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Plymouth, where he remained the minister until he died, at the advanced age of more than ninety years. In January, 1772, the Rev. Lemuel Le Baron was settled in the ministry in this parish, who is still their minister.
In the original parish, the Rev. Mr. Ruggles remained the minister until the year 1768, when he died in November. In the preceding September, the Rev. Jonathan Moore was ordained a colleague with him. During the ministration of Mr. Ruggles, an unhappy controversy arose between him and Noah Sprague, Esq. which terminated in the erection of a poll parish, taking in the north-westerly part of the town, and some who lived in the immediate neighbourhood of the meeting-house of the first parish, a part of Middleborough and a part of Freetown. In this parish the Rev. Thomas West was ordained the minister, about the year 1748. In the first parish a great degree of unanimity prevailed until the year 1788, when an unhappy difficulty arose between the Rev. Mr. Moore, the minister, and Major Earl Clapp, a leading man in the church and parish. This difficulty, though personal in its commencement, very soon became general, and a more spirited controversy seldom if ever was known. This terminated in the dismissal of Mr. Moore, and in February, 1799, the Rev. Oliver Cobb was settled as the minister of that parish and of another parish in said town, the origin of which will be narrated in the sequel of this narrative.
It has herein been stated that a poll parish had been established in the north-westerly part of this town, &c., and that the Rev. Thomas West had been settled its minister. Mr. West remained their minister until about the year 1781, though before this time some of the leading members of his church and parish grew dissatisfied with his doctrine, and some of them went off and joined the Baptist connexion ; and at this time his advanced age, and the infirmities incident thereto, induced him to ask a dismission, which was granted. The members of this poll parish now found themselves, on account of diminutions, to be incompetent to settle a minister. They negociated with the first parish, in the year 1791,
and agreed with them for a division line between that precinct and them, by which they relinquished a number that belonged to the poll parish, and took in a larger number by metes and bounds, wbich had belonged to the first parish. They then applied to the Legislature, and obtained an act of incorporation, making a territorial parish, taking in a part of the first and second parishes in Middleborough and a part of Freetown. In 1793 they settled the Rev. Calvin Chaddock as their minister. Mr. Chaddock remained their minister for a number of years, (nine or ten) when, on account of some difficulties, he voluntarily asked a dismission, which was granted. Since that time there has been no settled minister ; but they have employed a number of ministers from time to time to preach to them. More than half the people, who live within the limits of this parish, are of different denominations of Christians from those who procured the act of incorporation.
In the year 1798 a number of the inhabitants of the south-easterly part of the first parish, living remote from the place of publick worship, having built a meetinghouse, petitioned the Legislature to be incorporated into a distinct parish; the first parish accompanying said petition with a certificate that they had no objection to the prayer of said petition. They were accordingly incorporated. These petitioners had no idea of settling a minister by themselves, but of joining with the first parish in settling one, who should preach alternately in each meeting-house. They accordingly joined in settling Mr. Cobb, as before mentioned; but they have a church separately in said parish; and a considerable part of both parishes can attend each meeting, the meetinghouses being only four miles distant from each other.
A very considerable part of the inhabitants of this town are Baptists or Quakers; but catholicism so far prevails that no considerable inconvenience arises therefrom. In the election of any kind of officer, no attention is paid to the particular denomination of Christians to which the candidate belongs. An incorporated Baptist society is in the south-westerly part of the town,
who have a meeting-house; and a number more in the north-westerly part of the town are incorporated with a Baptist society in the northerly part of Fair Haven. Most of the people in the north-easterly part of the town belong to a Baptist society in Middleborough, and in the south-easterly part of the town a number of Baptists have associated together. In the north-westerly part of the town a number are of the denomination of Quakers, and attend religious worship in the northerly part of Fair Haven. About two miles south-easterly from the centre of the town stands an ancient Friends meetinghouse; but the society has for a great number of years been gradually decreasing, and about five years since their publick speaker died at an advanced age, and it was thought the society would become extinct; but about that time a young gentleman, who had recently assumed a religious character, embraced their religious sentiments; altered his dialect and dress accordingly; resigned his commissions as a justice of the peace and a captain in the militia, joined their society, and became a publick speaker. This event has had a considerable effect on the society. If it has not increased their numbers, it has called the luke-warm into activity; has brought to the meeting, occasionally, many of the leading people of that denomination from New Bedford and Fair Haven, and has brought to attend meeting some who before that were contented with their private devotion at home, and will doubtless be the means of perpetuating the society. In the second parish some of the Congregational order, who had a degree of dislike to their minister's preaching, joined with a number of the Baptist denomination; and a few Universalians built, the present year, a meeting-house but a small distance from the parish meeting-house. This house is not claimed by any particular denomination, but is open to all without exception.
Ponds. Quitticus Pond is on the north-westerly corner of this town; a small part of the north end is in Middleborough,
and a small part on the west lies in Freetown. This pond is pretty well stored with pickerel and perch. Formerly large quantities of alewives went into it through a small brook from Assawamsett Pond; but very few pass now.
A part of Assawamsett Pond lies on the north side of this town, and the line of the town crosses two islands of considerable bigness in this pond. Assawamsett Pond is the largest collection of water in Massachusetts. Its length, from north to south, is about six miles ; its breadth in some places nearly four miles; but the width is very variant. At one place, , called Long Point, in the summer, the width is not more than tree rods. At this place there is a bridge. At another place, about a mile from this, a point of land but a rod or two wide runs across the pond, lacking about two rods. Over this was formerly a bridge, which has now gone to decay. In this pond is a vast quantity of iron ore, which increases nearly as fast as it is dug. In the southerly part of this pond are large quantities of fish, such as pickerel, white fish, perch, roaches, chubs, horn fish ; and vast quantities of sea or white perch are taken in the fall of the year, when the
young alewives can be had for bait, which is the only bait which can be used with success.
The land on the southerly side of this pond is very uneven and hilly, and the bottom of the pond is as uneven as the land to which it is adjacent. It is not uncommon for water to be from ten to twenty-five feet deep, and within a few rods to be not more than three or four feet deep. This pond is the source of Namasket River, which is a considerable branch of Taunton River. Sniptecot Pond is wholly in this town. The seat of this pond may be considered as the height of land. Sniptecot Brook runs north out of this pond into Assawamsett Pood, and may be considered as the first source of Taunton River. Matta poisett River runs south out of the southerly part of this pond. A few rods south of this pond lies Long Pond, nearly a mile in length, and from five to twenty rods in width. Here
are large pickerel, but they are of a muddy taste. Not far from this, to the southward, lies Snow's Pond, which has no visible connexion with any other water. This pond is deep and has some fish. It contains perhaps thirty-five or forty acres. On the right hand of the road from Rochester to Plymouth lies Merry's Pond, a most beautiful sheet of water, and is nearly as round as a circle. In this pond are a few fish of the minor There is no natural inlet or outlet to this pond ; but a few years since the town, at the expense of $100, cut a canal from it to Sippican River, hoping to induce the alewives into the pond. No success attended the attempt. This pond is about three quarters of a mile in diameter.
Rivers. There is no run of water in this town, which geographers would call a river ; but there are two, which are complimented with that name by the inhabitants. The first is Mattapoisett River, which issues out of Sniptecot Pond, and empties into the sea at Matta poisett Harbour, after running about eight miles, including its windings. On this stream stand three corn mills and four saw mills, two of which only keep up the pond in the summer, both of which are on the same dam. This stream, though small, is of some consequence, besides what results from the mills, namely, on account of the alewife fishery. The privilege of taking said fish in said river, the inhabitants are by law authorized to sell, which brings into the treasury about $400 annually. It would be much more productive, if the taking the fish illegally could be effectually prevented. The other is Sippican River, on which stands three corn mills, three saw mills, one forge, one fulling mill, one triphammer shop, and one foundry. There are sundry other rivulets, on some of which mills are ereeted. In the north part of the town is a furnace (called stillwater furnace, on account of the sluggishness of the stream.) It stands on Black River, which rises in Middleborough,