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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 6. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Old portraits and modern Sketches (search)
t for the mainland. Its wharves were no longer thronged with merchandise; its principal dwellings stood empty; the very meeting-houses were in a great measure abandoned. Dr. Hopkins, who had taken the precaution, at the commencement of hostilities, to remove his family to Great Barrington, remained himself until the year 1776, when the British took possession of the island. During the period of its occupation, he was employed in preaching to destitute congregations. He spent the summer of 1777 at Newburyport, where his memory is still cherished by the few of his hearers who survive. In the spring of 1780, he returned to Newport. Everything had undergone a melancholy change. The garden of New England lay desolate. His once prosperous and wealthy church and congregation were now poor, dispirited, and, worst of all, demoralized. His meeting-house had been used as a barrack for soldiers; pulpit and pews had been destroyed; the very bell had been stolen. Refusing, with his charact