“Strangers' money” meant the moneys paid by persons not legally ratable.
The vote of March 28 was not meant to be a legal call, but only a preliminary feeler for both parties.
Matters were not hastened; for not until Sept. 15, 1701, do we find two persons appointed by the town “to discourse with Mr. Woodbridge
, and know his mind concerning settling in the town in the work of the ministry.”
Dec. 15, 1701, the town voted to give thirty pounds to Mr. Woodbridge
, as encouragement to settle in Medford
, but upon the condition that “he remain during his natural life; but, if he saw cause to remove, then to return the said thirty pounds to the town again.”
Nov. 26, 1700, the town voted to build a parsonage; but, as some objections existed, it was deferred.
The subject, however, was revived the next year, and a vote obtained for the erection; but, on the passage of this resolution, the records say, that “Mr. Ebenezer Brooks
and Samuel Brooks
did then enter their dissent against raising money for building a house for the minister.”
After three attempts to get a satisfactory vote to build a house thirty-eight feet long and twenty-nine feet wide, the matter was indefinitely postponed.
wished to settle as the minister, and therefore urged the building of a parsonage.
His new entreaties resulted in a new plan; which was to give Mr. Woodbridge
thirty pounds, and let him build his house as he pleased.
Accordingly, a “rate” was levied, and forty-two names appear on the records, March 23, 1701.
Here commenced a series of dissensions.
The thirty pounds were paid to Mr. Woodbridge
, and he began to build; but, for what cause we cannot discover, the reverend gentleman had serious difficulties with his carpenters and some of his parishioners.
These stimulated him and moved him to complaints, the natural results of which were mutual defences and angry recriminations.
was called upon to give a receipt for the thirty pounds which had been paid him. He not only refused to give a receipt, but denied having received the money; declined giving any account of it; and, moreover, objected to referring the matter to the elders at Boston
His refusal of this reference betrays his Presbyterianism.
A considerable time was wasted in this dubious and belligerent condition, when the town referred their case to impartial clergymen and elders of Boston
; and, May 2, 1704, they received the following letter:--