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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ably the opposing party withdrew from the meetings and drills, and returned only when
Gov. Andros had been deported to England, and the Episcopalians, several of whom —
Messrs. Foxcroft (1679), Ravenscroft (1679), and White (1678) — were put into jail in
1689, had given up the contest.

Also in April, 1687, Gov. Andros sailed with a considerable armament against the
eastern Indians. It is probable that his friends who were then officers of the Artillery
Company went on that expedition, and were absent from Boston on the first Monday in
June, 1687.

Rowe's Wharf coincides with the old South Battery, or Sconce, an outwork of Fort
Hill, and terminus in that direction of the famous barricade. As early as 1632 a fort
was begun on the eminence called Corn Hill, but soon the name was changed to Fort-
field, and finally to Fort Hill. In 1636, the work was continued, and Messrs. Keayne
(1637), Hutchinson (1638), Coggan (1638), Oliver (1637), Harding (1637), and others,
loaned five pounds each to complete it. Mr. Coggan (1638) was chosen treasurer.
The Sconce was constructed of whole timber, with earth and stone between, and was
considered strong.

The battery and the fort gained celebrity as the resort of Gov. Andros, and the
place of his seizure and deposition in 1689. In April of that year, the news of the
landing of the Prince of Orange at Torbay, England', reached Boston, and threw
the town into a ferment.

The first news of this event was brought to Boston by Mr. John Winslow, who
joined the Artillery Company in 1692. He arrived from Nevis, April 4, 1689, and
brought copies of the proclamation which William issued in the November previous.
Gov. Andros demanded of Mr. Winslow (1692) a copy of it, but was refused. Mr.
Winslow (1692) was brought into court, and, by Dr. Bullivant, Charles Lidget (1679),
and Francis Foxcroft (1679), justices, was sent to prison, "for bringing into the country
a traitorous and treasonable libel." ^

Gov. Andros, Randolph, and some of their followers, sought the security of the
fort. On the other hand, the drums beat to arms ; the North End and South End
rushed to the town-house, where every man joined his respective company, and an
ensign was raised on the Beacon. The captain of the frigate was seized and held as a
hostage. The train-bands circumvented the fort. Meanwhile Capt. Hill (1677), with
his soldiers, escorted Messrs. Bradstreet, Danforth, and others, to the town- house.
They drew up, signed, and sent to Sir Edmund Andros, a letter demanding the
surrender of the government and fortifications, etc. This letter was signed by fifteen
persons, — principal citizens of Boston, of whom the following were members of the
Military Company of the Massachusetts, viz. : John Richards (1644), Isaac Addington
(1652), John Foster (1679), David Waterhouse (1679), Adam Winthrop (1642), John
Nelson (1680), Wait Winthrop (1692), and Samuel Shrimpton (1670).

Subsequently, Gov. Andros complied with the request, and his surrender was
received by Capt. John Nelson (1680), who was in command of the soldiers. Gov.

' New England Justified, pp. 11, 12.


Andros was conducted to the council chamber, and thence to the house of Mr. John
Usher (1673), where he was detained as a prisoner. BulHvant, Ravenscroft (1679), White
(1678), Lidget (1679), and others of the Governor's friends, were placed in jail. The
fifteen principal citizens above named were joined, April 20, by twenty-two others, who
together formed "a council for the safety of the people and conservation of the peace."
They chose Mr. Bradstreet, president; John Foster (1679) 3-r>d -Adam VVinthrop (1642),
treasurers; Wait Winthrop (1692), commander-in-chief, and Isaac Addington (1652),
clerk. Members of the Artillery Company took a leading part in the deposition of
Gov. Andros, and the formation of a provisional government.

A ship arrived from England, May 26, 1689, with an order to the authorities "on the
spot" to proclaim King William and Queen Mary. Never, since the "Mayflower" groped
her way into Plymouth harbor, had a message from the parent country been received in
New England with such joy. Never had such a pageant, as three days after, expressive
of the prevailing happiness, been seen in Massachusetts. From far and near the people
flocked into Boston ; the government, attended by the principal gentlemen of the
capital and the towns adjacent, passed in procession on horseback through the thorough-
fares ; the regiment of the town, and companies and troops of horse and foot from the
country, lent their pomp to the display ; there was a great dinner at the town-house
for the better sort ; wine was served out in the streets, and the evening was made noisy
with acclamations of delight, till the bell rang at nine o'clock, and the families met at
their home altars to thank God for causing their great sorrow to pass away, and for
giving a Protestant king and queen to England.

The earliest attention of the new government was drawn toward the organization of
the militia. On the 20th of April, 1689, they appointed Hon. Wait Winthrop (1692)
major-general of the province, and Samuel Shrimpton (1670) colonel of the Boston
regiment. The titles of sergeant-major-general and sergeant-major were aboHshed.

The first regular field-day observed by the Military Company of the Massachusetts,
after the interregnum, was on the first Monday, the seventh day, of April, 1691, when,
the old officers having died or left the Company, an election of officers, who were to
serve until the succeeding anniversary, was held, and the celebrated Rev. Cotton Mather
was chosen to preach the election sermon. From this time to the commencement of the
Revolution, the Company held regular meetings, and performed regular field duty, except
in the autumn of 1721, when the meeting was omitted by legislative enactment, which
" forbid all trooping and training in Boston," by reason of the small-pox. The exertions
to revive the Company were attended with great success, and many were immediately
admitted whose public characters and recognized services served to add lustre to the
distinguished reputation it had before sustained. •

Members of the Artillery Company were prominent in reorganizing and making
efficient the military force of the colony. It was natural that such should remember that
the Artillery Company to which they belonged had been, and was intended to be, a
school for the training of men for military service. Col. Shrimpton (1670), the com-
mander of the Boston regiment, was, therefore, prominent in reviving the Artillery
Company in 1691. Elisha Hutchinson (1670) succeeded him in that office in 1694,

In 1689, Judge Sewall was in London, Eng- and Feathers in their Hats. Marched 5, 6, 7, and

land. He makes, in his diary, the following mention Eight in a RanV;. The Pikes. Had Musick besides

of the Honourable Artillery : — the Drums." — Sezaal! Pafers, J'ol. /., //. 265, 266.

" [1689] July 16 Saw London Artillery Com- ' Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company, ist

pany pass liy about 2 aclock. Most had Buff Cloaths Ed., p. 45.


and Samuel Checkley (1678) succeeded the latter in 1705. These three members,
loyally supported by others of no less experience and military knowledge, actively
engaged in reviving the Company, and in confirming and increasing its former prestige
and usefulness.

Among those who aided in this revival were: Lieut.-Gen. John Walley (1671),
Cols. Penn Townsend (1674) and John Ballentine (1682), Major Samuel Sewall (1679),
and Capts. John Wing (1671) and Bozoun Allen (1676), — all of whom, subsequent to
the revival, the Artillery Company honored by electing commanders.

The expedition of Sir William Phips against Canada occurred in 1690. The New
England colonies raised two thousand men for that fatal expedition, " of whom one
thousand perished"; "not vagrants," says Dummer, "picked up in the streets and
pressed into the war, but heads of families, artificers, robust young men, such as no
country can spare, and least of all new settlements." The force sailed from Boston,
Aug. 9, in about forty transports and small men-of-war. Major John Walley ' (1671)
had command of the land forces. His journal of this campaign against Canada is given
in the first volume of Gov. Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts. " Sir William Phips
returned to Boston, Nov. 19, having lost," Mr. Drake says, "by the enemy and sickness,
near three hundred men. The fleet, on its return, was scattered by storms ; one vessel
was wrecked, and others driven toward the West Indies."

The small-pox prevailed in Boston ; '■ Printer Green and his wife died of it," before
the fleet sailed. It appeared among the soldiers on the transports, and many died.

The colony was not in a financial condition to enter upon war. Its treasury was
empty. The expense of this expedition was paid partly by private subscription, and
partly by a loan. In the Massachusetts archives there is an original petition of those
Boston merchants who had loaned the colony money to carry on this expedition, and
who, in 1692, asked to be reimbursed. The signers were: John Richards (1644),
Edward Bromfield (1679), John Foster (1679), Peter Sergeant, Andrew Belcher, Edward
Gouge, Simeon Stoddard (1675), Nathaniel Williams (1667), Thomas Brattle (1675),
James Barnes, and Robert Gibbs.

Col. Benjamin Church made a diversion in favor of Sir William Phips and his
expedition, by advancing against the French and Indians in Maine. The Brunswick
(Me.) Telegraph says, that a metal button was recently ploughed up in that town,
bearing the inscription, " Massachusetts Artillery," in a circle around the rim. There
is on it a very excellent representation of a gun, with its rammer and sponges attached,
and to the rear of the piece stands the British flag. Upon the reverse of the button is
the inscription, " Gilt. London." This button probably belonged to one of the three
hundred solders in this expedition under Col. Church, who captured and destroyed a
fort on the site where Brunswick now stands.

' Another member of the Artillery Company, 98, notes : " Dr. Bullivant, in his Journal, says that

Col. Penn Townsend (1674), was first offered the Nelson [l68o], who had played an important part

command, and was appointed in March, 1690, com- in the overturning of Andros, had been applied to

mander-in-chief of the expedition; but Sir William " for generalissimo, as the fittest person for such an

offered " to go in person," whereupon the former de- enterprise; but the country deputies said he was a

clined " with thanks." — See Semill Papers, /., 316. merchant, and not to be trusted; so it was offered to

The Memorial History of Boston, Vol. H., p. Sir William Phips."


^ The officers elected in April, 1691, were : Elisha Hutchinson (1670),

J QQQ" J ^ captain ; Penn Townsend (1674), lieutenant; Bozoun Allen (1676),

'^ ensign. Joseph Bridgham (1674) was first sergeant ; Nathaniel Williams

(1667), second sergeant; Samuel Checkley (1678), third sergeant; Thomas Hunt
(1685), fourth sergeant; Henry Deering (1682), clerk, and Samuel Marion (1691),

Of the above, Ensign Henry Deering (1682), clerk, was first sergeant in 1685;
Lieut. Samuel Checkley (1678), third sergeant, was fourth sergeant in 1685. The
remainder were not officers of the Company when its meetings were suspended in

The lists of the Company which have come down to us do not distinguish between
such as joined the Company in April or June, 1691. It might be inferred that all the
recruits in 1691, except one, were received at the April meeting, for Major Hutchinson
(1670), the commander, and Henry Deering (1682), clerk, were the bondsmen for all
of the twenty new members, except one, of that year, and both of these officers were
succeeded by others at the meeting in June, 1691.

^ The officers elected at the June meeting in 1691 were: Penn

J QQ J "2 . Townsend (1674), captain; Bozoun Allen (1676), lieutenant; William
■' Greenough (1675), ensign. John Ballentine (r682) was first sergeant;

Edmund Brown (1691), second sergeant; Samuel Marshall (16S5), third sergeant;
Obadiah Gill (1679), fourth sergeant; William Robie (1684), clerk, and Samuel Marion
(1691), drummer.

The Company immediately began an era of prosperity ; the surviving members
became newly interested, and many additions were made to the ranks. Not less in
personal worth and colonial fame than former members of the Company were some
of the recruits who joined the Company very soon after it was revived. Col. Adam
Winthrop (1692) and his son, Adam (1694); Hon. Wait Winthrop (1692); Thomas
Hutchinson (1694), father of the Governor of that name ; Cols. Thomas Fitch (1700),
Edward Winslow (1700), Penn Townsend, Jr. (1700) ; Sir Charles Hobby (1702) ; Hon.
William Dummer (1702), lieutenant-governor, and Hon. John Leverett (1704), who
was elected presideiif of Harvard College while holding the office of lieutenant in this
Company, were among the distinguished additions soon after the revival of the Company.

The members recruited in 1691 were : John Adams, Edmund Brown, John Clough,
James Cornish, Robert Cumby, Thomas Cashing, Benjamin Dyar, John Dyar, William
Gibbins, Joseph Hill, John Kilby, Samuel Lynde, John Marion, Jr., Samuel Marion,
William Paine, Daniel Powning, Timothy Pratt, Timothy Thornton, Timothy Wadsworth,
Thomas Willis.

John Adams (1691), of Boston, a nephew of Henry (1652), was born in Braintree
in 1661. He married (i) Hannah Webb, and, (2) Oct. 19, 1694, Hannah, daughter of
Anthony Checkley (1662). The third child by his first wife was Samuel (1729), who

John Adams (1691). Authorities: Hist. History of Adams Family says, "Capt. John

of Braintree; Savage's Gen. Diet.; Hisl. of Adams [1691] died intestate before June 20, 1712."
Family, by Henry Whittemore, 1S93.


was the father of Samuel Adams, the patriot and orator, signer of the Declaration of
Independence, and Governor of Massachusetts. John Adams (1691) was also grand-
uncle of John Adams, the second president of the United States.

Mr. Adams (1691) was a tithing-man in Boston, and a member of Capt. James
Hill's (1677) military company in 1693. He was a constable in 1699, ^i^d became a
member of the Old South Church, Jan. 5, 1700, by letter from the church at Braintree.
He is known in the records as Capt. John Adams. He died before June 20, 171 2.

Edmund Brown (1691), of Boston, son of Deacon William, of Sudbury, was
born in the latter town, Nov. 27, 1653. His uncle, Rev. Edmund Brown, delivered
the Artillery election sermon in 1666. Edmund (1691) settled in Dorchester, but after-
ward removed to Boston and became a shopkeeper. In 1694, he married his second
or third wife, the widow of Hopestill Foster (1673), and he died soon after.

Edmund Brown (1691) was a constable of Boston in 1687 ; tithing-man in 1690; a
member of the militia, and promoted to be lieutenant; an overseer of the poor in 1692,
and the same year was a deputy from Boston to the General Court. He was second
sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1691.

John Clough (1691), of Boston, a glover, son of John and Mary Clough, was
born April 11, 1669. He was a tithing-man in 1698, and in 1704-5, and was therefore
a member of a military company in Boston. Sept. 24, 1718, he joined the South
Church, and Jan. 21, 1730, he met, with others, at the house of Hopestill Foster (1694),
and formed the Hollis Street Church. He was afterward prominent in the erection of
the Hollis Street meeting-house, and in the maintenance of that society. He was third
sergeant of the Company in 1695.

James Cornish (1691), of Boston, was a son of Thomas Cornish, of Boston. He
was chosen a sealer of leather in 1698.

The first child of James (1691) and Mary Cornish born in Boston, was born March
18, 1687, and the last, Nov. 22, 1694.

Robert Cumby (1691), of Boston, son of Humphrey, of Boston, was born Feb. 14,
1654-5. He married Rebecca Cromwell, daughter of John, one of the original members
of the First Church in Charlestown. Robert (1691) was a member of Capt. John
Richards's (1644) military company in 1680-1, and also a tithing man. He was a
highway surveyor of Boston in 1701, a tithing man again in 1704, and a town assessor
in 1707. He was a member of the old North Church, and was elected a deacon of the
new North in 17 14. He was assistant clerk of the Artillery Company from 1692 to
1697, and fourth sergeant in 1692. He died July 17, 1717. His remains were buried
in Copp's Hill Burial-Ground.

Edmund Brown (1691). Authorities: Sav- from John Clough, who owned the land where the

age's Gen. Diet.; Boston Records. Hotel Boylston stands." — Note by Eds. in Se-wall

John Clough (1 691). Authorities: Boston Papers, Vol. JI., p. 2,'2-o.
Records; Drake's Hist, of Boston. Robert Cumby (1691). Authorities: Sav-

" In Price's map of 1743, the street laid out by age's Gen. Diet.; Copp's Hill Burial Ground, by

the Eliot heirs, from Frog Lane (now Boylston Bridgman; Boston Records.
Street) to Hollis Street, was called Clough Street,


Thomas Gushing (1691), merchant, of Boston, was the second son of Hon. John
Gushing, of Scituate, where the former was born, Dec. 26, 1663. Lieut. Thomas
Gushing (1691) was twice married : (i) Oct. 17, 1687, to Deborah, a daughter of Gapt.
John Thaxter, and, (2) Dec. 8, 1712, to Mercy Wensley, widow of Joseph Bridgham
(1674). He was the father of Thomas Gushing, a prominent citizen of Boston, — who
was representative for Boston from 1742 to 1746 inclusive, and speaker from 1742 to
1745, — and the grandfather of the distinguished patriot, Thomas Gushing, who was a
member of the Gontinental Gongress in 1774 and heutenant-governor of Massachusetts
from 1780 to 1788.

Thomas Gushing (1691) was a clerk of the market in 1691 and 1692 ; tithing-man
from 1692 to 1694, and in 1696, being during those years a member of Gapt. John
Wing's (1671) military company of Boston, in which Mr. Gushing (1691) rose to the
rank of lieutenant. Judge Sewall (1679) calls Thomas Gushing (1691) " Gaptain " in
1725. He was a selectman from 1705 to 1708 inclusive, 1710 and 1711, 1719 to 1722,
and 1724 to 1726, chairman of the board in 1707, and representative from Boston
to the General Gourt from 1724 to 1731 inclusive. During these forty years of public
service, he served on many important committees, in company with the principal
citizens of the town. He was a member of the council from 1731 to 1736 inclusive;
was appointed special justice of the Superior Gourt, June 22, 1733, and justice of the
peace, Dec. 29, 1731. He became a member of the First Ghurch in 16S8, and in
March, 1705, he, with his wife, became members of the Brattle Street Ghurch. He was
fir5t sergeant of the Artillery Gompany in 1697, and its ensign in 1709.

He died, universally regretted by his townsmen, Oct. 3, 1740; and his widow died
in April, 1746, by whom the estate was bequeathed to the children of her first husband,
Joseph Bridgham (1674).

Benjamin Dyar (1691), shopkeeper, of Boston, son of Thomas Dyar, of Weymouth,
was born Nov. 6, 1653. He married, Dec. 10, 169 1, Sarah Odlin, daughter of Elisha
and Abigail Odlin, of Boston.

He was a tithing-man in Boston in 1685, and at that time a member of Gapt. John
Wing's (1671) military company, and previously of Gapt. Henchman's (1675) company.
He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1695. His brother, John, joined
the Artillery Gompany in 1691.

Benjamin (1691) died Dec. 29, 17 18, aged sixty-four years, and was buried in the
King's Ghapel Burial-Ground. His will was proved March 9, 17 18-9.

John Dyar (1691), ironmonger, of Boston, son of Thomas Dyar, of Weymouth,
was born in that town, July 10, 1643. He married, June 6, 1694, Hannah Morton.
His brother, Benjamin, joined the Artillery Gompany in 1691. John (1691) was a
constable of Boston in 1681-2, a tithing-man in 1690, and in 1696 he held the latter
office in place of John Glough (1691). Ensign John (1691) was a member of Gapt.
Daniel Henchman's (1675) military company in 1680, and of Gapt. John Wing's (1671)
in 1684. He was second sergeant of the Artillery Gompany in 1694. Administration
on his estate was given June 11, 1696, to his widow and eldest son.

Thomas Gushing (legi). AuTHORrriEs: Benjamin Dyar (1691). Authority: Boston

New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1854, 1865, 1871; Records.

Eliot's Biog. Diet. ; Savage's Gen. Diet. John Dyar (1691). Authorities: Savage's

Gen. Diet.; Boston Records.


William Gibbins (1691), shopkeeper, of Boston, held various town offices between

1696 and 1705. He probably married Anne in 1686. The first child of William

and Anne Gibbins was born in Boston in 1687. He was a member of a Boston military
company, and became a lieutenant. Administration was granted on his estate, Aug. 16,
17 1 1. His son, John, joined the Artillery Company in 17 11.

Mr. Whitman (1810) suggests that, "though there is a slight variation in the
surname," he was " undoubtedly a descendant of Major-Gen. Gibbons [1637], a charter
member" of the Military Company of the Massachusetts.

Joseph Hill (1691), varnisher, of Boston, probably son of Valentine (1638) and
Mary, daughter of Gov. Eaton, of Boston, was born July 18, 1647, and was baptized at
the First Church on the 26th of the same month.

Joseph Hill (1691) was approved by the selectmen. May i, 1691, "to sell Coffee,
Tea & Chuculetto." From this time to 1707 he held town offices, and in 1721 was
granted permission by the selectmen " to erect a wooden building in Long Lane," now
Federal Street.

May 27, 1702, Mr. Hill (1691) presented a petition to the General Court, saying:
" Whereas there is very great probability of our Nations being speedily involved in a
bloody War : which will affect all the Dominions and territories of the Crown of England
as well in this Country as else where ; And prudence requiring that all just and necessary
preparation be made for the defence of the same ; I crave leave, humbly to Informe this
Hon. Court That the true Love which I have and bear to my King and Nation and the
zeal I have for their service hath for some time past put me on invention to find out
something that would be serviceable in time of War for the annoyance of the Enemy
etc. . . . lean form such engines and make such composition of Fireworks" — as will
do more damage to the enemy than many men. He asked for an appropriation to pur-
chase the material to test his invention. The General Court, in Chap. 15, Province
Laws, 1702, First Session, appropriated twenty pounds, "for the purpose of experiment-
ing with fireworks for sinking ships," and appointed a committee to disburse the money.

Mr. Hill (1691) was active in the military, and rose to the position of captain. He
died in 1727, aged eighty years.

John Kilby (1691), of Boston, was a son of Edward. By wife, Rebecca, he had
eleven children born in Boston. Mr. Kilby (169 1) was a tithing-man in 1693-4, and a
member of Capt. Allen's (1676) military company. He held other town offices, and in
1 713 was elected assessor, but declined. He owned real estate "at the northerly end
of Cornhill, on the westerly side thereof," in 1711 and 1718. John Kilby (1691) was
one of the twenty persons to whom Thomas Brattle (1675) conveyed land, Jan. 10, 1698,
as a site for a meeting-house.

He was a member of the Old South Church until the formation of the Brattle
Street Church in 1699. He was fourth sergeant of the Company in 1696, and ensign
in 1705.

William Gibbins (1691). Authority: Bos- p. SS, Capt. Hill (1691) was forty-seven years old

ton Records. in 1694.

Joseph Hill (1691). Authorities: Savage's John Kilby (1691). Authorities: Boston

Gen. Diet.; Boston Records; Province Laws of Records; Early New England People, by S. E.

Mass. Bay, Vol. VIL Titconib.

According to note in Sewall Papeis, Vol. HI.,


His death is noticed in a Boston newspaper of 1722 : "John Kilby died May 29
[1722], aged fifty-four years." He was, therefore, born in i668, and he married at the
age of twenty years. He was buried in the old Granary Burial-Ground.

Christopher Kilby, son of John (1691), became a very prominent citizen of Boston.
He was the agent for the province of Massachusetts Bay in England many years, and in
recognition of his money subscriptions and other manifestations of interest after the
fire of 1760, Mackerel Lane, when widened and improved, was called Kilby Street.

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 42 of 73)