Paying the Preacher

Cape Cod, one of the earliest places of settlement in the ‘new’ world, quickly became the site of ‘meeting houses’ from one end to the other. The selectmen were in charge of hiring, firing, and paying the ministers. In chapter 2 of the Creature From the Bridgewater Triangle, the selectmen decree that to save the town’s crops, all male citizens of Falmouth must kill six old and 12 young blackbirds. Those who don’t kill their quota will be fined three shillings. Part of that money is to be used for the minister’s pay. When Henry Thoreau came to the Cape in the 1800s he found humor in this type of situation and filed the following reports in his Cape Cod book. “In 1662, the town agreed that a part of every whale cast on shore be appropriated for the support of the ministry.” …Think of a whale having the breath of life beaten out of him by a storm, and dragging in over the bars and guzzles, for the support of the ministry! What a consolation it must have been to him!

… a duty was put on mackerel here to support a free-school; in other words, the mackerel-school was taxed in order that the children’s school might be free.BST creature 3d cvr


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