Oliver Ayer Roberts.

History of the Military company of the Massachusetts, now called the Ancient and honorable artillery company of Massachusetts. 1637-1888 (Volume 1) online

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(1677) as Governor. Randolph wrote the Earl of Clarendon, July 14, 16S2, that as
leaders in the "high misdemeanors," he designated "Thomas Danforth, Samuel Nowell,
a late fanatic preacher, and now a magistrate," etc. He went to England to act with
Mr. Mather at court in favor of New England, Capt. Elisha Hutchinson (1670) being
also present, but died at London in September, 1688. His wife was the widow of
Hezekiah Usher (1638).

Rev. Cotton Mather, writing in the Magnalia, Book VII., Chap. 6, Sect. 10, of the
Swamp Fort fight, says : " I wish I could particularly give an ' immortal memory ' to
all the brave men that signalled themselves in this action. But among them, how shall

Benjamin Thwing (167S). Authority: The "Capt William White commamled the South

Thwing Family, by Walter E. Thwing, 1883. Company in 1687." — &t.'i7//',v Diiiiy.

William White (167S). AuTHOKiTiES: Foote's Rev. Samuel Nowell. Authorities: Math-
Annals of King's Chapel; 3 Mass. Hist. Coll., Vol. er's Magnalia; Savage's Gen. Diet.
I., p. 84.



I speak thy praise ! thou excellent Samuel Novvel, never to be forgotten ! This now
reverend, and afterward worshipful person, a chaplain to the army, was author to a good
sermon preached unto the Artillery Company of the Massachusetts, which he entitled,
' Abraham in Arms,' and at this fight there was no person more like a true son of 'Abra-
ham in Arms,' or that with more courage and hazardy fought in the midst of a shower
of bullets from the surrounding savages. But —

"Time would not let me all his deeds recite, —
His skill in cnuncil — prowess in the fight."

^ Q The officers elected were: John Walley (1671), captain; Penn

I O/'Q'OO. "^"^^"^^'-"^ ('^74), lieutenant; Benjamin Davis (1673), ensign.
' -' William Greenough (1675) ^vas first sergeant; Jeremiah Dummer

(1671), second sergeant; Ephraim Sale (1674), third sergeant; Joseph Belknap (1658),
fourth sergeant; John Hayward (1673), clerk; John Marion, drummer, and Edward
Smith, armorer.

Boston had, meanwhile, become the principal seaport in North America, untram-
melled as yet by a royal custom-house, and the flags of the maritime nations waved at
her wharves.

Boston, in 1679, had about nine thousand inhabitants, occupying less than two
thousand tenements. Some of the houses in the business portion of the town were of
brick, with tile or slate roofs, and others were of wood, plastered roughcast on the
outside with cement, in which was mixed finely-powdered black glass. The greater
portion of the houses, however, were of wood, covered with clapboards, and roofed
with cedar shingles. The chimneys were large, built in a stack in the centre of the
house, and the windows were small.

The streets, of different widths (sometimes the same street bearing different names
in different places), were paved with round beach stones. There were neither street-
lamps nor sidewalks, but hitching-posts were numerous, and nearly every large house had
its horse-block in front for convenience in mounting and dismounting. The cows of
many of the freeholders were pastured on the Common, while others owned pasture-
lands, orchards, and gardens on the road leading to Cambridge. There were in the
centre of the town several large and handsome villas, surrounded by gardens, and one
which eclipsed the others had just been completed by Peter Sergeant, a wealthy mer-
chant, on land which he had purchased of Col. Samuel Shrimpton (1670). This edifice,
afterward known as the Province House, was built in the most substantial manner, and
the elaborately-wrought iron-work of the balustrade, over the front entrance, contained
the initials of the owner, and the date, thus : " 16 P. S. 79."

Mr. Sergeant died on the 8th of February, 1713-4, and his widow married, May
12, 1715, her third husband, Simeon Stoddard (1675). He died on the 15th of October,
1730, in his eightieth year. She survived him eight years.

When she married Mr. Stoddard (1675), she had no further use for the house
erected by Mr. Sergeant, for her new husband had one as desirable, and the estate was
purchased by the province.

The new members recruited in 1679-S0 were : Samuel Bridge, Edward Bromfield,
Nathaniel Byfield, John Cotta, John Foster, Francis Foxcroft, Obadiah Gill, Robeir"



Jones, Charles Lidget, Benjamin Mountfort, Joseph Parsons, WilHam Pollard, Samuel
Ravenscroft, Samuel Sewall, Thomas Smith, William Sumner, James Townsend, and
David Waterhouse.

Samuel Bridge (1679), o^ Boston in 1671, a carpenter, was admitted a freeman
in 1672. Between 1673 and 1701, he was elected or appointed to town office during
fourteen years; also, being a member of Capt. James Hill's (1677) company, he was
chosen a tithing-man in 1686, 1690, 1693, and 1696. He also worked at his trade for
the town, and served on special committees, the last service being in 17 13, to inspect
the town in regard to the observance of the by-law for keeping ladders at each house.
Mr. Whitman (18 10) says he was "of Charlestown." If he was the son of William
and Persis (Pierce) Bridge, of Charlestown, he was born Aug. 19, 1647.

His will (Suffolk Wills, Vol. XX., folio 123) mentions five daughters and two sons.
The latter, Benjamin and Rbenezer, joined the Artillery Company in 17 11 and 1717

\ Edward Bromfield (1679), of Boston in 1675, son of Henry, was a merchant,

whose name is perpetuated by the thoroughfare, Bromfield Street, in Boston. He
was the father of Edward (1732), one of his Majesty's council, and was a man of,
'' great integrity and singular piety." He was a member of the Old South Church, and
died June 2, 1734, aged eighty-six years. His tomb is in the King's Chapel Burial-

In 1684, he is recorded as a member of Capt. Savage's (1674) military company,
of Boston. Refusing to serve as constable in 1686, he was fined "accordinge to lawe."
He was chosen commissioner for the town, Aug. 24, 1691, and representative in 1693,
1694, and 1695 ; also selectman in 1694 and 1695.

The JVe7ci England Journal, ^\. the time of his decease, said, "Edward Bromfield
[1679] ^v^s born at Haywood House, the seat of the family, near New Forest, in Hamp-
shire, in England, on Jan. 10, 1648-9, and baptized in the neighboring church, at
Chancroft, on Jan. 16 following; sers'ed his apprenticeship in London; soon after, took
a trading voyage to Jamaica, and afterwards to New England, whither he came in 1675
and finding this then very religious country agreeable to his pious genius, soon chose it
for his own, and to live and die among us, and in the trade of merchandise.

" He served his town in many offices. Even in the time of our old charter, he was
one of the commissioners of the peace, and trial of civil actions under ten pounds.
In May, 1703, chosen into the council, and from that time annually elected till. 1728,

Samuel Bridge (1679). Authority : Boston Edward Bromfield, Esq., in the S61I1 year of his age;

Records. who for many years was one of his ISfajesty's Coun-

" [1717! Saturday] Nov 30. Sam. Bridge died cil, a gentleman of great integrity and singular piety,

last night; was at work on Monday last. . . . Tues- He was buried on Thursday the 6'li [of June] folUiw-

day Dec. 3. r. M. I go to the P'uneral of Mr. Sam' ing [1734]. He was the third son of Henry Broni-

Bridge, Col. Townsend w.is one of the Eeai'ers; Six field, Esr|. . . . and was born at Haywood House, ,

J Councillers foUow'd the Relations. . . . The Aer ILampshire, England, Jan. 10, 164S-9; served his /

^^^ / was grown vtry Ciilil, and snow'd before we got to apprenticeship in London; came to America in ''^'^.

^^1^. thegrave." — .SV7.w///V/<v.v, Fo/. ///.,//. 150, 152. 1675. He w.is annually elected of the Council ol >

/^^ Edward Bromfield (1679). Autiioritiks: Massachusetts from 1703 to 172S. ... He was twice

' ' *T T^ _ I r:_i 1 /' r» wCrt .C-. iC.^. ........;.^.1 . Tcf nU^..f lAn*.; f.^ \f..<. I.'i;^..K»tl. T> 1_


New Eng. Hist, and Cen. Reg., 1S59, 1S71, 1S72; married: ist, about 167S, to Mrs. Eliz.abeth Brad-
Boston Records; King's Chapel Burial- Ornund, by ing; 2d, to Miss Mary Danforth, daughter of Rev.
Bridgman, p. 255; Resolves, etc., of Mass. liay, Samuel Danforth, of Roxbury." — jVt.TU England
Vol. VH. J,'iirnal, Jiin,; 1734.
" Yesterday in the afternoon, died the Hon.


when, being in the eightieth year of his age, his growing infirmities released him from
public business. He joined the church of the reverend and famous Mr. Doolittle, about
the seventeenth year of his age, entered into a special acquaintance with the renowned
Mr. Baxter, and other eminent confessors of Christ ; closely attended their ministry with
great delight through all the difficulties of the then reigning persecution.

" Not long after his coming over, he joined himself to the [Old] South Church in
this town, and has been therein a distinguished ornament. His heart was especially
set for the propagation of the gospel in ignorant places, supporting ministers of low
salaries, maintaining charity schools for children, and helping poor and hopeful scholars
to academical learning.

" He turned the pasture behind his house into a very shady grove ; and in the
midst he built an Oratory, where, even in the most flourishing circumstances, and height
of business, he would several times a day retire, that he might turn his eyes from
beholding vanity. His temper was very active, cheerful, open-hearted, free and liberal.
He made every one always easy about him, unless he had to do with bold transgressors,
and then he rather wished their reformation than their punishment. In the education
of his children he was exceedingly careful."

Edward Rawson, the colonial secretary, bought property of Theodore Atkinson
(1644), and through the land was laid out Rawson's Lane. This name was changed,
in 1796, to Bromfield Lane, which in 1829 became Bromfield Street, in memory of
Edward Bromfield (1679), who "lived on the southerly side about half way up, where
later the Bromfield House stood. This site was afterwards occupied by the Indian
Queen Tavern."

Nathaniel Byfield (1679), oi Boston in 1674, a lawyer, son of Rev. Richard Byfield,
was born at Long Ditton, Surrey County, England, in 1653. He was the youngest of
twenty-one children. He came to Boston in 1674, and married, in 1675, Deborah,
daughter of Capt. Thomas Clarke (1638). April 25, 1676, he sent the following petition
to the Governor and council : " The Petition of Nathaniel Byfield Humbly showeth, That
your petitioner is a stranger in the country & lately married, & is now Prest to go out
to war against the Indians. And whereas the law of God is plain in Deut. 5, that when
a man hath taken a new wife he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged
with any business, but he shall be free at home one year. Your petitioner doth humbly
request the favor of your Honours to grant him the Priviledge and benefit of the said
law & to grant him a discharge from the present service." His second wife was Sarah,
youngest daughter of Gov. Leverett (1639). His first wife died in 17 17, his second in
1730, and he died June 6, 1733.

He became a proprietor, and among the first settlers, of Bristol, in Plymouth
Colony, for which he was representative in 1691, and for the United Province in 1692,
being also speaker of the House in 1693. He was representative from Boston in 1696,
1697, and 1698, a member of the council in 1699, and for thirteen years afterward prior
to 1729 ; and six other years, between 1713 and 1724, he was elected but negatived by
the Governor. He served as a special justice of the Superior Court by appointment
in 1727, 1728, and Jan. 11, 1732-3. He was appointed judge of the inferior Court of
Common Pleas, in Bristol County, Aug. 7, 1701, which he resigned in 1724, after nearly

Nathaniel Byfleld (1679). Authorities: 1774; Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company,
Boston Records; Whitmore's Mass. Civil List, 1630- Ed. 1842.


a continuous service ; was regi s ter of probate of Bristol County nearly twenty years,
between 1702 and 1729, and was appointed for one year, from June 19, 1697, commis-
sioner of import and excise. He obtained a commission as judge of tfie vice-admiralty
for the provinces of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, which he
received in April, 1704, and continued in that office until 1715. In 1729, he was
reappointed to that office. In 1715, he went to England, to endeavor to supplant Gov.
Dudley (1677). Having been reproved by the Governor, in council, for some alleged
errors in judicial proceedings, he was ever after in opposition to him, which Gov. Dudley
(1677) revenged by negativing his election as. councillor. Being a favorite of Gov.
Belcher, Mr. Byfield (1679) and Elisha Cooke, Jr. (1699), were appointed by the
Governor, Dec. 29, 1731, judges of the Court of Common Pleas in Suffolk County, in
the places of Col. Hutchinson (1670) and William Dudley removed. He was constable
of Boston in 1678. On the Boston town records, 1699-1701, he is called "Captain."
He was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1682, and its lieutenant in 1699.
In 1702, he was commissioned colonel of a regiment embracing all the militia of Bristol
County. The distinguished Indian fighter, Benjamin Church, was his lieutenant-colonel,
and Ebenezer Brenton, major.

John Cotta (1679), of Boston, a tailor, became a freeman in 167 1. He married
Mary Moore in 1668, and died Nov. 20, 1723, aged seventy-seven years. In 1665,
May 29, John Cotta (1679) "was fined 10* for opeing shop, contrary to Towne order."
In 1680, he was a member of Capt. Savage's (1674) company, of Boston, was a constable
in 1685, and a member of the military in 1691. Mr. Whitman (1810) says he was
active in the revival of the Artillery Company in 1690, and held a commission in the
militia. His son, John, joined the Artillery Company in 1698. John Cotta (1679) was
third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1692.

John Foster (1679), of Boston, was an eminent merchant from Aylesbury, Bucks
County, England, and was admitted a freeman in 1682. He joined the Artillery Com-
pany immediately after his arrival, and became very prominent in the affairs of the
Company from 1690 to 1695. He was of the Council of Safety in 1689J was repre-
sentative for Portsmouth in 1690; one of Gov. Dudley's (1677) councillors; named in
the charter of William and Mary in 1692; one of the first council under it, in which
office he continued until his death, Feb. 9, 1710-1.

He is mentioned in the Boston town records, the first time, March 15, 1679-80,
when, being elected constable, he was fined for refusing to serve ; and was selectman in
1690, 1691, and 1692. On the 7th of December, 1692, he was appointed a justice of
the inferior Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk County, and served in that office until

John Cotta (1679). Authorities: Boston " Fcbr 9. Seventh-day, between 11 and 12 m.

Records; Savage's Gen. Diet. Col John Foster expires. His place at the Council

" ['723] Novf 23 Mr. John Cotta, the father, is Board and Court will hardly be tilled up. I have

buried." — Snuall Papers, Vol. III., p. '^2']. lost a good Left-hand man. The Lord save New

John Foster (1679). Authorities: New England. Now just half the Counsellours mentioned

Eng. Hist, and Cen. Reg., 1863; Boston Records; in the Charter are dead. . . .

Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company, Ed. 1842. "Thorsday Feb 15. John Foster Esqr is en-

" Seventh-day Feby 3, 1710-11. Col Foster tombed. . . . Scarfs and Rings, Escutcheons. All

was taken with an Apoplectick Fit as he was at the of the Council had Scarfs: . . . many great Guns

privat house about 8 M. When he staid long they were fired." — Scivall Papers, Vol. II., pp. 299,

call'd, none answered; so they burst open the door, 300.
and found him fallen down and .Speechless. . . .


his decease. He is called " Capt." in the Boston town records, 1696-8, and Mr.
Savage says he was colonel of the Boston regiment, " a wealthy merchant, and of a
most fair and unblemished character."

Francis Foxcroft (1679), of Cambridge, originally settled in Boston. He is said
to have been the son of Daniel, who was mayor of Leeds, York County, England, in 1665,
and he arrived in America about that time. He married, Oct. 3, 1682, Elizabeth, daugh-
ter of Gov. Danforth, and had two sons, both of whom graduated at Harvard College.
On the death of Gov. Danforth, Mr. Foxcroft (1679) removed from Boston to Cambridge,
and occupied the Governor's homestead, which had been conveyed to him. He was a
man of wealth and energy, and served the state in various offices. He died at Cam-
bridge, Dec. 31, 1727, aged about seventy years.

Rev. Lucius R. Paige, D. D., in the History of Cambridge, says, " Mr. Foxcroft
[1679] was a justice of the peace under Andros, and upon his warrant Winslow [1692]
was committed to prison for announcing the revolution in England. A few days after-
ward he exchanged places with Winslow [1692], and became himself a prisoner with
Andros and his adherents." He was soon after released, and April 20, 1689, he was
confined in Gov. Danforth's house for one week, when he was set at liberty.

He represented Dunstable in the General Court in 1693; was judge of the Court
of Common Pleas for Middlesex County from 1709 to 17 19, and judge of probate from
1708 to 1725.

Henry Flint, in the preface to the funeral sermon delivered by Rev. Dr. Appleton,
thus sketches Francis Foxcroft (1679) : "He was a gentleman by birth, of a worthy
family in the north of England, where he received a good school education. He was
bred a merchant, and was very expert and skilful, as well as very just and upright in
all his business. His natural powers were extraordinary ; his acquired knowledge of
various kinds was so too; his virtues were great and eminent. His generosity, prudence,
sincerity, justice towards men, and piety towards God, were conspicuous to those that
knew him. His temper indeed was sudden, and made almost uncontrollable by the
violence of the gout and pain he was such an uncommon instance of ; but this was his
burden and lamentation. He was a person of grave and austere countenance and
conversation, mixed with much of the gentleman and the Christian."

At a meeting of the selectmen of Boston, July 27, 1713, Francis Foxcroft (1679)
is recorded as a captain. He was second sergeant of the Artillery Co'mpany in 1683,
and is probably the Col. Foxcroft (1679) ^ho commanded a regiment raised for fighting
the Indians. He is called "Colonel" on the records of King's Chapel, Dec. 20, 1703.

Obadiah Gill (1679), of Boston, a shipwright, eldest son of John, of Boston, first
appears on the Boston town records in November, 1673. He held a town office in

Francis Foxcroft (1679). Authorities: lay his hands on the Bible in Swearing." — Sruui//

Boston Records; New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., Papers, Vol. /., /. 202.

1853, 1854, 1861, 1875, 1879, 1880; Annals of "March 30, 16S8. Obadia Gill . . . is l.y a

King's Chapel, p. 105; Paige's Hist, of Cam- Writt from the Sheriff imprisoned, because he paid

bridge; Kurd's Hist, of Middlesex Co., pp. 29, not the ly. 4d which he was fined, Feb 8, for not

30. laying his Hand on the Bible. . . .

"[1727-8] Jan 4 Thorsday, Col. Francis Fox- "He paid the fine, and Ly not in Prison one

croft was inter'd at Cambridge." — Se'wall Papers, night." — Scicn// Papers, Vol, I., p. 208.
Vol. Ill; p. 389. " Here lieth buried ye Bodi of Obodiah Gill

Obadiah Gill (1679). Authority: Boston Deacon of ye North Church in Boston Aged 50

Records. years, decesed January ye 6 — • 1 700." — From Copp's

" [1687-8] Wednesday, Feb. 8, Obad. Gill . . . Bill Burial- Ground.

is fined by Judge West Marks for refusing to


1676, and in 1678 was a member of the first engine company in town. In i5So, he
was a member of Capt. John Richards's (1644) military company in Boston. He was
both highway surveyor and constable in 1682, and, besides holding other offices, was
selectman in 1691, and continuously thereafter until 1701. The inventory of his estate
was returned to the probate court April i, 1702. He was fourth sergeant of the Artillery
Company in 1691.

Robert Jones (1679), son of Robert, of Hingham, was probably born in England.
In 1644, the family removed to Rehoboth, remained a few years, and then returned to
Hingham. Robert Jones (1679) c^'d not return to Hingham, but probably settled in
Swansea. He married Anna, daughter of John Bibble. He was killed by the Indians
June 24, 1675. Robert, St., in his will, mentions the children of his deceased son,
Robert (1679).

Charles Lidget (1679), of Boston, son of Peter Lidget, "a rich merchant," of
Boston, was born in that town, March 29, 1650. He married (i) Bethiah Shrimpton
and (2) Mary Hester, of London. He is called a colonel, by Hutchinson, I., 374,
at the downfall of Andros and his government, upon whose side Mr. Lidget (1679)
prominently acted. He was one of the founders of King's Chapel, and his name,
" Captaine Lydgett," appears on the record of the first meeting, June 15, 1686, with
Mr. Luscomb's (1678) and Mr. White's (1678). Mr. Foote, in Annals of King's Chapel,
says, "April 26, 1687, he was an assistant justice of the Superior Court, with Dudley as

He sailed for England in February, 1689-90, and died in London, July 13, 1698.

Benjamin Mountfort (1679) arrived at Boston in the ship "Dove," from London,
in 1675. He was about thirty years of age. He was a strong Episcopalian and Royalist,
and was one of the founders of King's Chapel. He was a member of its first vestry,
and, in 1690 and 1696, one of its wardens. He was an uncle of John Mountfort, who
joined the Artillery Company in 1697. Benjamin was an affluent and influential ship-
owner. He built his warehouse on the site of the present granite building, corner of
Change Avenue and Faneuil Hall Square, which became known as "MoHntfort's Corner."

He married Rebecca Foster, of Dorchester. They had no children, and he willed
his entire property to his wife. His will, executed Oct. 21, 17 13, was proved Sept. 7,
1 7 14. His remains were buried in King's Chapel Burial- Ground.

Joseph Parsons (1679), of Boston, merchant, married Bethia Brattle, daughter of
Capt. Thomas (1675). They had four children, all of whom died young; the mother
herself dying July 4, 1690, ten days after her last child died.

Mr. Parsons (1679) was a member of the patriotic council for the overthrow of
Andros in 1689, and was made a freeman in March, 1690.

Of Joseph Parsons (1679), the father, after the death of the last of his family,
nothing has been learned, except that he was alive in 1720.

Robert Jones (1679). AuxnoRrriEs: Sav- Benjamin Mountfort (1679). Authorities:

age's Gen. Diet. ; Lineoln's Hist, of Hingham. Annals of King's Cliapel, pp. 93, 123; King's

Charles Lidget (1679). Authorities: New Chapel Burial-Ground, by liridgman, p. 319.
Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1S79, 18S0, for letters Joseph Parsons (1679). Authorities: Sav-

of Charles Lidget (1679) and Francis Fo.xcroft age's Gen. Diet.; Harris's Descendants uf Thomas

(1679); Annals of King's Chapel. Brattle.


William Pollard (1679), of Boston, son of William, an innholder, was born in
Boston, March 20, 1653. He also kept an "ordinary," licensed in 1690. He was the
father of Capt. Jonathan Pollard (1700), and grandfather of Col. Benjamin (1726) ;
was a member of the Old South Church, and soldier in King Philip's War. He died
in 1690.

Samuel Ravenscroft (1679), of Boston, married Dionysia, daughter of Major
Thomas Savage (1637). Mr, Foote, in Annals of King's Chapel, says he was, in
1689, one of the wardens of King's Chapel, which prevented his two youngest children
being baptized at the Old South Church, to which he had belonged, and where his three
eldest are recorded. He, too, was imprisoned in the revolution of 1689, and soon, after
uniting in a loyal address to King William, moved from Boston. He was one of the
founders of King's Chapel, and his name appears in the records of the first meeting,
June 15, 1686. He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1682, and ensign
in 1686.

Samuel Sewall (1679), of Boston, bookseller, was born at Bishop-Stoke, England,
March 28, 1652. He came to New England in i66i,and graduated at Harvard College

Online LibraryOliver Ayer RobertsHistory of the Military company of the Massachusetts, now called the Ancient and honorable artillery company of Massachusetts. 1637-1888 (Volume 1) → online text (page 38 of 73)