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    Old Stockbridge Grist MillOld Stockbridge Grist Mill Rockland, Massachusetts
    It was way back in 1640, that Isaac Stedman would dam up First Herring Brook, and beside the pond that formed, built the first water driven grist mill in the old colony that would be owned and operated by the Stockbridge and Clapp families until 1922. It would become well known and quite famous because of its mention in the 1817 poem the Old Oaken Bucket by Samuel Woodworth. In 1922, the mill would be donated to the Scituate Historical Society and restored to its original condition in 1970. After the society gained control of the mill, they would grind corn on special occasions between its opening as a historical site in 1923 to 1936 and would be run by water power for the last time in four decades. In 1961, the society tried to run the mill by electric motor but a heavy shudder shook the building and they shut it down immediately. After thinking about installing a water wheel or just conceding to the harsh passage of time and retiring it, the society accepted an offer from a local contractor to repair the mill to its former operable conditions. Allen Wheeler was the contractor, and his brother, Robert dug out the flume that is thirteen feet below the road that runs from the old Oaken Bucket pond and realized that the vibration that shook the entire building back in 1961 was most likely due to the imbalance of the nether stone. A trial run of the mill would indicate another problem that had been raised when they constructed the Driftway Medical Center behind the mill and caused the brook to change its course. After getting town workmen to bulldoze the area to right the course of the brook, the mill opened in 1970 to grind corn for the first time in 34 years. It is still in the process of restoring the site and many of its parts that are over three centuries old, but it should be in perfect shape soon enough, if not already and a great place to bring the family and learn about this innovative method that saved time and money for folks so long ago.

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    First Meeting House First Meeting House Rockland, Massachusetts
    The First Meeting House is now the First Parish, Scituate, and is more than 350 years old now. A group of nonconformists began meeting in London in 1616, led by Rev. Henry Jacob, and then succeeded by Rev. John Lothrop, a former rector of the Church of England, in 1624, and then in 1632, they were discovered worshipping clandestinely, so 42 members would be arrested and jailed. After spending two years in jail, Lothrop would be released under the provision that he leave England forever, so with a majority of his congregation, they set sail for New England and came to Scituate in 1634. Some months later, the rev. and a dozen or so people would gather together and make a covenant with each other, and form what has grown into the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Scituate. That first meeting place would be a simple log cabin, constructed on Meeting House Lane, and now, today, it is marked by a monument that has a list of the original members of the parish, "The Men of Kent" and gravestones from the 17th century. Over the years, the church would see six ministers, and then face numerous theological dissensions. The principle points were at first, simply baptism and then later, the Unitarian/Triniarian schism. Those disagreements would lead to the separation of the congregation, with some of them forming new churches. The baptism problem would cause Rev. Lothrop to move his congregation to Barnstable on Cape Cod in 1639.

April 21, 2011