Following up on a previously posted series of six parts, here is a seventh post looking at one particular Calvinistic Baptist in Bethel, Maine.
Moses Mason Jr. (1757-1837) was a member of the church and also served as Revolutionary War solider, being part of the march on Ticonderoga. He was born in Newton, Massachusetts. In 1777, when he was 21 years old, he is described as being 5’6 tall.
In 1799, he moved to Bethel, Maine and bought a farm “on the north side of Barker’s Ferry.” He married Eunice from Dublin, New Hampshire. They had a total of eleven children, one of which, also named Moses (1789-1866)–who went on to become the first postmaster in Bethel.
Moses was very active in the town as a highway surveyor, constable, a representative, selectman, justice of the peace, and was also responsible for 4th of July celebrations. With the gracious help of my nephew Tyler, I was able to secure a copy of an oration Mason gave “before a respectable audience” on July 4th, 1809. It was printed in 1810 by Sewall Goodridge in Sutton, Massachusetts.
It is rather patriotic, with a balance between optimism and concern for the future. Here is a small portion of the speech which I’ve transcribed:
“We ought to rejoice that our lot is fallen in so favorable a spot, that in confirming our independence and sovereignty, we have had an opportunity of becoming a respectable nation. Will not that day wherein our Independence was declared, be ever had in remembrance as long as the continuance of time? Shall it ever be said we shall be subdued by any one of the powerful Belligerents, which do exist? we hope not. But when we behold the convulsions of Europe, when we see desolation, destruction, and all other concomitant evils of war, spreading wide their baneful influence over the whole earth. Do we not anticipate the approach of that dreaded period, when we shall be involved in that calamitous whirlpool?”
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