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The Records of Thomas Beede
concerning himself and family,
& other occurrences

My father, whose name was Thomas was the son of Eli Beede, a Frenchman from the Island of Jersey. He ie Eli Beede was the first & only one of the name, who ever came to this country. All therefore in the United States, who bear his name, are his descendants. I have no record of the time when the said Eli Beede came to this country; but from calculation I think it must have been about A.D. 1705. He was then 12 years old. His motive in coming was wholly to gratify his curiosity in seeing America concerning which he had heard many stories. His mother, being a widow, having lost her husband at sea, was very unwilling to trust her son, being but twelve 14 years of age, to the watery element; but the continued entreaties of young Eli at length prevailed. An opportunity which his mother thought favorable occurred. A ship was about to sail for Boston in New England, the Captain of which was thought suitable to take charge of the lad; being his uncle is his father’s brother his mother therefore reluctantly yielded to the importunity of her young son & confided him to the care of the said captain, in expectation of seeing him safely return in the course of a few months. But, alas, when she parted with her son, she parted with him forever. Not being accustomed to sailing, he was so extremely sea sick during the whole of his outward bound passage, that he could not be prevailed upon to return. His fear was, that he should not live to reach his native shore, were he to make the attempt. Therefore rather than expose himself again to the dangers of the sea, & especially to such distressing sea sickness, as he had endured in his passage he chose to be left in a strange land, without either friends or money, among a people whose language he did not understand, for he then neither spoke nor understood any language but the French. In his unhappy condition all his Captain could do for him was to provide a suitable place for his residence, which he did in the town of Boston. He did not stay long however in this place; but was put to a man by the name of Shaw, in the town of Hampton N.H. where he was bred[?] to agriculture. And, having served his master till he was twenty one years of age, he settled on a farm in Kingston, N.H. where he married to a person by the name of Sleeper, by whom he had four sons and two daughters; each of which, except one daughter became the parent of a numerous family & lived to old age.

The said Eli Beede, though considerably tinctured with the ease & pleasantry of French manners, was naturally possessed of a morose temper, & was stern in his family. He was, however, considered to be an honest man, a good neighbor, & a christian. He had but little opportunity to acquire an education, was merely taught to read the Bible & to write and cipher so as to keep his necessary accounts. Yet with this limited education, by industry, prudence, and careful management he acquired a large estate in the town of Kingston where he settled, which he lived to enjoy until he was ninety one years of age. For many years he was subject to infirmities but by strict temperance in meat, drink and exercise he was able to be abroad, & his mental faculties remaining sound, he continued to take the oversight and management of his affairs until about three months after before his death; when he became feeble, & gradually declined by the natural decay of age & died 1782 Aged 91 when he expired without any particular disorder or distress In his religious sentiments toward the latter part of his life I believe he rather favoured the notions of the Friends, but I believe he never joined their society over any other he belonged to a[?] congregational church in Kingston Seasonal[?] Pantr[?] having more regard to practical piety, than to any of the peculiarities, which distinguish the various sects of Christians.

I was present at his funeral, which was attended by a large assembly, & a sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Shepard of Brentwood on the doctrine of the resurrection, as taught by St. Paul in the 15 Chap of 1 Cor. which sermon was well received by all who heard it, except the Friends, who were much displeased, as their views of the resurrection from the dead differ materially from those of most other orders of Christians. His remains were conducted from his dwelling house in the east parish of Kingston to the plain[?] in the west parish of said town, where they were deposited in a burying place near the Rev. [?] Thayer’s meeting house; & his grave has been left according to the custom of the Friends without any mark or monument to distinguish it from any other. This custom has obtained among this order of Christians on account of their sentiment with regard to the resurrection. They believe that the body itself does not rise, that the resurrection takes place when the spirit ascends to God, who gave it; & as the scripture hath said, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return; so they think that the bodily part should be left to moulder in the grave without any monument to distinguish one parcel of dust from another.

There is one circumstance in the story of this man which is very singular. He never corresponded with his mother nor ever heard from her, or any of his family or friends from the time he sailed from his native Island until the day of his death.

 


Converted to HTML August 20, 1997 by Jack W. Ralph from a transcript of the original. I have retained the grammar and punctuation of the transcript but have replaced the transcriber's notation "[crossed out]" with the strikeout feature. All question marks in brackets [?] indicate the handwriting on the original was not clear to the transcriber.

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