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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fourth sergeant, and Benjamin Hiller (1714), clerk.

Rev. Joseph Stevens. Authorities : Bud- and sometimes a Tutor of Harvard College in Cam-

ington's Hist, of First Church; Wyman's Charles- bridge; and was buried here this Evening, together

town Genealogies and Estates. with his only Daughter and Mrs Eliza. Foye, his

" [1715] June 6. Mr. Stephens preaches the wife's Sister, Deceased of the same Distemper and

Artillery Sermon. Made a very good Discourse, laid in the same Tomb. It is a most Deplorable

from Isa II. 4. Gov. dines not publickly at the and Publick Loss; and especially to this Town, and

Dragon." — Sewall Papers, Vol. III., p. A,"]. at such a sorrowful and awful conjunction. He was

" [1721] Nov. iS. Went to the Funeral of the a Gentleman of very bright Abilities; acute and

Rev. Mr. Joseph Stephens. The Sight was awfuU ready apprehension; easy Expression, Ingenious

to see the Father, and then the daughter underhand and Learned, Modest and Cheerful, Sincere and

by four; and then his Sister caried to the Grave Free; of an excellent good Temper. He was Or-

together. See \.)\e Neius- Letter. " — Se-Mill Papers, dained here October 13, 1713. In the Pulpit he

Vol. III., p. 295. was to us as a very lovely Song; and in his Life an

"Charlestown, Nov 18. On Thursday the i6<h amiable Example of the Doctrines he sweetly Rec-
in the Evening, Died here of the Small-Pox, after S ommended. He was universally and greatly He-
Days Eruption, and in the 39'li Year of his .\ge, the lov'd; and now he is Dearly miss'd and lamented
Rev'd and Excellent Mr. Joseph Stevens, M. A., a among m?.." — News-Letter, Nov. 20, 1 721.
Pastor of this Church, a Fellow of the Corporation


The committee appointed in 1715 in relation to "hucksters," reported in 1716 that
the best way to prevent the abuses complained of was for the town to set up a public
market. Whereupon the same committee — five members of the Artillery Company,
with Thomas Hutchinson, Esq. (1694), Adam VVinthrop, Esq. (1692), and Mr. John
White added — were appointed to make report in relation to the town setting up a
public market, which report, after much consideration, was in 17 18 disallowed.

The Artillery farm of one thousand acres, as laid out in 1673, is described on
pages 221 and 222. It remained unoccupied by the Company for forty years. In 1702,
the Company decided to lease it. That determination was confirmed by vote of the
Company in 1703 and 17 13.

"March 8 anno 17 15/16" the following memorandum was inserted in the records : —

"The farm of 1000 acres described as on the other side' is this day let out by
lease to Leonard. Whiting of Dunstable housewright for 11 years, and he is to build
thereon, vizt, an house forty feet long, twenty feet wide, fifteen feet studd, chimnies
etc. : a barn forty-five feet long, thirty wide, eleven stud, board and shingle it : To
fence in fifty acres, break up thirty acres, plant an orchard with one hundred and twenty
apple trees of one acre and pay one barrel [of] cyder annually to the Company in the
month of October and at the end of the term to leave all in tenantable repair. —

"By the committee Coll" Checkley [1678] Coll" Savage [1699] Major Fitch [1700]
Messers Thomas [1694] and Edward [1702] Hutchinson, Edward Martyn [1702]
Thomas Smith [1702] and Adino Bulfinch [1702]

"The Articles of Agreement are Lodged with E. Martyn [1702]."

The mansion of Peter Sergeant, erected in 1679,- was occupied by his widow until
she married Simeon Stoddard (1675). Therefore, in 17 16 the Provincial Legislature
voted to purchase the mansion, and the heirs of Mr. Sergeant passed the deeds, on the
nth and 12th of April, 1716, to Jeremiah Allen (1694), the treasurer of the province;
to Jeremiah Dummer (1671), the treasurer of the county of Suffolk, and to Joseph Prout
(1674), the treasurer of the town of Boston.

When the mansion-house became public property, it was a magnificent building.
No pains had been spared to make it not only elegant, but also spacious and convenient.
It stood somewhat back in its ample lot, and had the most pleasant and agreeable
surroundings of any mansion in the town. It was of brick, three stories in height, with
a high roof and lofty cupola, the whole being surmounted by an Indian chief, with a
drawn bow and arrow, the handiwork of Deacon Shem Drowne, who made the grass-
hopper on Faneuil Hall. The house was approached over a stone pavement and a high
flight of massive stone steps, and through a magnificent door-way, which would compare
well with those of the palaces of Europe. Trees of very large size and grand proportions
shaded this princely home, and added much to its imposing appearance.

During the time of the provincial government, it seems to have been used by the
Governors; but after the expulsion of Gen. Gage, in 1776, it was converted into accom-
modations for officers in the transaction of public business. In 1796, after the building
of the State House on Beacon Street, the Province House was sold to John Peck ; but
the bargain fell through, on account of inability of the purchaser to make payments ;
and, in 1799, the whole estate was reconveyed to the State, and subsequently was granted
by the State to the Massachusetts General Hospital, whose trustees, in 181 7, leased it
to David Greenough, Esq., for the term of ninety-nine years.

' See page 222. ' See page 251.



Subsequent to the last-mentioned date, this aristocratic mansion was put to nearly
all sorts of purposes. The stately trees were, soon after the property was leased
to Mr. Greenough, cut down, and a row of brick houses and stores built upon the line
of the street, excluding the house from view, until approached through a narrow archway,
leading to its front door and to the houses which had been erected in the rear of the

In 1 85 1, the whole building was changed in appearance, its interior having been
remodelled for the purpose of accommodating a company of vocalists ; and it was at
this time that the outside was covered with a coat of yellowish mastic.

At half past five o'clock, on the 25th of October, r864, the Province House was
destroyed by fire, leaving only the walls standing. The fire originated in the upper
story, and was supposed to be the work of an incendiary. For some years prior to its
destruction, it was used as a place of entertainment. Extensive and complete repairs
were made, and the restored building is now occupied as a hotel, and is called the
Boston Tavern.

The members of the Artillery Company recruited in 17 16 were: William Downe,
James Halsey, Thomas Jackson, William Pell, Ebenezer Thornton, Samuel Townsend.

William Downe (1716), shopkeeper, of Boston, son of William and Hannah
(Appleton) Downe, was born in Boston, Feb. 2, 1676.' A William Downe married,
May 14, 1713, Rebecca Pierson. William Downe (1716) married (i) or (2), July 4,
17 1 7, Sarah Danforth. William and Sarah Downe had seven children born in Boston.

He was a tithing-man in 1724; scavenger in 1726; elected assessor in 1728, but
was excused; auditor in 1730 and 1738; overseer of the poor from 1738 to 1751, when
he declined to serve longer; fireward in 1732 and 1746, and selectman from 1732 to 1735
inclusive. He also served on important committees, — as, examining the fortifications and
batteries in 1746; considering the better security of the town ; getting the twelve gun-
carriages, ordered by the town, made and finished, and providing hulks and fire-ships for
the better protection of the town. In 1736, Capt. William Downe was one of the sub-
scribers to Prince's Chronological History of New England. He was appointed a justice
of the peace March i, 1743-4.

He was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1719, ensign in 1725, lieuten-
ant in 1727, and its captain in 1732 and 1744. His son, John, joined the Artillery
Company in 1758. He was captain in the militia from 1733 to 1741-2, at least such is
his title in the Boston Records. He was lieutenant-colonel of the Suffolk Regiment in
1742, and served eight years. He was also treasurer of the Artillery Company from
May I, 1738, probably until his decease. Capt. John Ballentine, Jr. (1694), and Joseph
Hiller (1709), were his bondsmen as treasurer.

His integrity and ability are shown from the fact that, in the files of the probate
office, he is mentioned many times as guardian, executor, etc. He is called, in the Boston
Records, " shopkeeper " and "upholsterer." There was a William Downes, born Feb.
23, 1666, in Boston, called "pinmaker." He lived a few years earlier than Col. William
(1716). The residence of the latter was at the North End, and partition of his estate

William Downe (1716). Authorities: Bos- Downe, as Feb. 2, 1676. His gravestone inrlicates

ton Records; Whitman's Hist. .\. and H. A. Com- that he was born in 1686. Records, as yet unilis-

pany, Ed. 1842; Savage's Gen. Diet. covered, can alone give the explanation of these

' The Boston Records give the birth date of apparent inconsistencies.
William Downe (1716), son of William and Hannah


there was made between two of his grandchildren, Abigail and Rebecca Cheever,
in 1766.

IMr. Whitman (iSio) says Col. William Downe (1716) "died June 3, 1753, aged
sixty-seven years." ' His widow, Sarah, administered on his estate. His son, William
Downe, Esq., died in January, 1747-8.

In several town offices, " he was a faithful public servant, but he never had any office
in the provincial government. Probably he was not ambitious, except to be useful, and it
is but a just tribute to his memory to say he was a distinguished a,nd good man in his
sphere. A few years since, his gravestone, with those of his wife and children, side by
side, in good order, struck the visitor with pleasant yet solemn veneration." They were
situated, in 1870, in the rear part of the Granary Burial-Ground, but the ruthless hand of
improvement has demolished them.

His first inventory amounted to ^^1,717 15.?. i'/-, including his mansion at the
North End, and his warehouse, ^733 ; silver, etc., ^62 ; horse, chaise, saddle, and
bridle, ^17, and a negro boy, ;^40.

His second inventory amounted to ;^389 i4J'. 8^/., in which was included his farm at
Lunenburg, where his oldest son lived, valued at ^^233 6s. 81/. ; eighty acres of land
at Lunenburg, ;/^56, and forty-eight acres of woodland, ^53 6.f. 81/. ; gold rings, gold
buttons, etc., ;£g 14s. 8if.

He died worth about ten thousand dollars, — a good fortune in those days.

James Halsey (17 16), mathematical instrument maker, of Boston, son of Nathaniel
and Hannah (Gross) Halsey, was born in Boston, April 10, 1695. He married. May 30,
1717, Anna Gurtridge, daughter of Walter Gurtridge. He was a founder of the New
Brick Church in 1719, deacon of that church in 1735, and was the last ruling elder
chosen by it. Possibly Mr. Halsey (1716) was not anxious to exercise the authority of
the office, and seated himself with his family, for, Aug. 22, 1739, the church unanimously
voted to "desire Mr. James Halsey [17 16] to take his proper place in the elder's seat."

He was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1720. He was one of the
bondsmen for Capt. Daniel Pecker (1718), town collector, to the amount of ^11,626.
Mr. Halsey (1716) was quite an owner of real estate, and experienced trouble by
admitting tenants who had not been admitted as inhabitants of the town. In 1718 and
1725, he was elected to town office.

His will was proved Jan. 2, 1767.

Thomas Jackson (1716), of Boston, son of Thomas (1692) and Priscilla (Grafton)
Jackson, was born in Boston, July 18, 169 1. A Thomas Jackson married, Oct. 18, 1733,
Ann Davis.

He was clerk of the Artillery Company in 17 18.

James Halsey (1716). Authorities: Town Regiment in this Town which he lately resigned

Records; Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company, In every betrustment and all the Offices he sustained

Ed. 1842. he behaved to universal satisfaction In his com-

' " Last Lords day died and yesterday was de- mcrcial dealings he was strictly just and Equitable
cently interred the remains of William Downe Esfj. a Lover of piety and good men a strict observer of
of this town in the 67 year of his age. lie was a the Sabbath a friend of the poor always ready to
gentlem.an that for many years had served the town distribute willing to Communicate His death is
in various betrustments was one of his Majestys lamented as by his bereaved family so by all who
Justice of the Peace for the County of .Suffolk and knew him and wy-e acquainted with him" — Bos-
was honored with a Lieut Col commission in the /on News-LeUer, June 7, 1753.


William Pell (1716), peruke-maker, of Boston, son of Edward and Elizabeth Pell,
and brother of Capt. Edward (1714), was born in Boston, May 11, 1694. He married.
May 3, 1726, Susanna Mountford, daughter of John (1697). He was clerk of the Artil-
lery Company in 1719, and its third sergeant in 1720. In 1720, he was one of the
remonstrants against the installation of Rev. Peter Thacher as pastor of the New North

He was chosen a constable in March, 1725, but declined to serve, and paid
the fine.

Ebenezer Thornton (1716), of Boston, son of Ensign Timothy (1691), was born
in Boston. He was baptized at the First Church, Jan. 12, 1 690-1. He married. May
15, 1721, Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. Thomas Gilbert. He was at first a trader in
Boston, in company with his father. He removed to Watertown as early as 1738, where
his wife died June 10, 1740, and he married Mary, widow of Matthias Coussens. He
died June 20, 1750. He was constable of the town of Boston in 1719.

Mr. Thornton (1716) was not active in town matters, but March 29, 1734, he was
elected one of a committee to consider the " fortifications," and report concerning their
improvement, and the expense thereof, which the committee did, April 3 following.
These fortifications were known as North Battery Wharf and Fort Hill.

Samuel Townsend (1716), of Boston, son of James and Rebecca (Moseley)
Townsend, and grandson of James Townsend (1679), was born in Boston, Aug. 30, 1695.
He died Aug. 20, 1720.

The record of the Artillery Company for 17 16 is as follows : —

"April 2'> 1 7 16. The Rev'd Mr. Joseph Baxter of Medfield was chosen to preach

the Election Sermon, and the Commission officers were desired to request it of him.


Rev. Joseph Baxter, who delivered the Artillery sermon in 17 16, was a son of
John and Hannah (White) Baxter, of Braintree. He was born June 4, 1676 ; graduated
at Harvard College in 1693, and was ordained minister of Medfield, April 21, 1697.
He continued in that relation until his decease. May 2, 1745.

p. The officers elected were: Edward Hutchinson (1702), captain;

J "T" I T-Q^ Nathaniel Oliver (1701), lieutenant; John Greenough (1712), ensign.

• ' William Parkman (17 11) was first sergeant; Wigglesworth Sweetser

(1700), second sergeant; James Gooch, Jr. (1714), third sergeant; Benjamin Hiller

(1714), fourth sergeant, and Benjamin Hiller (1714), clerk.

March 10, 1717-8, Timothy Clarke, Esq. (1702), Thomas Hutchinson, Esq. (1694),
and Elisha Cooke, Esq. (1699), were chosen a committee "to Consider & make Enquiry
abt Encourageing the bringing of Sea Coal into this Town."

William Pell (1716). Authorut: lloston Ebenezer Thornton (1716). Authorities:

Records. Boston Records; Bond's Watertown, p. 602; Hurd's

Hist, of Middlesex Co., Vol. HI., p. 373.


The new members of the Artillery Company recruited in 1717 were : Samuel Barrat,
Ebenezer Bridge, Grafton Feveryear, John Gibbons, Benjamin Gray, James Hill, Joseph
Hubbard, Ephraim Hunt.

Samuel Barrat (1717), son of William, of Boston, was born Feb. 8, 1670. He
married, March 12, 1694, Sarah Manning. He was a tithing-man and a member of the
militia of Boston in 1715, 1717, and 1718. In 1720, the town owned a small piece of
ground "abutting on said Barretts house and land at the end of the highway there,
abutting on the Mill Creek nigh the Water Mill." In 1728, the town voted that the
committee for purchasing grain manage the building of the granary, "with Mr. l)a\id
Farnum and Mr. Samuel Barrat [17 17] being joined with them."

He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 17 18, and lieutenant in 1722.
He died July 22, 1733. The tomb of Samuel Barrat (1717), in the South burying-
place, which he had permission to build in 1722, was No. 21.

Ebenezer Bridge (17 17), blacksmith, of Boston, son of Samuel (1679), and brother
of Ensign Benjamin (1711), was born in Boston, Aug. 2, 16S7, and married, May 11,
1710, Mary Roberts, of Boston. He was clerk of the market in 1718, and in 1725 was
elected constable, but paid the fine rather than serve. The selectmen, March 31, 171S,
allowed Mr. Ebenezer Bridge (171 7) to dig up the highway "in Beer Lane & a Cross
Back Street," to James Howard's cellar. Beer Lane was "Bridge's Lane," and afterward
Richmond Street. Back Street is now Salem Street. In 1729, Ebenezer Bridge (171 7)
erected a house near "Beerlane" (Bur-lane). He is repeatedly called a blacksmith;
was active in the militia, and became captain.

He was first sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1724, ensign in 1731, and
lieutenant in 1738. Inventory of his estate was filed in 1747.

Grafton Feveryear (1717), barber and peruke-maker, of Boston, was a son of Edward
and Mary (Hardy) Feveryear, of Salem. Grafton (1717), their first son, was born
March 31, 1689, and married, March 14, 171 1-2, Joanna Langdon. He served the
town as clerk of the market in 17 16, and as constable in 1722. The first and last
recorded acts of Mr. Feveryear (171 7) are his being a bondsman. In 1725, he was a
bondsman in one hundred pounds for John Swinerton, a new inhabitant ; and Dec. 7,
1737, Rev. Joshua Gee and Grafton Feveryear (171 7) gave bond (to warrant the town
from any charge on his account) in behalf of James, a negro man, " lately manumitted
by the order of the Great and General Court." Aug. 25, 1731, he was one of a com-
mittee which petitioned the selectmen " in behalf of the North Church in Boston, for
liberty to erect a small building fronting on Ship Street." He probably lived on Snow
Hill, or Snow Hill Street, which ran "from Frary's corner in Prince Street to the old
Ferry way near Hudson's Point."

He was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1721. His will, dated in 1751,
was proved April 11, 1755.

Samuel Barrat (1717). Authorities: Bos- Grafton Feveryear (1717). Authorities:

ton Records; New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 18S8, Boston Records; New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg.,
p. 263. 1S61, 1894.

Ebenezer Bridge (171 7). Authority: Bos-
ton Records.


John Gibbons (171 7) was a merchant of Boston. He married Elizabeth Swan,
Aug. 23, 1725.

When the Episcopalians resolved upon organizing a second church in Boston, a
meeting was held Sept. 2, 1722, and a Mr. John Gibbins was chosen one of a committee
to receive subscriptions for a building. This may have been Dr. John Gibbins (1711).

John Gibbons [1717] was second sergeant of the Company in 1720. .Administra-
tion was granted on his estate in October, 1725.

Benjamin Gray (171 7) was a bookseller in Boston. He married Lydia, daughter
of Rev. Thomas Bridge, who delivered the Artillery sermon in 1705. Mr. Gray (17 17)
does not appear to have held any ofifice in the town. At a meeting of the selectmen,
Sept. 25, 1728, they "Executed a Leace to Mr Jacob Wendall [1733] of Boston,
merchant, of The Brick Shop or Tenement at the Head of the Dock in Boston now in
possession of Benja Gray [1717] Bookseller for the term of Seven years from October i,
next coming," at a rental of forty pounds per annum.

James Hill (17 17) was a peruke-maker in Boston. He married Mary Hunt, Jan.
19, 1713. He was clerk of the Artillery Company in 1721, and second sergeant in 1722.
His will, dated April 11, was proved May 29, 1746.

Joseph Hubbard (1717), blacksmith, of Boston, was probably the Joseph Hubbard
who joined the Company in 1707. See page 361.

Ephraim Hunt (1717), blacksmith, of Boston, son of Capt. Thomas (1685) and

Judith (Torrey) Hunt, was born Feb. 17, 1681. He married Joanna about 1701,

by whom he had seven children. The mother died Aug. 20, 1731, and he married, (2)
June 8, 1732, Sarah (Austin) Butler.

He was a tithing-man in Boston, and identified with the militia in 1707. In 1722,
he was elected constable, but declined to serve and paid the fine. He became a mem-
ber of the New North Church, and, having been elected March 8, 1726, he was ordained
a deacon of that church on the i8th of August following. He held the ofifice of
councillor from 1703 to 1713 inclusive; was elected councillor June 6, 1706, by writ
of mandamus, the Governor having negatived Mr. Joseph Hammond, and was appointed
special justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Oct. 24, 17 12. He was appointed justice
of the peace June 30, 1702.

He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 17 19, and in the militia rose to
the rank of colonel. The family burial-place was on Copp's Hill.

The record of the Artillery Company for 1717 is as follows : —
"April I, 1717. The Rev'd Mr. Thomas Blowers of Beverly was chosen to preach
the Artillery Election Sermon and the Commission officers, with Colo. Samuel Checkley
[1678] and Lt Colo. Savage [1699] were desired to request it of him. Accepted
by him.

"October 7"' 17 17. Then voted that Col. Thomas Fitch [1700], Lt Colo. Edward
Hutchinson [1702], Maj. Habijah Savage [1699], Capt. Jonathan Pollard [1700], Capt
Nathaniel Oliver [1701], Capt John Greenough [1712] and Mr. Richard Bill [1707] be

Ephraim Hunt (1717). Authorities: Hunt Genealogy; Boston Reconls.


a committee to inspect Mr. Leonard Whiting's lease of the Artillery Company's farm at
Dunstable, whether he has complied with the terms thereof, and upon any failure on
his part, they are Impowered to act further what they shall think for the interest of the
Company; and if they shall think proper that three or more of the committee go upon
the spot, and enquire into the premises, that the Company will bear the charge thereof.
And, further, the said committee are Impowered to act what they shall think needful
with relation to the five hundred acres confirmed to the Company by the General
Assembly in May last, the charge to be borne by the Company as before."

The General Court, at its May session in 17 17, made good the additional grant of
five hundred acres by granting one half of a reservation of one thousand acres belong-
ing to the government, in the township of Rutland, Worcester County. The Indians
continued to infest those parts, and in 1724 committed depredations in that township.
The grant is as follows : —

" The following order passed the House of Representatives, — read — concurred,
viz: Upon the petition of Edward Hutchinson [1702], Habijah Savage [1699], John
Ballentine, Jr [1694], Edward Winslow [1700], and Jonathan Pollard [1700], in behalf
of the Artillery Company in Boston, praying that five hundred acres of land which are
reserved to the Province in the township of Rutland, may be granted to said Company,
to satisfy a grant made to them by the General Court, Oct. 15"' 1673 — Ordered, that
five hundred acres of the one thousand reserved to the Province in the township of
Rutland, be granted in answer to this petition ; but so, that John Burrill, Esq, to whom
the other 500 acres is granted, have the choice at which end to lay out his grant.

" Consented to. Samuel Shute, Governor''

This grant made the Artillery Company owners of one moiety of said one thousand
acres, in common with the heirs of Hon. John Burrill, deceased ; and the Artillery Com-
pany, April 7, 1729, appointed Capt. William Ward (1724), Thomas Smith (1702),
and Col. Benjamin Pollard (1726), to make partition, which was mutually agreed upon,
May I, 1729.

Rev. Thomas Blowers, of Beverly, delivered the anniversary sermon before the
Artillery Company in 1717.' He was the fourth son of Pyam and Elizabeth (Belcher)
Blowers, of Cambridge. His mother, Elizabeth Belcher, was the eldest child of .Andrew
Belcher (1642), and sister of Andrew, the father of Gov. Jonathan Belcher. Rev.
Thomas Blowers was born in Cambridge, Aug. i, 1677. He graduated at Harvard Col-
lege in 1695, and was ordained as pastor of the church in Beverly, Oct. 29, 1701. He
married Emma Woodbury, who, with their six children, survived him.

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 58 of 73)