DIMOCK, SHUBAEL, Baptist preacher; b. 27 May 1707 at Mansfield, Connecticut, son of Timothy Dimock (Dimmick) and Abigail Doane; d. 10 May 1781 at Newport, Nova Scotia.
Shubael Dimock originally belonged to the Congregational Church, the established church in Connecticut. He was, however, influenced by the religious revival known as the Great Awakening and became a leader in a group which separated from the church in Mansfield. Considered a threat to legitimate authority, the separates were persecuted by local officials in Windham County, and those who preached without being licensed ministers, including Dimock, were sentenced to jail. Dimock continued to preach, however, and told the magistrate he would persevere “unless you cut out my tongue.” He stubbornly refused to pay rates for the support of the established church, although his wife sometimes paid them to avoid confiscation of valuables by the constable.
To escape further persecution the Dimocks immigrated to Nova Scotia, attracted by the promise in Governor Charles Lawrence*’s proclamation of 1759 of free grants of land, “full liberty of Conscience,” and freedom from tithes. Family tradition relates that while Shubael was in jail, his son Daniel had visited Nova Scotia and later persuaded his father to immigrate there and that the Dimocks were in the Falmouth area six months before the other New England planters arrived in the spring of 1760 [see John Hicks]. Certainly Dimock was one of the holders of the first Falmouth grant of 1759, only 18 of whom actually settled in Falmouth. When a second grant was made in 1761, he received one share of 500 acres. At the same time Daniel obtained half a share in the township of Newport across the Pisiquid (Avon) River.
Shubael gave temporal as well as spiritual guidance in the new settlement. He was elected moderator of the first meeting of the Falmouth proprietors on 10 June 1760, when a standing committee of three was appointed to settle the grantees on their lands and to make regulations for local government. For several years he was chosen moderator of the town meetings. He presided when lots were drawn in the summer of 1760 for former Acadian homes and buildings and for all boards and timber in the township, when the formal Falmouth grant was received from Henry Denny Denson on 23 March 1762, and when the arrangements were made in September 1762 for the repair of the dykes of the Great Marsh. He had brought with him from New England a stubborn belief in the right of the individual to participate in the decisions of local government; he was one of the inhabitants of what was then Kings County who in 1762 joined Robert Denison* in protesting to the Lords of Trade that the promises made by Lawrence for “the Protection of the Government in all our civil and Religious Rights and Liberties” had not been kept, in demanding their own township government, and in condemning the conduct of Denson, who was “a Reproach to Authority, and a great Discouragement to Religion and Piety among Us.”
In his new home Shubael Dimock gathered a few pious persons “round him to hear him preach.” Although Daniel had become converted to baptism by immersion and was baptized in 1763, Shubael was not convinced. After prolonged study of the Scriptures, however, he was baptized in the Kennetcook River by his son. Both worked to promote the cause of religion in Newport and Falmouth, the one preaching in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In 1771 Shubael was regarded as having the pastoral care of “a Considerable Number” of Baptists in Newport, where he then lived, and in 1776 the Dimocks shared in the fellowship of Baptists and Congregationalists which the New Light preacher Henry Alline established there. According to his grandson Joseph*, Dimock did not agree with all the peculiarities of Alline’s creed but nevertheless regarded him as “an eminent instrument in the hands of the Almighty to call sinners to repentance.” Although Dimock’s own preaching talents may have been small, Alline praised his eloquent gifts in prayer and exhortation, saying “I never heard any person pray who looks so directly into heaven and leads others with him as he does.”
Shubael Dimock was married three times: to Percilla Hovey on 11 Dec. 1731 at Mansfield; to Eunice Marsh on 10 Nov. 1747, also at Mansfield; and to Sarah Knowlton, widow of Abraham Masters (Marsters), on 22 Oct. 1768 at Newport. Altogether he had 13 children, two of whom died young. A pioneer among the Baptists of Nova Scotia, he was a firm believer in the right of the individual to make his own decisions about his religion. Three generations of his family carried on missionary work for the expansion of the Baptist denomination.
Hants County Court of Probate (Windsor, N.S.), loose petitions and wills, 1761–98 (will of Shubael Dimock, proved 9 Aug. 1781). PAC, MG 9, B9, Newport, 1 (mfm. at PANS). PANS, MG 4, no.31 (Falmouth Township records). Births, baptisms, marriages and deaths, from the records of the town and churches in Mansfield, Connecticut, 1703–1850, comp. S. W. Dimock (New York, 1898). A genealogy of the Dimock family from the year 1637, comp. J. D. Marsters (Windsor, N.S., 1899), 5–20. M. W. Armstrong, The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia, 1776–1809 (Hartford, Conn., 1948). I. E. Bill, Fifty years with the Baptist ministers and churches of the Maritime provinces of Canada (Saint John, N.B., 1880), 28–29. J. M. Bumsted, Henry Alline, 1748–1784 (Toronto, 1971). J. V. Duncanson, Falmouth – a New England township in Nova Scotia, 1760–1965 (Windsor, Ont., 1965). H. Y. Hind, Sketch of the old parish burying ground of Windsor, Nova Scotia . . . (Windsor, 1889), 48–50, 52. Baptist Missionary Magazine of Nova-Scotia and New-Brunswick (Saint John and Halifax), new ser., III (1836), 171–77. J. M. Bumsted, “Origins of the Maritime Baptists: a new document,” Dal. Rev., XLIX (1969–70), 88–93.