1769In this year a new school-house was built in the Precinct at a cost to the town of £ 50. 14. 6. 2. The Precinct's share of the town's school-money for 1769, was £ 18. 18. 11. —Paige.
1770On May 30, 1770, occurred a casualty in the death of Lydia, wife of Nathaniel Fessenden, at the age of 19 years, who was ‘shot awfully!’
The Boston Gazette for June 4, 1770, contains the following: ‘We hear from Cambridge that last Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Fessenden, wife of Mr. Nathaniel Fessenden of that town, was unhappily killed by the following accident, viz.: A number of persons had been shooting at marks, and after they had done went to the house of Mr. Philip Bemis, father to the unfortunate deceased, and put their guns against the house, when a lad about thirteen years old took one of the guns, not knowing it to be loaded, and snapped it at a girl in order to frighten her, when the gun went off; but it missing the girl, the ball went in Mrs. Fessenden's eye, lodged in her head, and killed her instantly. Mrs. Fessenden had her infant about nine months old in her lap, which providentially was unhurt. She was the only daughter of Mr. Bemis; and it is remarkable the gun by which she was killed belonged to her husband. Mrs. Fessenden was a woman of unblemished virtue, and her chief ornament was modesty.—Her untimely death is lamented by all her acquaintance, and her husband in particular refuses to be comforted.’ Another paper of the time, calls Bemis's house a tavern, and the deceased the ‘landlord's daughter.’ Some elegiac verses, entitled ‘A Few Thoughts Composed on the Sudden and Awful Death of Mrs. Fessenden, by Mr. Fessenden of Cambridge,’ have been preserved by her descendants. These set forth her youth and early courtship, and then enter on the subject of her death in these stanzas, selected from those that now remain legible. On Election day1 we well do know
She to her father's house did go.
She had been there scarce half a day,
Before that she was snatched away.
This harmless creature there did sit,
Embracing of her infant sweet,
When death did send this fatal ball,
Which proved her sad and dismal fall.
'Twas enough to make one's heart ache,
To see this awful turn of fate;
And in a moment forced to die,
And see her in her blood to lie.
Her pretty babe was in her arms,
Not knowing or fearing any harm;
And leaning on its mother's breast,
When she was snatched away by death.
No. 1246 of Mr. Cooke's discourses is a sermon on Eccles. 9:5, 6. The manuscript is a skeleton only. It is dated Nov. 4, 1770, and again used on Oct. 4, 1778.