Saturday, April 25, 2009

Zachariah Eddy

Zachariah Eddy (1780-1860) must be accorded the title of Middleborough’s first historian. Though a noted attorney by profession who was recognized throughout the Commonwealth for his knowledge in that field, Eddy also “was an authority on the history and polity of the church of the Pilgrims of Plymouth” and a contributor to several historical and religious publications. Although brief historical items regarding Middleborough previously had appeared in Baylies’ An Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth (1830) and Barber’s Historical Collections (1839), neither could be construed as a formal history of the town. Eddy’s “Sketches of the Early History of the Town of Middleborough, in the County of Plymouth” appeared in the prestigious New England Historic and Genealogical Register in July and October, 1849. Running to some 22 pages, it was the first scholarly attempt at a history of Middleborough. Much of Eddy’s material was garnered from items published in the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, a source from which many early town histories of the mid and late-nineteenth centuries would inevitably draw.
Zachariah Eddy
Engraving, mid-19th century, reproduced from Thomas Weston's History of the Town of Middleboro, Massachusetts (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1906).


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