Windham Life and Times – July 26, 2019

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“Bulwark Against the Indians” | Fort George

The Proprietors of the Township of Brunswick, also known as the Pejepscot Proprietors or the Pejepscot Purchase Company, began acquiring the land holdings of earlier owners and settlers in the areas of Brunswick, Topsham, Harpswell, and Lewiston in 1714. The company was formed at a time when the Massachusetts General Court was encouraging settlement and the laying out of townships in the “eastern country,” which included the Province of Maine. 

    “After Queen Anne’s War, Fort George was built in 1715 by Captain John Gyles in Brunswick The fort was 3 feet underground with a 3-foot-thick wall base, standing at least 10 feet high above ground, laid with lime mortar. The barracks housed fifteen men. A large two-story dwelling house, appearing above the walls, made living possible. The range of its cannon protected the dwellings within their reach. During Father Rale’s War, the inhabitants of Brunswick were hospitably gathered within the refuge. Many times this hospitality was strained to its most generous capacity as the onslaughts of Indian attacks were incessant. The most significant attack was when the fort was under siege during the early days of Father Rale’s War (1722) Indian Wars of New England Volume 3

Fort Andross. —The first fort ever erected upon the banks of the Androscoggin, by Englishmen, was undoubtedly that built by Governor Andross, which has since been called by his name. After King Philip’s war, Andross, desirous of promoting the eastern settlements, came ‘to Pejepscot in midwinter, with an army of 1,000 men…he erected a stone fort. It was large and in form very zigzag. In 1689 it was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel McGregory and Major Thomas Savage. It was demolished about 1694.”

“Fort George: From about 1694 to 1715 the fort previously mentioned lay dismantled and entirely unfit for purposes of protection to the settlers. Accordingly, on July 28, 1715, the following proposal was presented to the House of Representatives by the subscribers :”

“We the subscribers Proprietors of the Lands in Brunswick and Topsham, etc. being desirous to make such a settlement as may be able to sustain a war with the Indians, Do acknowledge the Favour of the General Court in their readiness to encourage and protect the intended settlements and particularly in the Repair of the Fort there; Yet perceiving the House inclinable to a Wooden Fort on account of the cheapness of it: We being sensible that as this Fort is set so, as to be a Bridle to the Indians; So if a War should arise, it may be expected, they will leave no means untried to become Masters of it; towards which the Remoteness from Succour will give them great advantage; and considering how much the Lives and Estates there will depend upon the strength and security of that Fort: We have been induced to make the following Proposal. That whereas the Wooden Fort at Winter Harbour cost, as we are informed Four hundred Pounds, when Provisions and Labour were much cheaper, than at this time; we can’t suppose such an one now would cost much less than five hundred Pounds; and a Stone Fort supposed to be much more chargeable: yet rather than the said Fort should be of Wood, and so liable to be consumed by Fire, in case it should be assaulted by French as well as Indians. We offer. That if the General Court will please to allow Five Hundred Pounds, and let us now have the Fifteen men, which are designed for that Garrison, we will enter into Engagements to repair and finish the aforesaid Stone Fort: To be Fifty Foot Square, as proposed, with Four Bastions, Two of which of wood on the Top of the Angle, at our own charge, although it should amount to more than that sum. And we shall set admit it in a weeks time, if possible, and hope to finish it before winter, if not obstructed by the Indians. We desire to have Three hundred Pounds of the said sum, as occasion shall require, to provide Materials etc. and the remainder when the work is finished. Signed Thomas Hutchinson, Adam Winthrop, Oliver Noyes In behalf of themselves & partners.

“Memorandum: It is agreed that the foundation of the said Fort shall be Three Foot under Ground. That the Wall shall be Three Foot thick at Bottom, and at least Ten Foot High above the Ground, and laid in Lime Mortar, with Barracks for Fifteen men, to be built on or near the Spot where the Fort now stands.” The General Court accepted this proposal of the proprietors, and ordered the sums of money asked for to be paid out of the treasury. At a meeting of the Pejepscot proprietors, held August 2, 1715, it was voted: ‘That Capt. John Wentworth be writ to dispatch a Sloop from Piscatesqua forthwith, with Four Thousand of Pine Plank and to fill up with good Boards to be landed at Pejepscot Falls. That Capt. Noyes be desired to dispatch a Sloop from Newbury with Seventy or Eighty’ hogsheads of good Stone Lime, the price here 21s p. hid. 100 gallons. That a Sloop be sent from hence with Bricks, Shingles, Clapboards, Nails, Provisions, a horse Team, Six Wheelbarrows, Arms, Crows, Pickaxes, Mauls, Shovels, Blankets, Kettles, Pails, Dishes, Horse Cart, Ox Cart, and a pair of Trucks.’ The erection of this fort was commenced by Captain John Giles in the month of August, 1715, on the ledge of rocks at the northern end of Maine Street, about where two of the factory boarding-houses now stand. It was completed in the December following. The walls of this fort were very thick and the stones were laid in mortar. It was finished with two bastions and two half-bastions, with flanks on the top sufficient for cannon. There was a large two-story dwelling-house erected in the fort, the roof appearing above the wall. The flag-staff was in the southwest corner of the southwest bastion . This fort effectually resisted the aggressions of the Indians, and protected all the dwellings within reach of its cannon. In times of alarm, however, the inhabitants usually congregated inside its walls.”

The Pejepscot Papers in the History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell. 

To give an idea of the size and importance of this fort to the infant settlement, an illustration of it has been given, drawn originally from memory by Daniel Stone. That illustration is shown at top left.

 

Windham Life and Times – July 19, 2019

Nutfield 300

A Bulwark Against the Indians | Introductions

The Scotch-Irish made the decision to come to America for economic, social and religious reasons. The dominant English elites in New England and the British Crown had their reasons for wanting the Scotch-Irish to come and it certainly wasn’t to have them settle next to them as friends and neighbors. The main objective, stated by Governor Shute of Massachusetts and others, was to place the Scotch-Irish in frontier locations as a “bulwark against the Indians.” In our region of southern New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts, by and large, the Indians had been pacified and were no longer a threat to the European settlers. Such was not the case in the frontiers of Maine, which were in close proximity to Indian settlements and their connection to French and Catholic allies in Canada. The French and the Catholic priests led and encouraged Indian attacks on the British settlers and whenever war ensued between Britain and France, the attacks intensified. The Indian attacks on colonist in Maine were fierce and lasted almost until the time of the Revolutionary War.

The second reason the English elites encouraged Scotch-Irish immigration was because they wanted a source of cheap, skilled, labor. They were disappointed in this, when they discovered that many of the Scotch-Irish were well off. Earlier still, on July 28, 1718, Lechmere wrote to Winthrop: “They are none to be sold, have all paid their passages sterling in Ireland; they come upon some encouragement to settle upon some unimproved Lands, upon what other Towns I know not. ” On August 11 of the same year, he again wrote that “they are come over hither for no other reason but upon Encouragement sent from hence upon notice given them that they should have so many acres of Land given them gratis to settle our frontiers as a barrier against ye Indians.” Town Proprietors of the New England Colonies Roy Hidemichi Akagi, PH.D.

Indians or no Indians, the third reason the Scotch-Irish were encouraged to come to New England was because the New England region was one big land speculation. The wealthy Boston, Salem and English merchants had all invested in various development projects that needed settlers in order to  make the investors money. As seen above, the speculators in Maine lands had to offer much better terms then the speculators in Massachusetts or Connecticut lands because of the “slight issue” of possible Indian attack which must have been downplayed by the promoters.

One of the places in Maine that the Scotch-Irish immigrants settled upon in 1718 was on land of Pejepscot Proprietors who owned thousand of acres in Maine. “The course of the Pejepscot Proprietors, thus was inaugurated was not an uneventful one. They had however contributed much to the settlement of the eastern country (Maine) by building forts, by offering lands and inducements to settlers, and by bringing the Scotch-Irish immigrants…” In 1683 Richard Wharton purchased all these titles in rapid succession: Shapleigh sold his share first on July 4th; the Way share with Purchase in the original patent was disposed of on October 10th for £100; while the administratrix of Thomas Purchase sold the latter ‘s right to an Indian purchase fifteen days later. These purchases were confirmed by the English Government and the territory comprised the whole of what is now the township of Harpswell, the greater portion of Brunswick, and a tract on the river in what is now Topsham. To this tract Wharton added, in 1684, another large tract through purchases from six Indian chiefs. Before he could do anything with the territory he had thus acquired, Wharton died in England without issue in 1693 and Ephraim Savage of Boston became the administrator. Four years later the superior court at Boston authorized the latter to sell the same. All this time there was nothing but confusion from the several ambiguous purchases and grants. Nothing was done and the title slept in silence. These dormant titles were revived in 1714 just at the time when the conclusion of the peace of Utrecht opened. The Pejepscot Proprietors were the first of the Great Proprietors to become interested in the foreign immigrants as a possibility in the settlement of their land. Just about that time, in 1717, a dramatic figure appeared in Boston in the person of Capt. Robert Temple, later one of the largest shareholders of the Kennebec Purchase Company. He had been an officer in the English army and came to America with a view of establishing himself as a large landed proprietor, a purpose which naturally aroused the interest of those who had lands for sale. He was thus shown lands in Connecticut, especially the Winthrop holdings in New London, and the lands of the Pejepscot Proprietors in Maine. The Pejepscot Proprietors were already offering large privileges and inducements to settlers and finally won Temple to work in their interest in the competition against John Winthrop, represented by Thomas Lechmere, his brother-in-law and the Surveyor General of Customs at Boston.” TPNEC Akagi

    “The way Temple actually worked may be shown by an example of the vessel “McCallum” which arrived at Boston on Sept. 1, 1718, with some twenty Scotch-Irish families. Temple was again urged by Lechmere to send the immigrants to Connecticut but more attractive inducements were being offered by the Pejepscot Proprietors. In disappointment Lechmere wrote to Winthrop on September 1, 1718, and among other things said: ‘The method they go in with the Irish is to sell them so many acres of land for 12 pence an acre and allow them time to pay it in. I know land is more valuable with you, and therefore twill be more difficult to agree with them.’ Temple…made arrangements by which the MacCallum both arrived and cleared at Boston in the week September 1-8, 1718. Temple became an active colonizer of the Kennebec country. Within two years he had chartered five ships to bring families from Ulster, and by 1720 several hundred families were settled on the Kennebec or the Androscoggin which unites with the Kennebec near its mouth. The MacCallum’s passengers settled at Merrymeeting Bay in the region now know as Bath, but then called Cork, or Ireland. Many of the settlers brought in by Temple settled in Topsham, so named from the Devonshire port from which Temple left England on his first voyage. The Kennebec settlements were made in such force and had such influential support that their prosperity seemed assured; but Indian wars broke out with disastrous results.  A number of settlements were abandoned, with some of the people going to Londonderry, N.H., but the greater number removed to Pennsylvania.” This was the period when the first wave of the Scotch-Irish Immigration reached Boston and in 1718 alone some 6,800 Scotch-Irish landed in New England. Ford, Scotch-Irish in America

 

Windham Life and Times – July 5, 2019

Nutfield 300

The grave stone in the Cemetery on the Hill in Windham, NH of Francis Richey, pirate.

Francis Richey  |  Pirate and Compatriot

Francis Richey’s grave-stone is located in the Cemetery on the Hill, nestled beside the row of Morrisons and Parks. It is indictive of the Scots-Irish character of, live and let live, and anti-authoritarianism, that allowed him to live quietly among his fellow brethren, undisturbed,  while pursuing his life of piracy.

“Francis Richey, born in ye County of Antrim, and town of Ballymanaugh, in ye north of Ireland, who died July 12, 1777, at 61 years. Such is the inscription upon the grave-stone of one whose life was shrouded in a mystery, and in regard to whom wild stories were told, and strange things surmised, more than a century ago. He lived with his sisters, Mrs. — Hamilton and Widow Thompson, at what is now the Samuel Bailey place, near the cemetery.” (The Bailey place was located on the corner of Range Road and Spear Hill Road. The current owners of the subdivided parcel might want to rent a metal detector to check for a buried chest.) The probability is that he and Thomas Richey were sons of Alexander, first mentioned, and that the children mentioned upon the records were by a later marriage, so I have designated them as such. (“Alexander Richey, bought of Robert McCurdy 75 acres southeast of Cobbett’s Pond, Feb. 10, 1736; consideration 60 pounds; subsequently bought other lands; was selectman in 1746.”)

“He (Francis) was a sea-faring man, and brought home quantities of gold to his sisters, and ‘new notes of the Bank of England.’ He brought silks and satins, and jewels and diamonds, which dazzled the eyes of  the humble worshippers in the church on the hill. Many furtive glances were cast at the dark eyed sailor, many wished to know the story of his strange life, and Moll Pitcher, the famous fortune-teller, used to excite the imaginations of the last generation by telling them the place where he had buried his treasures; to obtain them one must go alone, and at the dread hour of midnight, till she dared stay no longer; and she believed to her dying day, that had she had the courage, she could have found the gold. His money educated his niece, the accomplished and beautiful Margaret Hamilton. But whatever was the story of his life, it was not revealed, and its secret died with him. If his treasures were buried like Captain Kidd’s, so, like Captain Kidd’s treasures, they were never found. In the northern part of the ‘cemetery on the hill,’ in a grave over which is placed a wide stone, after the English fashion, the sailor rests till all mysteries are unfolded to our view, in the great awakening light of the final day.”

     Moll Pitcher was born in 1738 and died in 1813. The legends that grew up around her were real, but were later embellished by Whittier. “Her grandfather, old Captain Dimond, was called the ‘Wizard of Marblehead,’ and it was said :  ‘Used to pace the cemetery at night conversing with ghosts and witches and his voice could be heard miles out at sea directing the course of vessels. The History of Lynn states that Mary “Moll” Pitcher was, “connected with some of the best families of Essex County, and with the exception of her extraordinary pretensions, there was nothing disreputable in her life or character. Not only was she consulted by the poor and ignorant, but by the rich and intelligent, by the accomplished and vulgar, the timid and the brave, the simple rustic from New Hampshire and the nobleman of Europe. The predictions concerned love affairs, legacies, discovery of crime, successful lottery tickets, and the more common contingencies of life. These were the subjects of her staple productions; but the most important visitors came from those interested in various ways in the commerce of the region. The sailor before the mast, and cabin-boy, as well as the ship owner, resorted to her humble abode under High Rock, to ascertain the results of a voyage…”

“Treasure seekers, who were numerous in her time, frequently sought her assistance in locating stores of hidden treasure along our coast. It is said she had neither sympathy nor patience with them, and would reply to them sharply, ‘Fools, if I knew where money was buried, do you think I would part with the secret?…In discovering the secrets of the future, Mrs. Pitcher used tea. When steeped she turned it into a cup, unstrained. The peculiarities of the position assumed by the particles of the tea in the bottom of the cup decided the fate of the inquirer…”The Essex Antiquarian Volume 3. John Greenleaf Whittier in his poem describing Pitcher is what turned her into the “Renowned Pythoness of Lynn.”

 

Windham Life and Times – June 28, 2019

Nutfield 300

Matthew Thornton – Scots-Irish Signer of Declaration of Independence

The following account of Matthew Thornton (1714-1803) and the Declaration of Independence is taken from a speech given in 1869, at the 200th Anniversary Celebration of Nutfield given by his descendant Gordon Woodbury. “For allow me to say, friends, that in coming to Londonderry (for I decline to call this Derry), in coming to Londonderry, I for one feel as though I was coming home, for the chairman of the day has alluded to Matthew Thornton as an ancestor of mine but has omitted to state that I claim descent from the Nesmiths, Morrisons, McGregors and Bells; but from the fact that the chairman wrote me in his invitation that I was expected to speak no more than fifteen minutes, and if possible a leading to mercy, I will only point out some facts connected with this Matthew Thornton who so deeply marked his impression upon his times and who was your fellow townsman.”

“He was born in Ireland in 1714 and came here with his father and mother in 1718, went to Worcester and staid a short time and then moved to Derry. His grandson, my grandfather, remembered him, although at the time of Matthew Thornton’s death his grandson was but four years old, and I can recall being told what the man looked like—tall, thin, big black eyes, a great joker. That was the impression which his grandson bore away from your distinguished townsman; and distinguished he was, or rather distinguished you were by reason of what he did, differing from that done by any other man who signed the famous Declaration of Independence, he did a deed which we Londonderry people will love to believe was characteristic of the people who sent him to Philadelphia.”

“The Declaration of Independence was voted on the third of July, 1776, and when the resolution approving it had been passed the declaration was signed by the president of the convention and its secretary John Hancock, and Robert Thompson, and only those two. It was not signed by the other delegates present. It was proclaimed on the fourth of July, and when proclaimed did not bear the signatures of any of the delegates save the two I have named. Couriers were sent from Philadelphia to the provincial capitals whose representatives were present, conveying copies of the declaration and a request for the chairman of the Continental Congress that the declaration be made public within the limits of the various provinces. The Continental Congress of New Hampshire, that is the provincial, adjourned on the sixth of July to meet on the twelfth of September. The courier bearing the declaration reached Exeter the twelfth of July and the declaration was read at that time. Within the latter part of the month of July and early August, 1776 most of the other delegates of the Continental Congress signed the declaration, but not all of them. Some of the delegates from New York did not, some of the delegates from Virginia did not, one from Rhode Island did not, and one from another colony (I have forgotten which) did not, for they were absent on leave from the sitting of the convention. They returned, however, and signed the declaration upon their return and it lacked the signature of only one man, a Mr. McKernan from Delaware, who was absent with the army.”

“The Colony of New Hampshire had chosen three delegates to go— John Langdon, Governor Bartlett’s ancestor, and William Whipple. These men had been in attendance at Philadelphia through the spring and early summer of 1776, but John Langdon, desiring to be made prize-master, had found that it was necessary for him to resign from his seat in the Continental Congress, because even at this early date out fathers were very desirous as now, that no member of the House or Senate should hold an office of profit other than a seat under the government, and it was necessary for John Langdon to resign his seat if he wished to be appointed commissioner of prizes at Portsmouth. He chose to be so appointed and resigned his seat.”

“When the provincial congress of New Hampshire met in September of ‘76 there was no one representing the colony at Philadelphia save Josiah Bartlett. He wrote his associates at Exeter to give him an associate. They chose Matthew Thornton to be a delegate and they chose him for one year. He was then a judge of the superior court and it was necessary for him to clean up his calendar before he left. He left the twenty-sixth of October 1776 and went by way of Poughkeepsie, going on horseback, and arrived at Philadelphia the third of November.”

“During the summer of ‘76 military affairs had gone very badly—revolting colonies, the disastrous battle of Long Island had been fought. Washington had retreated across Long Island, New York had been taken by the British, and the outlook for the success of the experiment was very gloomy.”

“In the hope of taking advantage of that moment of depression the British government published an amnesty, a royal proclamation, to the effect that full pardon would be granted to all those lately in rebellion except George Washington and all those men whose names happened to be signed to a certain treasonable declaration published in Philadelphia, July 4, 1776.”

“When your representative reached Philadelphia the third of November ‘76, and this amnesty declaration was in full force, the minutes of the convention show that on his motion the declaration was laid on the table and permission given him to sign it. The full significance of that fact I take it cannot be had without a little explanation. All the penalties of treason with all the horrible punishments which then attached to the convicted private were denounced against all those whose names were found on ‘a certain treasonable declaration published in Philadelphia,’ and the Scotch-Irishman from Londonderry hastened to improve the opportunity to add his name to it.”

(Benjamin Franklin made the point more tellingly when, as he was about to sign the Declaration, he remarked, We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately. In suggesting that hanging might be the fate of those who signed the Declaration, Franklin was choosing an easier end than the one traditionally meted out in England to traitors.  Traitors were subject to the ferocious and gruesome punishment of being hanged, drawn, and quartered, reflecting the ancient judgment that a single death was an inadequate response to the crime of plotting the king’s death or seeking to overturn the established order.)

Would you or I have signed the declaration? Would we have risked losing everything? Woodbury continued, “A people who take no pride in their remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy of pride by their remote descendants.” An interesting sentiment for this July 4, 2019 celebration.

 

 

Windham Life & Times – June 21, 2019

Nutfield 300

Above: The front piece from the Londonderry Celebration book with an Indian lurking in the trees

Nutfield Celebration 1869

George Patterson

If the evening is just right, when I’m sitting in my yard overlooking Cobbett’s Pond, I imagine Indians, standing there, ready to push their canoes out onto the still water. I have  also been intrigued by the many stories of Indian artifacts, told by Bob Thorndike and Ray Barlow that were found in Windham. I was told that at one time,  when the water was low on Canobie Lake, you could walk along the shore and find arrowheads. And of course, there was the huge trove of Indian artifacts that were found when the state rebuilt Cobbett’s Pond Road in the 1950-60’s. The Windham Range once supported a large Indian settlement. To the Nutfield settlers and their English precursors, the Indian meadows were highly coveted land grants.

“It seems that in the early settlement of Haverhill, the most desirable tracts, was land that had been cleared by the Indians. Howe states, “….It is said that the uplands at the time were mostly covered by a heavy growth of timber, except and occasional spot burned over by fires set by the Indians. The meadows were, many of them, cleared and covered with a tall and dense growth of grass. The Indians were accustomed to burn the grass in the fall, that they might more easily capture the deer resorting to them to feed on the young grass in the spring. These meadows appear to have been much sought after by the early settlers, who obtained from them the principle subsistence for their cattle. They cut and stacked the hay in summer and in the winter drew it home on sleds. An early writer says of Haverhill: ‘keeping of cattle…encourages them to spend their days in those remote parts… being an overwhelming desire in most men after meadow land.” Joseph Howe’s Historical Sketch of the Town of Methuen

 By the time that the Nutfield settlers had arrived, most Indians had migrated north to escape the hordes of European settlers. Passaconoway, a powerful sachem and shaman who had long ago prophesized the end of his people and who had advocated making peace with the settlers because he could only see hopelessness in the Indian cause. He lived to be nearly 120 years old, a ruler of all the tribes in this entire region; he was forced the indignity of begging for a place to live from the Puritan government in Massachusetts. They granted him the right to live on an island in the middle of the Merrimack River near the falls at Lowell, which they took back when he died.

Well back to one of the speakers at the 1869 Nutfield Celebration who made an impassioned speech on behalf of the Native Americans. The honorary George W. Patterson, was born in Londonderry in 1799, the youngest of twelve children. He was a politician from New York who served in the United States House of Representatives and as Lieutenant Governor of New York: “How little do those who now inhabit the town know of the privations and sufferings of the early settlers. When they came here they had no shelter but the broad canopy of heaven, and for many years the log cabin was their only dwelling place. They located themselves on each side of ‘West Running brook,’ in what was, and still is, known as the ‘Double Range.’ This was said to be for safety in case of Indian attack. History shows that the early settlers, when attending religious worship on the Sabbath, always went armed, and the first minister, Rev. Mr. MacGregor, carried his gun into the pulpit, well loaded and primed, ready to repel attack. (if this seems odd, odder still is the fact that the settlement stored its required allotment of gunpowder in the attic of the meeting-house.) But if the early settlers had known the true character of the Indians, they would have feared no danger from them.  They had dealt fairly and honestly with the natives, and after acquiring title from the Crown of Great Britain they, like honest me, (as they were,) purchased and paid the Indians for their right to the township, which was originally about twelve miles square, and during all the Indian wars of New England, no man or child in Londonderry was ever injured or disturbed in their persons of property by the Indians.” (This politician, as is often the case, was a little off on his facts, since it was well known that in 1721, fourteen year old John Gregg was killed by Indians on Golden Brook in Windham.)

“I have had the occasion to know much of the Indian character. After my settlement in western New York, near the Genesee river, the Indians were my nearest neighbors for several years, and I never experienced anything but kindness at their hands, and I have never known an instance of Indian troubles from the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock to the present day, where whites were not the aggressors. The Indian fires are hardly extinguished in their wigwams till the worthless white race take possession (In 1869, the West was being settled and the Indians moved onto reservations.) Even before the title to the land is obtained by the government, and when the Indians defend their rights, the newspapers are filled with accounts of ‘Indian outrages…’”

 

 

 

Windham Life and Times – June 14, 2019

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Nutfield Celebration 1869 | Speaker Horace Greeley

The program above for the 1869 Celebration of Nutfield. “Londonderry, (then called Nutfield), was founded in 1719, and comprised, ‘the present towns of Londonderry, Derry, and Windham, and parts of Manchester, Salem and Hudson.’

One of the speakers that day was Horace Greeley, who was an American author, statesman, and the founder-editor of the New York Tribune. On that day, he was introduced as having “…sprung from Londonderry stock, and widely known and honored.” Some excerpts from his speech give a flavor of the American ideals of 1869. The celebration took place just four short years after the Civil War. “…I trust we shall cordially agree to the devote the memory of the festival to the memory of that Scotch-Irish race who first settled the town of Londonderry, and gave it the character it still proudly maintains…” The Scotch-Irish were eminently men of conviction. They saw clearly; they reasoned fearlessly; and they did not hesitate to follow wherever truth led the way. Migration to Ireland cracked the shell of their insular prejudice; removal thence to America completed their emancipation. Liberalized by crossing the strait, the passage of a stormy ocean made them freemen.”

The Scotch, whether at home or abroad, were an intellectual, an inquiring, and Bible-reading people. Whether Bible-reading made them such early zealous Protestants, or Protestantism opened to them the Bible, they have been eminently familiar with the Good Book for three centuries. Their knowledge of its contents kindled and has kept alive in their breasts the sacred fire of Liberty…”

“Hence their early and steadfast devotion to Common Schools. Their Christianity and their love of Liberty alike impelled them to educate their children, including those of the humblest and least esteemed. A meeting-house was the first building not of logs erected in this township; but a school-house soon followed; and the children of Londonderry have ever been blest with excellent common schools. And the good they enjoyed they were eager to impart and diffuse. I presume that more teachers now living trace their descent from the Scotch-Irish pioneers of Londonderry than to an equal number anywhere else. New England is to-day teaching our country. If you should visit all the school-houses in California you would find two-thirds of them under the sway of teachers from New England, and a sixth of these tracing their lineage to Londonderry, whose early devotion to the Bible and to common schools is still cherished by her children.”

“In New York we feel, as in Londonderry you do not, the pressure of the Old-World prelacy in determined, though as yet quiet, efforts to break up our common schools into theological fragments, each under the control of the hierarchy of some sect or denomination. I deprecate the change thus sought as perilous, if not fatal, to republican institutions. When the time shall have come for apportioning our children to Catholic, Orthodox, Liberal, Baptist, Methodist and Unitarian primary schools, I shall apprehend that the last sands of the Republic are nearly run. When our common schools shall have perished we may still have a country; but it will not be the land of Liberty and Equality for which our fathers toiled and suffered, and poured out their blood.”

Let me not seem to speak as one filled with apprehension. Despite its trials and perils, the Republic will live and not die. It has cost too much — it is worth too much — to be tamely surrendered. In one of the many dark hours of our late and terrible struggle, a doubting friend asked me, ‘Do you not consider Popular Rule about played out here?’ ‘No,’ I replied. ‘We have Common Schools and Trial by Jury left, and we can afford to fight fifty years longer rather than give them up.”

“Burke said the chief end of government was twelve honest, intelligent men in the jury-box to decide all contested issues. In the same spirit I hold that, so long as we can maintain common schools free to all children, and be tolerably sure of twelve fair men in the jury-box when issues of fact are to be tried, so long will our country remain a lighthouse to the nations and a star of hope to the oppressed throughout the world. And so long, I trust, will our people gather on anniversaries like this, to honor the virtues of their ancestors and hand down the fame of their grand achievements to their latest posterity.” With recent calls to tear down even the statues of Jefferson and Washington, in order to erase their memory from the national consciousness, Greeley’s hope may soon be extinguished.