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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Boston regiment in 1733, and captain of the Artillery Company in 1734. He was
appointed justice of the peace, Dec. 9, 1731, and was reappointed Jan. 9, 1735-6.

Erasmus Stevens (1720) was a carpenter, of Boston. He was a viewer of shingles
and measurer of boards and lumber from 1716 to 1720 inclusive, and constable of Boston
in 1722. July 15, 1725, Erasmus Stevens (1720) and Grafton Feveryear (1717) gave
bond in the sum of one hundred pounds on account of John Swinerton, admitted an
inhabitant. Mr. Swinerton was from Salem, and July 26 was allowed "to keep a school
to instruct reading and writing within this town." June 7, 1738, Mr. Stevens (1720)
appeared before the selectmen and said that Mr. Charnock, sealer of cord-wood, "is
often out of town and does not attend to that employment." He asked for another
person to be appointed.

He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1724, its lieutenant in 1739,
and was one of the " substantial mechanics " who founded the New North Church
in 1714.

The record of the Artillery Company for 1720 is as follows : —

"April 5, 1720. The Rev. Mr. Edward Holyoke was chosen to preach the Election

Sermon and he desired to be excused.

"May 20. 1720. The Rev Mr. Thomas Symmes of Bradford was chosen to preach

the Election Sermon. Accepted by him."

Rev. Edward Holyoke, who was invited to deliver the anniversary sermon before
the Company in 1720, but declined to do so, was a son of Elizur and Mary (Eliot)
Holyoke. He was born June 26, 1689, and graduated at Harvard College in 1705-
On the 25th of April, 1716, the new meeting-house in Marblehead having been built,
the Second Congregational Church in that town was organized, and Mr. Holyoke was
ordained as its minister.

May 30, 1737, he was chosen to fill the office of president of Harvard College,
made vacant by the death of President Wadsworth. At first his church strenuously
objected to letting their pastor go, but, " after several meetings for prayer and confer-
ence," consent was granted, and he removed to Cambridge. When some of the people
were asked how they could give their consent to part with the services of so amiable,
distinguished, and exemplary a man and minister, they replied, " Old Barnard prayed
him away." Rev. Mr. Barnard preached the Artillery sermon in 17 18. Rev. Mr.
Holyoke continued in the office of president of Harvard College nearly thirty-tsvo years.

Samuel Sewall (1720). Authortty: Boston Erasmus Stevens (1720). Authority: Bos-

Records, ton Records.

"[1691] April 13 To Salem, visit little Sam
Sewall [1720], my name Sake." — SewalPs Diary.


Rev. Thomas Symmes, who delivered the Artillery election sermon in 1720,' was
a son of Rev. Zachariah Symmes, pastor at Rehoboth and afterward at Bradford. He
was born Feb. i, 1677-8, and graduated at Harvard College in 1698. He married
Elizabeth Blowers, daughter of Pyam Blowers, of Cambridge, and sister of Rev. Thomas
Blowers, of Beverly, Mass. She died April 6, 1714, and March 28, 1715, he married
Hannah Pike, who died Feb. r, 17 18-9, and for his third wife he married, Jan. 19,
1 720-1, Eleanor Moody, who died Oct. 6, 1725.

Rev. Zachariah Symmes, pastor of the church at Bradford, having become aged and
infirm, the church voted, about 1705, to engage an assistant for their pastor. While
invitations to candidates were being extended and declined, Rev. Mr. Symmes died
upon the twenty-second day of March, 1707. The son, Rev. Thomas Symmes, who had
been preaching in the neighboring town of Boxford, was about leaving that parish. He
was born in Bradford, studied five years at Cambridge after graduation, and had
preached near Bradford for several years. He was therefore familiar with the parish his
father so faithfully served. June 14, 1708^ he preached there by invitation, and Nov.
24, 1708, it was voted by the town that Rev. Thomas Symmes be ordained and settled
over the Bradford parish. He retained that relation until his decease, Oct. 6, 1725,
when he was buried by his father's side.

Rev. Mr. Symmes's character and gifts are vividly described by the late Hon. John
B. D. Cogswell, in the History of Essex County. He says, " Increase Mather praised
him. He was attractive personally, from good looks, high spirit, accomplishments,
varied learning, impetuosity. He had a fine voice, and was a good singer." When the
Artillery election sermon, which he preached in 1720, was printed, Rev. Mr. Colman,
of Boston, wrote a preface to it, wherein he said, "May it prove as profitable in the
reading as it was in the hearing ; the preacher was unto us a very lovely song of one
that has a pleasant voice and can play well on an mstruement."

The officers elected were: Habijah Savage (1699), captain; Francis

J V2 I "2 . P^™^'' (1713)1 lieutenant; Benjamin Emmons, Jr. (1698), ensign.

• Thomas Chamberlain (1714) was first sergeant; John Goldthwait (i72o)j

second sergeant; Grafton Feveryear (1717), third sergeant; John Eliot (1714), fourth

sergeant, and James Hill (17 17), clerk.

No recruits joined the Artillery Company in 1721.

May 12, 1 72 1, a committee was appointed by the town to draw up instructions for the
representatives of the town of Boston. On May 22 the committee reported, presenting
ten instructions, which were approved by the town. The committee appointed May 12
was as follows: Ezekiel Lewis (1707), William Paine (1691), John Marion (1691),
Thomas Cushing (169 1), Ebenezer Clough, Nathaniel Green (1722), and Edward
Hutchinson (1702). The report is given in full in the Report of the Record Commis-
sioners of Boston, City Document No. 137, pp. 154 and 155. The first instruction is,
that the representatives " Indeavor to maintain all our Civel Rights and Properties

' "[1720] June 6. Monday . . . Mr Symes because a feast is made for Laughter. Excused it to

Preaches an Excellent Sermon, w hich was a great the Lt. Gov. afterwanls, who invited me as Captain."

Refreshment and Comfort to me as to the afflicted — Sewall Papers, Vol. III., p. 257.
estate of that church of God. I went not to Dinner,



against any Incroachments upon them." They advise, subsequently, that acts be passed
encouraging trade, husbandry, and manufactures ; the raising of good winter wheat, and
of flax, granting a premium for each ; the manufacturing of flax, offering a reward for
the best linen in each county. They advise the assertion of the colony to their right in
and to Piscataqua River, and against the payment of Mr. Belcher the thousand pounds
sterling which he claimed.

The seventh instruction declares, " That whereas in the late printed remarkes on the
Bills against Riots &c, the Town of Boston Seems to be asperced as if they were inclined
to Riots & Tumults, where as we presume, that the people of this Town & Province may
Justly Claim the title of being as Loyal, Peacable and Desirous of good order as any of
his Majesties Subjects whatsoever, &c."

Eighth, that they choose in all elections, those that have shown " a tender regard
for our Charter Privileges & Prefer the publick before their Privat Intrest."

Ninth instruction is for some effectual law to prevent the spread of infectious dis-
ease, and the last opposes the granting of any more public lands, either to any particular
persons for their use, or to a number of persons for a township, till Boston and other
towns have had their proportion allowed. The report is signed by five of the committee,
all of whom were members of the Artillery Company in 1722.

The instructions show a just appreciation of the condition and needs of the youth-
ful colony, and give wise and pertinent counsel to the representatives in the General
Court. At the town meeting, held Aug. 2, 1721, the same committee was elected to
instruct the newly-chosen representatives, three of whom, out of four, were members of
the Artillery Company : John Clark, Elisha Cooke (1699), William Clarke (1703), and
William Hutchinson (1703). The instructions given a second time by this committee
are also given in the same City Document, pp. 156 and 157. The preamble is note-
worthy as showing the public esteem of the four representatives : —

"To John Clark, Elisha Cook Esq [1699] Mr William Clarke [1703] and William
Hutchinson Esq [1703]

" Your known Loyalty to King George & Sincere attachment to the Succession in
the Illustrious House of Hannover your Hearty Loue to your native country. Your
Singuler value for the Liberties & Properties of this People, your Chearfull and unanimous
Concurrence to promote our best Intrest, and your approved Integrity in those Publick
Stations wherein you haue bin Employed having fixed the Eyes of this Town on &
Determined their choice off you as proper persons to Represent them in the next
General Assembly, &c."

The principal instruction offered is, " That you be not deterred by any frowns or
threats from maintaining, what in you lies, our Charter privileges as well as the honour,
dignity & privileges of the Honourable House of Representatives and preserving the
just & laudable usages & customs, &c."

The lamp of loyalty to the colony and charter rights was kept burning by the
town meeting until the flame burst into the fire of the Revolution. No citizens
were so prominent, as representatives and advisers, in the first century of the colony,
as members of the Artillery Company were. They lighted the lamp, refurnished its
supply, enlarged its flame, and were girded for the various conflicts between royalty and
the colony.



The record of the Artillery Company for 1721 is as follows : —

"June' S 1 72 1. The Rev'd Mr. Thomas Prince was chosen to preach the Artillery

Election sermon and the commissioned officers were desired to request it of him.

Accepted by him."

"October 2'^ [1721]. The General Assembly at their last Session did forbid all

Training and Trooping in this Town for this year, by reason of the vast numbers of

People exercised with the small pox : Therefore the Artillery Company did not appear

in Arms this day."

Rev. Thomas Prince delivered the Artillery election sermon in 1721. He was a
son of Samuel and Mary Prince, of Hull and Middleboro. His mother was a daughter
of Gov. Hinckley. Rev. Thomas Prince was born in May, 1687, and graduated at Har-
vard College in 1707. "He was," says Mr. Savage, "the assiduous annalist, whose
service in perpetuating evidence relative to our early history exceeds that of any other
man since the first generation."

Soon after his return from a protracted sojourn in England, he became pastor of the
Old South Church, and colleague with Rev. Joseph Sewall, who preached the Artillery
election sermon in 1714. Mr. Prince was ordained Oct. i, 1718, and preached his own
ordination sermon, "which," says Dr. Chauncy, " no ordinary man could write." "No
name," says the Old South Memorial, " on the list of Old South pastors remains in greater
honor and brightness to-day than that of Thomas Prince." He died Oct. 22, 1758, aged
seventy-two years.

The officers elected were: Thomas Smith (1702), captain ; Samuel

I 7 2 2 " ^ . ^^'^'^^'- ('717)) lieutenant; Edward Pell (1714), ensign. Nathaniel

• *-^ Cunningham (1720) was first sergeant; James Hill (17 17), second

sergeant; Nathaniel Green (1722), third sergeant; John Eyre (1718), fourth sergeant,

and John Cookson (1701), clerk.

The Indians were instigated by the Jesuit Ralle to begin the fourth Indian war.
He resided at Norridgewock, on the Kennebec, and was slain Aug. 12, 1724. The
French in Canada favored the Indians, but did not openly engage in the war. The prin-
cipal attacks of the Indians were directed against the towns in Maine and New Hamp-
shire. The towns in Massachusetts suffered less. The war commenced in 1722, and
continued about four years. The expenses of Massachusetts from May, 1 722, to May, 1726,
were about two hundred and fifteen thousand pounds, in province bills, of which amount
three fourths was on account of the war. The larger portion of this war expenditure
was for Maine. A treaty of peace with the eastern Indians was signed at Boston, Dec.
iS> 1725, and was ratified at Falmouth, Me., Aug. 5, 1726. A present of three hundred
pounds was made to the Indians, not long after.

" Last week [June 19]," says the New England Coiimnt, Oct. 22, 1722, " one of
the chiefs of the Mohawks lately come to town, died at the Royal Exchange Tavern in
King street and was magnificently interred on Friday night last. A drawn sword lay on
the coffin, and the pall was supported by six captains of the militia. The gentlemen of
the Council followed next the corpse and then the Justices of the town and the commis-

' Probably an error for April.


sion officers of the militia. At last followed four Indians, the two hindermost (whom
the government had appointed to attend him in his sickness) with each a pappoose at
her back."

The new members of the Artillery Company recruited in 1722 were: Richard
Bulkley, James Fosdick, Thomas Foster, Nathaniel Green, Samuel Greenwood, Joshua
Loring, Obadiah Procter, Robert Procter, Simeon Rogers, Joseph Russell, Zechariah
Thayer, Benjamin White, and Joseph White.

Richard Bulkley (1722), mariner, son of Capt. Joseph and Joanna (Nichols)
Bulkley, was born in Charlestown, Oct. 9, 1695. He married, Sept. 20, 1728, Mary
Noyes. He was elected constable of Boston in 1726, but declined to serve and paid
the fine, and served as an assessor from 1730 to 1748 inclusive. In 1719, he lived in
Henchman's Lane, now Henchman Street. He was bondsman for Capt. Daniel Pecker
(1720), collector in the sum of eight thousand one hundred pounds in 1734, and again
in 1736. By virtue of his office, he made the general walk or visitation of the town, with
the justices and others, for several years.

He was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1725, and captain in the militia.
He died May 21, 1767, aged seventy-two years, and was buried in Copp's Hill Burial-

James Fosdick (1722), of Boston, son of John and Sarah (Bligh) Fosdick, of
Boston, was born July 28, 1687. His sister, Sarah, married Jeremiah Belknap (1711).
Lieut. James (1722) married (i) Phebe Manley, April 27, 1710, who, dying Sept. 12,
1713, was buried in the Granary Burial-Ground ; (2) April 7, 1715, Sarah Lewist, of
Boston. She died Nov. 12, 1721, in Charlestown. Lieut. James Fosdick (1722) served
as constable of Boston in 17 19.

The estate of Lieut. Reynolds (1658) on Milk Street (a part of which Josiah
Franklin had liberty to use in 1692) came into the possession of Lieut. Nathaniel
Reynolds, Jr. (1681). His widow sold it to John Fosdick, father of James (1722). Mr.
Shurtleff says the property was divided in February, 1 745-6, " between his two children,
James Fosdick' [1722], gentleman, and Sarah, the wife of Jeremy Belknap [1711]."
The former received the Milk Street estate, from whom it came into the possession of
the Foster heirs.

He was first sergeant of the Company in 1725, and its lieutenant in 1740. The
will of James Fosdick (1722), made in 1773, speaks of his advanced age. It was proved
in 1776.

Thomas Foster (1722), of Boston, was a son of Thomas (1701). Sept. 19, 1738,
Thomas Foster (1722) became a member of the engine company on Summer Street,
near the Trinity Church. He was also a member in April, 1741. He was assay- master
for ten years, from 1748 to 1757 inclusive. May 15, 1759, he was one of a committee

Richard Bulkley (1722). Authority: Bos- Artillery Company, calls Mr. Fosdick (1722) a

ton Records. paver. James Fosdick, the paver, is first mentioned

James Fosdick (1722). AuTHORrriES: Bos- in the Records of Boston, April 7, 1742, when he

ton Records; .Shurtleff's Topog. Des. of Boston, and Mr. Thornton proposed to the selectmen in

p 624. regard to paving Orange Street. The paver was

Thomas Foster (1722). Authority: Boston James Fosdick, Jr., son of Lieut. James (1722), of

Records. ths Artillery Company. The latter seems to have

' Mr. Whitman (1810), in his history of the been a gentleman of means and leisure.



chosen by the town " to consider in what manner it will be best to repair, or to raise,
the brick wall in the South Burial place, on the back of the Workhouse, & the expence
of doing the same and report at next town meeting." When he made the visitations of
the town in February, 1747-8, in February, 1748-9 and 1750-1, also in 1751-2, his
name has the prefix " Mr.," but the last time he is named in the Boston Records, in
1763, he is called "Deacon Thomas Foster [1722]."

He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1725.

Nathaniel Green (1722), of Boston, son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Green, was
born in Boston, Nov. 27, 1698. He married Elizabeth Taylor, June 27, 1729. He
was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1722. His will, made in July, 1736,
was proved Nov. 5, 1737.

Samuel Greenwood (1722), merchant, of Boston, son of Samuel and Elizabeth

Greenwood, was born in Boston, Aug. 15, 1696, and graduated at Harvard College in

1709. He was a captain in the militia. Aug. 8, 17 17, he married Mary, daughter of

Benjamin Fitch. Samuel, Sr., died in 1721. He was prominent in town office, and

; Samuel (1722) seems to have taken up his father's town duties, offices, and honors.

Capt. Samuel Greenwood (1722) served as tithing-man in 1720, and was annually

elected an overseer of the poor from 1725 until 1740. Upon the death of his father,

Mr. Samuel Greenwood (1722) — he is called "Captain" after 1727 — received per-

; mission, July 30, 1722, to build a tomb on the southeast side of the North burial-place.

; In 1735-6, Capt. Samuel (1722) was chairman of a committee which reported to

■ the town a more effectual method of watching the town. He visited the public schools

with the clergy and others, and also made, from 1734 to 1739, ^^^ annual visitation of

the town, with the justices and others. On the day of his death, Feb. 22, 1 741-2, the

selectmen granted permission to Samuel Greenwood, Esq. (1722), Capt. John Goldthwait

(1720), and others, "to erect a Meeting-house at the head of Bennett Street at the

I^fortherly part of Boston." -—

The meeting-house above mentioned stood on the south corner of North Bennet and
Hanover streets, and was erected by friends of Rev. Samuel Mather, when he received
his dismission as pastor from the " Old North," where he had preached for nine years.
Mr. Mather preached in this house until his decease, in 1785, when it was sold to the
Universalists, and was occupied by the First Universalist Church of Boston, Rev. Mr.
Murray, pastor. The meeting-house was therefore called the Mather-Murray Meeting-

He died Feb. 22, 1741-2, and his will, in which he is called a "shipwright," was
proved March 23 following.

He was lieutenant of the Artillery Company in 1724.

Joshua Loring (1722), son of Joseph and Hannah (Leavitt) Loring, was born in
Hingham, Sept. 21, 1688. He resided in Boston, and married Elizabeth Dawes.

Obadiah Procter (1722). He married Margaret Gardner, Aug. 24, 1699. Obadiah
Procter (1722) served as a tithing-man in 1706, and was that year a member of a
military company in Boston; was clerk of the market in 17 16, and constable in
1 7 18. On the 18th of July, 1706, he was notified that he must forbear keeping any




fire in any of the chimneys of the house in which he dwells, until they have been rebuilt
or repaired. He contributed, Jan. 9, 17 13, five pounds towards the enlargement of
King's Chapel. He resided near the corner of Court and Washington streets, in 1718.

Robert Procter (1722).

Simeon Rogers (1722), son of Joseph and Elizabeth Rogers, was born in Boston,
Feb. 18, 169S-9. He is also called Simon on the Company records. Simeon Rogers
does not appear on the town records, but a Simon Rogers was clerk of the market
in 1720, and constable of Boston in 1725. He was, from 1730 to 1734, —probably
longer, — the landlord of the celebrated George Tavern.

Joseph Russell (1722), printer, of Boston, son of Joseph (1699) and Mary Russell,
was born in Boston, Dec. 12, 1687, and married, July 12, 1716, Elizabeth Walley. She
was born May 4, 1693. He was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1725,
and was a captain in the militia.

Zechariah Thayer (1722), leather-dresser, of Boston, was a son of Nathaniel and

Deborah Thayer. He married Mary . Nathaniel (1734) was a son of Zechariah's

brother, Cornelius Thayer.

June 30, 1712, Zechariah Thayer (1722) was granted by the selectmen a license as
a retailer in Newbury, now Washington, Street. His place of business in 1 733 was near
the town-house, as he was taxed that year for repairs on the town pump, standing in
Cornhill. He served as hog-reeve in 1710; tithing-man in 17 14 and 1720; constable
in 1715, and as scavenger in 1721 and 1722. He was second sergeant of the Artillery
Company in 1723.

The tomb of Zechariah (1722) and Cornelius Thayer was No. 65 on the south line
in the South burial-place.

Benjamin White (1722). He was elected constable of Boston in 1719, but
refused to serve, and paid the fine. He united with the New South Church, Boston,
at its organization in 1715.

Joseph White (1722) was a carpenter in Boston. He was viewer of shingles and
measurer of boards and timber in 1723, from 1726 to 1730, and from 1737 to 174S;
constable in 1724, and fence-viewer in 1735 and 1736. He was also a collector of taxes
in 1745 and 1746. In the former year, he is called " Esqr." June 27, 1749, he was
chosen one of a committee to bring forward suits-at-law against persons who had made
encroachments on the town's lands.

He was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1727, and captain in the militia.
In May, 1750, he, as ex-collector, petitioned the town to abate certain taxes he had paid
for Harvard College and the Artillery Company, as the same had been remitted by the
General Court.

" A List of Soldiers under the fine of 1 2'' per diem for delinquency.
"James Varney [1711], Solomon Blake [17 19], Jeremiah Belknap [1711], Samuel
Oakes [17 1 2], Samuel Durham [1712], John Greenough [i7i2],John Darrell [17 14],

Zechariah Thayer (1722). Authokities : Joseph White (1722). Authority: Boston

Boston Records; Thayer Genealogy. _ Records.



Edward Pell [1714], Ephraim Hunt [1717], Joseph Hubbard [1717]. John Gibbon
[1717], Samuel Barratt [1717], Ebenezer Bridge [1717]. John Eyre [17 18], Daniel
Pecker [1720], Samuel Rand [1720], William Lee [1720], Erasmus Stevens [1720],
Samuel Bass [1720], Andrew Cunningham [1720], John Goldthwait [1720], James
Pecker [1720], James Fosdick [1722], Zechariah Thayer [1722], Benjamin White
[1722], Thomas Foster [1722], Joshua Loring [1722]."

" A List of Soldiers under the fine of 6/ per diem.

"John Holyoke [1714], Benjamin Hiller [1714], Thomas Chamberlin [1714], John
Eliot [1714], James Gooch, Junr. [1714]) James Wright [171S], Ebenezer Thornton
[1716], Samuel Townsend [1716], Thomas Jackson [17 16], William Downe [1716],
William Pell [1716], James Halsey [1716], Benjamin Gray [1717], Grafton Feveryear
[1717], James Hill [1717], Jonathan Sewall [1718], John Gerrish, Junr. [1718], Barratt
Dyer [1711], Nathaniel Green [1722], Samuel Sewall [1720], Nathaniel Cunningham
[1720], Richard Buckley [1722], Robert Proctor [1722]."

The record of the Artillery Company for 1722 is as follows : —

"April 2. 1722. The Rev'd Mr. William Cooper was chosen to preach the Artillery

Election sermon, and the commission officers were desired to request it of him.

Accepted by him."

Rev. William Cooper,' of Boston, delivered the Artillery election sermon in 1722.
He was a son of Thomas and Mehitable (Minot) Cooper, of Boston. His mother, Mr.
Savage informs us, was a niece of Lieut.-Gov. Stoughton, and, after her husband's
decease, she married Peter Sergeant, Esq., and next. May 12, 1715, married Hon.
Simeon Stoddard (1675). Rev. William Cooper was born in Boston, March 20, 1694,
and graduated at Harvard College in 17 12. He settled as colleague of Rev. Benjamin
Colman, D. D., at the Brattle Street Church, May 23, 17 16, and held his relation with
that church until his decease.

He married (i) Judith Sewall and (2) Mary Foye. He was the father of Rev. Samuel
Cooper (Harv. Coll., 1743), a distinguished politician, called "silver-tongued," who
delivered the Artillery sermon in 1751, and of William, who for forty years was town

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 60 of 73)