Call me a relic,
Call me what you will,
Say I'm old fashioned,
Say I'm over the hill.
— Bob Seger
early Cape Cod
I've been collecting 17th-20th century stories and articles with Cape Cod characters, and descriptions of the Cape, Massachusetts, New England and their denizens. Authors have been writing stories about quaint Cape Cod customs and speech for a long time. Some of these are in a Natural History set, and others in a Whaling and Fishing set.
Massachusetts Gazetteers & Histories
I think the changes in the landscape and physical descriptions of the towns are particularly interesting, and those are a big part of the MHS and Dwight sections.
The Massachusetts Historical Society published many relevant articles in its early Collections. In 1794 there were articles featuring Barnstable, Mashpee, Nantucket, Truro, Wellfleet, Middleborough, and Raynham, Massachusetts; Machias, Sebago Lakes, Topsham, Wells, and York, Maine; and Roger Williams's notes on the Naragansetts. In 1798 : Massachusetts and New York Indians and missionaries in the 1790s, Indian-Plymouth treaties circa 1670, settlement of the Narragansett country, Yarmouth and Newton histories, ancient Mass. Bay laws. In 1802 : descriptions of the Outer Beach with its Humane Society huts, Sandwich, Dennis, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham and Provincetown. In 1809 : Brewster and Harvard, 17th and 18th Century Indians in eastern Massachusetts.
Edward Augustus Kendall published Travels through the northern parts of the United States in the years 1807 and 1808. The Cape and Islands section is done, with parts of Maine to come.
Rev. Timothy Dwight traveled New England and New York from 1795 to 1815, and his notes were published in 4 volumes in 1821and 1822. He made a horseback Journey to Provincetown in 1800. I couldn't find it anywhere else, so I posted the table of contents for the 4 volumes, also.
There is John Hayward's 1839 New England Gazetteer, with the Cape and Islands and a few parts of Connecticut, Maine, more of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Rev. Enoch Pratt published A Comprehensive History, Ecclesiastical and Civil, of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans, from 1644 to 1844.
There is Fowle and Fitz's 1845 Elementary Geography for Massachusetts Children, from which you can read just the entries for the Cape and Islands or the full text.
Rev. Elias Nason wrote The Massachusetts Gazetteer, published in 1874. I've posted Barnstable county and its towns so far.
Elias Nason and George Varney wrote a revised Massachusetts Gazetteer, published in 1890, and I've scanned and posted the whole thing, except for the pictures ("a picture is worth a thousand words; unfortunately, it consumes the bandwidth of ten thousand words.") This is a county by county and town by town description of people, industries and geography, with a long overview of the whole commonwealth. Click the links to the separate indices to go straight to the lists of counties, towns and villages and geographic features. (Cape Cod is Barnstable county, Martha's Vineyard is Dukes.) Here are the entries for Cape Cod: Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich, Mashpee, Barnstable (town), Barnstable county, Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Chatham, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown.
Simeon L. Deyo edited the History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, over 1000 pages, also published in 1890. Here are the intro, industrial resources, lawyers, physicians, authors and publications, Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Barnstable, Mashpee, Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Chatham, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown histories and biographies. Wellfleet is indexed.
Captain J. Henry Sears compiled Brewster Ship Masters, published in 1906. Henry C. Kittredge wrote an article on the Cape-Boston packets.
"History" for fun.
David L. Belding's 1920 A Report upon the Alewife Fisheries of Massachusetts. The herring runs even then, or especially then, had been nearly ruined by incompetence, greed and pollution.
I've posted a set of topographic and political maps, featuring Cape Cod, coastal Maine and central Vermont.
interesting outside links: Cape Cod National Seashore
US Geological Survey's Cape Cod history
New England Lighthouses
Thoreau's Cape Cod
Thoreau's Cape Cod
Giddings H Ballou was an itinerant portrait painter who lived in Brewster and Chatham, and there is a nice online exhibit of his work.
Catalogs are available.
Mike Haywood's Mayflower paintings
interesting, accurate and detailed
American Antiquarian Society,
Common Place online magazine
American Memory at Library of Congress
Massachusetts Historical Society
Building Provincetown. The history of Provincetown told through its built environment.
"dedicated to the history of crime and scandal in America's Vacationland, Cape Cod"
Teach the Children Well is a great link collection for teachers, with dozens of topics.
Cape Cod Photo Album, by Dave and Elaine Doolittle
1830 Mass. land use mapping project
at Harvard Forest
Hall et al. 2002 Foster et al 2003
New England & New York
historic USGS map index at UNH
for example: Wellfleet 1893, 1944
Cape history & genealogy
link list at Rootsweb
History of King Hiram's Lodge, Provincetown
Duck Creek Harbor, Wellfleet archaeology
history at Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod Maritime Research Association
US Coast Guard History
Coast Guard Heritage Museum, Barnstable
Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum
Massachusetts nautical links
Wellfleet's official web page town history
Wellfleet Library's history
Wellfleet web cams and more
Some of these societies have extensive holdings and nice web sites. Others are minimal
Lower CapeOrleans Historical Society, and its excellent site for its restored Coast Guard rescue boat, CG36500.
Orleans also has the French Cable Station Museum. and Orleans area historical photos
Chatham Historical Society
Eastham Historical Society
Brewster Historical Society
Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum
Harwich Historical Society
Building Provincetown. The history of Provincetown told through its built environment
Upper CapeBourne Historical Society
Historical Society of Old Yarmouth
Centerville Historical Museum
Cotuit Historical Society
Cape Cod Maritime Museum
Sandwich Glass Museum
Dennis Historical Society
Falmouth Historical Society
Woods Hole Historical Museum
Nickerson Room, at Cape Cod Community College Library
Ben Muse's history blog - recommended
The Truro, Wellfleet, and Osterville historical societies have sites with event schedules but little content.
Barnstable's society seems to be defunct.
Mashpee Historical Commission (useless)
Archives of Barnstable Patriot, 1830-1930
Archives of Provincetown Advocate, 1918-1967
science and natureCape Cod Museum of Natural History
Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Marine Biological Laboratory
Woods Hole Science Aquarium
off CapePlimoth Plantation- 1627 Plymouth .
Old Sturbridge Village - 200 years later!
Nantucket Whaling Museum
Martha's Vineyard Museum
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum
Battleship Cove, Fall River
Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, Hamden Ct
I'll be happy to include other relevant, local, non-commercial sites. Email webmaster[at] capecodhistory.us
Caleb Johnson's Mayflower History
Old Colony Historical Society, Taunton, with town society links
Salem in history - school-based site
my list of free books, journals and maps online.
Some are recent, some historical. Google and Archives.com are adding more all the time.
Wellfleet's Herring River Restoration
Friends of the Herring River
Cape Cod eccentricities:
Realm of Rubber Dinosaurs
Joseph C. Lincoln (1870-1944)
This is an extensive site dedicated to Cape Cod author Joseph Crosby Lincoln, with a bibliography, published overviews of his life and work, poems, reviews of some of his books, and links to free on-line editions.
Joe's first book was Cape Cod Ballads, 1904.
WellfleetI'm focusing on Wellfleet because I was born there, and I like it. The page has links to my files on town history and genealogy, and other links to local history, government and nature. Wellfleet postcard and vital records pages.
Genealogy is an occasional obsession. I have a good start on tracing my ancestors back to their boats, along with many other Cape Codders. There are over 70,000 people, so far, with better references than most collections.
The more of my own genealogy I looked at, the more I realized that I'm at least vaguely connected to nearly everyone who lived in Orleans/ Eastham/ Wellfleet Massachusetts before say 1900 or even 1950. So my long-range goal is to include everyone who lived in 17th-19th century Eastham and 18th-19th century Wellfleet and Orleans, and this will include many people from the other Lower Cape towns as well. This would be much easier if they hadn't kept using the same limited set of names, generation after generation!
There's also a strong Maine connection, and so another project is
Cape Cod Genealogical Society
Falmouth (Mass.) Genealogical Society
Book reviews and collection
Everyone is invited, but so far only Dave is verbose enough to write book reviews. Our library of Cape Cod fiction, poetry and non-fiction, and New England colonial history is coming along. If only we had time to read more of them!
Science, history and culture links, books online
I spent a long time gathering and organizing quotes — quotes that amuse or horrify me, and quotes to support my opinionated opinions. They have nothing whatever to do with Cape Cod. In general, I think they are a defense of freedom of expression, civil rights, and rationality, and they tend to fit my politics, so they don't support the Republicans and Tea Crackers, nor their associated criminals, windbags, ayatollahs, media whores and incompetents.
people: Ambrose Bierce, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, H.L. Mencken, Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde,
topics: quotes on quotes, history, advice on life and death, kids, men vs. women, politics, civil and human rights, superstition and reason, nut cases and jingoism, separation of church and state, science, education & computers, stupidity, bumper stickers & one-liners
--If you have polite and useful comments or suggestions, email us at webmaster[at]capecodhistory.us -- otherwise