<^ O N ^
SAMUEL HUBBARD, OF NEWPORT,
By Ray Greene Hilling- A. M.,
New Bedford Mass.
C/y^-^HE Puritan, "says Palfrey," was a Scripturist ,- a Serip-
turist with all his heart, if, as yet, with imperfect intel-
lioeiice, He cherished the scheme of lookino-
to the word of God as his sole and universal directory.
.... (He) searched the Bible not only for principles and
rules, hut for mandates, -and when he could find none of these
for analogies,- to guide him in precise arrangements of i)ul)-
lic administration and in the minutest details of individual con-
duct He took the Scriptures as a homogeneous and
rounded whole, and scarcely distinguished between the author-
ity of Moses and the authority of Christ."
It is a man of i)recisely this stamp whose career is traced in
the present paper, -a man lacking the learning of the schools,
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
yet eaiiiiii;;' the ivs[)e('t <»!* all who knew him; a man of many
limitations, bnt prompt in the use of his few talents whenever
(Inty called. Born in the old world, he aided in the fonndini^
of three colonies in the new. His chief claim to recollection by
|iosterity springs from the value of the manuscript journal and
letter-hook which he left, covering- the period from 1641 to
1()88, and giving interesting details al)out life in Newport,-
es])ecially about local church history. These Mss. were extant
in 1830, but as early as 1852 had been lost. They were seen
by Mr. Comer in 1720, and faithfully used by Dr. Backus in
1777, Avlien writing his History of the Baptists. Probably
all that was of general value in them has been given publica-
tion, but the more minute historical study of the present day
would certainly find in them, if they slioukl reappear, much
of local and geneak)gical interest. The present writer has a
copy of a note book into which Dr. Backus had transcribed
much of the journal and a few of the several hundred letters
which he saw, and from the reading of these arose his special
interest in this "old beginner," as he styles himself.
To give a bare outline of Samuel Hubbard's life Avould be to
olfer a "lenten entertainment." To read the letters of his con-
tained in the note book of a hundred and fifty pages, would
be more tedious than profitable. It has been chosen instead to
journey with him from his home across the sea, to follow his
pilgruuage from town to town, to h)ok wdth his eyes upon sur-
rounding scenes, and es})ecially to note the steps l)v which he,
like the (►ther j)lanters, wrested ccmifoit and affluence fnmi the
savage waste that confronted him, and rose out of the fogs of
religious strife and ]»ersecution to a purer atmosphere of en-
lightened liberty of conscience. A tale of this latter sort never
lacks interest for a Rhode Island audience.
Does any one object to the prominence thus given to a man
SAMUEL^ HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
ill humble life, to whom piiblie office almost never came, and
whose lines of thought were not secular but religious? To liini
are commended these words of Drake's.*
'"However hund)le may luive been the condition of those who
fled to New England in its primeval and savage state, to found
a land for freedom of thought and action, tlieir names will oc-
cu])y a proud place in the History which is yet to lie written.
And uno-rateful must be that descendant of those founders
who will not, in some way, aid to rescue their names from ob-
livion that they may be engraven upon the tablets of enduring
Samuel Hul)bard came of a stock most thoroughly Puritan.
His father, James Hul)])ard, was a plain yeoman in the village
of Mendelsham, a market town some eighty miles iiortli-west of
London in the county of Suffolk. Of his mother Naomi, her son
"Such was the pleasure of Jehovah towards me, I was born of
good })areiits; my mother brought me up in the fear of the Lord
in Mendelsham, in catechising me and in hearing choice minis-
Samuel was born in 1(310, the youngest of seven children. Of
his three sisters, one, Rachel, came to New England and rear-
ed a family in Connecticut. An older brother Benjamin, also
came and was mentioned with the prefix of respect. He was
made Clerk of the Writs in Charlestown, and bought lands in
Rehoboth, l)ut after a stay of ten years he returned to England
and died there a respected country clergyman. A nephew of
these, named James, was an early settler at Cambridge, where
he left decendants. Thus the family was well reiiresented in
the new world.
*TJie FoHJiders of JVetn Kii(jl(iii<l, hii SdiiiiK^l (Uinhwr
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
His oraiidfatlieis had lived In perilous times and one of them,
if not the other, had heen a sutt'erei- in the persecutions under
(^ueen Mary. Thomas IIul)l)ai'd, the father of James and the
orandfather of Samuel, went to his death at the stake rather
tiian recant his ]*rotestantism. It was believed by his grandson
that his fate was related in Fox's Book of Martyrs ( B(K)k iii,
Chap xiv.junder the name of Thomas Higl)ed. If that belief be
correct, as it probably is, the story in brief is as follows.
Thomas Hubbard was a gentleman residing at Hornden-on-
the-IIill in Essex, "of good estate and great estimation in that
county," and, withal, "zealous and religious in the true service
of God." An informer discovered him to Edward Bonner, Bish-
op of London, who imprisoned him at Colchester and paid him
the honor of a visit to convert him. Later he was removed to
London, thrice examined at the consistory in St. Paul's, and
remaining obdurate was sentenced by the Bishop, " before the
Mayor and Sheriffs in the presence of all the people there assem
bled, " to be burned for his heresy. A fortnight later he was
"fast bound in a cart" -and brought to his "appointed place of
torment, "-the village in which he had lived. There on the 2()th
of May, 1555, he sealed his faith, says the narrator, shedding
his "blood in the most cruel fire to the glory of God and
great joy of the godly.'"
His maternal grandsire, though possessing similar convictions,
was nu)re fortunate; yet he too, was the object of sus})icion
and search. As late as 1682 Mr. Hubbard had in his New-
port house a testament printed in 15-1:9, which Thomas Cocke
of Ipswich, (England) ,liis mother's father, had brought safely
through those fiery days by hiding- it in his bed-straw. To a
man of Mr. Hubbard's turn of mind this volume, with such a
history, must have bei'U a priceless treasure. In all probability
the testament was a later edition of the translation from the
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
Greek by Tyndale made in the reign of Henry VIII, "which,"
says Welsh, * "revised by Coverdale, and edited in 15139 as
Cromwell's Bible,and again, in 15-40 as Cranmer's Bible, was
set np in every English parish eluii'cli by the very sovereign
who had eansed the translator to be strangled and bnrned". To
this testament some special anthoiity was attached, it appears,
for it was consnlted })y parties at a considerable distance.!
These details al)out the ancestry of Samnel Hnbbard have
not been given withont a reason. They tend to show why
through all his life his character was ho eminently devoiit. Born
in a Puritan home in rural England, he received by inheritaiu-e
the religi(nis mark which persecution of parents always brands
in vivid lettering upon children to the third and fourth genera-
tion. This tendency, moreover, was developed and strengthen-
ed with deliberate care by a fond mother, and when the grow-
ing lad came to years of understanding the very atmosphere
about him was charged with theological controversy, not
without a mingling of politics. At the age of ten or eleven, as
he sat by the hearthside listening to the talk of goodman Hub-
bard with the neighbors who had dropped in for an evening's
chat, he doubtless heard not only the oft told tales of grandsire
Hubbard's burning at the stake at Hornden-on-the-Hill, and
ofgrandsir Cocke's narrow escape in his Ipswich home, s<mie
fifteen miles away, but, as well, the marvellous account of
God's dealings with Brethren Carver and Brewster and the
rest. For, says the neighbor, these servants of the Lord have
felt constrained to leave their recent home in the Low Conn-
tries and, taking their lives in their hands, have sought a new
* JJecelopnieiit of EiKjIish J.itcraf/irc, hij A/ffecI H. Wehh.
t It is jjrohdhfe that fJi'is testdiiteiil is notn in flie lihrary of
Alfred Unicersitij at Alfred Centre, N. Y.
() SAMUEL HUBBAKI) OF NEWPORT
lef'iioe among' the savages in tlie Avilderness named for the Vir-
gin (^ueen, far over the sea to the westward. What wonder if
the l)oy early formed a ])nr])()se to visit that wonderful region,
wiien his day should come to make a career and fortune for
Until his twenty-third year the young man remained at home
in Mendelsham learning and practising, it is ])rol)al)le, the hum-
hie trade of a carpenter. By this time news had si)read of the
more recent settlement under Endicott at the Massachusetts
Bay, and of the great company whom Winthrop had led to
tiu' shoi-es of a l)eautiful liarl)or called Boston. These settlers,
ran the story, have from the King a grant of their lands and
full permission to govern themselves free fr(mi molestation hy
royiil officers or heresy-hunting l)isho])s. Here was a field in-
viting enough to the martyr's grand-son; and so he took ship
for the new world.
Tu Octoher 16IJ3 he arrived at Salem, having come that
month from England, Avhether directly l)y way of Boston or
hy some other route is uncertain.* His l)rother Benjamin was
at Cluirlestown, and his sister Rachel Brandish with her fam-
ily was at Salem, the same year. These facts made itprohahle
that a family party of the Huhhards Avas made up for the
voyage to the new world.
Salem was at this time a little community hut five years old.
It seems to have had less attraction for the young carjjenter
than the comjtanionship of his friends, for in the very next
/// /he ship Tnieloci' (le Ijondon, trhi<-]i sailed from lliat
jiorf Jane 10, 1635 /by J^arlufdoes, ir'ith itaitierous jjasse/i-
(jcrs^ there appears the mniie "Samcel/ IMthard"' a<jed 16.
7'A/".s cannot he the snl)jeet of this f^ketvh, whc) lnj hi^ own
statement iras Inirn in 1610 and came in 1631).
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
year he followed his brother and sister Brandish to the youn-
<rer settlement at Watertown. But lief ore leaving- Salem he
formed one friendship destined to l)e to him a life-long sonree
(»f satisfaction, and, douhtless, to determine in some measure
his future career. As he wended his Avay from time to time to
tliat unfinished Iniilding of one story which antedated even
the "first meeting- house," ( now shown as such ) at Salem, he
often heard the fearless voice of Roger Williams, the energet-
ic young- preacher who had recently returned from Plymouth
to l)e, first, the assistant, and, afterwards, the successor of
Mr. Skelton; and, (piite certainly, he shared in the general
sympathy with the radical views proclaimed from that pulpit,
which long prevailed in the Church at Salem. His after life
proved that he drank in with a hearing ear the "dangerous
opinion," " that the magistrate ought not to punish the breacli
of the first table, otherwise than in such case as did dis-
turb the public peace," and esteemed Mr. Williams "an hon-
est, disinterested man and of popular talents in the pulpit."
Within a score of years both preacher and hearer were to ex-
perience similar changes of opinion on religious matters and
u})on compulsion were to flee to a similar refuge. And through-
out their long lives the acquaintance here formed was pre-
served and strengthened by correspondence.
Have you ever wondered what the order of exercises was at
a meeting in these early days? Gov. Winthrop* describes the
})roceedings on one such occassion,when he with Mr. Wilson,
the pastor of Boston, was spending a sabbath at Plymouth, in
" On the Lord's day there was a sacrament which they did
partake in; and in the afternoon Mr. Roger Williams (accord-
Whilhrop^ !< JoiiriKil.
8 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
iiig' to their custom j })ro[)ouii(k'(l a question, to which the pas-
tor, Mr. Sinitli, spoke hrief'ly; then Mr. WilHanis propliesied;
and after, the Governor oi Plymontli spoke to tlie qnestion;
after him the ehler; then some two or three more of the con-
greoation. Then the elder desired the Governor of Massa-
chnsetts and Mr. Wilson to speak to it, which thev did. AVhen
this was ended, the deacon, Mr. Fuller, ])ut the conoregation
in mind of their duty of contrihntion; whereupon the Gover-
nor and all the rest went down to the deacon's seat, and put
into the box, and then retnrned ."
To Watertown, as has been said, in 1G34 the young car-
penter turned his steps. And here he seems to have intended
to make his permanent home, for in the foUowing year he
joined the church, as he says, "by giving an account of my
faith." This was not, however, the begining of his conscicms
experience of religious emotions. That (kited ])ack to the
days when he sat by his mothers side upon the sabbath day
within the room made sacred by the voices of those " choice
ministers." Here is his own account of his conversion.
" I was brought l)y the good hand of my Heavenly Father
to see myself a lost one by Mr. Salle of Nettlestead from
Daniel fifth Mene etc. Doctrine, That all must be numbered.
Which wrought effectually on me to try myself, being in
sore troubles of mind,but borne up by many scriptures, Ex.
xv: 2, Matt, xviii: Rev. xiv: 1, -by these and many more I
closing therewith, I was much comforted and did believe that
that there was no help but only in the Lord Jesus Christ for
life and salvation, and hope to stay myself upon my God thro'
Ct. Jesus accord'g, to that scripture Isia. 1: 10."
It will l)e noticed how careful he is in every phase of his
feeling to square his position by detailed reference to a bibli-
cal phrase. We can easilv imagine him in the same strain
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NP^WI'OKT
" giving" an account of his faith" ])efore tlie brethren in
Samuel Hubhard ha<l scarcely become established in his se-
cond New Ent>land home before he found himself in the
midst of a social agitation of considerable magnitude. Though
the settlers had l)een but five years on the ground, a move-
ment for removal was in full force. The main reason for this
state of things is yet a matter of doubt. Why, so soon after
the opening of the country, while the wlnde region was but
sparcely populated, a feverish haste to enter the little known dis-
trict along the Connecticut should have possessed the people
of Dorchester, Watertown, Roxbury and Newtown, ( the pres-
ent Cambridge )is not altogether clear. Like most popular move-
ments, this appears to have sprung from a variety of causes and
to have gained strength because of opposition on the part of the
ruling element in the c(d()ny. There were two grounds of
dissatisfaction quite general that may^ have added permanence
to the agitation. The first was the growing tendency of the
rulers to mingle ci^al and religious matters; the second was the
fear of attacks from England upon the exposed coast settle-
ments, for sentiments hostile to the welfare of the colony were
known to be cherished at court.
The first of Winthrop's company to be set on shore had in
1630 planted themselves on Dorchester neck. The very next
year there came to Plymouth and to Boston a Connecticut
river sachem, Wahtpiiniacut, earnestly soliciting settlements
along that river and ottering as a bounty a full supply of corn
and eighty l)eaver skins annually. His motive, of course, was
to secure an alliance with the well-armed Whites ag-ainst the
merciless Pequots, who then were driving the river tribes
from their homes. The Plymouth people were ready to unite
with those of the Bay in seizing the opportunity, but the go v-
10 SAMUEL HUBBAKl) OF NEWPORT
ernment of the stronger colony declined to entertain tlie pro-
position. John Oldliani, lioAvever, the trader afterwards killed
by Indians at Block Island, with a fewhohl spirits from Dor-
chester traversed the wilderness and brought back such re-
ports of the fertility of the lands along the river as caused the
farmers of Mattapan to glance askance at their rocky lots and
think strongly of bettering their condition. * Nor were the
neiiihborino' settlers without similar information and similar
Meanwhile the Dutch had built in June, 1631^, their little
fort at the House of Good Hope, now Hartford. Past this
in the following October had sailed a Plymouth vessel, carry-
ing the frame of a house subsequently erected at Windsor.
An English settlement was now begun, and accounts of the
attractiveness of the region multiplied. The fur traders re-
joiced to find a fresh field to gather peltry. A few, like Lud-
low, dissatisfied with the political situation at the Bay, were
not unwilling to lead a company to a settlement beyond the
immediate influence of the present rulers, where their own
ambition might have more gratifying sweep. In Roxburv
the influence of Pynchon Avas thrown heartily toward the
scheme. In Watertown there was ill concealed opposition to
the Court of Assistants, growing out of a recent refusal of the
tow^n to pay a tax levied on all the towns to fortify a single
one, Newtown. Only the wisdom of Winthrop had averted
a serious collision and quieted the jealousy of illegal taxation.
The pastor who had led his flock in the protest of 1632 was
again their leader in the project of emigration. At Newtown
the purj)ose to remove had been vigorous and definite from
the outset. In May 1G34 the Newtown })eo[)le ai)plied to the
General Court for permission "to look out either for enlarge-
ment or removal," and th(^ re<pu^st not being fully understood
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT ll
was agreed to. In the following September the pnrpose was
avowed, "to remove to Connecticut." At once great opposi-
tion was developed and steps were taken which resulted in an
apparent abandonment of the plan. The chief lay mover in
the matter, John Haynes, was even elected Governor. But
the next spring renewed the agitation and saM' permission ob-
tained. Straggling parties from Watertown had already gone
to Wethersfield and in the fall of 1635 a party of sixty from
Dorchester, including women and children, wearily plodded
through the woods, driving their cattle with them, and tried
to spend the winter at Windsor, but most of them suffered
miserably till one way or another they struggled back to
Massachusetts Bay. Nothing disheartened, in June 1636 the
Newtown church, led l)y Hooker and Stone their pastor and
assistant, sold out to a company of newly arrived settlers their
immoval)le property, and started upon their westward journey.
A hundred in number, of all ages and both sexes, with their
lowing herds before them, they slowly covered the hundred
miles and founded Hartford. In the same summer the cliurch
of Dorchester reoccupied the site at Windsor and the Water-
town church enlarged the little company at Wethersfield.
In this emigration the young carpenter from Mendelsham
was swept along, but curiously enough he a})pears first, not
among the Watertown people at Wethersfield, l)ut at Wind-
sor. How was this? There is no trouble in explaining tlie
fact if we remember that Hubbard was then not cpiite twenty-
five, and that the Windsor emigration included persons of
l»otli sexes. It was a fair member of the Dorchester' churcli,
we see, that had led the young man to this region.
"Tase Cooper "came to Dorchester June 9,1634 and
united with the church there seven weeks later. Both she
and Samuel Hubbard went to Windsor in the following year,
12 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
probaltly In that ill-starred company of sixty Avho spent their
autumn upon the journey and found the river frozen on their
arrival. They ap})ear to have been among the number who
cluno- to the infant settlement, for on Jan. 4, 1636 ( probably
l()3()-7 ) they were married at Windsor ])y Mr. Ludlow.
Of the parentage of Tase C(K)])er, 1 have l)een able to find
no trace^ She had a brother John who lived in London in
1677 and in 1()8U, and also a l)rother Robert who writes from
Yarmoutli in 1614, highly praising New England as a place
of residence. There were others of the same familvname on
the Connecticut River at this period, Init none from Dorches-
ter and none witli whom she can be connected. From what-
ever source she came, she proved a noble woman and a faith-
ful wife. Tlirouii'h the l()n<»' vears of their life tooether she
constantly appears as a worthy help-meet, courageous, resolute
and ready, frecpiently a little in advance of her husband in
the settlement of any cpiestion of religioji, her woman's in-
tuition marking out more ra})idly the path which his logical
reasoning finally compelled him to traverse. As to her name
in full, we can only conjecture. Mr. Hubbard appears to
have written it " Tase " without exception; later writers have
agreed upon " Tacy ". Was it an abbreviation of Anastasia?
The newly married pair soon fixed their residence at
Wethersfield, probably led thither ])y the fact that the bride-
groom's sister Rachel with her husl)and John Brandish and
five cliihlien had come from Watertown to settle there. They
found the little colony in feeble straits. Li all three of the
towns there were about eight hundred souls includino- two
hundred adult men. Between the Hudson on the west and
Nanagansett Bay (»n the east dwelt Indian tribes that if uni-
ted, could have brought upon them four or five thousand
warriors. The fiercest of these savages the Pequots, who
SAMUEL HUBBARD 0¥ NEWPORT 13
Imd not fewer than a thonsand fighting men, were ah-eady in
hostiUty. Wethersiiekl itself had been attacked in the winter
of 163G-7 with a h)ss of nine by death and two l)y eai)tnre.
Then in sheer self-defence the little company determined to
administer to their merciless foes a lesson not to be forgotten.
Though not far from starvation themselves, they equipi)ed
and victualed ninety men from the three towns, more than a
third of their whole number, and sent them upon the expedi-
tion under Capt.Mason which obliterated the Pequot nation
and o-ave the land rest for fortv vears. Their first summer
had been occupied in Ineaking roads and building habita-
tions. If in that autumn of 1635 there were, as Wintlu'op
says, only thirty ploughs in Massachusetts, there could have
been but half a dozen in Connecticut. In the following winter
their cattle suffered greatly from food and shelter, and provis-
ions bore an enormous price; hunting and fishing, moreover,
were exceedingly dangerous since the savages were ever
liaup-ino- about the ueiohborhood. Thus stood matters when
this pair began their married life. During the campaign,
successful as it proved, evils were accumulating. There were
few men to raise provisions. Wrote Ludlow at Windsor to
Pynchon at Springfield, May 17, 1637.
" Our plantations are so gleaned by that small fleet we
sent out, that those that remain are not able to supply our
watches, which are day and night, that our people are scarce
able to stand upon their legs. And for planting, we are in
like condition with you. What we plaint is before our doors;
little anywhere else."
Meanwhile a debt was incurred for war expenses leading to
an onerous tax, and at the same time the towns must keep
themselves supplied Avith military stores and each settler must
see to his arms and annnunition. Such were the conditions of
14 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
life, l)otli at Windsor and at Wethersfield, when the Hnbbards
l)e<>aii tlieir hoiisc-keejtinn'.
Tlie church at Wethersiiehl at this time liad no settled
pastor, and had <>ot into contentions and animosities which
extended to the inhabitants not church members. In conse-
(juence there was already considera])le disposition toward
another removal. The church seems to have had l)ut seven
members and these were divided three against four, the ratio
perhaps indicating the relative strength of the factions in the
community. The three included the officers, who, claiming
to be the church, insisted on the rioht of remainino- and uroed.
that the others should depart in the interest of peace. The
four claimed that numbering a majority they had the right
to stay and constitute the church. With the small comi)any
who did conclude to remove went Samuel and Tase Hubbard,
and their little one of six months, whom they were soon to
lay away under the sod of their new home.
Northward went the little band to the beautiful site upon
which the Roxbury settlers had planted their recent settle-
ment. Everything here, as on the river banks below, was
still new on that Mayday in 1639 when the Wethersfield par-
ty arrived It was yet a time of beginnings at Springfield.
The records extant give little trace of the years spent by
Mr. Hubbard here. We know that soon a little church was
gathered containing four men besides himself, and that not
long after his wife was added to the number. Here were born
to them those three girls, Ruth, Rachel, and Bethiah, who
were to become the ancestors of all the Burdicks and Lang-
worthys. and many of the Clarkes, of Rhode Island. Here,
too, was given to them, and quickly snatched away, a son.
Full of daily cares, of struggles and dei)rivations must these
days have been, but this couple were not given to complaining.
In due time the Avilderness was to blossom as the rose.
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 15
Mr. Hubbard's stay at Spriiio-field covered eight years. In
the interval, the sister Rachel whom he had followed from
Salem to Watertown and thence to Wetliersfield,had lost lier
husband l)y death, and having re-married was living in the
latest settlement of all, Fairfield. Here on the shore of Long-
Island Sound, Roger Ludlow had, in 164:2, with a few fami-
lies from Wethersheld planted the outpost of the English
colonies on the side of the Dutch. From some cause on the
10th of May, 1647, the Hubbards with their little family
and all their belongings departed from Springfield, doubtless
by the river, and floated down to begin the founding of still
another home, — in Fairfield. What the cause was is not
stated in his journal. Perhaps we may divine it a little later.
Once arrived at the young settlement, and well settled in the
new home, he finds himself confronted with a difficulty dis-
couraging enough, from which he wisely flees, since it is in-
He shall tell the story in his own plain way.
" God having enlightened l)oth, but mostly my wife into
his holy ordinance of baptizing only of visible believers, and
( she ) being very zealous for it, she was mostly struck at and
answered two times publickly; where I was also said to be as
bad as she and sore threatened with imprisonment to Hart-
ford jail, if not to renounce it or to remove; that scripture
came into our minds, if they persecute you in one place flee
to another. And so we did 2 day October, 1648. We
went for Rhode Island and arrived there the 12 day. I and
my wife upon our manifestation of our faith were baptized
by l)rother Johu Clarke 3 day of November 1648."
From this account, taken in connection with a statement of
his made before a court at New London in 1675, we may in-
fer, I think, that Mr. Hubbard and his wife had for some time
IG SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
Ix'iorc tlie aiitiimn of 1G48, l)een of the Baptist way of tliiiik-
iiio-. Tlic statement at New London was made in answer to
Mr. Hradstreet, — tlie minister of that phiee, who in nroino-
the (•on\iction of ccrtaui |);nti('s on reh<»ioiis <»Tonnds liad
iiiucli to sav al)ont ''the «><)()d way that tlieir fathers had set
up." To this, Mr. Huhl)ard ohtainin<>' leave to sj)eak repli<'d.
'' You are a youn<>" man, hut 1 am an ohl planter of ahout
forty years, a l)ei>innei- of (Jf)nneetieut, and have l)een perse-
cuted for my eonseiiMU-e from this colony, and 1 can assure
you the old hej'innei-s were not tor persecution, hut we had
liherty at first."
In a k'tter to Gov. Leete, in the year 1G82, he reiterated
" Sir, it seemeth strange to me, an old planter of your col-
ony, one of the first, l)efore Mr. Hooker came there, and then
what sweet hjve, precious love was then; hut not h)ng" so stood
after the Bay persecuted Mr. Williams and others. But they
set into that evil way l)y degrees, I can witness hy my own
experience; for I was forced to remove for my conscience
sake for God's truth. Alas: some of them yt did fly to
N. E. now, as the apostle Paul said of himself, was exceed-
ing mad and persecuted their hrethren and that with you
The natural inference from all this is that the Huhljards
had held tlieir variant views ahout haptism while they were
still among the "Old heginners," i. e. durino- their residence
at Spring-held, and perhaps hefore they left Wethersfield, hut
at the first were unmolested hy the Connecticut settlers.
Now let us see what ha<l ha|)])ened during the residence
of Mr. Huhhard at Si)ringtield. The agitation for an alliance
hetween the New England colonies, hegun hy the Connecti-
cut settlers throiigli fear of the Dutch, and strengthened hy
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 17
the political commotion of the mother country, had been
prolonged for some five years. Massachusetts and Connecti-
cut both claimed the settlements at Springfield and Westfield,
and until that question could be practically agreed upon the
union was delayed. In 1643,the confederacy was definitely
established and at a meeting of the Commissioners in 1644
the claim of Massachusetts to the above named towns was
sustained. As late, however, as 1649, at a meeting of the
Commissioners, the representatives of Connecticut refused to
regard the line as settled and claimed authority over Spring-
field. This goes to show that l)etween 1644 and 1647, the
latel' years of Hubbard's stay in that town, there was an un-
settled state of feeling as to which colony had jurisdiction
by right, although Massachusetts was asserting jurisdiction
in fact, with a probability of ultimate success.
Meanwhile the policy which had driven Roger Williams to
Providence, and the followers of Ann Hutchinson to various
places of refuge, was not intermitted. Deviations from the
Puritan creed were challenged with vigor, and Anabaptists in
particular were not left without notice. On Nov. 13, 1644,
the General Court of Massachusetts passed an act providing-
l)anisliment as the penalty for " condemning the baptizing- of
infants " or propagating such views. Nor was the law a
dead letter. The historian William Hubbard tells of a man
at Hingham named Thomas Painter, who was tied up and
whipped by order of Court the same year, because " having
a child born he would not suffer his wife to carry it to be
])aptized." In 1645 a petition for the repeal of this law was
denied by the General Court, and again on May 6, 1646 a
petition for the continuance of laws in force against Ana-
baptists was recorded as granted. About the same month
18 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
William Witter of Lynn was troubled with })rosecutions for
this cause. Now on the supposition that Samuel and Tase
Hubbard had embraced Baptist sentiments, in view of the fact
that Spring-field was held to be Avithin the sw^eep of the law
above referred to, is it not probable that they determined to
go into voluntary banishment before force should be applied?
There Avas evidently in their minds little thought that the
" precious love " which was " at the first " among the "old
beginners" in Connecticut had already begun to fail. But a
year and a half was enough to teach them in wdiat quarter
alone those who differed from their friends for conscience's
sake could find an unfailing refuge.
When in the autumn of 1648 Samuel Hubbard came to
Rhode Island to secure the permanent home denied one of
his belief in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the colony was
entering upon the solving of what Prof. Greene, * calls the
fundamental problem of Rhode Island history' — the reconcili-
ation of liberty and law. The experience of a dozen years in
local government "had demonstrated the possibility of soul
liberty " and had given it " a hold upon the hearts of the peo-
ple too strong to be shaken." They were noAV to determine
whether it left " the needed strength in the civil oroanization
to bear a government held by the free and voluntary consent
of all, or the greater part, of the free inhabitants." The char-
ter obtained by Roger Williams had, after a long delay, been
accepted by the freemen of the four towns, and a code of laws
conformable thereto had been adopted. "The character of the
whole code was just and benevolent, breathing a gentle spirit
* A Short History of Rhode Island, hy George Wash-
ington Greene, L L. D.
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 19
of practical Christianity and a calm consciousness of high des-
tinies." It closes thus: —
" These are the lawes that concerne all men, and these are
the Penalties for the transgression thereof, which by common
consent are Ratified and Established throug-hout this whole
Colonie; and otherwise than thus what is herein forbidden, all
men may walk as their consciences perswade them, every one
in the name of his God. And lett the Saints of the Most Hidi
walk in this Colony, without Molestation, in the name of Je-
hovah, their God, for Ever and Ever." *
Mr.Hubbard, as we have seen, immediately upon his arrival
at Newport became identified with the little Baptist church
under the pastorate of John Clarke, then four years old and
yet having but fifteen members, of whom nine were males.
This was to be his church home for twenty-three years.
Whether he became their deacon or clerk, as has been deem-
ed likely but without direct evidence, is not certain; but there
is no doubt that nearly all that is known of the early history
of that church was preserved by his pen. To him Mr. Comer
refers and all who have since treated the subject. He became
the messenger of the church on numerous occasions, and
sometimes not without considerable personal risk.
One such visit, made l)y him on the third summer of his
residence on the Island, was in connection with the now fam-
ous imprisonment of three Baptists at Boston in 1651.
At Swampscott, then a part of Lynn, there lived in feebleness
and blindness William Witter a member of Dr. Clarke's church
who had twice l)een prosecuted for expressing in strong lan-
guage his views on infant baptism. In his loneliness he re-
quested a visit from the brethren of the church, Mr. Clarke,
* R. I. ColonldTBecords, VoJ^L
20 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
himself, Obadiah Holmes and John Crandall were deputed
by the church to carry their sympathy to this aged member.
They arrived at his house on a Saturday evening July 19th.
The next morning tliey had begun to worship the Lord in
their own way, in the presence of four or five strangers, and
Mr. Clarke was in the midst of a sermon, when the assembly
was broken up and the three from Newport were hurried oft"
to the jail. In the afternoon, against their remonstrance,
they were conducted to the meeting house of the town, where
Mr. Clarke gave sore oft'ence by declining to join in the ser-
vice, and though he oft'ered an explanation of his apparently
discourteous conduct, he Avas silenced and all three were re-
turned to the jail. On Tuesday they were taken to Boston.
Nine days later, on the 31st, they had their trial, — "of a
kind" says Brooks Adams, * " reserved by priests for her-
No jury was impanelled, no indictment was read, no evi-
dence was heard, but the prisoners were reviled by the court
as Anabaptists, and when they repudiated the name were
asked if they did not deny infant baptism. The argument
that followed was cut short by a commitment to await senten-
ce. That afternoon John Cotton exhorted the judges, telling
them that the rejection of infant baptism would overthrow
the church; that this was a capital crime, and therefore the
captives were " foul murtherers." Toward evening the court
came in and sentenced them to lines of twenty, thirty and
five pounds. Governor Endicott lost his temper, "declar-
ed they deserved death and he would have no such trash
brought into his jurisdiction," and insinuating that they had
influence over weak-minded persons only, dared them to a
* Ilia Eiuanc'tjjation of Massachusetts, hi/ Brool'S Adams.
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 21
discussion with the ministers. This challenge Mr. Clarke
promptly accepted, and he earnestly endeavored to bring about
the proj)Osed discussion. The magistrates at lirst seemed to
consent, but after some delay denied that the Governor's
meaning had been rightly understood. The prisoners were
remanded to jail, where they all remained at least a fortnight
and perhajjs longer. In the interval, they received a loving
visit from the representative expressly sent by the church at
Newport, Samuel Hubbard, in whose journal is recorded
" I was sent by the church to visit the bretherin who was
imprisoned in Boston jayl for witnessing the truth of baptiz-
ing believers only, viz. Brother John Clarke, Bro. Obadiah
Holmes & Bro. John Crandall, 7 day August, 1651."
The fine of Mr. Clarke was paid, against his will, by friends
who feared for his safety. Crandall was admitted to bail, but
misinformed as to the time of surrender returned to find that
his jailer had paid the bond and he was free. Holmes, how-
ever, was left to face his punishment, which was severe.
Thirty lashes with a three-thonged whip left him cruelly
lacerated in body, but dignified and angelic in sjjirit. Among
those who showed Holmes sympathy on this day, was one
John Hazel of Rehoboth, a cousin of Samuel Hubbard's, who
had come to Boston to visit the prisoner. He was himself
thrown into prison for no o£fence,but the aid and comfort
given to Holmes, and survived but a short time the treatment
there received. Mr. Hul)bard's letter book had a numl)er of
letters that had passed })etween Hazel and himself.
Under date of October, 1652, Mr. Hubbard records this:
"I and my wife had hands laid on us by brother Joseph
Tory." This has some interest as showing that the doctrine
22 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
of " laying- on of liancls" was even then attracting some atten-
tion in the Newi)ort church. It was four years later, during
Mr. Clarke's long ahsence in England, that some twenty-one
members broke away, chiefly, it is supposed, because the old
church held " the laying on of hands a matter of indifference."
Samuel Hubbard, however, remained with the older church.
The year 1655 finds him numbered among the freemen
of the colony. The date of his admission was undoubtedly
In the autumn of 1657, Mr. Hubbard and his friend Oba-
diali Holmes Avent to the Dutch at Gravesend and to Jamaica
at Flushing and to Hampstead and Cow Bay, being gone
from Oct. 1st, to Nov. 15th. This I suppose to have been a
preaching tour, though, doubtless, Mr. Hubbard was the
guest of his nephew, John Brandish, a resident there.
The next allusion to him is somewhat surprising. He
appears to have been a small farmer, pursuing also the trade
of a carpenter. Yet in the colonial record there is found
under date of " May the fowerth, 1664," in the list of colo-
nial officers chosen, the following:
" Larrance Torner, Solicitor; Samuel Hubbard, next."
The office of " General Solicitor" was created by the General
Assembly in 1650 and the duties are described as follows:
" It is ordered, that the Solicitor shall })re})are all such
complaintes ( upon which the '' Generall Atturney " was to
proceed ) to the Atturney's hand, not hindering any authority
of the Atturnie l)y oration presented in the Solicitor's absence
if he please. "
What this means the Avriter does not pretend to know,save
that complaints were to be made out by the Solicitor. This
service seems to demand more legal knowledge than Mr.
Hubbard's letters sho^v evidence of his possessing. His elec-
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 23
tion probably implies that he was known to be an easy writer
and was held in high esteem for his good sense. Whether
he ever served as General Solicitor is uncertain. Larrance
Torner, upon his own petition, was discharged from his offi-
ce without having served, on the following- day. There is no
record of Samuel Hubbard's engagement or of any action
about the matter until the general election of the following*
year, when William Dyre was chosen to the ofKce and en-
In the beginning- of 1665,* or possibly in the previous
year,t there had come from London to Newport, Mr. Stephen
Mumford. Through his teachings, in March 1665, Tase Hub-
bard was convinced of her obligation to observe the seventh
day, instead of the first, as the weekly sabbath. The next
month her husband was also covinced, and a little later four
more of their household and some others joined with them in
the observance of Saturday. Not even then did these wor-
shippers break off their connection with Mr. Clarke's church,
but for six years longer they were members of that body,
and some of them were prominent representatives of the
Church upon important occasions.
One of these occasions occurred at Boston in 1668, on this
Certain members of the Charlestown Church of the stand-
ing order had come to have grave doubts about infant baj)-
tism. Thomas Gould, in particular, for " denying- baptism
to his ( infant ) child " Avas convicted, admonished and given
till next term to consider his error; this in October, 1656.
From this time for several years he was subjected to per-
* Backus' History of the Baptists.
t Seventh Day Baptist Memorial, page 150.
24 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
petual annoyance, being' repeatedly summoned and admonish-
ed l)V l)otli cliurcli and the courts, till in 1G65 he withdrew,
antl with eight others formed a separate church. Thereupon
they were excommunicated by the church at Charlestown, and
given over to the Magistrates to be crushed. " Passing from
one tribunal to another," says Mr. Adams, "the sectaries came
before the General Court in October 1665; such as were free-
men were disfranchised, and all were sentenced, upon convic-
tion l)efore a single Magistrate of continued schism, to be
imprisoned until further order. The following April they
were find four pounds and put in confinement, where they
lay till the 11th of Septend)er, when the legislature, after a
hearing, ordered them to be discharged upon payment of
fines and costs."
Persecution, lunvever, aroused sympathy for these men and
increased their numbers. So their opponents ordered Gould
and his friends, with such others as might l)e named by the
latter, to appear at the meeting house in Boston on the 14tli
of April. To meet these farmers and mechanics in the dis-
putation, six eminent clergymen were deputed.
The question as stated for discussion was:
" Whether it be justifiable by the word of God for these
persons and their company to depart from the communion of
these churches, and to set up an assembly here in the way of
anabaptistery, and whether such practice is allowable by
the government of this jurisdiction."
The church at Newport, hearing of this appointment, sent
William Hiscox, Joseph Torrey, and Samuel Hubbard to the
assistance of the brethren. The latter speaks of going to
Boston on April 7th . It is stated that he kept a record of
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 25
Two accounts of this meeting' are extant. One, by Cotton
Mather, states that while the erring" brethren were obstinate,
" others were happily established in the right ways of the
Lord." Another, a document written by the wife of one of
the parties, probably Mrs. Gould, says:
" When they were met, there was a long speech made by
one of them, of what vile persons they were and how they
acted against the churches and government here, and stood
condemned by the court. The others desiring lil)erty to
speak, they would not suffer them, but told them, they stood
there as delinquents and ought not to have liberty to speak
Two days were spent to little purpose."
It is probable that Mr. Hubl)ard and his colleagues were
able to do little more than to show their sympathy for their
troubled friends. On the 27tli of May following, Gould,
Turner and Farnum were banished under }>ain of perpetual
imprisonment. But they remained and faced their fate. On
July 30th, they were committed to prison and kept there a
year or more, and then released. Turner was again imprison-
ed in 1670, and Russell, one of the number, is said to have
died in the jail. Eventually the church, which had now re-
moved to Noddle's Islaiul ( East Boston ), had peace in the
enjoyment of their religion. Poor Turner, as Captain, led a
company, composed chiefly of " Anabaptist " volunteers,
against the Indians in Philip's war and after valiant service
in the Connecticut valley, lost his life at the Deerfield falls.
Mr. Hubbard appears to have lingered in Boston for more
than a month after the disputation, for we fiiul a letter from
him dated Boston, July 6th, 1668, and directed to his cousin
John Smith of London, in which there is an interesting per-
sonal allusion, as well as some account of the meeting in
26 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
" Cousin, I this spring having been at Boston upon account
of a dispute made shew of, the Governor and Magistrates
witli an(l against some of God's ways and ours; who was
l»r( night foi'tli to hear testimony for his truth. After several
tlireatenings and imprisonment of some ( and whipping of
Quakers ) as 1 said, made shew of a dispute to convince them.
I was at it, l)ut not joining of them; only their wills was
satesfied to proceed against them, that they might not meet
public again. If they did, any one magistrate might imprison
them, and let 'em out 10 days ])efore the middle of July, in
which 10 days they are to be gone out of their colony.
Three of tlie cliief of them are to be put in three several
This was the main of my business and also to see my kind-
red in the flesh, where 1 was at my cousin Hannah Brooks's;
for so is her name, where I saw a book of your making I
never heard of before, which yo gave to my cousin Elizabeth
Hubbard; I was much refreshed with it.
I hint how it is with me and mine. Thro' God's great
mercy the Lord have given me in this wilderness a good,
diligent, careful, painful and very loving wife. We thro'
mercy live comfortal)ly, praised be God, as coheirs together
of one mind in the Lord, travelling thro' this Avilderness to
our heavenly Zion, knowing we are pilgrims, as our fathers
were, ami good portion, being content therewith. A good
house, as with us judged, and twenty-five acres of ground
fenced in, and four cows which give milk, one young heifer,
and three calves, and a very good mare; a trade, a carpenter,
and health to follow it, and my wife very dilligent and painful;
praised be God. This is my joy and crown. I trust all,
both sons-in-law and daughters are in visible order in general;
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 27
but in especial manner my son Clarke and my three daiicrhters
with my wife and about fourteen walk in the observation of
God's holy sanctified seventh day sabbath, with much comfort
and liberty, for so we and all ever had and yet have in this
The good Lord give me, poor one, and all, hearts to be
faithful and dilligent in the improvement, for his glory, our
souls' good and edifying and building up one another in our
most holy faith; that while the earth is in flames, in tumults?
the potsherds breaking together, we may be awake trimming
our lamps, and not to have oil to buy, but be ready to enter
with our Lord.
I desire to hear how things [ are ] with you in your land;
for this thirty years and more I have observed ( as one said )
as the weathercock turns with you, soon after with them in
the Massachusetts Bay.
I commit yo all to the God of wisdom to guide you, and
to make you willing to do his will, amen.
Samuel Hubbard. "
The good house of which he writes was in a locality called
l)y him " Mayford," but more frequently styled by others
" Maidford." It lies north of the pond in Middletown and
not far from Easton's beach. It was here that Obadiah Hol-
mes also had a tract of land.
Mr. Hubbard's three daughters were now happily married,
and the oldest and the youngest with their husl)ands had gone
to join the new settlement at Miscpiamicut, now Westerly.
There was a son at home, bearing his father's name, just
coming to manhood but destined to an early death. Back
there in Wether sfield was one little grave, and in Springfield
were two more, testifying to the hardships and sorrows of
28 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
earlier yt'ars. But the present days were indeed full of
" much comfort and liberty."
The views of Mr. Huhhard and others of Mr. Clarke's
chiu'clj ahout the sahhath were a matter of frequent conversa-
tion and correspondence at this time. Finally the difference
between the two parties in the church came to an open rup-
ture. Four keepers of the seventh day went hack to the
keeping- of the first day, so offending Mr. Hubljard and his
friends that they withdreAv from communion with deserters.
Thereupon a meeting" of the church was called and the
wounded feelings were so far soothed that church relations
remained unchanged for several months. Ultimately, how-
ever, the preaching of Mr. Clarke, and especially of Mr. Hol-
mes, became so directed against these views about the sabbath,
that earnest replies were evoked, and it became evident, after
one especially vigorous discussion, that peace coidd be reached
only by separation. The account of this discussion, prepared
by Mr. Comer largely from Mr. Hubbard's papers, it is
thought, is highly interesting but too long to be introduced
here. Shortly afterward, on the 23d. of December, 1G71,
five persons withdrew from Mr. Clarke's church and, with two
others, formed the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in Ame-
rica. Their names: are William Hiscox, who ultimately became
pastor, Stei)hen Mumford and his wife, Samuel and Tase Hub-
bard, their daughter, Rachel Langworthy, and Roger Baster.
The church which they established had a long and useful
career, and embraced among its members many of the best
men of the colony. Its former house of worship is now the
building occupied by the Newport Historical Society.
Many of the earliest settlers at Westerly were connected
by some tie to this church, and subsequently a church of the
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 29
same faith was formed there, Avhich still exists, in the toAvn
of Hopkiiiton. In this latter eliiueh the children and grand
children of Mr. Hul)l)ard were very prominent workers. From
it their descendants have carried his faith to the Middle and
Western States where it thrives more vigoronsly then in its
earliest American home. The latest statistics of the Seventh
Day Baptists assign to them 105 chnrchts and 8797 memhers.
These years were heginning to add to the sorrows of
life for Samuel and Tase Hubbard. On the 20th of January
1670-1, they saw their only son sink into death. Then in the
course of the ensuing year, came the dissensions in the church
which severed friendships of long standing. Accross the
l)ay in Westerly their two sons-in-law, Robert Burdick and
Joseph Clarke, the younger, were settled upon the disputed
tract claimed by both Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well
as by Rhode Island, under which latter jurisdiction they held
their titles. Burdick had already been arrested on his home-
stead and imprisoned at Boston })y reason of adhereiu*e to his
colony, and Clarke was in a few years to be inn)rist)ned in
Hartford jail for a similar reason. A letter of Mr. Hu])bard's
on Oct. 6, 1672, expresses a more depressed feeling than is
observable at any other period of his life. He says:
" Dear breth. pray for us, a poor weak Ijand in a wilder-
ness, beset around with opposites, from the comn. adversary
and from (piakers, generals, and prophane persons, and most
of all from such as have been our familiar acquaintance; but
our battles are only in words; praised be God ."
In the following- February ( 14tli. ) he says "Many slanders
is laid upon Mr. John Clarke; but I will be sparing."
Whether the allusion is to the church troubles or to some-
thing of a political nature, the kindness of the writer's heart
30 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
towards one fioiu wlioin he luid been obliged to separate on
religious grounds is very marked, and quite unlike the tem-
per of the times.
How his Westerly children were faring is shown ])y a let-
ter from Ruth Burdiek in 1673 ( Dee. 7 ) :
"We are at peace at present, but are in expectation of the
officers to come to strain for the ministers wages, well for
our share is 8 s; we hear also of a press for soldier's to go
aoainst the Dutch. We fear much whose turn it may be.
The Lord hel]) us to cast all our care upon him ."
In the year 1G74 a moyement began which resulted in the
formation of the sect of the Rogerenes. In the earlier stages
of this moyement Mr. Hubbard had a share, but no one was
more disturbed by the final result than himself.
Toward the close of this year John and James Rogers of
New London were baptized. In the following spring, another
brother, Jonathan Rogers, was alst) baptized and all were ad-
ded to the Seyenth Day church at Newport by a deputation
of which Mr. Hul)l)ard was one. Thereupon John Rogers'
father-in-law took his wife and children away from him and
caused his arrest and commitment to Hartford jail. He was
at liberty, however, in the following autumn, and went with
others to bring" Mr. Hubbard to New London again. At
this time the father, James Rogers, with his wife and daugh-
ter, was also baptized. Then began further imi)risonment
ot* tlu' family for working on Sunday. Still another baptism
in November led to continued imprisonment. So matters
ran on. Meanwhile one of these sons, named Jonathan, had
married a grand-daughter of Mr. Hubbard, Naomi Burdick,
and had been excommunicated by the rest of the Rogers fam-
ily, for not accepting some of their constantly growing vaga-
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 31
lies. After many visits to the New London brethren, the
Newport churt'h in 1685 " cut them oft', " excepting- Jonathan.
The enthusiasts Avent on to establish themselves independent-
ly having", says Mr. Hubbard "declined to Quakerism." They
clung to the seventh day, to baptism, and to the communion,
l)ut refused to use medicine, denounced hirling })reachers and
delighted in oft'ensive work upon the sabbath, whereby they
had many im[)risonments and a few whippings. The sect
was kept alive, it would seem, only by persecution, for since
that declined it has ceased to exist.
Mr. Hubbard's book contained numerous letters describing
the orowtli of the movement and is the chief source of
information about its origin.
The war with Philip, in the year 1(375, temporarily br(dve
up the Westerly settlement, so full of interest for Mr. HuIj-
bard, aiid sent its members to Newport for safety. In Nov-
ember he writes:
" Very sudden and strange changes these times aftord in
this our age, everywhere, as I hear and now see, in N. E.
Gods' hand seems to be streached out against N. England l)y
wars by the natives, and many Englishmen fall at present.
But the English is just now going out against them to pur-
pose, as it's reported from the Massachusetts Bay, alias Bos-
ton, a 1000 men. The Lord of hosts be Avith them. This
island doth look to ourselves, as yet, by mercy not one slain,
l)lessed be God. . . - . . My wife, and three daughters, who
are all here by reason of the Indian war, with their 15 child-
ren, desire to remember their christian love to you."
After the war he writes, " My rates for the wars Avas but
10 shillings or 10, lbs. of avooI."
On the coming of peace, the daughters returned to their
32 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
Westerly homes, whither Mr. Hubbard often went to visit
them, and to rejoice in their <>i()wiiio- prosperity, as well as
sometimes to lament with them over their troubles from
The summer and autumn of 1G77 brou<iht to Mr. Hub-
bard two peculiar experiences. The first Avas a wound to
his feelings in a very tender sj)ot, a vote of the church
dechiring that he had not " the gift of prophesying" publickly
in the church, tho' " says he, " heretofore judged so by those
breth'n of the old ch. yea, by most here and encouraged in
it." It is })lain that a generation had arisen " that knew not
Joseph." I apprehend that the occasion was an attempt to
have a pastor regularly ordained, Mr. Hiscox was not ordain-
ed as late as 1684, and in speaking of a mission to New Lon-
don in Feb. 1679-80, Mr. Hu])bard said " I must say that
Bro. Maxson and I had by virtue of church as mucli^ })ower
as Bro. Hiscox." Possibly the mendjers of this church at
Newport, like the disciples at Corinth, were instituting" invid-
ious comparisons ])etween their Paul and their Apollos.
At nearly the same time he was greatly prostrated by " a
very sore cough," l)y reason of which his life Avas despaired
of. From his old friend. Major Jolm Cranston, the Deputy
Governor, he received a small vial of spirits Avhich alloAved
him some sleep but failed to relieve him. Let him tell the
rest. " The church meeting by course, the church coming-
in to see me, I desired of them the ordinance of laying of
hand and anointing with oil, saying I had faith in it. Bro.
Hiscox and Bro. Gibson gave me this answ'r — for some rea-
sons they could not for present, but Avt they could do Avere
very Avilling & free. So the ch drcAv into my other room
agreeing to seek God's face for me, poor one. The next day
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 33
I would have gone to town to give public praise, but was
acUdsed not to go," and friends who came expecting to find
him dead, beheld him standing and writing.
One of his most regular correspondents in these days was
John Thornton of Providence, a member with him of the
Newport church, but more recently removed to the northern
town. Shortly after his arrival there Mr. Hubbard in a letter
to him dated Feb. 9, 1678-9, said.
" Pray remember my respect unto Mr. Roger Williams.
I thought to have wrote to him but I have not time now;
have me excused to him. I do truly sympathize with him in
his great exercise; the good Lord sanctify it to him and to
his wife and all his for their soul's advantaii'e. "
Again the following November I note a similar rememl)rance
sent to Mr. Williams.
Several of the letters of this period are rich in bits of old
time news. Thus one of Feb. 7th 1679-80 to his son-in-law
Clarke has the following touch of politics.
" Here is a rumor as Lawrence Turner said to me, of turn-
ing the gov'r out ( John Cranston ) and Walter Clark gov'r.
Major Sanford dep &c; and so then the Narraganset or Kings
province by itself. William Harris is gone for England,
displeased at our courts act, and will not accept, tho' tender-
ed its said, to be Quenicot agents attorney etc. God can
and have Achitophels' council to fall and to hang himself ."
Gov. Cranston by his death on the 12th. of March — a month
later — obviated the necessity of the plan jn-oposed; not Wal-
ter Clark but Peleg Sandford was chosen his successor.
From the journey thus mentioned William Harris never
returned, but having been captured by a corsair and enslaved
was redeemed only to struggle back to London and die.
34 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
August 25tli. 1680, Mr. Hubbard mentions that his son-in-
law " Clarke hath been in Hartford jail and is now a prison-
er." The imprisonment and a fine of £ 10. were imposed in
consequence of the conflicting claims to the soil about the
Pawcatuck river. The fine was subsequently repaid to Clarke
by the R. I. Assembly.
On May 14, 1G81, he wrote to Isaac Wells of Jamaica,
" As concerning your friends mentioned, Mr.John Clarke
died ( the ) 20 ( tli ) day of April, 1676, Mr. Luker, the 26th
day of December, 1676, Mr. Vaughn is ded, elder Tory, my
dear brother John Crandall, .... Mr. Smith, W. Weeden,
John Salmon, Mr. Edes, several of the church, gov'r Arnold,
gov'r Easton, gov'r Coddington, gov'r John Cranston, choice
men, are all dead.
In this we sret a oflimse of his increasino; loneliness. The
age of three score and ten found him with few of those
friends about him who had in 1648 welcomed him to New-
port. But as these external sources of consolation were
vanishing', his soul appears to have acquired a sweet calmness
and serenity, — a rest after the storm and stress of life,
which never after deserted him.
Hear him :
" All God's holy ordinances are all good, especially prayer,
public, private [ and in ] families. sweet rest, refreshing
dews, I have had l)y that ordinance of sing-ing' psalms, in
private and in public, also ."
" God's holy scriptures, his word, is as so many fresh pas-
tures yielding fresh flowers and fresh streams of comfort.
Let thee and me labour to get ourselves off from all low things,
striving, yea pressing, after holiness."
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 35
But twice do I find indication of any tendency to verse in
Mr. Hubbard's compositions. On the occasion of his son's
death in 1671, he composed some lines and sent them to
This favor the latter acknowledged in a letter of the year
1672, saying- :
" I have herein returned your little, yet great, remembrance
of the hand of the Lord to yourself and your son late de-
At another time Mr. Williams alluded to the same matter
in these words.
" At present ( to repay your kindness and because you are
so studeous ) I pray you to request my brother Williams, or
my son Providence, or my daught'r Hart, to spare you the
sight of a memorial in verse, which I lately writ, in humble
thanksgiving unto God, for his great and wonderful deliver-
ance to my son Providence ."
The second poetic effusion, to use the term currente
calamo, occurs in a letter to Gov. Leete of Connecticut, Dec.
20, 1682 from which I will quote:
" Honoured governor, your old friend Mr. Philip Eades, a
merchant, a precious man, of a holy, harmless, blameless life,
and conversation, I judge faithful in what he practised, tlio'
short in some of Jehovah's requirm'ts, beloved of all sorts of
men; his death was much bewailed. I shall give you a copy
of some verses made at his death.
This loss to all, that God thus call
Away from us such men;
Let us therefore, let's God implore;
There's gone, I think, fifteen.
Both churches and town, great is ye sound;
36 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
God's rod is upon all,
That here doth dwell; let's then do well,
To do g'ood, let's do all."
Ill a suppleiiientaiy note he gives the date of Mr. Eades'
death, as Mar. IG, 1(381, and explains his fifteen thus, " 4
"overnors, 5 cliuieh leaders, and 6 choice bretherin of chur-
dies." In a later letter to Gov. Leete, he says of Mr. Eades:
" This friend of yours and mine, one in ofiice in Oliver's
house, was for liberty of conscience, a merchant, a precious
man, of a holy life and conversation, beloved of all sorts of
men ." With a change as to office and occupation, the sen-
tence wf)uld be an excellent epitaph for Mr. Hubbard
On May 10, 1683, John Thornton writes to Mr. Hubbard.
" Dear brother, thou gavest me an acct. of the death of
divers of our ancient friends; since that time the Lord hath
arrested by death our ancient and approved friend Mr. Roger
Williams, Avitli divers others here ."
It is very certain that there were few more sincere mourn-
ers for Mr. Williams than that patriarch at " Mayford, " who
fifty years before had learned from his lips the lesson of soul
liberty, and had shared with him persecution for conscience'
In Mr. Hubbard's familiar letters, items grave and gay jos-
tle each other with great freedom. Here are two of Oct. 20,
"John Clarke is to have Rebecca Hiscox, it's supposed.
Old Weaver is ded, near an hundred years old."
Listen to these words in a message to a friend at Boston,
"Just now I remember what my mother's Avords were near
70 years ago, that thankfulness for mercys was a coning way
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 37
of beg-ffiiifr more mercies. Psalm 103:12, 17, 18. And I
may say with old Jacob, Gen. 32: 10, that I came over with
myself, and God have made me 3 bands. This day I heard
God have added one grandchild more to my store, that now
I have grand-children 28, great-grand-children 10, son-in-laws
3, great son-in-laws 3 and my 3 daughters now alive; 4 I
buried; my all and mine 49." All but three of these were
keepers of the seventh day sabbath.
At the close of 1686, he wrote to his friend Thornton
My wife and I counted up this year 1686. My wife a
creature 78 years, a convert 62 years, married 50 years, an
independent and joined to a church 52 years, a baptist 38
years, a sabbath keeper 21 years. I a creature 76 years, a
convert 60 years, an independent and joined to a church 52
years, a baptist 38 years, a sabbath keeper 21 years, ....
Oh, praise the Lord, for his goodness endures forever! . . .
These may be my last lines unto you; farewell ! "
Four months later, to his daughter Clarke he sends these
" Oh children, I see good days at hand, let his lift up their
] lands, their Lord is at hand; then his shall reign on the
earth. ( Rev. 20: 4. )"
The latest letter from his pen that we can trace bears date
May 7 1688. I find one author * assigning the following
year, 1689, as that of his death at the age of 79 but on
grounds not altogether satisfactory. He certainly had died
before 1692. His wife survived him and was present at a
church meeting as late as 1697, after which no further trace
of her can be found. There is nothing, therefore, to tell the
* Thomas B. Stillman, in the Seventh Day Baptist
38 SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT
exact dates of their death or the phice of their burial.
Thus we have followed this humble career to its close on
earth. It could be paralleled, no doubt, in hundreds of ot-
her families established in tliat day of beginnings in New
Eno'land: but that fact should not lead us to withhold our
appreciation of its worth. Happily for us today, good men
were then exceedingly common.
The devout spirit, the loyalty to religious convictions, the
grateful heart toward his God and gentle disposition toward
all mankind, — these are qualities we must admire in Sam-
uel Hubbard, even though we rejoice in a broader view of
the world, a clearer understanding of biblical interpretation
and, perhaps, a keener intelligence, than were granted to him.
The denomination of which he was a founder owes to him
a heavy debt, and does not hesitate to praise his memory.
Let the general public now recognize liis virtues, and while
reserving for larger minds, like those of Williams and Clarke
the more conspicuous places in the Rhode Island temple of
fame, let them grant to such as he the recognition which de-
voted men and worthy citizens may rightfully claim.
Samuel Hubbard's Family Record.
SAMUEL HUBBARD, born IGIO, Mendelsham, co. Suff-
olk, Eng.; came to Salem Oct. 1633; Watertown, 1634; Win-
dsor, 1635; Wethersfield, 1636; Springfield, May 10, 1639;
Fairfield, May 10, 1647; Newport, Oct. 12, 1648. Freeman,
1655, perhaps before; Elected deputy General Solicitor 1664;
died 1689 or after at Newport. Married, Jan.4, 1636-7.
TASE COOPER, born 1608, Eng.; came to Dorchester
SAMUEL HUBBARD OF NEWPORT 39
June 9, 1634; Windsor, 1635; married there by Mr. Ludlow;
died probably at Newport, after 1697.
i Naomi, b. Nov. 18, 1637 at Wethersfield; d. Nov. 28
ii Naomi, b. Oct. 19, 1638 at Wethersfield; d. May 5,
iii Ruth, b. Jan. 11, 1640, Springfield; d. about 1691,
Westerly; m. Nov.2, 1655, Robert Burdick, b.
d. 1692. Children: i Robert, ii sou, iii Hub-
bard, iv Thomas, v Naomi, vi Ruth, vii Ben-
jamin, viii Samuel, ix Tacy, x Deborah.
iv Rachel, 1). Mar. 10, 1642, Springfield, d. ; m. Nov.
3, 1658, Andrew Langworthy. Children: i Sam-
uel, ii James. »
V Samuel, b. Mar. 25, 1644; Springfield; d. soon,
vi Bethiah, b. Dec. 19, 1646, Springfield; d. Apr. 17, 17
07; m. Nov. 16, 1664, Joseph Clarke, b. Apr. 2,
1643; d. Jan. 11, 1727. Children: i Judith, ii
Joseph, iii Samuel, iv John, v Bethiah, vi Mary,
vii Susanna, viii Thomas, ix William,
vii Samuel, b. Nov. 30, 1649, Newport; d. Jan. 20, 1670-1.
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