Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 1

The New Minister

Martha first mentions the Rev. Mr. Isaac Foster, "a yong Gentleman from Stafford, in the state of Conneticut" on April 16th, 1786, when he preached on probation. She didn't attend church that day, but must have heard about it in "Intermision," the break between the lengthy morning and afternoon services.

It was the year after Martha began her diary, and the fifteen year-old town of Hallowell was looking for its first fulltime Congregational minister.

On May 8, Martha noted in her diary, "this town mett & Gave the Revd mr Foster a Call to Settle here." Because town taxes paid the minister's salary, hiring the new town minister was town business. Several candidates for the minister's job had already been turned down.

What does the official Hallowell town record say?

Town disputes over New England ministers were common after the Revolution. In fact, documents from the Plymouth Court of Common Pleas -- reveal that Martha Ballard's own brother was expelled from his pulpit in Rochester, Massachusetts for being too liberal in his theology and too inflexible in his dealings with his neighbors.

"Shocking Indeed"
Perhaps Martha was liberal in her theology, too.

Table of Contents

Moore v. The First Precinct in Rochester
Plymouth County Court of Common Pleas
April 8, 1794
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the Sum of three hundred pounds ---- The Parties appeared, And the Said Inhabitants of said Precinct (by Elisha Ruggles and George B. Nye their Agents for this purpose duly appointed) come and defend &c., when &c. , and say they never assumed upon themselves in manner and form as the Plaintiff in his Writ and Declaration has declared against them, and thereof Just &c. --

And the Plaintiff likewise, by John Davis Esqr his Attorney -- After a full hearing of the Parties the cause was committed to the Jury, who leaving sworn to try the same, returned their verdict therein upon their oaths, in the Words following vizt, "The Jurors find that the defendants never assumed in manner and form as the Plaintiff has declared against them in his Writ."
It is therefore considered by the Court that the said Inhabitants of said Precinct recover against the said Jonathan Moore Costs of Suit taxed at

 From which Judgment the Plaintiff (by his said Attorney) appointed to the next Supreme Judicial Court to be held for this County and Recognized with sentence as the Law directs for prosecuting his appeal with speed

Above Copy as appears of Records --

[WH] Josiah Cotton Elery
Judgement of Court
in the Action of
Moore of Rochester
first Precinct