Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stockbridge Past and Present

"Miss Electa F. Jones," a white Calvinist and resident of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, worked on a history of that town for two years and it was published (in 1854 by Samuel Bowles in Springfield, MA) after her death. While facsimile reprints of Jones' book can be purchased, it probably isn't the kind of book that anybody would read straight through. Nevertheless, Stockbridge Past and Present or Records of An Old Mission Station certainly contains some gold nuggets of information for people who are interested in the Stockbridge Indians in both Massachusetts and New York and the white town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts up until about 1850. I am grateful to Jones for describing details of worship and other church matters that I haven't found elsewhere. Here's an example:

Feb. 3d, 1811, a very interesting concert of sacred music was given by the Indians of New Stockbridge [NY]. The choir, consisting of 60 or 70 Indians, "dressed in their best," and one playing on a flute, marched about half a mile to the church, where the procession opened for the entrance of the clergy. About 100 whites and 200 Indians were supposed to be present. The sermon was preached by one of the neighboring ministers and the performances gave universal satisfaction.
"This remarkable attention of my people, to improve in the art of singing, says Mr. Sergeant [Jr], "has had a good effect to call the people together; a seriousness has appeared in the minds of some, together with a reformation of manners. The Singing Master has much advanced the cause of religion among this people."

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