|Of the eight children that came to Simon and Anne Bradstreet, but
one was born in the "great house" at Andover, making his
appearance in 1652, when life had settled into the routine that
thereafter knew little change, save in the one disastrous
experience of 1666. This son, John, who like all the rest, lived
to marry and leave behind him a plenteous family of children, was
a baby of one year old, when the first son, Samuel, "stayed for
many years," was graduated at Harvard College, taking high honor
in his class, and presently settling as a physician in Boston,
sufficiently near to be called upon in any emergency in the
Andover home, and visited often by the younger brothers, each of
whom became a Harvard graduate. Samuel probably had no share in
the removal, but Dorothy and Sarah, Simon and Hannah, were all old
enough to rejoice in the upheaval, and regard the whole episode as
a prolonged picnic made for their especial benefit. Simon was
then six years old, quite ready for Latin grammar and other
responsibilities of life, and according to the Puritan standard,
an accountable being from whom too much trifling could by no means
be allowed, and who undoubtedly had a careful eye to the small
Hannah, aged four, also old enough to knit a stocking and sew a
seam, and read her chapter in the Bible with the best. Dorothy and
Sarah could take even more active part, yet even the mature ages
of eight and ten did not hinder surreptitious tumbles into heaped
up feather beds, and a scurry through many a once forbidden corner
of the Ipswich home. For them there was small hardship in the log
house that received them, and unending delight in watching the
progress of the new. And one or another must often have ridden
before the father, who loved them with more demonstration than the
Puritan habit allowed, and who in his frequent rides to the new
mill built on the Cochichewick in 1644, found a petitioner always
urging to be taken, too. The building of the mill probably
preceded that of the house, as Bradstreet thought always of public
interests before his own, though in this case the two were nearly
identical, a saw and grist-mill being one of the first necessities
of any new settlement, and of equal profit to owner and users.
Anne Bradstreet was now a little over thirty, five children
absorbing much of her thought and time, three more being added
during the first six years at Andover. When five had passed out
into the world and homes of their own, she wrote, in 1656, half
regretfully, yet triumphantly, too, a poem which is really a
family biography, though the reference to her fifth child as a
son, Mr. Ellis regards as a slip of the pen:
"I had eight birds hatcht in one nest,
Four Cocks there were, and Hens the rest;
I nurst them up with pain and care,
Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the Trees, and learn'd to sing;
Chief of the Brood then took his flight
To Regions far, and left me quite;
My mournful chirps I after send,
Till he return, or I do end;
Leave not thy nest, thy Dam and Sire,
Fly back and sing amidst this Quire.
My second bird did take her flight,
And with her mate flew out of sight;
Southward they both their course did bend,
And Seasons twain they there did spend;
Till after blown by Southern gales,
They Norward steer'd with filled Sayles.
A prettier bird was no where seen,
Along the beach among the treen.
I have a third of colour white
On whom I plac'd no small delight;
Coupled with mate loving and true,
Hath also bid her Dam adieu;
And where Aurora first appears,
She now hath percht, to spend her years;
One to the Academy flew
To chat among that learned crew;
Ambition moves still in his breast
That he might chant above the rest,
Striving for more than to do well,
That nightingales he might excell.
My fifth, whose down is yet scarce gone
Is 'mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,
And as his wings increase in strength,
On higher boughs he'l pearch at length.
My other three, still with me nest,
Untill they'r grown, then as the rest,
Or here or there, they'l take their flight,
As is ordain'd, so shall they light.
If birds could weep, then would my tears
Let others know what are my fears
Lest this my brood some harm should catch,
And be surpriz'd for want of watch,
Whilst pecking corn, and void of care
They fish un'wares in Fowler's snare;
Or whilst on trees they sit and sing,
Some untoward boy at them do fling;
Or whilst allur'd with bell and glass,
The net be spread, and caught, alas.
Or least by Lime-twigs they be foyl'd,
Or by some greedy hawks be spoyl'd.
O, would my young, ye saw my breast,
And knew what thoughts there sadly rest,
Great was my pain when I you bred,
Great was my care when I you fed,
Long did I keep you soft and warm,
And with my wings kept off all harm;
My cares are more, and fears then ever,
My throbs such now, as 'fore were never;
Alas, my birds, you wisdome want,
Of perils you are ignorant;
Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight,
Sore accidents on you may light.
O, to your safety have an eye,
So happy may you live and die;
Mean while my dayes in tunes I'll spend,
Till my weak layes with me shall end.
In shady woods I'll sit and sing,
And things that past, to mind I'll bring.
Once young and pleasant, as are you,
But former boyes (no joyes) adieu.
My age I will not once lament,
But sing, my time so near is spent.
And from the top bough take my flight,
Into a country beyond sight,
Where old ones, instantly grow young,
And there with Seraphims set song;
No seasons cold, nor storms they see,
But spring lasts to eternity;
When each of you shall in your nest
Among your young ones take your rest,
In chirping language, oft them tell,
You had a Dam that lov'd you well,
That did what could be done for young,
And nurst you up till you were strong,
And 'fore she once would let you fly,
She shew'd you joy and misery;
Taught what was good, and what was ill,
What would save life, and what would kill?
Thus gone, amongst you I may live,
And dead, yet speak, and counsel give;
Farewel, my birds, farewel, adieu,
I happy am, if well with you.
The Bradstreets and Woodbridges carried with them to Andover, more
valuable worldly possessions than all the rest put together, yet
even for them the list was a very short one. An inventory of the
estate of Joseph Osgood, the most influential citizen after Mr.
Bradstreet, shows that only bare necessities had gone with him.
His oxen and cattle and the grain stored in his barn are given
first, with the value of the house and land and then follow the
list of household belongings, interesting now as showing with how
little a reputable and honored citizen had found it possible to
bring up a family.
A feather bed and furniture.
A flock bed, (being half feathers) & furniture.
A flock bed & furniture.
Five payre of sheets & an odd one.
Fower payre of pillow-beeres.
Twenty-two pieces of pewter.
For Iron pott, tongs, cottrell & pot-hooks.
Two muskets & a fowling-piece.
Sword, cutlass & bandaleeres.
Barrels, tubbs, trays, cheese-moates and pailes.
Bedsteads, cords & chayers.
Chests and wheels.
Various yards of stuffs and English cloth are also included, but
nothing could well be more meager than this outfit, though
doubtless it filled the narrow quarters of the early years.
Whatever may have come over afterward, there were none of the
heirlooms to be seen to-day, in the shape of family portraits, and
plate, china or heavily carved mahogany or oak furniture. For the
poorer houses, only panes of oiled paper admitted the light, and
this want of sunshine was one cause of the terrible loss of life
in fevers and various epidemics from which the first settlers
suffered. Leaden sashes held the small panes of glass used by the
better class, but for both the huge chimneys with their roaring
fires did the chief work of ventilation and purification, while
the family life centered about them in a fashion often described
and long ago lost.
There is a theory that our grandmothers in these first days of the
settlement worked with their own hands, with an energy never since
equalled, and more and more departed from as the years go on. But
all investigation of early records shows that, as far as
practicable, all English habits remained in full force, and among
such habits was that of ample service.
It is true that mistress and maid worked side by side, but the
tasks performed now by any farmer's wife are as hard and more
continuous than any labor of the early days, where many hands made
light work. If spinning and weaving have passed out of the hands
of women, the girls who once shared in the labor, and helped to
make up the patriarchal households of early times, have followed,
preferring the monotonous and wearing routine of mill-life, to the
stigma resting upon all who consent to be classed as "help". If
social divisions were actually sharper and more stringent in the
beginning, there was a better relation between mistress and maid,
for which we look in vain to-day.
In many cases, men and women secured their passage to America by
selling their time for a certain number of years, and others whose
fortunes were slightly better, found it well, until some means of
living was secured, to enter the families of the more wealthy
colonists, many of whom had taken their English households with
them. So long as families centered in one spot, there was little
difficulty in securing servants, but as new settlements were
formed servants held back, naturally preferring the towns to the
chances of Indian raids and the dangers from wild beasts.
Necessity brought about a plan which has lasted until within a
generation or so, and must come again, as the best solution of the
servant problem. Roger Williams writes of his daughter that "she
desires to spend some time in service & liked much Mrs. Brenton
who wanted help." This word "help" applied itself to such cases,
distinguishing them from those of the ordinary servant, and girls
of the good families put themselves under notable housekeepers to
learn the secrets of the profession--a form of cooking and
household economy school, that we sigh for vainly to-day. The
Bradstreets took their servants from Ipswich, but others in the
new town were reduced to sore straits, in some cases being forced
to depend on the Indian woman, who, fresh from the wigwam, looked
in amazement on the superfluities of civilized life. Hugh Peters,
the dogmatic and most unpleasant minister of Salem, wrote to a
Boston friend: "Sir, Mr Endecott & myself salute you in the Lord
Jesus, &c. Wee have heard of a dividence of woman & children in
the bay & would be glad of a share, viz: a young woman or girle &
a boy if you thinke good." This was accomplished but failed to
satisfy, for two years later Peters again writes: "My wife desires
my daughter to send to Hanna that was her mayd, now at Charltowne,
to know if shee would dwell with us, for truly wee are so
destitute (having now but an Indian) that wee know not what to
do." This was a desperate state of things, on which Lowell
comments: "Let any housewife of our day, who does not find the
Keltic element in domestic life so refreshing as to Mr. Arnold in
literature, imagine a household with one wild Pequot woman,
communicated with by signs, for its maid of all work, and take
courage. Those were serious times indeed, when your cook might
give warning by taking your scalp, or chignon, as the case might
be, and making off with it, into the woods."
Negro slavery was the first solution of these difficulties and one
hard-headed member of the Colony, Emanual Downing, as early as
1645, saw in the Indian wars and the prisoners that were taken, a
convenient means of securing the coveted negro, and wrote to
Winthrop: "A war with the Narragansett is very considerable to
this plantation, ffor I doubt whither it be not synne in us,
having power in our hands, to suffer them to maynteyne the worship
of the devill which their paw-wawes often doe; 2 lie, If upon a
just warre the Lord should deliver them into our hands, wee might
easily have men, woemen and children enough to exchange for
Moores, which wilbe more gaynefull pillage for us than wee
conceive, for I do not see how we can thrive untill wee gett into
a stock of slaves, sufficient to doe all our buisenes, for our
children's children will hardly see this great Continent filled
with people, soe that our servants will still desire freedome to
plant for themselves, and not stay but for verie great wages. And
I suppose you know verie well how wee shall maynteyne 20 Moores
cheaper than one English servant."
The canny Puritan considered that Indian "devil-worship" fully
balanced any slight wrong in exchanging them for, "Moores", and
writes of it as calmly as he does of sundry other events, somewhat
shocking to the modern mind. But, while slaves increased English
servants became harder and harder to secure, and often revolted
from the masters to whom their time had been sold. There is a
certain relish in Winthrop's record of two disaffected ones, which
is perhaps not unnatural even from him, and is in full harmony
with the Puritan tendency to see a special Providence in any event
according to their minds:
"Two men servants to one Moodye, of Roxbury, returning in a boat
from the windmill, struck upon the oyster bank. They went out to
gather oysters, and not making fast their boat, when the float
came, it floated away and they were both drowned, although they
might have waded out on either side, but it was an evident
judgement of God upon them, for they were wicked persons. One of
them, a little before, being reproved for his lewdness, and put in
mind of hell, answered that if hell were ten times hotter, he had
rather be there than he would serve his master, &c. The occasion
was because he had bound himself for divers years, and saw that,
if he had been at liberty, he might have had greater wages, though
otherwise his master used him very well."
From whatever source the "Moores" were obtained, they were bought
and sold during the first hundred years that Andover had
existence. "Pomps' Pond" still preserves the memory of Pompey
Lovejoy, servant to Captain William Lovejoy. Pompey's cabin stood
there, and as election day approached, great store of election-
cake and beer was manufactured for the hungry and thirsty voters,
to whom it proved less demoralizing than the whiskey of to-day.
There is a record of the death in 1683, of Jack, a negro servant
of Captain Dudley Bradstreet's, who lost also, in 1693, by
drowning, "Stacy, ye servant of Major Dudley Bradstreet, a
mullatoe born in his house." Mistress Bradstreet had several,
whose families grew up about her, their concerns being of quite as
deep interest as those of her neighbors, and the Andover records
hold many suggestions of the tragedies and comedies of slave life.
Strong as attachments might sometimes be, the minister himself
sold Candace, a negro girl who had grown up in his house, and five
year old Dinah was sent from home and mother at Dunstable, to a
new master in Andover, as witness the bill of sale, which has a
curious flavor for a Massachusetts document:
"Received of Mr. John Abbott of Andover Fourteen pounds, thirteen
shillings and seven pence, it being the full value of a negrow
garl named Dinah about five years of age of a Healthy sound
Constution, free from any Disease of Body and do hereby Deliver
the same Girl to the said Abbott and promise to Defend him in the
Improvement of her as his servant forever.
Undoubtedly Dinah and all her contemporaries proved infinitely
better servants than the second generation of those brought from
England; who even as early as 1656, had learned to prefer
independence, the Rev. Zechariah Symmes writing feelingly: "Much
ado I have with my own family, hard to get a servant glad of
catechising or family duties. I had a rare blessing of servants in
Yorkshire and those I brought over were a blessing, but the young
brood doth much afflict me."
An enthusiastic cook, even of most deeply Puritanic spirit, had
been known to steal out during some long drawn prayer, to rescue a
favorite dish from impending ruin, and the offence had been
condoned or allowed to pass unnoticed. But the "young brood"
revolted altogether at times from the interminable catechisings
and "family duties", or submitted in a sulky silence, at which the
spirit of the master girded in vain.
There seems to have been revolt of many sorts. Nature asserted
itself, and boys and girls smiled furtively upon one another, and
young men and maidens planned means of outwitting stern masters
and mistresses, and securing a dance in some secluded barn, or the
semblance of a merry making in picnic or ride. But stocks, pillory
and whipping-post awaited all offenders, who still found that the
secret pleasure outweighed the public pain, and were brought up
again and again, till years subdued the fleshly instincts, and
they in turn wondered at their children's pertinacity in the same
evil ways. Holidays were no part of the Puritan system, and the
little Bradstreets took theirs on the way to and from school,
doing their wading and fishing and bird's-nesting in this stolen
time. There was always Saturday afternoon, and Anne Bradstreet was
also, so far as her painful conscientiousness allowed, an
indulgent mother, and gave her children such pleasure as the rigid
Andover from the beginning had excellent schools, Mr. Dane and Mr.
Woodbridge, the ministers, each keeping one, while "dame schools"
also flourished, taking the place of the present Kindergarten,
though the suppressed and dominated babies of three and four, who
swung their unhappy feet far from the floor, and whose only reader
was a catechism, could never in their wildest dreams have imagined
anything so fascinating as the Kindergarten or primary school of
to-day. Horn books were still in use and with reason, the often-
flagellated little Puritans giving much time to tears, which would
have utterly destroyed anything less enduring than horn. Until
1647, the teaching of all younger children had been done chiefly
at home, and Anne Bradstreet's older children learned their
letters at her knee, and probably, like all the children of the
day, owned their little Bibles, and by the time they were three or
four years of age, followed the expounding at family prayers with
only a glance now and then toward the kitten, or the family dog,
stretched out before the fire, and watching for any look of
interest and recognition.
After 1647, and the order of the General Court, "that every
township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them
to fifty house-holders, shall then forthwith appoint one within
their towns to teach all such children as shall resort to him, to
read and write." The district school-house waited till Indian
raids had ceased to be dreaded, but though the walk to the small,
square building which in due time was set in some piece of woods
or at a point where four roads meet, was denied them, it was
something to come together at all, and the children found delight
in berrying or nutting, or the crackle of the crisp snow-crust,
over which they ran.
They waked in those early days, often with the snow lying lightly
on their beds under the roof, through the cracks of which it
sifted, and through which they saw stars shine or the morning
sunlight flicker. Even when this stage passed, and the "great
house" received them, there was still the same need for rushing
down to the fire in kitchen or living-room, before which they
dressed, running out, perhaps, in the interludes of strings and
buttons, to watch the incoming of the fresh logs which Caesar or
Cato could never bear alone.
In the Bradstreet mansion, with its many servants, there was less
need of utilizing every child as far as possible, but that all
should labor was part of the Puritan creed, and the boys shared
the work of foddering the cattle, bringing in wood and water, and
gaining the appetite which presently found satisfaction, usually
in one of two forms of porridge, which for the first hundred and
fifty years was the Puritan breakfast. Boiled milk, lightly
thickened with Indian meal, and for the elders made more desirable
by "a goode piece of butter," was the first, while for winter use,
beans or peas were used, a small piece of pork or salted beef
giving them flavor, and making the savory bean porridge still to
be found here and there. Wheaten bread was then in general use;
much more so than at a later date, when "rye and Indian" took its
place, a fortunate choice for a people who, as time went on, ate
more and more salt pork and fish.
Game and fresh fish were plentiful in the beginning and poultry
used with a freedom that would seem to the farmer of to-day, the
maddest extravagance. The English love of good cheer was still
strong, and Johnson wrote in his "Wonder-Working Providence":
"Apples, pears and quince tarts, instead of their former pumpkin-
pies. Poultry they have plenty and great rarity, and in their
feasts have not forgotten the English fashion of stirring up their
appetites with variety of cooking their food."
Certain New England dishes borrowed from the natives, or invented
to meet some emergency, had already become firmly established.
Hasty-pudding, made chiefly then as now, from Indian meal, was a
favorite supper dish, rye often being used instead, and both being
eaten with molasses, and butter or milk. Samp and hominy, or the
whole grain, as "hulled corn", had also been borrowed from the
Indians, with "succotash", a fascinating combination of young
beans and green corn. Codfish made Saturday as sacred as Friday
had once been, and baked beans on Sunday morning became an equally
inflexible law. Every family brewed its own beer, and when the
orchards had grown, made its own cider. Wine and spirits were
imported, but rum was made at home, and in the early records of
Andover, the town distiller has honorable mention. Butcher's meat
was altogether too precious to be often eaten, flocks and herds
bearing the highest money value for many years, and game and
poultry took the place of it. But it was generous living, far more
so than at the present day, abundance being the first essential
where all worked and all brought keen appetites to the board, and
every householder counted hospitality one of the cardinal virtues.
Pewter was the only family plate, save in rarest instances. Forks
had not yet appeared, their use hardly beginning in England before
1650, save among a few who had travelled and adopted the custom.
Winthrop owned one, sent him in 1633, and the Bradstreets may have
had one or more, but rather as a curiosity than for daily use.
Fingers still did much service, and this obliged the affluence of
napkins, which appears in early inventories. The children ate from
wooden bowls and trenchers, and their elders from pewter. Governor
Bradford owned "fourteen dishes of that material, thirteen
platters, three large and two small plates, a candlestick and a
bottle," and many hours were spent in polishing the rather
refractory metal. He also owned "four large silver spoons" and
nine smaller ones. But spoons, too, were chiefly pewter, though
often merely wood, and table service was thus reduced as nearly to
first principles as possible. Very speedily, however, as the
Colony prospered, store of silver and china was accumulated, used
only on state occasions, and then carefully put away.
The servant question had other phases than that of mere
inadequacy, and there are countless small difficulties recorded;
petty thefts, insolent speeches, and the whole familiar list which
we are apt to consider the portion only of the nineteenth century.
But there is nothing more certain than that, in spite of creeds,
human nature remains much the same, and that the Puritan matron
fretted as energetically against the pricks in her daily life, as
any sinner of to-day. Mistress Bradstreet, at least, had one
experience in which we hear of her as "very angry at the mayde",
and which gave food for gossips for many a day.
Probably one of the profoundest excitements that ever entered the
children's lives, was in the discovery of certain iniquities
perpetrated by a hired servant John--whose surname, if he ever had
one, is lost to this generation, and who succeeded in hiding his
evil doings so thoroughly, that there were suspicions of every one
but himself. He was a hard worker, but afflicted with an
inordinate appetite, the result of which is found in this order:
"To the Constable of Andover. You are hereby required to attach
the body of John----, to answer such compt as shall be brought
against him, for stealing severall things, as pigges, capons,
mault, bacon, butter, eggs &c, & for breaking open a seller-doore
in the night several times &c. 7th 3d month 1661."
John, suddenly brought to trial, first affirmed that his appetite
was never over large, but that the food provided the Bradstreet
servants "was not fit for any man to eate," the bread especially
being "black & heavy & soure," and that he had only occasionally
taken a mere bite here and there to allay the painful cravings
such emptiness produced. But hereupon appeared Goodwife Russ, in
terror lest she should be accused of sharing the spoils, and
testifying that John had often brought chickens, butter, malt and
other things to her house and shared them with Goodman Russ, who
had no scruples. The "mayde had missed the things" and confided
her trouble to Goodwife Russ, who had gone up to the great house,
and who, pitying the girl, knowing that "her mistress would blame
her and be very angry," brought them all back, and then told her
husband and John what she had done. Another comrade made full
confession, testifying in court that at one time they killed and
roasted a "great fatt pigg" in the lot, giving what remained "to
the dogges," John seasoning the repast with stories of former
thefts. It was in court that Master Jackson learned what had been
the fate of "a great fatt Turkey ... fatted against his
daughter's marriage" and hung for keeping in a locked room, down
the chimney of which, "2 or 3 fellowes" let the enterprising John
by a rope who, being pulled up with his prize, "roasted it in the
wood and ate it," every whit. Down the same chimney he went for
"strong beare," and anyone who has once looked upon and into an
ancient Andover chimney will know that not only John, but the "2
or 3 fellowes," as well, could have descended side by side.
Then came a scene in which little John Bradstreet, aged nine, had
part, seeing the end if not the beginning, of which Hannah Barnard
"did testifye that being in my father's lott near Mr. Bradstreet's
barn, did see John run after Mr. Bradstreet's fouls & throughing
sticks and stones at them & into the Barne."
Looking through a crack to find out the result she "saw him throw
out a capon which he had killed, and heard him call to Sam Martin
to come; but when he saw that John Bradstreet was with Martin, he
ran and picked up the capon and hid it under a pear tree."
This pear tree, climbed by every Bradstreet child, stood at the
east of the old house, and held its own till well into the present
century, and little John may have been on his way for a windfall,
when the capon flew toward him. To stealing was added offences
much more malicious, several discreet Puritan lads, sons of the
foremost land holders having been induced by sudden temptation, to
join him in running Mr. Bradstreet's wheels down hill into a
swamp, while at a later date they watched him recreating himself
in the same manner alone, testifying that he "took a wheele off
Mr. Bradstreet's tumbril and ran it down hill, and got an old
wheel from Goodman Barnard's land, & sett it on the tumbril."
John received the usual punishment, but mended his ways only for a
season, his appetite rather increasing with age, and his
appearance before the Court being certain in any town to which he
went. No other servant seems to have given special trouble, and
probably all had laid to heart the "Twelve Good Rules," printed
and hung in every colonial kitchen:
Profane no Divine ordinance.
Touch no state matters.
Urge no healths.
Pick no quarrels.
Encourage no vice.
Repeat no grievances.
Reveal no secrets.
Mantain no ill opinions.
Make no comparisons.
Keep no bad company.
Make no long meals.
Lay no wagers.
The problem of work and wages weighed heavily on the young Colony.
There were grasping men enough to take advantage of the straits
into which many came through the scarcity of labor, and Winthrop,
as early as 1633, had found it necessary to interfere. Wages had
risen to an excessive rate, "so as a carpenter would have three
shillings a day, a labourer two shillings and sixpence &c.; and
accordingly those that had commodities to sell, advanced their
prices sometime double to that they cost in England, so as it grew
to a general complaint, which the court taking knowledge of, as
also of some further evils, which were springing out of the
excessive rates of wages, they made an order, that carpenters,
masons, &c., should take but two shillings the day, and labourers
but eighteen pence, and that no commodity should be sold at above
fourpence in the shilling more than it cost for ready money in
England; oil, wine, &c., and cheese, in regard of the hazard of
bringing, &c., excepted. The evils which were springing, &c.,
were: 1. Many spent much time idly, &c., because they could get as
much in four days as would keep them a week. 2. They spent much in
tobacco and strong waters, &c., which was a great waste to the
Commonwealth, which by reason of so many commodities expended,
could not have subsisted to this time, but that it was supplied by
the cattle and corn which were sold to new comers at very dear
rates." This bit of extortion on the part of the Colony as a
government, does not seem to weigh on Winthrop's mind with by any
means as great force as that of the defeated workmen, and he gives
the colonial tariff of prices with even a certain pride: "Corn at
six shillings the bushel, a cow at L20--yea, some at L24, some
L26--a mare at L35, an ewe goat at 3 or L4; and yet many cattle
were every year brought out of England, and some from Virginia."
At last the new arrivals revolted, and one order ruled for all,
the rate of profit charged, being long fixed at four pence in the
shilling. Andover adopted this scale, being from the beginning of
a thrifty turn of mind, which is exemplified in one of the first
ordinances passed. Many boys and girls had been employed by the
owners of cattle to watch and keep them within bounds, countless
troubles arising from their roaming over the unfenced lands. To
prevent the forming of idle habits the Court at once, did
"hereupon order and decree that in every towne the chosen men are
to take care of such as are sett to keep cattle, that they be sett
to some other employment withall, as spinning upon the rock,
knitting & weaving tape, &c., that boyes and girls be not suffered
to converse together."
Such conversations as did take place had a double zest from the
fact that the sharp-eyed herdsman was outwitted, but as a rule the
small Puritans obeyed orders and the spinners and knitters in the
sun, helped to fill the family chests which did duty as bureaus,
and three varieties of which are still to be seen in old houses on
the Cape, as well as in the Museum at Plymouth. The plain sea-
chest, like the sailor's chest of to-day, was the property of all
alike, and usually of solid oak. A grade above this, came another
form, with turned and applied ornaments and two drawers at the
bottom, a fine specimen of which is still in the old Phillips
house at North Andover, opposite the Bradstreet house. The last
variety had more drawers, but still retained the lid on top, which
being finally permanently fastened down, made the modern bureau.
High-backed wooden chairs and an immense oaken table with folding
ladder legs, furnished the living-room, settles being on either
side of the wide chimney, where, as the children roasted apples or
chestnuts, they listened to stories of the wolves, whose howl even
then might still be heard about the village. There are various
references to "wolf-hooks" in Governor Bradstreet's accounts,
these being described by Josselyn as follows:
"Four mackerel hooks are bound with brown thread and wool wrapped
around them, and they are dipped into melted tallow till they be
as big and round as an egg. This thing thus prepared is laid by
some dead carcase which toles the wolves. It is swallowed by them
and is the means of their being taken."
Every settler believed that "the fangs of a wolf hung about
children's necks keep them from frightning, and are very good to
rub their gums with when they are breeding of teeth." It was not
at all out of character to look on complacently while dogs worried
an unhappy wolf, the same Josselyn writing of one taken in a trap:
"A great mastiff held the wolf . . . Tying him to a stake we bated
him with smaller doggs and had excellent sport; but his hinder leg
being broken, they knocked out his brains."
To these hunts every man and boy turned out, welcoming the break
in the monotonous life, and foxes and wolves were shot by the
dozen, their method being to "lay a sledg-load of cods-heads on
the other side of a paled fence when the moon shines, and about
nine or ten of the clock, the foxes come to it; sometimes two or
three or half a dozen and more; these they shoot, and by that time
they have cased them there will be as many more; so they continue
shooting and killing of foxes as long as the moon shineth."
Road-making became another means of bringing them together for
something besides religious services, and as baskets of provisions
were taken with the workers, and the younger boys were allowed to
share in the lighter part of the work, a suggestion of merry-
making was there also. These roads were often changed, being at no
time much more than paths marked by the blazing of trees and the
clearing away of timber and undergrowth. There were no bridges
save over the narrower streams, fording being the custom, till
ferries were established at various points. Roads and town
boundaries were alike undetermined and shifting. "Preambulators,"
otherwise surveyors, found their work more and more complicated.
"Marked trees, stakes and stones," were not sufficient to prevent
endless discussions between selectmen and surveyors, and there is
a document still on file which shows the straits to which the
unhappy "preambulators" were sometimes reduced.
"To Ye Selectmen of Billerica: Loving friends and neighbors, we
have bine of late under such surcomstances that wee could not tell
whether wee had any bounds or no between our towne, but now we
begine to think we have--this therefore are to desier you to send
some men to meet with ours upon the third Munday of ye next month
by nine a'clock in ye morning, if it be a faire day, if not the
next drie day, and so to run one both side of the river and to
meet at the vesil place and the west side of ye river."
There were heart burnings from another source than this, and one
which could never be altered by selectmen, whether at home or
abroad. For generations, no person was allowed to choose a seat in
church, a committee, usually the magistrates, settling the places
of all. In the beginning, after the building of any meeting-house,
the seats were all examined and ranked according to their
desirability, this process being called, "dignifying the pews."
All who held the highest social or ecclesiastical positions were
then placed; and the rest as seemed good, the men on one side, the
women on another, and the children, often on a low bench outside
the pews, where they were kept in order by the tithing man, who,
at the first symptom of wandering attention, rapped them over the
head with his hare's foot mounted on a stick, and if necessary,
withdrew them from the scene long enough for the administration of
a more thorough discipline.
There are perpetual complaints of partiality--even hints that
bribery had been at work in this "seating the meeting-house," and
the committee chosen found it so disagreeable a task that Dudley
Bradstreet, when in due time his turn came to serve, protested
against being compelled to it, and at last revolted altogether.
At Boston a cage had been set up for Sabbath-breakers, but Andover
found easier measures sufficient, though there are constant
offences recorded. A smile in meeting brought admonishment, and a
whisper, the stocks, and when the boys were massed in the
galleries the tithing man had active occupation during the entire
service, and could have had small benefit of the means of grace.
Two were necessary at last, the records reading: "We have ordered
Thomas Osgood and John Bridges to have inspection over the boys in
the galleries on the Sabbath, that they might be contained in
order in the time of publick exercise."
Later, even worse trouble arose. The boys would not be "contained,"
and the anxious selectmen wrote: "And whereas there is grevious
complaints of great prophaneness of ye Sabbath, both in y time of
exercise, at noon time, to ye great dishonor of God, scandall of
religion, & ye grief of many serious Christians, by young persons,
we order & require ye tything-men & constables to tak care to p'vent
such great and shamefull miscarriages, which are soe much observed
and complained of."
The little Bradstreets, chilled to the bone by sitting for hours
in the fireless church, could rush home to the warm hearth and the
generous buttery across the street, but many who had ridden miles,
and who ate a frosty lunch between services may be pardoned for
indulging in the "great and shameful miscarriages," which were,
undoubtedly, a rush across the pews or a wrestle on the meeting-
house steps. Even their lawlessness held more circumspectness than
is known to the most decorous boy of to-day, and it gained with
every generation, till neither tithing-men nor constables had
further power to restrain it, the Puritans of the eighteenth
century wailing over the godlessness and degeneracy of the age as
strenuously as the pessimists of the nineteenth. Even for the
seventeenth there are countless infractions of law, and a study of
court records would leave the impression of a reckless and utterly
defiant community, did not one recall the fact that life was so
hedged about with minute detail, that the most orderly citizen of
this day would have been the disorderly one of that.
One resource, of entertainment, was always open to Puritan
households. Hospitality was on a scale almost of magnificence, and
every opportunity seized for making a great dinner or supper, the
abundant good cheer of which was their strongest reminder of
England. The early privations were ended, but to recall them gave
an added zest, and we may fancy Roger Clap repeating the
experience found in his memoir, with a devout thankfulness that
such misery was far behind them.
"Bread was so scarce, that frequently I thought the very crusts of
my father's table would have been very sweet unto me. And when I
could have meal and water and salt boiled together who could wish
better. It was not accounted a strange thing in those days to
drink water, and to eat samp or hominy without butter or milk.
Indeed it would have been strange to see a piece of roast beef,
mutton or veal, though it was not long before there was roast
Generous living had become the colonial characteristic. Even in
the first years, while pressure was still upon them, and supplies
chiefly from England, one of them wrote:
"Sometimes we used bacon and buttered pease, sometimes buttered
bag pudding, made with currants and raisins, sometimes drinked
pottage of beer and oatmeal, and sometimes water pottage well
Health had come to many who had been sickly from childhood. In
fact, in spite of the theory we are all inclined to hold, that
"the former days were better than these," and our ancestors men
and women of a soundness and vigor long since lost, there is every
proof that the standard of health has progressed with all other
standards, and that the best blood of this generation is purer and
less open to disorder than the best blood of that. Francis
Higginson may stand as the representative of many who might have
written with him:
"Whereas I have for divers years past been very sickly and ready
to cast up whatsoever I have eaten, . . . He hath made my coming
to be a method to cure me of a wonderful weak stomach and
continual pain of melancholy mind from the spleen."
His children seem to have been in equally melancholy case, but he
was able after a year or two of New England life to write:
"Here is an extraordinary clear and dry air, that is of a most
healing nature to all such as are of a cold, melancholy,
phlegmatic, rheumatic temper of body."
The Puritans, as life settled into a less rasping routine than
that of the early years, grew rotund and comfortable in
expression, and though the festivities of training days, and the
more solemn one of ordination or Thanksgiving day, meant sermon
and prayers of doubled length, found this only an added element of
enjoyment. Judge Sewall's diary records many good dinners;
sometimes as "a sumptuous feast," sometimes as merely "a fine
dinner," but always with impressive unction. At one of these
occasions he mentions Governor Bradstreet as being present and
adds that he "drank a glass or two of wine, eat some fruit, took a
pipe of tobacco in the New Hall, wished me joy of the house and
desired our prayers."
At Andover he was equally ready for any of these diversions,
though never intemperate in either meat or drink, but, like every
magistrate, he kept open house, and enjoyed it more than some
whose austerity was greater, and there are many hints that
Mistress Bradstreet provided good cheer with a freedom born of her
early training, and made stronger by her husband's tastes and
wishes. The Andover dames patterned after her, and spent many of
the long hours, in as close following of honored formulas as the
new conditions allowed, laying then the foundation for that
reputation still held by Andover housewives, and derided by one of
her best known daughters, as "the cup-cake tendencies of the