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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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and Coll Jackson [1738] of the Regiment of this Town, attended, and desired of the
Selectmen the loan of a set of Carriage Wheels for Four Field Peices belonging to
said Regiment, as also that they may be permitted the use of the Gun House at the
Battery for the Storing the same." Col. Phillips (1725) held the position of colonel
of the regiment from April 4, 1758, to the time of his decease, March 30, 1763.
He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1729, ensign in 1740, lieutenant
in 1744, and its captain in 1747 and 1759. He succeeded Col. WilHam Downe
(1716) as treasurer of the Artillery Company, Oct. 2, 1749, and held that office several

The crowded condition of the burial-ground belonging to King's Chapel, and of the
Granary Burial-Ground, had been the occasion of complaint, and efforts were made in
1740 to remedy the difficulty, but they failed. May 15, 1754, a more determined effort
was made in town meeting for a burial-place at the South End, and a committee, of
which Col. Phillips (1725) was one, was appointed to consider the matter and report.
After the usual debate and delay, the report of the committee was adopted, and, Oct. 1 1
of that year, the town voted "to purchase Col. Thomas Fitch's [1700J pasture at the
bottom of the Common," then belonging to Andrew Oliver, Jr. It is the same — about
two acres — as now fenced in, including the Boylston Street mall.

The following is copied from a letter written by Col Thomas Dawes (1754) to Hon.
John Phillips, as given by Mr. Whitman (1810) in his history of the Artillery Company,
second edition, p. 271 : —

"'April 19, 1763. Exchanged this life for a better, our dear and well beloved John
Phillips, Esq, Colonel of the Boston regiment. His commission was from Gov. Pownal,
April 4'" 1758.

" ' The following character of him was abridged from the public paper : —

" ' Departed this life, aged 62, John Phillips, Esq, who for many years was Deacon of
the Church in Brattle Street, Overseer of the Poor, &c. A gentleman, who, from prin-
ciples of virtue and true humanity, employed all his time in doing good ; who, with
uncommon pleasure and indefatigable dihgence, devoted himself to the service of the
community. His inflexible integrity gained and secured him the confidence of all.
He was never so happy as in promoting some benevolent purpose for the happiness of
others, or in relieving distress. He sustained the important trusts with which he was
invested, with becoming dignity, and discharged the duties resulting from each to uni-
versal acceptance. His charity and domestic virtues rendered him amiable, and all
around him happy. In the hour of his departure he was truly happy in the reflection,
that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not by carnal wisdom, but by the grace of God,
he had his conversation in the world.

" ' The funeral was attended by a great number of the relatives — by the Governor,
His Majesty's Council, the clergy, the magistrates and the principal merchants, and
others of the town, followed by a number of ladies in chariots : and the commissioned
officers of the regiment, whereof the deceased was Colonel, walked in procession before
the corpse, with a number of non-commissioned officers of the several companies, who
appeared under arms ; and also the new Artillery Company, with a piece of cannon, all
of them marching in funeral order, with the proper appendages of military mourning.
During the procession, minute guns to the number of sixty-two, (the age of the



deceased) were fired. The corpse being deposited in the family vault, three volleys
were fired by the companies under arms ; and the whole ceremony was performed with the
greatest decency and good order, amidst a large concourse of spectators.' "

Ralph Smith (1725). He was clerk of the market in 1726, a constable in 1729,
and fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1728.

Thomas Wells (1725), of Boston, son of Thomas and Rebecca Wells, was born in
Boston, Jan. 3, 1701.

The record of the Artillery Company for 1725 is as follows : —

"May 3'' 1725. The Rev'd Mr. Samuel Checkley was chosen to preach the Artillery
Election Sermon, the present Commission officers being desired to request it of him.
" Accepted by him."

Rev. Samuel Checkley, of Boston, delivered the anniversary sermon before the
Artillery Company in 1725.' He was the youngest son of Samuel (1678) and Mary
(Scottow) Checkley, and was born in Boston, Feb. 11, 1696. He graduated at Harvard
College in 17 15. He was ordained as the first minister of the New South Church,
April 15, 1719, and Jan. 5, 1721, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Benjamin Rolfe.

Rev. Samuel Checkley died on the first day of December, 1769, aged seventy-four
years, after a pastorate of over fifty years.

He delivered a sermon on the death of Rev. William Waldron, who delivered the
Artillery sermon in 1727, which was printed.

The ofihcers elec

I 7 2 " 7 . Eel ward Pell (1714),

* ' Jonathan Sewall (171^

The ofificers elected were: John Grcenough (1712), captain;
lieutenant; Nathaniel Balston (1714), ensign.
18) was first sergeant; Jeremiah Belknap (1724),
second sergeant; Edward Durant (1725), third sergeant; Benjamin Pollard (1726),
fourth sergeant, and John Cookson (1701), clerk.

Aug. 4, 1726, there was a meeting of members of the council, justices, and select-
men at the town-house in Boston. There were present six councillors, eight justices,
and five selectmen. All the councillors but one, all the justices but one, and all the
selectmen but one, were members of the Artillery Company.

The new members of the Company recruited in 1726 were : Bartholomew Gedney,
Henry Gibbs, Benjamin Pollard.

Bartholomew Gedney (1726), wharfinger, of Boston, son of William Gedney, was
born in Salem, March 22, 1698. He married, Sept. 15, 1720, Abigail Mason; and, by
Boston Records, Bartholomew Gedney married, July 25, 1723, Mary Webber. Major

Bartholomew Gedney (1726). Authoritv: was Treated with a great deal of respect. Mr

Boston Rcconls. Checkley who preach'd, craved a Blessing, Dr

' "[1725] June 7. Mr. Checkly preacht to ye Mather ReturnM Thanks." — SeiuaH I'aJ'ei-s, Vol.

artillery from 2 Samuel 22. 35. ' he teacheth my ///., /. 360.

hands to war.' Nut an hour in sermon & last sing- The officers named above were the officers

\ngr — Jeremiah Bumstead's Diory. elected in 1724, except that Capt. Creenough was

" [1725] June 7. 1 dine with Col. Hutchinson, not the ensign. That office was held in 1724-5 by

Capt. Mr Greenwood, Lieut. Capt Greenough, Ens. Ensign Nathaniel Goodwin.


Bartholomew Gedney, prominent in the witch trials in 1692, was an uncle of Col.
Bartholomew (1726). The latter was elected constable of Boston, March 11, 1727, but
was excused, and at the same meeting was elected clerk of the market, but declined.
He was constable in 1737, and held other town offices in 1740 and 1753.

In 1731, he was second sergeant of the Artillery Company, clerk's assistant in 1739
and 1740, and clerk of the Company from 1734 to 1737 inclusive.

Mr. Whitman (1810) says, "Administration on his estate was granted in 1754." He
died previous to July 19, 1762, when his estate was advertised in the Boston Gazette.

Henry Gibbs (1726), merchant, of Boston, son of Robert Gibbs (1692), was born
in Boston, Nov. 7, 1694. His sister, Mary, married Rev. John Cotton, who declined to
preach the Artillery election sermon in 1738. Henry Gibbs (1726) married, June 8,
1 72 1, Hannah, daughter of Joseph Wadsworth, for many years treasurer of the town of
Boston. Mr. Gibbs (1726) was clerk of the market in 1724; elected constable in 1725,
but paid the fine; served as hog-reeve in 1728, and scavenger from 1730 to 1734, and
in 1736. In 1732, Mr. Gibbs having encroached upon the town's land on Dock Square,
his new frames were demolished, and a lawsuit resulted. Feb. 25, 1735, the selectmen
ordered the frames sold, "for the most they can get, for the use of the town." Not long
after his trouble with the authorities of the town he moved to Providence, R. I.

He was first sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1730. He died at Boston,
Feb. 17, 1759.

Benjamin Pollard (1726), sheriff, of Boston, son of Jonathan (1700) and Mary
(Winslow) Pollard, of Boston, was born Jan. 6, 1696. His mother was a daughter of
Col. Edward Winslow (1700). His grandfather, William Pollard, joined the Artillery
Company in 1679. He succeeded his uncle, Edward Winslow (1700), as sheriff of
Suffolk County, on the 20th of October, 1743, and held that office until his decease, or
for thirteen years. He died in Boston, Dec. 24, 1756.

Mr. Pollard (1726) was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1726, rose to
the rank of colonel in the local militia, and was the first commander of the Corps of

The record of the Artillery Company for 1726 is as follows : —

"April 4. 1726. The Rev. Mr. John Swift was chosen to preach the Artillery

Election Sermon; the present Commission officers & Mr. Samuel Swift [1724] being

desired to request it of him. Accepted by him."

Rev. John Swift, who delivered the Artillery election sermon of 1726,^ son of
Thomas and Elizabeth (Vose) Swift, of Milton, and brother of Col. Samuel Swift (1724),
was born in Milton, March 14, 1679. He graduated at Harvard College in 1697, and
was the first settled minister in the town of Framingham, being ordained over the
Framingham church Oct. 8, 1701. He married Sarah, daughter of Timothy Tileston,
of Dorchester. His ministry was conducted with faithfulness and prudence, and not a
notice occurs qualifying the respect and estimation in which he was held.

Henry Gibbs (1726). Authority: Boston Rev. John Swift. Authority: Barry's Hist.

Recorils. of Framingham.

Benjamin Pollard (1726). Authority: '" [1726] June 6, Mr. Swift, of Framingham,

Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Company, Ed. 1842. preacht to ye Artillery, from Acts 10 & 7, 'a Devout

Soldier.' " — Jeremiali Bumstead's Diary,


The Boston Post oi May 13, 1745, thus notices his decease : " Framingham, May 8.
On the 24"' of last month, died here after a long and tedious illness the Rev. Mr. John
Swift, the first pastor of the church in this place, in the 67"" year of his age and the
45"' of his ministry. ... His piety was sincere and eminent. His preaching sound and
evangelical. As a pastor diligent, faithful and prudent, and in his conversation, he was
sober, grave and profitable yet affable, courteous and pleasant. ... He was held in
high esteem by the Association to which he belonged and respected by all who had any
acquaintance with his real character and merits."

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

^ Downe (1716), Heutenant ; Nathaniel Cunningham (1720), ensign.
' ' James Pecker (1720) was first sergeant; James Carey (1723), second

sergeant; Joseph White (1722), third sergeant; Christopher Marshall (1724), fourth
sergeant, and Samuel Holyoke (17 14), clerk.

On the 13th of March, 1726, on the petition of John Yeamans, Esq., etc., "about
a bridge to Nodles Island," the town chose Elisha Cooke, Esq. (1699), Mr. John
Colman, Edward Hutchinson, Esq. (1702), Mr. Thomas Cushing (1691), and Mr.
Ezekiel Lewis (1707), a committee to consider the subject and report. May 8, 1727,
the committee reported favorably, recommending the erecting of a substantial bridge
"from the main at Winnisemet side to Nodles Island." John Yeamans married a grand-
daughter of Col. Shrimpton (1670). To her the estate of the latter was devised. The
Yeamans family lived on the island, but owned a large farm in Rumney Marsh, now
Chelsea. Mr. Yeamans was to build the bridge at his own cost and keep it in repair.
His removal shortly after to Antigua was the probable cause of the failure of the project.'

Committees selected this year to report to the town concerning important matters,
viz.: concerning Capt. Rallentine (1682) and the drawbridge; the town's interest in
the wharves and lands near the South Battery, and a petition in regard to the New
South meeting-house, were largely composed of members of the Artillery Company."

The members of the Artillery Company recruited in 1727 were: Job Coit, James
Davenport, Joseph Dowding, Thomas Fleet, Increase Gatchell, John Greenleaf, John
Helyer, John Hobby, Nathaniel Hodgdon, Jabez Hunt, Dudson Kilcup, Bennet Love,
Edward Marion, David Mason, Richard Mortimer, William Nichols, John Salter, Thomas
Simpkins, John Smith, Henry Wheeler.

Job Coit (1727), cabinet-maker, of Boston, was born in 1692. He married, July
30, 1 7 13, Lydia Amie. He was probably a son of Nathaniel Coit, of Gloucester. He
was clerk of the market in 1721 and 1722, and constable of Boston in 1726 and 1727.
June 5, 1721, the selectmen granted liberty to Job Coit (1727) to remove a small
wooden building adjoining the back part of his house in Ann Street. He was third
sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1731. He died Jan. 12, 1 741, aged forty-nine
years, and his wife, Lydia, died July 9, 1751.

Job Coit (1727). Authority: Boston Rec- ' See Sumner's Ilist. of East Boston, 240, 4S9.

ords. ' See Town Records, 1727.


James Davenport (1727), baker and innholder, of Boston, son of Ebenezer
Davenport, was born in Dorchester, March i, 1693. He married, (i) Sept. 30, 1715,
Grace Tileston, of Dorchester. She died Oct. 24, 1721, aged twenty-seven years, and
he married, (2) May 3, 1722, Sarah, born July 9, 1699, daughter of Josiah and sister of
Benjamin Franklin. She died May 23, 1731, aged thirty-two years. He married, (3)
Nov. 12, 1 73 1, Mary Walker, of Portsmouth.

James Davenport (1727) was a constable of Boston in 1725, and May 25, 1735,
gave ten pounds toward the erection of the new workhouse. In 1722, Dec. 31, he and
his father-in-law, Josiah Franklin, became sureties in the sum of one hundred pounds
for Brie Blare, tailor, from Martha's Vineyard, who desired to settle in Boston. In 1748,
Michael Lowell advertised that his place of business was "at the corner- shop leading to
Mr. James Davenports [1727] bake-house, near the sign of the Cornfields." Not long
after this, Mr. Davenport (1727) changed or enlarged his business, for he appears as an

On the corner of Fleet and Ship, now North, streets, Major Savage (1637) had a
house and garden. He wharfed out in front in 1643. This house, or another house on
the same spot, became King's Head Tavern. It was burned down in 1691, but rebuilt.
The Memorial History of Boston, Vol. II, p. ix, says, "In 1754 Davenport [1727], who
had kept the Globe Tavern, petitioned to keep the Bunch of Grapes, formerly known as
Castle Tavern, near Scarlets Wharf." Mr. Drake says that James Davenport (1727)
kept the King's Head Tavern in 1755, and his widow in 1758. He certainly kept a
public-house in 1757, for we learn from the selectmen's minutes, under date of Dec. 5,
1757, that Robert Stone, innholder, upon whom five British soldiers had been "quartered
and billeted," complained to the selectmen that he had more than his share ; whereupon
the selectmen "removed, from his house to James Davenports [1727] at North End,"
three men.

The King's Head continued a large and flourishing hostelry until the beginning of
the Revolution, when it was converted into barracks for the marines, and then taken
down for fuel. Joseph Austin bought the site, and established there his large bakery.

James Davenport (1727) was appointed coroner for Suffolk County, Jan. 7, 1740-1,
and was first sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1732.

Administration on his estate was granted June 13, 1759.

Joseph Dowding (1727), of Boston, son of Joseph Dowding, was born Nov. 30,
1700. His grandmother, Mercy, wife of Leonard Dowding, of Boston, was a daughter
of William Paddy (1652). His name does not again appear on the Records of the Town
of Boston.

Thomas Fleet (1727), printer, of Boston, was "born in England, and was
there bred to the printing business. When young he took an active part in opposition
to the High-church party. On some public procession, probably that of Dr. Sacheverel,
when many of the zealous members of the High-church decorated their doors and
windows with garlands as the heads of the party passed the streets, Mr. Fleet [1727] is
said to have hung out of his window an ensign of contempt, which inflamed the resent-

James Davenport (1727). Authorities: Thomas Fleet (1727). Authorities: New

IJoston Records; Dnvenport Genealogy; New Eng. Eng. Hist, and Gen. Keg., 1873, p. 311; Boston
Hist, and Gen. Keg., 1S79, pp. 25-34; Drake's Old Records.
Landmarks, p. 16S; Porter's Rambles in Old Boston,
p. 286.


ment of his opponents to that degree that he was obhged to secrete himself from their
rage, and to embrace the first opportunity to quit his country." '

Thomas Fleet (1727), son of Thomas Fleet, of Tillstock, county of Shropshrove,
England, was born in that place, Sept. 8, 1685. He served an apprenticeship at printing
in Bristol, and then worked at his trade as a journeyman in that place. It was while thus
working that the incident related above occurred. His personal safety required that he
should emigrate, and accordingly he went on board a vessel bound for America, and
arrived in Boston in 17 12. In the town books there seems to be no record of his admis-
sion as an inhabitant of the town. Soon after his arrival, he opened a printing-house in
Pudding Lane, now Devonshire Street. He was industrious and frugal, and acquired
considerable property. His publications, prior to his newspaper enterprise, consisted of
pamphlets, small books, and ballads for children. He owned several negroes, one of whom
set type and worked the press. He was an ingenious man, and cut on wood-blocks the
pictures which decorated the ballads and small books printed by his master. ^ Mr. Fleet
(1727) continued printing in Pudding Lane till 1731, when he hired a handsome (brick)
building in Cornhill, now Washington Street, north corner of Water Street, which he
afterward purchased for two thousand two hundred dollars, and occupied it. He erected
a sign of the " Heart and Crown," which he never altered ; but after his death, when crowns
became unpopular, his sons changed the crown for a Bible, and let the heart remain.
Mr. Fleet's (1727) new house was spacious, and contained sufficient room for the
accommodation of his family and the prosecution of his printing business, besides a
convenient shop, and a good chamber for an auction-room.^ In those times, the printers
were the principle auctioneers. March 7, 1731, he advertised in the Boston Weekly
Ncws-Lettcr as follows : —

" This is to give notice to all gentlemen, merchants, shopkeepers and others, that
Thomas Fleet of Boston, printer, (who formerly kept his printing house in Pudding Lane,
but is now removed into Cornhill, at the sign of the Heart and Crown, near the lower
end of School Street) is willing to undertake the sale of books, household goods, wearing
apparel or any other merchandise, by vendue or auction. The said Fleet having a large
and commodious front chamber fit for this business and a talent well known and approved,
doubts not of giving entire satisfaction to such as may employ him in it," etc. As
appears by his advertisements, he held these auction sales in the evening.

Thomas Feet (1727) married Elizabeth Goose, June 8, 17 15. Her family name is
also given as Vergoose and Vertigoose. She was born May 27, 1694, in Boston.

" The Weekly Rehearsal," a new periodical, was started in Boston in September,
1 73 1. Its founder was Jeremy Gridley, Esq., afterward celebrated as a lawyer. About
April, 1733, it came into the possession of Thomas Fleet (1727), and was published at the
"Heart and Crown," in Cornhill. In August, 1735, the proprietor discontinued it, and
issued in its stead the Boston Evening Post, which was published every Monday evening.
This paper was continued by him until his decease in 1758, after which his sons published
it until 1775, when it was discontinued.

Thomas Fleet (1727) was printer to the House of Representatives in 1729, 1730,
and 1 73 1. He died July — , 1758, aged seventy- three years, possessed of a handsome
property, and leaving a widow, three sons, and two daughters.

He was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1731, and a member of the
Masonic Fraternity.

' Thomas's Hist, of Printing, Vol. L, p. 294. - Buckminster. ' Sec Thomas's Hist, of Printing.


Increase Gatchell (1727) was a school-master in Boston. He married Elizabeth
Calfe, Oct. 19, 1722. She was a daughter of Robert Calfe, Jr. (1710), and was born
May 7, 1704. His name does not appear upon the records of the town of Boston. He
was, however, a member of Christ Church, and Dr. Snow names him as the owner of a
pew in that meeting-house. On a copy of the original plan of Christ Church, given
in Rambles in Old Boston, Mr. "Katchell's" pew is recorded.

John Greenleaf (1727) was clerk of the market in 1726, and, March 11, 1727,
was elected constable, but was excused.

John Helyer (1727), shopkeeper, of Boston, was born Sept. g, 1685, and married,
June 10, 1 712, Elizabeth Wardwell. This name is variously sjjelled on the books of the
town, and confusion of persons, as well as names, is not impossible.

John Helyer (1727) was elected to various minor offices of the town between 1724
and 1 73 1. July 15, 1730, he was licensed "to sell Strong Drink," as a retailer, "near
Leveretts Lane"; Aug. 18, 1736, he was licensed on Marlborough, now Washington,
Street, between School and Summer streets, and Aug. 17, 1738, on "Allen Street."
He was first sergeant of the Artillery Company m, 1731. He died in Boston in 1739,
aged fifty-four years, and was buried in the Granary Burial-Ground.

John Hobby (1727), merchant, of Boston, son of Capt. John and Ann (Wensley)
Hobby, was born in Boston, July 2, 1693, and was baptized at the Second Church, July 9
next following. He held the office of fence- viewer in 1722. No record of his- marriage
has been found.

He was a descendant of William Paddy (1652), and a nephew of Sir Charles Hobby
(1702). He died May 14, 1741, aged forty-nine years, and was buried in Copp's Hill

Nathaniel Hodgdon (1727) was a leather-dresser in Boston. He married, Nov. 26,
1730, Ann Atwood. He served as clerk of the market in 1720, and sealer of leather
in 1725; also from 1731 to 1754 inclusive, except in 1733-4 and 1738; and was first
sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1728.

Jabez Hunt (1727), of Boston, son of Thomas Hunt, was born in Boston, April 5,
1698. He married, June 3, 1745, Hannah Brown, who died Sept. 21, 1748, aged thirty-
six years. Their only child was baptized at the First Church, Boston, July 3, 1746.

He was fourth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1729; clerk's assistant in 1729
and 1731 ; clerk in 1732 and 1733, and lieutenant in 1743 ; also adjutant of the Boston
regiment. Though so active in the militia, he does not appear prominent in town
affairs. He was hog-reeve in 1724, constable in 1730, clerk of the market in 1738, and
scavenger in 1739.

The Evening Post, of Boston, contained the following obituary : —

"Capt. Jabez Hunt [died] Wednesday, Dec. 22, 1762, in his sixty-fifth year. He
was a gentleman noted for his strict virtues and military accomplishments, whereby he

John Helyer (1727). Authority: Boston Nathaniel Hodgdon (1727). Authority:

Records. Boston Records.

John Hobby (1727). Authority: Boston Jabez Hunt (1727). Authorities: Boston

Records. Records; Hunt Genealogy, p. 343.


was very serviceable to the regiment of militia in whicli he was an officer upwards of
twenty years. His life was much desired, and his death is much lamented."

His will («./.) was made Aug. 6, 1762, and proved the 27th of December following.

Dudson Kilcup (1727), of Boston, son of Roger Kilcup (1684), was born Dec. 28,
1702. Roger (1684) died Oct. i, 1702, and Oct. 11, 1704, his widow married Kzekiel
Lewis (1707). Dudson (1727) married, Nov. 10, 1726, Lois Britton. He was elected
hog reeve in March, 1730, and again in iVIay, 1738, but was "excused" the latter year.
He paid the usual fine rather than serve as constable in 1732. He was fourth sergeant
of the Artillery Company in 1730. He died March 2, 1779, aged seventy-six years.

Bennet Love (1727), of Boston, son of John and Susanna Love, was born in Boston,

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