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

. (page 9 of 73)
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 9 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Journal that they chose by papers, /. e., by ballot ; or, in plain English, secretly. This is
the first use of the ballot mentioned In the records of the town meetings. It was intended
to be done secretly, and but for Gov. Winthrop's refusal to serve upon such an election as
was carried by a voice of two, we now, instead of our Common and Beacon Hill, would
probably have had another Fort Hill, as it was before it was levelled. The question was
finally settled " Att a Meeting this day [March 30, 1640], of Mr. John Winthrop, Gov-
ernor, Capt. Edward Gibbon [1637], Mr. William Colbron, Mr. William Ting [1638],
Mr. John Cogan [1638], and Jacob Elyott." "Also agreed upon that henceforth there
shallbe noe land granted eyther for houseplott or garden to any person out of the open
ground or Comon Feild which is left between the Gentry Hill and Mr. Colbron's end ;
Except 3 or 4 Lotts to make up the streete from bro. Robte Walkers to the Round

If the traditions handed down from generation to generation have been correctly
transmitted, then the Company has invariably followed one custom. It chose its officers
for the ensuing year by ballot. The Governor was then escorted to the Common, when
the retiring commander directed several evolutions, and then took his leave of his officers
and men. The old officers, one by one, surrendered their badges to the Governor, who
bestowed them upon the new officers, and, afterwards, the new captain received the
halberds of the retiring sergeants, which he immediately gave to their successors.

The Governor was then escorted to his residence, and the newly-elected officers
treated the Company to punch, made of old West India and New England rum, Havana
sugar, and "lemons or limes for souring."

Fifty-seven new members were recruited in the year 1638-9 (each of whom was
vouched for by two members) ; their names were as follows : James Astwood, Humfrey
Atherton, John Audlin, William Ballard, Edward Bendall, Walter Blackborne, Nehemiah
Bourne, James Browne, Thomas Cheeseholm, Thomas Clarke, John Coggan, George

Cooke, William Cutter, Nathaniel Duncan, Philip Eliot, Femys, William French,

John Gore, Samuel Green, Stephen Greensmith, Samuel Hall, John Harrison, Thomas
.Hawkins, Valentine Hill, John Hull, Edward Hutchinson, James Johnson, John Johnson,
Benjamin Keayne, Eleazer Lusher, Thomas Makepeace, John Moore, Edward Mitchel-
son, Abraham Morrill, Isaac Morrill, David Offley, Abraham Palmer, William Parke,
Richard Parker, William Perkins, Arthur Perry, Robert Saltonstall, Robert Saunders,
Robert Scott, Ralph Sprague, Richard Sprague, John Stowe, Thomas Stowe, Thomas
Strawbridge, William Tyng, Hezekiah Usher, Richard Waite, Richard Walker, John
Whittingham, William Wilcox, John Winchester, and Edward Winship.

James Astwood (1638), of Roxbury, arrived, with his wife, Sarah, from England in
May, 1638, and was admitted to be a freeman May 22, 1639. In the earliest list of the

James Astwood (1638). Authorities: New "James Astwood he arrived at N. E. in the

Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1853 (will), 1854 (in- yeare 1638, the 3d month he brought a young child

ventory), 1S55 (settlement of estate); Hist, of wch was buryed here. . . . He was dismissed to ye

Second Church of Boston, by Chandler Robbins; new Ch at IJoston." — Kcxlmry Church Records,

Drake's Hist, of Roxbury; Drake's Gen. Diet. by Rev. John Eliot.


inhabitants of Roxbury, James Astwood (1638) is recorded as possessing twenty-eight
acres of land. His barn, house, and four acres of land, were west of Stony Brook and
south of Heath Street, and between the estates of Capt. Isaac Johnson (1645) and Philip
Eliot (1638). In 1647-8, James Ast^vood (1638) removed to Boston, and, in 1650,
became one of the founders of the second, or Old North, church. On its records, his
name is given as Ashwood. He bought, in 1646, of Robert Parker, a lot indicated in
the (printed) Book of Possessions, in Boston, as "H. 28," and March i, 165 1, was
granted liberty by the selectmen "to wharf before his property to low- water mark."
March 8, of the same year, he was elected constable. His will was made in September,
1653, and was probated Oct. 13 next following.

Humfrey Atherton (1638) was born in Preston, England, where he married
Mary Wales, and came to America with the second emigration, 1635, in the "James,"
from Bristol, with his wife and their three children. He was admitted a freeman May 2,
1638, and signed the covenant of the Dorchester church. He was a selectman in
Dorchester for thirteen years, between 1638 and 1660; represented the town nine years
in the General Court; was chosen an assistant in 1654, — and annually thereafter until his
death, — and speaker of the House of Deputies in 1653. He early showed a taste for
military affairs. He was captain of the Dorchester train-band at its organization in 1644,
and became commander of the Suffolk Regiment in 1649, by the promotion of Major
Gibbons (1637) to be major-general of New England militia. Sergt.-Major Atherton
(1638) continued in that position until he succeeded Gen. Daniel Denison (1660), in
1 66 1, as major-general. The latter position he held at the time of his death, which
occurred Sept. 17, 1661.

Uniting with the Artillery Company in 1638, he became senior sergeant in 1642,
ensign in 1645, lieutenant in 1646, and captain in 1650 and 1658.

In 1643, he was sent with Edward Tomlins (1637), of Lynn, by the General Court,
to treat with the Narraganset Indians, "and questioned them on the ten command-
ments." In 1644, he returned to the same district, with Capts. Johnson (1637) and
Cooke (1638), to arrest and try Samuel Gorton for heresy. He seems to have had great
skill in his treatment of the Indians, with whom his public duties brought him in frequent
contact. He manifested much humanity and sympathy for their ignorance and degraded
condition, but exercised great energy and decision of character when necessary. John-
son says: "Although he be slow of speech, yet he is downright for the business — one'
of a cheer-spirit and entire for the country." He is also said to have been " a man of
courage and presence of mind, for when he was sent with twenty men to Pessacus, an
Indian sachem, to demand the arrears to the colony of three hundred fathom of
wampum, Pessacus put him off for some time with dilatory answers, not suffering him to
come into his presence. He finally led his men to the door of the wigwam, entered
himself, with pistol in hand, leaving his men without, and, seizing Pessacus by the hair
of his head, drew him from the midst of a great number of his attendants, threatening,

Humfrey Atherton (1638). Authorities: horse threw him. He was taken up speechless and

New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1848, 1878, 1881 ; senseless, and so continued from six o'clock till one

Savage's Winthrop; Hist, of Dorchester, by Antiq. o'clock in the morning, and died . . . Sept. 20. His

and Hist. Soc; Savage's Gen. Diet.; Johnson's corpse attended to the grave with ten foot-com-

Wonder-Working Providence of Zion's Saviour. panics, and the country troop from Boston to

" [1661] Sept. 1 6, being a training day for horse Dorchester." — Diarjy of John Hull (1660).
and foot, Major-Gen. Atherton riding home, his


if any of them interfered, he would despatch them. Pessacus piid what was demanded,
and the KngHsh returned in safety."

He named his children singularly, viz. : Jonathan, Rest, Increase, Thankful, Hope,
Consider, Watching, and Patience.

The death of Major-Gen. Humfrey Atherton was a serious loss. His energy of
character and firmness in all cases when great decision was required made him a strong
pillar in the youthful settlement. There is no doubt his death occurred on the 17th of
September, 1661, instead of the 1 6th, as inscribed on his monument — probably soon
after twelve o'clock at night of the i6th. Blake says, " He was killed by a fall from his
horse at ye So. end of Boston as he was coming homewards (I think in ye evening), his
Horse either Running over or starting at a Cow that lay down in y" way."

His epitaph, on the gravestone in Dorchester, is worthy of being preserved, viz. : —

" Here lies our Captain, and Major of Suffolk was withal
A goodly magistrate was he, and Major General.

Two troops of horse with him here came, such love his worth did crave,
Ten companies of foot, also mourning, marched to his grave.
Let all, who read, be sure to keep the truth, as he has done;
With Christ he now is crowned; his name was Humfrey Atherton."

His estate, besides a farm of seven hundred acres, inventoried ^838. His will was
proved Sept. 27, 1661, and in 1662 his property was divided among his widow and

John Audlin, or Odiin (1638), was born in 1602, "an ancient dweller of the Town
of Boston," and lived on what is now Washington Street, between Bedford and Essex.
In January, 1637, he was alloted eighty-four acres at Rumney Marsh, which he sold
Dec. 24, 1638, for ^29 8s. He was a cutler, and was disfranchised in November, 1637,
for his sympathy with Mrs. Hutchinson's teachings. His name is the one hundred and
thirty-ninth on the register of the First Church. His deposition in regard to " Black-
stones Sale of his Land in Boston" is printed by Shurdeff, Description of Boston, p. 296.
He was armorer of the Artillery Company from 1644 to 1673.

John Audlin (1638) died in Boston, Dec. 18, 1685, aged eighty-three years.

William Ballard (1638), of Lynn, with wife, Eliza, and two children, came in the
"James" from London, in 1635, aged thirty-two years. He lived on the Boston road,
a little west of Saugus River. He was admitted a freeman May 2, 1638, and the same
year was a member of the Quarterly Court, at Salem. He moved to Andover, and died
July 10, 1689. His widow, Grace, died April 27, 1694.

Edward Bendail (1638), of Boston, with wife, Ann, who died Dec. 25, 1637, prob-
ably came with Winthrop in 1630. He was admitted a freeman May 14, 1634. His
children were named Freegrace (1667), Reform, Hopedfor, Moremercy, and Restore.

John Audlin (1638). Authorities: New School streets]." — ^'raw// Papers, Vol. I., f.

Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1887, p. 265; Snow's 113.

Hist, of Boston, p. 50. William Ballard (1638). Authorities: Sav-

" Friday, Dec. iS, 1685. Father John Odlin age's Gen. Diet.; New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Keg.,

dies; one of the very first inhabitants of Boston. 1848, p 1S3.

The oldest save the Governor." — Snvall Papers, Edward Bendall (1638). Authorities: Re-

Vo!. I., pp. 112, 113. ports of Boston Rec. Com., 1634-16S2; Savage's

" Satterday, Dec. 19, Father Jn" Odlin buried Gen. Diet.; Winthrop's Hist, of New Eng., Sav-
in the first Burying place [corner Tremont and age's Ed. ; Records of Mass. Bay.



The last four were born of his second wife, Mary , of Roxbury. His business prop-
erty, consisting of a stone house and warehouse adjoining, was just west of Change
Avenue, and facing Faneuil Hall Square. The dock, where Faneuil Hall now stands,
was then used as a cove for shipping. It was the centre of mercantile business, and was
called Bendall's Dock, afterward Town Dock. It was from the shore in front of his
warehouse that, in December, 1637, he was permitted to run a "ferry boat to Noddle's
Island," and to the "ships riding before the town." He also owned a house and garden,
two acres, at the corner of the present Tremont Row and Tremont Street.

He was a man of uncommon enterprise, projecting and using successfully a diving-
bell. The " Mary Rose " was " blown up and sunk with all her ordnance, ballast, much
lead and other goods." "The court gave the owners above a year's time to recover her
and free the harbor, which was much damnified by her ; and they having given her over,
and never attempting to weigh her, Edward Bendall [1638] undertook it upon these
terms, viz. : if he freed the harbor, he should have the whole ; otherwise, he should have
half of all he recovered. He made two great tubs, bigger than a butt, very tight, and
open at one end, upon which were hanged so many weights as would sink it to the
ground. (600 wt) It was let down, the diver sitting in it, a cord in his hand, to give
notice when they should draw him up, and another cord to show when they should
remove it from place to place, so he could continue in his tub near half an hour, and
fasten ropes to the ordnance, and put the lead &c. into a net or tub. And when the tub
was drawn up, one knocked upon the head of it, and thrust a long pole under water,
which the diver laid hold of, and so was drawn up by it ; for they might not draw the
open end out of water for endangering him, &c." Savage adds, in a note : " If the
diving-bell had by ingenious and philosophical men been earlier invented, I doubt if
any instance of its successful application before this can be found."

He was a member of the First Church, and was disarmed in 1637 for sympathy
with Mrs. Hutchinson. In 1649, he was appointed, by the General Court, collector of
customs and registrar of horses intended for exportation.

Edward Bendall (1638) and James Penn "did bind themselves as sureties for the
fine of Stephen Greensmith " (1638), who was censured and fined for disrespectful
language concerning the clergy. He died in 1682, and letters of administration on his
estate were granted May 2 of that year.

Walter Blackborne (1638) (Savage says Blackburne) owned property in Boston
in 1640, but prior to that time a Mr. and Mrs. Blackburne are recorded as members of the
church in Roxbury. His house was on Washington Street, nearly opposite the head of
Milk Street. He was made a freeman May 22, 1639, and on the "22"^ of the i"' month,''
1640, he gave the power of attorney to his wife, Elizabeth, "beinge now intended to goe
for owld England in the Shipp called the Desire." In 1641, Elizabeth Blackburne sold
the house and garden to Francis Lyle (1640), who served in the double capacity of
barber and surgeon.

Nehemiah Bourne (1638) arrived in America in 1635, a member of the "second
emigration." Savage says he resided in Charlestown in 1638. He and his wife were

Walter Blackborne (1638). Authorities: throp's Hist, of New Eng., Savage's Ed.; Suffolk

Savage's Gen. Diet. ; Boston Records. County Records, II., 195 and 211 ; Drake's Gen.

Nehemiah Bourne (1638). Authorities: Diet.
New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., 1854, 1873; Win-



admitted into the Dorchester church in 1639. He was a "ship carpenter" ; removed to
Boston in 1640, and became a freeman June 2, 1641. In the winter of 1643-4, having
a taste for military affairs, he accompanied Col. Stoughton (1637) to England, and
became a major in Rainsburrow's regiment, of Cromwell's army. After the death of
Col. Stoughton (1637), Major Bourne (1638) returned to his family; but again went to
England, Dec. 19, 1646. He was in England in 1655 and also in 1661. When he went
to England in 1646, his vessel was armed with "one drake from Dorchester, a drake and
a sacre from the Castle and two sacres from Boston," which were loaned to him ; all to
be returned by June 10, 1647.

He next appears, March 2, 1649-50, in command of the great frigate, at Woolwich,
carrying two hundred and fifty men. Sept. 26, 1650, he was in command of the frigate
"Speaker," two hundred and seventy men and fifty-two guns. In May, 1652, Capt.
Bourne (1638) was appointed "rear admiral of the fleet of the Parliament of the
Commonwealth of England, and captain of the ship ' St. Andrew,' of sixty guns." In
January, 1652-3, he became commissioner for the navy, and had charge of refitting
and victualling the vessels. He afterward was connected with the militia of the county
of Kent, but at the time of the Restoration fled to the Continent, and remained there
for some years.

His wife, Hannah, died June 18, 16S4, and was buried on the south side of Bunhill
Fields Burial-Ground, where the ancient and honorable admiral was also buried in the
year 1691. His will, dated Feb. 11, 1690-91, was proved May 15, 1691.

James Browne (1638), of Charlestown, a glazier, married (i) Judith Cutting and
(2) Sarah Cutting. He was admitted a freeman in 1634. His name is the sixty- first on
the roll of the First Church in Charlestown. A remonstrance, signed by Charlestown
men, was presented to the General Court, against the banishment of Rev. John Wheel-
wright. The document was held to be seditious, and the signers were called to an
account. Ten of them acknowledged their " sin," but James Browne (1638) and one
other refused to recant ; whereupon the constables of Charlestown were ordered to
disarm them unless they acknowledged their error, " or give other satisfaction for their
liberty." In 1640, he was granted a part of Lovell's Island on condition "that he set
up a stage and follow a trade of fishing there."

About 1660 he moved to Newbury, and afterward to Salem, where he died Nov. 13,
1676, aged seventy-one years.

Thomas Cheeseholm, or Chisholm (1638), of Cambridge, 1635, was admitted a
freeman March 3, 1636. He had a wife, Isabel, but they left no posterity. The first
person licensed by the General Court, Sept. 8, 1636, " to keepe a house of intertainment
at Newe Towne " was Thomas Cheeseholm (1638), a deacon of the church, and after
wards steward of Harvard College. He was also licensed "to draw wine at Cambridge,"
May 13, 1640. His dwelling-house was on a lot at the northwest corner of Dunster and
Winthrop streets, adjoining the lot on which the first meeting-house was erected in
Cambridge. The first church edifice and the first tavern in Cambridge stood side by
side. He was by profession a tailor, and died at his residence, as above, Aug. 18, 1671.

James Browne (1638). Authorities: Mem. Thomas Cheeseholm (1638). Authorities:

Hist, of Lioston, Vol. L; Wyman's Charlestown Hist, of Cambriilfje, by Rev. Lucius K. Paige;

Genealogies anil Estates, Vol. L; Third Report, Mass. Col. Records, \'ol. L, p. l8o; Savage's Gen.

Boston Rec. Com. ; New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., Diet.
1S53 (will).


Thomas Clarke (1638) was of Dorchester in 1630. He commenced his career in
that town, but was prominently connected later with Boston. He retained his property in
Dorchester until his death, and gave by will to the town, ^^20 for its poor. His farm,
which he retained, as above, was situated on the south side of Jones's Hill. He sustained
a high reputation for integrity and independence. He was admitted a freeman in 1638,
and the same year joined the Dorchester church. He was selectman in 1641 and 1642.
He removed his residence and business to Boston in 1644 or 1645, in company with
other prominent Dorchester settlers, whose names are recorded among the founders of
the Old North Society, in 1650. Mr. Clarke's (1638) name is perpetuated by the name
of a street and a wharf, at the north part of the city. He commanded the Suffolk Regi-
ment in 1651, and the same year was chosen deputy from Boston. He was continued
in that office eighteen years, five of which he was speaker of the House. He was elected
assistant in 1673, and held that office until his decease, March 13, 1683. He was a
successful merchant, and owned several estates. In 1678, his shop goods inventoried
;£'JS6, and six pieces of real estate were estimated at ;^i,39S. In 1672, he succeeded
Major Lusher (1638) as sergeant-major.

In 1658, when the sanguinary law was passed condemning Quakers to death, he was
one of the two deputies who entered their dissent against the law. When the commis-
sioners of Charles II., in 1665, arrived in Boston, and threatened to annul the Massa-
chusetts charter, on account of the sympathy of the people for the Revolution, that
instrument was placed in the hands of Major Clarke (1638) and three others, for safe-
keeping. He was sent, with Mr. Pynchon, to New York, to represent the Bay Colony at
the transfer of Manhadoes from the Dutch to the English authorities, which was done
Aug. 27, 1664.

On the 30th of September, 1666, "Mrs. Clarke, the wife of Capt. Thomas Clarke
[1638], of Boston," had the offence charged against her, before the church in Dor-
chester, " of her reproachful and slanderous tongue against the Honored Governor
Richard Bellingham ; and other lying expressions." After several meetings, "she,
manifesting no repentance," was excommunicated.

Upon the division of the Suffolk Regiment, in 1680, Boston constituted the First
Regiment, under Col. Clarke (1638) ; that part of Suffolk County now Norfolk was
created a new regiment, under William Stoughton. Major Clarke (1638) was lieutenant
of the Artillery Company in 1639 and 1651, and captain in 1653 and 1665. He made
his will in May, 1680, and it was proved March 22, 1683. "He was buried," says an
old almanac, "March 19th, 1683, with military honors."

At a church meeting in Dorchester, April 29, 1683, "John Minot came forth volun-
tarily and acknowledged his sin in being too much overcome with drinking on the day
of Major Clarke's funeral." Dr. T. M. Harris supposes Major Clarke (1638) to be one
of three brothers, — Bray, Joseph, and Thomas, — of Dorchester, 1630, commemorated
in an epitaph on a gravestone in that town : —

" Here lie three Qarks, their accounts are even,
Entered on earth, carried up to heaven."

Thomas Clarke (1638.) Authorities: Hist. Gen. Diet.; Whitman's Hist. A. and H. Company,
of Dorchester, by Antiq. and Hist. Soc.; First and Ed. 1S42; Savage's Edition of Winthrop's Hist, of
Fourth Reports of Boston Rec. Com.; Savage's New Eng.; Records of Mass. Bay.


John Coggan (1638), of Boston, who has the distinction of being the "father of
Boston merchants," lived on the opposite corner of State and Washington streets from
Capt. Robert Keayne (1637). Below Mr. Coggan (1638), and on the next lot. Rev.
John Wilson, the first minister in Boston, a brother-in-law of Capt. Keayne (1637) and
the preacher of the first election sermon before the Artillery Company, resided. Crooked
Lane, from State Street to Dock Square, ran through Mr. Wilson's land, and was, there-
fore, called Wilson's Lane. It is now the extension of Devonshire Street. John Coggan
(1638) was admitted a freeman Nov. 5, 1633, and opened the first shop in Boston,
March 4, 1633-4, on the above-named corner, which he purchased of Mr. Wilson. His
first wife, Ann Coggan, joined the church in Boston in July, 1634. His second wife,
Mary, dying on the 14th of January, 1651, he married, on the loth of March following,
Mrs. Martha, the widow of Gov. Winthrop, the ceremony being performed by John
Endicott, Governor. She had previously been the widow of Thomas Coitmore (1639).
In January, 1635, for the raising of a new fortification on Fort Hill, Mr. Coggan (163S)
loaned five pounds to the town, and was made treasurer of the fund ; and Aug. 12, 1636,
he subscribed the same amount as Capt. Keayne (1637), twenty shillings, at a meeting of
the richer inhabitants, for the maintenance of a free-school master. He was a selectman
of the town in 1634, 1639, and 1640, and was on a committee with Samuel Cole (1637),
Dec. 15, 1652, to receive money for the support of the president, fellows, or poor
scholars, at Harvard College. Besides other property, he owned in Boston a half acre
on the corner of Beacon and Tremont streets, opposite King's Chapel. He was an early
and liberal donor to Harvard College, and died April 27, 1658, leaving a large estate.
His daughter, Elizabeth, married Joseph Rock (1658).

George Cooke (1638), of Cambridge, arrived in Boston from London, in the ship
"Defence," in 1635, with an elder brother, Joseph (1640). In the ship's clearance, at
the custom-house, he is called, with others, servants of Roger Harlakenden, who also
settled in Cambridge. This was doubtless done to deceive the custom-house officers, and
assure their emigration. George Cooke (1638) was born in 1610, and became a freeman
March 3, 1636. Immediately upon his arrival, in connection with his brother, he pur-
chased a large number of houses and lands of those who were about removing to Connec-
ticut. He was selectman in 1638, 1642, and 1643; deputy, or representative, in 1636
and from 1642 to 1645, — five years, — and was speaker of the House in 1645. While a
member of the House he was frequently placed on important committees, especially in
relation to military affairs. In 1645, he was elected one of the reserve commissioners
of the United Colonies. In 1636, he was appointed captain of the first train-band in

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 9 of 73)