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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in 1671. In a letter written in 1720 to his son, who had made some inquiries respect-
ing the genealogy of the family, he wrote : " Mr. Henry Sewall, my great-grandfather,
was a linen-draper in the city of Coventry, in Great Britain. He acquired a great estate,
was a prudent man, and mayor of the city. Henry Sewall, my grandfather, was his
eldest son, who, out of dislike to the English hierarchy, sent over his only son, my father,
Mr. Henry Sewall, to New England, in the year 1634, with neat cattle and provisions
suitable for a new plantation. On March 25, 1646, Richard Saltonstall joined together
in marriage my father and my mother, Mrs. Jane Dummer, — my mother about nine-
teen years old. 'Your fathers, where are they?' In 1674, I took my second degree at
Harvard College, and Mrs. Hannah Hull, my dear wife, saw me when I took my
degrees, and set her affections on me, though I knew nothing of it till after our marriage,
which was Feb. 28, 1675-6. Gov. Bradstreet married us."

It has been asserted in history and in romance, that when Mr. Sewall (1679) married
Hannah Hull, on the 28th of February, 1675-6, her father requested her, after the
ceremony, to stand on one side of his large scales, while he placed bags of shillings on
the other side, until she was weighed down. The scales have been handed down, and
grace a continental collection in Newbury ; but modern iconoclasts say that the story
originated in an ingenious computation of the weight of the sum which the bride actually
received as her dowry. " From this marriage," remarks Quincy, " has sprung the
eminent family of the Sewalls, which has given three chief-justices to Massachusetts, and
one to Canada, and has been distinguished in every generation by talents and virtues of
its members."

William Pollard (1679). Authorities: Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1847, p. 105, with portrait;

Savage's Gen. Diet.; Hill's Hist, of Old South Sewall's Diary and Tapers.

Church. " [1712] Monday, May 5. I lay a stone at the

Samuel Ravenscroft (1679). Authority: South-east Corner of the Town House and had

Foote's Annals of King's Chapel. engraven on it S. S. 1712." — Siivall Papers, Vol.

Samuel Sewall (1679;. Authorities: Hill's //.,/. 346.

Hist, of Old South Church ; Whitman's Hist. A. and " The first Court was open'd in the New Town-

H. A. Company, Ed. 1842; Atlantic Monthly, Feb- house," April 27, 1713. — Stwail Papers, Vol. II.,

ruary, 1880; Memoir of Samuel Sewall; New Eng. /. 379.


Samuel (1679) attended school at Badesley, England, and later at Rumney.
Arriving in Boston in 1661, not yet ten years of age, he proceeded to Newbury, and con-
tinued his studies under the tutorship of Rev. Thomas Parker, graduating in 1671.
His original intention was to enter the ministry, and therefore he studied divinity,
commenced preaching, and thought of settling at Woodbridge, N. J. ; but his plans
were changed, possibly by his fortunate marriage to Hannah Hull, daughter of Capt. John
Hull (1660), the goldsmith and mint-master.

He was admitted to be freeman in 1678, and almost immediately began his public
career. In the Records of the Town of Boston, he first appears, March 15, 1682-3, as
one of a committee to draw up instructions for the deputies for the General Court. He
was captain of a Boston military company from 1684 to 1693, and was major of the
regiment in 1695-6. He was chosen assistant in 1684, 1685, and 1686. He served the
town in various offices, and on many special committees. He visited England in 1688
and in 1689 ; the old charter having been revived, he was again assistant. He was a
member of the old council in 1689, and also of the new, from 1692 to 1725, being the
last survivor of the first-named councillors. In May, 1692, he was appointed one of
the judges for the trial of persons charged with witchcraft. Nineteen of the persons
arraigned before this court at Salem were executed. At a public meeting in the Old
South meeting-house, on Fast Day, Jan. 14, 1697, the minister read publicly a note from
Samuel Sewall (1679), — the latter standing in the congregation while Rev. Mr. Willard
read it, — acknowledging the writer's guilt in the decisions of the court, and asking the
pardon both of God and man.

Dec. 9, 1692, Mr. Sewall (1679) was chosen one of the judges of the Superior
Court, and became chief-justice in 17 18, retaining his seat on the bench until 1728, when,
on account of advanced years, he resigned it. He was appointed judge of probate for
the county of Suffolk in 1715, an office which he also resigned in 1728. He was a
supervisor of the press in 1681, and, when the Cambridge press came under his control,
is said to have printed the catechism with his own hands. In 1721, he entered his
dissent to a declaration of war against the eastern Indians, and is entitled to the honor
of being the first to oppose domestic slavery.

He was " a good friend to the aborigines of every tribe, not from mere humanity
and compassion, but he was much inclined to think that they were part of the ancient
people of God, and that the ten tribes, by some means or other, had strolled into
America. He was a commissioner for propagating the gospel among them, and with his
own substance built them a synagogue, and did many other charitable acts."

He was a man of distinguished piety, a diligent student of the Scriptures, and the
author of two works on the Prophecies. In the year 1 700, he expressed his sympathy
with the enslaved Africans by the issuing of a tract, entitled " The Selling of Joseph."
In 1 701, with Hon. Isaac Addington (1652), he drew up rules for the regulation of
Yale College, and was a member of the council, and one of the board of overseers of
Harvard College for many years.

He died at Boston, Jan. i, 1730, in his seventy-eighth year. The Boston ..A'tviv-
Lettcr oi Jan. 8, 1730, says, —

"After a month's languishment, died at his residence here, the Hon. Samuel
Sewall, Esq. [1679], "^^^o has for forty years appeared a great ornament of his town and
country. He was early chosen a tutor and fellow at Cambridge college, after taking his
degree, but did not long reside there, on account of his marriage within a year. In


the disorderly time of Sir E. Andres's government, towards the end of 1688, he went a
voyage to England ; upon his landing there, met the surprising news of the happy
revolution, and returned here the following year.

" He was universally beloved among us for his eminent piety, learning, and wisdonij
his grave and venerable aspect and carriage, his instructive, affable, and cheerful con-
versation, his strict integrity and regard for justice, which with many other excellencies,
rendered him ' worthy of a distinguishing regard in the New England histories.'

" He lived happily with the wife of his youth about forty-three years, who died Oct.
19,. 1717. He afterwards married Mrs. Abigail Tilley and Mrs. Mary Gibbs, who is now
a mourning widow."

He was first sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1680, ensign in 1683, and com-
mander in 1 701. Among his children were Rev. Joseph, pastor of the Old South
Church, whom he lived to see settled there, and who, by shedding tears profusely during
his prayers, gained the name of the " weeping apostle."

Thomas Smith (1679).

William Sumner (1679), of Boston, blacksmith, grandson of William, of Dorchester,
and son of William, of Boston, was born in Boston, Feb. 9, 1656. He was a member
of Major Clarke's (1644) military company in Boston in 1680, and held town offices
for three years. July 28, 1684, the selectmen "agreed with WiUiam Sumner [1679],
blacksmith to pay him ^Ids in mony to keepe the clocke at y' North end of the Towne
for one yeare." About 1687, he moved from Boston to Middleton, and died there
July 20, 1703.

From William, the grandfather, are descended Gov. Increase Sumner and his son.
Gen. William H. Sumner (1819), also Thomas W. Sumner (1792).

James Townsend (1679), of Boston, a carpenter, son of William, and brother of
Col. Penn Townsend (1674), was born Jan. 15, 1647, and became a freeman in 1672.
He died before Dec. 17, 1689, when his widow refused letters of administration.

David Waterhouse (1679), of Boston in 1679, was very prominent in the out-
break of 1689 against Gov. Andros, and was one of the signers of the letter, dated
April 18, requiring the Governor to give up his authority and surrender the forts to the
people. He was one of the Council of Safety in 1689, "after which," says Mr. Savage,
"we hear no more of him."

Rev. Edward Bulkley, of Concord, Mass., delivered the Artillery election sermon
of 1679. He was the eldest son of Rev. Peter, the first minister of Concord, and was
born in England. He was baptized at Odell, England, June 17, 16 14, and came to this
country before his father. He became a member of the First Church, Boston, March
22, 1635, and was admitted a freeman June 6 following. He was ordained in 1643, and
was settled at Marshfield until 1658. In 1659, he succeeded his father at Concord,
preached the sermon before the Governor and Legislature in 1680, and died at
Chelmsford, Jan. 2, 1696, but was buried at Concord.

William Sumner (1679). Althorities: New Rev. Edward Bulkley. Authorities: Sav-

Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1847, 1851, 1854, 1855; age's Gen. Diet.; Sprague's Annals of American
Whitman's Hibt. A. and H. A. Company, Ed, 1842; Pulpit; Eliot's Biog. Diet,
Hist, of Dorchester, by Antiq, and Hist, Soc, pp.
424. 436, 437-


, ^ The officers elected were : Thomas Savage (1637), captain ; Ephraim

I OOO" I . Savage (1674), lieutenant; Anthony Checkley (1662), ensign. Samuel
Sewall (1679) was first sergeant; John Hayward (1673), second ser-
geant; John Waite (1673), third sergeant; John Moore (1675), fourth sergeant;
Nathaniel Barnes (1676), clerk; John Marion, drummer, and Edward Smith, armorer.

Meanwhile Randolph had continued to cross and recross the ocean, taking to the
King statements showing the lack of loyalty to him in Massachusetts, the colonies of
Plymouth and Connecticut having expressed their willingness to be " reduced under his
Majesty's immediate government." Randolph, also informed the King that, even " at
Boston, the principal inhabitants, some whereof were the chief officers of the militia,
and the generality of the people, complained of the arbitrary government and oppression
of their magistrates, and did hope his Majesty would be pleased to free them from this
bondage, by establishing his own royal authority among them, and govern them
according to his Majesty's laws."

The new members recruited in 1680-1 were : Stephen Burton, Giles Dyer, Enoch
Greenleaf, Joseph Greenleaf, James Hawkins, Robert Mason, John Nelson, John Oliver,
John Pell, John Phillips, Abel Porter, William Towers.

Stephen Burton (1680), was of Boston, Sept. 3, 1678, when he was called by Nathaniel
Byfield (1679), '"'i^h Edward Bromfield (1679) and Joseph Davis (1675), to appraise
certain personal property. In 1680-1, he was constable of Boston, and in that year
joined with John Walley (1671), Nathaniel Byfield (1679), and Nathaniel Oliver, "men
of large estate and distinction, in purchasing the Mount Hope estate," the seat of King
Philip, of Plymouth Colony. He married, Sept. 4, 1684, Elizabeth, only daughter of
Gov. Josiah VVinslow, having moved the year previous to Swansea, and was prominent
in the settlement of Bristol. He was the first or earliest recorder for the county of
Bristol, commencing at the date of its incorporation, viz., June 2, 1685. He represented
the town of Bristol (then in Massachusetts, but now in Rhode Island) at the colonial
court in 1685, 1686, and 1690, and was a selectman of Bristol in 1689 and 1690.

Giles Dyer (1680), of Boston, first appears in the Boston town records Feb. 23,
1673, when the selectmen engaged him " to keepe the clocke for one yeare." He had
then had charge of the clock " 10 months past." He continued to have charge of this
clock on the First meeting-house until March 29, 1680, when he set up the clock on the
North meeting-house and had the care of both. In 1684, he was a member of Capt. John
Wing's (1671) military company and a tithing-man, and in 1708 was captain of the same
company. He was afterward colonel of the regiment, and from Oct. 3, 1 702, until his
decease, was sheriff of the county. He was prominent in town matters, being assessor
in 1703, and selectman from 1701 to 1704 inclusive. He was a member of King's
Chapel, and a warden in 1690, 1696 and 1697. During Dudley's (1677) administration
he was appointed. May 25, 1686, "receiver of duties on wines and liquors imported,"
and, Aug. 26, " deputy receiver of his Majesty's customs."

He died Aug. 12, 1713, his will of March 3, 1713, being proved on the 13th of
December following. Judge Sewall (1679) says in his diary, that Capt. Dyer (1680) died

Stephen Burton (1680). Authorities : Sav- Giles Dyer (1680). Authorities: Boston

age's Gen. Diet.; Boston Records; MS. of Gen. Records; Foote's Annals of King's Chapel, Vol. I.,
Ebenezer W. Peirce (1852). P- 89; Dyer Genealogy; Savage's Gen. Diet.


"after long Languishing about 6 m. Church-Bell rings just before the School Bell,
so both ring together. . . . Aug' 14. Am invited to be a Bearer to the Sheriff. I
enquired of Mr. Secretary whether there was a Sermon ; he told me yes, Mr. Harris
was to preach, and seem'd to make no doubt of [my] going to hear him ; I now begun
to be distress'd." Mr. Foote, in Annals of King's Chapel, adds, "Judge Sewall [1679]
accepted a pair of gloves for his sake, but refused to be a bearer, and though he followed
in the procession, would not go into the church."

Mr. Edwin L. Bynner, in the Memorial History of Boston, after referring to the
furnishings of King's Chapel and the costly presents that were made to it, says in regard
to Mr. Dyer (1680), " Fired by this royal munificence, the worthy warden of the chapel
has recorded with scrupulous care, but indifferent orthography, his own contribution :
'To my labor for making the Wather cock and Spindel, to Duing the Commandments
and allter rome and the Pulpet, to Duing the Church and Winders, mor to Duing the
Gallaray and the King's Amies, fortey pounds, which I freely give. G. Dver.' "

Enoch Greenleaf (1680), of Boston, son of Enoch, of Maiden and Boston, was
born about 1658, had two children born in Boston, and removed, or died, before 1700.
He was by trade a saddler. In 1681, he was a member of Capt. Hutchinson's (1670)
military company, and a tithing-man ; in 1693, was a constable of Boston, and May 11,
1697, the selectmen voted, that "Mr. Enock Greenleaf . . . should have his just
due." He was a brother of Joseph (1680).

Joseph Greenleaf (1680), of Boston, son of Enoch, of Maiden and Boston, was a
brother of Enoch (1680).

James Hawkins (1680), of Boston, son of James, was born in Boston, March 18,
1654. He first appears in the town records of Boston, May 26, 1681, when
" W™ Dawes, Ambrose Dawes [1674], James Hawkins [1680], were fined 20' for
causeinge y" Towne ground to be dig'd vp, without leaue, & makeinge the wall of
y" Cellar of y" Worp" Thomas Danfort Esq. Deputy Govern'' 9 inches throughout
frontinge toward y' Docke, vpon the towne lands, & still stands vpon the Towne
propertie." March 29, r686, he was again fined twenty shillings for "breakinge vp the
Towne ground to make Mr. Thomas Clarke [1685], a Cellar, thereby digging too farr
into the streete." He was a town officer in 1683, 1685, 1687, 1690, and 1691, and
resided in Boston until his decease, Jan. 6, 1709-10.

Robert Mason (1680), of Portsmouth, N. H., was a grandson of John Mason, the
patentee of New Hampshire, to which right he was an heir. Charles H., in 1677, con-
firmed his rights as proprietor of New Hampshire, and he was named, by the King, a
councillor of the province in 1680. He was a councillor in 1682, while he resided in
Portsmouth. He was named one of Sir Edmund Andros's council, but died in 1688.
He was the father of John Tufton and Robert Tufton Mason, prominent in the history
of Portsmouth.

Enoch Greenleaf (1680). Authorities: dyes very suddenly, about 56 years old." — Seiuall

New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1884, p. 300; Bos- Papers, Vol. II., p. 271.
ton Records. Robert Mason (1680). Authorities: Sav-

James Hawkins (1680). Authority: Boston age's Gen. Diet.; Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A.

Records. Company, Ed. 1S42.

" ['TOQ'lo] Sixth-day Jan 6>h James Hawkins


John Nelson (1680), of Boston, merchant, was a son of William, to whom Sir Thomas
Temple, his nephew, made lease of his patent rights in Nova Scotia. John (1680) and
Sir Thomas were, therefore, cousins. Mr. Nelson (1680) "was of a good family, nearly
related to Sir Thomas Temple, — an enemy to tyrannical government, but an Episcopalian
in principle ; of a gay, free temper, which prevented his being allowed any share in the
administration, after it was settled, although he was at the head of the party to whom
the fort and Sir Edmund surrendered." He was, however, selected as one of the
Council of Safety. In the new council, he was omitted. " Notwithstanding the slight
put upon him, yet such was the regard for his country that he ran very great risk of his
life in an attempt to give intelligence of the designs of the French. He went, not long
after the surrender, upon a trading voyage to Nova Scotia, where he was taken by a party
of French and Indians, and carried to Quebec."

Mr. Whitman (1810) adds: "It was here [Quebec] in confinement he contrived
to send a letter of information to the court at Boston, which Hutchinson gives at length
from their files, developing the hostile plans of the French in August, 1692. He had
received a commission from the provincial government of Massachusetts in 1691, to be
commander-in-chief in Acadia, when bound on this voyage ; but when he came near the
river St. John's he was taken prisoner. He was afterwards carried as a prisoner from
Quebec to Paris, France, where he was confined in the Bastile." A valuable letter from
Paris, written by him in 1698, when a prisoner, is given in 3 Mass. Hist. Coll., I.,
196. His relative, Sir Purbeck Temple, procured his liberation, and he returned to his
family after a separation of ten or eleven years.

In 1689, there was a popular uprising of the people to protect their liberties, and
dethrone Andros and his subaltern, Randolph. On the eventful day, April 18, the Gov-
ernor, and such of his friends as had not been put into Boston jail, retired to the Sconce,
or South Battery, intending, doubtless, to board the English frigate, " Rose," whose
captain, John George, was among the first seized by the enraged people. The Governor's
friends and redcoats gathered at the fort ; the Americans assembled at the town-house.
Preparations for a conflict were made by both sides, the " Rose " running out her shotted
guns. Failing to reach the frigate's boat, which had been sent to take the Governor off,
because the Americans seized it, with its " small arms, grenades, and a quantity of
match," the Governor and his party retired again to the fort. Nathaniel Byfield
(1679), 3-n eye-witness, says, "Whereupon Mr. John Nelson [1680], who was at the
head of the soldiers, did demand the fort and Governor, who was loath to submit to
them, but did at length come down," and he was escorted a prisoner to the house of
Col. John Usher (1673).

Capt. John Nelson (1680), of the Artillery Company, stands forth as the chief
military actor in the revolution of 1689. He was born in 1654, and died Nov. 15, 1734.
Dr. Timothy Cutler delivered a sermon upon his career, service, and character, saying
that "Capt. Nelson [1680] was neither troublesome, dangerous, or dishonorable, but
universally affable, courteous, and hospitable." He " closed a life of fourscore and one
years, fearing God, and calmly and quietly trusting in His mercy." He contributed five
pounds toward the building of King's Chapel, July, 1689, and was a warden of the Episco-
palian church, Boston, in 1705-7.

John Nelson (1680). AUTHORrriES: Foote's Reg., 1890, p. 130; Eliot's Biog. Diet.; Whitman's
Annals of King's Chapel, pp. 89, 90, 1 79-181, with Hist. A. and H. A. Company, Ed. 1842; Acts and
portrait and fac-simile of his autograph; Dedham Resolves of Prov. of Mass. Bay, Vol. VII.


John Oliver (1680), of Boston, cooper, son of John Oliver (1638), was born in
Boston, April 15, 1644. He was admitted a freeman in 1681 ; became a member of
the Second Church in Boston, and lieutenant in the militia. He married Susannah,
daughter of John Sweet (1673). He died in 1683.

John Pell (1680). It is difficult to trace this recruit. John Pell, who came
to America in 1670 to receive an estate left him by his uncle, Thomas, at Fairfield,
Conn., may have taken up his residence in Boston. Judge Sewall says, "John Pell
[1680] was third sergeant in Capt John Hull's [1660] company in 1681."

John Phillips (1680), of Charlestown, a master-mariner, was born in 1631. He
married, (i) July ig, 1655, Catherine Anderson, who died Feb. 24, 1699, and (2) Sarah
Stedman, of Cambridge. He died March 20, 1725, aged ninety-three years and nine
months. He was admitted a freeman in 1673, and represented Charlestown in the
General Court from 1683 to 1686. He was one of the Committee of Safety, organized
when Andros surrendered in 1689; assistant in 1689; treasurer of the province in
1692-3; one of the council named in the new charter, but was chosen by the people,
before it came, as a councillor, and was re-elected yearly until 1715; was appointed
judge of the inferior Court of Common Pleas for Middlesex County, June 29, 1702, and
served on the bench until Dec. 9, 17 15. In 1695, he was a commissioner to treat with
the Indians; also, again in 1701, when he was associated with Penn Tovtfnsend (1674),
Nathaniel Byfield (1679), and John Nelson (1680), in making a treaty with the eastern
Indians. He was colonel of the First Middlesex Regiment from 1689 to 1715.

His daughter, Abigail, married Rev. Cotton Mather, May 4, 1686, and according
to Judge Sewall's (1679) diary, it was to the house of Capt. John Phillips (1680), in
Charlestown, that Rev. Increase Mather, father of Rev. Cotton, fled in March, i688,
being bitterly hostile to the royal Governor.

John Phillips (1680) was first sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1681, ensign
in 1682, lieutenant in 1684, and captain in 1685.

Mr. Whitman (1810) is in error when he states, in his History of the Ancient and
Honorable Artillery Company, Ed. 1842, p. 212, that the Company held no election in
June, 1686, and that Col. Phillips (1680) "did not assemble the Company after Andros
was deposed, or resume his command on its revival." Col. Phillips (1680) served his
year from June, 1685,10 June, 1686, when Capt. Benjamin Davis (1673) was elected
captain, and Rev. Nehemiah Hobart delivered the sermon. Col. Phillips (1680) had no
authority to assemble the Company after Andros was deposed, not could he resume
command at the revival of the Company.

Abel Porter (1680), of Boston, son of Abel, of Boston, was admitted to be a free-
man in 1672, when he was called "junior." He was a member of a new military
company in Boston in September, 1677, of Capt. Hudson's (1640) company in 1680,
of Capt. Samuel Sewall's (1679) i" 1685.

William Towers (1680), of Boston in 166S, was a butcher. He is first mentioned
in the Records of the Town of Boston, March 14, 1669-70, being authorized to enforce

John Oliver (1680). Authorities: New Hist. A. and H. A. Company, Ed. 1S42; Savage's

Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1865, p. loi; Savage's Gen. Diet.; Mather's Magnalia, Vol. IL, p. 631.
Gen. Diet. William Towers (1680). Authority: Boston

John Phillips (1680). Authorities: Hurd's Records.
Hist, of Middlesex Co., Vol. I., p. 29; Whitman's


the law in regard to wandering swine. He held minor town offices for four years, and
in April, 1681, he was approved by the selectmen to keep a house of public entertain-
ment. His license was annually renewed until 1692.

Rev. William Adams, of Dedham, delivered the Artillery election sermon of 1680.
He was born May 27, 1650, probably at Ipswich. He received a liberal education,
graduated at Harvard College in 1671, studied theology, and was ordained pastor of the
church at Dedham, Dec. 3, 167.3. He received but sixty pounds annually as his salary,
and one year he relinquished eight pounds of- that moderate stipend, on account of

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