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Posted by: Q (ID *****1267) Date: April 25, 2008 at 16:31:55

I've recently had occassion to take a closer look at the "Call to Reverend Charles Cummings"---and in particular the list of signatories---as given in the foregoing posting. This call is also given in Summers 1929:1354-1355. Apart from some minor differences in spelling, the call as given by Summers is largely the same as that given here. There are, however, two significant differences in the documents as a whole.

First, Summers does not include the date given in the foregoing email as given at the end of the call. Instead, he adds a date to the title---ie, Call to ....Cummings---1772. The problem with that is that the date in the call, as given in the foregoing, is "this 5th day of January, 1773.", not 1772.

I can't tell from any internal clues whether 1772 or 1773 is the correct year, but would need to look at the original.

Second, and more importantly, the list of signatories to the call in these two versions differ from each other in a good many respects. There are, as is commonly the case, differences in spelling's of names---most of which can be ignored for present purposes. One or the other writer may have "updated" the spellings to conform to modern usage. For example, Summers gives as one of the signatories "David Dyzart", while the above gives it as "David Dysart". There are a number of such differences, and most can be safely ignored.

However, ignoring these differences the two lists also differ in who signed the call. There are 120 signatories on Summers version, and 136 on the posted version. Also, names that appear on one list, do not necessarily appear on the other, and vice versa.

I suspect that while both of these versions are ostensibly a call to the Reverend Cummings, that somewhere along the line a confusion of somesort has been introduced. I suspect, based on the discrepency in dates, that the list of signatories presented by Summers is actually for a call this same group made the previous year, and that for some reason Summers mistakenly gave a list prepared in 1772 with the call made in 1773.

This seems to make sense in that you'd expect different people to come and go over the course of a year on a frontier settlement, so I wouldn't expect the signatories of two separate lists prepared a year apart, would be identical. In fact the 10 to 20% variance in names between the two lists does not suprize me at all, if in fact they were prepared a year apart.

To check this, I'll need to look at the original used by Summers, and by the author for the preceeding posting. Unfortunately, neither identified their specific source. I suspect I can revover this (these?) call(s) from the Presbyterian Historical library, but it would help if the poster of the previous message could contact me with the identity of the source that they actually used.



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