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"Our Lord and King, who reign'st enthroned on high,
Temptation's fatal charms help us to shun,
But may we conquer through thy conquering Son!
Deliver us from all which can annoy
Us in this world, and may our souls destroy.
From all calamities which men betide,
Evil and death, O turn our feet aside;
For we are mortal worms, and cleave to clay;
Thine't is to rule and mortals to obey.
Is not thy mercy, Lord, forever free?
The whole creation knows no God but thee.
Kingdom and empire in thy presence fall I
The King eternal reigns the King of all.
Power is with thee, to thee be glory given,
And be thy name adored by earth and Heaven,
The praise of saints and angels is thine own;
Glory to thee, the everlasting One,
Forever be thy triune name adored;
Amen! Hosanna! blessed be the Lord!"
A little beyond the house of Dr. Sturtevant, southwest of the Deacon Tilson place, were the house and lands of Luke Short, who died at the age of one hundred and sixteen, having lived during the reign of eight British sovereigns. He was born in Dartmouth, England, where he spent the first sixteen years of his life. He had seen Oliver Cromwell ride through the streets, of whom he spoke as "a rough, burly, soldierly looking man and a good soldier," and was present at the execution of Charles I. After leaving England, he pursued a seafaring life in Marblehead, then settled in Middleboro and there reared a family of children. At one hundred years of age he used to work on his farm, and his mental faculties were but little impaired. He was hoeing corn one day, and stopping to rest at a rock near by, recalled a sermon preached ninety years before by John Flavel, the great London preacher, who at the close of his sermon had said: "How can I bless whom the Lord hath not blessed!" He had paused and all was silence; no one moved, or spoke; an English baronet who was present fell to the floor in a swoon. The recollection of this scene was so vivid that Mr. Short became a changed man, a devout christian, uniting with the church, of which he remained a loyal member until his death in 1746.
Rev. Thomas Palmer,1 the second pastor of the church, lived in one of the garrison houses built soon after the resettlement, later known as the Morey place, on the northern side of Plymouth Street, west of the house of Ira Bryant. The house had four gable-ends and two ridge-poles, after the style of the old meeting-house. He died June 17, 1743, aged seventy years.2 A stone which has this inscription marks his grave in the parish burial-ground : —
"All ye that pass along this way,
Whose souls to have took their flight,
And shall again united be
His wife Elizabeth died April 17, 1740, aged sixty-four. He had a numerous family, most of whom died young. His estate descended to a daughter, who married a Mr. Cheney, and from her to Mrs. Morey and her children, Jack and Hannah, well known for their marked peculiarities, which made them the subject of constant jest and joke.
Until recently there has been no business here save a blacksmith shop opposite the mansion house, and later one on the Green.
1 See chapter on Ecclesiastical History.
2 History of the First Church of Middlcboro, p. 36, gives his age as seventy; p. 82 as seventy-eight.
THOMASTOWN, ROCK, ROCKY MEADOW, RAYMOND NEIGHBORHOOD, FRANCE, SOUTH MIDDLEBORO
ISTORY associates the name of Thomastown with that of David Thomas and his descendants, but Deacon Benjamin Thomas, whose residence is still standing, was, in the century before the last, perhaps the most prominent man of the place. He was not liberally educated, but was a man of strong common sense, of sturdy principle, well versed in the scriptures, conscientious in the performance of every duty, and was well known throughout the county. He was chosen deacon of the First Church May 23, 1776, and filled many important positions in the town.
"In 1782, he was a representative, and in 1788, a member of the convention which adopted the Federal Constitution. When a bill was under discussion for repealing the law of primogeniture, the deacon declared his doubts, as the Scriptures showed special favors for the first born. A Boston gentleman said, the deacon mistook the Scriptures, for they said that Jacob, though the younger brother, inherited the birthright. The deacon said, the gentleman had forgotten to tell us how he obtained it, how Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, and how Jacob deceived his father, pretending to be Esau, and how his mother helped on the deception — he had forgotten all that. The laugh was at first against the deacon, but at last turned against the gentleman from Boston." 1
He died January 18, 1800, in the seventy-eighth year of his age.
Deborah Sampson, a young woman widely known for her patriotism in enlisting as a young man in the Revolutionary
1 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 6l.
army, lived in this neighborhood in the early part of her life. She was born in the adjoining town of Plympton, December 17, 1760, and was a descendant of William Bradford. Her father, Jonathan Sampson, Jr., was deprived of the portion of the property which should have descended to him, and is said to have fallen into habits of intemperance; this finally led to the separation of his children, and the family were scattered. At the age of ten years Deborah was received into the home of Jeremiah Thomas, where she lived for ten years and more, until the time of her enlistment. Mr. Thomas, as an earnest patriot, did much towards shaping the political opinions of the young woman in his charge, who early developed talent and a strong desire for knowledge. Her perceptions were quick and her imagination lively; she soon became absorbed in the stirring questions of the day. For a few years before she lived with Mr. Thomas, she was in the home of the Rev. Peter Thacher, the third minister of the First Church.
It is said that early in life she kept a journal, recording her good deeds on one page and her bad deeds on the opposite page. The events during the early years of the war for independence made a deep impression upon her mind, and without informing her closest friend of her intention, she had probably determined to see something of the world beyond her neighborhood and to help in some way the patriot cause. Such was her ability that before she was nineteen, in 1779, she was employed to teach six months in a public school in Middleboro. She had been bound out to service, but after this term expired, she was at liberty to choose for herself. The house in which her school was kept stood on the spot where Elisha Jenks now resides, but the building was afterwards moved to Water Street and occupied as a dwelling-house. She then