Revival on Cape Codby Paul Jehle on July 24, 2018
Revival on Cape Cod
An Overview of the Legacy of Awakenings
from 1620 to 1880
Dr. Paul Jehle
Heritage Institute Ministries
P.O. Box 1353, Sagamore Beach, 2016
REVIVAL ON CAPE COD
An Overviewof the Legacy of CapeAwakenings
It is virtually impossible to cover every story of revival in every town on Cape Cod. I don’t know them all anyway, in fact, only God knows them all. I have pondered how I might do justice to revival and awakenings of towns that had significant legacies. My goal is to piece together an overview with the intention of bringing some inspiration from the past that we might have hope for the future.
As Romans 15:4 exhorts us “for whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” In context, it is the inspiration from the Old Testament as the background for the New that gives us hope, but in application, it involves the stories of our past that illustrate Biblical truths so that we have hope and confidence in knowing that the God of yesterday and today is also the God of tomorrow for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” 1
Though I will not cover events in every town on the Cape, I hope to inspire those who love the area and are called to minister on Cape Cod to continue researching their own towns so that each of us can own a Providential perspective on what God has done in the past. I am conscious of doing my best to keep this relatively brief, so I have dubbed this work an “overview.”
I define revival as “bringing to life what has been ignored or lost” and in the context of Christian revival, “restoring a desire to love and live for Christ.” From a Biblical perspective, we are often living beneath our potential, but as Psalm 85:6 states “Lord, will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” I define awakening as “bearing the image of Christ’s godly character and integrity so that the culture surrounding the believer reflects a significant impact of the Kingdom of God in evangelism and discipleship.” As Psalm 85:13 declares at its end “Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.” It is one thing to profess Christ (revival) yet another to bear His image in our character, impacting the people as well as the culture around us(awakening).
One might ask, you are a full-time Pastor in south Plymouth, so why do you have an interest in Cape Cod? My hobby is history, specifically the Hand of God (i.e. providence) as seen in history. Noah Webster defines providence “In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures. He that acknowledges a creation and denies a providence involves himself in a palpable contradiction; for the same power which caused a thing to exist is necessary to continue its existence.” 2 I have spent many hours in the archives of Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth tracing the faith and legacy of the Pilgrims as it evidenced “the care and superintendence” which God exercised in foresight and loving direction as He always does His remnant. These Pilgrims first landed on Cape Cod and so the history of Plymouth and the Cape is inseparable. Having conducted pilgrim tours of Plymouth as well as the Cape and Martha&rsq uo;s Vineyard for decades has only enhanced my love of seeing the Hand of God on this neck of land!
1 Hebrews 13:8.
2 Webster, Noah., An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828, now published in facsimile by the Foundation for American Christian Education, www.face.net
The Pilgrims and Cape Cod: Foundations of RevivalIt is important to recognize that the Pilgrims migration to America was essentially a church planting project. Though half the passengers on the Mayflower were not a part of the Leyden Congregation, it was the Pilgrim Church that initiated the voyage, the others were coming for other reasons but lived under the lawful agreements set up by the Church in Plymouth. To be historically accurate in context, when the pilgrims and puritans came to Plymouth and Cape Cod they were at the peak of a revival known as the Great Reformation. This wave of revival and awakening was breaking on the shores of New England.
This Reformation was a revival and an awakening that took place with increasing effectiveness for over 200 consecutive years (1400-1600), building from individuals to a movement so broad that it gave rise to an incentive to discover technology like moveable type to get the Bible to unreached people groups! The revival sent people into a wilderness to see what kind of a civilization they might produce. This Great Reformation was happening in Europe in general and England in particular and one of its results were the beginnings of the United States of America.
Arriving in a wilderness at the peak of a centuries old revival and awakening means that the first thing one does is inspire families to disciple their children and establish a church. Once a church is formed with enough families, then a town can begin. When the Pilgrims arrived in what is now Provincetown, William Bradford (their second Governor and historian) writes “Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean… again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.”3
This sounds like a people in revival. No wonder a stone marker commemorates this landing in Provincetown for this tiny step ashore was part of the seed of the United States.
Robert Cushman, one of the Pilgrim leaders in England, wrote a treatise entitled Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfulness of Removing out of England into the Parts of America. It was published as a part of the first primary source book in America – Mourt’s Relation. It was a common sentiment among believers at the peak of revival that they should have a proper Biblical theology in immigrating to the wilderness of America. These “instructions” were to curb previously failed attempts by England and the mistreatment of Natives by previous settlements. This highlighted summary of their motives were sensitive to Biblical truth, the Lordship of Christ, and working of the Holy Spirit.
First, you can’t claim land like Abraham did – Old Testament Israel was uniquely chosen by God.
Second, you must go for God’s glory and to bless others and not for selfish reasons (like gold).
Third, you must desire to evangelize the Natives, not oppress them.
Fourth, you should build your settlement in empty space not claimed by anyone.
Fifth, procure a treaty of peace as quickly as possible to your nearest Native neighbors.
Sixth, gain voluntary title to the land you possess. 4
3 Bradford., William., Of Plimoth Plantation, Morison edition, Alfred A. Knopf, 1979, page 61.
4 Cushman, Robert., Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfulness of Removing out of England into the Parts of America., as published in Mourt’s Relation, the first primary source book probably written by Edward Winslow, 1622. See the edition edited by Jordan Fiore and published by Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1985, pages 77-82.
Now the question would be, would the Pilgrims follow these guidelines? The Pilgrims arrived as one of the most documented immigrant groups at the time. They had two documents on board – a Patent and a Charter from the King of England – permission to land as well as set up a government. They wrote two more documents within six months of their arrival – the Mayflower Compact (a new charter of government written and signed in Provinctown Harbor that would be followed by a Constitution in 1636), and the Peace Treaty with the Natives in March of 1621.
Since they were no longer under the original Patent, in order to quell potential mutiny, they drew up the Mayflower Compact on board the Mayflower in what is now Provincetown Harbor. The first two lines are significant:“In the Name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James.”5 God was first, then the people, and then the King (or civil government.) This altered the power flow from England’s “divine right of kings” and laid the foundational charter for self-government; a precursor to the Declaration of Independence. Rights came from God, not government, and government’s power is dervied from the people by their consent. As Psalm 105:8-10 declares “He hath remembered his covenant… he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same un to Jacob for a law..”
A revival in the heart of a people renews their covenant with God, if it continues, the awakening will eventually confirm that covenant in law within a socity. No wonder in Provincetown the large Compact Memorial and Pilgrim Monument honors this document!
During their exploration of Cape Cod they were looking for four things – a shallow harbor to keep their Shallop, a high hill easily defended, fresh water, and cleared (abandoned) land on which to settle. It is important to relate several aspects of Pilgrim conduct during this exploration on Cape Cod. Though they desired to trade with the Natives and let them know they had come in peace, they were also intensly curious as to who lived here and whether they would be friendly.
After finding a spring, the exploring party came across Native graves and houses. They dug up some graves to see what was in them and took some things from the houses. Regarding the graves,“We supposed there were many other things; but because we deemed them graves, we put in the bow again, and made it up as it was, and left the rest untouched, because we thought it would be odious unto them to ransack their sepulchers.”6 . Regarding their homes,“intending to have brought some beads and other things to have left in the houses, in sign of peace, and that we might truck with them…so soon as we can meet conveniently with them, we will give them full satisfaction.” 7. In my opinion, they should have left the graves and houses alone, but they did keep their word and give full satisfaction, as reported by Bradford. 8
The Pilgrims found corn on their second and third exploration at what they called Cornhill (now Truro.) After they discovered the corn,“We were in suspense what to do with it and the kettle, and at length, after much consultation, we concluded to take the kettle, and as much of the corn as we could carry away with us; and when our shallop came, if we could find any of the people and come to parley with them, we would give them the kettle again, and satisfy them for their corn.” 9. Knowing their corn would not grow in the sandy soil, the common law they understood permitted them to take another’s property in such a state, as long as they did pay for it. This they did six months later when visitng the same Tribe.
5 Ibid., page 75.
6 Mourt’s Relation, page
7 Ibid., page 25.
8 Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation, page 66.
9 Mourt’s Relation, page
“1. That neither he nor any of his should injure or do hurt to any of our people.
2. And if any of his did hurt to any of ours, he should send the offender, that we might punish him.
3. That if any of our tools were taken away, when our people were at work, he should cause them to be restored; and if ours did any harm to any of his, we would do the like to them.
4. If any did unjustly war against him, we would aid him; if any did war against us, he should aid us.
5. He should send to his neighbor confederates to certify them of this, that they might not wrong us, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.
6. That when their men came to us, they should leave their bows and arrows behimd them, as we should do our pieces when we came to them.”10
When the child John Billington ran away and was picked up by Natives at Manoment and then brought to Nauset (Barnstable), Bradord went there to get him returnedin mid-summer, 1621. Here they met with the tribe that had attacked them at “First Encounter Beach”(December 8, 1620 –now Eastham.) Massasoit sent two Native guides with the ten Pilgrims that summer. Mourt’s Relation describes a meeting of reconciliation near what is now Barnstable harbor.
“One thing was very grievous unto us at this place. There was an old woman, whom we judged to be no less than a hundred years old, which came to see us, because she never saw English; yet could not behold us without breaking forth into great passion, weeping and crying excessively. We demanding the reason of it, they told she had three sons, who, when Master Hunt was in these parts, went aboard his ship to trade with him, and he carried them captives into Spain, (for Tisquantum at that time was carried away also,) by which means she was deprived of the company of her children in her old age. We told them we were sorry that any Englishman should give them that offense, that Hunt was a bad man, and that all the English that heard of it condemned him for the same; but for us, we would not offer them any such injury, though it would gain us all the skins in the country…. When our boat was aground, they came very thick, but we stood therein upon ou r guard, not suffering any to enter but two, the one being of Manamoick, and one of those whose corn we had formerly found. We promised him restitution, and desired him either to come to Patuxet for satisfaction, or else wse would bring them so much corn again. He promised to come.”11
Two of the most difficult cross-culturaleventsdid takeplace, apologizing for the sins of one’s own race, and making restitution for the “emergency use” of someone else’s property. After that first three day Thanksgiving harvest festival (probably patterned after the Feast of Tabernacles and taking place in October) of 1621 (12), peace remained strong for over 50 years with Massasoit and the Wompanoag.
In 1622, in what is now Chatham, Squanto (or Tisquantum), the “special instrument sent by God” as Bradford called him, was with several Pilgrims and got sick. “In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose…and within a few days died there, desiring the Governor to pray for him that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in Heaven..” 13
10 Mourt’s Relation, pages 49-50.
11 A Voyage Made by Ten of our Men to the Kingdom of Nauset, as published in Mourt’s Relation, page 60.
12 See Jehle, Paul., The Meaning of Thanksgiving., Plymouth Rock Foundation’s Newsletter, Volumne 30, Issue 6, 2007. 13 Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation, page 114.
The Pilgrims also built a trading post in 1627, located in Bourne. The Aptuxet Trading Post, rebuilt on its original foundations, is a marvel, being one of the oldest buildings of the Pilgrims. Bradford writes “That they might better take all convenient opportunity to follow their trade, both to maintain themselves and to disengage them of those great sums which they stood charged with and bound for, they resolved to build a small pinnace at Manomet, a place 20 miles from the Plantation, standing on the sea to the southward of them, unto which by another creek on theis side they carry their goods within four or five miles, and then trasport them overland dto their vessel.”15
Trading with the Dutch, French and the Natives, this post made everyone wealthier. One key attribute of believers in revival is their impact of the market place in integrity and honesty. The use of wampum as money for international trade is a critical legacy of the Pilgrims on Cape Cod. It is also the spot where Isaac DeRaisier, a Dutch trader, wrote an eye-witness account of how the Pilgrims lived and went to church. The necessity of carrying goods across the land to join two rivers eventually inspired the construction of the Cape Cod Canal.
Though the Pilgrims were never large in number or financially wealthy, their influence was astounding in values, ideas and a legacy of integrity. The founding of Eastham is a case in point. Duxbury and Marshfield had already been planted from the original Plymouth church and town. The area considered was originally the home of the Nauset Indians that attacked the Pilgrims at First Encounter Beach. In the year 1644 Bradford comments “the church began seriously to think whether it were not better jointly to remove to some other place than to be thus weakened and as it were insensibly dissolved.”16. A delegation of seven men went to what is now Eastham (then called Nauset). Though the whole Plymouth church did not move, seven families did go to Eastham and founded the town by 1651. 17
One of the classic tourist attractions in Eastham is its old Windmill. It was built in Plymouth by Thomas Paine (1613-1706) in 1680. Because of the ideal location on Town Brook as well as the freedom to operate private businesses, several Mills were constructed, beginning with John Jenney’s Grist Mill in 1636. Thomas Paine was born in Eastham, but later served as water bailiff of the Plymouth Colony Court. He was known as the builder of mills, among many other areas of service. 18.
14 Bradford., William., Of Plymouth Plantation; edited by Samuel Eliot Morison, page 236.
15 Ibid., pages 192-193.
16 Ibid., page 333.
17 See the History of the Town of Eastham from http://www.eastham-ma.gov/Public_Documents/EasthamMA_WebDocs/about
18 See this biography of Paine’s life at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=34166386
The present location of the Mill in Eastham is on property once owned by Giles Hopkins, son of Stephen Hopkins who came on the Mayflower and also later moved to Eastham. It is possible that Paine learned the technology in Plymouth along its Town Brook, and then construed his wind powered Mill, pushing it across the Bay during winter to Cape Cod. “It was moved to Truro in the 1770s and then to Eastham in 1793 to its first location where the National Seashore Salt Pond Visitor Center is now located, and then to its present site in 1808. Lovingly restored and maintained, it is both the oldest and and last working gristmill on the Cape.” 19
The Puritans and Cape Cod – Legacy of Revival
The Puritans were initially distinct from the Pilgrims. Pilgrims separated from the Church of England, thus called “separatists.” Puritans desired to purity the church from within but many soon found that this was not working. Thus, when John Winthrop came in 1630 he gave instructions for settling in his Model of Christian Charity, possibly preached before they all left for the new world or during the voyage.
He stated “Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into Covenant with Him for this work, we have taken out a Commission…if we shall neglect the observation of these Articles….the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us… and make us know the price of the breach of such a Covenant. Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our posterity is to follow the Counsel of Micah: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God… For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken… we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.” 20
Pastor John White, later dubbed the “father of Massachusetts”, was rector of Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester. He was the key initiator of the reorganized Council for New England that would raise the funds and seek to bring the gospel to these shores. He had already written his reasons for migration and they were similar in spirit to Cushman’s a decade earlier. White was concerned that the right people be chosen for this work in order to maintain a holy and Biblical purpose. His first reason for those migrating was “to carry the gospel into America.” 21. White was saying to Winthrop and the others that “the nation (of England) had turned from the path of righteousness…and God threatened judgment on England.” 22
No wonder then that the Charter of 1629, with White as one of its authors, established Massachusetts Bay with the express purpose that “…our said People, Inhabitants there, may be so religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed, as their good life and conversation may win and incite the Natives of the Country, to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Savior of Mankind, and the Christian Faith, which is our Royal Intention, and the Adventurers of free Profession, is the principal end of this Plantation.” 23
Thus the Pilgrim and Puritan migration to America had been conducted with a clear and written intention to bring the gospel to those without it. This was because they were coming at the peak of a revival experienced in England. Like a wave crashing upon a beach, a fervor for Christ and evangelism was carried by Puritans arriving at Salem and Boston that would spill on to Cape Cod after 1630. Consider also that the strongest leaders would come to establish a beachead for the gospel and the Kingdom of God. As one Puritan leader put it “God sifted a whole nation that he might send choice grain over into this wilderness.” 24
19 The Eastham Windmill, Eastham Historical Society http://www.easthamhistoricalsociety.org/?page_id=118
20 Dunn, Richard S., and Yeandle Laetitia., The Journal of John Winthrop 1630-1649., Belknap Press, 1996, pages 9-10.
21 Bremer, Francis., John Winthrop: America’s Forotten Founding Father., Oxford University Press, 2003, page 157.
22 Ibid., page 159.
23 Charter of Massachusetts Bay, March 4, 1629, Lonang Institute, http://lonang.com/library/organic/1629-cmb2/
24 Stoughton, William., Election Sermon, April 29, 1669.
Sandwich – Beachead of Revival on Cape Cod
The first town to be settled on Cape Cod was Sandwich in 1637. Those who settled it brought revival with them. These “ten men” from Saugus (which was renamed Lynn a short time later) settled under the conditions set up by Goveror Winslow of Plymouth and Governor Winthrop of Boston. 25. One was 59 year old Thomas Tupper. Another from Saugus who arrived soon after would become his next door neighbor; 27 year old Richard Bourne. The Pastor of the first church was William Leveridge.
Leveridge was a minister “described as a man of great piety and meekness.” 26. Soon he was working on resolving disputes and overseeing the first Meetinghouse constructed in 1639. His desire was to reach the Natives with the gospel and to that end learned the Indian tongue. 27. His inspiration and influence on Tupper and Bourne would be felt for decades. It is important to know that Sandwich at this time had representatives that had to travel to Plymouth, and it was Bradford, as Governor, who made sure that the Indian Chief at Manomet as well as Massasoit, Chief of the Wompanoag nation, were in agreement as to the bounds of the settlement and the price paid for the land. 28. This conduct would be expected of a newly formed town whose inhabitants of sixty famlies were living out their Christian faith with biblical conduct.
After Leveridge left Sandwich for Long Island in 1654, Thomas Tupper and Richard Bourne continued preaching in the Meetinghouse as lay ministers. They lived next door to each other near where the old Glass Museum is today. Richard Bourne and Thomas Tupper, under the initial inspiration of their pastor, would produce a beachead for revival that lasted for decades.
Thomas Tupper’s father Henry was influenced by Robert Browne, one of the leading Separatists that spawned the Pilgrim church in England. Thomas would follow in his father’s spiritual footsteps, but also learned the trade of the leather business, working in shoemaking. Arriving in 1631 after several voyages to the new world in trade, he became friends with Thomas Mayhew who would become missionary to the Vineyard. After the death of his wife Susan in 1634, he brought his daughter of fifteen and son of five with him to Sandwich in 1637. He served the town as a representative in the General Court, on juries, local boards and commissions, and was a selectman when he was over 90 years old!
Bournedale – Legacy of God’s Intervention
Tupper was a charter member of the first church of Sandwich and he was constant in attendance and preached the gospel to others. He shared the pulpit with Richard Bourne but also ministered among the Natives. One of the marks of revival involve numerous conversions. So successful were his endeavors at sharing the gospel among the Natives that soon after Sandwich was founded Tupper (along with Bourne) started a church for the Natives near Herring Pond in what is now Bournedale in 1637. His son Thomas soon followed in this endeavor as well. Thomas Sr. died in 1676 at 98 years of age!
25 Lovell, R.A., Jr., Sandwich: A Cape Cod Town, the Town of Sandwich, 1984, pages 3-4.
26 Ibid., page 25.
27 Ibid., page 37, 56.
28 Ibid., pages 26-27, 30.
“Situated in the woods some distance northerly from the Bourne fire tower is a large rock (on a part of one of Richard Bourne’s grants) called in early days ‘Sacrifice Rock’, but later Chamber Rock. Tradition makes this one of those rocks on which the Indians, with dancing and riotous ceremonies, offered their sacrifices, sometimes human. The English tried in all ways to stop the barbarous custom. As the Redmen began one of their sacrificial performances prior to burning a white aptive, a missionary to the Indians appeared on the scene. Immediately sensing what the wild commotion meant, he called to the Indians to desist from their inhuman work. Whey they continued their torture, Mr. Bourne threw up his arms, exclaiming ‘If you do not stop your horrible work I will call upon my God to visit his wrath upon you’. The Indians disregarded the warning and, according to the legend, a vivid flash of lightning did encompass the rock which it split into numerous strangely shaped pieces, while it killed many of the savages. Every part of the rock as it stands today bears out the story; for the sizes, shapes and edgs of the sections variously split would, if it were possible to replace them, apparently fit together perfectly.” 29
A remarkable story of the ministry of Richard Bourne in Bournedale is related by Betsey Keene.
Evidently this miracle helped solidify more converts to the “Praying Indians” at the meetinghouse in Bournedale, for Tupper eventually had about 180 Native members of the Bournedale church! Over a hundred years later objective scientists with no knowledge of the incident were asked how the rock split. Their conclusion? It had to be split by lightning. God works in amazing ways when revival hits!
Mashpee–Legacy of Native Integrity
Richard Bourne, in addition to his life and ministry in Sandwich, turned his attention also to Mashpee in 1658 where he established a church. They erected a Meetinghouse in 1670 and it still stands and is used today as a house of worship. In the same year, Bourne was ordained pastor with John Eliot and John Cotton attending the service on the 17th of August. By 1674 Richard Bourne named 22 places where he was ministering to Natives with an attendance of 500! He reported that 142 could read Indian (and thus read the 1663 Indian Bible translated by John Eliot into their language), 72 could write and 9 could read English! What is most important is that Richard Bourne wanted to secure Native fishing and hunting rights as well as boundaries written in deeds so they could perpetually own their own land. He also wanted Indian pastors to take over his ministry so that their congregations could be self-governed. 30
Richard’s service to Sandwich, Mashpee and Cape Cod was extensive. He was deputy to the Plymouth Court, a surveyor of highways and a receiver of oil for Sandwich. He had four sons by his wife Bathsheba. Shearjashub, theyoungest, assisted his father in the ministry. It was reported in 1649 that he ministered among the Natives during a great sickness but did not contract anything to which many remarked was an amazing Providence of God. In 1677 he remarried Ruth Winslow. He died in 1682 at 72 years of age, and no one knows where he is buried. While he was alive, through his influence the ruling elders endeavored to have the rights of the Natives protected. 31. Unfortunately subsequent generations ignored the protected fishing, hunting and land rights of the Natives, and greed replaced the love of Christ that had dominated the 17th century work of Bourne.
29 Keene, Betsey. History of Bourne from 1622 to 1937, Bourne Historical Society, 1975, page 183.
30 Keene, Betsey, pages 215-216.
31 Aver, Mary Farwell, Richard Bourne: Missionary to the Mashpee Indians, David Clapp & Sons, 1908.
So strong was the heritage of Christianity in Mashpee that on September 2, 1934, a special service was held at the Indian Meethouse there. The Bourne Historical Society presented a plaque in honor of Richard Bourne who had established the church in 1658. A large delegation of Natives were there to honorthe onewho they called “the white sachem.”“ ’Of all ministers’, said Mr. Redfield, ‘who have served during the nearly 300 years of the history of Christianity in Mashpee, none made so great a contribution as Richard Bourne. He was not only the Spiritual leader but was a political champion as well, obtaining fair treatment and legislation for the Mashpees. He unselfishly gave of his time and means to help these people. it is fitting at this time to memorialize the name of the one who has had such an influence upon the history of Mashpee. We welcome this opportunity of sharing the name and memory of Richard Bourne – first Missionary to the Mashpees.’ The congregation joined in singing the following lines written especially for the occasion.
Into these Lands, many long years ago Came a man of God.
So long he labored here, in love and not in fear,
His memory is honored now with one accord.
Give honor to his name, the ‘Bourne’ of Gospel fame of whom we sing
May the ‘Christian Indians’ Lands’ their forests, streams and sands
Ever and evermore with his memries ring. 32
It is interesting to note that the revival that resulted from Bourne and Tupper’s preaching, and the peaceful relations with the Natives, made Sandwich the “barrier to the lower Cape towns” during King Philip’s War in 1675. Sandwich then sent word to outlying towns inviting them to come and live with them to be protected. Though most chose to defend their homes and land, it was the result of evangelism and revival that brought about such peace and tranquility. 33
It is important to note that though there was much success in seeing Natives converted through the preaching of the gospel on Cape Cod, much of the inspiration came from John Eliot. Eliot, though a Pastor in Roxbury, soon began to learn the Indian language, hiring English speaking Natives to live with his family. He would then preach in their language, and after their conversion, dubbed them “praying Indians.” 34 Soon whole tribes were so named, and “Praying Indian Villages” that numbered up to 14 dotted the landscape of New England, with several, most notably Sandwich, Mashpee and Barnstable on Cape Cod. His complete Bible in the Indian tongue was a " stupendous work of note… writ with but one pen” as Cotton Mather remarked. Completed by 1663, it was the first printed Bible in America. 35
Barnstable – Legacy of Patriotic Oratory
Pastor John Lothrop, the second pastor to inhabit Barnstable, arrived in October of 1639. Lothrop’s congregation had 25 families, much larger than Joseph Hull’s who had initially come a few years earlier but now moved on to Yarmouth. Lothrop, a separatist jailed in England when his worship service held in a home was raided in 1632, he sailed for the New World in 1634. 36
32 Keene, Betsey, page 219.
33 Keene, Betsey. History of Bourne from 1622 to 1937, Bourne Historical Society, Inc., 1975, pages 203-204.
34 Keene, Betsey., pages 211-213.
35 Keene., Betsey, page 212.
36 Sheedy, Jack, and Coogan, Jim, Cape Cod Companion: The History and Mystery of Old Cape Cod., Harvest Home Books, 2000, page 34.
“Before a meeting house was built, first church services were held at a large buolder known as Sacrament Rock, also known as Pulpit Rock. Though the boulder was later dynamited to make way for Route 6A, pieces of the original rock were cemented together along with a plaque to form a monument recognizing the spot where the first services were held.” 37
By 1685 Governor Hinckley reported that there were almost one thousand such converted Natives in Barnstable County alone! This large number of converted Natives is the result of revival. 38 The direct legacy of Lothrop’s congregation is the West Parish Church built in 1717 (it still stands off of exit 5 on route 149.) After Pastor Jonathan Russell Sr. died, his son took the pastorate of the west parish, a friendly split from the East Parish. Father and son(Jonathan Sr. and Jr.), from 1683 to 1759, baptized 1,015 people and added 427 members to the church! 39 Considering the population of the Colonies, and particularly the Cape, this was quite a sustained revival!
One of the key marks of revival, however, is that of discipleship. Here Jonathan Russell Jr. is noted for two of those he discipled who affected the history and Independence of America. When Harry Stout of Yale searched for the true inspiration of the American Revolution, he found it in the pastors’ sermons during the Great Awakening across the New England Colonies. In his book,
The New England Soul, Stout makes the observation:“ The average weekly churchgoer in New England (and there were far more churchgoers than church members) listened to something like seven thousand sermons in a lifetime, totaling somewhere around fifteen thousand hours of concentrated listening.” 40 It was the sermons of the clergy that taught the people the rudiments of Biblical, lawful resistance to tyranny, as well as how a church, town and state ought to be governed! You can only teach with such depth to revived hearts!
This depth of preaching and teaching was illustrated in dramatic fashion on the Cape with Pastor Jonathan Russell, Jr. Pastors during the Great Awakening catechized the teens in their congregation. It consisted of opening up their libraries (of which Russell had more than 200 books), tutoring them in the classics and having them study and report on what they were learning. A brother and sister of one of the Otis family, of whom Jonathan was related, came to be tutored – James and his younger sister Mercy. Mercy insisted on coming though girls were not often educated in such an intense way at the time.
James became the orator of the Revolution in the North, giving the most critical speech in Boston in February of 1761 against the Writs of Assistance. Resigning his post as Advocate-General of the Colony of Massachusetts, the 36 year old defended the merchants, opposed by his own mentor, Jeremiah Gridley. The 25 year old John Adams stated “then and there the child Independence was born.” 41.
37 Ibid., page 34.
38 Keene, Betsey., page 210.
39 Russell, Bob., West Parish of Barnstable: United Church of Christ, see http://www.westparish.org/?page_id=36
40 Stout, Harry., The New England Soul, Oxford University Press, 1986, page 4.
41 Magoon., E. L., Orators of the American Revolution, Baker and Scribners, 1848, page 69.
After he was clubbed by a British soldier for his opinions, he was never the same. However, later in life, he had said to his sister Mercy “I hope when God Almighty, in his righteous providence, shall take me out of time into eternity, that it will be by a flash of lightning.” On May 23, 1783, at the age of 58, “a heavy cloud suddenly arose. Otis…stood leaning on his cane in the front door…a single flash glared on the family assembled near, and Mr. Otis fell instantaneously dead.“ 42
Mercy Otis married Son of Liberty James Warren of Plymouth. She became the first female historian of the American Revolution, publishing the History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution in 1805, to which President Jefferson ordered advance copies for himself and every cabinet member serving in the White House at the time. She also wrote plays and poetry illustrating the virtue of independence and liberty. She corresponded with other women such as Abigail Adams. 43. “How warmly Mrs. Warren espoused the cause of her country – how deeply her feelings were enlisted – appears in her letters… It includes letters, besides those from members of her own family, from Samuel and John Adams, Jefferson, Dickinson, Gerry, Knox and others.” 44
What a legacy from Barnstable! The twin orators – one oral, the other written, remind residents every time they go the Barnstable Courthouse – for there in front are two statues – one of James and the other of Mercy! But this pattern of pastoral leadership and training could be repeated numerous times throughout towns and villages in New England as well as Cape Cod. The local pastor, aflame with revival during the Great Awakening, train young people who end up as leaders in America’s stand for Independence– it’s a story I’ve told in various contexts for years. Some of these individuals, like Samuel Adams, were converted directly from the ministry of George Whitefield in the Great Awakening!
Martha’s Vineyard – Island of Revival
No greater or dramatic story of revival could be found in New England than the history of Martha’s Vineyard. Explorer Bartholomew Gosnold named the Island in 1602 after his mother-in-law and daughter Martha who had died in infancy. He named the Elizabeth islands after his other daughter as well as the Queen of England. Though Cabot, Champlain, Cartier and John Smith all sailed by here, no one stayed.
It was Thomas Mayhew, Sr. that purchsed the island in 1641 and eventually sent his son, Thomas, Jr., to plant a colony in 1646, landing at the “Great Harbor” (now Edgartown). He insisted, from Biblical principles, that all whites purchase land from the Indians and protect their right to govern themselvces. Thomas Jr. (at 21 years of age) began evangelizing among the 3,000 Natives on the island, and Hiacoomes (from Chappaquiddick) was converted. This became one of the first “praying Indian villages” in all of New England, with his whole family attending church. When the next winter killed many Indians but left Hiacoomes’ family untouched, Mayhew took it as a providential act of God and preached from Psalm 91 “there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Hiacoomes and his family officially joined the church. 45
From Hiacoomes Thomas Jr. learned the Indian language, holding meetings at the wigwam as well as both Thomas Jr. and Hiacoomes preaching from “pulpit rock” at Farm Neck, Oak Bluffs in 1648 where mass conversions began to take place. Mayhew often spent the night telling Indian children Bible stories and then asking them questions to make sure they understood basic Biblical doctrine. He did this all over the Island. “This young man of twenty-four may be pictured with his Indian band beside the lake at Tashmoo, by the waters of Quatapog, on the great cliffs at Gay Head, explaining to them the songs of David, with God’s handiwork all around him and the spirit of the Great Master within him.” 46
42 Ibid., pages 93-94.
43 Ellet, Elizabeth., Women of the American Revolution, American History Imprints, 2004 facsimile of the 1849 edition, page 78.
44 Ibid., page 76.
45 Norton, Henry Franklin, Martha’s Vineyard, Norton and Pyne, 1923, page 12.
In 1651 Mayhew started the first Indian school on the Vineyard. He hired Peter Folgerto be a teacher (grandfather of Benjamin Franklin), who found the Indian “very quick to learn and willing to be instructed.” 47. Thirty students were enrolled and six years later four were ready for Harvard!
In 1657, at the age of 37, Thomas Mayhew Jr. desired to go to England to report his work with Indians among the English and wanted to purchase books and bring back ministers and teachers. Over half the 3,000 Indian inhabitants had been converted, and thus he needed help in discipleship. Sachem Sanchakantackett gave him a big “pow-wow” at Farm Neck before he left. Hislast meeting with his 1,500 Indian converts was at a place between Edgartown and WestTisbury now known as the place by the wayside. 48. The Natives formed a giant semi-circle surrounding where he stood.
Mayhew opened in prayer and then preached from Psalm 1 and 23 - “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that bringeth forth fruit in its season, his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.... The Lord is my spheherd, I shall not want...”
A song was then sung. He then gave leadership over to Peter Folger. Hiacoomes came forward and shook his hand, burst into tears, and placed a white stoneat his feet saying “I put this stone here in your name and whenever I pass, here I shall place a stone in your memory until you return.” Mayhew stated “Hiacoomes, not in my name, nor in my memory; but in the name and memory of the Great Master of whom I have taught you - Christ.” 49
All the chiefs present then placed a stone where Mayhew stood and throwing their blankets over their faces, marched in sorrow to their homes. The Place by the Wayside became famous after Mayhew’s ship was never heard from again. Indians continued to put white stones upon this mound whenever they passed, remembering their Savior and the one who brought them the good news of the gospel, saying a prayer. This monument, including a stone with a plaque in memory of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., was erected by the Indians of Gay Head and dedicated in 1901, but the original pile of white stones were removed as souvenirs, so not much remains. This is a unique monument, erected by the Indians in grateful memory of Thomas Mayhew who brought the gospel and Christianity to the Indian on the Vineyard! I know of no other such monument in all of New England that commemorates revival like this one!
Christiantown was founded in 1659 as a one-mile square town for Indian converts with a small chapel and a Christian burial ground for praying Indians. They were buried sitting up and facing East to be ready for the resurrection of the dead at the return of Christ! At 65, Thomas’ father continued his son’s work, sometimes walking 20 miles a day to preach. Rev. John Mayhew, his grandson, continued the work, with his son, Experience, and thenhis son Zachariah also so that five consecutive generations labored as pastors among the Indians! The first Indian Church was founded in 1670 and by 1700 it was reported that it was hard to find an unconverted Indian on Martha’s Vineyard! Governor Mayhew died at 92 in 1685, still overseeing the work! 50 Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter, married Josiah Franklin, and brought their children (including Benjamin Franklin) to vacation on the Vineyard since “there was no vice there.” It may have been here that Franklin developed such a love of Natives.
46 Ibid., page 12.
47 Ibid., page 13.
48 Ibid., pages 13.
49 Ibid., page 13.
50 Ibid., page 16.
During King Philip’s War, the island was guarded by Christian Indians (not many others were there.) They not only refused Philip’s invitation to fight the English, but Mayhew trusted them, teaching them to use muskets since they pledged to defend the English against Philip. At one point, King Philip came to the island seeking recruits, but seeing Indians lined along the shore armed and refusng to join him, he left.
But the story of revival on Martha’s Vineyard would continue well into the 19th century. The continuation was in large part due to the emphasis on the training of young people. Schools had been established in Edgartown, Tisbury and Chilmark as soon as fifty families inhabited the town as prescribed by law. 51. In September of 1748 a new “moving school” began which operated a few months in several towns. The town and parents could have full liberty to choose whatever schoolthey saw fit. 52
It was Parson Thaxter that made his Thaxter Academy in Edgartown famous. He followed the typical curriculum of colonial times where a child was rigorously taught to read (often at home) to enter and then the standards were high(such as Latin taught by age 7). Scholars from all the neighboring islands came to attend Rev. Joseph Thaxter’s school. He also became the first chaplain of the United States Army. He even consecrated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1825. As he spoke from first hand knowledge “they could almost hear the thunder of the broadside that ushered in that eventful morning. They could almost see Prescott and Warren and their gallant host pausing from their labors to listen to an invocation to Him before whom many would appear before nighfall.” They could almost realize what thoughts filled the minds of the patriots before that decisive conflict. How things have changed since then. All except the Being before whom they bowed, God alone is the same yesterday, to-day and forever.” 53
One can see the longevity of faith and prayer that extended from Martha’s Vineyard to America’s Revolution. It was a unique fact of the Vineyard that due to their Christianity and its patriotic influence “there was not a battle of the whole war from Bunker Hill to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in which a Vineyarder did not take part and do his duty.” 54
At the beginning of the Revolution the Vinyeard again stood for liberty. In his section on the history of Tisbury Norton states an incident of patriotism that took place in 1775. It demonstrates that the youth had been instructed well in the principles of patriotism drawn from the Christianity they understood.
51 Massachusetts School Laws of 1642 and 1647 were prescribed precisely to make sure Christian educatio and Biblical knowledge was preserved - see http://www.wow.com/wiki/Old_Deluder_Satan_Law
52 Norton, Martha’s Vineyard, page 19.
53 Ibid., pages 19-20.
54 Ibid., page 21.
“During the Revolution this harbor was the refuge for many British men-of-war. In 1775 the people of Homses Hole erected a "liberty pole" on Manter's Hill. As another expression of public feeling the women threw all their tea into the hole to show their attitude regarding the Boston Port Bill. A few months later the British ship Unicorn came into the harbor looking for a pole to replace a spar lost in a storm. The captain spying this "liberty pole" sent word to the selectmen that he would purchase "the pole on the hill"; and if they refused to sell it, he would consider it a rebellious act and fire on the town. The selectmen set a price, not daring to do otherwise, and the captain informed them that his men would take the pole the next day. Mr. Daggett, one of the selectmen, upon reaching home related this incident. His daughter Polly made no comment, but as soon as supper was over she went to Parnel Manter, a friend and told her the story. These girls made up their minds that the British could not have the "liberty pole." While the girls were trying to think of some way to save the pole from the British, Maria Allen came in. As the three girls were discussing a plan, suddenly one of them said: "I have an idea, let's blow up the pole." How this could be done was a great problem to the girls. Maria Allen said that there was a ship's auger in her father's shop; they could bore a hole in the pole and fill it with powder. Parnel Manter could borrow her father's powder-horn. Maria secured the auger, Parnel the powder-horn. Then the three girls started for Manter's Hill. They arrived at the pole and started to bore, each taking her turn. Two holes were made and filled to the brim with powder, Polly Dagge tt giving the hem of her woolen petticoat for wads. Everything now being in readiness, the question was how to ignite the powder. At last Polly solved the problem. She would get a beanpole from a neighboring field, tie the rest of her petticoat hem on it, set it on fire, and push it against the powder. Polly ran home and stole a warming-pan full of hot coals from the fireplace. The critical moment had arrived. Who would dare to touch it off? They lighted the cloth on the end of the bean-pole and all three shoved it against the woolen wads. After the third attempt the wads started to burn; then the girls dropped the bean-pole and ran for shelter behind an old barn. A second later there came a report like that of a cannon; then the splitting and crackling of the pole. The next instant came a second explosion which completely destroyed the pole, making it useless. The girls then hurried home, not mentioning the incident until many years after the war. The next morning the captain of the Unicorn sent then ashore to get the pole. When they saw the condition it was in they were furious and reported to their commander. The captain went to the selectmen only to learn that they were as puzzled as anyone about the affair. The Unicorn was finally obliged to sail away without obtaining the desired spar. 55
Not only did the revival spirit get demonstrated through patriotism for independence, but it also came like a torrent after the second Great Awakening began with the Cane Ridge revivals of 1801 in Kentucky. Since the Vineyard became the whaling center for New England and by 1850 boats from the island were found in every ocean of the globe opened up channels for its influence world wide! From 1710 through the 1800’s the unusually large number of deaf people caused the entire island to learn sign language. Thus, it was nick-named the island that spoke by hand. 56. This unusual fact was also a major incentive to bring the gospel to the deaf and actually develop signed English. 57
The first deaf individual on Marth’as Island was Jonathan Lambert in 1694. 58. Though visited by Samuel Sewall, famed Judge in the Salem Witch Trials who was offended he did not speak to him in 1714, Jonathan was an integral part of the society and bought land from Native Americans, and the area is still called Lambert’s Cove to this day.59. He married a hearing woman, had seven children, two who were deaf, and died a fairly wealthy man at age 80!60. The amazing fact is that well before its time of acceptance, this little island was virtually bi-lingual in hearing and sign language. Also, due to the sustained revival and Christian spirit, as well as the isolation of the island from the mainland, deaf people were accepted as equals – something way ahead of its time