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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The Nctvs-Lcttcr, in 1704, uses the phrase "Honourable Artillery Company," and in
1729 a committee of the Company, in its report, uses the tide " honourable Artillery
Company of the Province of the Massachusetts." The present name appears but once
(in 1762) previous to the year 1789, when the Company was revived after the Revolu-
tion ; the Legislature, in their militia laws, have since confirmed it to them.

In December, 1708, it was thought by the town that the by-laws already made and
in force for the government of the town were insufficient or defective. There was
neglect in the execution of these laws, and the need of a proper head, or town officer,
to enforce them. It was therefore proposed that a committee of the freeholders and
other inhabitants draw up a scheme, or " draught of a Charter of Incorporation for the
better government of the town." The committee was to consist of thirty-one persons.
The naming of the committee will best prove the influence, position, and prominence
of the members of the Artillery Company, and the respect in which they were held.

The committee consisted of the following : Elisha Cooke, Elisha Hutchinson
(1670), Isaac Addington, Samuel Sewall (1679), John Foster (1679), Penn Townsend
(1674), John Clark, Paul Dudley, Col. Samuel Checkley (1678), Col. Adam Win-
throp (1692), Capt. Thomas Fitch (1700), Capt. Thomas Hutchinson (1694), Capt.
Timothy Clarke (1702), Capt. Samuel Keeling (1699), Capt. John Ballentine, Jr. (1694),
Elder Joseph Bridgham (1674), Deacon John Marion (1691), Addington Davenport
(1692), Thomas Newton (1702), Elisha Cooke, Jr. (1699), John George (1702), John
White, Richard Draper, Francis Clarke (1701), together with the selectmen, viz., Daniel
Oliver, Daniel Powning (1691), Thomas Cushing (1691), Stephen Minot, Francis
Thresher, Capt. Oliver Noyes (1699), and Joseph Front (1674).

Of the above-named committee of thirty-one persons, twenty-two were members
of the Artillery Company. In the month of March following, notwithstanding the town
voted thanks to the above-named committee "for their care and paines in drawing up
the said Scheme," the scheme itself was negatived.

The members of the Artillery Company recruited in 1 708 were : Ames Angier,
James Davie, William Lowder.

" [1708] 7"' [Sept.] 6, 1 Train under Capt Fitch, followed me into Shrimptons Lane, and took me off.

and by that means dine with Maj. Turner at Norths. Mr Pemberton had discouraged rae before, but I

He was I think the only Guest. Mr. N. Williams had thought to have Train'd this once; had I not

pray'd in the field in the morn; and Mr. Allen at been thus call'd away. . . .

his own Gate p.m. As were Shooting at the Mark, "['709] M^y 2 Being Artillery day and Mr.

the Rain oblig'd us to put on our cloaks. Went to Higginson dead, I put on my Mourning Rapier;

Capt. Lieut, liallentines; made an excellent Volley and put a black Ribband into my little cane. . . .

at Lodging the Colours, Mad. Ballentine rec'd them I din'd with the ."Vrtillery at Powell's, whether Max-

in at window. . . . well came and warned me to Council at 3. There I

"[1709] Monday, April 4. Gen'l Council, waited all alone, as many times I do." — Scwatl

which prevented my Training in the Artillery. I Papers, \'ol. 11., pp. 235, 252, 254.
sent my Pike, and went myself; and the Secretary


Ames Angier (1708), school-master, of Boston, son of Rev. Samuel and Hannah
Angier, of Rehoboth, was born at Rehoboth, June 29, 1681, and graduated at Harvard
College in 1701. His mother was the only daughter of Urian Oakes, president of
Harvard College, 1675-81, who delivered the election sermon before the Artillery
Company in 1672. Ames Angier (1708) was second sergeant of the Artillery Company
in 1709. He married, May 20, 1708, Margaret Maccarty, of Boston, probably a daughter
of Thaddeus (1681).

March 15, 1719-20, the town "voted: that Mr. Ames Anger be admitted a school-
master at ye new writing school-house ' at ye South," at a salary of one hundred pounds
quarterly. Several petitions having been presented the town complaining of the South
School and of its teacher, the town voted, March 13, 172 1-2, that the selectmen, and
such others as they may invite, visit the school, make inquiries, and report at the next
general meeting. The selectmen invited Penn Townsend (1674), Jeremiah Allen
(1694), and John Edwards (1699) to accompany them. They visited the South Writing-
School, April 24, 1722, and, after examination, reported that Mr. Angier (1708) should
not be continued as master. He died in 1722, in England.

James Davie (1708), merchant, of Boston, was probably a son of Capt. Humphrey
Davie (1665), who came to Boston in 1662. After the decease of his first wife, Capt.
Humphrey (1665) married Sarah, widow of James Richards, of Hartford, Conn. He
died Feb. 18, 1689. By his wife, Sarah, he had two sons or more. The father came
into possession of a large estate in Hartford, and it is quite probable that James (1708)
also removed thither.

William Lowder (1708), an innholder, of Boston, married, May 2, 1706, Lydia
Balston. He was a clerk of the market in Boston in 17 10, a fireward in 1712, and in
17 15 was elected a constable, but refused to serve. He "was discharged by the Justices
in Court of General Sessions," at the April term. He was probably a storekeeper until
July II, 1726, when he petitioned the selectmen for a license as an innholder. It was
granted, "at the horsshew in the Comon." Probably this tavern was in the vicinity of
Horse Pond, on the Common. July 27, 1730, Mr. Lowder (1708) petitioned for liberty
" to remove his license of a tavernor from the house where he lives in Comon Street
to the place where Mr. Mason's Grainery was," which was granted. The " Grainary
belonging to Mr. Arthur Mason, butting on the Common or Training field," was used
by the town in 1702 to store powder in, on account of its remoteness from the town,
Mr. Lowder (1708) remained there but little more than three years, when he removed
from Common Street "to the house wherein George Cyre dwelt in Marlborough Street,"
now Washington Street, between Summer and School streets. He remained here until
his decease, in 1736, when administration was granted unto his son.

William Lowder (1708) was clerk of the Artillery Company in 1710, third sergeant
in 171 1, and lieutenant in 1723.

The record of the Artillery Company for 1 708 is as follows : —

"April 5"" 1708. The Rev'd Mr. Samuel Danforth was chosen to preach the

Ames Angier (1708). AUTHORrrv: Boston '"This was the school establisheil about 1 71 7,

Records. at the corner of West and Common streets." —

William Lowder (1708). AuTHORnv: Bos- Wliilman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company, EJ. l%:^2,
ton Records.


Artillery Sermon, and the then commission officers, with Mr Samuel Sewall, Esqr [1679]
and Mr. Edward Bromfield Esqr [1679], were desired to request it of him.
" May y\ It was returned accepted pr him."

Rev. Samuel Danforth, of Taunton, who delivered the sermon before the Artillery
Company in 1708, was a son of Rev. Samuel Danforth, of Roxbury (colleague with
Rev. John Eliot), who delivered the sermon before the Company in 1667, and was a
brother of Rev. John Danforth, of Dorchester, who delivered the sermon before the
Company in 1693. Rev. Samuel, of Taunton, was born Dec. 6, 1666, and graduated
at Harvard College in 1683. He was ordained in 1687, and married Hannah, daughter
of Rev. James Allen, of Boston, who delivered the sermon before the Company in 1664.
He died Nov. 14, 1727, and his widow, Dec. 3, 1761.

The officers elected were: Penn Townsend (1674), captain;

I 700' 1 0. Habijah Savage (1699), lieutenant; Thomas Cushing (1691), ensign.

• ^ Henry Bridgham (1699) was first sergeant; Ames Angier (1708),

second sergeant ; Benjamin Simpson (1702), third sergeant; Ambrose Vincent (1703),

fourth sergeant, and Henry Bridgham (1699), clerk.

In 1709, the British government directed the northern colonies to raise forces to
unite with those of England, and attack Canada by sea and land ; but the promised fleet
and troops from England did not arrive, and the enterprise failed. Massachusetts had
nine hundred men under arms near Boston, and many vessels employed, from May to
October. The expense to the province was about twenty thousand pounds.

At the meeting of the freeholders, and other inhabitants of Boston, held at the
town-house, Monday, Dec. 19, 1709, a petition was presented to the town, signed by
Oliver Noyes (1699), Daniel Oliver, James Barnes, John George (1702), John Gerrish
(1700), and Anthony Stoddard, of whom one half were members of the Artillery Com-
pany. Dr. Oliver Noyes, who joined the Artillery Company in 1699, was the originator
and impelling spirit in the undertaking which was projected.

The petitioners asked permission of the town to build a wharf, at their own cost and
charge, at the end of King Street, to be the width of the street, and " unto low-water
mark, leaving a way thirty feet wide on one side as a highway, and keeping the end of
the wharf free for the town, when they shall see reason to plant guns there for the defence
of the town." The work was to be completed within four years. The petition is given
entire in the Record Commissioners' Report of Boston Town Records, 1 700-1 728,
pp. 66, 67.

The town thought favorably of the project, and appointed the following committee
to consider the petition, viz. : Isaiah Tay, Jonas Clark, Samuel Marshall (1685), James
Barnes, Daniel Powning (1691), Richard Draper, Capt. Timothy Clarke (1702), Capt.
Ephraim Savage (1674), and Joseph Wadsworth. At the town meeting, March 13,
1709-10, the above committee presented its report, which was signed by Joseph Prout
(1674) : " T. Clerk in ye name of said committee." They recommended, and the town
approved, that "the grant asked for by Capt. Oliver Noyes [1699] and Company be

"[1709] June 6 Artillery clay. I went with Mr. John Williams of Deerlield to the funeral of Mr
Fierpont at Reading." — Sewall Papers, Vol. II., p. 257.


granted." This was the origin of Long Wharf, which appears so cons]iicuous on the maps
of Boston from the time of Bonner's map, in 1714 ; especially on Paul Revere's "View
of a part of Boston," showing Long Wharf, the buildings upon it, and the landing of
the British troops in 1768.

Capt. Uring, in his Voyages and Travels, describes the Boston of 1709-21, the
years of his first and last visits. He says, "The town is near two miles in length, and
three-quarters of a mile broad in some places, in which are reckoned 4000 houses ; most
of them are built of brick and have about 18000 inhabitants. It is much the largest of
any in America under the British government ; they have built several wharfs ; one of
which goes by the name of the I^ong Wharf, and may well be called so, it running about
800 foot into the harbour, where large ships, with great ease, may both lade and unlade ;
on one side of which are warehouses almost the whole length of the wharf."

At the town meeting held March 13 and 14, 1709-10, it was voted, "That the
Town will proceed to the choyce of a Committee to Consider about building a line of
Fortification on the Neck, to make an Estemation of what may be the charge thereof,
and also to Consider of the most convenient place & manner how the Sam : may be
built So as to be a means of Safety to ye Town and to make report to the Town at their
next meeting of what they Shall thinck proper for the Town to do therein." The
following committee was chosen: Elisha Cooke, Samuel Sewall (1679), Thomas Brattle,
Capt. Thomas Fitch (1700), and Capt. Oliver Noyes (1699). Aug. 31 next follow-
ing, the inhabitants in town meeting voted that the line of defence should be made about
two hundred feet to the southward of Mr. Samuel Phillips's (1693), "his land on ye
Neck," and that the fortification should be faced with stone from the bottom of the
ditch to the height of the rampart, and the parapet to be sod work. The line of
defence was at the termination of Orange Street, corresponding to the present inter-
section of Dover and Washington streets.

At the meeting in March, 1709-10, Joseph Prout (1674) represented that he had
served as town clerk- for the space of nine years, and as town treasurer for seven years,
and that the work of these offices had required so much care and attention as to exclude
his doing anything else. The pay was small, and the town granted him one hundred
and fifty dollars.

The members of the Artillery Company recruited in 1709 were : John Ellis, Samuel
Gerrish, Joseph Hiller, John Hunt, Brattle Oliver, James Smith, Jr., Francis Wainwright.

John Ellis (1709), of Boston, son of Henry and Joanna Ellis, of Boston, was born
Aug. 18, 1683. His father, Henry, was a mariner. He was a corder of wood in 1704,
and was elected constable in 17 17.

Samuel Gerrish (1709), bookseller, of Boston, son of Rev. Joseph and Ann
(Waldron) Gerrish, of Wenham, married Mary, daughter of Hon. Samuel Sewall (1679).
She died Nov. 16, 17 10, aged nineteen years and twenty days. He married, second.
May 8, 1712, Sarah, daughter of Capt. John Coney (1662). His mother was a daughter
of Major Richard Waldron, of Dover. Samuel (1709) is designated by Mr. Savage as
"the bookseller." He united with the Old South Church, March 14, 1707. He was
elected constable of Boston March 9, 1723, but declined, paying the fine. March 11,

John Ellis (1709). Authokitv: Boston Rec- Samuel Gerrish (1709). .VuiiiuKriv: Bos-

ords. ton Records.


1733, he was chosen town clerk, and was annually re-elected until his decease. May
18, 1741, the warrant contained an article, to elect a town clerk in place of Samuel
Gerrish (1709), deceased. He was also, from 1735 to his death, registrar of deeds for
Suffolk County, and was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 17 12.

Joseph Hiller (1709), shopkeeper, of Boston, son of Joseph and Susanna Hiller,
was born in Boston, Sept. 9, 1685. He was a brother of Benjamin Hiller ('1714).
He was granted a hcense as a retailer in Cornhill, Aug. 7, 17 10, which was regranted.
His house in Cornhill was on the easterly corner of Cornhill, now Washington Street,
and Tyng's Alley. In 17 19, he was one of the sureties for William Pitson, a new inhabi-
tant. He was chosen, March 25, 1718, sealer of weights and measures for the town of
Boston, in place of Capt. Ephraim Savage (1674), "who had moved out of town."
Jan. 30, 1720-1, James Collison was chosen sealer of weights and measures, in place
of Joseph Hiller (1709), deceased. The latter was first sergeant of the Artillery Com-
pany in 1 7 13, ensign in 17 18, and lieutenant in 17 19.

John Hunt (1709), trader, of Boston, son of Capt. Thomas (1685) and Judith
(Torrey) Hunt, was born in Boston in 1676. He married, June 14, 1711, Rebecca
Shrimpton. His marriage was solemnized by Ephraim Hunt, Esq. They had nine
children, one of whom, Elizabeth, married, Dec. 6, 1736, Col. Jacob Wendell (1733).
Ephraim Hunt (1717) was a brother of Capt. John (1709).

Capt. John (1709) was clerk of the market in 1712; constable in 1713; tithing-
man and a member of the militia in 1719 and 1722; selectman from 1727 to 1730;
overseer of the poor from 1731 to 1736 inclusive, and a trustee, March 29, 1728, of the
town's proportion of the sixty thousand pounds granted by the General Assembly.
There were five trustees charged with the loaning and care of this fund, four of whom
were members of the Artillery Company.

March 25, 1735, Capt. Hunt (1709) gave one hundred pounds toward the erection
of the new workhouse. He was a man of considerable wealth, and noted for his
generosity. He was the owner of the brigantine "Supply," recorded as one of the
vessels hailing from Boston in 1748. In 1734, Capt. Hunt (1709) was a member of
that select Fire Society in Boston, incorporated in 17 17, whose membership was limited
to twenty persons. He became a member of the Old South Church, Nov. 22, 1730;
was appointed a justice of the peace, June 27, 1735, and served as third sergeant of
the Artillery Company in 17 13.

Brattle Oliver (1709), merchant, of Boston, son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth
(Brattle) Oliver, of Boston, was born June i, 1689. He was a grandson of Peter (1643),
and a brother of Nathaniel, Jr. (1701). His mother was a daughter of Capt. Thomas
Brattle (1675). He became a member of the Old South Church, Feb. 16, 1728-9.
Brattle Oliver (1709) married, March 11, 1713-4, Anne Gillam.

But little is known of him. In 1734, he mortgaged some real estate on Fort Hill
to his brother, James. The last record found concerning him is the fact of his forbid-
ding the marriage banns of his eldest daughter, in 1736.

Joseph Hiller (1709). Authority: B«ston Brattle Oliver (1709). Authorities: Bos-

Records, ton Records; Descendants of Thomas Braltle.

John Hunt (1709). Authorities: Boston
Records; Hunt Genealogy.


James Smith, Jr. (1709), merchant, of Boston, son of James and Prudence Smith,
was born in Boston, June 12, 1689. He was constable of Boston in 1715. He died
Aug. 4, X769, aged eighty years, and was buried in the King's Chapel Burial-Ground.
His gravestone says, "At, 82." His widow, Elizabeth, married Ralph Inman. She died
May 25, 1785, aged fifty-nine years.

Francis Wainwright (1709), merchant, of Ipswich and Boston, son of Francis and
Phillippa Wainwright, was born in Ipswich, Aug. 25, 1664, and graduated at Harvard
College in 1686. He married Sarah Whipple, March 12, 1686-7. Their son, John, died
in his eighteenth year, when a senior at Harvard College. P'rancis (1709) partook of
the paternal military sfjirit, and when quite young joined the militia of Essex County,
passed through the various positions, and was promoted to be colonel. He was also
town clerk, representative to the General Court, justice, commissioner, and collector of
excise for Essex County. His wife died March 16, 1709, aged thirty-eight years. He
made an engagement to marry Mrs. Elizabeth Hirst, of Salem, but died Aug. 3, 171 1,
before the marriage was consummated. He bequeathed five pounds to the First Church.
His estate was appraised at one thousand nine hundred and fourteen pounds.

He never held an office in the Artillery Company. In the unsuccessful expedition
against Port Royal, he was second in command.

The record of the Artillery Company for 1 709 is as follows : —

"April 4. 1709. The Rev'd Mr. Joseph Gerrish was chosen to preach the .'\rtillery

Sermon and the then Commission officers, with Capt Samuel Sewall, Esq [1679], Colo

Samuel Checkley [1678] and Lt Colo. Adam Winthrop [1694] were desired to request

it of him.

" May 2''. It was returned. Not accepted by him ; and the Rev'd Mr. Ebenezer

Pemberton was chosen to preach the Artillery Sermon, and the last mentioned Committee

was desired to request it of him."

Rev. Joseph Gerrish, who was invited to preach the Artillery sermon in 1709, but
who declined, was a brother of John Gerrish, of Dover, the father of Capt. John Gerrish
(1700) and of Benjamin Gerrish (1714). Rev. Joseph and his wife, Ann, daughter of
Major Richard Waldron, of Dover, were the parents of Samuel Gerrish (1709), of
Boston. He settled over the church in Wenham in 1673, and died Jan. 6, 1720.

Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton, the preacher of the sermon l^efore the Company in
1709, also delivered a sermon before it at its June anniversary in 1701. The latter was
printed, and appears in a volume of Mr. Pemberton's sermons, but is misleading on
account of a typographical error, which states that it was delivered on "Jan. i," instead
of June I, 1701. See page 334.

James Smith, Jr. (1709.) Authorities: ing at 10 m; his Briile being with him. Tis the

Boston Records; King's Chapel Burial-Ground, by most compleat and surjirising Disapointment that I

Bridgman. have been acquanted with. Wedding Cloaths, to a

Francis Wainwright (1709). Authorities: Neck-cloth and Night-cap laid ready in the Bride-

Hurd's Hist, of Essex Co., Vol. I., Art., Ipswich; chamber, with the Brides attire; Great Provision

Savage's Gen. Diet. made for Entertainment; Guests, several came from

" Aug 3. 1711. Col. Erancis Wainwright dies Boston and enlertain'd at Mr. Hirst's; but no Bride-

at his own house at Ipswich. Left Salem for his groom, no wedding. He was laid in a new Tomb

last July 25, the day before his lirst apointed Wed- of his own m.iking lately; and his dead wife taken

dino-day; which Appointment was remov'd to the out of another and laid with him." — Siiiut/l Pn/crs,

last of July- He was taken Sick at Ipswich on the I'o/. II., p. 320.
Lords Day, July 29, and died on the Friday follow-



The officers elected were: John Ballentine (1682), captain; Samuel

17 1 Q- J ^ Keeling (1699), lieutenant; Edward Martyn (1702), ensign. Richard

' Bill (1707) was first sergeant; Daniel Epes (1706), second sergeant;

Jonathan Loring (1704), third sergeant; Richard Hall (1707), fourth sergeant, and

William Lowder (1708), clerk.

The members recruited in 17 10 were : Robert Calfe, Jr., George Robinson, William
Tidcomb, Abiel Walley.

Robert Calfe, or Calef, Jr. (17 10), merchant, of Boston, and later of Roxbury, son
of Robert, of Roxbury, was born about 1678, and therefore was only about fourteen
years of age at the time of the witchcraft delusion, and was but 'twenty-two years of age
in 1700. Mr. Whitman (1810), in his history of the Artillery Company, edition of 1842,
p. 253, and Mr. Savage, in the Genealogical Dictionary, Vol. I., p. 329, credit him with
being the author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, printed in London in 1 700, the
authorship of which, as Mr. Drake claims in his History of Roxbury, should be awarded
to Robert Calfe, Sr. The latter was born in 1648, and died, says his gravestone,
"April 13, 1719, aged 71." The name of the author given on the title-page is "Robert
Calfe," and not Robert Calfe, Jr.

Rev. Cotton Mather drew up an account of the witch trials, and published it with
the title. Wonders of the Invisible World. Mr. Calfe replied with More Wonders of the
Invisible World. The latter gave great offence, and was the occasion of bitter and
angry feelings on the part of the Mathers. Rev. Increase Mather, president of Harvard
College, caused the "wicked book " to be publicly burned in the college yard, "the scene
of the holocaust being the area between Massachusetts, Harvard, and Stoughton Halls."
The book was reprinted in Salem in 1823. Mr. Savage remarks, " Ever honored will be
his name for . . . giving the history of the baneful superstition of 1692; that served
to prevent a renewal of the horrid tragedies that the patrons of the delusion, unsatisfied
with their sad experience, would surely have attempted."

Robert Calfe, Jr. (1710), married, Dec. 23, 1699, Margaret, daughter of James
Buxton, of Newton, and had at least eight children.

Mr. Whitman (1810) gives the date of the death of the Mr. Calfe, Sr., for the
decease of the junior. The latter died between April, 1722, and Feb. iS next following,
when his will of Jan. 2, 1720, according to Mr. Savage, was probated.

Robert, Jr. (17 10), was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1712.

George Robinson (1710), carver, of Boston, son of George (1694) and Elizabeth
Robinson, was born in Boston, Dec. 28, 1680. He married Sarah Maverick, April 7,
1698. He was a tithing-nian and member of a Boston militia company in 1715. He
died in August, 1737.

William Tidcomb, or Titcomb (1710), of Newbury, the eldest son of William
Tidcomb, was born Aug. 14, 1659. He is called "Sergeant William" in the Newbury
records. He married. May 15, 1683, Ann Cottle. He died Feb. 4, 1740, and his
widow died Aug. 15, 1747.

Robert Calfe, Jr. (1710.) .\UTHuRrriES: George Robinson (1710). Authority : Bos-

Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company, Ed. 1842; ton Records.

New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1876, 1S84. William Tidcomb (1710). Authorities:

Savage's Gen. Diet.; Early New Eng. Families.


Mr. Coffin, in his history of Newbury, mentions Mr. Tidcomb (1710) as an assessor
in 1716, and, Sept. 20, 1721, "Ensign William Tidcomb was one of a committee to
receive and to loan the town's part of the fifty thousand pounds — granted by Massa-
chusetts, July 13, 1720." This was the famous "land-bank" scheme, which resulted
so injuriously to the estates of many persons. Mr. Whitman (1810) calls him "Col.

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