phipps. Harwich incorporated. Phipps superseded. Passing Events. Pirates. Earl of Bellamont. - Extension of Cape Settlements. Gov. Stoughton. Gov. Dudley. The Fisheries. Monamoyick. Bills of Credit. Dangerfield incorporated, and Name changed to Truro. Chatham incorporated. The Precinct of Cape Cod. 327

Gov. Shute. A Singular Project. A New Town. Governor's Salary. Bills of Credit. Gov. Burnet. Ecclesiastical Discontents. Provincetown incorporated. Courts in Barnstable. Speculations. Difficulties with Government. Gov. Belcher. Expedition to Cuba Land Bank. Gov. Shirley. Great Awakening. 352

CHAPTER XVIII. The French War. Rev. George Whitefield. Cape Breton. Peace. England and France again at Variance. Union of the Colonies. Expeditions to Nova Scotia, Crown Point, and Niagara. Gov. Pownal succeeds Shirley. Sir Francis Bernard comes into Power. The Cape Towns desire fewer Courts. Wellfleet is incorporated, also Mashpee, as Districts. England becomes arrogant. 379 CHAPTER XIX.
The Mother Country becomes oppressive. Stamp Act. Taxes imposed. Soldiers sent over. Convention. Certain offensive Acts repealed. Duty on Tea retained. Pocasset a Parish. Gov. Hutchinson. Public Meetings. Tea destroyed. Tea Ship ashore at Cape Cod. Fire in Sandwich Woods. Gen. Gage. Boston Port Bill. League and Covenant. General Congress. Diverse Views among the People. Movement in Barnstable County. 406

Proceedings of the Body of the People. Gathering at Sandwich. Resolves. General Agreement. Leader chosen. March to Barnstable. Respect shown to Col. Otis. Assemble at the Court House. Previous Proceedings reaffirmed by an increased Assemblage. The Court not permitted to proceed to Business. Liberty Pole. Confessions and Recantations. Demands made of the Court. Committees of Vigilance. Address to Hon. James Otis. His Reply. Resolutions adopted. Resignation of Crown Officers. Address to the Court, and Reply. Subsequent Proceedings. Tories are enraged, insolent, and revengeful. Desperate Effort at Vindictivcness. The Assassins secured. Whigs indignant fly to avenge the Act. Conciliatory Address. Deference to the Laws. Three thousand People accompany their late Leader to Barnstable. The Assassins humbled, implore Forgiveness, and submit to the Will of the People. 430

The Cape Towns awake to the Importance of the impending Crisis. A County Congress. Gov. Gage alarmed. Countermands his Orders for a Meeting of the General Court. The Court meet and denounce him. Resolve themselves into a Continental Congress. Battle of Lexington. A Call to Arms. Bunker Hill. Congress prepares for Defence. Commander-in-Chief. Local Items. Vigilance to counteract the Tories. Importance of Cape Cod Harbor. Letter from Hon. James Otis. Defence of the Coast. 466

Gen. Gage retires, and Howe is in Command. Gen. Washington takes Possession of Boston. The Council the Administration, with Hon. James Otis of Barnstable President. The Cape Towns instruct their Representatives to obtain from the Continental Congress a Declaration of Independence. Independence declared. The Colonies reduced to great Straits. Application from South Carolina. British Transport- ship ashore. Loyalists. French Ship ashore. Captures by the British. Loyalists. Ship ashore at Provincetown with Refugees. Salt Manufactures. Local Affairs. New Constitution. 488

New Constitution. Refugees. Requisitions for the Army. Home Defences. Tories. Ship Somerset. Depredations by the Enemy. Reenlistments for the Army. General Distress. Decease of Col. Otis. Magee Storm. Alliance with France. Vigilance to counteract the Designs of Tories. Prices regulated. Gloomy Aspect. Grievous Exactions. Dissensions. State Constitution. Requisitions and Defences. Importance of the Fisheries. A dark Hour. Cessation of Hostilities. Peace. Effect. Decease of James Otis Jr. 510

The Anniversary of Independence a perpetual Institution. Shays' Rebellion. Constitution of the United States. First President of the United States. National Bank. Dennis incorporated. Revised Constitution. Whiskey Insurrection. Ecclesiastical Changes. Mails. Orleans incorporated. Troubles with France. Washington's Decease. Political Contests. Brewster incorporated. Embargo. Non-Intercourse Act. Port of Entry. Local Legislation. Impressment of Seamen. Domestic Manufactures. Preparations for War. 516

The Alternative. Religious Freedom. The Courts. Embargo. Political Asperities. Declaration of War. Prostrating Effect on the Cape. Position of the Country. Politics of the Cape. Exposure Demands of the Enemy. Local Legislation. Internal Dissensions. Peace. Returning Prosperity. Algerine War. Bank of the United States. Awful Storm. Manufactures. Hersey Bequest. Lighthouses 593

Commercial Reverses. The Mails and Post Offices. Florida. Separation of Maine. Missouri Compromise. Falmouth Bank. Pirates. Political Exasperations. The Tariff. Cape Cod Harbor. Glass Manufacture. Disasters at Sea. Barnstable Bank. Public Offices destroyed. Political Changes. Treaties. 613

Bank Veto. French Spoliations. New Tariff. Nullification threatened. The Cholera. Mashpee, enlarged Privileges to. The Deposits. Panic. Surplus Revenue. Commercial Crisis. Celebration at Barnstable. Agricultural Society. Disasters at Sea. The Cambria. Cape Cod Railroad. Severe Winter. Successive Events. Mashpee Indians. Cape Cod Association organized. Province Lands. Celebration. Provincetown Bank. Bank of Cape Cod. Telegraphs. Propagation of Fish. Representation. Canal. 631

Mashpee, its Situation and Extent. Natural Divisions. - Missionary Ground. Lands secured. Church constituted. Succession of Ministers. Adaptation for Plantation. Character of the People. Laws extended over them. Good Soldiers. An amusing Letter. Discontents. Efforts to secure Freedom. Rights of Self-Government. Improvement. Review. 674

Statistics. Government. Representatives to Congress. State Senate. Massachusetts House of Representatives. Courts of Justice. Qualification of Civil Officers. Probate. Deeds. Treasurer. Clerks. County Attorney. High Sheriff. Coroners. Military 720

Conclusion. The Right Arm of Massachusetts. Inhabitants. Occupations. Love of Home. Education. Schools. Religion. Salubrity of Climate. Agriculture. Soil. Topography. Winds and Tides. Manufactures. Fisheries. Migrations. Census. Graduates. 741



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The writing of a preface has usually been postponed by authors to the close of their work just as is the practice of some clergymen to write their sermon and then select an appropriate text: but WE choose that the preface precede the narrative not only in the order of arranging the sheet for the bindery, but in the order of time, as a programme or exhibit of what we sincerely intend to do and as the utterance of what we have to say in advance of the execution.

How far we redeemed our pledge given in the preface to the former volume, is for the public and posterity to decide. We had, before Ave commenced the publication, assiduously gathered materials as far as was practicable from sources more readily at command as well as from almost obliterated and widely scattered data ; and, as the issue of the work progressed, carefully and indefatigably searched for other data wherever there seemed a probability or even possibility of its being found for the completion of our narrative. The labor necessary, very few persons are competent to appreciate ; for only they who have had like experience can estimate it. The difficulties of historical re- search always increase with the remoteness or obscurity of the period; and secluded settlements where the springs of important transactions lie thinly scattered are generally most neglected. Suffice to say, we have stinted our- self neither in diligent inquiry, wearisome re- search, nor expense. We might, it is true, have incurred and our true policy, so far as pecuniary self-interest dictated, would have been to incur less expense in the exterior or mechanical execution: but if we chose to gratify our own taste at serious cost in the paper, typography and embellishments, our readers were not the losers. The policy will be the same in the present volume. We never had any absurd expectation of pecuniary emolument from the History. Nor have we been chiefly ambitious of fame; or we would have selected other subjects, and eras prolific of remarkable incidents and distinguished for the magnitude of their events. Our humble aim was, and still is, to rear a monument to the past and perform an act of filial and patriotic regard for Cape Cod our endeared natale solum.

On entering upon this second volume, we would fain have the reader advised in some degree of the arduous nature of our undertaking. Were we writing a History of the United States, or even of the World, it would be comparatively a lighter task; for we would then be called to deal chiefly in generalities, traveling over ground explored again and again by able men, the abundant data at hand, our pen moving with few interruptions, currernte calamo, and our principal anxiety not to fall too far below those preceding us whether in correct narrative, interest of arrangement and illustration, or diction: but our task is to pioneer in an attempt to rescue from oblivion the fading memories of by-gone years and to snatch from the relentlessly destructive tooth of time records that have already become in part mutilated or illegible the history of a portion of country that has received from historical writers hitherto scarcely any attention. All are familiar with the homely simile, "a needle in a hay-stack;"" we have (to follow out the figure) spent many tedious hours in almost as hopeless a search examining as it were many a stack straw by straw the result often being only the demonstration that the object of search was not there. When a fact of any moment or even the simplest incident tending to throw light upon the past has been found, we have seized it with avidity and scrutinized it with care to proceed again in our search. Nothing accessible, of the existence of which we were aware and which gave hope of additional light, has been left unexplored.


Table of Contents




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Cape Cod, the south and south-east bound of the great bay from which the State of Massachusetts (hence also sometimes called the Bay State) takes its name, is a long, irregular peninsula of sixty-five miles in length, (seventy-five on the south shore route,) by from five to twenty in breadth, and embraces the entire of the County of Barnstable.