Historical Sketch of Newton, MA
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THE exact period of the commencement of the settlement of Newton is unknown. It was originally a part of Cambridge, and was styled Cambridge Village, or New Cambridge. It was incorporated in I&91. This is a beautiful agricultural and manufacturing town, the Noanntum of the Indians. It is 12 miles S. E. of Concord, 7 N. of Dedham, and 7 miles west from Boston. Population, 3,037. There are five churches, 2 Congregational, 2 Baptist, and. 1 Episcopal. The Newton Theological Seminary, under the patronage of the Baptist denomination, was founded in this place in 1825, and was incorporated by the legislature the next year. In 1828 a brick building, three stories in height, besides a basement story, 85 feet long and 49 wide, was erected, at an expense of about $10,000. Three convenient houses have been since erected for the professors. In the mansion house are accommodations for the steward’s family, a dining hall, a chapel, and recitation rooms. The regular course of study occupies three years. There are two vacations of six weeks each; one from the last Wednesday but one in August, the other from the last Wednesday in March. The seminary is about seven miles from Boston, in a very healthy position, being beautifully situated. on an elevated hill, which commands an extensive prospect of Boston, and of the rich country around. In the central part of the town there are many elegant country residences.

Newton lies in a bend of Charles river, which forms its boundary on three sides, and, by two falls of considerable extent, affords an extensive water power. There are two manufacturing villages at these falls. The Upper Falls village is 9 miles from Boston and 7 from Dedham; it consists of about 70 dwelling-houses, 2 churches, 1 Methodist and 1 Baptist, a nail factory, rolling mill, and a machine shop, where 100 hands have been employed. At this place the water descends 35 feet in the distance of half a mile, and at one place pitches over a ledge of rocks 20 feet high. The village, which is well built, is irregularly situated on a rocky elevation which rises with some abruptness from the bed of the river. The Lower Falls village is 11 miles from Boston, and about 2 miles N. W. from the Upper Falls village. A part of this village is within the bounds of Needham; it consists of about 50 dwelling houses, an Episcopal church, and 10 paper mills. The Boston and Worcester railroad passes to the north of this village.

In 1837, there were 2 cotton mills, 5,710 spindles; 962,300 yards of cotton goods were manufactured, valued at $134,722; males employed, 53; females, 240; one woollen mill 5 sets of woollen machinery; 100,000 yards of cloth were manufactured, valued at $100,000; five paper-mills; stock manufactured, 975 tons; value of paper manufactured, $197,000; males employed, 53; females, 30; one nail manufactory; nails manufactured, 700 tons, valued at $84,700; hands employed, 20; capital invested, $40,000; one manufactory of chairs and cabinet ware; value of articles manufactured, $54,000; sixty males and six females employed; one rolling mill; 950 tons of iron rolled, valued at $76,000. Value of soap and candles manufactured, $22,500; vitriol, 1,800,000 lbs., valued at $50,000; barilla, 130 tons, valued at $4,550; value of machinery manufactured, $70,000; cost of materials, $35,000; capital invested, $120,000.

Nonantuin. was "the first civilized and Christian settlement of Indians within the English colonies of North America." Mr. Gookin, who formerly accompanied Mr. Eliot in his journeys, says the first place he began to preach at was Nonantum, near Watertown, upon the south side of Charles river, about four or five miles from his own house; where lived at that time Waban, one of their principal men, and some Indians with him." Mr. Eliot set out upon his mission in Oct., 1646, and sent forerunners to apprize the Indians of his intentions. Waban, a grave and wise man, of the same age of the missionary, forty-two, a person of influence, met him at a small distance from the settlemant, and welcomed him to a large wigwam on the hill Nonantum. A considerable number of his countrymen assembled here from the neighborhood to hear the new doctrine.

"After a short prayer in English, Mr. Eliot delivered a sermon (the first probably ever preached in this part of the old town) from Ezek. chap. xxxvii. ver. 9, 10: 'Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, (to which the Indian term Waban is said to answer) prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, (sag to Waban,) Thus saith the LORD GOD, Come from the four winds, O. breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.' This sermon employed an hour. The preacher began with the principles of natural religion icknowledged by themselves, and then proceeded to the leading doctrines and precepts of Christianity. He repeated and explained the ten commandments. He informed them of the dreadful curse attending the violation of the divine law. He then spoke to them of the person of JESUS CHRIST, of the place of his present residence and exaltatiori, and of his coming to judge the world in flaming lire. He taught them the blessed state of all those who know and savingly believe in CHRIST. He related the creation and fall of man; and spoke of the infinite greatness of God, of the joys of heaven, and the punishment of hell; finally persuading them to repentance and a good life. Having closed his sermon, he was desirous of knowing whether he had conveyed his sentiments intelligibly, in a language so new to himself. He therefore inquired whether they comprehended his meaning; to which their unanimous reply was, We understood all.' Mr. Eliot and his frends then devoted about three hours to familiar and friendly conference with them, to hear and answer questions which naturally were suggested by the discourse. This first visit was received with cordial and general satisfaction. Many of his audience listened to the pathetic parts of the discourse with tears; Waban, particularly, received those happy impressions which abode by him through life, and qualified him zealously and successfully to aid :he generous design of converting his countrymen.

"A still larger number attended the next visit of the apostolic Eliot to Nonantum, Nov. 11. He began first with the children, whom he taught these three questions, and their answers. Q. 1. Who made you and all the world A. GOD. Q. 2. Whom do you expect to save you from sin and hell? A. JESUS CHRIST. Q. 3. How many commandments hath GOD given you to keep? A. Ten. He then preached about an hour to the whole company concerning the nature of GOD, and the necessity of faith in JESUS CHRIST for procuring his favor. He informed them what JESUS CHRIST had done and suffered for the salvation of sinners, and the dreadful judgments attendant upon the rejection of him and his salvation. The whole company appeared very serious. Liberty being given to ask questions for further information, an aged man stood up, and with tears inquired whether it was not too late for such an old man as he, who was near death, to repent and seek after GOD. Another asked how the English came to differ so much from the Indians in their knowledge of GOD and JESUZ CHRIST, since they had all at first hut one father. Another inquired how it came to pass that seawater was salt and river water fresh. Another, that if the water was higher than the earth, (as he supposed,) how it comes to pass that it does not overflow all the earth. Mr. Ehot and his friends spent several hours in answering these and some other questions. The Indians told them, upon their quitting them to return home in the evening, that 'they did much thank GOD for their coming; and for what they had heard, they were wonderful things.'

"At the third meeting, of Now. 26. some of the Indians absented themselves through fear of their powaws or priests, who had threatened them with their secret power of inflicting the penalty of death upon those who should attend. One of these powaws was, however, immediately and solemnly addressed by the intrepid missionary, who silenced and convinced him.

"Two or three days after this meeting, at which the audience appeared very serious, Wampas, a sage Indian, with two of his companions, came to the English, and desired to be admitted into some of their families. He brought his son and two or three other Indian children with him, begging that they might be educated in the christian faith. His request was granted."

A school was soon established among them, and the general court gave the neighboring Indians a tract of highland, called Nonantum, and furnished them with various implements of husbandry. The Indians many of them professed Christianity. and the whole in the vicinity became settled, and conducted their affairs with prudence and industry. They erected a house of worship for themselves; they adopted the customs of their English neighbors, made laws, and had magistrates of their own. The increase of the Indian converts was such, that they found the place too strait for them, and there was a removal of the tribe to Natick, about 10 miles S. W. of Nonantum.

The records of the first church in this town were destroyed in the conflagration of the Rev. Mr. Merriam's house, in 1770. From other sources it appears that the first regular church gathered here was on July 20, 1664, and the first minister was Rev. John Eliot, Jr., son of the apostolic missionary of that name. He died, exceedingly lamented, in 1668, in the 33d year of his age. Rev. Nehemiah Hobart was ordained his successor, Dec. 23, 1674. His character it is said may be collected from the following inscription placed on his tomb-stone:

Hoe tumulo depositae sunt reliquiae reverendi et perdocti D. D. NEHEMIAH HOBART, Collegii Harvardini socij lectissimi, ecclesiae Neotoniensis per annos quadraginta pastoris fidelissimi et vigilantissimi, singulari gravitate, humilitate aeque ac pietate et doctrina-a doctis et pija eximia veneratione et amore recolendi. Natus erar Nov. 21, 1648. Denatus Aug. 25, 1712, anno aetatis 64.

[In this tomb are deposited the remains of the reverend and very learned teacher of divinity, Nehemiah Hobart. an estimable fellow of Harvard College, a highly faithful and watchful pastor of the church of Newton for forty years. His singular gravity7 humility, piety, and learning, rendered him the object of deep veneration and ardent esteem to men of science and religion. He was born Nov. 21, 1648, and died Aug. 25, 1712, in the 64th year of his age.]

Mr. Hobart was succeeded by Rev. John Cotton, who was ordained in 1714, and died in 1757. The following is the inscription on his monument:

Hic depositurn mori quoci potuit reverendi vereque venerandi JOHANNIS COTTONI, ecclesiae Newtoniensis fidelissimi, prudentissimi, doctissimique nuper pastoris, concionandi tam precandi facultate celeberrimi, pietate spectatissimi, monbus sanctissimis undequaque et suavissime ab omnibus bene meriti, deploratique anditoribus praecipue, quibus vel mortuus concionari non desinit. Fama longe lateque vocalius et diutius marmore duratissimo, nomen perdulce proclamabit. Morbo non senecta fractus, e vita decessit, Maii 17, A. D. 1757, aaetatis suae 64, officii ministralis 43.

[Here lies the mortal part of the Rev, and truly venerable JOHN COTTON, lately the very faithful, prudent and skilful pastor of the church of Newton. He was eminent for the faculty of praying and preaching, was respected for his piety, and held in high and universal esteem for his pure and attractive virtues. His loss is especially deplored by his flock, to whom even dead he ceases not to preach. Fame shall spread his endearing name more loudly, extensively, and permanently than the most durable marble. Broken by disease, not by the infirmiries of age, he departed this life May 17,. A. D. 1757, in the 64th year of his age, and the 43d of his ministry.]

Rev. Jonas Merriam succeeded Mr. Cotton, in 1758; he died in 1780, and his remains were conveyed to a family tomb in Boston. In 1780, a Baptist church was gathered in Newton, and Rev. Caleb Blood was pastor seven years; he was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Grafton. Mr. Grafton died in December, 1836. Measures are taking to erect a monument to his memory.

Captain Thomas Prentice, the partizan commander of horse st distinguished in King Philip's war, was of this town; he died in 1709, at the age of 89, in consequence of a fall from his horse. The following lines on the foot stone of his grave have been deciphered:

"He that's here interr'd needs no versifying,
A virtuous life will keep the name from dying;
He'll live, though poets cease their scribbling rhym
When that this stone shall moulderd be by time."

Rev. John Elliot, A. M., son of the apostolic Elliot, assistant Indian missionary. First pasrer of the First Church, ordained on the day of its gathering, July 20, (Aug. 1, N. S.) 1664, eight yeaxs after the forming of a Society distinct from Cambridge, died Oct. 11th, 1668, AE XXXIII. Learned, Pious and beloved by English and Insians. "My dying counsel is, secure an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this will carry on safely to the world's end." As a preacher, lively, accomplished, zealous, and Heaven received his ascending Spirit, "155 years since." -Erected by the town, 1823.


FROM:
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
Geographical Descriptions.
By John Warner Barber.
Worcester
Published by Warren Lazell.
1848

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