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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resume his seat in the council. As a further reward for his political conversion, he was
appointed, in i77t, major-general of the militia throughout the province; and from
this time the Government had not a more devoted servant. On the other hand, his
subserviency to British power did not secure all that he desired. He was doubtless
gratified with the commission of major-general ; but, after nearly twenty years' service,
as a member of the council, he must have been mortified and chagrined, when he
learned that he was not named as a mandamus councillor, but was superseded by Judge
Lee, and still worse, by Col. Oliver, his subordinate ofificer, both as councillor and
lieutenant-governor. His fate furnishes a sad example of the folly of attempting to
serve two masters. He took shelter in Boston when the people became roused to action ;
he had gone too far ever to reinstate himself in their good opinion, and his only alter-
native was to put his trust under the shadow of British power. In December, 1774,
ostensibly for the consideration of fifteen hundred pounds sterling, he conveyed to his
son, Thomas Brattle, all his real estate in Cambridge. When the British troops evacuated
Boston, he went to Halifax, N. S., and there died Oct. 25, 1776."

In June, 1774, when major-general of the province, he presided on the Common at
the election held by the Artillery Company. He received the resignations of the old
and commissioned the new officers, notwithstanding the presence of the lieutenant-
governor, the Governor being absent at Salem ; it having been decided that the

William Brattle (1729). Authorities: De- Cambridge; Whitman's Hist. A. and H. A. Com-
scendants of Capt. Thomas Brattle; Paige's Hist, of pany, Ed. 1842.



lieutenant-governor held no authority over the militia while the Governor was alive and
in the province.

He was captain of the Artillery Company in 1733.

Edward Emerson (1729), of Boston. Mr. Whitman (1810) says Mr. Emerson
(1729) was "born May 8, 1702." He held minor offices in the town of Boston in 1729,
1732, and 1738, and was elected constable in 1737 but did not serve.

Knight Leverett (1729), of Boston, goldsmith, son of Thomas (1703) and Rebecca
(Winsor) Leverett, grandson of Hudson (1658) and Sarah (Payton) Leverett, and
great-grandson of Gov. John Leverett (1639), was born Jan. i, 1702, and married, Feb.
I, 1725-6, Abigail Buttolph. He died July 11, 1753, and his widow died Jan. 26, 1774.

In July, 1725, the grandchildren of Hudson Leverett (1658) divided amongst them-
selves a part of the Gov. Leverett (1639) estate, near Barton's Point. Through this
estate a thoroughfare forty feet wide was laid out, which was given to the town, and in
remembrance of the Governor was named Leverett Street.

Knight Leverett (1729) was elected constable in 1728, and, declining to serve, paid
the fine. He served as scavenger in 1742, 1745, and 1748, and was third sergeant of
the Artillery Company in 1736.

Hugh McDanicI (1729), rope-maker, of Boston, married, April 11, 1728, Sarah .

He was elected a constable of Boston in 1731 and in 1752. In subsequent years he
visited the public schools with the clergy, justices, and others. He was identified with
the militia, and became captain of a company. In 1758, he resided in a house situated
on the Neck, which he leased of the town, March 25, 1752. Dec. 8, 1769, about three
months before his death, he petitioned the town, "setting forth that he is now a prisoner
in his Majestys goal for non-payment of his taxes for 1766 and 1767, amounting in the
whole to ^22. 12. 3. as well as other suits, and prayed for relief. . . . Considerable
debate was had," and the petitioner had leave to withdraw.

He was highly respected, being an active, benevolent, and intelligent man. His
hands were ever open to the needy. He was deeply concerned in the affairs of the town,
and was among the foremost in advancing its interests. His dwelling and contents were
unfortunately consumed by fire ; he trusted considerable amounts in his business, which
were never paid, and thereby his final years were burdened.

He was third sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1732, ensign in 1741, lieutenant
in 1747, and captain in 1750. For many years he was an influential and active member
of Christ Church, and served as one of its wardens in the years 1739 and 1740. He
died on Thursday, March 29, 1770, aged sixty-four years, and was buried on the evening
of April 2, 1770, in King's Chapel Burial-Ground. His widow died Jan. 27, 1795, aged
eighty-nine years.

He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity.

Sampson Salter (1729), brewer, of Boston, son of Jabez (1674) and Elizabeth
Salter, was born in Boston, March 21, 1692. He married, June 23, 1715, Mary
Robinson, of Boston. He was a constable in Boston in 1732, and collector of taxes

Knight Leverett (1729). Authorities: Bos- Sampson Salter (1729). .■\uthoritv: Hos-

ton Records; Leverett Genealogy; New Eng. Hist. ton Records.
and Gen. Reg., 1S50, p. 136.


from December, 1764, to June 24, 1771, when he decHned to serve longer. In the Hst
of persons burnt out by the great fire of 1760 in Boston, the News-Letter gives, "In
Quaker Lane [Congress Street], Sampson Salter [1729], brewer." He was first sergeant
of the Artillery Company in 1736.

Deacon Sampson Salter (1729) died in April, 1778, aged eighty-six years.'

Jonathan Williams, Jr. (1729), of Boston, merchant, son of Jonathan (1711) and
Mary (Hunlock) Williams, and brother of Sendall (1738), was born in Boston, Jan. 8,
1699, and was baptized at the First Church, Jan. 14 of the same year. He was second
sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1736, ensign in 1742, lieutenant in 1748, and
captain in 1751.

For forty years Jonathan Williams, Jr. (1729), was prominently identified with the
public affairs of the town. July 5, 1728, he petitioned the selectmen for a retailer's
license, which was approved by them, and he kept a wine store on Cornhill, now Wash-
ington Street. The license was again issued in 1739. On the 3d of March, 1735, a
tomb was granted him in the South burying-place, which was subsequently num-
bered " 69."

His father, Jonathan (i 711), for several years had charge of the purchasing and
sale of grain, etc., at the granary. He was so engaged at his decease, and Jonathan, Jr.
(1729), continued in charge until the selectmen had examined his father's accounts, and
determined the balance due the town. His father died in March, 1737, but Jonathan,
Jr. (1729), managed the granary until July 22 following, when the amount due the town
was ^\,io'] ds. 2d., which Jonathan, Jr. (1729), paid.

March 11, 1739, ^ motion was made in town meeting that a committee be appointed
to consider and report what rights the town had in Fort Hill and the adjacent shore.
Jonathan Williams (1729) was one of this committee, which was continued by reappoint-
ment until 1757. The town's land had been trespassed upon by the Province, and by
sundry persons, notably by Col. Jacob Wendell (1733)- The committee reported several
times, and they were authorized to prosecute the trespassers in the courts.

This matter, which caused at times such prolonged town meetings and heated dis-
cussion, seems to have worn out all the disputants.

June 6, 1739, Mr. Williams (1729) resided in Cold Lane, now Portland Street.
He was clerk of the market in 1729; constable in 1731 ; fireward in 1764-8; visitor of
the schools in 1766; overseer of the poor in 1767. March 14, 1768, the town voted its
thanks to him for his good services as overseer of the poor, and also by another motion
thanked him for his " sers'ices as fireward for some years past." He was repeatedly on
the committees to consider the fortifications and batteries.

In 1767, the town was distressed, being drained of its money, and threatened by
poverty and ruin. These conditions were supposed to result from the " excessive use of
Foreign Superfluities." Mr. Williams (1729) was one of a committee to lessen the use
of " Loaf Sugar, Men & Women Hats, Gloves, Snuff, Mustard, Clocks and Watches,
Muffs, Furs & Tippets, Fire Engines, China ware," and many other articles, and encourage
their manufacture in this province. It stimulated manufactures in Boston, for, at the
next afternoon meeting, Mr. Williams (1729), with six others, was appointed to consider
some measures " for employing the poor of the town of Boston, by reviving the linen

Jonathan Williams, Jr. (1729.) Authority: Boston Records. "^ Continental Journal.


manufacture," etc. The town voted, Oct, 28, 1767, not to purchase any of the articles
enumerated, imported from abroad, after the 31st of December next ensuing.

Mr. Wilhams (1729) was evidently prepared for events which were soon to follow.
The newspapers in Boston, of Monday, Nov. 29, 1773, announced that the "Dartmouth" had
anchored off Long Wharf, with one hundred and fourteen chests of tea. The hand-bill,
"Friends ! Brethren ! Countrymen ! " had been freely distributed throughout the town, and
the papers also announced that a public meeting would be held "at Fancuil Hall at nine
o'clock this day ... to make a united and successful resistance to this last, worst and
most destructive measure of administration." At nine o'clock the bells were rung, and
thousands rallied at Faneuil Hall. This was the commencement of organized resist-
ance. Jonathan Williams (1729), whose name was on the roll of the Artillery Company
for half a century, was elected moderator of the meeting, in which the principal debaters
were Samuel Adams, Dr. Warren, Hancock, Young, and Molineaux. Mr. Williams (1729)
was one of the Committee of Correspondence elected in 1775.

Distinguished as a merchant and patriot, he died March 27, 1788, aged eighty-eight
years, and was buried in the tomb in the Granary Burial-Ground which later was the
property of Col. Bradford's heirs.

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

"Jeremiah Belknap [1724], Ralph Smith [1725], Thomas Edwards [1724], Samuel
Jones [1725], Benjamin Pollard [1726], John Phillips [1725], Henry Gibbs [1726],
Bartholomew Gedney [1726], Increase Gatchell [1727J, John Salter [1727], Jabez Hunt
[1727], Thomas Simpkins [1727], Joseph Dowding [1727], John Greenleaf [1727],
John Helyer [1727], Edward Marion [1727], Bennet Love [r727], James Davenport
[1727], Dudson Kilcup [1727], David Mason [1727], Thomas Fleet [1727], Richard
Mortimer [1727], Samuel Miller [1728], Hugh McDaniel [1729], Edward Emerson Jr.
[1729], Knight Leverett [1729], Jonathan Williams Jr. [1729]."

The record of the Artillery Company for 1729 is as follows : —

"1729. April 7. Being under arms; whereas the Commission officers of this
Company were absent by illness and other avocations, the Company, by handy vote,
made choice of Lieut Col. Habijah Savage [1699] to lead and exercise the Company for
this day, which choice he accordingly accepted. The Company proceeded to vote for a
minister to preach the next Artillery Sermon, and the Rev'd Mr. Joshua Gee of this
town was chosen. Voted, that the present Commission officers of this Company, with
the Field officers of the Regiment of this town, viz : Colo. Edward Hutchinson [1702],
Lt Colo. Habijah Savage [1699] and Maj. Edward Winslow [1700] be a committee to
request it of him.

"Mr. John Cookson [1701], and Mr. Richard Bulkley [1722], at their request,
were dismissed. Voted, that the Training in May next be half a day, beginning at two
of the clock p. m.

"Whereas the members of this Company are frequently chosen to the office of
Constable, Therefore voted ; that so often as any of the members of this Company
under fine of six shillings p diem, for delinquency, are chosen and serve as Constables,
that then they shall be liable to the fine of twelve pence per diem only during their
Service in said office, and no longer ; and if any of the members of this Comjiany, under
fine of twelve pence per diem, for delimiuency, are chosen Constables, and serve in said
office, they shall be liable to the fine aforesaid notwithstanding.


" Voted, that there be a committee chosen, consisting of three members of this
Company, to joyn with the heirs or assigns of the Hon. John Burrill, Esqr. in the dividing
of the thousand acres of land lying in the Township of Rutland, which was granted by
the General Assembly of this Province, in their May Sessions, 17 17, five hundred acres
of said land to said Burrill, and he to have his choice at which end to lay out his grant,
and the other five hundred acres to this Company to satisfy a grant made to tihem the
is"" of October 1673, and to make report of their doings to this Company as soon as
may be. The charges of the Committee to be borne by the Company. Accordingly the
gentlemen chosen to be of this Committee were, viz Captain William Ward [1724],
Capt. Thomas Smith [1702] and Mr. Benjamin Pollard [1726].

" Voted, that the General Courts grant to this Company of five hundred acres of
land, lying in the Township of Rutland be recorded in this Company's Book ; which is
as follows: — At a Great and General Court, or Assembly for His Majestys Province
of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, begun and held at Boston, upon Wednesday
the 29"' of May 171 7, being convened by His Majesty's writs, the following Order passed
in the House of Representatives, read and concurred, viz' :

"Upon reading the petition of Edward Hutchinson [1702], Habijah Savage [1699],
John Ballentine, Junr [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 the said
Company to satisfy a grant made to them by the General Court, October 15* 1673,

" Ordered, that five hundred acres of the thousand acres 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 five hundred acres is granted, have the choice at which
end to lay out his grant.

" Consented to

"Samuel Shute.

" A true copy. Examined p T. Willard, Secretary.

"May 5"' 1729. Being under arms. The committee appointed to acquaint the
Rev'd Mr. Joshua Gee of the choice of the Company made of him to preach the next
Artillery election Sermon, returned answer that he desired to be excused for this time
on the account of many necessary avocations. Upon which the Company made choice
of the Rev'd Mr. WiUiam Welstead of this Town for that service ; and voted that the
Commission Officers of the Company -and the field Officers of this Regiment (being
members of this Company) together with the Hon. Thomas Hutchinson, Esqr [1694]
be a committee to request it of him.

" Whereas the committee appointed the 7"^ of April last to joyn with the heirs or
assigns of the Hon. John Burrill, Esqr, in dividing the 1000 acres of land in Rutland,
granted, &c, were ordered to make their report of what they had done in that affair —
They have accordingly made the following report of their doings, viz : —

"Rutland, May i" 1729. We the subscribers agreeable to the intent of the within
vote have been upon the land within mentioned, with the heirs and assigns of the Hon.
John Burrill Esq., and have mutually agreed together in running the line of partition
as is described in the platts taken and signed by both Parties and interchangeably
delivered ; one of which is hereunto annexed. " Thomas Smith.

"Benjamin Pollard.
"William Ward.




"Voted, that the above report of the said committee be accepted; and that they
have the thanks of the Company for their good service in this affair.

"Voted, that the above committee's account of charge in going to Rutland, in
Surveying, platting & dividing the land &c, amounting to nine pounds nineteen shillings
be allowed ; and ordered that the Clerk discharge said account accordingly.

"Voted, that an attested copy of the ])lan of the one thousand acres of land in
Rutland &c, five hundred of which to this Company, be inserted in the Company's book,
and accordingly here followeth : —

^U) -it^ tU j)i^ (/^j ^

-yv >-^/V^»










'^"^s; r,^^


A Hie An^,,^^

/"'^xi^ .

(py""'y 'ftAt aif.


PLAN°f fn<^ Farm ^'- Rutland, Ma5S.

Maoe Fboki Oricinal Dr*"


" A plan setting forth the bounds of the farm, called the Province farm, lying in
the town of Rutland and the line of partition as it was agreed upon and stated between
the heirs and assigns of the Hon. John Burrill Esqr., and the Committee chosen by the
Honorable Company of the Artillery. Measured by Moses How and Samuel Davis,
chairman, chosen by both parties and under oath, May i, 1729. Protracter and laid
down by a scale of 40 perch to an inch by

" William Ward
"Sajojel Wright

" Surveyors.

" N. B. The original plan was 40 perch to an inch ; the following [see page
441] is reduced to a smaller size.

" Rutland, May i"' 1729. Whereas the Great and General Assembly of the Province
of the Massachusetts Bay, at their Session in June 17 15 reserved to themselves 1000
acres of land in the township of Rutland : 500 acres of which being by said Court at
their May Session 17 17 granted to the Hon. John Burrill, Esqr., deceased, and the other
500 acres granted to the Honorable Artillery Company of said Province, but the choice
to be at the option of said Burrill, we the subscribers, Samuel Sweetsir, Michael Sweetsir,
Jacob Moor, Peter Moor and Nathan Goodenough, heirs or assigns of said Burrill, have,
agreeable to the intent of said Court, made choice of the most Northerly part of said
1000 acres of land, and have mutually agreed with Messrs Thomas Smith, William Ward
and Benjamin Pollard, being a committee chosen by and for the Artillery aforesaid to
join with us in dividing said land, have run the line as it is delineated and described in
the above Piatt. We therefore do establish the same forever. In testimony whereof we
have severally set our hands to these presents.

" Thomas Smith "\ " S.amuel Sweetsir \

"William Ward, \ Committee. "Michael Sweetsir /

" Benjamin Pollard ) " Jacob Moor, ) ^eirs to

" Peter Moor [ J- ^"'''''"' ^'l-

" Nathan Goodenough, /

"A true copy — examined by Samuel Holyoke,


"June 2d 1729. Voted, that the thanks of the Company be given to the Rev'd
Mr. William Welstead for the sermon preached to them this day, and that the present
Commission officers of the Company, with them to be new elected & the field
officers of this regiment, with the Hon'ble Thomas Hutchinson Esqr. [1694] be a com-
mittee for that end.

"Voted, that the Training days in September and May next be half days, beginning
at two of the clock in the afternoon.

"October 6' 1729. Being underarms; Whereas there is not money sufficient in
the Clerk's hands to pay the Committee their amount of charge in going to Rutland and
Transacting an affair in behalf of this Company in April last, —

" Wherefore, Voted, that the Clerk of this Company receive of Colo. Thomas Fitch
[1700] out of the Company's money in his hands so much as he has occasion for to
ratify the said Rutland committee's account of charge.



" Voted, that the Clerk pay to Mr. WiUiam Moorcock and Mr. Daniel Henshaw
fifteen shillings each in full for whatever damage their horses and saddles sustained in
the Companys service in April last."

Mr. Whitman (i8io),in his history of the Company, edition of 1842, says: "No
sooner had the Company become possessed of their lands in Rutland than they were
taxed. Deriving little benefit therefrom, April, 1731, they appointed a committee, who
reported 'that it was expedient to sell and dispose of the 1000 and 500 acre grants.' "

A petition was accordingly presented to the General Court, and at the June session,
1 73 1, the following was passed, viz. : —

"In the House of Representatives, June 14"' 1731. Read and ordered, that the
prayer of the petition be granted ; and that the Artillery Company within mentioned be,
and hereby are fully authorized and empowered in due form of law, to make and execute
a good deed or deeds of conveyance of the two tracts of land within mentioned ; the
produce thereof to be vested in such other real estate as may be most for their
advantage, the income thereof to be applied to and for providing necessaries for their
military exercises, and defraying the other charges that may arise by occasion thereof.

"June 16"" 1731. Consented to.

"J. Belcher, Governor.

The Artillery Company in 1737 sold their lands in Rutland, but to whom, and for
how much, the records do not show. The Dunstable lands were, however, sold to Col.
Blanchard (1737), and a mortgage was taken as security, and after the mortgagor's death
long continued in dispute, until a suit thereon was commenced in the United States Court
for the District of New Hampshire, and judgment rendered in the Company's favor.
Finally, Col. Blanchard's (1737) heirs, in 1789, paid off the encumbrance.

Rev. Joshua Gee, of Boston, who was invited to deliver the Artillery election sermon
in 1729, declined on account of "many necessary avocations."

He was a son of Joshua and Elizabeth (Thornton) Gee, and was born June 29,
1698, being baptized on the 3d of the next July in Mr. Mather's church, of which his
parents were members, and which he joined in 17 16. He graduated at Harvard College
in 1717. He was installed as colleague of Rev. Cotton Mather, Dec. 18, 1723. In this
relation he continued until his death. Mr. Gee died May 22, 1748, in the fifty-first year
of his age and twenty-fifth of his ministry. He married a daughter of Rev. Mr. Rogers,
of Portsmouth. She died in 1730, aged twenty-nine years.

Rev. William Welstead, of Boston, son of William, was baptized in the First
Church, June 28, 1696. He married a sister of Gov. Hutchinson, and, being ordained
in 1728, became the second settled pastor of the New Brick Church in Boston. Mr.
Welstead continued in this relation until his decease, which occurred April 29, 1753.

Rev. Joshua Gee. Authorities: Sprague's .\nn.ils of American Pulpit; Prince's Church Mist.,
L; Allen's Biog. Diet.



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

J 7 9 Q- J ^ Nathaniel Cunningham (1720), lieutenant; J ohn Gold thvvait ( t ] t V L

• «-^ ensign. Henry Gibbs (1726) was first sergeant; John ^alfer (1727J7

second sergeant; Thomas Simpkins (1727), third sergeant; Dudson Kilcup (1727), fourth

sergeant, and Samuel Holyoke (17 14), clerk.

No new members were received into the Artillery Company in 1730.
The year is memorable, however, for the decease of Hon. Samuel Sewall (1679),
chief-justice of the province, who was identified with Boston for seventy years, and a
member of the Artillery Company for fifty-one years, from 1679 to 1730.

The record of the Artillery Company for 1730 is as follows : —

"April 6, 1730. Being under arms, the Company proceeded to vote for a minister
to preach the next Artillery Election sermon and the Rev'd Mr. John Hancock of
Lexington was chosen. Voted, that the Commission officers of the Company, with
Colo. Edward Hutchinson [1702] and Lt. Col. Habijah Savage [1699] be a committee
to request it of him.

"June i'^' 1730, Voted, that the present Commission officers of the Company, with
those new elected, with Lt. Col. Habijah Savage [1699] be a committee to give the thanks
of the Company to the Rev'd Mr. John Hancock for the sermon preached to them this day.

"June I"' 1730. Whereas the land belonging to the inhabitants and proprietors of
the township of Rutland was taxed towards the support of the Gospel ministry in the
said town at one penny per acre for five years from the 18* December 1727, and that
James Browning, Constable of said town demands forty-one shillings and eight pence,
it being what the Company's land in said town was taxed this present year to the Gospel
ministry aforesaid ; Wherefore, Voted, that the Clerk of this Company pay to James
Browning, Constable of the town of Rutland, forty-one shillings and eight pence in full
for what the Company's land in said town was taxed to the Gospel ministry there this
present year."

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 64 of 73)