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The Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies online

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tober 8, 1793.

THE CREHORE FAMILY.— Teague Crehore, who is said
to have been stolen from his parents in Ireland when a mere
child, was the head of a family whose representatives occupied
responsible positions in Boston for six generations. Teague came
to Massachusetts some time between 1640 and 1650. He married
Mary, daughter of Robert Spurr, of Dorchester, about 1665, and
his death is reported in the Milton Records as having occurred on
January 3, 1695, in his fifty-fifth year. He left two sons and
three daughters. His eldest son, Timothy, added considerably
to the family estate. He had a numerous family, ten in all, but
only two of them seemed to have continued the name — Timothy,
third, and John. The latter, who bore the title of captain, was the
head of a single line of males, all bearing the same name, who
lived upon a part of the paternal estate, terminating, in the sixth
generation from Teague, with the death of John Arnold Crehore,
who died January 21, 1877, leaving no issue. The third Timothy,
like his father, was the projenitor of all now bearing the name
of Crehore. He was born December 3, 1689, married Mary
Driscoll, of Dorchester, December 24, 1712, and died December
26, 1755. He left three daughters and two sons, Jedediah and
William. Jedediah lived on the estate and it passed into the
hands of his third son, John Shepard Crehore, whose sons,
Charles C, and Jeremiah, resided on it as latf as 1844. William


Creh-^re also had a number of descendants, one of whom,
Thomas, lived in Milton and was a well-known citizen, Benjamin
Crehore was also a member of this prolific family. He was noted
for his inventive genius and skill in the manufacture of musical
instruments. The first piano ever made in the United States was
manufactured by him in his shop at Milton in 1800. He was also
the first to make bass viols in this country and his instruments
were superior to those imported from Europe. One of the largest
and most successful piano manufactories in America sprung from
his little shop in Milton.

JOHN LYFORD.— The Rev. John Lyford came from Ire-
land and arrived in Plymouth in 1624. He was sent out by the
promoters of the colony in London, who approved of him as an
able minister who was willing to risk his life in the wilderness,
and with his family, who came with him, to heroically endure
many hardships in a strange land that he might enjoy the liberty
of his own judgment in matters of religion. But Lyford did
not find that freedom of worship which he had anticipated. He
discovered a great difference between religious Ireland and the
religious tenets of Plymouth. It is thought that Lyford passed
through Boston, preaching and exhorting persons to accept his
instructions. The Pilgrims disliked his teachings and it is stated
in Appleton's American Biography that he was banished from the
colony by Governor Winslow for slandering the good Pilgrim
Fathers in his letters to England. He must have told some plain
truths about the hypocritical Puritans, but in those days truth
only added to the enormity of the slander.

WILLIAM HIBBINS was one of the Irish pioneers of the
New England colony. He emigrated from Ireland in the ship
Mary and John and arrived in Boston in 1634. He married a
widow named Mrs. Anne Moore, who was a sister of Richard
Bellingham, Governor of Massachusetts, William Hibbins was
held in high esteem by the people of Boston, and as a magistrate
and agent of the colony in England he was regarded by the col-
onists as an important man. He died in 1654 and was reputed to
have left much wealth. Two years after his death his wife was
hung by order of the General Court to expiate her alleged crime
of witchcraft. No jury could be found to convict her and she
suffered death at the hands of the ignorant and prejudiced au-
thorities, even though her own brother was at that time Deputy
Governor of the Colony, English civilization then prevailed in
Boston with a vengeance. Mrs. Hibbins bequeathed her prop-
erty to her two sons in Ireland — John and Joseph Moore, of
Ballyhorick, in the County of Cork.

ANTHONY GULLIVER was born in Ireland in 1619 and
emigrated to Massachusetts in early life. He became possessor


of a large tract of land in the town of Milton and was the an-
cestor of many able and influential men and women prominent
in the history of the place for nearly two hundred years. Lieu-
tenant Jonathan Gulliver, son of Anthony, was also a prominent
man in his time and was married to Theodora, daughter of the
Rev. Peter Thacher, the first pastor of Milton. Captain Lemuel
Gulliver, who lived at Algerine Corner, returned to Ireland in
1723, and gave a glowing description of the American country
to his neighbor, Jonathan Swift. Lemuel's imagination was vivid
and fanciful, and he turned it to a quaint account in this instance.
He declared to Swift that "the frogs were as tall as his knees
and had voices that were guitar-like in their tones; the mo-
squitoes' bills were as long as darning needles ;" and from these
exaggerated and fabulous accounts of the country, the great
Swift conceived and wrote the famous Gulliver's Travels, which
was published in 1726. In a letter dated March 23, 1727, Pope
wrote as follows to Swift : "I send you a very odd thing, a paper
printed in Boston, in New England, wherein you'll find a real
person, a member of their Parliament, of the name of Jonathan

JAMES BOIES was recognized as a faithful citizen, and
earnest patriot, a prominent manufacturer, and a projector of
many valuable enterprises. Mr. Boies was born in Ireland in
1702 and died in Milton, Mass., July 11, 1798, at the advanced
age of ninety-six years. He married Elizabeth, daughter of
Jeremiah Smith, his fellow-countryman and the grandfather of
Hon. Henry L. Pierce, one of Boston's most distinguished chief
magistrates. Mr. Boies settled in Dorchester in the middle of
the eighteenth century, and in his younger days acted as super-
cargo on vessels bringing emigrants from Ireland. He became
famiharly known as Captain Boies and had great business ca-
pacity. On the 13th of September, 1759. he was with General
Wolfe in the battle on the plains of Abraham. In 1775 General
Washington appointed him to take charge of the transportation
of the faggots of birch and swamp-brush .which had been piled
up at Little Neck the previous winter. Captain Boies directed
the work and three hundred teams were engaged in transporting
the material to Dorchester Heights, with which they were forti-
fied, and the evacuation of Boston followed. The British army,
numbering eight thousand troops, under General Howe, sailed
for Halifax in 120 vessels. Captain Boies was one of a committee
who drew up instructions for the representatives of Milton on
May 28, 1776, which declared that the Colony would support the
United Colonies of North America with their fortunes and their
lives if Congress should declare them independent of Great


Britain. Mr. Boies was interested in paper mills and the manu-
facture of paper as early as 1760, and in 1778 he bought the
slitting-mill property, which was the first mill started in the
provinces for slitting iron. Jeremiah Smith, Hugh McLean,
and James Boies may be said to be the founders and early pro-
moters of the paper industry of Dorchester. That industry stood
in greater need of American workmen than any other, and the
enterprise of these three Irishmen who fathered the movement
can never be overestimated.

JEREMIAH SMITH BOIES was the son of Captain James
Boies and was born in Milton in 1762. In 1783 he graduated
from Harvard and followed in the footsteps of his worthy Irish
father, distinguishing himself in public affairs, works of benevo-
lence, and business enterprises. He removed to Boston and served
on the Board of Aldermen in 1827. He died in that city in 1851.

JEREMIAH SMITH was born in Ireland in 1705. In 1726
he came to Boston with his wife, but moved to Milton in 1737.
On September 13, 1728, the General Court passed an act granting
the exclusive privilege of making paper in Massachusetts for a
term of ten years to some Boston merchants, among them being
Thomas Hancock and Benjamin Faneuil. These gentlemen car-
ried on the business until 1737, when it came under the superin-
tendency of Jeremiah Smith. In 1741 he was enabled to pur-
chase the mill, with seven acres of land lying on both sides of the
Neponset River. Mr. Smith continued to carry on the business
until 1775, when, having accumulated a fortune, he sold out to
his son-in-law, Daniel Vose, and retired from active business.
To Mr. Smith belongs the credit of being the first individual
paper manufacturer, and to others of his countrymen is due the
fact that the Neponset River was made by them the basis of
paper manufacturing in the North American Colonies, which, in
a measure, lasts to this day. Jeremiah Smith was a neighbor of
Governor Hutchinson and was also very intimate with Governor
Hancock, at whose hospitable board he was ever welcome. He
was the grandfather of Hon. Henry L. Pierce and Edmund J.
Barker, of Dorchester; also the great-grandfather of Governor
Henry J. Gardner. His death occurred in Milton in 1790.

HUGH McLEAN was born in Ireland in 1724. In his
younger days he followed the sea, and while in this occupation
he became acquainted with his countryman. Captain Boies, who
induced him to come to America and settle in Milton, Mass. He
married Agnes, the daughter of Captain Boies, and entered into
partnership with his father-in-law and accumulated a consider-
able fortune. Hugh McLean continued to live in Milton all his
life, where he was looked up to as a most honorable man and


benevolent citizen. He died in Milton in December, 1799, at the
age of seventy-five, and left a son, JOHN McLEAN, who proved
himself worthy in every way of his Irish father and Irish-Ameri-
can mother, and became distinguished as a great humanitarian
and public benefactor. At the time of his birth in 1761 his
mother was the guest of Jeremiah Smith at Milton Lower Falls.
His father was then at St. George attending to some business of
importance. His mother preferred to remain among her kindred,
for the Smith, Boies, and McLean families were most intimately
affiliated by race ties and relationship. John McLean lived with
his father at Milton until he reached his majority. He was a
man of handsome countenance and commanding figure, and the
magnetic quality of his social and genial nature captivated those
who came in contact with him. He married Ann Amory, of
Boston, daughter of the distinguished family of that name. Busi-
ness adversity embarrassed him toward the close of the eighteenth
century. A few years later, however, he invited all of his credi-
tors to a supper at the Exchange Coffee House, in Boston, where
the sterling integrity which was the basis of his noble character
manifested itself by a most pleasing and substantial act. When
his guests assembled at the table every man found under his
plate a check for the full amount of his debt, principal and in-
terest. Mr. McLean became one of the wealthiest men of his
time, and the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Col-
lege are monumental edifices to his generosity and memory. He
made the former his residuary legatee. At the time of its in-
corporation the Massachusetts General Hospital was given
$100,000 by the State, with the stipulation that it might bear the
name of any benefactor who should contribute a large sum.
Although Mr. McLean's legacy was in excess of that amount the
managers unjustly refused to give his name to the General Hos-
pital. Instead they placed it on the institution for the insane —
the McLean Asylum for the Insane. Up to the year 1886 over
forty-three thousand dollars had been realized from his bequests
to Harvard College. He died in 1823, leaving many legacies to
private charities. He possessed a generous Irish heart and no
hand was ever more ready than his to extend relief to the needy
and suffering.

JOHN H ANN AN manufactured the first chocolate made
in the British Provinces of North America. He came from Ire-
land to Boston in the fall of 1764 in a distressed condition, but
he was aided by Captain Boies, who generously built him a
chocolate mill, on the same spot where now stands the famous
chocolate establishment of Henry L. Pierce, himself the descend-
ant of an Irish settler — Jeremiah Smith. The chocolate business


is now one of the greatest industries in the United States, but it
must not be forgotten that it has grown out of the humble efforts
of Irish John Hannan, aided by the generosity of his distinguished
fellow-countryman, Captain James Boies.

JONATHAN JACKSON was the founder of one of the
most distinguished families in Massachusetts. He came from
Ireland with his parents who settled in Newburyport, Mass.,
where Jonathan became a prosperous merchant. His eldest son
Charles was born in that town on May 31, 1775. He graduated
from Harvard in 1793 and became a lawyer. He removed to
Boston in 1803 and was immediately recognized as one of the
foremost lawyers of the bar. He formed a partnership with Sam-
uel Hubbard and their business was said to have been the most
profitable in New England up to that time. He was Judge of
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts for ten years, was a member
of the State Constitutional Convention in 1820, and one of the
Commissioners to re\'ise the General Statutes of the State in 1832.
He published a treatise on Pleadings and Practice in Real Actions
and contributed many valuable papers to American jurisprudence.

JAMES JACKSON, second son of the founder Jonathan,
was born in Newburyport on October 3, 1777. He graduated
from Harvard, studied medicine, and became one of the most
eminent physicians in Boston. He was professor of clinical medi-
cine at Harvard, and was one of the principals in establishing the
asylum for the insane at Somerville and the Massachusetts Gen-
eral Hospital, of which he was the first physician. He was made
Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Harvard
in 1812, and was for several years President of the Massachusetts
Medical Society. He wrote numerous medical works and papers.
In 1835 Dr. Jackson resigned his professorship and other public
positions and thereafter only attended to his private practice. He
died in Boston, August 27, 1867, at the age of ninety years, one
of the most honored and respected citizens of Massachusetts.

PATRICK TRACY JACKSON, the third son of Jonathan,
was born in Newburyport, Mass., August 14, 1780, and became
one of the most emment merchants in America. He came to
Boston at an early age, established himself in the India trade, and
was highly successful. He engaged with his brother-in-law,
Francis C. Lowell, in the project of establishing cotton mills
and of introducing the power-loom. Lowell had been in England,
examining and investigating as much as possible, but failed to
solve the secret process and the technique of the machine, which
were not divulged to him. Jackson and himself then invented a
model, from which Paul Moody constructed a machine, and in
1 81 3 built their first mill at Waltham, near Boston, which is said


to have been the first in the world that combined all the opera-
tions of converting raw cotton into finished cloth. In 1821 Jack-
son organized the Merrimack Manufacturing Company and made
large land purchases on the Merrimac River, where a number of
mills were erected, and from this settlement generated the busy
city of Lowell, which Jackson modestly named after his brother-
in-law, instead of taking the honor himself as others would have
done, A few years later he formed another company and built
more mills, and in 1830 he secured the charter for a railroad be-
tween Lowell and Boston. The construction of the road, which
was completed in 1835, was under his superintendence and direc-
tion and it was pronounced to be the most perfect of its kind then
in this country. His interests were extensive and of great value,
but the financial crisis of 1837 swept away his magnificent fortune
in a few months. His services were eagerly sought, however,
and he was the custodian of many important trusts connected
with great and valuable manufacturing interests. He was one of
the brightest men of his time, possessing the generosity of his
race and bearing the love of his employees, for whose moral and
intellectual improvement he was ever solicitous. He died August
27, 1867, in his eighty-eighth year. His maternal grandfather,
from whom he derived his name, was Patrick Tracy, an opulent
merchant of Newburyport — an Irishman by birth who came to
this country at an early age, poor and friendless, but who had
raised himself by his own exertions to a position of independence
and whose character was universally esteemed by his fellow-

JAMES KAVANAGH was a native of Wexford, Ireland,
and emigrated to Boston in 1780. He was a man of superior
business attainments and excellent executive aUility, but did not
remain long in Boston. He settled in Damariscotta Mills, Me.,
where he engaged extensively in the lumber business and built
several sailing vessels. He was the father of Edward Kavanagh,
the statesman, who was born in Newcastle, Me., April 27, 1795.
Edward was educated in Georgetown College and graduated from
Montreal Seminary in 1820. He studied law, was admitted to the
bar, and began practice in Damariscotta, Me. He was a member
of the Maine Legislature in 1826-28, and again in 1842-43. He
was Secretary of the State Senate in 1840 and afterward its
President. He was elected to Congress as a Jackson Democrat,
serving from 1831 till 1835, and then became Charge d'AfiFaires
in Portugal, where he remained till 1842. He was afterward a
member of the Commission to settle the northeastern boundary
of Maine, and in 1842-43 served as Acting-Governor of Maine
on the election of Governor John Fairfield to the United States


Senate. He died on January 21, 1844, at the early age of forty-
nine years. Had he lived to an old age he would undoubtedly
have achieved great national distinction.

JAMES DUNLAP was one of the leading merchants of
Salem during the Revolution. He was a native of Ireland and
was the father of Andrew Dunlap, the great orator and lawyer,
who was born in Salem in 1794. Andrew Dunlap, in 1820, moved
to Boston, where his eloquence made him one of the leading
pleaders at the bar. He was warmly attached to the Democratic
party and earnestly advocated the election of Andrew Jackson,
to whose policy he remained devoted to the end of his life. He
delivered orations in Boston on Independence Day in 1822 and
1832, and served as United States District Attorney from 1829
to 1835. When he resigned, in the latter year, Joseph Story and
Judge Davis paid him affectionate tributes of esteem. He died
in 1835 at the early age of forty-one years. His Treatise on the
Practice of Admiralty Courts was published after his death under
the editorship of Charles Sumner.

Two of the most distinguished men in Boston during the
first half of the nineteenth century were Cornelius Conway Fel-
ton and James Boyd, whose lives, though not belonging to the
Revolutionary period, call for notice at our hands.

Felton, who became one of the greatest scholars and writers
in Massachusetts, was the son of Irish parents, and was born
at Newbury on November 6, 1807. Twenty years later he grad-
uated from Harvard and in 1829, after teaching two years in
Genesee, N. Y., he was appointed Assistant Professor of Latin
in Harvard, and in 1832 was made Professor of Greek. In 1834
he was promoted to the Eliot Professorship of Greek Literature
and was made one of the regents of the college. He was the
author of many classical works which ran through several edi-
tions, and in 1844 assisted Longfellow in preparing his work on
the Poets and Poetry of Europe. He was intimately associated
with the leaders of thought in Boston and vicinity. He was an
able writer and contributed largely to the public discussions of
his time.

James Boyd, whose speech of welcome to President Jackson
on behalf of the Boston Irish Society we have already printed,
was one of the most highly esteemed citizens of Boston, renowned
alike for the sterling integrity of his public and private life. He
was born at Newtownards, County Down, on November 11, 1793,
and came to Boston with his wife, Mary Curry, and their infant
child, in the summer of 181 7. Eleven children were born to them
after their arrival here, most of whom grew to manhood and
womanhood and became distinguished members of society. In


1819 James Boyd started in business as a trunk and harness man-
ufacturer, and for over thirty years carried on a most prosperous
and extensive trade, not only in his own line, but in mining and
cotton manufacture, his sons continuing it for thirty years more.
During all this period the firm was conducted on the most hon-
orable basis, all its notes and claims being paid with promptitude.
In 1820 Mr. Boyd was granted the first patent ever issued by the
United States for the manufacture of fire hose, and he became
the leading manufacturer in that line and in general supplies for
fire departments. In 1835 Mr. Boyd was elected to the Massa-
chusetts Legislature. One of the most important measures con-
sidered that year was the bill for the suppression of riots, sug-
gested by the burning and destruction of the Ursuline Convent
at Charlestown, Mass., by the Know-Kothing mob in 1834. In
proposing an amendment to this bill Mr. Boyd delivered a most
spirited speech which attracted wide attention and voiced the
sentiments of all liberal-minded men. He delivered many public
speeches on important occasions, but his principal efforts were
his speech of welcome to President Andrew Jackson and his cen-
tennial oration before the Boston Irish Society in 1837. The
latter speech was a brilliant tribute to Ireland and America, and
at the same time a stern rebuke to the spirit of Know-Nothingism
then so rampant in Massachusetts. He stood always ready to
defend his countrymen, but he never uttered a word in their
behalf that was not founded on justice. Though differing in
religious belief from the great majority of his people, he was one
of the truest friends of Catholicity in its days of trouble and by
voice and pen defended the right of his people to worship God
according to the dictates of their conscience. Mr. Boyd retired
from active business in 1852 and died three years later. His good
wife survived him nearly nineteen years. Both are buried in
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Boston, of which Mr. Boyd was one of
the original incorporators. His name will always be held in rev-
erence by the Irishmen and Catholics of Boston.

In his chapter on Witches, Mr. Taylor gives an interesting
account of the trial and execution of Mrs. Glover, an old Irish-
woman and a Catholic, and the only one of her race or creed ever
accused of witchcraft. She was the fourth victim of the wild
delusion that seized the people of Massachusetts in the latter part
of the seventeenth century, and was, as Mr. Taylor writes, after
the witch-hunter's own heart. She was old and ignorant and
poor. She spoke a strange tongue, and in secret practiced the
rites of her childhood's religion. She was superstitious herself,
and in the crazy terror of the time she lost her poor old addled
wits and really thought herself a witch.


In the summer of 1688 four of the children of John Good-
win, a mason living in Boston, were afflicted with a disease for
which the doctors could not account, and witchcraft was imme-
diately suspected. In the course of the investigation which fol-
lowed it developed that Martha, the eldest of the Goodwin chil-
dren, thirteen years of age, missed some of the family linen and
had accused a certain laundress of stealing it. "The mother of
this laundress," says Governor Hutchinson in his history, "was
one of the wild Irish, of bad character, and gave the girl harsh
language." The old lady actually had the effrontery to assert
her wild Irishism after her daughter had been called a thief !
Soon after this the "distemper" came upon the Goodwin girl and
extended to her brothers and sister. The two Glover women

Online LibraryJames HaltiganThe Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies → online text (page 32 of 67)