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Vol. IX.                          Biddeford,  Me., Werdnesday,  Oct. 12, 1892.                           No. 230.


Which Found Local Followers Early in the Century.


And the Converts Made to it in Saco -- Free Love Ideas Which Proved
Popular with Some and Unpopular with Others -- Famous Mormon Leaders
Who Won Disciples in North Saco and Buxton

Two venerable citizens of Saco who have outlived by considerable the Bible limit of three score years and ten, but whose memories are accurate and whose faculties are well preserved, recounted for the Journal last night how, in the years when they were boys or young men, many of the good citizens of staid old Saco went chasing after strange Gods and strange religions.

There are many living in the two cities who have been told of the rage which Cochranism and Mormonism had here years ago and there are a few even, who are still living, who were in their early years converts to the peculiar faiths expounded by Jacob Cochran and Joseph Smith.

The earlier, most singular, and perhaps the most interesting of these two strange religions whose disciples were recruited from this section was Cochranism.

Jacob Cochran, the founder of this faith, was a native of Enfield, N. H., a schoolmaster by profession, an able, and in many respects, a remarkable man, who made his advent in Saco in 1814 [sic - 1817?]. How Cochran came to strike Saco or how much he had succeeded in spreading his curious doctrines before coming there none of the Journal's informants seemed to know. Come he did, however, and he was not long here befpre he had gained many disciples, some of whom represented the best families of the city across the river.

Cochran was, as has been stated, an extraordinary man. He was well educated for his day, a very able and earnest speaker and a man credited with being gifted with mesmeric power in a wonderful degree. Besides his intellectual and occult endowmenrs, the founder of the Cochranite faith is said to have been a man "fair to look upon," in the prime of life and gifted with remarkable physical strength. In the latter respect, it is said, that no two ordinary men were his equal, while so agile was he that he is said to have been able to vault over the back of the tallest horse by simply putting one hand on the animal's rump.

Cochran's religious belief is said to have bordered on Universalism and he was credited with having preached the most remarkable and effective sermons ever heard in his generation, when he first came to Saco. This ability drew big congregations for him, churches and halls were opened to him and the man himself gained many disciples before he sprang the peculiarities of his religion on the public.

As far as the Journal can learn, Cochranism was a sort of combination of spiritualism and free love and though his advocacy of the latter item in his creed closed the churches to him finally, it did not decrease his congregations or his followers. After his doctrine won him the necessary number of disciples and churches had been closed to him, Cochran held his meetings in houses and even in barns. He never lacked for congregations and his peculiar doctrines and practices made converts in all quarters. His stronghold was in North Saco and across the Buxton line, though big meetings were held in town, his headquarters for those meetings being the old Floyd house which used to set near the upper Beach street entrance to Pepperell park and which was torn down when the race course was built.

Cochran's meetings were invariably held in the evening and they usually lasted until morning. Unbelievers were welcome to the early part of the ceremonies but after a certain point was passed in the program only those who "were of the faith" were allowed to remain. The unbelievers having been dismissed after witnessing ceremonies which consisted of singing the peculiar songs of the Cochranites, exhortations and a kind of walk-around dance, resembling the antics of the Shakers, Cochran and his followers would march the streets until very late singing their songs and shouting and then return to the Floyd house where the real meeting would begin, lasting until morning.

At the after part of these meetings Cochran used to manifest his mesmeric influence. It is related that his power was so great that thirty men and women would form a line in the room and that Cochran with a simple pass of his hand over each of their foreheads would have all completely under his power. When "the spirit was on" men and women would shriek, sing, dance and laugh, fall down on the floor and be, or pretend to be, entirely overcome and orresponsible. Such was Cochran's mesmeric influence, according to tradition that he could place his hand on the head of the strongest man present and cause him to fall upon the floor and froth at the mouth as though in a fit, while in reality he was experiencing the ecstasy of "the faith."

Cochran preached against matrimony. In the Cochranite heaven there was no marrying and no giving in marriage. If it so happened that his converts had taken upon themselves the chains of wedlock before they had heard him, they were admonished to forget marriage vows, though they might still live together, but be always ready to yield themselves according to the revelations which came through Cochran from the Cochranite divinity. Cochran himself was continually having it revealed to him that some one of his feminine flock was designed for his temporary, spiritual wife. He had a wife of his own with whom he lived, but his loyality to her was always subject to his inspirations and revelations. This wife evidently did not take a great amount of stock in the inspiration of her husband's free love proclivities. It is related that one evening Cochran met one of his firm disciples, whose descendants still live in North Saco, and who would not therefore relish seeing their ancestor's weaknesses in print, and told him that his God had appeared to him that day and told him that he and this particular disciple must exchange wives. His disciple believed him and went down to pay the inspired visit to Cochran's wife. When the latter met him at the door and asked him what he wanted he told her of her husband's revelation, whereupon the woman answered -- "You go back and tell Jake Cochran his God's a liar." This anecdote shows how much stock Mrs. Cochran took in her husband's revelations.

Occasionally at his meetings Cochran would be inspired to give living tableaux of Biblical incidents and characters, and one of these favorite representations was for Cochran and some one of his female converts to impersonate Adam and Ever as they are supposed to have appeared before the fig leaf apron suggested itself. This impersonation is said to have been frequently given in the Floyd house, it being the program for the rest of the converts to crouch upon the floor in a circle while the ideal Adam and Eve made their entry from another room. The knowledge of this interesting feature of Cochran's meetings having reached the ears of some of the unbelievers, Cochran is said to have been "called down," by the town authorities and after that he was forced to give tableaux and impersonations, which required a more extensive wardrobe.

Cochranism flourished among the farmers of North Saco and in that locality Cochran himself made his home, visiting from house to house among his disciples and holding meetings in one place one night and in another the next. The craze spread to such an extent that there were few of the families in that section of the city who did not have one representative at least in the Cochranite circle. Many familiar names, and many of the "old stock" whose descendants are living in these cities today, were mentioned to the Journal as among those who had followed the free-and-easy teachings of Jacob Cochran.

Various circumstances conspired to cut Cochran's religious career short after he had held sway for seven or eight years. One grand trouble was that Cochran broke up families which had before the advent of him and his doctrine been ordinarily happy in the old fashioned idea of love and matrimony. Cochran's doctrines made converts of many wives whose husbands could not swallow his free-love revelations and of many husbands whose wives were equally averse to receiving the new faith. Husbands objected to their wives becoming Cochranites and vice versa and the result was much domestic trouble and many separations for which Cochran was held responsible.

Cochran and his views had become decidedly unpopular among the unbelievers though his followers held him little below the Deity, but the exponent of free-love was shrewd enough to steer clear of open violations of the law until he had been here some seven years. Financial support had never been lacking after he had gained a foothold but Cochran became greedy and his greed landed him where there was no opportunity for him to practice his free love precepts.

Among Cochran's converts one of the most ardent was the wife of John Berry, a North Saco farmer, well to do for those days. Mr. Berry himself did not take so much stock in the founder of the new faith but on the wife's account, Cochran was welcome at the house and meetings were held there. How it happened, the Journal's informant could not recall, but by some means Cochran got into his hands quite a sum of money belonging to Mr. Berry and it was claimed that he had made arrangements to skip out into fresh fields when Mr. Berry learned of his loss. The necessary papers were secured for Cochran's arrest and Mr. Berry, Rishworth Jordan, the father of Rishworth Jordan of Saco and a third man, whose name could not be recalled, undertook to take Cochran into custody. He started to escape but was caught astride a fence somewhere between the Buxton road and the River road and after quite a tussle was brought to the "lobby." He was tried before Judge Thatcher in Saco and in addition to the crime in connection with Mr. Berry's money, other charges were brought against him and he was sent to State prison for a long term and there he died. After his death, his body was brought on to North Saco, and there was serious trouble about burying him. Some of his disciples wanted the body interred near his old haunts, while others, who had seen enough of Cochranism, refused to have even the corpse of the founder of the faith buried near them. No one seemed to know for sure what disposition was made of the body, but there was a tradition that it was secretly buried at night near the house of one of the most prominent Cochranites, who lived well up the Buxton road.

While Cochran was a prisoner at the State prison, he invented a rifle, and this invention was afterward patented by his only son and was known as the Cochran rifle.

Cochranism did not, however, die out with the imprisonment or the death of its founder. Local leaders in the faith sprang up to take his place, and the Cochranites flourished and multiplied for years, the craze continuing until about 1835, and the doctrines of Jacob Cochran being lived up to in certain families and small communities for years after that, in fact, almost up to the present time. Two of the best remembered preachers and leaders, who followed Cochran, were Timothy Ham and Benjamin Goddwin, though these are by no means the only ones who tried to keep alive the interest which the founder had aroused locally. Like him, his followers held their meetings at houses and in barns, or in the summer out of doors. They made many new converts, and their meetings had all the characteristic features of those which Cochran himself used to hold, except that none of his successors had his own mesmeric powers or his preaching ability. Timothy Ham was, however, quite a preacher and successful evangelist. Singing and the walk-around dances were features of Ham's meetings well remembered, a favorite chorus of this latter day apostle of Chochranism being:

    Though Hell may rage and vent its spite
    The Christ will save his heart's delight
        O, Glory Hallelujah.

It was not many years ago that the trial of the Aaron McKenney will case brought Cochranism in some of its details to the minds of the present generation, but in the death of the centenarian about the last active disciple of Cochranism was removed.

The Captain Skinner house in Buxton recently purchased by Jere Dearborn was for many the headquarters of the Cochranites.

The Cochranites were still flourishing in North Saco and Buxton when the apostles of a new faith appeared. The new faith was Mormonism and the apostles were no less famous persons than Joseph Smith, the founder of the doctrine, his brother, Parley Pratt, and Brigham Young himself, though the latter at the time he expounded Mormonism in this vicinity was not so high in the church as he afterward became to be and not so well fixed for wives and children as in his later life.

It was something like sixty years ago that the Mormon craze raged here and Mormonism as preached by Joseph Smith then was a good deal different from the creed of the latter day saints when Salt Lake was flourishing and incidents like the Mountain Meadows massacre were of quite common occurence. Smith and his other disciples were after converts to go to Utah and join the Mormon tribe in accordance with the divine revelation he claimed to have had and poligamy was not then part of the creed, or if it was the apostles were shrewd enough not to preach it in Puritanical Saco. Smith, Pratt and the other Mormon emissaries are said to have been preachers of great power and wonderful things are related in connection with the Mormon meetings which used to be held a first at different houses and later in the so called Mormon Temple.

The Temple was a more modest structure than its name would imply. It was a small wooden building, about 15x20 feet, and it was located upon what is now part of Ira W. Milliken's farm, just across the Buxton line. After the Mormon craze had died out and there was no further use for the temple, the late John Millikin of Buxtonbought the building, sawed it [in] two and used one half for a sap camp and the other for a farm tool house.

It was in this modest temple, however, that Smith and the other latter day saints held forth and at their meetings quite a number of converts were made. Some of those who had been prominent Cochranites forsook the old faith for the new and recruits for Mormonism were received from the best families of that section. Besides having had a special revelation from God Smith found scriptural foundation and endorsement for his faith in the Bible and those who are still living who attended these Mormon meetings tell that no stronger doctrinal sermons were ever preached from and backed up by the Scriptures than Smith and his apostles preached sixty years ago in Saco and Buxton. The ordinance of baptism was administered to all converts, the baptismal waters being furnished by the Storer Milliken brook. One midwinter a number of converts were baptized through the ice at this brook.

The most remarkable feature of these Mormon meetings was the "talking in tongues," as it was then termed. Converts whom the spirit moved would get up in these meetings and rattle off a jargon which was unintelligible to everybody present, even to the Mormon apostles, who were, to let them tell it, in such close touch with the Deity. When the convert had finished, he or she had no more idea of what had been said than those who had listened. They had simply yielded to the inspiration which seized them. Before the meeting was over, however, some other convert would have an inspiration and would get up and interpret what had been said by the other "in tongue." People of limited education and ability would interpret sentences and sentiments which were lofty in thought in language most impressive and beautiful, so it is said, and when they had finished these interpretations they professed to have been as irresponsible for their utterances as had those who had first spoken "in tongues." Neighbors hearing other neighbors, whose capabilities they well knew run these remarkable rigs, were astonished to an extent which made them open to conviction, and there were many who, while they did not come out Mormons, were still much impressed by the wonderful things heard in the old "Temple."

Of the converts made by Smith, Pratt, Young and others, perhaps a score were interested to the extent that they left home to join the Mormon train which started about that time for Salt Lake City. Some of these went as far as Cleveland [sic - Kirtland?], Ohio, from whence the train started, some got as far west as Illinois and a few kept on with the Mormon train and went to the "promised" land in Utah. Perhaps half a dozen who went from Biddeford and Buxton remained at the Mormon settlement, and there are at least two of these who have lived there since as Mormons, but not in poligamy and are now, or were at last accounts, still living. Two young men left Saco for Utah, and professing the faith to a superior degree became for a time Mormon preachers and sought to win new recruits to the faith in Western towns. One of these was Sam Brannan, who finally went to California and became at one time immensely rich, though he died in poverty a few years ago. Brannan's companion forsook Mormonism and came back to Saco and was until his death one of that city's best known and most reputable business men.

One man who started out with the Mormon train was induced by a most ordinary incident to give up the faith and return home. As the great train of Mormon emigrants were leaving Cleveland for far off Utah, a team containing a woman and two children was run into by one of the Mormon teams. The woman and children were thrown out and injured, but the Mormons paid as little attention as though it had been a dog they had run down, and the great train was not halted to see what became of the woman. The Saco man's humanity had not been destroyed by fanaticism and he could not see any difference between a Gentile and a Mormon. He left the train to attend the injured woman and children, got to thinking the matter over and concluded to come back to Saco instead of going to Salt Lake. He lived a Christian life and died a Free Will Baptist, but on his death bed he told a friend that he as firmly believed in the Mormon doctrine then as he ever had and that no creed had better scriptural foundation than the one which led him to start in the wake of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young for Utah.

Among the familiar family names mentioned in connection with this Mormon revival are Burnham, Berry, Lord, Lowell, Milliken, Andrews, Dennet, and such was the admiration and reverence for some of the Mormon apostles who visited this section that children in some of these families mentioned were named after them. There are a few still living in Saco and Buxton who were converts to the faith promulgated by Joseph Smith, who received the Mormon baptism from the hands of him or some of his apostles and who used to attend the meetings at the old Temple, "talk in tongues," and interpret the inspired utterances of others.

Note 1: The above account, taken from the memories of elderly people who seem to have known very little about Cochran's activities outside of the Saco area, is probably only reliable where it gives specific information relating events occuring in northern York Co., Maine, c. 1817-36. Even these events, as told by the elderly informants, are suspect in their dating -- the informants appear to have "telescoped" Cochran's chronology in several instances, providing both longer and shorter spans of time between events than what a proper timeline would indicate. While it is possible that Joseph Smith, Jr. briefly visited York Co. in August of 1836, there is no evidence of missionary effort by him at that time (and his recorded activities in New England during the summer of 1836 place him no further north than Massachusetts). The actual Mormon Smith family visitors to York Co. would have been Samuel Harrison Smith (in 1832) and William Smith (in 1835, and perhaps again in 1843-45).

Note 2: Sam Brannan (1819-1889) is perhaps the best known Mormon convert from southern Maine. Other notable proselytes include Danile Q. Dennett (1808-1872); Susan Lowell (1804-1859) who became the wife of Apostle John F. Boynton; Samuel Lowell; Arthur Milliken (1789-1882) who married Joseph Smith, Jr.'s youngest sister, Lucy Smith; Dorcas Milliken (1801-aft.1847); Nathaniel Milliken, Jr. (1793-1874); Edward Milliken, Jr. (1802-1807); Simeon Andrews, (1798-aft. 1851); William Andrews (1752-1834); Joseph B. Hawks (1799-1862); Matilda C. Hook (1820-?); Aaron Hook (1818-aft.1870); Phebe A. Northrop (1803-aft.1846); Silas Nowell (1798-aft.1846); Mary J. Parker (1817-1901); Eunice Sevy or Seabey (1811-1900); Mary Trueworthy (1819-?); Agnes M. Coolbrith (1811-1928) who married Joseph Smith, Jr.'s brother, Don Carlos Smith; Mary F. Hayes (1799-1853); Mary Bradbury (?-1834); Richard M. Lord (1813-?); Sylvester B. Stoddard (1801-1867) cousin of Joseph Smith’s sister Sophronia Smith Stoddard's husband -- also son-in-law of Vinson Knight; Ann E. Corwin (1817-1864) who was the wife of Sam Brannan; Susan Davis (1795-1870); James Townsend (1808-1886); Moses Holmes (1815-?); George W. Boothby (1818-aft.1880); Joshua Moulton (1811-?); Freedom Moulton (1808-1857); Calvin Foss (1800-1835); Sarah E. Foss (1827-1899); Hannah K. Libbey (1786-1867); Luther Scammon (1808-1878) brother-in-law of Apostle Wilford Woodruff; Rhoda F. Carter (1809-1897), Ilus Fabyan Carter (1816-aft.1842), Shuah C. Carter (1811-1905), John Carter (1782-1852), Dominicus Carter (1806-1884), Hannah Carter (1809-1894), Sarah Brackett Carter (1800-1894) all Carter in-laws of Apostle Wilford Woodruff; and Phoebe W. Carter (1807-1885) wife of Apostle Wilford Woodruff.


Vol. IX.                          Biddeford,  Me., Wednesday,  Oct. 19, 1892.                           No. 236.


A Journal Reader Gives Definite Facts as to His Burial.

A Biddeford man who does not pretend to tell where Jacob Cochran died tells the Journal some interesting facts about his burial which he can vouch for.

He is sure Cochran was sent to prison from this section, but whether or not he died there he does not know. He says that Cochran's remains were taken to Buxton for interment, and that as Cochran in life had assured his disciples that after death he would rise in nine days these remains were kept that length of time, before burial, in the door yard of the Capt. Skinner farm in Buxton. When the nine days passed and Cochran did not arise as he had agreed to do his body was buried on the John Dennett farm in that same neighborhood, now owned by Samuel Berry.

In just nine years instead of nine days, Cochran was resurrected, but not because he was possessed of immortality. His remains were exhumed and taken away by the late John Elden of Buxton, he thinks to New Yoek state, though he is not certain upon this point. Tombstones had been erected over Cochran's original grave and when it was opened these stones were put back in the grave and covered over. Sometime afterward, Jacob Dennett of Buxton, whose mother, Sarah Dennett, had been a disciple of Cichran and who was himself named for him, dug up these grave-stones, had them re-cut and erected them over his mother's grave. The Journal's informant says that these stones which marked Cochran's resting place, before his resurrection, may now be seen at Sarah Dennet's grave in the Oliver Dennet burying ground in Buxton, and that unless it has been onliterated within a few years the inscription to Jacob Cochran may now be traced on the stones.

The Journal's informant also tells of the particular act which led to Cochran's imprisonment.

John Dennett was not a Cochranite but his wife was and during the husband's absence Cochran and some of his strongest disciples held at the Dennett house what he called a "feast of the passover." At this feast he advertised to heal the sick and three young women who were hopeless victims of consumption were secretly persuaded to allow Cochran to heal them. This "feast of the passover" was the most remarkable of the many seances held by Cochran and within a few days after the three who had been brought to him were dead.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Biddeford Weekly Journal.
Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Dec. 22, 1893.                                   No. ?



To be Furnished the Journal by Joel M. Marshall,
Who is able to Give the History of this Strange Craze
More Fully than Any Other Can Give It.

Following is the first of a series of articles which Joel M. Marshall, Esq., of Buxton is to furnish the Journal upon the subject of Cochranism.

Several months ago the Journal published an article on Cochranism which provoked a good deal of discussion among those who knew anything about this strange religious craze or who had heard about the remarkable character and powers of the man who put forth the new faith. Certain of the older readers of the Journal disagreed with some of the statements published at the time and few of them agreed among themselves. One thing was agreed upon and that was that a full story of Cochrane and Cochranism which was authentic would be of much interest.

At that time it was mentioned in the Journal that Mr. Marshall was possessed of full facts in regard to Cochranism. He has always lived in the village in which Cochrane made his advent and launched his strange doctrines, and has the whole history of the man and the movement accurately. Mr. Marshall has consented to furnish the story for the Journal, and today's installment will be followed by other chapters of the story, which is sure to be of great interest. Many of the families native to this locality can find some of their ancestors and connections mixed up with Cochranism.

Near the close of a dark leaden day in April in the year 1816 there came to the door of the old Warren tavern at Salmon Falls, Buxton, a stranger with a satchel in his hand and asked for the entertainment of a supper and lodging.

When he entered the bar room there were about a dozen young men sitting around the great open fire chatting, not an uncommon sight at these times, and especially at this season of the year, for a country town.

The entrance and greeting of the stranger at first caused a little moving about to make room and some gazing but nothing attracted particular attention except one little odd feature concerning his dress, which was that he wore one of his pants tucked into the leg of his boots, while the other was allowed the privilege of scraping acquaintance with the mud of the street, as the opportunity offered.

As the evening advanced, and especially as the new comer conversed with the company, other peculiarities and some very interesting facts concerning him began to enlist their attention. He had dark hazel eyes, bright and penetrating, with a glance and expression that craved a second look from the observer, while his voice was firm and distinctly toned and rather musical.

The stranger, rather an unusual circumstance, easily took the lead of the conversation of the evening and showed himself to be exceedingly well informed, with a fluent tongue and an easy and graceful talker, which in these days carried on its face its full merit of influence and respect.

When supper was announced he proceeded to the dining room where his appearance was more definitely scrutinized by the hostess and her daughter. His conversation at the table with them must have been quite prolonged as their guest ate with a zest and heartiness commensurate with his prodigious physical and mental vigor.

The hostess and daughter and most likely other members of the family, took their place at the table with the stranger, the usual custom at country towns in those times, and the opportunity then presented itself to the stranger to make some inquiries about the place, people and such other facts that were wonted to decide the question of his story and the prospect of his mission.

He seemed to be conversant with the history of the family and on one or two occasions he told them of matters relating to their domestic concerns, which they then did not know, but which older members of the family afterwards confirmed.

When the stranger had finished his supper and returned to the bar room, he had to pass through a vacant room and a long entry, the old lady whispering to her daughter, said:

"Betse, you go up to the chamber closet and get the silver and bring it down. This man is going to sleep next to this closet and I am afraid of him. He must be a fortune teller and the Lord only knows what he is."

In going to the chamber and the closet, the daughter had to pass through the bar room. As she was moving quietly through the bar room, hoping to escape the notice of the stranger, suddenly he turned in his chair and looking her full in the face, said:

"Madame, you needen't touch your silver, I don't want it. I am a gentleman."

The daughter stopped as though shocked, and then turned and went back to the kitchen and told her mother what had happened and they both said he must be a fortune teller.

This proved to be in some measure true, for it is said that he did afterwards tell their fortunes but it was not known that he made that any part of his business.

In the course of his conversation in the evening around the fire, he gave them his name as Jacob Cochrane and said he had hailed from Vermont and told them that he had just come out of the army, and had a certificate of his qualification to teach school. Afterwards it was found that he came from Enfield, N. H., near Vermont though either of them might have been true.

Nothing was ever known of his efforts to secure a school in these parts and probably that was not his intention, as he claimed his mission was in an entirely opposite direction.

The report is, that the first exhibition of his oratorical power was on the occasion of the funeral of a little child who died suddenly at Salmon Falls soon after he came here. At the close of the ministers remarks a tall, commanding looking man came forward from those assembled and placing his hand on the forehead of the child and commenced a discourse. The late Charles Runnells and a number of others who were there and heard him said they never heard anything like it before or since.

The name and fame of Cochrane began to spread from this, and from that time when it was known that Cochrane was to speak at any meeting, whether his own, or any other, he was sure to have a crowd of hearers.

At the time of Cochrane's advent here religious interest was on the increase and revivals had been going on in many of the adjoining towns, Gorham and Scarborough, Saco and Standish and other towns in the western part of York and in Cumberland counties. Elder Clement POhinney of Gorham and Elder John Buzzell of North Parsonfield, held meetings in many parts of the county and the people were wrought up to a high state of religious fervor just as Cochrane burst upon them full fledged to capture the unwary and all the supernatural and visionary subjects that were looking for a ready realization of their dreams, seemed to see in Cochrane the mediator for whom they had opened their windows, looking to the new Jerusalem.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Dec. 28, 1893.                                   No. ?



Second Instalment of Mr. Marshall's Series -- Cochrane's Family
and Early Life -- His Oratorical Ability and Magnetic Power
Over the Converts to His Faith.

Jacob Cochrane was born on the ninth day of July, 1782, at Enfield, N. H., and was the fifth child and third son of Jacob Cochrane and his wife Rachel (Webster) Cochrane of Alenstown. Jacob Cochrane Sr., and Rachel Webster were married February 15, 1773. Jacob was married to Abigail Colcord of Enfield, date not given. The family consisted of Jacob Sr., wife and eight children. Jacob, Sr., was the proprietor of a good farm and was a well to do farmer. At that time and that place the children received about six weeks' schooling in a year. This is on authority of a Mrs. Andrews, a relative from Enfield, in a letter dated May 7, 1888. She negatives the statement that Jacob ever taught school, or that he was ever in the army. The youth of that period who could qualify himself for teaching school in that short period of time each year, must have been endowed with rare powers of concentration or else we are driven to the conclusion that examinations for such position was not conducted on the exhaustive system of the present time.

Cochrane Senior, like all farmers then and there, kept quite a hred of cattle and several cows, and it is in connection with this fact that a little incident occurred, which may be of interest to the reader, and will illustrate the fertility of his mind and the multiplication table of his expedients to avoid the drudgery that fell to the common lot of boys and young men of that time.

It is said that young Jacob, with perhaps the other brother Samuel, were detailed to do the milking, and it was always noticed that the cows that Jacob had to milk were uneasy, and would not stand still. The others did not understand what the cause of this was, and the consequent loss of the milk and the unvariable result of his attempt, caused his father to transfer the youth from that to another department of the barn work. It was soon after discovered what the real mischief was. It is said that the boy had stuck a row of pins in the front of his cap in such a way that when he leaned forward, placing his head against the cow, the method of some milkers, the pins stabbed the cows and made them kick and spill the milk.

A period of his early life, of about fifteen years, must now be passed over in which we have no definite knowledge of his whereabouts, his development, his business or other probable instances of his wild endeavors. He must have had some experience in the line of preaching somewhere before his advent in this section of the country.

An aged man of Parsonsfield relates of a neighbor seeing Cochrane at Porter and says of him: "On a Sabbath morning as he (Cochrane) approached the school house where he was to hold a meeting, he appeared to be a handsome, fashionably dressed young man. His coat was thrown back so as to show his white vest. He walked with a brish step, swinging his arms, clapping his hands, singing joyously and bowing politely to all whom he met."

Cochrane's doctrine, if indeed it had any foundational prototype outside of his fertile brain, seems to have been like the Koran in theory (and in practice like the whirling dervish of the Oriental countries.

He claimed that all his sayings were from divine inspiration and he thought that all who embraced his doctrines received direct and constant communications from the Almighty. Their usual expressions were: "The Lord tells me."

Under the influence of this self imposed delusion they could easily allow their random thoughts and desires to establish a rule of action, which was to assume the control of their minds and give license to the basest passions. He did not reject the Bible, but his interpretation of it was often silly and obscure. In carrying out the command to become as little children, he exhorted them in humility to roll in the dirt, and men and women to make mud cakes. He directed these simple and puerile antics, and they obeyed in proportion as he had gained control of their minds and become subordinated to these personal suggestions. He led them to believe in a "supernatural affinity." They were to heal the sick and even to have the power to strike down dead if they willed. They were able to enlarge the farmer's crop or to bring the housewife's soap.

A poet in the vicinity of one of the places where Cochranism had made many converts, describing a dispute with one of these zealots makes Dennis say to John:

       "If I should say -- My power to show
        That you must die, it would be so."

John replying:

       "Brim full of John takes the floor
        And shovels Dennis out of door."

He thought that to him and his followers the Deity granted special privileges and powers and that he and they were infallibly directed in every purpose and in every act of life. But this power, this influence over disease, or rather this personal magnetism seemed to be the peculiar province of Cochrane alone. No one of his proselytes was ever known to have been innoculated with this gift.

An old gentleman of Parsonfield recollects seeing, when a boy, a party of these zealots passing his father's house. They were on their way to heal a sick man, but the sick man did not have the required faith and so this miracle withered in the bud.

It is said that Cochrane made about fifty proselytes in Parsonfield and probably the mischief would have been much more extensive there and in that vicinity, had it not been for the ever vigilant eye of Elder John Buzzel, who put his whole soul into the work of battling this deceiver. Those who were led by him were generally of the ignorant and excitable kind and would often attempt the power of oratory like that of Jacob, which was conceded by all to be brilliant and sometimes very eloquent. They would mount a bench or box and then attempt to hold forth and begin confidently and with some definite ideas at first, and there would become excited and pour forth a roaring cataract of nonsense and incoherent babbling.

There were numerous exceptions, however, to the above. The strong minded likewise felt the power of Cochrane's influence. The late Jabez Haley related that he was present at one of Cochrane's meetings, when one of the strongest men of North Saco fell under the gaze of this magician, and another very strong man in Hollis said of himself in 1817 that he became as weak as a baby while he was directing his attention to him at one of these meetings.

In a sketch of his experience in 1817, written by himself, he says: "And my strength all left me; then I was willing to get down upon my knees or anything, but my strength was so far gone, and I had got in that position that I could not get out of my chair till someone took hold of my hand, and I settled upon them and fell out of my chair on the floor. Here I felt to cry to God for mercy, but soon I was carried away in the spirit, and knew nothing of the things of time and sense for some time."

Other kindred instances of this power will be afforded later on.

It is said that their religious exercises were prayer and exhortation, singing, dancing and whirling and ended by falling on the floor, and that they would go through what they called the "holy roll" by commencing to dance round in a circle with great rapidity and suddenly fall, and then others would follow in the same way, nearly exhausted. Their dancing was sometimes accompanied by clapping of hands and singing a quick, lively air. The old custom of deaconing out the solemn psalm tunes and hymns, pausing and ganging on the parts in slow long metre received a hasty quietus at the hands of Cochrane. Some account of this manner of singing, dancing and its legitimate effect, and the changes wrought by them will be treated of later on.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Jan. 10, 1894.                                   No. ?




[By Joel M. Marshall]

The summer of 1816 was long held in remembrance by the older men of our day, as the cold season, there was a black frost every month of the year. Farmers with a few exceptions lost their entire crop of corn, which was killed by the frost and rotted in the field. There were two adjoining farms bordering on Saco river in the town of Buxton where the vapor from the river saved the crop of corn of the owners. Mr. Stephen Palmer and Mr. Emery, who supplied their neighbors the following year with seed corn. From this circumstance this part of the town has ever since been known as Egypt.

This was, indeed, a dreary year. The crops were either very light or an entire failure: business was dull, money was scarce, the disturbed condition of the country immediately following the war had nearly paralyzed our shipping, prostrated commerce and left our credit at the mercy of other nations.

The great number of unemployed, the hard times, the relaxation of discipline, and the apathy of moral vigor that followed the war, rested on the people with such pressure that all efforts to enlist them to any extent in that devotional exercise and self sacrifice, so essential in making any material religious progress, were attended with very limited success.

Burdened with the legacy of a heavy war debt, deprived in the case of nearly every family, of the luxuries and in many cases of necessaries demanded for good common living, spiritual dearth, seemed to permanent and severely a fact as the scarcity of corn and the prevailing despondency that followed.

In connection with these natural causes, in order to show the condition of the country and the people of this time, it is kindred to this subject to exhibit a brief picture of the life and surroundings of the people, of the hardships, the limitations, the every day duties, and especially of the rigid discipline connected with their style and practice of religious observance.

Imagine a large two-story barn-like building standing alone, generally on an elevated place, pierced for numerous windows with small panes of glass, weather stained from long exposure, without paint, without a spire or bell, without a shade-tree to break the isolation, with a church-yard in the rear, the inside divided off into box-pews, six feet square on the ground floor, with a gallery on three sides and the corner pews reserved for the colored population and known as the "nigger pews," with an elevated pulpit and a sounding board canopied over the head of the preacher. On the front of the house was a porch with three doors, one for the men, one for the women and the front one for the reverend minister himself. A steep flight of stairs led up to the galleries. The pew backs were high and perpendicular with a narrow, slatted railing some eight inches wide, on the tops. The best locations, those nearest the pulpit, were reserved for the wealthy members of the parish -- saving two or three pews in the front for the singers and bass-viol player.

Here the good people congregated on Sabbath morning, most of them coming from a distance and bringing their dinners with them, and sometimes their go-to-meeting shoes in their hands, and there listened to the words of their pastor.

The hour's intermission was spent on lunching and hearing the gossip or scanning the "publishments" which were posted in a frame in a conspicuous place near the door -- until the afternoon service, which being completed, they trudged home.

In these cold, unpainted, airy barracks on the cold days of the winter season the people gathered and sometimes sat for two long hours without a fire -- as still as statues, and listened to the long winded sermins and prayers -- and especially of the preacher was gifted in prayer, the latter would be longer than the sermon.

While the preacher was reading their warm destiny in the "red glare of hell" the children would be curling their feet under them to keep from freezing, while they watched the little white clouds that every breath made, and the women tried to keep comfortable with their little square tin stoves, the minister would pray for the heathen, and the uncouth millions in far off Africa, and if any faithful wife and mother with a family of eight or ten children after wrestling with poverty and exposure and drudgery, and exposed to the mercies of a drunken husband for twenty years, had at last succumbed to death's relentless grasp, the minister prayed that her death might be sanctified to the bereaved family, and especially to the inconsolable husband. They must all acknowledge the wisdom of Providence and bow to the mandates of God. The music of those times consisted principally of long meter hymns, lined or deaconed with very impressive solemnity in metrical versions of the Psalms and Watt's select hymns. The rhymed horrors became popular in the eighteenth century, and continued so well down to our day. Think of singing in solemn chorus such lines as these:

   "My thoughts on awful subjects roll
      Damnation and the dead;
   What horrors seize the guilty soul
      Upon the dying bed?"

The effect of these old pennyroyal hymns on young people of that day, as of this, is not too difficult to imagine, and Cochrane immediately seized upon this fact and lifted himself at a bound above the ramparts of these traditional and senseless methods. He at once supplanted these with a quick, lively music of the most exhilarating airs. One of these lively little airs, and the one most often quoted by those who had heard them, ran thus --

   "Come you who love the Lord indeed
      Glory, glory hallelujah --
   Who are from sin and bondage freed
      Glory hallelujah"

The writer has heard several old men who well remember Cochrane, sing this hymn to a lively air and at the same time involuntarily emphasize the music by a lively movement of their hands.

Such was the cindition, such was the life and such was the labyrinth through which all apirants for the better mental development must thread themselves, and mingled with all was a certain degree of superstition, trained in traditional rules of acknowledged sancity, and time-honored in their observance. Over all these Cochrane had thrown the glamour of his impressive personality. His commanding presence, his pleasing manners, his dark penetrating eyes, his fluent tongue and copious language, his melodious voice, his familiarity with the scripture and his untrammelled interpretation of its text, his intense earnestness and all these engineered by a supurb masculine vigor, made [by] him a dreadful rival to be encountered by his contemporaries in the tournament of debate.

The malarial influence following the appropriation and inordinate abuse of these personal endowments over the up-country virtues and wilderness moralities of the rural people of New England at that time is not difficult to understand.

Cochrane addressed himself particularly to the young. He came to Maine as a preacher of no denomination, and as he professed, withed to found [none]. From his first entrance into Maine, extreme opinions of his character were entertained. Some thought him to be the most holy man that had appeared since the apostles, while there were some even then who regarded him as the devil incarnate. He first introduced himself to the Free Will Baptists in Scarborough, where his preaching at first as it was said, attracted no particular attention, save that it was bold, visionary and dictatorial. Extending his labors into other towns, his popularity increased till he was put forward in a protracted meeting in North Saco by general consent and where for six weeks the excitement was intense. Not less than three hundred there professed to have found mercy, and from that time Cochrane was the hero of the day, admired and almost worshipped by an excited people.

At the expiration of twelve months from the commencement of this extraordinary interest, it is said that not less than two thousand in southwestern Maine made a profession of religion. Churches of all denominations shared in the work directly or indirectly and ministers generally gave it their approval, though regretting its unhealthy excitement and its great excesses

The developments of Cochranism were by rapid and successive steps and in about the following order: he professed to have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit himself and to be authorized to administer it to others, after which they would live without sin. He disapproved of church organizations, declared all sectarian names to be marks of the beast, and all church members to be in Babylon. He introduced re-baptism as a [symbolic] cleansing from sectarian stains, and afterwards came to the proposition to have all things common. Nor did he stop here. A proclamation was finally issued declaring that all marriage vows were annulled, and that spiritual ties alone were to be regarded as valid among Christians. This last announcement was as pleasing to some, as it was startling to others.

Note: The above article, the third in Joel M. Marshall's series on Jacob Cochran, was reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of Jan. 12, 1894.


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Jan. 16, 1895.                                   No. ?


One of His Disciples Tells of his Own Conversion.


Made Them Worship Him Almost as a God.


A year or so ago the Journal published a series of very interesting articles on Jacob Cochrane and Cochranism which were written by Joel M. Marshall of Buxton, who has in his possession more accurate facts in relation to that subject than any other in these parts

On account of sickness and other business Mr. Marshall was obliged to discontinue those articles to the regret of many of the Journal readers.

Mr. Marshall is now able to resume his subject and the Journal expects to be able to publish from time to time a continuation of articles until the subject is exhausted.

In his previous letters Mr. Marshall had described the advent of Cochrane to Buxton and told of some of his earlier meetings and conversations. Cochranism had not yet reached the height of its rage.

Mr. Marshall tells in the following letter how men were overcome by Cochrane's preaching and gives the story of the conversions of Mr. McD____s, as written by himself in 1817.

The last article on this sublime subject afforded some cause of the transition from the time-honored customs and embarrassments experienced by the faithful, church-going people of the typical New England section and their natural susceptibilities to an innovation when moved by the deep earnestness and magnetic eloquence of such a man as Cochrane. Hero worship was then, as it is now, a dormant element, in almost every soul, and like every other contagious disease, found broad, level fields for infinite development when it met no organized and disciplined form of resistance.

The conversions under Cochrane were in one sense peculiar. Since Whitefield's career no man made so many converts among the masculine persuasion as he. In this respect it differs quite materially from the religious conversions of the present day. In the beginning it took its firmest hold on men, physically strong, in the prime of life, and possessed of unquestionable mental vigor. There are many persons still living who can remember distinctly the character of their men, whose names will for the most part be withheld, but who will be incidently alluded to in what will follow in this series, and the statement of these contemporaries would firmly corroborate this assertion.

The following account of one man's experience written out by himself at the time; then being a resident of Hollis, will show something of the mystic influence Cochrane had over [some?], at least, of his hearers. In this he has faithfully delineated his sensations and the state of his mind after attending Cochrane's meeting. The following is an abstract copy from this sketch, the first (of no importance to this subject) Feb. 10, 1817, "at home."

"When I went there again and worked till May, then I agreed to work seven months, but soon after this letter Jacob Cochrane preached at the town house in Hollis and I went to hear him, but I could not tell whether I liked him or not, for he brought out so many new ideas to me. I had not heard any preacher take hold of these passages which he did in Revelations, so it confounded me, but on the next Sabbath day he preached at the same place and I went to hear him again and I liked his doctrine very well but after he was done [with] his sermon I thought he had spoilt the whole for he began to tell what was about to take place. He said, "there was going to be the greatest refprmation that ever was known in this part of the world and if there was not they might say that God never sent him to preach." Among other things spake he of, that never came to pass, but apparently they will.

"When he said there was going to be a reformation and if there was not, we might say that God never sent him to preach, I immediately concluded that we should have reason to throw him away, but it went on some time and nothing took place till the last of May to the first of June when he appointed a meeting one week, all the week, and the reformation began, and on the next Sabbath the meeting was at the town house in Hollis again, and I went, and seeing many of the young converts whom I had always been acquainted with, struck me very much, and the next week the meeting was appointed at the same barn, and I had a great desire to go to the meeting, but I was hired by the month and could get no time to go, but I made an excuse that I wanted to go and settle with a man that was owing me, and I went directly to the meeting and when I got there I saw many of my companions rejoicing in the Lord. I sat down and the power of the Lord came on me and it caused me to tremble but the accursed pride of my heart kept me back, that would not let me cry to God for mercy and so I left the barn and went home.

"And on Friday the 13th of June, 1817, I went to my labor in the morning but my mind was to the meeting and felt such a weight of my sins that I could not work with any comfort and viewing myself lost forever without Christ and I was almost persuaded to tell the man that I was to work with that I could not work anymore, but thought that if I did this they would say that I was lazy or some such thing and so I went on that day, and to my joy and surprise, on Saturday morning my employer told me that he did not want to employ me any longer if I was afraid. On which terms I immediately complied with, and after that day there seemed to me something saying -- now what is there to hinder you from having religion. Thus I went on through the day feeling glad that I was done there and now I shall proceed to give an account of my experience and the dealing of the Lord to my soul. On Sunday, the 15th of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen, I went to the town house in Hollis. Elder Jacob Cochrane preached there that day and I concluded that I would go and see if the Lord would not appear in my relief, but when I came there my heart felt as hard as stone in comparison. I heard a goodly number speak of the goodness of the Lord to their souls, but I could not feel anything that was said, and I staid until the meeting was done feeling nothing but condemnation and horror of conscience, but there was a meeting appointed to Joel Marshall's that evening, not but a little distance from the place where it was in the day-time, and another to James Lord's in Saco, about two miles from there and Elder J. Cochrane was there, so I concluded I would go, and I went into the house feeling a dreadful weight to my heart and weighed down under sin. I seated myself and seeing many of my companions praising the Lord made me feel worse, but pretty soon there were two young women fell in the floor and began to beg for mercy in great distress, I went along where they were and stood and looked on them, and then I thinks I would not get down and make such a noise as they do, but one of them came out and befan to praise the Lord for what he had done for her own soul. There was [one] she wanted to come and praise the Lord with her and then I concluded she meant me, but I thought I would not stand there any longer, so I went back to the other part of the room. There I stood by the side of a table and the power of God fell on me, and I sat down on the table. Then the enemy told me that they would see me and all be round me talking and so I gor off the table and sat down in a chair and concluded I would set there until the meeting was done and then I would go away into some lonesome forest and there I would beg of God to have mercy on me and to show me the worst of my situation which, I believe he did, and my strength all left me. Then I was willing to get down upon my knees on anything, but then my strength was so far gone and I had got in that position that I could not get out of my chair, till somebody took hold of my hand and I settled upon them and fell out of my chair upon the floor. Here I felt to cry to God for mercy but soon I was carried away in the spirit and knew nothing more of the things of time and sense for sometime, but in this deplorable situation I saw the mercies of God. I saw myself on the steep precipice going headlong to destruction and very fast too. I saw no eye to pity and no created arm to help but was determined to cry to God for mercy until I plunged in hopeless ruin. But as I lay in this situation I looked up and at a distance I saw a field and here I saw the Redeemer of all mankind coming towards me, but it appeared to me that I should be gone before he got to me. But I was determined to cry to him till I was gone but he came towards me slowly and then I would look to see where I was going and when I would look around to see if Jesus, my Redeemer, was any nearer to me, he was still drawing nearer to me and soon I was at his right hand and he snatched me as a brand from the burning and set me in the glorious field of liberty and spake these words unto me -- 'Peace be unto you,' and immediately I was free and knew all the people around me, but had no strength, and two men took hold of me and sat me up and then they asked me if I did not want to stand up. I told them I had no strength and could not help myself, but if they would help me I wanted to stand up and so the two men took hold of me, one hold of each arm and lifted me upon my feet, but I could not stand for some time. After a while I could bear my heft but I felt so light as anything can be imagined, and "glory! glory!" then was shouted, my soul was happy and lifted above time and sense and I felt to exhort sinners to repentance and to see the Lord while he was to be found and call upon him while he was near, but the meeting was done. I did not know which way to go but the company went into the road and I followed them and went home. All things looked new."

"The next meeting was at the Hollis town house. From there we went to the house of Brother Amos Kimball, to a meeting, the spirit of God was there and the brethren and sisters were very much engaged. The meeting was dismissed, the people went away. Then the converts began to sing and praise God; sinners began to mourn. Five were converted, one of them my own brother. The meeting held until daylight. Then I went home, on the morning of the fourth of July."

The above sketch of a brief period of the writer's life, is probably the only thing of the kind that has been written and preserved. It gives a better insight into the peculiar influence which Cochrane infused into, and held over, his attentive listeners, than anything else now attainable, and it corresponds with, and corroborates the accounts given of him, many of which your contributor has oftentimes heard from the lips of different individuals both in boyhood days and confirmed by accounts learned by the investigation of later years.

It is claimed that the eloquence of Cochrane was not of a peaceful order, and not always confined to words. Some instances of muscular Christianity, which had no prototype in the average edition of the Bible, were resorted to, to secure the attention of his hearers. At one of these meetings one B____n, a wandering tinker, was present, and he did not fully appreciate the devotional spirit which was prevailing among the faithful. Cochrane grasped him by the hair and called out to him -- "You are going straight to hell." "Guess I am," responded the tinker, "for the devil has got me by the foretop."

Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of Jan. 18, 1895.


Biddeford Weekly Journal.
Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  February 1, 1895.                                   No. ?


How He Won His Way into Public Confidence.


Ministers Who Enlisted in the Crusade Against Him.

The earlier meetings of Cochrane which he led in person, were generally free from that boisterous, exciting and alarming character which become the drawing feature of those later on. The latter were the meetings of his followers for the most part.

Those held at the old town house on Brigadeer hill in Hollis, were distinguished by a deep earnestness and feeling the hearers were delighted with his eloquence. All classes attended them, and great interest was manifested, and there were some who became truly converted and remained steadfast in the faith, professing their love of Christ, and from that time lived honorable, useful and Christian lives, whose impulses were first moved by the powerful appeals and eloquent exhortations of Cochrane. The shouting, dancing, whirling and choosing their partners in the dark and those peculiar and wild excesses, those features of Cochranism which have best been remembered by those now living, were the sporatic growth of the so called "Spritiual liberty" which was given such liberal interpretation whose seed was sown by Cochrane.

The brief written accounts and allusions made to him by other writers and narrators are in harmony with the conceded [oasis] in his character.

D. M. Graham, the biographer of Rev. Clement Phinney of Gorham, who was the first minister in this section to associate with him, and who afterward denounced, shunned and dreaded Cochrane, says, "When Mr. Phinney was holding meetings in Scarborough, Cochrane was a devoted disciple, and Phinney then spoke of him as his able coadjutor. And when Phinney led the meetings Cochrane did not attempt to take the lead, but always seemed willing to follow, and eloquently confirmed what his able brother (Phinney) had said. It was the custom of that time for the minister who was holding the meetings to preach his discourse, whatever it might be, and then give the invitation to anyone of the denomination who felt in the spirit to speak. At one of these meetings Cochrane arose, apparently overwhelmed with holy emotions, and said -- "Today I have heard the gospel in its purity. God has sent this servant of his (Phinney) here for a great work of salvation, and he concluded his remarks by publicly proposing to give up his appointments to Mr. Phinney, reserving to himself simply the privilege of exhorting occasionally as the spirit might give him utterance." The biographer says, "Mr. Phinney could not decline so generous a proposal thus publicly made and when Mr. Phinney, entered upon the duties of his proposed series of meetings Cochrane accompanied him, faithfully availing himself of this reserved privilege of exhorting sinners to flee to Christ. He often wept profusely as he listened, and as he spoke, and the prophecy that he had before made, was so far fulfilled, for he won the confidence of the people."

It was claimed by those who knew them both, that Phinney was afraid of Cochrane and notwithstanding his self-sacrificing spirit and generosity in placing Phinney before him, Phinney seemed to withhold his confidence from him, and Cochrane knew it. One day he met Phinney in company with several men of the connection, and he said of him, "Brother Phinney you are very hard-hearted; you do not love me. It is as cruel as the grave, for I never before saw the man in my life I loved half as well as I do you." Phinney, raising his cane to a horizontal position, replied: "Jacob, I love you at the end of that, but I cannot receive you to my heart." Imperceptinly to the combative Phinney, all these circumstances were doing a great work to his gifted rival. The deference Cochrane paid to a man so firmly established in the confidence of the people by one, in the world's estimation, so much superior to him in natural ability of fine and imposing personality, generous and considerate, patient and seemingly as decout and sincere as he. These were the silent and insidious agents that shifted the current of popular acceptance from Phinney to Cochrane.

When Cochrane went from Scarboro back to Hollis and held meetings there, he said to his hearers --"Go to scarborough and listen to Mr. Phinney if you want to hear the precious gospel in its purity. I have traveled in ten states of this union, but never before has it been my privilege to listen to such a man of God."

In connection with the above incidents a few well authenticated instances of his skill in this part of York county which will follow will be persistent, and inasmuch as these peculiar features have never been made prominent by a number of predecessors who have told their knowledge and experience of the man, his gifts, his teachings, and his excesses we think they should be brought to an exhibition of the full share of their matirity in the unbiased delineation of his character. He had gained prominence as an eolquent orator, and won his most ardent adherents in the role of coadjutor at these meetings, in the most of which others had borne the responsibility -- thus almost unavoidably giving the impression of great reserved power and a daily expectation on the part of his hearers of a sudden and independent development of [it,] and it is a singular and almost melancholy fact, that in the monumental characters of the world's history the same traits which formed the leading characteristics of Cochrane were also a very prominent feature in theirs.

Measured on the scale of diplomatic ingenuity, he is worthy of a place by the side of Machiavelli, and for successful flattery finds its best historical parallel in the famous tournaments of adulation between Voltaire and Frederick the great.

To such an extent had the "Cochrane spirit" as it was called prevailed through York and Cumberland counties in 1817 and 1818 that the Baptist denomination especially had become justly alarmed and some of the leading ministers in the society were either sent or volunteered their services to follow him and go among those who had gone over to the delusion and formed a kind of vigilance mission or crusade against further inroads of this heresy.

Clement Phinney of Gorham, Ephraim Stinchfield of New Glouster, John Buzzell of Parsonfield and George Parcher of Saco were selected for this mission. The foremost and boldest and probably the best equipped of these was Elder John Buzzell, the subsequent editor of the Morning Star and editor of the first denominational magazine. He had been an itinerant preacher in many parts of Maine and through New England, a forcible speaker and fearless in the denunciation of sin and error. He was then 52 years old in the prime of his life and had a strong influence with his own and other denominations. He was on the war path for the dangerous orator, and seemed anxious to meet him face to face, an opportunity which he soon after secured.

About June in 1818, Buzzell was to hold a meeting at the old Congregational church at Buxton lower corner, in the interest of all denominations, but which it was supposed to be directed against the teachings of Cochrane. Cochrane was then in the zenith of his popularity, with a large following, some of whom were of an undesirable character, and he had become emboldened by a series of successes in capturing these meetings, and by some accidental design he happened to be there.

A large audience had assembled an Buzzell was in the stilted pulpit and had just given out his text -- Mark 13:37 -- "And what I say unto you I say unto all, watch."

Just then Cochrane stepped in the door and heard the text. He took the full meaning and recognized himself as the target, and immediately replied, "Behold I stand at the door and preach. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and I will sup with him, and he with me." "I come, the everlasting gospel to knock, to everyone that heareth, and all that I want here is my bigness on the floor." The silence that followed was ominous: the two men stood and faced each other, and anyone of an imaginative turn of mind would associate this scene with Scott's thrilling Clan-Alpine lrgend in the "Combat," and the words of Roderick -- "Have then thy wish."

But the sturdy faith of Buzzell did not forsake him; he finished the sermon and Cochrane got some hard bits, but he had the grace and courtesy to remain and listen, and it is not known whether Cochrane made any more extended reply that time or not. Stinchfield followed after Cochrane and aroused the people against his dangerous innovations and through Scarboro, Saco and Kennebunk threw his whole force into a series of denunciations and maledictions and afterwards in 1819 published a small pamphlet entitled "Cochranism delineated" which we believe now is wholly extinct.

Rev. George Parcher of Saco was so much exercised over the way the people were running to these diabolical excesses that it is said he left his team in the furrow and went forth to arouse his people against him, but so deeply had the doctrine of Cochrane fastened their roots in the minds of many of the people that at his meetings held for the purpose of warning his people against these abominations many hissed, some gnashed their teeth and some even threatened to take his life. But not only did he come away unharmed, but he was able to bring back many and succeeded in checking the further spread of this fanaticism and for a long time that was all the best of them were able to accomplish.

Note: This article was evidently reprinted from the Biddeford Weekly Journal late January, 1895.


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Feb. 14, 1895.                                   No. ?





Some idea of the magnitude of these Cochrane gatherings may be had from descriptions of them given by some persons who were there. The late Jabez Haley of Hollis who came to Salmon Falls in the spring of 1817, and commenced working for Col. Isaac Lane, speaks of one meeting in particular, held at the old Hollis town house on Brigadier hill at the junction of the old Alfred road and the Union Falls road, a large unpainted, airy and dismal looking building.

The accomodations were too limited for the people who had come in from other places and Cochrane adjourned the meeting to Capt. Gibeon Elden's pasture, a third of a mile distant, in the shade of some large birch trees which formerly stood there. Mr. Haley said that there were teams hitched to the fences and trees by the side of the two roads, and extended as far as he could see. He said there were three hundred teams there.

Mrs. Betsy Foss, who was then living at her father's, Benjamin Warren, at the old Warren tavern near the end of the bridge, said she stood near the door and saw them come down the town house hill, as she says, "The whole caboodle of 'em come down Brigadier hill, with old Cochrane leading 'em, and they were singing and hollering and the women and girls waiving handkerchiefs and the Lord only knows what all, for I don't." One girl in particular who seemed the most exultant and most earnest, afterwards became a very estimable influential and worthy woman and was the mother of a nice family.

At one of the town house meetings a little incident occurred which reveals a good deal of the true inwardness of Cochrane's character as well as another failure to perform a miracle. Mr. Aaron Bragdon of Hollis, was quite a prominent man and usually wore quite a broad brimmed hat. As he came in a little late he did not immediately remove his hat. Cochrane was a little piqued at his incivility and ordered him to remove his hat at once. Mr. Bragdon did not seem to hear him. Then Cochrane said "I call on God to take that man down." Mr Bragdon replied "Well God won't do it and I know you can't."

Moses McDaniel in his diary kept by him during his itineracy as a missionary through this county, and New Hampshire, beginning with Hollis, June 9, 1818, speaks of the meetings he held in the places where Cochrane had been preaching -- "July 4, (1818) went to Abner McKenney's, thence to John McKenney's. Held a meeting there. Brother Boothby baptized seven, and then I came to Aaron McKenney's to a meeting there that night. Come to Jacob Cochrane's from there to Waterborough to Joseph Gilpatrick's. Met a large congregation, come back to Winthrop Bradbury's and to Jishua Kimballs' to a meeting, then back to my father's, then to Caleb Locke's, then to Joshua Kimballs' then to Daniel Mason's then to William Andrew's Buxton, then to etc., etc. 11th, went to Aaron McKenney's from there to John McKenney's to a meeting, from there to the school house, from there to Benjamin Haines, then to Aaron McKenney's then back to Ben Haines', tarried there that night. 12th, Sunday -- the Lord's supper was administered; the power of God was displayed in a wonderful manner. About five hundred went forward to the supper. After the supper there was two set apart to the work of the ministry, Jacob McDaniel and Abner Woodsum. 13th Then back to Daniel Burnham's thence to Asa Seaver's thence to Jonathan Burnham's. 14 -- Today had meeting in the afternoon grear opposition by a young woman; tarried there that night. 15 -- Tarried there that day and a meeting that p. m. Great opposition by Sam Swett and Ben Tombs and several others" etc. etc.

Cochrane's beat seemed to be from Broad turn in Scarboro, through Nonesuch and North Saco, Salmon Falls, North Hollis, Limington via Edgecomb's bridge, through a part of Limerick, Cornish, Keezar Falls, Porter and Parsonfield and over into Effingham and Freedom, N. H. He held meetings in the old two story castle that stood in Hollis near the Haley brick yard, and at Porter village sometimes in the capacious Towle house that used to stand in the village. At these meetings there was one young man who became converted and seemed to take a deep interest in the meetings. He was a fluent speaker and seemed in all respects a strightforward young man. His name was Guptill, from Buxton or Hollis. He was called the "Swamp Angel." He succeeded Cochrane in the meetings around Porter and Cornish and gained the confidence of the people, both of professors and non-professors, but he soon began to shape his conduct after the Cochrane model and introduced hugging, kissing and blowing out the lights. The marriage covenant was disregarded and though the "swamp angel" left a wife at Saco river, he soon found another, who was congenial and spiritually inclined and whose husband had become spiritually minded and left her, so it was a happy union.

Some of these people who had been thus spiritually mated after Cochrane had completed his canvass in York county and commenced boarding at Charlestown, went to New York and joined the adherents of Joe Smith, became Mormons, emigrated to Ohio and from there to Nauvoo, and a few passed the remainder of their lives with them at Salt Lake. In this exodus there were some worthy families. Men with their legally married wives, from Buxton and North Saco went to New Tork and from there to Cortland [sic - Kirtland?], Ohio, but did not go to Nauvoo or Salt Lake.

Assuming the deadness of the civil law these deluded followers obeyed the higher law of love in a manner that would soon disintegrate society. The last crop of spiritual companions and broken families was alarming, but still had some such ridiculous phasesthat these helped to disgrace them and hasten the end of the practices. They were all ready to defend their opinions and acts by appealing to the Bible and rung all the changes that ingenuity could invent on the scripture account of the [Mormons?] first estate contained in verses 21, 22 and 23 of Secong Genesis. And so there were a good many married men and some married women who woke up one morning and then first discovered that their [mates] were not their ribs and of course could not be properly and spiritually mated. One man was starting out to find his mate or his rib. His neighbor remonstrated with him. He said, "You fool, how can she be my rib for she is three years older than I am."

One deluded brother who had a good wife and a large family of sprightly daughters, was informed by the spirit that his rib lived in Kennebunk and that he must go and bring her to the bosom of his family. So he set out on the journey across Shapleigh plains. By midnight moons, o'er evening dews, in bridal vestments well arrayed, he journeyed on. All at once he was ordered by the spirit to return. He turned his steps homeward and had got a few miles when he heard the same voice bidding him to obey the first command. He was lost and he thought he had lost his rib. "My rib the woods, my rib the floods, my rib the ricks and hollow mountains rung." He recrossed the dismal desert, when he received peremptory orders to go home, which he did and left the rib business forever.

There was one instance where a grown up daughter was given a spiritual brother, another instance where a man took his step daughter of 16 for a wife, with the consent of her mother, and when the law was to be enforced they eloped. Several couples exchanged partners. There were a good many wives who would not submit to this Rib & Co. partnership, and when a husband brought home that kind of provision for the family, she took the course of the prodigal son and went unto her father and took her children with her.

Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of Feb. 15, 1895.


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  March 13, 1895.                                   No. ?


Continuation of the History of this Remarkable Craze.

Days of Miracles and Visions.

How Cochrane "Cast out the Dead and Raised the Devil."

[By Joel M. Marshall]

When Cochrane with his acute penetration had become convinced of the credulity of the people who assembled under his banner and had committed themselves fully to the alurring drama of his promised reform, he entered with new zeal upon a scheme of Jesuitry, which had no modern prototype in the reported instances of modern proselyting. He had hitherto so shaped his conduct in a debased imitation of the apostolic mission of Paul, that he might have quoted his language" "Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more; and unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to the weak I became as the weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some; and this I do for the gospel's sake that I might be a partaker with you."

To hold the interest of great numbers in any misunderstanding which made an innovation upon an old established system it is necessary that each one engaged should feel that he had some part to perform for which he or she was fitted, and thereby become identified with, and to some extent responsible for its success. Freed from those ministers by whose influence he had secured power for himself, he found himself the head centre of an organization which moved in cadence to the wild dictates of his caprices beyond the reforming current of self control.

A few of his converts, a year after he had left them, said: "His party, like all other enthusiasts, claim great power in their leader. Some said he baptized with the Holy Ghost, and attempted the revival of the Jewish Passover, healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out devils, though to use a paragraph more in harmony with the deeds, though laking the authority of classical usage, "casting out the dead and raising the Devil." The miracle worker would have incurred no risk and the devil had escaped responsibility of local disturbance. Rev. Clement Phinney said he attempted to heal a sick man in Scarborough and made such a failure that it humiliated him and he had to ask the forgiveness of the man and his family and his brother ministers.

The reported attempt to walk on the water at Sebago lake in the evening has been many times told, and in so many different ways that we do not claim any definite or fully authentic account of it. It is given by one that Cochrane had planks about six inches under water, laid along so that he could see them in the dark, and someone, with more love for fun than reverance for Cochrane, had gone before and taken up one of the planks, so that when he reached that plank he took an undignified plunge and unceremonious baptism beneath the cleansing wave. As he came out of the water with his clothes hanging close to him, he did not make so good an appearance as he did when he went out on the plank, but he knew more.

Probably the most ridiculous and most beast-like story told about him at the time his excesses were astonishing all civilized people, was the one told about him while he was holding meetings at Porter, imitating Christ's entry into Jerusalem, riding on an ass. This cannot be put in print, but must be reserved for the special ear of those who believe that Cochrane was ordained by God the everlasting gospel to preach. It probably has no parallel in York or anywhere else in modern times, for shameless exposure. Like the Mormons, whom the Cochranites in many respects resembled [... all were buried.] Old men and old women were to dream remarkable dreams, young men were made to see visions (some of these visions were written out at the time and will be published), some women and young gorls were to take part in the swooning, others who wished to serve the Master in the humbler capacity, took upon themselves the menial task of washing the disciples' feet. The late Samuel G. Dennett, who lives in the lower end of Buxton, used to tell an amusing incident which took place in North Saco or Lower Hollis, now Dayton. At one of these foot-washing festivals, which will illustrate the sanitary as well as the spiritual blessings derived from this observance of the eleventh commandment, the faithful had assembled, and had a large pan or tub of water, and while some of the sisters were performing this ablution for others, one J. B. who, footsore and weary, had made the pilgrimage over the dusty plains of Dayton, presented himself as a candidate for this new experience, and so faithfully did the good sister absolve herself of this pious vow, that when she had finished they were obliged to suspend the exercises until they could get another tub of water.

From this stage of holiness, so dependent upon the state of the body, induced by fear or the glow of excitement, logically enough came other exercises, generally suggested by the character of the parties and their different tastes. Among these were holy marches, dancing, reaping, and winnowing. Mr. Stinchfield, in speaking of these practices says that at one time a cry is uttered by the language of the Angel of Revelation, "Thrust in thy scythe and reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." A number of the company will then throw themselves into the greatest agitation, violently exerting their arms and body for a long time until they are weary; and this they call reaping."

To other violent motions of the arms and hands they gave the name of winnowing and separating the chaff from the wheat. Another movement they called burning the chaff. This kind of exercise or worship was probably of short continuance as none of the present remember these features. It was related to Stinchfield in 1819, when those now living, who remembered Cochrane were very young.

The one feature which seemed to have been the sine qua non in all their religious meetings, was dancing. Here was the chance for all, and it is said all did engage in it. The strong attachment for, and long continued observance of this custom is well known by all who have known anything about this particular sect. Though more than seventy-five years have elapsed single the agile and versatile instructor led his spiritualized disciples in these Terpsichorean mazes, it is less than twenty-five yeara since some of the survivors, men and women in the sere and yellow leaf of life, would get together at the house of some good brother and go through this exercise with the lightnessand hilarity of youth. One ols lady who lived for many years at the Cochrane home in lower Buxton, who to the last carried the air of great refinement and must have been in her youth decidedly beautiful, gave the last gratuitous lessons in spiritual dancing in this section.

These dances were characterized by a very quick movement of the feet, with the hands raised as high as the shoulders and allowed to hang down limp from the wrist, and keeping step to very lively music, when they had the advantage of that assistance. Their music was for the most part singing.

These dances sometimes took very curious freaks and many instances are related connected with them which will be withheld. At some of these dance meetings, their wild incantations could be heard a mile away and they were sometimes accompanied with voluptuous excesses, to the ruination of many a woman's character and in some instances a forfeiture and destruction of property. There was now and then a ludicrous side to this dancing spirit. It has been stated that Cochrane decried all extravagance in dress, all grasping after this world's goods, except they be used for spiritual development, all pride in gain and high position, all political honors, and even if a farmer raised a good crop of anything and took a natural pride in his success with that [variety]. he should sacrifice part of it or be humbled. One man had raised a fine patch of cucumbers, and took one of his neighbors, who was one of Cochrane's followers, out to see it, and when the neighbor looked upon it he was seized with a fit of envy and rebuked the farmer, and said, "You are getting proud." And immediately the spirit of dancing came upon him and he danced all over the cucumber bed and kept at it until he danced them all into the dirt and completely destroyed them.

Considering the variety, the contrasts and the widely diverging tastes among the people who made up what might be called the army of the Cochrane crusade, it would not be just to say "ex uno deliciose mones." To go from one of these lawless, lewd, midnight dances to find a Christian or a just and honest man it would seem to require something even more searching than the lantern of Diogenes, and yet these these extremes were to be found. The obliterating hand of time has dissolved the lines and moats that separated these two distinct natures and instincts, yet we have proofs of an asceticism in their members more rigid and stoic than which formed the leading peculiarity of the morose Puritan or Cromwellian Round head. An extract from a letter written at [C------], July 2, 1820, from one of the [members?] to another one in Hollis [----- ------ ----] "....have opened my mind to [the----- ----- ---] ([those] about him just being converted) and there is a talk among five or six of meeting together and opening our minds to each other, for they say they cannot longer travel with brethren who will do this, that and other things that they think is wrong, viz: serving, bearing arms, taking interest, going to town meeting and choosing officers and taking offices in the kingdom of the world of which they have said to come out and to have been converted out of the kingdom of darkness into that of God's dear son, being banded together with covenants, names and literal bonds."

Another extract identigying the connection of the writer to the Cochrane brethren viz: "Write to me speedily and answer the followings questions; 1. What have you heard from Brother Jacob Cochran? 2d. Have you had any particuliar views?" The views here spoken of were what were called by the followers here visions, one of which I copy here, viz: "The views of S. D_____r in a trance on the fifth of August, one thousand, eight hundred and seventeen: I saw my Jesus; O, I saw my Jesus; O, glory to my Jesus. I saw heaven, I saw my Jesus there and I saw my grandmother in heaven who deceased on December, eighteen hundred and sixteen. I saw my father and mother almost in hell, but they may return back. I saw P. D. enter the kingdom of heaven. I saw my Jesus there in heaven. O. how beautiful he looked. I saw Mrs. B____y C. enter into the kingdom of heaven. I saw I____e D____r almost in hell. O, what a dreadful place hell is; fire and smoke ascending up out of it." Also the views of J___h L____ in a trance on the fourth of August, 1817: "O, I see my Jesus. O, how the devil looks. There is Jesus carrying his jewels around. I saw M. D. enter the kingdom of heaven; I saw B. D____r going to hell; I saw H. B. going to hell; I saw Mrs. L___y B____y entered in to the kingdom of heaven. I had a view of ghostly death standing in heaven with a pale countenance. Then I had a view of hell, a most dreadful place, fire and smoke ascending up out of it."

It will be remembered a former paper contained extracts from Mr. McDaniel's diary kept from June 1817 to November, in which he spoke of the intense character of Cochrane's meetings in Hollis, and the effect on him. At these meetings Cochrane would lay his hands on one's head a few seconds and then tell them to "press to light." Then the strength would leave the person and for days afterwards they would see visions such as those written above. Some of these visions are three pages in length, containing many names of the persons seen in these visions. This gives a pretty good key to the two parties here at that time, those who adhered to and those who opposed Cochrane.

Many of the anecdotes, the incidents of the all-night dance meetings, the queer freaks, speeches and ridiculous expression and comparisons made by the women and the droll remarks made about them by those there at the time cannot be published in our family papers. Some of the anecdotes will be held together and kept for another time. Some of them may find expression before the subject is closed.

Note: The above article, the seventh in Joel M. Marshall's series on Jacob Cochran, was reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of March 15, 1895.


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Jan. 31, 1896.                                   No. ?




Story of Founder of Cochranite Sect Continued.

When a little more than two years ago I commenced to write something about the Cochrane crusade together with a brief sketch of the dramatis personae, I estimated that what I might have to say on the matter would be contained in six of seven columns-and-a-half articles in the Weekly Journal. Seven articles have been furnished, and much remains to be said, and in some respects the most important awaits revision and publication, which I promise all the Journal readers who have acquired an interest in these papers, shall be forthcoming without delay, and be continued until completion, so far as my agency can govern them. Inasmuch as the public has been from time to time treated to several erroneous and conflicting statements about the locality of his home during the busy years of his history-making, the manner of his living, and the duration of his personal engagement in this religious tournament, I regard it as part of my engagement to set forth the facts of these as they have been verified to me since my last, and it is refreshing to find them in harmony with my previous opinion.

One very estimable old lady, now living in Saco, than whom there can be no better authority, and whose statement made to any of those who know her, will be held as authority for all time to come, lived in her childhood home within thirty rods of


house and home. As a child she remembered him, his personal appearance, -- his house and the number and condition of his family; and the evidently large circle of his friends and followers.

She says his house was a small one story one, and stood on the easterly side of the Buxton and Saco road, about midway between the Moses Lowell (then Samuel Lowell) house and the Cleaves house. The house was built by his friends, and up to the time of his final leave, was occupied by himself and wife and daughters Rachel and Helen, and son Jogn W., and an infant. This continued to be his home and the only one he had in Saco or vicinity until his conviction and commitment, November 13, 1819.

This last act proved to be the breaking up of the home, and virtually of the family. They did not long remain there. The house continued to stand a few years; but like all untenanted houses in the country places at that time, was too great a temptation to the effervescing vandalism of the average boy and it soon became the natural target for fugitive clubs and pebbles of the passers by, and whether its dissolution was accomplished by the natural law of decay, or by the aid of the incendiary, is of too little importance now to investigate. But there is no evidence that it was the "high walled, secluded, inaccessible harem for a bevy of women," that has been represented by another writer.

This location of the home of Cochrane is corroborated by memoranda of visits made there by Moses McDownie, an itinerant minister, on August 3, 1818, in a journal kept by him at that time. The children of Cochrane must have been quite remarkable though little is known of the girls. One, Helen, married a Mr. Richardson and lived in Portsmouth, N. H. We have at the time of writing ount of Rachel, the older daughter. The son, John Webster Cochrane, was born in Enfield, N. H., May 6, 1814, and lived with his father at Saco, and is still remembered as a bright boy, who used to beg a ride of the teamsters on the road, and they tell that he used to say to them, "I know you will give me a ride, because I am


At the age of eighteen, in 1832, with a cash capital of one dollar and twenty-five cents, or seven and sixpence, he walked to Boston on the old stage road, a distance of one hundred and ten miles, and the next year he succeeded in securing a patent steam-heating apparatus, and in 1834 he invented a revolving breech-loading cannon, -- the original principle of which was said to have been invented by his father while in the State's prison at Charlestown. This was that cartridge-holding-cylinder, automatically rotated by the cocking of the hammer, the same principle that afterwards secured the success of the revolving pistol.

In 1835 he visited France and was there introduced to the Turkish ambassador, and from there he was invited to visit Constantinople by the Sultan Mahmoud, and held an audience with him and his court. The Sultan rewarded him liberally. He afterwards went to England where he invented machinery for curvilinear sawing of timber, which was adopted by the British government. After his return to this country, her engaged in the manufacture of fire-arms and in perfecting projectiles and various other inventions, and made his home in the State of New York.

Of Mrs. Cochrane we shall adopt the language of her contemporaries who spoke of her as a woman od superior merit and very much of a lady. During the last of her life she made her home in Buxton on the place near the Saco line -- known as the Cochrane place, about a mile from Union Falls, [where] she died and her remains were taken to Enfield, her native place.

Late in the fall of 1818, the wild and lewd adventures of Cochrane begun to stir the people from the seeming lethargy into which the charm of his eloquence had allured them and they began to realize that the spiritual influence which he had awakened in some were neutralized by the bad example in moral depravity which he had established.


before this had been well ventilated by ministers in general and especially so by those of his own original denomination, and so bold had he become in setting at defiance both the civil and ecclesiastic law, that public sentiment clamored for his arrest. In December, 1818, accusations came thick and fast, but notwithstanding these, a great many did not believe the stories, and certificates of his good moral character were voluntarily offered. One of which (being now a matter of public record) will be given

"I hereby cerify all whom it may concern that I, P___y K___g, never did see or know Jacob Cochrane to do anything contrary to the character of a Christian, nor any about his house, and I do not believe there is any by him or any about his house that is indecent or uncharitable. "Voluntarily done by me, M___y K____g
"Saco, Dec. 13, 1818.
    "Attest. Narcussa Robinsin,
"A true copy attest.
D. Granger, Justice of the Peace."
February following the prominent citizens of Saco began to take legal proceedings against Cochrane. On the eleventh of February, 1819, Ichabod Jordan made complaint in the form of an information before Daniel Granger, a justice of the peace, in behalf of the commonwealth of Massachusetts that Jacob Cochrane at Saco, in the month of July last past did unlawfully and lasciviously associate with one ___ ____ ____, a married woman etc., etc., and another charge that the same Jacob with force of arms had criminal conversation and carnal knowledge of one ____ ____, a single woman, received and sworn before Daniel Granger the 11th day of February, 1819. The usual warrant was thereupon issued, dirrect to arrest Jacob, and was served by Jeremiah Milliken, a constable of Saco, and three men and three woman were summoned as witnesses. We have no record report of this trial only as it incidentally appears from the recognizances, scire facias and bail at the supreme court session at York in the May following. Cochrane soon found himself


but on the 19th of February another information for the complaint was made by Richard C. Shannon of Saco, alleging that on the tenth day of December, 1818 said Jacob with force and arms did committ open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior in the presence of divers good citizens of the commonwealth. Thereupon the usual warrant was issued on the same day, ordering the arrest of Cochrane, and to summon four women and three men to appear and give evidence etc. This warrant was served by Jeremiah Milliken, who arrested Cochrane on the same day, and the seven witnesses were also summoned and appeared. Milliken charged for three assistants, so that it appears to have been a matter of no little difficulty to capture the respondent.

It appears by the magistrate's record that the trial occurred on the same day that the complaint was made and the warrant issued. Upon examination it appeared that Cochrane was probably guilty, and he was ordered to recognize for his personal appearance at the supreme court next then to be held at York; sum not stated, but as it appeared afterward by the scire facias the sum was eight hundred dollars in one case and one thousand in the other Abner Woodsum of Boston and John Berry of Saco appear to have been his sureties, and the four women were ordered to recognize in the sum of thirty dollars each for their appearance at the session in York. Cochrane was again free. These trials agitated the whole of this section of the country. They were said to be crowded and must have occupied more time than the record implies, for Nicholas Scammon, constable of Saco, was employed two days by the justice to keep order


Many of the young men of this and adjoining towns attended, and the testimony of the women given in the most expressive language and unmistakable terms, gives a peculiar zest to it. The late Flemming Hill of Saco related how he when a boy, heard the spectators rehearse the testimony around the great open fire at the Chase house at Buxton lower corner on Sunday afternoon and during the intervals of church service.

The capture or arrest of Cochrane on the above occasions seemed to have been comparatively easy, as for himself, he believed that he lived a charmed life and could not be held, even though arrested and convicted. The most exciting part and what was spoken of in later years as Cochrane's capture took place after he had forfeited his bond after the May term of court at York, and between that and the November term at Alfred, 1819, which will be treated of in our next.
                             J. M. Marshall.
     Buxton, Jan 29, 1896.

Note: The above article, the eighth in Joel M. Marshall's series on Jacob Cochran, was reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of Feb. 7, 1896.


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Feb. 2, 1896.                                   No. ?



Story Half a Century Old but Full of Interest.

The May term of the Supreme Judicial court for the county of York was held on the 19th day of May, 1819, at York -- that old town and former city, so full of traditional and historical reminiscences of early Maine, where Fernando Gorges in 1641 laid the foundation of the first city on American soil. Associate Justice Hon. Samuel Putnam of Boston presided. The grand jury from the different parts of the county were there, including the following gentlemen: William T. Gerrish, Kittery, forma; Joseph Butler, Sanford; Paul Chadbourne, Waterboro; Malcom Davis, Biddeford; Joshua Dennett, Hollis; Reuben _______, South Berwick; Alonzo Fish, Wells; Alpheus Hanscomb, Eliot; Josiah J___se, Buxton; Isaac Killham, Wells; William Knapp, Parsonfield; John Libby, Berwick; Isaac Mitchell, Limington; Tridtram Ricker, Shapleigh; William Roberts, York; Jere Roberts, Lyman; John Rollins, Lebanon; John F. Scammon, Saco; Joseph Sewall, York; Andrew Smith, Arundel.

The record shows an unusually short session, convening on the 19th and adjourning on the 22nd of the same month. The principal and most important cases appear to be Commonwealth vs. Jacob Cochrane. On the information there received the grand jury found five indictments, containing eleven counts charging him with adultery, lewdness and lascivous behavior etc., on which Cochrane's experience had fixed the standard of turpitude. The court and counsel were ready to proceed with the trial, but


nor were either of his sureties. So their recognizances were forfeited, and a seire facias writ was issued. On the next day his sureties made their appearance, bringing with them their principal, and their forfeiture with the exception of the costs which amounted to the sum of $152.38. Court ordered a jury to be impaneled from the jurors present, and the following men constituted this panel: Charles Cushing, South Berwick, foreman; Joseph Bean, Daniel Blaisdell, Thomas Benson, James Chadbourne, David Boyd, Ebenezer S. Cousens, James Dunnell, Joshua Elliott, Eliphalet Durrell, Moses Smith, Samuel Sawyer.

The scene at this time in that court must have been worthy of a painting. There was Judge Samuel Putnam, keen, caustic, intellectual and a vein of humor withal, fully equipped for the conflicting points of counsel, of whom it is enough to know, that he was thought deserving of a seat in the council, with Hon. Isaac Parker and Prentiss Mellen. There was the clerk, Edward P. Haymon of Berwick, whose nineteen years' experience in the two-fold capacity, in the circuit and supreme courts, had won for him the reputation of being the model in this line of service.

There was the commanding form and stern countenance of Ichabod Goodwin, sheriff, whose vetran term of twenty-seven consecutive years in the service is the surviving monument of his fidelity to his official oath. There was the towering form of John Holmes, with his swarthy complexion, coal black hair, vigilant dark eyes, and perfect self command, then in the prime of life, and on the rapid transit road to the senith of his congressional honors, whose position in this area was counsel for defendant. And last but not least, all the human attributes that go to form the frame-work of real genius, sat Jacob Cochrane


in this drama, and the cynosure of all eyes, who could take in every phase of the situation with one magnet glance.

There in that crowded assembly of spectators and witnesses were others drawn thither less by curiosity than by interest; these were the illuminated faces of the two sureties on Cochrane's recognizance, whose forfeiture of eighteen hundred dollars had just been remitted to them by order of the court. Husbands were there, whose wives, embracing the newly promulgated creed of natural selection, had turned from the useful toily and homely joys of legitimate unions, to grasp the rain bow promises of greater conjugal felicity in new spiritual nuptials. There were the four young women who were there in obedience to their own personal promise and thirty dollar recognizance to appear. Young men were there who had left their fields ready for the planting -- drawn thither by a fascination no doubt to hear the testimony of these women who were there to give [---- ---] what they had seen and heard of the wild endeavors of this sinful man.

Others were there who had remained steadfast in their belief that Cochrane had been presented through malice; that his preaching and perhaps his practice, had its prototype in the spiritual writings and that the dawn of an era of general spiritual transformation had come to them in the fulfillment of a sacred promise and they hailed the advent of this gifted apostle as a second Paul, who had come again -- commissioned with the social prerogatives of a second Davod. The


by Daniel Davis of Portland, solicitor general on the part of the commonwealth, and in turn by Hon. John Holmes for defense, the charge of the judge given to the jury with John Powers in charge. The jury, after being out all one night, reported that they had not agreed, and that they could not agree. Thereupon the judge discharged them from this case, and the indictment was continued to the next term in November.

The second indictment was then brought forward and read and Cochrane was arraigned and plead thereto that he was not guilty [and for trial put himself on the country]. A jury was impaneled to hear his case, composed as follows: John Sayward of Alfred, foreman; Samuel Fernald, Daniel Libby, Nicholas Gilman, Joseph Linscott, Stephen Gowen, Jr., James Morrill, Benjamin Ward, Isaac Phillpot, William Hackett, Joshua Roberts and Benjamin Sayward, who after hearing all the testimony etc., returned a verdict of guilty.

And now a little circumstance revealed in the possibilities of the respondent and likewise afforded the court and the jury an instance of miracles. While the jury were out deciding Cochrane took the occasion to give them an object lesson sermon on the text, "The wicked flee when no man pursueth," and the court, the officials and the jury brought to mind the Irishman's celebrated discourse on the wicked flea, "Here he is and there he isn't," for Cochrane had skipped -- gone! How? It was not known and probably never will be. The jury was dismissed and the indictment continued to the next term.


When it went from lip to lip that Cochrane was again at large, a new flame of excitement was kindled that swept across the county from Fletcher's Neck to the New Hampshire line. Old men and women would give each other significant looks and say, "Ah, that Cochrane is an arch fellow; they can't hold him."

There was mingled feeling of joy and indignation among the people and this for a time was the all absorbing topic for gossip and it would seem that the presiding judge began to realize something of the magnitude of the job in recapturing thid adroit fugitive, for on the very day of his escape no less than nine capias writs or warrants were issued for his arrest.

The return on these warrants will best tell the story of the chase, the persons engaged and something of the expense

York ss, May 21, 1819.

By virtue of this warrant I made diligent search for the within named Jacob Cochrane and could not find him.
                             Edmund Coffin, Deputy Sheriff.

York ss., July, 1819.

By virtue of this warrant I made diligent search for the within named J. Cochrane and surrounded a house in Parsonfield, where I had reason to suspect he was secreted, with six aids and could not find him. The six aids were Tristram Redmund, Israel Chadbourne, Joseph Lord, Francis S. Grace, and John Lord.
                             Richard Lord, Deputy Sheriff.
Fees, 10 miles and 12 hours time Coch -- aid, $13.20

York ss., October 8, 1819.

By virtue, etc., I have taken the body of said Jacob Cochrane and have committed him to the jail in Alfred with copy.

Fees for two aids and two horses, $8.00; four aids, 12 hours, $6.00; aids, horse, 50 miles, $8.00; for keeping prisoner, $10.00
                             Edmund Coffin, Dep. Sheriff,
                             Allowed, D. Davis, Sol. Gen'l

York ss., October 11, 1819.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Edmund Coffin, Dr. To extra services self and horse securing Jacob Cochrane by special order of D. Davis and trip to Alfred, $5.00

York ss., Oct. 12, 1819.

By virtue, etc., I have apprehended the within named Jacob Cochrane and have committed him to Alfred Jail.
                             Joseph Emerson, Dep. Sheriff.

York ss., Oct. 19, 1819.

By virtue, etc., I arrested the within named Jacob Cochrane and committed him to the jail in Alfred.
                             Abiel Kelley, Dep. Sheriff.

By virtue of this warrant I made diligent search for Jacob Cochrane but found he has been arrested on another warrant and return this paper not served.
                             Ichobod Goodwin, Sheriff.

At the trial seven witnesses were examined for the State and Nathaniel Conant was allowed seventy-five ($75) dollars for guarding the prisoner. It will appear from these returns that Cochrane was abundantly arrested but the


and the excitement, etc., does not appear here. The first officer to arrest was Jere. Milliken, Feb. 18, 1819, the aids at that time were not named

Rishworth Jordan of Saco, states that his father, Rishworth Jordan and John Banks took Cochrane, and related how it was done. He says that late in the fall his father and Banks were detailed, to arrest him and they went one evening to the house of John Berry in Saco where they were told that Cochrane could be found but they were informed by the occupants of the house that he was not there. But not satisfied with this they concluded to conceal themselves and wait. Soon after, they saw Cochrane getting out of the window, and he cleared for the woods, and they pursued him. Cochrane had a large club and when they came up to him, he turned and struck at Banks with the club and knocked him down. Then they got on to him and held and secured him. If this was late in the fall it must have been the re-arrest. But the story of Mr. Jordan corresponds with the tradition that Banks and the others captured him. This was the way the late Charles Runnells told it, and corresponds with the statement of others to me.

Mr. Runnells and the late Fleming Hill of Saco said the officers called on the schools, and the large boys were


in the pursuit. Mr. Runnels was one of them. At that time boys continued to attend the district school until they were twenty-one, and oftentimes older than that, so that the large boys made quite efficient aids and probably very willing ones.

Extravagant accounts were then, and have since been given of Cochrane's immense strength and fleetness and that he jumped a four foot fence like a deer and it was told of him that he could resist the draft of two horses. At the time this posse comitatus of men and big school boys were on the scent of him through the woods and pastures and farmers' barns, it was currently reported that it would take six men to hold him. There is no doubt that Cochrane was physically as well as mentally a powerful man, and when, as on these occasions, he would summon all his energies to save himself from imprisonment he would be a dangerous and difficult subject to manage, but probably not so much as to require six men as Banks and Jordan then were.

On the second day of November, 1819, Cochrane was again brought to bar at Alfred on the first indictment, the Nobby Clark indictment of three counts, which was one on which he was tried at York, (verdict quilty, and at the time he was suddenly decamped) and was sentenced on each three counts.

On the first count the said Jacob Cochrane be punished by solitary confinement for the space of five days, and after that, that he serve the term of eighteen months at hard labor. On the second count, that he be punished with solitary confinement for the space of five days and after that he serve at hard labor for the term of eighteen months, commencing at the expiration of the former term. And that on the third count he be punished by solitary confinement for the space of three days, and after that, that he serve at hard labor for the term of one year. And the court ordered these sentences to be executed on him in and within the precincts of the State's prison at Charlestown in the county of Middlesex in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The warrant was issued the same day, reciting all the above counts and sentences to the warden of the State's prison at Charlestown, Mass. Witness Isaac Parker Esq., at Alfred this third day of November, A. D., eighteen hundred and nineteen.
                             Edward P. Haymon, clerk

State's prison, Charleston, Middlesex county, November 13, 1819.

In obedience to the above warrant I received from the sherrif of York county the above named Jacob Cochrane and conveyed him to the State's Prison aforesaid.
                             N. P. Watson, Dep. Warden, S. P.

Note: The above article, the ninth in Joel M. Marshall's series on Jacob Cochran, was reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of Feb. 21, 1896.


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Mar. 13, 1896.                                   No. ?


How Founder of Cochranite Sect Ended Public Career


Diary of Journey to Boston 75 Years Ago.

Mr. Cochrane's case having been determined in our last, it only remains to show the disposal of the four remaining indictments still pending. They were called up, and the court disposed of them as follows:

        Commonwealth vs. Jacob Cochrane --

No. 1 (on which the jury did not agree): the entry was "not to be continued til further order, he having been sentenced to the State prison on another indictment."
        No. 3 -- Same -- Same disposal.
        No. 4 -- Same -- Same disposal.
        No. 5 -- Same -- Same disposal.

Notwithstanding the course of Cochrane was glaring immoral and in the highest degree reprehensible, the pursuit, the trial, the conviction and the sentence did not by any means receive universal or even popular indorsement. In human society it is only success that is honored, and the moral obligations through which that success is gained are but little known nor long remembered.

The fervid eloquence and intense earnestness of Cochrane had won many adherents who believed his sentence was too severe. Soon after his incarceration his friends set about the work of getting his release, and in 1821 a petition to the governor and council of Massachusetts was circulated and signed by more than two hundred men in York county, many of them of the best class of citizens, and this petition was entrusted to Moses McDaniel of Hollis, who started with it across the country to Boston on foot, a distance of one hundred and fifteen miles.

It will show something of the zeal and fidelity of a friend -- and what a real friendship means -- if we follow


as he trod the unfamiliar road on foot and alone, but on this unremunerative but philanthropic mission:

Kennebunkport, Sept. 30, 1821, Sabbath; come to Cape Neddick to Jere Myers; stopped for the night.

Oct. 1 -- Ab-Brag -- came up. Went to Berwick to Moses Cooper's; then to Silas Goodwin's; tarried that night.

2nd -- About 9 o'clock, from there to Berwick river; took oars and flat and crossed the river; then over to Kennsington to Shaw's.

3d -- Moses Jones, day and night.

5th -- Moses Jones, day and night.

6th -- Back to Moses Jones.

7th -- Sabbath morning. Set off on my journey. At 9 o'clock, got to Newbury. At 1 o'clock got 22 miles. First made stop to refresh, then came till sunset, and I tried to put up but could get no place and came to Charlestown to a tavern, making 42 miles. Arrived that night.

8th -- Went to Boston to look for board. Could get none. Went back to Charlestown to the prison. Then went to a cellar. Todd & Parmenter's and began my board at fifteen shillings a week.

9th -- Tuesday to the prison. Got Jacob's petition. Went to the council. Got nothing. Then back to Charlestown. Went to the State house. Did nothing there.

10th -- Went to the State house. Did nothing there.

11th -- Thursday, to Mr. Newcomb's in Boston; then to the State house, and delivered my papers.

12th -- Friday, to Boston, to the council chamber. Got no answer. Then George and I went to Cambridge to the supreme judicial court. Here was ____man tried ____ Michael Martin. (This was the famous Mike Martin, whose association with John Dougherty, both of Ireland, made the highwayman firm of "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," whose startling and romantic experiences made the criminal calendar the most entertaining reading then extant).

13th -- Saturday, went to the council chamber again. Got no answer.

14th -- Sabbath.

15th -- Monday, went to the council chamber. The answer was "No pardon could be given at all."

16th -- Tuesday, set off for home. Missed the road and went two miles out of my way. Then came through to Newbury, from there to Kensington to Mr. James', making a distance in all of forty-five miles.

17th -- Wednesday, very lame, for my feet were blistered very bad, and I stopped 18th, 19th, and 20th.

21st -- Sabbath, set off with Simon Dewey in his wagon. J. Shaw rode horseback, etc.

The same gave in his journal one other


in prison, supposed to be in 1820

May 5 -- Joseph Shaw and I took a horse and shay and rode to Newbury, then to Rowley.

6th -- Sabbath morning came to Charlestown. Went down to the State prison but did not go in.

7th -- Early in the morning, Joseph Shaw and Loring Terrell and I went to Charlestown. Got a pass from J. Soley and went in. Jacob was called; he came in. It was a holy meeting. He expressed [----- ------] knew that Jesus lives. We talked what was necessary then he went to his work, etc.

And the following letter written by Cochrane to Benjamin Andrews of Buxton in 1820 while in prison, may be of interest.

                             Charlestown, April 29, 1820.
My Brother   I received yours of April 23 which informed me of the happy situation of my friends. I am more happy to hear of your prosperity than for any other information. You say that all my friends are willing to help me, but are not of one mind how to do. I wish they agreed. You say Mary King has confessed enough, etc. You can call on all those persons, and if they are persons of justice, they will readily tell all they know, and you may touch their feelings on this point. Esq. Holmes sent that I had evidence enough to clear me if I had took proper steps. You know that I made no preparation for my defense. I wish you to employ Esq. Wallingford; he will readily take hold. I saw Esq. Holmes. He came to see me the day before I was brought to this place. He took his wife with him. They treated me very kindly. Holmes told me that I was abused and said to me: "Cochrane, do not fear. I will do anything for you that you or your brother can ask," and when he left me

(Lower line torn off)

procure me a new trial in any way you think proper. You may try both plans. (I will write to all as one) I pray to be remembered in your prayers. I am satisfied with John. I know he will do no intentional wrong and I never thought that any division existed between you and John. I wrote you in my last to procure all the evidence you could.

You will do all you can I am certain. I hope you will not delay the time one minute. My time is precious to me, and I enjoy myself very well. I am happy to say that Esq. Souley is very careful of my letters and will do all for me that I could expect.

May God have you in His holy keeping.
              I am etc., etc.,
                            Jacob Cochrane.
Benj. Andrews, Buxton.

My desire is for my friends not to take the trouble to come on purpose to see me.

My dear brother -- I beg you to let Benjamin have this as soon as you can. My love to sister Haner -- yes to all the dear children of the place.

This looks like Hannah, but I guess it isn't Hannah.


to procure his release was unavailing, and he served his full term of four years and thirteen days and was discharged November 25, 1823. This is the end of the interesting portion of Cochrane's life. His subsequent career was distinguished by no particular events or extravagant adventures that have come to our knowledge. His old friends in York county saw him only occasionally, and then he was said to be much broken in spirit and changed.

The most of the time after this he lived in New Hampshire until his death. Some incidents connected with his death and burial will be spoken of in the next and final installment.

One more paper will complete all I propose to say on this matter. It has been prolonged now far beyond my original conception, and doubtless has been somewhat tedious, especially to those who knew of the hero, and have heard pnly a few catchwords of the vanishing tradition.

My knowledge of the character, the success, the astonishing innovation and influence of the man has been drawn partly by letters, documents and records, but largely from stories that were told of him by men who had been his followers, -- by some who had gone from the ranks of Cochrane and joined the ranks of Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, -- and these tales came back from the boyhood memories of an experience around the bar-room of a country tavern more than forty years ago. The objectionable features of some of these stories have been eliminated and trimmed to suit the dimensions and requirements of a family newspaper like the Journal, while the historical substance has been preserved.

It is worthwhile to criticize what has been given on this subject in the columns of the Journal, perhaps there are some who may find it a congenial occupation to canvass the ground again. But we volunteer the prediction that such a one will realize that a too full delineation of the facts in this, as in other similar cases, will reveal the truth that Cochranism has long outlived its famous author and been the disturbing factor in many a religious circle, and in some very exalted pretensions even in our own times which have never felt the checkrein of an individual or been tried by any higher tribunal than a capricious public sentiment.
                             J. M. M.

Note: The above article, the tenth in Joel M. Marshall's series on Jacob Cochran, was reprinted in the Biddeford Weekly Journal of March 20, 1896.


Biddeford Weekly Journal.
Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  May 8, 1896.                                   No. ?



"I have heard about a society called Cochranites," said George, "can you tell anything about them, uncle Harry?"

"Yes; I remember them well. I was seven or eight years old at the time. The society took its name from the founder, and they were all called Cochranites, and went by that name in Maine.

"I went to their meetings several times, and well remember their performances. It was in the Andrews neighborhood, as it was called, about two miles south of Buxton Corner. The place now is the poor-house, and it may be that some occult influence fated that same building, fifty years later to become the home of broken-down humanity. Who knows? It is somewhat significant, at least.

They were extreme enthusiasts, and their exercises were devoted to working themselves into a state of violent passion, or mental excitement, and with those of a highly nervous, excitable temperament, it would often end in a trance, ot fit, of hysterical hypnotism, and losing all muscular power, they would fall on the floor, or into the arms of some other of stronger nerves. They then were laid away to recover their normal condition again, which would generally come about with an hour or so.

"At first, but little notice was taken of them, until their leader had a score or more of followers. Then they were talked about and many went to see and hear them, drawn by curiosity to witness their antics. But after a while, it was reported around that they were getting too free and easy in their morals. It was said they advocated the return of the human race to


not only in community of property, but that all laws binding the sexes together were wrong, and marriage sinful and oppressive; that under our laws, woman was deprived of the God given right to choose the father of her cildren; that there were different traits and dispositions in people, so much so, that in some there would be attraction, that in others would be repulsive; that under the laws of society, as now organized, persons were often brought together and induced to marry who had no natural affinity to each other, and that cohabitation under such circumstances was sinful and wicked; that natural love was the true guide, and desire was the link to bind the sexes together, and that no other laws should be enforced.

"Now a large part of the community in the neighborhood were strict upholders of the marriage rites, and the scandalous behavior of the Cochranites caused much indignation. Some of the strict upholders of the law and of the customs of society were much incensed, and public opinion was aroused against them, and the neighbors of the family where their meetings were held took action, by warning the leader to leave the town and return no more or he would come to grief. He took heed and left, and their public meetings were discontinued.

"But he left a few converts and disciples who held to the faith, but they were so discreet and private in their behavior that not much notice was taken of them for a time or


was established in the west at Nauvoo. The most of them in that section 'pulled up stakes' and left Buxton to join them there.

There are several reasons for believing that the Cochranites were the originators of Mormonism and that Joe Smith having a keen knowledge of human nature saw an opportunity to found a society on one of the strongest passions of the human race under the guise of religion -- as our laws allowed great freedom in religious matters -- and they were able to be a religious sect with a new and improved bible.

"My recollections of the Cochranite meetings were impressed on my mind by an incident that happened one night when returning home from one of them. It was the appearance of a jack-o-lantern or will-owisp in the Sands heath which we had to pass on our way home. It was first seen a few rods away like a luminous ball of fire floating on the air and bobbing around among the bushes and trees as the currents of air carried it. We had heard and read of its power to fascinate and lead one off into the bog, so we hurried home in fear."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                   Biddeford,  Maine,  Nov. 18, 1896.                                   No. ?


Conclusion of a Serial Story of Famous Fanatic's Career.


After Lying Three Days by the Roadside in Buxton.


Last spring when I sent to the Journal the last of the series on Jacob Cochrane I felt reasonably certain that the Journal readers had read all they cared to on this matter, when they had followed him through his crusades to his four years of incarceration and his release, and turned again on the cold charities of the world a homeless wanderer. But a few weeks ago someone in the columns of another county paper had presented another view of this man, and one not in harmony with the parts as they had been presented to me. I feel it incumbent on me to finish the matter I had commenced and give the details relating to his death and place of burial and so forth, as they have been told to me by eye witnesses and contemporaries. I do not know the precise day of the death of Cochrane and will not attempt to give it. I think it was about 1840, and have been told by one living member of the fraternity that he died at East Kingston, Connecticut. One of the faithful sisters attended him in his last sickness and soothed him in his last hours.

His body was brought to Buxton for burial and left at the side of the road in that part of the town where he had so often held his meetings. But here he was regarded only as the dead lion. No one was there to welcome his remains and no one was there to offer a place wherein he might take his final rest, and the coffin with the body remained there beside the road for three days, till at last Mr. John Dennett said they might bury him on his intervale and there on the green land by the side of the Saco, a few friends laid him to rest and left him alone in his glory, unmourned, unhonored and unsung. In his life, several hours before his death, he had selected the following lines as a suitable epitaph to be inscribed on his grave stone.
He spread his arms abroad,
His works are ever before his God.
His name on earth shall long remain,
Though envious sinners fret in vain.

The above lines are supposed to be on the grave stones that were erected over his grave, but they cannot now be consulted as the following will show:

Some three years after his burial his son John then of New York, procured the services of four men of this vivinity to open the grave and remove the body. The names of these men will recall the sterling character and vigor and stamina of the men he selected for strictly carrying out the mission; they were chosen by the son. They were Samuel Dennett, James Hopkinson, John Elden, Daniel Dennett. The son knew that on these men he could rely.

On a dark, partly stormy night, near the last of November, the night before Thanksgiving, they met there and proceeded with their task -- took up the body, loaded it on a wagon and Hopkinson started with it for Enfield, N. H. The grave stones were laid at the bottom of the grave face down, covered four feet deep, and there they will remain forever. No man living can tell where the spot is. When Hopkinson arrived at Enfield Center at the cemetery, he found a man who had opened a grave and stood waiting. He saluted Hopkinson with some comments about the passenger he brought with him -- perhaps more truthful and applicable than elegant -- therefore we will not quote them.

The two story house, now standing in the lower part of Buxton which was within a few years generally known as the Cochrane house, Cochrane never owned and never occupied. This house and land adjoining was purchased years afterwards by a man of North Saco from the heirs of True Atkinson and was given to the Cochrane family; Mrs. Abigail Cochrane, wife of Jacob, and several members of the society occupied this home and some of them lived there the rest of their lives.

It fell to Mrs. Hawkins and from her to her daughter, Phoebe J. Hawkins, who was the wife of Capt. Edwin A. Skinner and entailed by her will to her children and by them to the present occupant _____ Cleaves.

The story that the coffin was raised and stood upright in the front door of Tom Atkinson's house for a spectacle is a new one which we do not attempt to explain, but it would seem that if Jacob Cochrane had owned the land or the house his body would not have lain three days by the road side awaiting a burial place. At this distance of more than two generations from his reign, there seems to be no occasion for any one to pose as the apologist or defender, either of Cochrane or his creed; but in attempting to adjust a balance between the offence and the penalty -- when the record will show only the few cold documentaryfacts which survive and tell the tale to the readers of up-to-date morals -- there seems to be a disproportionate punishment for such an offense. It seems all the more so when we consider that a four years' incarceration for that offense stands as an unparalleled instance in York county records. On the other hand, we must make allowance for the stringent laws of that period, when the offense for which he suffered so long a penalty was considered a crime instead of a misdemeanor of that kind which Livy has said was the offense most easily condoned, and the present enlightened age has given additional proof of the correctness of the broad and liberal judgment of the great Roman historian.

Time, the healer of all, has smoothed the ruffled waves of the disturbed society of that long ago occurrence and the forgiven and forgotten are looked upon with like indifference.

Nullo discrimine -- he is entitled to the inscription applicable to the generality of mankind.

      "His errors shun, his virtues wisely scan,
       His follies and his crimes have stamped him, man."

Notes: (forthcoming)

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