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A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)

A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)

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Published by teamnickerson
A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)
A History of Chatham, Massachusetts (1909)

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Published by: teamnickerson on May 29, 2012
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On June 26 1710, the village voted to raise the balance

due him for preaching and chose John Atkins "town agent"

to procure a successor. It does not appear from the town

records whom Mr. Atkins engaged, but Rev. Joseph

Lord in his Diary states that Rev. Jonathan Russell

Jr. and Rev. Benjamin Allen were heard here about

this time.8

They supplied the pulpit only a short

time, Mr. Russell succeeding to his father's pastor-

ate in Barnstable after the death of the latter on

Feb. 2, 1711, and Mr. Allen settling later at Bridge-


It will be observed from the foregoing narrative that the

village had been rather unfortunate in its efforts to secure

preachers. Although, since the death of William Nickerson

Sen., it had been steadily growing in population, although

new settlers, coming from Eastham on the one side and from

Yarmouth on the other, had increased the village to

above fifty families, although it was no longer obliged to

hire lay preachers, but could support a regularly trained

minister, yet it had failed for some reason to keep those who

had come to them for any length of time. Mr. Latimer,

who stayed longest, had remained only two and a half years.

The reason for this probably was that the outlook

for the place was not considered to be bright. It was small

in area and the General Court had refused to increase its

territory. According to the ideas and mode of life of that

time, it could never accommodate many settlers. Moreover

its location was thought to be unfavorable, in those times

when England was almost constantly at war with France, as

it was considered to be peculiarly exposed on two sides to

attacks from French privateers, who occasionally hovered

8. " After Mr. Short was Mr. Russel awhile and Mr. Benj. Allen too. Mr. Russel's

mother has told me that it was likely that he would have settled here. If it had not been

that, his father dying, he supplied his lather's pulpit and succeeded his lather." Diary

of Rev. Joseph Lord, Yarmouth Register, Dec. 17, 184G.



around the coast and threw the people into a panic.

This continued lack of settled church conditions soon had

its effect on some of the settlers. They became discouraged

at the prospect. Others were dissatisfied with the taxes

which the Colony levied upon the place, considering them

to be burdensome. Still others were in fear of impressment

in the frequent drafts made by the Colony for its army and

navy, which would leave their families more defenceless

than ever against the dreaded privateers. There were also

long standing differences among the people themselves as

to the disposition of the common land, on the settlement of

which depended the future growth of the village and to

which no solution appeared.

The outlook to many of the villagers seemed so dark

that, in the spring and summer of 1711, thirteen families

emigrated from the village for one reason or another. Of

this, the first emigration, comparatively little is known.

The greater part of the emigrants went to a place in Dela-

ware called Duck Creek, now called Smyrna. It is situated

in Kent County on the Delaware Bay. There were 13

men, of age and liable to pay taxes, in the families who

went to this place, while 11 other men of taxable qualifica-

tions went with their families to other places not known.

The emigrants to Duck Creek included the families of

Jeremiah Nickerson, son of Joseph, Robert Eldredge, son

of Robert, and perhaps Samuel Eldredge.1


The movement

9. The evidence connecting Jeremiah Nickerson with tills emigration Is quite com-

plete. it appears by deed from William Covell to John Crowell, Jr., dated Sept. 10,

1716, (Files Superior Court of Judicature No. 11,012) that Nickerson sold on May 29 and

November 28, 1710, 20 acres of upland and 4 acres of meadow at Monomolt to William

Covell. On October 10, 1711, Nicholas Nixon, conveyed to Jeremiah Nickerson or Kent

Co. Del. a farm of 100 acres on the north side of Murder Creek. (Kent Co. Deeds 11 6),
On Oct. 31, 1724, the will of Jeremiah Nickerson of Kent Co., Del., was proved, in which

he mentions sons Joshua and Joseph, and daughters Lydla, Ruhamab, Prlscllla and

Mary, the last two under 18 years of age. The name of bis widow is not given. Grand-

sons Nehemlah and Jeremiah are also mentioned. The appearance of the names

Joseph and Ruhamab among his cbildren is significant. See also tin> settlement of

estate of Robert Eldredge (Thomas Eldredge administrator) In Kent Co. Del. wills in


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