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Biographical review, containing life sketches of leading citizens of Norfolk County, Massachusetts online

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"Biography is the home aspect of history'


Biographical Review Publishing Company



The volumes issued in this series up to date are the following: —

I. Otsego County, New York.

[I. Madison County, New York.

III. Broome County, New York.

IV. Columbia County, New York.
V. Cayuga County, New York.

VI. Delaware County, New York.

VII. Livingston and Wyoming Counties,
New York.

VIII. Clinton and Essex Counties, New York.

IX. Hampden County, Massachusetts.

X. Franklin County, Massachusetts.

XI. Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

XII. Litchfield County, Connecticut.

XIII. York County, Maine.

XIV. Cumberland County, Maine.

XV. Oxford and Franklin Counties,

XVI. Cumberland County, New Jersey.
XVII. Rockingham County, New Hampshire.
XVIII. Plymouth County, Massachusetts.
XIX. Camden and Burlington Counties,
New Jersey.
XX. Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, and
Waldo Counties, Maine.
XXI. Strafford and Belknap Counties,

New Hampshire.
XXII. Sullivan and Merrimack Counties,
New Hampshire.

XXIII. Hillsboro and Cheshire Counties,

New Hampshire.

XXIV. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

XXV. Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

Note. — All the biographical sketches published in this volume were submitted to their respective subjects or to the sub-
scribers, from whom the facts were primarily obtained, for their approval or correction before going to press ; and a reasonable
time was allowed in each case for the return of the typewritten copies. Most of them were returned to us within the time allotted,
or before the work was printed, after being corrected or revised; and these may therefore be regarded as reasonably accurate.

A few, however, were not returned to us; and, as we have no means of knowing whether they contain errors or not, we
cannot vouch for their accuracy. In justice to our readers, and to render this work more valuable for reference purposes, we have
indicated all uncorrected sketches by a small asterisk (*), placed immediately after the name of the subject. They will be found
printed on the last pages of the book.

B. R. PUB. CO.
February, 189S. , ,|~.r-\ n r\\t '5 Court Square, Boston.


Unm rv OF



UR proposition to devote a volume of the Biographical Review to the County
of Norfolk, Massachusetts, having met with favor, being cordially seconded by
a goodly array of Norfolk worthies, we have pushed forward the work to its
completion, with what success will appear on examination of these printed pages.

The last quarter of the century now drawing to its close has been notably, from
the Centennial Exhibition of 1S76 to the recent celebration of the one hundredth
anniversary of the Bulfinch State House, an "age of retrospection," a period of com-
memoration of the founders and the preservers of nation and Commonwealth. This
fact, together with the concurrent rise of the historic-patriotic orders and the growing-
interest in the study of family history and genealogy, marks a taste and need of the
times which the writer of up-to-date biographies cannot afford to ignore. Moreover,
in view of the transmission of personal qualities from one generation to another in
unending succession, the setting forth of long lines of ancestry, besides "extending the
perspective of individual lives and by its revelation of kinship widening the realm
of sympathy," has come to be recognized as having a scientific bearing of no little
interest and value. We have, therefore, in the present number of the Review, as in
previous issues, devoted considerable space to copious extracts from family registers
and records, the importance of whose preservation can hardly be overestimated.

February, 1898.



vr P

55 more than half a century one
of the most esteemed and
trusted citizens of Quincy,
Norfolk County, Mass.,
noted for his strict integ-
rity, benevolence of spirit,
and unobtrusive deeds of
human helpfulness, was a
native of Hingham, Plym-
outh County, this State. Born December 20,
1823, son of Caleb Gill and the descendant of
early settlers of that place, he died on Decem-
ber 16, 1895, when he had nearly completed
his seventy-second year.

Thomas Gill, the emigrant ancestor of the
Gill family of Hingham, was born in the
county of Devonshire, England, probably in
the town of Barnstable, about 1616. He
must have been young when he crossed the
ocean, as the early records show that Thomas
Gill received a grant of five acres of land in
Hingham in 1635. For several years he
served as one of the Selectmen chosen "to
order the prudential affairs of the new town."
He met his death by drowning, February
24, 1704-5, while sailing toward Boston.
His wife, Hannah Otis, was a daughter of
John Otis, who was born in Barnstable,
Devonshire, England, in 1581, and was the
founder of the family to which the noted pa-
triot and orator, James Otis, belonged. John
Otis died in Weymouth, May 31, 1657, leav-
ing to his daughter, Hannah Otis Gill, "two
feather bolsters, one rugg, a cotton blanket,
and his biggest brass kettle"; and to his
grandson, Thomas Gill, Jr., one of the eleven
children of Thomas and Hannah, a musket.

Thomas Gill, Jr., was born in Hingham,
March 8, 1648-9, and died in that town, Sep-
tember 3, 1725. He was Selectman for sev-

eral years. His wife, Susanna Wilson, was
born in Hingham, where on December 31,
1673, they were married; and she died there
December 29, 1725. They had six children.
Nathaniel, their first-born, the next in line of
descent, spent his entire life in Hingham, the
date of his birth being December 31, 1674,
and that of his death, April 4, 1734. He
served in various official capacities. On Au-
gust 15, 1705, he married Abigail, daughter
of John and Mary (Russell) Jacobs. She was
born in Hingham, November 13, 1683, and
died April 30, 1749, having borne her hus-
band five children.

Nathaniel Gill, second son of Nathaniel
and Abigail, born November 1, 17 10, died
February 12, 1762. He married December
23, 1 73 1, Hannah, daughter of Caleb and
Ruth (Hersey) Beal, and reared nine children,
Nathaniel, third, being the fifth in this line.
He was born January 3, 1742-3, and lived in
Hingham until his demise, August 22, 1 S 1 S,
a few weeks after the death of his wife, which
occurred July 13, 18 iS. Her maiden name
was Sarah Beal. She was born April 14,
1743, a daughter of John and Deliverance
(Porter) Beal, and was married November 26,
1767. They had three sons and three daugh-
ters, Caleb, their second son, being the
grandfather of George Lewis Gill.

Caleb Gill was born in Hingham, August
14, 1774, and married October 21, 1798, Caty
Beal, who was born in Hingham, October 17,
1779, and died there May 12, 1859. Her par-
ents were Elijah and Caty (Lewis) Beal, both
of English origin, her father having been a
great-great-grandson of John Beal, who tame
from the parish of Hingham, England, to
Hingham, Mass., in 1638, and died there in
1688, aged one hundred years; while her
mother, Caty Lewis, was a descendant in the


fourth generation of George Lewis, who emi-
grated from East Greenwich, county of Kent,
England, to Plymouth, about 1633. Caleb
Gill was ,i silversmith by trade, and was quite
influential in public affairs, serving as Se-
lectman and in other offices. He died July 1,
1855, leaving three sons, the eldest being
Caleb, Jr., the father of George Lewis.

Caleb Gill, Jr., was born in Hingham, Au-
gust 23, 1799, and on December 8, 1822, mar-
ried Charlotte Howard, who was born in West
Cambridge, Mass., January 1, 1802, daughter
of Peter and Betsey (Davis) Howard. He
held many positions of trust in his native
town during the earlier years of his life, living
in Hingham until 1838, when he removed to
Ouincy, where he made his home eight years.
In 1846 he settled in Boston; but he subse-
quently returned to Hingham, and lived there
until his death, July 22, 1869. His wife and
two sons — George Lewis and Edwin Howard
— -survived him. Mrs. Gill, whose last years
were spent with her elder son, died in Ouincy,
February 10, 1888. Edwin Howard Gill, the
younger son, who was born in Hingham, July
26, 1825, resides in Boston. He married on
October 1, 1848, Miss Sarah J. Roulston.
They have one son, Arthur E., of West New-

George Lewis Gill completed his education
at the Derby Academy, where he was a class-
mate of Horace B. Spear, with whom he was
afterward closely associated both in business
and social life. In 1838 he came with his
parents to Quincy, and, entering into business
with his father, assisted him in the book-
bindery and also in the book and stationery
store, and the circulating library, which the
father had established. When the father re-
moved to Boston, the bindery, being no longer
profitable, was abandoned; but the store was
continued by Mr. Gill, who added quite a
stock of merchandise, continuing the business
until [868, He then entered the National
Granite Bank and the Ouincy Savings Bank as
an assistant to Mr. Horace B. Spear, who was
then conducting both institutions in the build-
ing at the corner of Saville and Hancock
Streets. In 1871 the banks were separated,
and Mr. Gill was elected treasurer of the
Ouincy Savings Bank, a position which he

filled most creditably to himself and to the
satisfaction of all concerned, until his death,
a period of nearly twenty-five years. During
his connection with the bank it was ever in a
prosperous condition; and its deposits were
increased from half a million dollars to up-
ward of two millions, a notable record.

Mr. Gill was elected Town Clerk, March 4,
1850, and with the exception of four years,
from 1856 until i860, served in the same po-
sition until the inauguration of the city gov-
ernment in 1889, when he was urgently re-
quested by the new Mayor to continue as City
Clerk, but felt obliged to decline. Although
he was a stanch Republican in his political
affiliations, the confidence of all parties in his
integrity and ability was such that he received
the majority of votes of each organization in
the annual elections for clerk of the town.
He was a member of the School Committee in
1855; but, finding that he had not time to at-
tend to the duties of that office as he would
like to do, he refused a re-election the follow-
ing year. He was one of the managers of the
Woodward Fund from 1869 to 1894 and of
the public burial-places from 1S74 till 1895.
He took great interest in Mount Wollaston
Cemetery, contributing much time and thought
to the improvement of that beautiful resting-
place of the dead: but his body was not in-
terred there, he having made arrangements
earlier in life to be buried beside his ances-
tors in Hingham.

Mr. Gill was a Representative to the State
legislature in 1856 and again in 1867. He
was appointed Postmaster of Ouincy by Presi-
dent Lincoln in 1861, and served until re-
moved by the succeeding President, Andrew
Johnson, in 1866. Appointed Justice of the
Peace in 1S59 by Governor Banks, and in
1885 made Notary Public by Governor Robin-
son, he held both offices until his demise.
He was likewise at the time of his death a di-
rector of the Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance
Company. He was made a Mason in Rural
Lodge, F. & A. M., in 1850, and was for a
number of years treasurer of Mount Wollaston
Lodge, I. O. O. F., which he joined many
years ago, and was one of its trustees until his

On October 11, 1846, Mr. Gill married

isi()(;rai'Hical review

Lucretia Ann Burrell, who was born in
Quincy, Mass., December 11, 1819, a daugh-
ter of Joseph and Lucretia (Marsh) Burrell.
Her mother was a daughter of Wilson and
Susanna (Savil) Marsh, and a direct descend-
ant of Alexander Marsh, who emigrated from
England to this country, settled in Quincy in
1650, and died here March 7, 1697 or 1698.
He became an extensive land-owner, his
large farm including what is now Hall Cem-
etery and much of the adjoining land.
Alexander Marsh married Mary Belcher,
daughter of Gregory Belcher, who on Septem-
ber 17, 1639, was one of six persons to sign
the covenant for a church at Mount Wollaston,
the first church of Quincy, an organization
with which the family of Mrs. Gill has been
ever since connected. Mr. Gill was a con-
stant attendant of this church and an active
worker in the Sunday-school. The house
now occupied by Airs. Gill was erected by Mr.
Gill soon after their marriage; and here were
born their three children, two of whom died
"while life and love were new.'* Walter
George, their third child, born December 25,
1852, died February 28, 1879.

T^NATHANIEL SMITH, a civil engineer,
\\=3 living on Maple Place in Dedham, is
\(s I probably the oldest man in his pro-

fession in Norfolk County, and one
of the best known in the Commonwealth. He
was born in Dedham, February 27, 1827,
being the third native of the town in continu-
ous descent to bear this name. His paternal
grandfather, the first of the three Nathaniels,
although not the earliest Nathaniel Smith in
Dedham, succeeded to the occupation in which
he was reared, becoming one of the well-to-do
farmers of the town.

Nathaniel Smith, second son of the above
named, was one of a large family of children,
and with his brothers and sisters grew to ma-
ture years on the old homestead. He acquired
a good education, and in the earlier part of his
mature life he taught school several years.
He subsequently settled on the old family
homestead near the village of Dedham, where
he was engaged in tilling the soil until his
death at the age of seventy-three years. He

married, May 6, 1821, Betsey Foord, a daugh-
ter of James Foord, and one of a family of
fourteen children. Mr. Foord was born in
Milton, Mass., but spent a large part of his
life in Dedham, where about 1800 he was
appointed Registrar of Deeds for Norfolk
County, being the second to hold that office.
He held the position until his death, and was
then succeeded by his son, Enos Foord, an
uncle of Mr. Smith, the subject of this sketch.
Enos Foord was, in turn, succeeded at his
death by his son, James Foord, a cousin of
Mr. Smith ; and, on the resignation of James
Foord in 1870, John H. Burdakin, Mr.
Smith's son-in-law, was appointed to the
office, which he still retains. Three children
were bom to Nathaniel and Betsey (Foord)
Smith, and two of them are still living,
namely: Nathaniel, third; and Emily S. —
both residents of Dedham. The father and
mother were of the liberal type of Christians,
affiliating with the Unitarian church.

Nathaniel Smith, third, was reared on the
home farm, obtaining a practical education in
the common schools of his native town. He
began his life work as an assistant to other
civil engineers, being occupied in this manner
for some years; and, when he found himself
familiar with the profession, in 1849 he started
in business for himself. From that time until
the present he has-been actively engaged, a
period covering nearly a half-century, and has
done much of the surveying in the neighboring
towns, becoming probably better acquainted
with the face of Norfolk County and of this
part of the State than any other person. He
was engaged with the late Henry F. Walling
in State and county surveys; and he has also
done much other work, such as the surveying
of farms and laying out highways in this
region. From surveys that he made in 1850,
he published the first map of Dedham, issuing
a large number of copies; and he has since
assisted in the making of a large number of
county and town maps.

Mr. Smith was married in August, 1849,
to Miss Mary E. Phillips, who was born in
Dedham, a daughter of Nathan Phillips, a
well-known carpenter and builder. Mr. and
Mrs. Smith have four children; namely, Ella
Louise, Mary L,, Carrie M., Frederick V,


Ella Louise, now the wife of John H. Burda-
kin, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere in
this volume, has two children — Leslie and
Lillian. Mary L. , wife of Francis L. Wil-
lard, who is engaged in the pipe and plumber
supply business in Boston, has also two chil-
dren — Grace and Muriel. Carrie M., for-
merly cashier in the Register of Deeds office,
married Edward S. Adams, and lives in Fall
River, Mass., where he is well known. Fred-
erick Phillips, who lives with his parents, is
in the lumber business- in Boston.

Mr. Smith is a public-spirited man, devoted
to the best interests of his town, and has done
his part toward assisting in its advancement
and prosperity by serving with fidelity as Se-
lectman, Overseer of the Poor, Assessor, Road
Commissioner, and Superintendent of the
Streets for many years. In politics he is an
active and stanch Republican. He is a valu-
able member of the Unitarian church, in which
he has been a Deacon for twenty-nine years
and a trustee for a number of years, besides
serving for a long time as a teacher in the

has been a prominent resident of Can-
ton for many years, is a descendant
of one of the old New England families, as
noted by Savage in his "Early New England
Names." His first ancestor in this country
was William Eager, who came to Plymouth,
Mass., in the thirties of the seventeenth cen-
tury. In 1654 William married Ruth Hill, of
Maiden, Mass.; and in 1684 he removed with
his family to Marlboro, Middlesex County,
Mass., where he bcame one of the proprietors
of the Ockoocangansett plantation, purchased
from King Philip, and which was afterward
the homestead of the family. Zerubbabel, son
of William and Ruth (Hill) Eager, born June
8, 1672, married on March 23, 1698, Hannah
Kerley. Their son Uriah, born April 4,
1700, married Sarah Bingham, March 14,
1727. Their son Uriah, born February 5,
1740, married March 29, 1764, Tryphosa
Bush. Their son Moses, born October 30,
1772, married Sarah Stratton, December 29,
1793, Their son Moses Edward, born No-

vember 16, 1797, married March 25, 1827,
Harriet Durant, and by her became the father
of the subject of this sketch.

Edward Rutledge Eager was born Novem-
ber 9, 1830, in Cambridgeport, Mass., where
the earlier years of his life were spent. In
1850 he came to Canton, accepting a subordi-
nate position with the Kinsley Iron and Ma-
chine Company. Having won the confidence
of his employers by his trustworthiness, in
the short space of five years he was made
treasurer of the company, and afterward
served the firm as manager and treasurer for
forty consecutive years, resigning in the fall
of 1895. He has since removed to Boston,
where he is a director of the Everett Na-
tional Bank and of the Hollingsworth &
Whitney Paper Company, and a trustee of the
Whitney estate. While in Canton Mr. Eager
took an active part in local affairs, serving as
Selectman for a number of years, and for two
years representing the town in the State legis-
lature. He is a prominent member of the Ma-
sonic fraternity, having taken the thirty-sec-
ond degree, and being the oldest Past Master
of the Blue Hill Lodge of Canton, of which
he was the second Master. He is a member
of the Congregational Church of Canton, in
which he was formerly a zealous worker and
for many years the superintendent of its Sun-

Mr. Eager has been twice married. His
first wife, in maidenhood Miss Sophia L.
Jenkins, to whom he was united in 1S56, died
in 1857, leaving one child, Charles H. Eager,
now of Canton, born December 28, 1856. By
his second marriage, which was contracted Oc-
tober 16, 1862, with Miss Mary H. Talbot, of
East Machias, Me., there are two children,
namely: Jones Talbot Eager, born November
16, 1863, who is the cashier of the Everett
National Bank of Boston; and Caroline D. ,
now the wife of William M. Chase, of Brook-
line, Mass. Charles H. Eager applied him-
self to his studies in the public schools of
Brookline until sixteen years old, when he en-
tered the crockery store of Abram French &
Co., of Boston, with whom he remained until
1876. He. then entered the office of the
Kinsley Iron and Machine Company, of
which his father was the manager and treas-


1 i

urer at that time, and has since remained in
their employment. He is a Republican in
politics, and for some years has been Town
Auditor. He was made a Mason in Blue Hill
Lodge of Canton, in which he is Worshipful
Master. He is now a member of Mount Zion
Chapter, R. A. M., of which he is Excellent
King; the Master of Ceremonies of Hyde
Park Council of Royal and Select Masters for
some time; a member of Cyprus Commandery,
K. T. ; of Aleppo Temple, Mystic Shrine, of
Boston; and of the Society of Sons of the
American Revolution.

ENJAMIN BOYDEN, for many years
one of the leading grocers of Ded-
ham, his place of business being lo-
cated at Boyden Square, was born in
West Dedham, February 2, 1807, son of Ben-
jamin and Roxa Boyden, and died June 20,
1888, at the home now occupied by his widow
and son.

The immigrant progenitor of the New Eng-
land family of Boydens was Thomas Boyden,
who came over from England in the "Francis "
in 1634, lived for a while in Scituate, Mass.,
and finally settled in Medfield, Norfolk

Benjamin Boyden, the subject of this sketch,
was probably seventh in lineal descent from
the first American ancestor. He was brought
up on a farm until sixteen years of age, obtain-
ing his education at the winter terms of the
district school. He then entered the store of
Dr. Wheaton, with whom he remained five
years, serving a long apprenticeship, and
having no holidays with the exception of the
annual Fourth of July and Thanksgiving Day.
The first four years he received fifty cents a
week, and during the last year of his service
this sum was doubled. On attaining bis ma-
jority he started in business for himself, being
obliged to borrow the capital, and beginning
in a small way. A man of thrift and enter-
prise, industrious and methodical, possessing
great business ability, he met with success,
and found his trade constantly increasing. In
1836, being in need of more commodious quar-
ters, he erected the building which he after-
ward occupied, allowing five large living

rooms, and three commodious rooms for busi-
ness purposes, subsequently adding to these
as occasion demanded. Commencing with a
small assortment of groceries, he gradually
enlarged his stock, occasionally putting in an
entirely new line, and long before his death
carried the fullest and most complete stock of
staple and fancy groceries of any merchant in
the town. He took advantage of every new
means and opportunity to improve his business,
and was the first to introduce the delivery
wagon system in this section. He was identi-
fied with the grocery trade for sixty-four con-
secutive years, fifty-nine years of the time
being in business for himself, and at his
demise was the oldest grocer in Dedham and
without doubt the oldest in Norfolk County.

Mr. Boyden was a typical representative of
the self-made men of the country, the record of
his useful life furnishing a forcible illustration
of the success that may be attained by honest
industry, push, and steadfastness of purpose.
He was identified with the Whigs in his
earlier years, but was later a sound Republi-
can, taking an active interest in local affairs,
although he never held any public office.

Mr. Boyden was twice married. His first
wife, Elizabeth Boyden, died leaving no chil-
dren. On.January 10, 1S71, Mr. Boyden mar-
ried Mrs. Lucy B. Strong Bailey. She was
born in Orford, N.H., a daughter of Ebenezer
N. Strong. Mr. Strong was one of the most
prosperous farmers of that town, where he was
a lifelong resident. His wife, Myra Bailey,
was born in Newbury, Vt. She was a grand-
daughter of General Jacob Bailey, of Revolu-
tionary fame. Mr. Strong died at the age oi
eighty-six years; ami Mrs. Strong, when
seventy-three years old. Of their six chil-
dren Mrs. Boyden is the only survivor. She
lived with her parents until her first marriage
in 1853, uniting her with Jerome B. Bailey.
Mr. Bailey was born in Canada in 1810. He

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