Cotton Mather (1663-1728) was a Puritan minister who played a leading role in the notorious Salem witch trials of 1692. What is not generally known, is that Mather played a part in the development of inoculation as a means of fighting infections (a). He also experienced the wrath of an early anti-vaxxer who threw a bomb into Mather’s home, which, fortunately, failed to explode(c).
While the name ‘America’ is generally accepted to be derived from Amerigo Vespucci, the title ‘Americans’ used to describe the citizens of the United States, is sometimes attributed to the prolific Cotton Mather.
Paul Tudor Angel in his paper on the Megaliths of New England(b) noted that in 1712 Cotton Mather “discovered some strange incisions on an exposed seaside rockface in Dighton, Massachusetts—far from where any plow could have marked it. He immediately wrote to the Royal Society in London, England, to inform them of his find and to convey his belief that the rock carvings were in fact an ancient scriptural alphabet—perhaps several differing ancient alphabets. Unexpectedly, his letter generated little interest.”
In 1721, Mather published The Christian Philosopher, which has been described as the first comprehensive book on science to be written by an American. In it, he wrote, “I know not what we shall think of the huge Atlantis, mentioned by Plato, now at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.”[1415.109]
(a) National Geographic, August 2020, p.48
(c) Historical Blindness (near the end of page)