Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 2

Martha likes Foster's sermons

Martha approved of the sermons delivered by the young new minister, Isaac Foster, and his brother John Foster. As a woman who measured life in doing for others, she might be expected to enjoy Foster's July 23 sermon on Matthew 25, the chapter in which Jesus distinguished between those on his right and his left hand, the sheep and goats, according to whether they had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, or comforted the afflicted.

But there was a faction in town, led by the town clerk Captain Henry Sewall, that was alarmed by the beliefs of the Fosters.

What did Henry Sewall say about Foster's July 23 sermon?

When Martha heard Isaac Foster's brother John preach on October 8th, she reported that she was "agreeably Entertaind" by his "discoarce."

What did Henry Sewall say about the October 8th sermon?

Find out what Sewall did to block Isaac Foster's ordination.

John Foster was in town for the ordination vote on his brother Isaac. Three days later, on October 11, Martha reported the weather as "Clear & Pleasant." She also noted, "the Revd Isaac Foster was ordaind in this Town."

Although the skies were clear, a storm was brewing. Henry Sewall continued to criticize the young minister.

The New Minister
And Isaac Foster replied by suing Henry Sewall and his cousin, Thomas Sewall, for slander.

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Martha Ballard's Diary

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October 8, 1786 (Sunday)

Diary entry for Oct. 8, 1786. View Text (link at top) to see text version.