D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

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Mary Foster. Samuel Eddy, the son of William, born
in 1608, came to Plymouth in the " Handmaid," in
1630, with his brother John. After a few years' resi-
dence in Plymouth he removed to Middleboro' and
Swansea, and died in the latter place in 1U88 at the age
of eighty years. By a wife, Elizabeth, he had John,
Zachariah, Caleb, Obadiah, and Hannah. Of these
Obadiah, by a wife whose maiden name was Bennett,
had Samuel, John, Jabez, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Mary,
Mercy, and Hasadiah. He lived iu East Middle-
boro', and died in 1722 at the age of eighty years.
His son, Samuel, who married Melatiah Pratt, settled
on the paternal estate, and had Samuel, Zechariah,
Bennett, Fear, and Melatiah. Of these Zeehaiiah,
who inherited his father's estate, married Mercy
Morton, and had Johu, Nancy, Ebenezer, Hannah,
Nathauiel, Mary, Joshua, Zechariah, Seth, Thomas,
Lucy, and Samuel. Of these Joshua commanded a
company at Ticonderoga, Monmouth, aud Saratoga
during the Revolution, and Johu, Seth, Thomas, and
Samuel, four of his brothers, also served in the Con-
tinental army. Joshua married Lydia, daughter of
Zechariah Paddock, of Middleboro', and had uine
children, — John Milton, Joshua, Zechariah, Nathan-
iel, Ebenezer, Lydia, William S., Jane, and Morton.
Of these Zechariah is the subject of this sketch.
He was born in Middleboro' in 1780, and, entering
Browu University in 1795, graduated iu 1799, de-
livering the Latiu salutatory at commencemeut.

After graduating he taught in the Newport Semi-
nary, and afterwards became preceptor iu the Plain-
field Academy. He studied law iu the office of
Joshua Thomas, of Plymouth, aud was admitted to
the bar in 1806. He married Sarah, daughter of
Pollycarpus and Lucy (Eaton) Edsou, of Bridge-
water, and settled permanently in Middleboro'. His
position at the bar was a distinguished one, and



for many years he stood shoulder to shoulder with
William Baylies, Thomas Prince Beal, and Kilborn
Whitman in the front rank of the Plymouth bar.
As a special pleader he had no superior among those
with whom he was in the habit of measuring his
strength. During a connection with the bar of more
than half a century, he failed to atteud only a single
term of the Plymouth court, and left it at an ad-
vanced age with a record of more than three hundred
cases in the Massachusetts Reports in which he ap-
peared as couusel. His first argument was at the
October term of 1S06, on a motion by the defendant
for a new trial in the case of Zechariah Eddy, pe-
titioner for partition, against Eliab Knapp, in which
on the trial in the lower court exceptions were taken
to the admission aa evidence of a judgment and exe-
cution where the appraisers were appointed by the
officers without notice to the judgment debtor. Chief
Justice Parsons read the opinion of the court that,
as under the common law laud could not be taken on
execution, the provisions of the statute must be
strictly followed ; and as the debtor had no voice in
the appointment of appraisers, the execution was in-
valid, and the exceptions must be allowed.

The last argument of Mr. Eddy was at the October
term in 1847, in the case of Noble Cannedy against
William Haskins, in which the parties went to the
court on an agreed statement of facts. A devise of
real estate was made to Noble Cannedy, the father of
the demandant, " during his natural life, and at his
decease to the eldest male heir, and after his decease
to his male heirs and assigns forever." At the time
of making the devise, Noble Cannedy, the father of
the demandant, had no issue, but he afterwards had
several children, of whom the demandant, who was
the third son, alone survived him. During his life
he conveyed the property to his eldest sod, Barnabas,
then living, who died before his father, having pre-
viously conveyed the property to the respondent
tenant. Mr. Eddy appeared for the demandant, and
William Baylies for the respondent, and the argument
on each side was long and exhaustive. The court
held " that the devisee took a life estate only, and
that at his decease his surviving son took an estate
entail male," and the tenant was defaulted.

Mr. Eddy died in 1860 at the age of eighty years.
Though in a long life of professional labor and honest
usefulness he had acquired reputation and honors, he
said in his old age that " he would hardly give a peck
of refuse wheat for all that is called fame in the

Nathaniel Morton Davis was descended from
Thomas Davis, of Albany, who there married Katha-

rine Wendell, by whom he had Robert, 17US; John ;
Catherine, 1714, who married John Creecy, of North
Carolina; Thomas, 1722; David, 1724; Benjamin,
and Miles. Of these Thomas came to Plymouth and
married, in 1753, Mercy, daughter of Barnabas
Hedge, by whom he had Sarah, 1754, who married
Le Baron Bradford, of Bristol, R. I.; Thomas, 175G,
who held the position of State senator from Sufiulk
County, and State treasurer, and died in 1805 ; Wil-
liam, 1758; John, 1761, a graduate of Harvard in
17S1, United States comptroller of the currency, and
judge of the United States District Court; Samuel,
1765; Isaac P., 1771 ; and Wendell, 1776, a gradu-
ate of Harvard in 1796. Of these William, a suc-
cessful merchant iu Plymouth, married in 1781,
Rebecca, daughter of Nathaniel Morton, and had
William, 1783 ; Nathaniel Morton, 1785 ; Thomas,
1791 ; and Elizabeth, 1803, who married first Alex-
ander Bliss, and is now the wife of Hon. George Ban-
croft. Of these Nathaniel, Morton is the subject of this
sketch. He was born in Plymouth, and fitted for
college in its public schools. He graduated at Har-
vard in 1804, in the class with Thomas Aspinwall,
Benjamin Merrill, Benjamin R. Nichols, Andrews
Norton, and Asher Ware, among whom he secured a
high rank as a man of thoughtful and scholarly habits.
He studied law in Plymouth, and was there admitted
to the bar. During the early years of his professional
life he devoted himself to its labors, always giving,
however, gratuitous advice and counsel to his neigh-
bors and fellow-citizens, and seeking by every effort to
preserve peace and harmony in the community to
which he was attached by the associations of his birth.
The cast of his mind was similar to that of William
Baylies, one of his contemporaries at the bar, and in a
wider field of activity, with the pressure of poverty to
spur him on, he could not have failed to reach the
highest honors of his profession. His judicial mind,
thoroughly impregnated with legal lore, eminently
fitted him for higher and more responsible duties than
his studious habit and love of ease would have per-
mitted him to assume. He never sought honors, but
such as he won sought him. He was at one time
president of the Court of Sessions, he repeatedly rep-
resented his native town in the General Court, and
under the administration of Governor John Davis
was one of the Executive Council. As a presir'iug
officer and speaker he excelled; always timid and
nervous in preparation, but in execution never failing
to reach the highest standard. With a lower ideal of
intellectual work, he would have been more courageous
and would have accomplished more. As it is, many
of his concise, compact, chaste, and well-rounded


i^2-C.<^<3^ Z*£ /^'^(^-/-t^c-



sentences are remembered by students of oratory as
models in the use of language. His form and bear-
ing lent u dignity and impressiveness to his speech
and a grace to every occasion in which he was called
upon to take a prominent part.

He married, in 1817, Harriet Lazell, daughter of
Judge Nahum Mitchell, of East Bridgewater, and had
Williaui, 1818, a graduate of Harvard in 1837, whose
promising career as a member of the Plymouth bar
was prematurely closed by death in 1853 ; Abby
Mortiu, 1821, who married Hon. Robert B. Hall, of
Plymouth ; and Elizabeth Bliss, who married Henry
G. Andrews, of Boston. Mr. Davis died during a
temporary residence iu Boston, July 29, 1848, aud
was buried in his native town.

Kilborn Whitman was descended from John
Whitmau, who first appeared in Weymouth in 1638.
John Whitman, by wife Mary, had Thomas (1629),
John, Abiah, Zechariah (1644), Sarah, Mary, Eliza-
beth, Hannah, and Judith. Of these, Thomas, of
Bridgewater, born in England, married in 1656 Abi-
gail, daughter of Nicholas Byram, and had John
(1658), Ebenezer, Nicholas, Susanna, Mary, Naomi,
and Hannah. Of these, Ebenezer, of Bridgewater,
married in 1699 Abigail Burnham, and had Abigail
(1702), Zechariah (1704), John (1707), Hannah
(1709), aud Ebenezer (1713). Of these, Zechariah,
of Bridgewater, married Eleanor Bennet, of Middle-
boro', and had Samuel (1734), Abiah (1735), Zecha-
riah (1738), Eleanor (1739), Benjamin (1741), Abi-
gail (1743), Ruth (1746), Jonah (1749), and Eben-
ezer aud Sarah, twins (1752). Of these, Zechariah,
of Bridgewater, married Abigail Kilborn, of Litchfield,
Couu., aud had Kilborn (1765), Benjamin (1768),
Cyrus (1773), Angelina (1777), and Cassandra. Of
these, Kilborn is the subject of this sketch. He
was bom in Bridgewater, Aug. 17, 1765, and fitted
for college in the schools of that town. He graduated
at Harvard in 1785, with Nathan Hayward, of Plym-
outh, Jabez Upham, and Henry Ware among his
classmates. After leaving college he prepared for the
ministry, under theiustruction of William Shaw, D.D.,
of Marshfield, and was soou after settled over the
parish in Pembroke, where he continued to hold his
residence until his death. While pursuiug his studies
in Marshfield he became a frequent visitor in the
family of Isaac Winslow, a graduate of Harvard in
1762, and a physician of wide and deserved reputa-
tion. He afterwards married Elizabeth, a daughter of
Dr. Wiuslow, and had eleven children, — Isaac Wins-
low, born Sept. 13, 1789, a graduate of Harvard in
1808; Charles Kilborn, Aug. 25, 1792; Elizabeth
Winslow, Dec. 1, 1795, who married Samuel K. Wil-

liams, of Boston ; Johu Winslow, Dec. 24, 1798, a
member of the Suffolk bar; James, April 24, 1801,
who died young; Sarah Ann, Oct. 11, 1803, who
married Hon. Benjamin Randall, of Bath ; Caroline,
Sept. 2, 1805; Maria Warren, May 15, 1808, who
married Frederick Bryant, of New Bedford ; James
Hawley, April 17, 1810, a member of the Plymouth
bar; Frances Gay, Sept. 2, 1813, who married Jacob
Hersey, of New Bedford ; and William Henry, Jan.
26, 1817, a member of (he Plymouth bar and clerk
of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Superior Court,
and ex ojficiu clerk of the Board of County Com-

After ten years' service in the ministry Mr. Whit-
man studied law in the office of his brother, Benjamin
Whitman, of Hanover, who afterwards left an exten-
sive practice, in which he had won an enviable repu-
tation, and opened an office in Boston, where he be-
came one of the justices of the Police Court. Mr.
Whitman was admitted to the bar in Plymouth before
the year 1800, and by his ready comprehension of
the principles of law and their practical application,
he. soon drew about him a circle of clients, which
continued to enlarge as the successful issue of his
efforts before a jury increased his reputation. To his
ample knowledge of law he added a keen insight of
the characters of men, their tastes, their sympathies,
their temperament and prejudices, which made him a
formidable antagonist for those less richly equipped
with the paraphernalia of a successful advocate. After
the passage of the law of 1811, re-establishing the
office of county prosecuting attorney, he was appointed
by the Governor to that office, and continued to per-
form its duties until 1832, when the State was di-
vided into districts, and district attorneys took the
place of those for the county.

For many years he held also the position by ap-
pointment of the Governor of overseer of the Marsh-
pee and Herring Pond tribes of Indians, for the per-
formance of whose duties he was specially fitted by
the strict integrity, the love of just dealing, and the
tender regard for the poor and uufortunate, which
were his prominent characteristics. He died at Pem-
broke on the 11th of December, 1835, at the age of
seventy, and was there buried.

Jared Whitman was for nearly seventy years
connected with the Plym6uth Couuty bar, aud at the
time of his death was the oldest, and also one of the
most highly respected, members of the legal profession
iu this portion of New England. He was a lineal
descendant iu the sixth generation from John Whit-
man, the English emigrant, who settled in Weymouth
in 1636, the line being John 1 , Henry 2 , Nicholas 3 ,



Eleuzei', Ephraim*, Jured 6 , and was born on the old
homestead in Abington, Mass. (now South Abington),
Sept. 27, 1784. He prepared for college at Wrentham,
and completed his education at Brown University, from
which he was graduated in 1805. He became a stu-
dent of law under Judge Kilborn Whitman, of Pem-
broke, and after his admission to the bar as a practic-
ing lawyer (1809), began his long and useful legal
life by a short residence at Nantucket, from which
place lie removed to his uative town, where he ever
after resided. He was a farmer as well as lawyer, as
was customary with many of the legal profession in
those days.

Mr. Whitman married, first, Abigail Barrell. Their
children were Elizabeth R. (Mrs. Enoch E. Brown)
and Abigail B. (Mrs. William T. Grennell). He
married, second, Mrs. Susanna Hayden, daughter of
Hon. Aaron Hobart. They had five children — Caro-
line H., now residing on the old homestead; Augus-
tus (deceased), Jared, Susan A. H. (Mrs. William
R. Vining), and Ephraim.

In person Mr. Whitman was of dignified bearing,
and conferred honor upon the numerous official sta-
tions to which he was called. As a man and a friend
he cannot be too warmly spoken of. So manly was he
by instinct that no one could deem him capable of a
mean action ; so broad and charitable in his opinion
of others as to lead him to overlook their faults. The
feeling of vindictiveuess he would not or could not
cherish, and as a lawyer or justice would uever en-
courage litigation, preferring the loss of business to the
loss of self-respect. He stirred up no strife, and was
pre-eminently a " peacemaker." HLs relations with
his brethren of the bar were always cordial, and his
well-known form and face ever commanded respect
and, in his advanced years, veneration. He was often
called to duties of public and official character. In
1819 he was -one of the incorporators of the Plymouth
County Agricultural Society ; he was chosen selectman
the same year, and held that office nine years ; he held
the position of justice of the peace tor a long period,
and up to within a few years of his death ; he was a
delegate to the convention assembled at Boston, Nov.
15, 1820, to revise the Constitution of the common-
wealth of Massachusetts; in 1S26 he was appointed
by Governor Lincoln commissioner of highways for
Plymouth County; he represented Abiugton in the
State Legislature of 1827, and served as State sena-
tor from Plymouth district in 1838-39, and upon the
passage of the act by the State Legislature creating
boards of county commissioners, he was appointed by
the Governor one of the three commissioners consti-
tuting the first board of Plymouth County, his asso-

ciates being Judge Weston, of Middleboro', and Mr.
Collamer, of Scituate, and was continued in this
position nine years, until the office became elective ;
in 1850 he was made trial justice. In all these trusts
Mr. Whitman hewed to the line of an unshaken pur-
pose, aud that purpose was the right, and from this
he could never be coaxed, flattered, or forced. While
a county commissioner the board, in its judicial ca-
pacity, was the first court of the State to decide agaiust
granting licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquors,
aud for this action the commissioners received much
opposition and fierce denunciation, and a pctitiou,
bearing many signatures, was presented to the Gov-
ernor asking their removal from office for what it
styled their " arbitrary" and " unconstitutional" action.
In these days of temperance we can scarcely realize
the intensity of popular clamor calling for their re-
moval, but they uever wavered, and the Governor
approved and indorsed the decision of the board.

Usually quiet, retiring, aud reserved in manner, he
generally used few words, but they expressed much ;
yet he had a few intimate friends by whom his con-
versations and opinions were highly prized. A deaf-
ness which afflicted him many years threw him much
out of social life, and doubtless had much to do with
tho reserve of his nature. In politics he was Federal
and Old-Line Whig, of the school of Webster and
Clay, with whom he was contemporary, and after the
death of the Whig party he became a Republican.
He was for many years a member of the Union Cal-
vinistic Church, and orthodox in his belief. He
held pronounced religious opinions, but was not a
sectarian, and cheerfully allowed the same liberty of
conscience to others which he claimed for himself.
He was much interested in Sabbath-school work, and
was one of the first to establish a Sabbath-school in
connection with the church at South Abington, aud
during his last years he had a class of educated
young men who earnestly listened to the words of
wisdom from his lips. His high sense of honor,
his cool and deliberate judgment, his studious appli-
cation to whatever business came before him, his in-
terest in all public and educational matters, aud what-
ever pertained to the improvement of the community,
made him au invaluable associate, citizen, and friend.
He was a discriminating reader and possessed of a Sue
literary taste. He enjoyed and appreciated humor,
aud in writing expressed himself clearly, concisely,
and correctly. His stroug inherited constitution
enabled him to outlive all his youthful contempora-
ries. He kept a vigorous mind, — his knowledge of
public affairs and of legal changes, — so as to give
clear and accurate opiuious on law and current events,



until after ninety years of age. He died May 23,
1878, in his ninety-fourth year. The accompanying
engraving is from a photograph taken at eighty-seven.

John Boies Thomas was descended from Wil-
liam Thomas, one of the merchant adventurers of
London, who assisted the Pilgrims in their enter-
prise. The ancestor, born about 1573, came from
Yarmouth, England, on the " Marye and Ann," in
1637, and settled in Marshfield with his son, Na-
thaniel, who was born in 1606. Nathaniel had six
children,— William (born 1638), Nathaniel (1643),
Mary, Elizabeth (1646), Jeremiah, and Dorothy.
Of these, Nathaniel, of Marshfield and Plymouth,
married in 1664 Deborah, daughter of Nicholas
Jacob, of Hingham, and had Nathaniel, Joseph,
Deborah, Dorothy, William, Elisha, Joshua, Caleb,
Isaac, and Mary. He married, second, in 1696,
Elizabeth, widow of William Condy. Of these chil-
dren, William, of Boston, born in 1671, married, in
1701, Abigail Henchman, daughter of Samuel Ruck,
and had Margaret. He married, second, in 1717,
Anne, widow of John Breck and daughter of Rich-
ard Patershall, and had William (1718), Anne
(1720), Anne again (1721). Of these, William, of
Boston and Plymouth, married, in 1739, Mary,
daughter of Peter Papillon, of Boston, and had
William, Ann, Elizabeth, and Peter. He married,
second, Widow Mercy Logan, daughter of Joseph
Bridgham, of Boston, and removed to Plymouth,
where he had Joshua (1751), Margaret (1753),
Joseph (1755), Nathaniel (1756), John (1758), and
Mary (1759). He married, third, in 1771, Mary,
daughter of Consider Rowland, of Plymouth. Of
these children, Joshua, of Plymouth, an officer in
the Revolution, for many years judge of probate, and
the first president of the Pilgrim Society, married
Isabella Stevenson, of Boston, and had John Boies
(1787), William (1788), aud Joshua Barker, all of
whom were members of the Plymouth bar. William,
a graduate of Harvard in 1807, survived both his
brothers, and at his death, in 1882, was the oldest
graduate. He was at one tiuie high sheriff of the
county of Plymouth, and supplemented his profes-
sional labors by thoughtful and well-written contribu-
tions to the columns of the press.

John Boies, the subject of this sketch, was born in
Plymouth on the 28th of July, 1787, and graduated
at Harvard in 1806. Though not then a member of
the profession, he was appointed clerk of the courts
in 1S12, and continued in office until his resignation
(in 1850), when he was succeeded by Mr. Whitman,
the present incumbent. During the performance of
his official duties he devoted much of his time to the

study of law and was finally admitted to the bar. So far
as the author of this notice is aware he never engaged
in practice, but he was so long connected with the
courts, and so highly esteemed as one of their most
conspicuous officers, that his name appropriately fiuds
a place in this record. Aside from his profession he
was a man of large influence and varied usefulness in
his native town. The town records bear witness to
the confidence in his wisdom and fidelity and the
respect for his ability and skill felt by his fellow-
citizens during a long term of service in their behalf.
The field of his usefulness was chiefly within the
range of his office and the limits of the town, though
in 1820 he was a delegate to the Constitutional Con-
vention, and in 1840 oue of the Harrison Presidential

He married Mary, daughter of Isaac Le Baron, of
Plymouth, and at his death, which occurred Dec. 2,
1852, left two children, — Martha Le Baron, born in
1816, who married Isaac N. Stoddard, and Hannah
Stevenson, born in 1821, who married Charles G.
Davis, a sketch of whom is included in this record.

Thomas Prince Beal was the son of David and
Lydia (Prince) Beal, and was born in Kingston
Feb. 12, 1786. He graduated at Harvard in 1806,
in the class with Dr. Jacob Bigelow, Hon. Alexander
Hill Everett, and George William Lyman, of Boston,
and John Boies Thomas, of Plymouth. He studied
law with Kilborn Whitman, of Pembroke, and was
admitted to the bar at Plymouth. Before studying
law he engaged in business pursuits, which he soon re-
linquished for the more congenial profession of which
he afterwards became a distinguished member. He was
contemporary with William Baylies, Zechariah Eddy,
and Charles J. Holmes, and shared with them the
verdicts of Plymouth County juries. Though perhaps
not so well equipped with chapter and verse of the law
as either of these competitors in the legal arena, he al-
ways made prompt and skillful use of the weapons he
wore, and, like an agile swordsman, often succeeded
in disarming his more powerful antagonists. Quick
at repartee, sharp in his denunciations, bold in his
attacks, often the boldest when his cause was the
weakest, he would lay siege to a jury with such dash
and courage that often, like the reckless soldier in
battle, he would win the fi^ht when disaster aud
defeat seemed unavoidable and sure.

Occasionally he took an active part in political cam-
paigns, and always held his audiences well in hand
by the combined logic and humor which characterized
his speeches. In the campaign preceding the election
of President Harrison he took special interest, and
more than once the author of this sketch heard him



before an open-air gathering, and remembers well the
striking alternations of silence and laughter with
which his masterly arguments and his brilliant sallies
of wit were received. Not long after the close of this
campaign he represented Plymouth County in the
Massachusetts Senate, where his abilities found a
fresh and extended field for their useful exercise.

Mr. Beal married Betsey, daughter of Col. Joseph
Sampson, of Kingston, and died July 16, 1852,
leaving a son, Joseph Sampson Beal, a graduate of
Hurvard in 1835, and a member of the Plymouth

Naiium Mitchell was a descendant, in the
fourth degree, from Experience Mitchell, who came
to Plymouth in the third ship, the " Ann," in 1623.
He was the son of Cushing Mitchell and Jennet,
his wife, who was a daughter of Hugh Orr, of
Bridgewater, but a native of Lochwinnoch, in Scot-
land, and was born Feb. 12, 1769. Having been
fitted by Beza Hayward, of Bridgewater, he entered
Harvard College in 1785. and graduated in course in
1789, with what reputation for scholarship is not
known ; but his accuracy in matters of scholarship

Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 118)