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Letter from John MacDowell to Daniel Burton [Extract]
MacDowell, John, 1717-1763
June 15, 1762
Volume 06, Pages 728-731

[From North Carolina Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Mr. Macdowell to the Secretary (Extt)

Brunswick June 15, 1762

Revd Sir

Your Kind favor of 22 Decr last, came to hand Via Charlestown, the 8th instant giving me the agreeable account of my appointment to a mission at Brunswick for which I beg leave to return my sincere & hearty thanks to the venerable Society; and to you sir for your goodness in acquainting me of it—And I hope by the blessing of God, I shall more & more deserve the good opinion, of the venerable Society, by applying myself in every respect to perform the duty of a faithful & wise servant in that weighty & important charge. I have all along Kept a correspondence, with the good old Dr. Bearcroft (whose death I lament) giving the venerable Society

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an account of my ministry & the situation of affairs here Since my first coming to America, & had the particular honor of receiving a present, of £20 Sterl & some books, from them some years ago. For which reason it will be needless to go further back, Than the commencement of my appointment to a mission, viz 1760.

In that year besides the immediate duty of my own Parish I visited the Parishes of St Martins, Bladen & St John's, Onslow; and in these 2 counties I baptized 55 Children whereof 9 were negroes & I baptized 2 adults, 1 white & 1 black by immersion. In my own Parish, I baptized 9 white & 4 Mulatto Children, 1 Adult Mulatto woman belonging to Colln Dry, & 4 Adult Negro women, belonging to the Honble Mr. Hasell. In the year 1761, I baptized in my own Parish in Bladen & in St James' Wilmington 35 Children & 1 adult negro man. In this Current year 1762 I have already baptized 33 Children & 2 Adults; 1 a free negro man, who after proper instructions, is since become a constant communicant; the other a Captain of a vessel who died here, & on his death bed acquainted me, that he had never been baptized & prayed he might then receive that Sacrament.

The reason I have already baptized so many this current year is this, I was out the 9th of May at the boundary line, which divides North & South Carolina, and as my parish joins the South Province I had the largest congregation from both Provinces, I ever saw since I have been in America & baptized 23 Children on that occasion.

My Parish of St Phillip's runs from the mouth of Cape Fear River along the sea side about 40 miles to little river which divides this from So Carolina; then about 45 miles along the South Line; then joining Bladen County; runs about 45 miles to the Northwest branch of Cape Fear River; then down Sd. Northwest branch, to the Ferry opposite Wilmington, about twenty miles and from that down to the river's mouth about thirty miles. Brunswick is situated on the West Bank of the River, about half way between Wilmington and the River's mouth, where we have a fort. Wilmington stands on the East bank of the River, But I intend to send a map of my Parish, which will give a better Idea of it, than this description; We have about 800 taxables in this Parish, Taxables here are males White and black and mixed blood, from 12 years of age and upward, and Female Blacks or mixed blood from the same age We have but few families in this Parish, but of the Best in the Province, viz: his excellency the Govr, his honor the President, some of the honble the Council, Coll Dry the Collector, and about 20 other good families,

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who have each of them great gangs of Slaves We have in all about 200 families; and are about to have our Parish made into a County. We have no dissenters of any sort, excepting a few Poor families of Fishermen, who came in from Cape May at the mouth of the River Delewar and are settled by the Sea side, between the mouths of the Rivers Lockwood's folly and Shallot, they call themselves new light Anabaptists; but we hope this frolic will soon dwindle away and disappear among them, as it has already done in many Places in this and the neighboring Provinces. We have this Spring repaired our old Chapel at Brunswick in a decent manner, and the timber for the roof of our New Church is provided; and Mr. Dick a Carpenter, who wrought at his excellency the Governor's has undertaken the roofing of it; I have but 15 actual communicants as yet, whereof 2 are black, but I hope the number will soon increase.

I have not presumed to draw or negotiate any bill of Exchange for my salary, till I have your order for so doing or till I inform myself how to proceed lest I should give offence———I received a letter from Dr. Bearcroft wrote with his own hand at the time he sent me the Present of Books from the venerable Society, which I think it my duty to mention here; as did I neglect it, it might seem like my disregarding their kind intentions towards me, vizt that they will consider me for what extraordinary services, I do in my visits to the Several Parishes in No. Carolina. Now though I own myself by the honor they have lately conferr'd on me, very amply rewarded for all my Poor Services, yet if they have a mind to make me a complement for what service I have done from my coming in to the date of my mission, I shall be ready to acknowledge it, for I have not Even a boy of my own to ride with me, all the slaves I have in the world are an old woman that attends my dear little son at his aunt's in Bladen, and a child of 5 years old, the boy that waits on me is one that a friend of mine is so good to lend me—whereas some who have not been much longer in this Province than I, have a gang of 20 Slaves and houses and Plantations. But they had a mission from their first coming in, and I am only at lodgings. But none of these things move me, nor am I careful for anything, any farther than for the sake of my Poor, helpless infant; I only take the liberty to mention my circumstances to the venerable Society, but I leave it entirely to them to judge of my merit; and what degree of encouragement they think I deserve; In which the papers sent home in my favor, two years ago by his Excellency Govr

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Dobbs, and by the vestries of St James's and St Philip's will enable them to judge.

I am, with Profoundest submission and duty,
their most devoted, humble Servant
JOHN MACDOWELL.