William Richard Cutter.

Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of the state of Massachusetts; (Volume 3) online

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of history, and there grew to be quite influ-
ential. A court armor with a crest is one of
the honors it is said to have gained. The crest
is the highest part of the ornaments of a shield
of arms. Its origin is probably more ancient



than that of other heraldic bearings, since even
the heroes of the Iliad are described as wear-
ing "crested helms." They were honorable
distinctions conferred upon the officers only.
and not upon the men. The right to wear
them was esteemed a very high honor in the
early days of heraldry, because they could be
only acquired by those who had as knights
seen actual service in the field. Court armor
became hereditary in the reign of Henry III.,
and it was about this time that crests began to
be worn by knights. They are thus of purely
military origin. Women can neither bear,
inherit nor transmit them.

( 1 ) Thomas Call, tilemaker, embarked for
America in 1636, being from Feversham,
Kent.. He was admitted as an inhabitant of
Charlestown in 1637, and lived near the ferry
at .Mystic side. He petitioned for leave to sell
refreshments. He had a house in Southfield,
a garden plot in Middle Row, four acres in
Linefield, a cow common, and five acres of
woodland in Mystic field. The surname of his
wife was Bennett, and he married (second)
Joanne Shepherdson, who died January 30,
1660. Children: Thomas, John, Mary and

( 1 ) Amos Call was born in 1759, and one
of the men raised to- reinforce the Continental
army, and was from the Charlestown Thomas,
though line is unrun. His age was twenty-
one, stature five feet nine inches, complexion
light. He arrived at Springfield, Massachu-
setts, July 9, 1780, and marched to camp under
command of Captain Daniel Shay. It was
said he was afterward concerned in Shay's
rebellion, but a soldier who follows his captain
is in some sense justified. Shay was captain
of his company in the revolution. Before we
finally condemn the men who participated in
this unfortunate affair, we must consider fully
the state of society then, the evils of which
they complained, the burden of debts and
taxes under which they staggered, the methods
by which justice was administered, and the
dilatoriness of the courts. Inflammable lead-
ers were more to blame than the populace.

( II ) Isaiah, son of Amos Call, was born
in Springfield, May 6, 1786, and died there
May 8, i860. He married. August 8, 1810,
Cynthia Bliss.

(Ill) Amos (2), son of Isaiah and Cyn-
thia ( I'.liss) Call, born in Springfield, January
4, 1814, died there August 30, 1888. He was
bred to merchandise, and became a member
of the hardware firm of Bemis & Call. During
the war of the revolution the Bemis & Call

Hardware and Tool Company did a large busi-
ness in the manufacture of harness traces for
the United States Government. In 1856-57-
58-59-60 Mr. Call was assistant engineer of
the fire department, and was alderman from
the sixth ward in 1861-67-68-75, and he was a
member of the First Baptist Church, of
Springfield, and was very active in church
work and served as a deacon for several years.
He was a Mason of Knight Templar grade.
He married Ruhema Chapin Skeele. born June
23, 181 5, and died May 14, 1892. They cele-
brated their golden wedding May 16, 1888.
Children: 1. Charles Amos, see forward. 2.
Edmund Skeele, born March 17, 1841 ; died
August 16, 1843. 3. Margaret Pease, born
June 15, 1846; died young. 4. George Norton,
born August 7, 1844; married Ella E. Clark,
and died March 13, 1885. 5. Ruhema Chapin,
born August 6, 1 85 1 : married Addison Howard

(IV) Charles Amos, eldest son of Amos
and Ruhema ( Skeele ) Call, was born in Spring-
field, June 3, 1839, and died there November
6, 1898. He was taught the rudiments in the
public schools, and became superintendent of
Bemis \- Call's Hardware and Tool Company.
In 1864 he started a small retail grocery, and
in 1888 his business had so increased that he
purchased a large granite block on State street,
now occupied by his son. He was elected a
member of the common council in 1866, and
was on the committee to meet President John-
son and Secretary Seward when they officially
visited the city. In 1882 he was made alder-
man from his ward, to which he was thrice
re-elected, officiating as president of the board
in 1885. In 1888 he was elected to the house
of representatives, and again in 1889, serving
on the committee on banks and banking, of
which he was made chairman. When in the
legislature he cast his vote for George F. Hoar.
at his first election to the senate. This was a
move on the part of some who were anxious
to overthrow the influence of General Butler
in Massachusetts politics, and Senator Bout-
well owed his defeat for re-election as much to
the fact of his friendship for General Butler
as anything else. Mr. Call belonged to Ros-
well Lee Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted
Masons, Morning Star Chapter, and Spring-
field Commandery. He belonged to the Win-
throp, Nayasset, and the Masonic clubs. He
married Eugenia Louise Stillman ; (see Still-
man ) .

(V) Arthur Amos, son of Charles Amos
and Eugenia (Stillman) Call, was born in



Springfield, June I, 1868. He attended the
public schools in Springfield, and at an early
age went into his father's store as a clerk,
working himself up through the various grades,
and upon the death of his father he succeeded
to the business, that of a retail grocer. Mr.
Call is one of the foremost grocery merchants
in Springfield, and commands a large city
trade. He is masonically related, and a mem-
ber of the Springfield Cammandery. He at-
tends the First Congregational church, is a
Republican in politics, and a member of the
Nayasset, Winthrop and Masonic clubs. He
married, in 1891, Helen Elizabeth, daughter
of Joseph Ryder. Children : Charles Still-
man, born May 27, 1896; Eugenia Louise,
December 15. 1903.

Albert Perkins Langtrv, edi-
LANGTRY tor and publisher of the

Springfield Union, was born
in Wakefield, Massachusetts, July 27, i860,
and was educated there in the public schools.
He began his career as a commercial traveler,
representing the firm of C. L. Jones & Com-
pany, of Boston, soap manufacturers. He
had been in this business six years when he
was induced by newspaper friends, with whom
he was visiting in New York City, to accept a
position as reporter on the Brooklyn Union-
Argus, afterwards the Brooklyn Union. He
found the work congenial and demonstrated
his ability as a reporter. After he left the
Union he was a reporter on the staff of the
Brooklyn Times for three years and manager
and Long Island editor of the Times for the en-
suing five years. In 1890 he came to Spring-
field. Massachusetts, as business manager of
the Springfield Union. A few years later he
came into control of the Union which has be-
come a valuable property under his manage-
ment. The newspaper has been enlarged from
time to time and the plant greatly improved.
Few newspapers outside of the metropolitan
districts have so large a plant. The Union has
recently installed a Goss sextuple perfecting
press, and has a battery of ten linotype
machines. In a field in which competition is
exceedingly able and strong, Mr. Langtrv has
built up the circulation and standing of the
Union until it ranks second to none in western
and central Massachusetts. Mr. Langtrv is
a prominent and influential Republican, and
his newspaper has been one of the bulwarks
of the Republican party for the past fifteen
years. He has been a member of he Republi-
can state committee for a number of years,

has been secretary for two years. He has been
delegate to various nominating conventions of
his party. He is a member of Roswell Lee
Lodge of Free Masons ; of the Nayasset, Win-
throp and Reality clubs, of Springfield.

lie married, August 3, 1886, Sarah Cowing
Spear, born January 16, 1862, daughter of
George A. and Annretta (Harper) Spear, of
West Roxbury, Massachusetts (see Spear
sketch). Mr. and Mrs. Langtry have no chil-

The late Samuel Cordis Nor-
NORCR( )SS cross, of Cambridge, was a
descendant in the eighth
generation from Jeremiah Norcross, who came
from England in 1638 and settled in Water-
town, Massachusetts, (me of the descendants
of the immigrant ancestor was Elijah Nor-
cross. who married Catherine Marrow and
they were the parents of Leonard Norcross,
father of Samuel C. Norcross, of whom see

Leonard Norcross was born in Readfield,
Maine, June 18, 1 798, on the second farm
from the Winthrop line, on the west side of
Maranocook lake or pond, died at Dixfield.
Maine. March 10. 1865. His father died when
he was three years old, and he lived with his
mother until he was nine, when he was appren-
ticed to a farmer by the name of Randall, who
was a hard master and the boy suffered greatly
from lack of proper food and clothing and in
other ways, and at the end of three years, not
being able to bear it any longer, he left his
oppressor and went to live with Colonel
Sprague, of Greene, whose wife was a sister of
Airs. Norcross. and he made his home there
for the following four years. In this family
he received kind treatment, had a congenial
and happy home, an opportunity to attend
school some, and learned the trade of a mill-
wright, developing the mechanical genius for
which he became conspicuous in after life.
He then went to Brunswick and worked awhile
m the lumber mills there, and during his spare
time improved himself along educational lines
by reading and study. The winter after he
was seventeen he lived with his mother at
East Winthrop, and attended school in what
was called the Fairbanks school district. The
following winter he taught school, an occupa-
tion which he continued to follow during the
winter season for many years. From Win-
throp he moved to Livermore, and was there
engaged in milling and farming business, build-
ing a saw mill on the river about half a mile

1 73 2


above Livermore Tails. During this time he
also took out his two first patents ; one a stone-
dressing machine, the other a machine for
making wrought nails. After his removal to
Dixfield lie gave considerable time to inven-
tions of different kinds and took out several
patents. Among these were a spinning wheel,
a stump machine, and he invented the thresh-
ing machine and separator which was patented
in the name of Hiram A. Pitts, of Winthrop,
and which was so extensively used for many
years. He was wrongfully defrauded of his
rights in this patent. In 1829 he began to
study on the greatest of all his inventions, the
Submarine Diving Dress, which he finally got
patented in 1834. The patent deed bears the
signature of Andrew Jackson, then president
of the United States, and li. F. Butler, secre-
tary of state. With this dress after it was
patented Mr. Norcross visited Boston, New
York, Philadelphia and several other cities,
going as far south as Norfolk, Virginia, and
giving exhibitions of it in the rivers and har-
bors by going under the water, in some
instances walking on the bottom a distance of
two miles and remaining for two hours. A
few men with small capital were ready to take
hold of it. and a company was formed in Bos-
ton to operate with it in raising sunken vessels
and in recovering property from wrecks and in
various other ways, but they either lacked the
means or the enterprise to make a success of
it. and but very little was done. Mr. Norcross
was at great expense of time and money in
perfecting and exhibiting this invention, but
he never realized more than a few hundred
dollars from it. The dress was later used ex-
tensively throughout the world. The United
States government made great use of it during
the war of the rebellion, and it saved the coun-
try many millions of dollars. During the last
part of his life Mr. Norcross devoted more
attention to the building of mills than to patents,
lie was a deacon of the Congregational church
in Dixfield, which office he was filling at the
time of his decease. In politics he was first a
Whig and later a Republican. Mr. Norcross
married Deborah Nelson, born in Winthrop,
March 30, 1798. died November 14. 187(1.
daughter of the Rev. Elias Nelson, a Calvinist
Baptist preacher of considerable ability, who
was afterward pastor of the Baptist church on
Jay Hill for many years. Children: 1. Sarah
Elizabeth, born in Livermore, May 26, 1821.
2. Elias Nelson, Livermore, July 1. 1822. 3.
Mary Matilda, Livermore, November 13, 1823.
4. Leonard Marcellus, Livermore, October 21,

[825. 5. Aurora Deborah, Jay, July 31, 1827.
1 1. Flavinus Vespatian, Livermore, April 25,
[829. 7. Samuel Cordis, Dixfield, November
1, 1 831 ; see forward. 8. Submarinus Girard,
Dixfield, January 21, 1834. 9. Edward Jent,
Dixfield, June 16, 1837.

Samuel Cordis Norcross, the fourth son and
seventh child of Leonard and Deborah ( Nel-
son ) Norcross, was born in Dixfield, Novem-
ber 1, 1831. He spent his early years on the
farm, attending school during the winter
months. He was a bright, apt scholar, and
made rapid advancement in all that he under-
took, but was inclined to devote more time
to manual labor than to study. He engaged
with his father in millwright work in various
places. He built a large saw mill and turning
lathe on the Newton brook, which has since
been called Wells' mill. Here he was very
dangerously injured by a cart hub which he
was turning. It flew from the lathe, and strik-
ing him broke the bridge of his nose and
slightly fractured the skull over one eye. He
resided in Canton, Woodfords, Somerville and
Cambridge, residing in the latter place until
his death, which occurred November 28, 1901.
Mi- was extensively engaged in building and
repairing mills, and his labors were rewarded
with a large degree of success. Mr. Norcross
married, January 30, 1859, Zilpha H. Leonard,
id' Canton. One child, Eva H.. now a resident
of Cambridge.

The Hills family of England has
I I ILLS been known in the mother country
several centuries, and in New Eng-
land for nearly three centuries. Mr. Thomas
Mills, of South Boston, president of the Hills
Family Association, says in the third annual
report of the directors of the Hills Family Gen-
ealogical and Historical Association:

"Some ten vears since, the investigations of
your president led him to the conclusion that our
name originated in Kent county, southeastern
England, the birthplace of his father, in 1765.
Edward Hasted, one of the historians of
Kent, whose large and valuable work was pub-
lished in 1778, gives an origin of the name
which accounts for its being localized in the mid-
dle ages and furnishes a reason for the fact that
it is still common in this country, when it is
rarely found in other parts of England. I quote
his exact language: 'About a mile southeasterly
from Darent Church, is the hamlet of Helles
Saint Margaret, commonly called Saint Mar-
garet Hills. * * * The manor afterwards
came into the possession of a family named



1 73c

Hells, who had much land at Danford and
Ash, near Sandwich, and from them this place
acquired the additional name of Hells, or more
vulgarly. Hills.' There is much more going on
to say that Henry de Helles was one of the
Knights of Kent during the reign of Edward
III. He retained the name of Helles: others
used it as Hells. It settled into the form in
which it is now used as early as 1490. In the
peculiar orthography of the old times, the
name was variously spelled, the records dis-
closing no less than twenty-three various spell-
ings, only two of which were without the final
s. In our day the name only appears as Hills
or Hillis." It is in no way connected with the
name of Hill, except in a few cases where it
has been found that the "s" was dropped
through carelessness.

( I ) Joseph Hills, the immigrant, was born
in the parish of ( ireat Burstead, Essex county.
England, and was baptized there in .March.
1602. His father was son of George Hills,
who married Mary Simonds, of Billericay.
Essex, England, widow of William Simonds,
of Billericay, tanner. Their marriage license
bears date October 13, 1596, at which time
George Hills did not use the final "s" in his
surname. It first appears as Hills in the rec-
ords in Eebruary, 1608, and perhaps was so
written by some new vicar who had charge of
the parish books.

Joseph Hills married Rose Clark, at < ireat
Burstead, July 22, 1624. They removed with
several children to Maldon, Essex, where John,
Steven and Sarah were born. In 1638 he be-
came a stockholder or "undertaker" in the ship
"Susan and Ellen." in which he sailed with his
family for Boston, arriving there July 17, 1638.
He settled at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and
in 1644 he was made a selectman there, in
1646 was in the general court and in the next
year was elected speaker. He lived on the
Mystic side of Charlestown. in the part that
became Maiden, which was named from Mr.
Hills' old home in England. He served as
captain of the trainband, represented Maiden
first in the general court, and served continu-
ously in that position until 1664, when he re-
moved to Newbury. It is of interest to note
that John Waite, who succeeded him, was
representative for nineteen years and' that he
was his son-in-law. In 1645 he was of a com-
mittee to set out lots to the settlers of the
Xashaway plantation. In 1650 he was on the
committee headed by the governor to draw up
instructions for the Massachusetts delegates
to a gathering where commissioners of all the

colonies were to meet. In 1654, with Captains
Hawthorne and Johnson and the treasurer of
the colony, he served on a committee to frame
a reply to the home government which had de-
manded an explanation for certain acts. He
was an auditor of treasury accounts in 1650,
1053 and 1661. One of his most important
public services was on the committee to codify
the laws of the colony in 1648 and later. He
made this first code in his own handwriting
and supervised the printing. In part payment
for this work he received a grant of five hun-
dred acres of land on the Nashua river in New
Hampshire and remission of taxes in his old

His wife Rose, whom he married in England
before he came to America, died in Maiden
March 24. 1650. He married second, June 24,
1051, Hannah Smith, widow of Edward Mel-
lows, and who died about 1655. His third
marriage, in January. 165(1, to Helen ( Ellina
or Eleanor) Atkinson, daughter of Hugh At-
kinson, of Kendall. Westmoreland, England,
was attended with some unusual circumstances.
In those flays clergymen were not allowed to
solemnize marriages, the ceremony always
being performed by magistrates. In 1641 Gov-
ernor Bellingham raised a storm of contro-
versy in the colony by acting as magistrate at
his own marriage. He married himself to
pretty Penelope Pelham. Public opinion was
divided. Some sided with the governor in his
curious interpretation of the law, but more did
not. When the governor was called upon to
come down from the bench and plead to a com-
plaint against him for what his opponents
charged as an illegal act. he refused, and it was
left for Joseph Hills some years later to put
the law to a real test. He married himself to
Miss Atkinson, acting both as magistrate and
bridegroom, and was called to account by the
authorities. He "was admonished for marry-
ing himself contrary to the law of this colony,
page 38 in the old Booke." and, in the language
of the general court, "he freely acknowledged
his offence therein and his misunderstanding
the grounds wdiereon he went which he now
confesseth to be unwarrantable — and was ad-
monished by the Court." His third wife died
January 6, 1663, and he married, March 8.
1665. at Newbury, Massachusetts, Anne Lunt,
widow of Henry Lunt, and lived at her house
in Newbury during the remainder of his life.
She was born about 1621, probably in England.
His note book containing business memoranda
from 1627 to nearly the end of his life, is in
the possession of the New England Historic-

' 7.1,4


Genealogic Society. He became totally blind
in 1678. He died at Newbury, February 5,
1688, aged about eighty-six years. He was the
father of fifteen children: 1. Mary, baptized
at Great Burstead, England, November 13,
1625; died in Maiden, Massachusetts, Novem-
ber 25, 1674. 2. Elizabeth, baptized at Great
Burstead. October 21, 1627. 3. Joseph, bap-
tized at Great Burstead, August 2, 1629; died
young. 4. James, baptized at Great Burstead,
March 6, 1631 ; died young. 5. John, baptized
Great Burstead. March 21, 1632; died in Mai-
den, July 28, 1652. 6. Rebecca, baptized at
Maldon, England, April 20, 1634; died at Mai-
den, Massachusetts. June id, 1674. 7. Steven,
baptized, Maldon, May 1, 1636; died there be-
fore 1638. 8. Sarah, baptized at Maldon, Au-
gust 14, 1637; died there same day. 9. Ger-
shom, born at Charlestown, Massachusetts,
July 2J, 1639; died at Maiden between 1710
and 1720. 10. Mehitable, born at Maiden. Jan-
uary 1, 1641 ; died there in July, 1652. 11.
Samuel, born at Maiden, July, 1652. 12. Na-
thaniel, born Maiden, December 19, 1653; died
there 1664. 13. Hannah, born at Maiden. 14.
Deborah, born Maiden, March, 1657; died
there October 1, 1662. 15. Abigail, born Mai-
den. October f>, 1658; died there October 9,

( II ) Samuel Hills, son of Joseph Hills, the
immigrant, was born in Maiden, Massachu-
setts, in July. 1652, and died at Newbury,
Massachusetts, August 18, 1732. He was a
sergeant in the Indian wars, and was in the
battles at Bloody Brook, September 18. 1675,
and Xarragansett, December 19, 1675. He
married, at Newbury, Massachusetts, Abigail,
daughter of David and Sarah (Wise) Wheeler,
of Newbury. David was a son of John Wheel-
er, who was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, Eng-
land, in 1625, and came to New England in
the "Confidence" in 1638. He married Sarah
Wise. May 11. 1650. Abigail Hills died April
[3. 1742. Children of Samuel and Abigail
(Wheeler) Hills: 1. Samuel, born February
16, 1680. died at Rehoboth, Massachusetts,
lulv 27. 1732. 2. Joseph, born July 21, 1681 :
died at Newbury, Massachusetts, November
6, 1745. 3- Nathaniel, born February 9, 1683;
died at Hudson, New Hampshire, April 12,
1748. 4. Benjamin, born October 16, 1684;
died at Chester, New Hampshire, November
3. 1762. 5. Abigail, born September 2, 1686;
died at Newbury, August 11. 1688. 6. Henry,
born April 23, 1688; died at Hudson, New
Hampshire. August 20, 1757. 7. William, born
October 8, [689; died at Newbury, before

January 20, 1724. 8. Josiah, born July 27, 1691,
died at Newbury, April 26, 1726. 9. John,
born September 20, 1693; died after 1734. 10.
Abigail, born June 27, 1695. 11. James, twin,
born February 26, 1697. 12. Hannah, twin,
with James, born February 26, 1697. 13.
Daniel, born December 8, 1700, removed from
Nottingham West to Halifax, Nova Scotia,
about 1754. 14. Smith.

(Ill) Smith Hills, youngest child of Sam-
uel and Abigail (Wheeler) Hills, was born at
Newbury, Massachusetts, April 10, 1706, and
died at Leominster, Massachusetts, August 23,
1786. He married first, at Newbury, October
14, 1730. Mary, daughter of Samuel and Abi-
gail (Goodrich) Sawyer. Samuel Sawyer was
son of Samuel Sawyer and Mary Emery, his
wife, and grandson of William Sawyer, who
came from England. Mary Sawyer, wife of
Smith Hills, was born at Newbury, Massachu-
setts. October 3, 1712, and died there July 24,
1744. Smith Hills married second (published
January 12, 1745), in Newbury, Rachel Lowe,
daughter of Nathaniel and Abigail (Riggs)
Lowe, of Ipswich, Massachusetts. She was
born November 29, 1725, and died at Leomins-
ter, Massachusetts, June 1, 1819. He had
twenty children, seven by the first wife and
thirteen by the second, of whom all but the
four youngest were born at Newbury ; they
were born at Leominster, where Smith Hills
was one of the early settlers. Children of
Smith Hills : 1. Abigail, born October 27, 1731.
2. Judith, born June 4, 1733 ; married Isaac
Foster. 3. Mary, or Molly, born July 31, 1735,
died December 26, 1805. 4. Hannah, born

October 31, 1737; married Bartlett. 5.

Samuel, born October 1, 1739. 6. An infant.
7. Martha born May 19, 1743. 8. Nathaniel,
born June 4, 1745, died in West Newbury, Sep-
tember 29, 1832. 9. Ruth, born September 13,
1747, died August 26, 1803. 10. Rebecca, born
October 25, 1749, died young. 11. Obadiah,
born Newbury. August 23, 1751, died at Row-
ley, June 22, 1825. 12. Rachel, born Novem-

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