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History of the town of Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts online

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that a non importation, or a non consumption agreement
will not effect the desired end ; or until it shall be appa-
rent that a non importation, or non consumption agree-
ment will not be entered into by this and the neighbour-
ing colonies, except drugs and medicines, and such ar-
ticles, and such only, as will be absolutely necessary in
carrying on our ov/n manufactures.

" 2dly. That in order to prevent, as far as in us lies,
any inconveniences that may arise from the disuse of for-
eign commodities ; we agree that we will take the most
prudent care for the raising and preserving slieep, flax,&c.
for the manufacturing all such woollen and linen cloths



104 HISTORY OF IIINGHAM.

as shall be most useful and necessary ; and that we will
give all possible support and encouragement to the man-
ufactures of America in general."

1774, September 21. (Col.) Benjamin Lincoln was
chosen to attend a Provincial Congress at Concord. In
October, 1774, the town "recommended to the militia
officers to assemble their men once in a week, and in-
struct them in the art of war, Stc." In November, the
collectors of taxes were directed to pay all monies col-
lected to Henry Gardner, Esq. of Stow, appointed treas-
urer by the Provincial Congress.

December 26, 1774, Benjamin Lincoln was chosen
to represent the town in the Provincial Congress to be
held at Cambridge, in the ensuing February ; and on
the same day, a committee was appointed to draft a peti-
tion to the clergymen, requesting them, if they thought
it consistent with their duty, to encourage the people to
comply with the association so called of the Continental
Congress. A petition was reported by tlie committee and
presented by another committee of nine, to Rev. Messrs.
Gay and Shute. They complied with the request of the
town ; each of them addressed the people, at the next
town meeting, for which the town gave them a vote of
thanks. In January, 1775, the town chose a committee
to take into consideration the state of the militia.*

May 24, 1775, Benjamin Lincoln was chosen to rep-
resent the town in the Provincial Congress then sitting
at Watertown ; and at the same meeting Benjamin Lin-
coln, Benjamin Cushing, and David Cushing were
chosen a committee to correspond with other towns in
this Province.

* Co). Lincoln, Enoch Lincoln, Jotham Loring, Samuel Norton,
Jacob Leavitt, Samncl Tha.xter. and Scth Stowers, composed the
commiUce.



HISTORY OF HIi\GHA3r. 10.3

1775, July 10, Benjamin Lincoln was chosen to rep-
resent the town in the General Court to be held at Water-
town on the 19th of that month, agreeably to a resolve
of the Continental Congress. In August, Enoch Lincohi
was chosen to attend the General Court then sitting.

During the year 1775, it appears by the selectmen's
and town records, that money was raised and disburse-
ments were frequently made, to improve the condition
of the militia, and to provide arms and ammunition, to
be used on any emergency.

1776, March 18, Theophilus Cushing, Esq. John Fear-
incr, Thomas Lorincr, Israel Beal,* and Peter Hobart
were chosen a Committee of Correspondence, Inspection
and Safety.

On the 23d of May, Enoch Lincoln, Theophilus Cush-
ing and John Fearing were chosen representatives to the
General Court ; and Benjamin Lincoln, Hezekiah Cush-
ing, and Dea. Joshua Hersey were appointed a committee
to prepare instructions for the representatives.

As the important crisis of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence of the colonies approached, and with it an ex-
citement which extended universally throughout the coun-
try ; when the repeated aggressions of Great Britain
upon the rights of the colonies had roused a spirit of

* There are few men whose characters present more to admire,
than that of Mr. Israel Beal. Destitute of the advantages of an
early education, he possessed a strength of mind, and a soundness
of judgment which pecuharly qualified him for the important duties
of a member of the committee of safet}', and for other duties which
ho was frequently called upon to perform. I ^( (»

and possessed of an unblemished character of honesty and integrity,
he exercised an influence over the minds of men, to which others
of greater advantages and more extensive acquirements could not
attain. As a neighbour, a friend, a citizen, he was universally es-
teemed, and I hear no one speak of his excellent qualities of mind
and heart, but with terms of the most sincere regard. He died in
Julv, 1813.

10*



106 HISTORY OF HINGUAIsr,

indignation in some breasts, and created despondency and
pusillanimity in others ; at a time when energy and decis-
ion were most needed, the following manly and independ-
ent instructions were given by the town to their repre-
sentatives. They were drawn up by the committtee
before mentioned.
To Enoch Lincoln f Thcophilus Cushingj and John Fearing.

" Gentlemen — You are delegated to represent the
Town of Kingham, in the next General Court, to be held
in this colony ; and although we entertain the highest
sense of your integrity, patriotism and ability, of which
we have given full evidence in appointing you to this
weighty trust, yet as matters of the greatest importance,
relative to the freedom and happiness, not only of this,
but of all the United Colonies, on which you may wish to
have the advice of your constituents, will come before yon
for your determination — you are instructed and directed
at all times to give your vote and interest in support of
the present struggle with Great Britain ; we ask nothing
of her but ^^ Peace, Liberty and Safety;''^ you will never
recede from that claim ; and agreeably to a resolve of the
late House of Representatives, in case the honourable
Continental Congress declare themselves independent o£
the Kingdom of Great Britain, solemnly to engage in behalf
of your constituents, that they will, with their lives ««cl for-
tunes, support them inthe measure.

" You will also, as soon as may be, endeavour to pro-
cure a more equal representation of this colony in Gene-
ral Assembly ; and that it be by fewer members, than at
present the several towns have a right to return ; and
when this is effected you will give your vote for calling a
new house. BENJAMIN LINCOLN, Toicn Clerk.

The Committee of Correspondence, Inspection and
Safety, chosen in March, 1777, were Israel Beal, Samuel



HISTORY OF H INGHAM. 107

Norton, John Fearing, Peter Cushing, Thomas Loring,
Peter Hobart and Theophilus Cushing.

In May, Mr. Enoch Lincoln was chosen to represent
the town in the General Court. He was instructed to
assist in forming a Constitution, on the condition, that it
should be laid before the town " for their approbation or
disapprobation, before the establishment thereof" In
June following, the town reconsidered their previous vote
instructing the representative, and voted, '^ that upon
mature deliberation, this town direct said representative on
no terms to consent to it, but to use his influence and op-
pose it heartily, if such an attempt should be made ; for
we apprehend, this matter, at a suitable time will come
before the people at large, to delegate a select number
for that purpose, and that only ; and that he exert his in-
fluence that such body be formed as soon as may be."

The town, at this important period, was ever vigilant
and watchful of its own interests and of those of the coun-
try. In June, 1T77, Mr. Israel Beal, was appointed '^ to
procure evidence against such persons as are suspected
of being inimical to this and the United States of America,
in this town."

In 1778, the Committee of Correspondence, &c. were
Thomas Burr, Jacob Leavitt, Abel Hersey, Enoch Whit-
en and Peter Hobart. The representatives chosen in
May, were Enoch Lincoln and Joseph Thaxter.

In June, the town voted " not to accept of the form of
government proposed by the General Court, for the State
of Massachusetts Bay. Fifty six votes against the pro-
posed form of government and not one in favour of it."
At the same time, instructions were given to the repre-
sentative, " to use his influence that a constitution be
formed, at some suitable time, by a body chosen by the
people for that purpose and thai only.^''



108 HISTORY OF IIINGHAM.

The Committee of Correspondence, &lc. in 1779, were
Samuel Norton, Dr. Thomas Thaxter, Capt. Theophilus
Wilder, Capt. Charles Cashing and Joseph Thaxter.

In May, Mr. Joseph Thaxter, Jr. was chosen represent-
ative to the General Court. At the same time, the views
of the citizens were again expressed on the subject of a
constitution. It was voted, 42 to 8, that "■ it is not best at
this time, to have a new form of government." In July,
Rev. Daniel Shute and Mr. Joseph Thaxter were chosen
deleo-ates to the convention for formincr a constitution.

In 1780, the Committee of Correspondence, &.c. were
Israel Beal, Capt. Charles Cushing, Ebenezer Cushing,
Joshua Leavitt and Isaac Wilder, Jr.

In May, a large committee was chosen ^^ to examine
the form of government proposed by the late convention,"
to report at the next meeting.

The committee reported as follows :

"The committee appointed to take into consideration
the frame of a constitution for this state, presented to the
town for their consideration and revision, by the conven-
tion appointed for preparing the same, having carefully
gone through and maturely considered the said frame of
a constitution, humbly offer it as our opinion ; that it is
a system well calculated in general, to promote the pre-
sent and future happiness -of this state ; by securing to
the individuals of which it is composed, safety and prop-
erty ; at once guarding the rights of conscience, and
making provision for the promotion of virtue and morality,
each absolutely necessary to the support and good order
of society ; in fine, that while it gives energy and dignity
to legal authority, it equally ensures peace, liberty and
safety to the subject ; yet it is an human production, and
though good as a system, may possibly admit of amend-
ment in some of its parts 5 we have therefore taken the



HISTORY OF HINGHAM. 109

liberty to hint the following, viz. : In the article of the
first section, of the 2d chapter, it is proposed that the
governour be empowered, with the advice of the council,
in the recess of the General Court to march or transport
the inhabitants of this state, to the relief of a neighbour-
ing state, invaded, or threatened with immediate inva-
sion : this we owe as men, besides we are taught it by a
principle of policy. It is apparent, that while time may
be spent in collecting the general court, destruction may
be brought upon our neighbours, and war with all its con-
sequences come even to our own doors, — thousands of
lives may be lost and millions of property expended, that
by timely exertion might be saved ; add to this, the arti-
cles of confederation bind us to grant, which can only be
but by vesting the governour with such power.

" In the fourth section, of the same article first, it is
proposed that the time of service of the commissary gen-
eral be limited to five years, except in time of war or re-
bellion, upon the same principle and for the same reasons
that the time of service of the treasurer is limited to that
time.

" Your committee recommend, that the town instruct
their delegates to use their endeavours that the foregoing
amendments be made ; but if that cannot be obtained,
that they then accept the constitution as it now stands ;
convinced of the zeal, integrity and abilities of our
delegates, the committee recommend that it be referred
to them, in conjuction with the united wisdom of the con-
vention to fix upon a time, when the constitution shall
take place. Signed by order and in behalf of the com-
mittee, THOMAS LORING, Chairman.''

Votes were passed by the town in accordance with the
report of the committee.

The representative chosen in May, 1780, was Captain



110 HISTORY OF Hi.NGHAM.

Charles Cushing, At the same meeting Rev. Daniel
Shute was elected delegate to the convention for estab-
lishing a new form of government. The town eventually
voted for the adoption of the constitution, and on th^ 4th
of September, 1780, the election of state officers took
place. The votes for governour in Hingham were 56, of
which Hancock had 44, and Bowdoin 12.

On the 9th of October, Capt. Charles Cushing was cho-
sen representative, the first under the constitution.

Our town records at this time, are full of evidence of
the active, persevering and liberal efforts of the citizens
to carry on to a successful termination, the war in which
the colonies were engaged with Great Britain. Town
meetings were frequently held, large sums of money rai-
sed to be expended in military stores, bounties to soldiers,
provisions for their families, and generally for all neces-
saries to carry on the war.

Committees were appointed to inspect the militia, to
procure soldiers, and to keep a vigilant care of the best
interests of the people.

The Committee of Correspondence in 1781, were Sam-
uel Norton, Capt. Charles Cushing, Heman Lincoln, Capt.
Peter Cushing, and Elisha Cushing, Jr.

The requisitions of the state were generally complied
with promptly and cheerfully. In one instance, however,
when the General Court ^'required a quantity of beef or
money to be sent in a very shorf~ time, and if not com-
plied W'ith, to pay a fine of twenty per cent. ;" the town
voted '^ to comply therewith, provided it be not brought
as a precedent in future time."

The Committee of Correspondence, Sec. elected in 1782,
were Israel Beal, John Fearing and Theophilus Cushing.
The same gentlemen were re-elected in 1783.

I have thus presented at length, an account of those



HISTORY OF HINGHAM. Ill

proceedings of the town, from which the feelings of the
people may be learned. The individuals who took an
active part in their country's cause, merit a conspicuous
notice in this history ; and it is a source of deep regret
to me, that 1 have not been able to collect a more full and
satisfactory account of those noble deeds of individuals
which are spread upon no record, and have no memorial
except in the imperfect recollections of their aged contem-
poraries.

It was not by resolutions alone, that the people of
Hingham aided the cause of freedom ; nor did their meri-
torious acts consist only in appropriating liberal supplies
of money to sustain the liberties of their country ; many
of them hesitated not to take up arms and to give their
lives to a cause to which they were so strongly attached.
In a large number of the hard fought battles of the revo-
lution, from the time of the noble display of American
valour on Breed's Hill, until that of the brilliant achieve-
ments at Yorktown, many of the citizens of Hingham
were present sharing the dangers and participating in the
honours of the day.*" In looking back upon the history
of this interesting period, I am aware that some may be
found, who hesitated to rally around the banners of their
country ; some, whose apprehensions of the result of the
tremendous conflict, induced them to give but feeble aid
to her cause ; and perhaps a few who disapproved of tlie
principles, and disregarded the motives nhich actuated
the patriots of those times. But it must be recorded, to
their credit, that even the few, made no resistance to the
payment of heavy taxes — none, openly, to the power of

* Lt. Joseph Andrews, a brave and promising Oifiecr was mortal-
ly wounded at the battle of Brandywine. His valour on that occa-
sion attracted much attention. Dulce et decorum est pro patria
inori.



112 HISTORY OF HINGHAM.

public Opinion, after the declaration of our independence.
Royalists as well as republicans, tories as well as whigs
cave of their substance to establish the liberties of their
country. The substantial yeomanry of the town, were
zealous, dv.ierr ined and persevering ; and the success of
their efforts is alike honourable to them and to their
posterity.

The delegates chosen by the town to attend the con-
vention for considering the constitution of the United
States, proposed by the federal convention, were Gen.
Benjamin Lincoln, and Hev. Daniel Shute.

In April, 1788, "the town voted to accept of the Pro-
prietors' ways and of the Proprietors' land not before dis-
posed of, which they at a meeting of theirs, on this pres-
ent day, made a grant of to the town of Hingham." From
the sale of these lands, a considerable fund has been
derived, for the support of the poor and schools, as before
mentioned.

The first votes given in this town, for a representative
to Congress, were, 28 for Fisher Ames, and I for Samuel
Adams ; and for electors of President and Vice Presi-
dent, 20 for Fisher Ames, 17 for Caleb Davis, and 3 for
James Bowdoin.

A sketch of the affairs of this town since 1800 would
afford but little interest, and perhaps could not be drawn
with perfect impartiality. The political differences or
religious disputes which have sprung up during the mem-
ory of the living, are better understood already, than
they could be from any description of mine. It is proper
to mention, that a majority of our citizens approved of the
administration of national aflairs under Jefferson and
Madison^ and disapproved of our state administration dur-
ing the late war. It is a fact worthy of notice, that all
manifested a dispostion to defend their homes and lire-



HISTORY OF HINGHAM. 113

sides against the common foe, and repaired with alacrity
to resist any invasion upon their neighbours.*

Since the war, the affairs of the town have been con-
ducted generally, with unanimity and di? retidn. The
expenditures for the support of public worship, schools,
poor, roads and bridges, and for other purposes connected
with the general welfare of the community, have sensibly
increased, but probably, not in a ratio greater than that of
the increase of the number and wealth of the inhabitants.

I here close the civil history of Hingham, and shall next
present brief notices of those individuals who have receiv-
ed a public education, and of others, not before noticed,
who have been distinguished in public or private life.

* In addition to the three standing companies and one rifle com-
pany, aheady existing, those citizens exempted from military duty,
in the last war, formed themselves into three full companies of
infantry, and one of artillery — and undoubtedly would have render-
ed efiective service in case of an invasion of our shores.



Joshua Hobart, son of Rev. Peter Hobart, first min-
ister of this town, was born in England, and came to this
country with his father, in 1635. He was graduated at
Harvard University, in 1650, and settled in the ministry
at Southhold, Long Island, where he died in 3Iarch,
1716-7, aged 89 years.

Jeremiah Hobart, son of Rev. Peter Hobart, was
born in England, and accompanied his father's family to
this country, in 1635. He was graduated at Harvard
University, in 1650. He settled in the ministry, first at

* Unless otherwise mentioned, they were all natives of Hingham
11



114 HISTORY OF HINGHAM.

Topsfield, Massachusetts, and then removed to Hemp-
steadj Long Island, '^ and afterwards removed from
Hempstead (by reason of numbers turning quakcrs, and
many others being so irreligious that they would do noth-
ing towards the support of the ministry)"* and settled
at Haddani, Connecticut, November 14, 1700. He died
at Haddam, March, 1717, aged 87 years.

Gershom Hobart, son of Rev. Peter Hobart, was born
in December, 1645, and graduated at Harvard University,
in 1667. He was settled as a minister at Groton, Mas-
sachusetts, November 26, 1679. From what lean learn
of his situation at Groton, he appears not to have been
fortunate in conciliating the esteem of the people of his
charge. Previously to his settlement, the town had made
him liberal grants of land, on the condition that he settled
there in the ministry ; and after his settlement, a salary
adequate to his maintenance was granted him. In 1685,t
some new arrangement was made respecting his salary,
which he appears to have disliked, and he expressed him-
self in a manner which excited the feelings of the people
against him. In December, 1685, the inhabitants in town
meeting, voted, unanimously, ^^ that Mr. Gershom Hobart
has set himself at liberty from the said town, as to any
engagement from him to them as their minister, and has
freed the town from any engagement to himself, by refu-
sing and slifj-hting what the town offered him for his sal-
ary." In consequence of this disagreement, Mr. Hobart
relinquished his labours as a minister, and it does not
appear that any reconciliation was effected, although the
town made several other propositions to him, which he de-

* Life of Brainerd by Rev. J. Edwards.
t Groton Town Records.



HISTORY OF HINGHAM. 115

clined accepting. The date of his final dismission cannot
be ascertained. He died Dec. 19th, 1707, aged 62 years.

Japheth Hobart, son of Rev. Peter Hobart, was born
in April, 1647, and graduated at Harvard University in
1667. Before the time for taking his second degree, he
went to England in the capacity of surgeon of a ship, with
a design to go from thence to the East Indies, but never
was heard of afterwards.*

Nehemiah Hobart, the fifth son of Rev. Peter Hobart,
who received a liberal education, was born November 21,
1648, and graduated at Harvard University, in 1667. He
was ordained pastor of the church at Newton, Mass. Dec.
23, 1674. He was a fellow of Harvard University from
1707 to 1712. He died in August of the latter year. "In
him (it is said,) shone the scholar, the gentleman and the
christian." The following is a copy of an epitaph on his
tomb-stone : " Hoc tumulo depositae sunt reliquiae rev-
erendi et perdocti D. D. Nehemiae Hobart, CollegiiHar-
vardini, socii lectissimi, ecclesiae Neotoniensis per annos
quadraginta pastoris fidelissimi — et vigilantissimi, singu-
lare gravitate, humilitate aeque ac pietate et doctrina — a
doctis et piis eximia veneratione et amore recolendi:" et
cet. of which I suppose the substance in our own tongue
will be the most acceptable to some readers. It is as fol-
lows, viz : " Within this tomb arc deposited the remains
of the reverend and very learned doctor of divinity Nehe-
miah Hobart, a very excellent fellow of Harvard College,
and faithful and vigilant pastor of the church at New-
ton, during forty years ; — distinguished for gravity and
humility and also for piety and learning ; and held by the
pious and learned in peculiar veneration and esteem."

* Life of Braincrd.



116 HISTORY OF HINGHAM.

Jeremiah Gushing, son of Daniel Gushing, Esq. waa
born July 3, 1654, and graduated at Harvard University,
in 1676. He received an invitation to settle in the min-
istry at Haverhill, in 1682, which he declined accepting.
He was afterwards invited to become the pastor of the
church in Scituate, and was ordained over it. May 27,1691.

Jedidiah Andrews, son of Capt. Thomas Andrews, was
born July 7, 1674, graduated at Harvard University in 1695
and afterwards settled in the ministry at Philadelphia.

Daniel Lewis, son of John Lewis, was born September
29, 1685, and graduated at Harvard University, in 1707.
Ater he was graduated, he taught the grammar school in
Hingham, until 1712, when he was invited to settle in the
ministry at Pembroke. He accepted the invitcUion and
was ordained December 3, 1712.

Nehemiah Hobart, son of David Hobart, and grand-
son of Rev. Peter Hobart, was born April 27, 1697, grad-
uated at Harvard University, in 1714, and was ordained
pastor of the second church in Hingham, now Cohasset,
December 13, 1721. He died May 31, 1740.

Samuel Thaxter, son of Gol. Samuel Thaxter, was
born October 8, 1695, and graduated at Harvard Univer-
sity, in 1714. He died in Hingham December 4, 1732.

Job Gushing, son of Matthew Gushing, was born July
19, 1694, and graduated at Harvard University, in 1714.
He was the first minister of Shrewsbury, Mass. and was
ordained December 4, 1723. He died August 6, 1760.

Adam Gushing, son of Theophilus Gushing_,was born



HISTORY OF UINGHAIM. 117

January 1, 1692-3, and graduated at Harvard Universi-
ty, in 1714.

Cornelius Nye, for many years a teacher of a school
in Hingham, was graduated at Harvard University, in
1718. He died in 1749, aged 52.

Isaac Lincoln, son of David Lincoln, was born Janu-
ary 18, 1701-2, and graduated at Harvard University, in
1722. He studied divinity, but relinquished the profes-
sion, and taught a school in Hingham for a great number


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Online LibrarySolomon LincolnHistory of the town of Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts → online text (page 9 of 14)