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"Like the race of leaves 
Itf..that of humankind. Upon tlie ground 
Tiie" winds strew one year's leaves : the sprouting wood 
Puts forth another brood, tliat slioot and grow 
lu tli'C spring season. So it is witli man 1 
One generation grows while one decays." -^ BryanPs Iliad. 

[Reprmte;d from The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register, 

Vol. xxvii., 1873.] 

. / 





1898. > 


The materials for this sketch of the lives of three individuals of successive 
generations, all bearing the name of Benjamin Marston, have been gathered 
principally from a number of old letters, account-books, and other manu- 
scripts which have escaped destruction in their passage from the hands of 
the original writers down to those of the present possessor. To these I 
have added the substance of such private records and personal recollections 
as have existed among the later descendants of the same families. 

I have been much assisted in collecting these materials by the friendliness 
of George D. Phippen, Esq., of Salem, who has laid me under great obli- 
gations, by many acts of kindness, and especially by the loan of his 
manuscript volume of "Marston Papers," from which many of the letters 
in these memoirs have been copied. I am also indebted to Mr. Perley 
Derby, of Salem, who, while searching, at my request, the public i-ecords of 
deeds, wills, births and deaths, in Salem and Marblehead, for the verification 
of facts and dates, obtained for me the solution of a very puzzling problem 
of personal identity, and rendered it as " clear as a demonstration." 

John L. Watson. 
Orange, New-Jersey, 1873. 



John Marston, the first Cis-Atlantic Progenitor of this name and 
family, came to Salem from Ormsby, Norfolk, England, in the year of our 
Lord 1637, when he was twenty-two years of age. He was born in 1615. 
On the 4th of August, 1640, he married Alice, surname unknown, and on 
the 2d of June, 1641, he was admitted a freeman. 

Between the years 1641 and 1661 inclusive he had ten children " bap- 
tized in the P' ch. Salem;" namely: i. John, b. June 29th, 1641; bap. 
Sept. 12. ii. Ephraim, b. Aug. 30, 1643; bapt. Dec. 10. iii. Manasseh, 
bap. Sept. 7, 1645. iv. Sarah, bap. March 19, 1648. v. Benjamin, 
b. Jan. 9, 1651 ; bap. March 9. vi. Hannah, bap. April 17, 1653. vii. 
Thomas, bap. Oct. 1655. viii. Elizabeth, bap. Aug. 30, 1657. ix. 
Abigail, b. Dec. 19, 1658; bap. April, 1659. x. Mary, b. March 23, 

Very little else is known about him ; but probably his occupation 
was that of a carpenter. He was evidently diligent and prosperous 
in his business. He brought up his large family in a decent and respectable 
manner ; taught them all " to earn their own living," and at his death, as 
appears by his will, he bequeathed to them " his house and land, and some 
money." All his sons, and perhaps his dau;^fhters also, were members of 
the 1st church ; some were influential in town matters ; and three were 
chosen representatives to the general court. 

Still less is known about his wife Alice ; no record has been found of her 
family-name or station, life or death.* But from the foregoing account of 
births and baptisms, it may reasonably be presumed, whatever was her con- 
dition, that she fully realized the scriptural blessing : " She kept house, and 
was a joyful mother of children." Ps. cxiii. 8. 

John Marston made his will the 18th of December, 1681, being then iu 
extremis. The following verbatim et literatim extracts show that it was 

' It appears from the account-books of her son Benjamin that she was alive in 1688. 

drawn up by some one who did not know how to spell even the name of the 


" I. John INIerstone Senier, being sickc and weake in bodj^ am willing to sett my 
hoiise in order, and as for my outward substance I am willing & do liearby give 
unto my wife all my wliole estate for hir life time exsept my Sonne John Merstone, 
2' & y" rest of my children twellpence a peece. I do also make my Sones John 
Merstone & Manasseth Merstone my joynt Exsecitars for all my house & land 
unsold. & for my sonne Benjemen 1 doe give him five pounds att my wives desease 

if their be so much left. _ • & for the movebls to he given to 

my two daughters Sarah & Abigail as my wife see convenient. This is John iSIers- 
tons last will and testiment. 

JoEN Marston. [Seal.] 

Witness heartwo, Wilb'am King i 

Samuell Robinson > 

1681 the month called December 18. 3 

He died the next day, December 19. On his grave-stone in the old 
Salem Burying-Ground is the following inscription : 

" Here lyeth y'' body of John Marston, Senior, aged 06 years. Dec'd. 
December 19"\ 1681." 

On the grave-stone of the wife of liis oldest son, John," is the following : 

" Remember to Day Time flies awny." 
" Here lyeth buried y'' body of JMary y*" wife of John Marston 2"^. 
" Aged 4;J years. Dyed y'' 2o"» of May, 1686." 

BENJA:^^N marston, the first. 

BicxjAMix Maustox, the first of this name and lineage, was the 
fourth son of the preceding John Marston, and was born in Salem, January 
y, A.D. 1651. 

On the 2r)th of September, 1678, he married, first, Abigail Yeren, daughter 
of Hilliurd and ^lary (Conant) Yeren;* baptized Aug. 21, ICoo. She 
" died just previous to March 14, 1692-3." 

The children by this marriage were : i. Abigail, born August 28, 1 679 ; 
married in 1702 George Cabot, of Boston, ii. Joseph, baptized Aug. 1681 ; 
probably died young. 

On the loth of April, 1696, he married, second, Patience Rogers, daugh- 
ter of the Rev. John' and Elizabeth (Denison) Rogers, of Ipswich ; born 
May 13, 1676. 

' "Jolin Marston jr, son of John P* m'd May T^ 1664 Mary Chichester, born 1643 ; 
died Mav 2.V\ l»i86."' 

* HiHiard Veren, the son of Piiilip Veren. was a respectable merchant in Salem, and 
clerk of the county court. " In 1663 he whs elected by the legislature, as colieeior of the 
port." (Felt's Annals.) He married Mary Conant, April, 1641, and liad cliildren: jVary, 
bap. July 1, 1652; married SHmuel Williams. Sarah, bap. Feb. 22, 16.54; married 
Deliverance Parkman. Abh/ail, hi\\\ Awj;. 'll; manied Benjamin Marston. Besides these 
there was a son HUliard, and a daughter Forcas, and perhaps others. 

3 The Rev. John Rogers, M.A., was the first on the list of graduates of Harvard College 
who became its president; he married Elizabeth, only daughter of Miyor-General Daniel 

The children by this marriage were : i. Benjamin, born February 24, 1G97. 
ii. John, born Sept. 15, 1G99. iii. Elizabeth, born June 9, 1701 ; married 
Sept. 29, 1737, Samuel Barton;* and died February 12, 1784. 

In the year 1G9G, according to the town records, "Benjamin Marston 
was chosen Deputy and Representative to the General Court of Massachu- 
setts." He was also " one of the Selectmen of the Town," and " a Deacon," 
after the Congregational mode, in the first church in Salem. 

From an old leger and letter-book kept by him during the years 1G79- 
1G92 inclusive, which, having passed through the hands of six generations 
of his descendants, is now in the possession of the writer of this sketch, it 
appears that he was an active and enterprising merchant, and carried on 
an extensive and profitable business for many years.* He owned " two 
warehouses, and the wharves on which they stood " ; and several vessels, — 
'• Briganteens, Ketches, Shallops, and Sloops, engaged principally in the 
W. India and Nova Scotia trade," and " some large vessels in the Bilbo 
and M'd't'nean tratfick." He also owned a great deal of real estate in 
Salem and the neighboring towns, and was generally considered a man of 
large property." ' In the year 1700, or perhaps later, he built a "large 
and handsome Brick Dwelling House," which is thus described : 

" Of the first Brick houses known in Salem, was Benjamin Marston's, 
mentioned 1707, as having been made by George Cabot, a mason of Boston. 
Its location is occupied by the Lee house, at the corner of Crombie and 
Essex Streets. It was an elegant edifice for its day. It had free-stone 

Dcnison, of Ipswich, whose wife Patience was daughter of Gov. Dudley. — ^V. E. Hist, and 
Gen. Register, vol. v. p. 137. 

The children of President Rogers were : i. Elizabeth, h. Feb. 1G62 ; married, Nov. 23, 
1681, Hon. John Appleton, of Ipswich; died March 13,1754. ii, Margaret, h. Fa]). 18, 
1661; married, first, Capt. Tliomas Berry; and second, Nov. 25, 1697, President John 
Leverctt, II. C. 1689; died June 7, 1720. in. John, h. 1666. iv. Da7iiel, b. 1667. v. 
Nathaniel, h. 1670. vi. Patience, who niiu-ried Benjamin Marston, as above. 

' Son of Dr. John Barton, who came from England to Salem in 1676. E. M. was the 
second wife of Samuel Barton. 

- Among his l)nsincss correspondents are the names of " John and Henry Higginson " ; 
" Adam Wmthrop of Boston "; " John Allin," " Dan. Allin": " Capt. Marshall of Bos- 
ton " ; "Humfrv Dane " ; " John Appleton " ; " George Cobett " ; " Julm Cobbit " ; " Dan' 
Cobet" [Cobett, Cobbit, and Col)et, were modes of spelling CabotJ ; " Mr. Barton, Rope 
maker of Boston " ; " \Vm. Jordan, of Bridgtown, Barbados " ; " N. Bradly, of JIalifax " ; 
" Mr, Byfield, of S. John's "; and many others. Among his '• Domestick Acc'ts " are the 
names of "Mother Marston"; " Bro. Manassch Marston" ; " Brother John Marston"; 
" Bro. William"; " Unkcl William"; "Mother Veren " ; "Father Veren"; "Bro. 
Deliver"'' Parkman"; " Bro. Sam'l Williams"; " Bro. Wedleigh, of Exon," or Wadleigh 
of Exeter, who probably married his sister Abigail, daughter of John Marston, Sen. 

^ By an examination of the tiles in the registry of deeds otHee of co, Essex, made by 
Mr. Perley Derby, of Salem, it is found that 'between the years 1686-1702, Benjamin 
Marston purchased, or otherwise possessed, the following: March 14th, 1692-3. One 
^p'ce of land in North-Fields, eont. 35 acres; one p'ce of land in the town, cont'g 4 an 
acre. Three acres land aliout2 miles from ye meet'g house, just within " ye Butts," all 
w'h land is situated in Salem. Jan. 17, 1686. a parcel of land between ye warehouses of 
John Ruck & John Tawley, " about 250 or 300 square feet." Feb. lY, 1697-8, i part ot a 
Sawmill in Salisbury; j p't of another sawmill in Amesbury ; also, May 19, 1699, ".50 
pole of land on street, b'd by land of Stephen Sewall, John Hig-inson 3d, &c." Ajivd 4, 
1699, Ben). Gerrish's Orchard, at a i)laee call'd Sharp's Field. Dec'r 31, 1700. A small 
Island cail'd House Island, in Manchester harbour. Ap'l 9, 1701, a farm of MO acres m 
Casco Bay, Maine ; also an island in Casco Bay, about 1000 acres ; also 200 acres at liead 
of Casco Bay, &c. 

capitals for its front coruers, which were subsequently placed on posts 
before ' the Kitchen-Mansion/ at the corner of Essex and Beckford Streets. 
Tradition relates that the wife of Mr. Marston persuaded him to have 
the house pulled down, because she supposed it was damp and injurious 
to health, and that this circumstance created a strong prejudice here against 
brick dwellings." — Felfs Annals, vol. i. p. 414. 

Subsequently, however, a great change seems to have taken place in his 
circumstances. In the year 1707-8, as we learn from the town records, 
Essex deeds, and other sources, he was beginning to sell and mortgage 
his real estate, his farms and saw mills, his warehouses and wharfs, his two 
islands called " y' Great & Little Misery," and generally to retrench ex- 
penses ; and at last, on the 4th of May, 1719, " Benj° Marston, with his 
wife Patience, mortgages to CoP Sam' Brown Esq^ his homestead, con- 
sisting of a large brick dwelling house, with a small brick outhouse, called 
a wash house, with laud they stand on, containing 50 Eods," «S:c. In the 
following letter from his son we have some explanation of these changes : 

[benjamin marston, jr. to madam CABOT.] 

Salem, New-England, Decembf 30">, 1717. 
Madam Cabot, 

The Incloped is a Letter from my Kinsman, your Grandson Marston 
Cabot,' who is very Earnest with me to write to you. He is a very pretty desire- 
able youth, & I hope, if he lives, He may make a fine man. & He is very desirous 
of being brought up at CoUedge, which he cannot attain to without your Assistance 
(my father not being in a Capacity to do it fur him, Bi/ riason of ffnat losses Sus- 
tained iii his Estate). He is never like to have one farthing of his father's Estate 
here in New-Eugh\nd. His uncle Mr. John Cabot has administered upon y" Estate, 
& Sais it will not pay the debts. And it will take £100 Sterling, or 400 Crowns 
(Besides his School learning & other helps that be may have here) to bring him up 
to take his first degree, and then he will be capable of maintaining himself. 

Madam, if you see cause to send any thing to him & consigne it to me I will im- 
prove it for his best advantage. (He is unwilling y' any thing should be sent to his 
uncle Cabot for him, Because his Uncle sais his father dyed £160 in his debt.) My 
Father & Mother give their Service to you. I desire your Answer per y first op- 
portunity y' we may manage y« child accordingly. He is thirteen years old. His 
letter is of his own handwriting. 

Madame, Je suis votre tres Humb« Serviteur, 

Benjamin Marston, Jr. 

We learn also from other sources that his losses " had been so many & 
so great that it was hard work to keep up with them ; " some of his vessels 
were " lost at sea ; some taken by French pirates," or privateers ; and 
others, " having lost all their crews, by disease, or otherwise, y* voiaores 
were spiled." 

In the year 1719, with the view of " recovering himself from some of 
these losses," and partly, perhaps, " from indifferent health and growing in- 

1 Marston Cabot was the son of George and Abigail (Marston) Cabot. He was born 
in Salem in 1704 ; was graduated at H. C. 1724; minister of 2d Ch. in Killingly, Conn.; 
died April 8tb, 1756, aged 52 years. 

firmity," he took passage, with his son, on board of one of his own vessels, 
" the good Brigaiiteen Essex, Robert Peat, master," bound to Falmouth, 
Casco Bay, Maine, " to take in some of her Cargo, & thence to Cork, Ire- 
land, and a market." Before going he made his will, the principal items 
of which, copied from the original, are here given : 

In the name of God, Amen. I Benj" Marston of Salem, In ye County of Essex, 
In New-England, being in health of Body & of p^fect mind & memory, Thanks be 
to God, being bound a Voyage to sea & not knowing how it may please God to Deale 
with mee In my voyage, Do make & Ordaine This to be my last Will & Testa- 
ment, hereby Revoking, &c. . . . Commiting my Soule to God that gave itt, 
and my Body to the Earth after my Deceas, and for my worldly Estate that God 
hath given me I give and Dispose thai-e off as followeth. Impf I appoint and order 
that all my just Debts be Satisfyed & paid & discharged. Sly I give and Bequeath 
unto my Beloved wife Patience Marston one third parte of all my Reale Estate 
During her Naterall Life and if she sees Convenient Give her Liberty to sell aney or 
Every part of her third of my Reale Estate, she giving the Refusall of the same to 
my son. 3Iy. I give and Bequeath unto my Darter Abigail's two children, viz. 
Marston Cabot, and Abigail Cabot, my Large Silver Tankard and forty shillings in 
mcmey to each of them, the Reason why I give these children noe more is well 
known to myself and may be to a grate many More.* 41y I give and Bequeath to 
my Son Benjamin Marston ten pounds in money, and after my just debts are payed 
and my wife's thirds are Deducted I give unto my s^ Son two thirds of all the Re- 
maining parts of my Estate Both Reale and personall forever, and I also appoint 
and order that if my Son sees cause or desire it that he shall have his Sisters parte 
of the Land, he paying her for the same according to apprizall in money or moneys 
worth, and that he inherit and possess my Lands. Sly, I give and bequeath unto 
my Daughter Elizabeth Marston five pounds in money . . . and the other third 
parte, &c. 

61y : ... In case my Son Benj" Marston should die without Lawful Issue 
. . . Then whole Estate ... be divided Equally between Wife & dau'r 
Elizabeth. 71y. I give unto Mary Marston^ who has longe dwelt in my house, the 
sum of five pounds in money or money worth. 

Signed, sealed & delivered this first day of May A. D. 1719. In presence of John 
Nutting, John Swinnerton & John Higginson, Jr. B. Marston. [Seal.] 

The " good Briganteen Essex " sailed from Salem on or about the fifth 
day of June, 1719, and the account of her voyage and its results are given in 
the following letters of Benjamin Marston, Jr., who seems to have undertaken 
the whole management of business matters. 

[benjamin marston, jr., to his mother, MRS. PATIENCE MARSTON, 


Falmouth' in Casco Bay, On board 
Brig' Essex, June ll'", at 9 at night, 1719. 
HoNOR*^ Mother, 

Just now arrived here a Marblehead Sloop homeward bound to morrow 
morning Early. So y' I have time to give you but a Slender Ace' of our Affairs, — 

> Probably, " By reason of great losses Sustained in his Estate." (Letter of B. M. Jr.) 

2 She was probably either his youngest sister, born March 23d, 1661 ; or the daughter 
of his brother John, born August, 1670, 

3 " Falmouth, incorporated in 1718, then included the present city of Portland, and 
the towns of Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook and Deering. Portland was formerly 
a port of Falmouth; it was incorporated under its present name in 1786, and received a 
city charter in 1832." 


design to l»c m n-e hivjie by Mr. j\Iackie. That fane 24 hours We weighed Anchor, 
We'came to again at Casco, being favoured with a prosperous gal(;._ Wo had no 
s > >nei-arrivedT)at were Heady to be devoured by Musketoes— were Ublidgedali hands 
"(Excepting y^' :Master) to walk to & fro the Deck the whulc night after, they prov- 
in"- and Continuing Extreainely troublesome tlien and ever since. We have hali'd 
on-shore our Ve^stdl, cleansed Her, threw y^ Ballast out, and Yesterday began to 
Load. Our men work very briskly and I hope We shall be Loaden in a short time. 
We shall gett our timber for ab' 8s. pr Ton & firkin Staves between 18 & 20s. pr. 

M Rec'd your letter pr Mackie on Monday night last, &, also one 

fromMaj'^ Sewall' givingan Ace' of y« Enterprize of y<^ Pretender& Uukeof Ormond, 
& also of their Happy Overthrow and defeat, for which favour of writing we thank 
Miij"- Sevvall & present due Regards to him & his family together with other friends. 
And rec^i yours pr. Ashby yesterday morning. ^ Am sorry you should sitt so long 
on y^ house for no adv«^ but perhaps to y" prejudice of your health. jMy fath"-^ & my 
duty to grandmother, and kind love to Betty. With my duty to your Self, begging 
your prayers for me (who am and shall be Exposed to y*-' Temptations of a Sinfull 
world) I subscribe y Dutiful! Son Ben" Marston, Jr. 

IMy father Remembers his Kind love to you. We are in good health, God be 
praised. The Master presents Service. Our Vessell works incomparably well, will 
stay and steer like a boat & is StifiF beyond Expectation. We had Some bard gales 
to try her before we got in. 

[from the same to the same ; WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF THE 


Casco Bay, June 18*, 1719. 

Hon"! Mother, ,.,.,„ 

The Marbleliead Sloop y' was to bring y<= letter on y*' other side took y« 
Advantage of a fair wind & sailed at midnij'ht, so I mist the Opportunity. 

Wee are continued in Gjod health (God oe thanked) and hardly atford time to 
Eat or to drink by reason of our diligence in Loading. We have gutt about fifteen 
Tons of timber on board, and Stowed away about Twelve thousand Staves. . . . 
I hope we shall sail in a fortnight or three weeks at farthest. . . . We very 
narrowly escaped a Ledge of Rocks that lay off Cape Elizabeth, on which if we had 
Struck we had certainly Lost our Vessel. And we should i)rohably have Struck 
upon some Rocks going in had noty^ wind providentially Chapt about and blew right 
out of y« Harbour and'took us aback as we were going in and Oblidged us to come 
to an anchor, where we rid two or three hours with a hard gale of wind and a groat 
sea, till a Fishing Sloop y' was coming in piloted us in upon a free cost. We should 
not' have been so "venturesome to go in alone had we not met with a Piscataque 
Sloop three Leagues off y^ Cape who told us that there was no danger going in but 
what we could plainly see. So I hope the same good hand of Providence that has 
Hitherto mercifully preserved us will Still do so, and in due time Return us to you 
in Safety and with a Blessing. ... ,Tr ,/- 

I hope you'l take the next Opportunity to send me an Ace' of your Welfare. . . . 
Give my duty to my Grandmother and hearty Love to Sister Betty, and Respects 
to all. Begging your prayers 1 am Your dutifull Son 

B. Marston, JDN^ 


Cork in Ireland Sept. 9"^, 1719, 

Hois<^ Madam, ,. , . t 

These come to Acquaint you That on the Seventh Day ol this Instant 
we Safly arrived in the Harbour of Kingsale (for which God be praised). We 
met with abundance of Extream bad weather but it has pleased God to preserve us. 
I was not at all Sick on Our passage. My father and I are in very good Health. We 

' Miijor Stephen Sewall was a " notary publique " in Salem. He was a brother of 
Judae Samuel Sewall." 

^ Mrs. Marston " remained on the house as long as the vessel was in sight," when they 
sailed from Salem. 


design to proceed to Ual)lin with our Vessell ye first wind, where we are incouraged 
that we shall come to a good markett. I came to Cork hoping to find Some New- 
England vessel liere, y' So we might Send you a Small Token. But here is none 
bjiuid to New England, bat I send this by a Pensilvania vessell that is here. So 
you must not Expect I sh'' wi'ite so largly as I would by one of my neighb(uirs fear- 
ing it will not come to hand. We hope to be at home Some time in ye latter end of 
May or first of June next. We met with two dreadfuU Storms on }^ coast just 
before we arrived. So bad they were tliat half y^ vessells in Salem would have perish- 
ed if 'tliey had been in our Stead, but y^' vessel's proving a wonderfuU good Sea boat 
was ye means of Our preservation, under God. y'' Inhabitants of Cork & Kingsale 
lookt upi)n us as men Raised from y^ Deiid, Such was y*^ violence of y<= weather. I 
pi-ay y' (fod w' Sanctify y^ Mercy to us & Still Go on to preserve us Safe to Our 
native land. My fiither is well & Remembers his Kind Love to you & my Sister, 
his Service to Maj"" Sevvall and all friends. We shall put Our men out of pay and 
hale up ye Ship this winter. I cannot think of any thing further to write at present, 
but to ))resent my Duty to you & Love to my Sister and all ye Family and Service 
to all Friends. I am Your DutifuU Son 

Ben°. !Marston. 

[froji the same to the same, announcing the death of his 


Dublin, November 6, 1719. 
Hon"! Madam, 

This comes with unwelcome news of the Death of my Father, who was 
taken with ye Smal-pox and died in about Ten days after Our arrival : the night 
he died I was taken ill of the same distemper and was dangerously sick, but by 
God's providence recovered, and am in good health (thro' mercy). 

Our Cargo amounts to about 300£ sterling. I have a prospect of passengers, and 
hope to be at home Sometime in May next. 

1 am not disfigured nor much markt with the Sraal-pox. Conceit nothing at 
tliis letter, for y" Gent" y" Bearer has never had it. I wrote to you ye 9"' of Septr 
from Cork by a Philadelphia Ship, hope you have received it. My friends here are, 
and have been Exceeding Kind to me. I have nothing further to Advis^ you but 
to present my duty to you & Love to my Sister and Service to all Friends. I much 
question whether you receive this Letter before I come to New England. 

To I am Your Dutifull Son, 

Mr^ Benjamin Marston Ben" Marston. 

Salem, New-England, 
pr Cap'. Lupton. 

This letter did not reach Salem until " the latter end of April," 1720. 
On the 10th of December previous, however, "A ship from London brought " 
to Mrs. Marston " the fatal and distressing news of the death of" her " hus- 
band and his son's lying dangerously sick of the small-pox." The follow- 
ing letter of condolence and sympathy, written to her at this time, by 
her brother-in-law, John Leverett,' president of Harvard College, will be 
read with interest. 


Cambridge Decem-- 24"': 1719. 
Dear Sister, 

1 c<' not let this bearer go to Salem without a Line to you at this time, 

1 He married, Nov. 25, 1697, Margaret, dau. of the Rev. John Rogers, and sister of Mrs. 



tho' by reason of Gov'^ Saltonstall's and other Compy I can't write as I wd and in- 
tend to you. We rec'd the Sorrowfull Ace"* of your bercavm' with all the Sorrow- 
full aggravations that attended it, w'^''' p'duc'd Effects tliat assur'd us we heartiely 
kSympiuhized with you in yo'' griei's, and weve conlirin'd in them by the moderation of 
theiu in the after ace' we had of the hopes of your S m's safety and IlecoTer3\ And 
we are willing to pswade o"" Selves tliat God has reniemberd mercy in his chastizm* and 
that the hopes of yo'' family wil be preserved to you and Return'' in his time. Tin's, as 
all other afHictions are Order"d by tlie father of Sjjirits, who designs his correctiims 
for our Good And has promised not to lay more on his ]:)oor wealv Cre::turestlian 
they are able to bear, and he will enalile them tt) Ijear and make them to See that 
in tlie Conclusion all is for good to try (our) patience & our Eesignation, and will 
give his Consolations w='' are not Small. We heartielj' pray that you may Experi- 
ence tlieso things and douljt not but j^ou will. iMadam Rogers has writ to 3'ou, and 
your Sister w'' too, had she not bin for Some time past Indisposed, and now bin pre- 
vented l)y the Occasion wliich makes me botli Short and abrupt. You may be sure 
I shall n(jt forget you while I remember myself. I am 
Dear Sister 

Your affectionate & sympatliizing B™. 
Remember o' Love & humble Serv't 

to yo"' Daughter. " J. Leverett. 

And here may be closed the account of all that can now be found relative 
to the first Benjamin Marston of this family. He died of the small-pox, 
in Dubriu, Ireland, on or about the 17th of September, 1719, in the G9th 
year of his age. 

His wife Patience (Rogers) Marston, aud two children, Benjamin and 
Elizabeth, survived him. 


Ben.tamin Marstox, the second of this name, was the oldest son of 
Benjamin and Patience (Rogers) Marston, and was born in Salem on the 
24th day of February, A.D. 1697. He entered Harvard College in 1711, 
and was graduated in 171.5. 

Little is known at the present time respecting his school or college life 
but the following memoranda in his handwriting, dated " April, 1712," his 
freshman year in college, indicate a religious disposition at an early period : 

" Memorandum : To believe in Jesus Christ, — a faith in Jesus Christ, — is, 
accordinjr to the whole tenour of the New-Testament, never more nor less 
than to become His disciples, to be so convinced in our minds that he was 
sent from God to be the Saviour of the world, as to yield assent to all that 
he taught and to give up ourselves to be obedient to all that he commanded." 

" Memorandum : That I don't neglect publick and private prayer morn- 
in<T and eveninix. but attend them with the greatest devotion : every day to 
read some part of y*^ holy Scriptures : that I keep holy y'' Sabbath day : 
that I avoid all bad company and every thing I see amiss in my best friends 
carry itt dutifull &, respectfully & obligingly to my Superiours & y^ family 
where I live ; that I avoid all q larreP with my companions : that I be 
carefull in preserving my health." 


These may have been the settled thoughts of a youth " brought up in 
tlie nurture and admonition of tlie Lord," or only a transcript of the instruc- 
tion and precepts of a pious and loving mother ; but there is every reason 
to believe that during his college life he dutifully observed these wise aud 
prudent principles. He is also said to Iiave ])een " a young man of diligent 
and studious habits, & foremost in the classical & mathematical Rooms."^ 
On leaving college he at thought of studying law ; but finding that his 
father had become embarrassed in his affairs, " by reason of great losses 
Sustained in his Estate," and was also " somewhat infirm in health and requir- 
ed his assistance," he abandoned his own plans and gave " his time and atten- 
tion entirely to business matters." In the year 1719 he accompanied his 
father in that voyage to Ireland, in the " good Briganteen Essex," the details 
of wliicli have already been given in his letters to his mother. 

From the following additional letters it appears that, after the death of 
his father, he remained in Ireland, conducting all the business matters con- 
nected with the voyage of the Essex, with a degree of energy and capa- 
city not often found in a young man 22 years of age. 

' [from benjamin MARSTON to Ills SMOTHER, MRS. PATIENCE MARSTON.] 

Dublin, Dec--. 29, 1719. 
HoN'i Madam, 

This is iny Third Letter to you Since my arrival in this Kingdom. In 
my last I acquainted you of the Death of my Father l)y the Smnll-pox and that I 
was well lecuvered from the same Dit<temi)er th(/ I liave not Escaped without a 
Brakett face. I shall still pursue the iSame design that I can)e upon, and I hojje 
not without success. Several persons have bespoke a passage with me, and to mor- 
row morning I shall sett out on a journey towards I^ondon Dei-ry in order to make 
up my Complement of passengers. Our g(jods bold pretty well, tho' it was above 
fifty pounds Sterls damage to y*^^ Voyage y' I was bick at that juncture, besides 
y« chaiges of Our Sickness. 1 discharged must of y>-- men, — y^^ Master, his man and 
Jauus smith only Remaining on y<= feiiip. I have paid all y« Bottom Bills. I 
hope I shall manage all things to our best advantage, and hope to gett home Some- 
time in May next. I am in very good Health (Thanks be to God) & so are all our 
people. 1 have nothing to add by Reason 1 have wrote to you more particularly by 

' There is in mv possession an autoirraph manuscript book of more than 200 pages, very 
neatly written, with diagrams, and title page well executed, as follows: 

" Compendiiun | Pliisicae Ex Authoribtis Extraetu | A Dum. Carolo IMortono | in usum | 
Eorm : Enitentiiim Pliilosophiaj | Oerulta Elucidare. | Cantabrigiaj. Nov: Angl : | Trau- 
script'm per B. Marston | MDCCXII." 

'iliis Book was given to my brotlier Benjamin Marston Watson, by the late Hon. John 
Davis (II. C. 17S1), judge of U. S. supreme court for the district of Massachusetts, wiili 
the following written on the fly-leaf liy him : " Benjamin Marston, a graduate of Harvard 
College in 171-5, transcribed this treatise in 171?, at that time, it is supposed, a u>ual exi^r- 
cise in that seminary. It was given to me in ihe year 1793, bj' my Hon'd father-in-law, 
William VV:itsoii, Esq., who married Elizabeth, elilest dangj^ter of Col. Marston. Her 
mother was Elizabeth Winslow, daughter of Isaac Winsloio, of Marshfield. He was 
son of Gov' Josiah Winslow, who married Penelope Pelham, daughter of Herbert 
Pelham, Esqe. J. Davis." 

On the other side of the leaf is written by my brother : " This relic of my Great-Grand- 
father Beiij. Marston, was presenteil to me Sept. 16th, 1843, l)y my respected Friend and 
I'elative, the Hon. John Davis, at my house in Newton. Judge Davis was then in the 83d 
year of his age, & in the perfect possession of his corporeal & mental faculties; in the full 
fruilion of the rewards of a well-spent, honourable, & virtuous life; & with a prospect of 
added years to the long lease of life already pass'd." 

Judge Davis died in 18i7, in the 87th year of his age. 


ye way of Philadelphia and Fyall. My kind love to my Sister & y^^ Family. Ser- 
vice to all friends and Pray yuu to accept of Duty from Your dutifuU Son 

Ben": Marston. 
[Suioerscription : ] 
M"'. Benjamin Marston, 

Salem, in New-England, 

Via Barbados. 

[from the same to the same.] 

Dublin, March y^ 5ti., 1720. 
HoNd Madam, 

I have wrote to you twice before this of the Death of my Father by ye 
Smal-pox, & of my Safe recovery from the same distemper (I am much markt by 
ye Same) . Once I wrote by y" way ot Fyall, and another time by the way of Barba- 
dos, and now this comes by the way of Bristull. 1 did expect to liave been at Sea 
by this day Jmt was disappointed in my passengers. I am now ready to Sail from 
this place to London Derry but y' 1 wait for about 30 passengers which I exi:)ect on 
board next week, and at Derry I hope to make uj) the Complement of 100. So 
that I do not expect to Sail for N. England till y"" 10"' of April if then. I have paid 
off the Bill, according to agrcem' which, Avith y fitting out of y-' Ship, & Our great 
expense here this Six months will very much hinder Our making a good Voyage, 
tho I hope, with Ood's blessing. We Shall make a Saving Voyage. I have wrote to 
London to M^ Dummer Concerning Vetch & he has writt me that there's no hopes 
of any mony as yett, by reason his ace" are not yett allowed & T am afraid they never 
will. I have managed all things as prudently & discreetly as puj^sibly I could, ^ have 
been & am yet anxiously Concerned for y^ good of y^' voiage. 1 blet-s God I liavehad 
my health Ever Since 1 left you, & have been Kxtraordinary well ever Since I recov- 
ered [from] the Smal-jjox : from which distemjjerl am wonderfully recovered, for I 
was intircly given Over by all y^ Saw me. 1 hope this will find you with my Sister 
& all my friends in good health, to all whicli I (]e,sire to be heartily remembered. 
I wrote to you from Cork by y^ way of Philadelphia which I believe you have rccd. 
I have been at Extraordinary i)ains to jjrocure ])aHsengers. I have travailed no less 
than 250 miles in tliis Kingdom on y' account. I hope M. B . . . e is well & not mar- 
ried, if She IS not (Jive my humble Service to her. I break off at present hoping 
yt within this few m". 1 .shall be .so happy (thro God'.s goodness) as to Kejoice 
with you in my native Land & be able to give you an Exact accof all my proceed- 
ings, to which time I must referr you at present. So recommending yuu to y^' pro- 
tection of Heaven I begg your earnest prayers lor Your DutifuU Son, 

I had but short warning of this Ben" jNIarston. 


In the mean time Mrs. Marston had received her son's letter of Nov. 6, 
1719, informing her that he had recovered from his sickness, and was in 
gbocl health ; and President Leverett congratulates her as follows : 

Cambridge, Ap' 20"s 1720. 
Dear Sister, 

Tho I am obliged to detain this bearer for it, I cannot but do so, to tell you 
that as W e sympathized with you in the depths of y fears and sorrows, so we do hear- 
ticly & joieJ' in the light that hassprung up out of the late darkness. And we heartiely 
congratulate you, and thank Ood lor the good News you have not only of, but from 
your Son. God has spared liis Life, and restored his health, as we always hop'd he 
w<i (for we c'' not mourn with you for him as those without hojje) for your greater 
Comfort. And we trust in a little time you will rec^ him, to the compleatm' of your 
Satisfaction, and all our thanks-givings w"> you. 1 may not enlarge now and onely 
pray God to Sanctify both afflictions and meicys to us and bring us all under the 
promise that all things shal work together lor our best good. 


With mine & my Wife's, Madam Rogers, and Our Childrens best regards in our 
Order to yo' Self, & Cozen Betty, I subscribe. Dear Sister, 

Yo'' most affectionate Br" & most humble serv', 

[Superscription :] J. Leverett. 


M''^ Patience Marston, 

Tliese, in Salem. 

The Essex left Dublin on the IGth of June, 1720; but as her " home- 
ward voyage proved a long and tedious one," her non-arrival at the time 
expected caused great anxiety in the minds of Mrs. Marston and her friends. 
President Leverett, who was then in great afHiction, on account of the 
recent death of his wife,* wrote to his sister-in-law as follows : 

Cambridge, July 23'', 1720. 
Dear Sister Marston, 

Mr. Denison went away this morning in Such an hurry I had not time 
to write by him, but your neighbour Capt'" Gardner gives me the opjiortunity to 
tell you tliat I am lieartiely Sorr^^ your hopes of your Son's Arrival are So long de- 
lay 'd. This IS i'or the tryal of your i'uith, and that patience may have its p'feet work in 
you. And I have no doubt, but (lod in his time, w^'> is always the best time, will 
give an answer to your prayers, and a greater & more ample joy in your receiving 
him. . . . 

I ask your remembrance in your pray^^ which I know are ferv' ones and will be 
Effectual. And may the God of all consolations afibrd Suitable ones for us iu our 
desolate condition. 

1 am, with gr' affuction, dear Sister, Your afflicted, but I hope not utterly forsa- 
ken Brother & most humble Serv'. J. Levkrett. 

In the latter part of July it was reported in Salem that " the Brig" Essex 
was cast away and all on board were drowned." On tlie third of August, how- 
ever, this report was contradicted, and President Leverett writes as follows 
to Mrs. Marston : 

Cambridge, Aug' 5'^', 1720. 
Dear Sister, 

Yesterday morning Majr Sewal Sent me the Confirmation of the Sorrow- 
full News w^'' I hoped w^' never have biu comiinicateci to you because 1 found it such 
a Surcharge upon my own Afflictions that are redoubled by your having Such an 
Interest in theui. 1 mourued with you, and pray'd for the Diviue SMpi)orts for you 
under so terrible a Shock. — In the afternoon, towards Evening, I rccM a new mes- 
sage from Majf Sewal, a rep 'a' of the former, you know how you rec*^ the revival of 
our Dear Kinsman, which without doubt was as the widow in the Gospel recJ her 
raised Son from the hands of our Great Redeemer, and knowing that. You will 
believe I had my p' and was sensible of the wondertull benignity of God in order- 
ing the better news to loyter no longer then it did. I thank'd God upon the Rec' 
for you and for mj'self, and pray'd instruction by the mysterious Lessons that cer- 
tainly must be couched in the Order of the Late Intelligences we have had. God 
Almighty Support you and me in our Sorrows in our Joys, In our Joys in our 
Sorrows. For dear Sister 1 will endeaver to Rejoice with you in your Joys, notwith- 
st*'" my own wounds are yet open & like to be so. x\nd pray that the Compensating 
Joys you have, and do, with patience & faith wait for, may be hasten'd & compleated. 
I am Dear Sister, Your inost affectionate 

& humble Serv'. J. Leverett. 

* Margaret, 2d daughter of the Rev. John Rogers, president of Harvard College, l)orn 
Feb. 18, 16()4 ; married, Nov. 25, 1697, her second husband. President John Leverett ; and died 
June 7, 1720. 


On the 22(1 of August, 1720, the Essex reached Salem, "after a long 
and stormy passage of 67 days, in which they encountered many disasters." 
Previous to lier arrival, there had been rumors of her having been taken 
by pirates, to which, probably. President Leverett alludes in the following 
letter congratulating Mrs. Marstou on the return of her sou, in health and 

Cambr. Augt 24*, 1720. 
Dear Sister Marston, 

I have Ijin in pain for yo"" Son ever since I had the ace' of Capt". Gary's 
disaster, and it w' have added to my rejoicing- liad your Son osca])ed those enormous 
Creatures.' However, I can't sufler his niif^i'ortune to diminish my hearty acknow- 
ledgmt ot the Divine favour in bring" the dear Youth to you alive and in he;dlh, 
after all the fears and Concerns We have had about him : nor shall any thing lessen 
my r« joicing with you upon that head. God has reserved him for your Cnmlort and 
will make him so to he in an ample manner 1 doubt not. I heartyly congratulate y(ai 
upon this good Umun of it. And jn-ay make my Compliments to your Son ai.d 
daughter. JMay (Jod make all things contribute to O'Eternall good which is our 
onely good. And our hope they shall do so is lounded on a Divine i)romise which 
wil never lail. I am, Dear Sister, 

Your sincerely affectionate, 

Tlio solitary Brother & humble serv*. 

J. Leverett. 

In connection with the return of younsr Marston, we trive the followinpf 
letter which he brought with liini from Mrs. Anne Young,^ of Dublin, Ire- 
land, to Mrs. Patience JMarston, and her touching and excellent reply. 

March 21, 1720. 
Dr. Madam, 

1 am sorry our correspondance siiould l)pgin with so melancholy a subject 
as that of condoling the loss of your good husband, wliimi it pleased providence to 
remove from hence so soon alter his arivall. I had not the ojjpcrtunity of being 
well acijuaintcd or enjoying that sosiety with him I ])romised my selfe satisfaction 
in, during fiis stay in this countrey. DouhtlcKs your loss is very gieat, and attend- 
ed with many afllicting circumstances, but 1 do not (piestion but Cod has endowed 
you with so nuicli Christian patience, as to be willing to submit to this sevear 
triall since it is his good pleasure to exersise you with it. 

You will more willingly do it if you consider that in the midst of judgment, God 
was graciously ])leased to remember mercy, and s|)ared him, who next yourSjxiuse, I 
believe was most dear to you, 1 mean your Son, who in api)earance was in a danjiei- 
ous condition by the same distcm])er. 1 do not question but as far as in his power, 
he will nrake up his father's loss and l)e a comlort to you. 

The want of his father's assistance and Ins own sickness was a considerable 
and involved him in many difficulties and troubles which (by) his diligence and 
good management he has [ hope, for the most part over come, and indeed hie con- 
duct has bin beyond what could be exp* cted ol one of his years and exjjerience in a 
strange place. 1 do not rpiestion but (iod will bless his honest endeavors and crown 
them with success. 1 shall longe to hear of my cosens safe arivall w"' you. he has 
promised me he will miss no oppertunity of writing to me. our prayers shall iK.t bj 
wanting in his behalf, that God would direct, preserve and keep him from all dan- 
gers in this long voiage, and restore him to your comfort, which is all with due 
respect from your kinswoman and sarvant 

Anne Young. 

* " 1720. On the outward passage of the Essex one of lior men, a joiner, raniel Starr of 
Boston, was taken out h^' a Pirate and carried ii\v\y."—Feit'6 Aunals, vol. ii. p. 636. 

^ Mrs. Anne Young was a cousin of Madam Ilogers, the widow of Ficsidcnt Rogers, 
and mother of Mrs. Patience Marstou. 


The following is the reply of Mrs. Marston to Madam Anne Young. 

Salem, New England, Feb. 18, 1720-1721. 
Dear Madam, 

I was favored with yours l)y my Son whom I received as one from the 
dead, he arived here Aui;' 22, 1720, alter 1 had spent many montlis in tlie sliar|)est 
Sorrows that ever my Soul felt. On December y^- 10"' befure my Sous arrival, a 
ship from London brought me that fatal and distiessing news of y"^ Death of 
my husband and his son's lying dangerously Sick of y^ Small Pox, & 1 knew not 
whether he was numbered among yMiving or y"" Dead, till y*^ latter end of A|>riU 
I received a letter from him which he wrote Just after his recijvery. On ye latter 
end of May my Sister Leverett was seized with a Feaver : the thought of death was 
not teia'ible to her, but she chearfully resigned up iicr soul to (iod that gave it, and 
died June 7''', universally lamented. I may without vanity Say she has left few that 
can equal her. In y^ latter end of July it was hmdy reported that y'' brigantinemy 
Son was in was Cast away & every Soul drowned. Thus it pleased y*^^ holy & 
riiihteous Cod to bring one wave over another, till my Soul was almost drowned in 

1 would sing of mercy as well as judgement, & acknowledge yo goodness of God 
in upholding me in my distresses, in delivering my Son from so u)any Deaths, for 
favour shown him in a Strange land, and in returning him to me again. 

And now dear Madam I know not how to express gratitude for ye extraordinary 
kindness & favour you showed my dear husband in his life-time, & his poor surviv- 
ing child. 

I tender my most hearty thanks and l)est regards to you, Mr. Young, and y rest 
of your dear family, to whom I Avish y"^' best of blessings. I should be glad if it lay 
in y*^ power of me or mine to bo any ways Serviceable, if it does pray nuidam Com- 
mand. My Good mother is yet living & in good health, & Bears her age wonder- 
fully. She knows nothing of this Oppertunity. When I saw her last she desired 
me to send due regards to yourself and familJ^ With repeated thanks, liegghig 
y''' prayers for me & mine I am your most obliged kinswoman and, madam, your 
humble serv'. 

Patiexck Marston. 

After rendering his accounts of the voyage of the Essex, which appears 
to have been more profitable than was expected, Mr. Marston applied him- 
self to the settlement of his father's estate, of which he and his mother had 
been appointed administrators ; and we find that in a few years he had suc- 
ceeded " in paying off all just dues and demands," and recovering much of 
the property which had been sold or mortgaged previous to his father's 
deatli, '' with a fair remainder for the heirs." At the same time he engaged 
in business as a merchant in Salem, and gained a reputation among his fel- 
low townsmen, as a " man of honourable motives, and strict integrity of 
character." We learn also from the town records that he " was chosen re- 
presentative to the general court in the years 1727-28-29." He was " high 
sheriff of Essex till the year 1737," and was also "Justice of General Ses- 
sion, & Coin" Pleas Courts." 

In the year 1725 he married Mehitable Gibbs, daughter of the Rev, 

Henry Gibbs, of Watertown, Mass. She was born Jan. 8, 170G. She died 

Au"-. 21, 1727, without issue. The inscription on her grave-stone, in the 

old burying-ground, in Salem, is as follows : 

" Here lyes Interred y*^ Body of Mrs. Mehetable Marston, wife to Benjamin 
]\larston, Esq. and Daur. to y« late Revd Mr. Henry Gibbs, of Watertown, who de- 
parted this life August ye 2P' 1727, in y<= 22d year of her age." 


On the 20th of November, 1729, Mr. Marston married (second) Eliza- 
beth "Winslow, daughter of the Hon Isaac' and Sarah (Wensley) "Winslow, 
of Marshfield. She was born Dec. 13, 1707. 

A few years after his second marriage, he "caused to be built, for his 
own use, a handsome brick house, which was thought well of." It is thus 
briefly noticed in Col. Pickmau's " account of houses in Salem ; " * " The 
next Brick House (was) by Benjamin Marston, Esq'', graduated in 1715, 
and High Sheriff of Essex. ... On this spot stood a brick house built by- 
Col'. Marstoii's father, but it stood no great while, the bricks being bad." 
I On the 22d of May, 1731, his mother, Mrs. Patience Marston, died in 
Salem, aged 55 years. 

Mrs. Marston was evidently a woman of superior mind and character. 
One of her later descendants thus speaks of her : '' Personally of course I 
knew nothing about her ; but this I know, that she came of a good fiimily, 
and was no discredit to her relations, many of whom were distinguished in 
the early history of the colony. It may be believed that she was a dutiful 
daughter, a tender and affectionate wife, a loving mother, and an exemplary 
christian woman." 

The inscription on her grave-stone is as follows : 

" Here lyes Interreil the body of Mrs. Patience Marston, IJeliot of Mr. Ben- 
jaiuia Mai-stun, late of Salem, mercliau', Dec''. She deijartetl this life the 22<i 
day of May, 173 J , aged 55 years and 9 day.s." 

Col. Marston continued to reside in Salem for some years, diligently 
engaged in business, attending to the duties of his several offices, and occa- 
sionally visiting his friends and relations in Boston, Marshfield and Plymouth. 

The following letter was written during the prevalence of an epidemical 
influenza, in Salem, which seems also to have affected Boston, and other 
towns in New-England. 

[benjamin marston to nis sister Elizabeth, in boston.] 

Salem, Sepf 25"', 1732. 
Dear Betty, 

I was in such haste to gett out of Town when I saw you at Boston that I 
forgot to give you some mony that Mr. Bridgham told me you wanted. Inclosed 
is lorty shillings the Sum he told me you desired. 

• Elizabeth Winslow's father, Isaac Winslow, bom 1678, was the son of Josiah Winslow 
and Penelope Pelluiin, daugliter of Herbert Pelham, E«q. ii. Josiah Winslow, lj. 1629, was 
tlie son of Edward Winslow, the Maj-Flower Pilgrim, and Susannah Wliite. iii. Edward 
Winslow, the May-Flower Pilgrim and tir^t governor of Phmouth Colony, h. Oct. 19, 1595, 
was the son of Edward and Magdalen Winslow, of Droitwitch, Vvorcestershirc, England. 

For descendants of Benjamin Marston and Elizabeth Winslow, see Aite-nuix. 

- Essex Inst. Coll. vol. vi. p. 107.— The editor in 1864 has the following note. " This 
building has been very much altered, and the shops in Iront have been added to it. It is 
jiow occujjied by Haskell & Lougee, cabinet makers, and others. [1872. Occupied by the 
same to-day. G. D. P.] Bcnj. Crombie converted it Into a tavern, and it was for many 
years a noted and reputable one kept by him and others." 


Never did I know such a time of Sickness and indisposition as is here. I believe 
I may modestly say that more than a Thousand people have been seized here with 
violent Colds in two or three days time, besides those that are taken with the 
flux. 1 was seized with the Cold very violently before I got home. I never saw 
such a Sabbath as Yesterday in my life, so many whole familys detained at home, 
by, reason of sickness. Mr. Fisk,^ Mr. Prescot & ]\lr. Clark, were all sick 
& had no meetings. Mr. Jennison was forced to cut short his afternoon Service, 
thro inais])osition. 

My wiic" and the Children are well. We send our hearty Love to you & Service 
to Mr. Wiswall,^ & his Wife & all friends. 

I am Yr affectionate Brother, 

Ben" Marston. 

T pray you to get a Ring' from Boyers, and send it this week if you can ))y some 
safe haiid, if notTkeep it till we come to Boston. 

The following, addressed to his wife, is directed on the outside : " To | 

Mrs. Elizabeth IMarston | In | Marshfield." He had left her there the 

day before, on a visit to her parents. 

My Dear, 

This comes with y'' tidings of our Safe Arrival at Boston between seven 
and eisht at night, after a cold and tedious journey. I have seen Cap" Barnard 
who Came from Salem yesterday, and ))rings word that our family there is Well. 
My Sister is here waiting with me for wind and weather, and I believe M'' Fairfax 
may get a conveyance with M''. Wolcott. I am now at i^l^ Gee's,* and from what 
I can"perceive at present, I know of no Disadvantage it will be for you to Come 
home at y'-' time you first proposed, and I do assure you that your absence so Long 
will not lie a Little burdensome to me. My Duty to Father and ]\lot]ier, Love to Beny 
and Serv'e to Mr's Fairfax and all friends, and most tender Love to y"' Self. If M^. 
Fairfax's* Letter should be Longer than mine, dont you impute it to a greater de- 
gree of affection and Concern lor his Wife, but to his greater Leasure and Oppor- 
tunity, for I now use Industry to gain the time to write what is above, and to 


Dear Child, Your most tender afiectionate 
husband and faithful friend, 
Boston [Illegible] 10, 1733. Ben^ Marston. 

[Illegiblej this letter. 

It appears from the town records that in the year " 1726, Nov. 15* Ben- 
jamin Marston of Salem, Gent" bought from Jn° Knowlton, Manchester, 
for £600, his farm of 60 acres, 2 dwelling-houses, &c, on the great neck in 
s'd town at Gales point, bounded on laud of Rev. Amos Cheever, Man"" &c." 

1 " Samuel Fisk, H. C. 1708. Minstr. of First Con^rcsational Church.— Benjamin Pres- 
cot, Minr. of Middle Precinct C'h.— Peter Clark, Min'r of Village C'li.—Wm. Jenuison, 
H. C. 1724, mn'r of Eiist C'h."— Felt's Annals of Salem. 

2 Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Daniel, and Sarah (Appleton) Rogers, married Pclcg Wis- 
wall, Esq., of Boston; he was graduated at H. C. 1702, and died at Boston Sept. 2, 1767- 
She was a cousin of Benjamin Marston's mother. 

3 This was a " memorial ring," ordered to he made after the death of his mother. It is 
now in my possession, and is a handsome gold and black enamel, with grey hau- under a 
glass, and an inscription on the outside in Roman letters : 

P. Marston, Ob. 22 May, 1731. M. 55. 

4 The Rev. Joshua Gee, of Boston, a colleague in the ministry with the Rev. Dr. Cotton 
Mather, married Sarah Rogers, daughter of the Rev. Nathaniel R., of Portsmouth, N. H. 
She died 1730, aged 29."— Rev. J. L. Sikley. 

o "William Fairfax continued collector of customs in Salem, 1733. "In 1734, June 
3d, he moved to Virgima^ where he was a patron of George Washington."— /'ert'* Annals, 
vol. ii. p. 380. 



"March 13, 1733. Benj" Marston Esq' Salem, bo't of Rev"^ Amos 
Cheevei' Man'''"' for £575. GO acres upland & s. m. on Pickworth's jJoint." 

" June 14, 1734. Benj" Marston, Salem, High Sheriff, ho' of Sam' Griffin, 
Gloucester, a dwelling-house in Glouc'^ formerly Jethro Wheelers for 

" March 27. 1736. Ben'' M. ^/ec-J— Salem, on the 18"> June, 1718, sold for 
£250, to Jn*' Brown Esq^ the Great and Little Misery cont^ 70 or 80 acres, 
subject to condition that the same be p"* with interest by June 5, 1722. 
The conditions not being complied with, & s'd Benj" M. & Jno. Brown & 
Sam' Brown Ex"' of Jno. being all dec'd, the same is sold by the heirs of sd. 
Jno. Brown to Benjamin, only son of sd Benj° dec'd, for £510.13.9." 

In the year 1740, Col. Marston sold his "Brick house in Salem to 
Samuel Gardner," and removed to Manchester, where, by " purchases made, 
from time to time, as he found it convenient to buy," he had acquired a large 
and valuable property, known for a long time afterward as the " Marston 
fjirm."* There he passed the rest of his days, attending principally to 
agricultui'al jiursuits and the cultivation of his estate ; but also " findin<'- 
time to spend among his books ; fond of literary and religious conversa- 
tion ; with a place at his table for any friend who w^ould favor him with a 
visit ; and at least a cup of cold water, and perhaps something more, for 
any ])oor brother who solicited his charity." 

And there, " attended by his wife, and all his children, and other rela- 
tions," he died, on the 22d day of May, 1754, aged 57 years, 2 months and 
28 days. His wife, Elizabeth Winslow, survived him seven years, and died 
in Salem, Sept. 20, 1761, aged 53 years, 9 months and 7 days. Their 
children were : 

i. Benjamin, 1). Sept. 20 ; m. Sarah Sweet, of Marblehead, Nov. 13, 1755 ; 

d. Aug. 10, 1792. 
ii. Elizabeth, b. ]Nhirch 4, 1732; m. William Wa^wn, of Plymouth, 17.56. 
iii. Patiknce, b. Jan. 2, 1733; m. Elkanah Watson, of Plymouth, Oct. 

1754 ; d. April 20, 1767. 
iv. Sarah, b. March 19, 1735 ; d. unmarried, 1770. 
v. John, b. 1740 ; d. April 22, 1761. 

vi. LiJCiA, b. 1747; m. John Watsun, of Plymouth, 1769; d. 1793. 
vii. WiNSLOW, b. 1749; d. Sept. 6, 1755. 

The following is a copy of his will, taken from the certified copy furnished 
by the register to his son : 

In the name of God, Amen. I Benjamin Marston of Manchester in the County 
of Essex, Esq^ being sick and in a low Estate of Health as to my bodj', but thanks 
be to God of a disposing mind & memory, And calling to mind the frailty & uncer- 
tainty of my Life Do make and Ordain tins my Last Will and Testament. 

Imprimis. Comiting my Soul to God, and my body to the dust to be buried, at 
the discretion of my Executors Trusting to it's Kesurrection to a Glorious Immor- 
tality, thro : the Merrits of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I Will that all my 
Just debts and Funeral Charges be paid by my Executors hereafter named. 

' This farm was owned, in 1839, by Major Builey Smith. 


Item. I give unto my beloved Wife Elizabeth One sixth part of the Rents or 
Income of the Island called the Misery during her lile. And tlie third part of y« 
Income of the Farm at Mauchester and (jf y^ Stock and Utensils tliereon, during the 
time she lives thereon or Improves it. I also give her the Service of my Negro Man 
Isaac during her Life. And after her death 1 give him to that Child of mine he 
shall chuse to live with, such child paying his Brethren & Sisters Each a share equal 
of his or her own of what the s'^ Negro siiall then be thought worth. 

Item. I give to my Son Benjamin Ten pounds Lawful money. 

Item. I give unto Each of my other Cliildren, namely, Elizabeth, Patience, Sarah, 
John, Lucy & Winslow — Fiv<^pounds lawful money to be paid by my Executors in 
Convenient time after my decease. 

Item. I Will that after y« Death of my sd AVife the sd sixth part of y'^ profits & 
Rents of y"^ s'd Island shall be vested in the Committee for Indian affairs for the 
propagating the Gospel anumg tlie Indians, by them to be improved & applied to 
that puri)ose & no other Forever.^ 

Item All y^' remainder of my Estate both Real personal & mixt I give to my Chil- 
dren to be divided among them according to y^ Laws of this Province for y" distribu- 
tion of y^ Estates of Intestates In y<= following manner — vidt. To my Son Benjamin a 
Double Share or one fourth part thereof. To Eli/> Patience. Sarah. John. Lucy & 
Winslow. Each one Eighth jjart thereof. To hold to them their heirs & assigns lor- 

Item I hereby constitute & ordain my well beloved Wife Eliz'' & my Son Benjamin 
y*' Executors of this my Last Will and Testament. And I hereby give them and y« 
Survivor of them full power to sell y whole or part of my Real Estate as well as 
personal if they think fit. the Interest or Income of one third part of the money 
that shall arise upon such sale to be for y<= use of my sd Wife during her life. And 
yfi other two third parts of such jNIoneys as shall so arise shall be distributed among 
my sd Children according to the manner and pr()portion aforesaid. And after my sd. 
Wifes Death the remaining third part shall also be distributed among them in the 
same manner. 

Finally I hereby declare this to be my Last Will and Testament And in Witness 
thereof liereunto set my hand & seal Tliis Twenty third Day of April Anno Domini 
One Thousand seven hundred & Fifty four. 

Benjamin Marston. [Seal.] 

Signed seal'd & Declared by y<^ s'd Benj" Marston y'^ Testator to be his last Will & 
Testament in presence of us Jeremiah Allen. KnotMartain. Tbo'* Martain. Knot Mar- 
tain Jr. 

A Codicil was made, ]May 4, 1754, providing for " y^ Distribution of y^ Estate of 
any of the children wdio sh'd die without Issue," — signed in presence of Nath' Rog- 
ers, Sam' Allen, & Jerem'^ Allen. 

This will was proved " before The IIon« Tho^ Berry Esq'= Judge of Probate of 
Wills &c, Essex co Salem, July 11"^ 1754." & signed 

Dan'. Appleton Reg-' Tuo^ Berry, Judge &c. 

A true Copy of Record. Dan^ Appleton, Reg''. 

A gravestone erected to his memory, in the Manchester burying-ground, 
bears the foUowmg inscription, dictated by himself: 

" Col'. Benjamin Marston lies here, 
Who died May 23'' 1754 being 57 years old. 
Art thou curious, Reader, to know 
What sort of a Man he was? 
Wait till the Day of Final Retribution, 
And then thou mayest be satisfied." 

» " Mr. Marston, at his decease, in 1754, left part of tlie income from the islands to a 
proposed Society in New-England for Propagating the Gospel among Indians. But, in a 
few years afterward, the king refused, from political motives, to sanction the act for this 
association.*' — Felt's An7ials, vol. i. p. 240, 



The following inscription is taken from the gravestone of his wife, in the 
Salem burying-ground : 

" Here lye reposited in hope of a Resurrection to an Immortal life, the 
Remains of Madam Elizabeth Marston, the Wife of the hon'b'*^ Benjamin 
Marston Esq. once of this place, and daughter of the hon'lV'^ Isaac Winslow, 
Esq. of Marshiield. She died September 20"\ 1761, in her 53d year." 

In the same burying-ground are the following : 

" Here lies y** Body of Winslow Marston, son of Col°^ Benjamin Marston 
Esq. and Mrs. Elizabeth his Wife. Died Sept. y'^ 6th, 1755, aged 6 years." 

" In memory of John Marston the second son of Beuj" Marston Esq. 
and Mrs. Elizabeth Marston. He died April 2 2d in his 21st year and is 
here buried." 


Benjamin Marston, the third of this name and family, was the 
oldest son of the last mentioned Benjamin and Elizabeth ( Wlnsloiv) 
Mauston, and was born in Salem, September 30, 1730. He was gra- 
duated at Harvard College in 1749. No accounts of his early life have been 
preserved, but it seems probable, from some expressions in his later letters, 
that after he left college he visited some of the other British colonies in 
this country, and afterward travelled in Europe. At his father's death, 
in 1754, he and his mother were appointed executors of the will, and on 
the 11th of July, in the same year, " the said w^ill w^as proved, approved & 
allowed, & y*^ said executors accepted that trust." It is recorded in the 
Essex Registry that, on "the 12"" of Dec"", 1754, Benjamin Marston & 
Elizabeth, widow of Benjamin Marston of Manchester, executors of s** Benj". 
bo't from Jn° & Mary Foster of Salem 170 acres of land in Manchester, 
known as the Marston Farm," which had been sold to Foster to enable them 
to effect a legal division of the estate among the heirs. 

The town-records of Marblehead show that Benjamin Marston and 
Sarah Sw^eet were married there Nov. 13, 1755. She was the " daughter 
of Joseph, & Hannah Sweet, & was bap-^ 1^' c'h, M'b'lh'd, Feb^ 23^ 1734-5." 
Joseph Sweet, her father, made his will March 20, 1744-5, proved April 15 
following, — in which he mentions his (2d) " wife Hannah" (his first wife was 
named Martha) ; sons Joseph and Samuel ; daughters Huth, wife of 
Robert Hooper ; Hannah, wife of Joseph Lemmon ; Martha, Sarah, & 
Rebecca. After his decease, his widow Hannah married, prior to 1748, 
Samuel Lee, Esq., who, says the record, was a very wealthy mei'chant, and 

" owned many warehouses." He died July G, 1753. His son Jeremiah/ 
by his first wife, Mary Tarrin, married Martha, daughter of Joseph Sweet, 
a sister of Mrs. Benj. Marston, June 25, 1745. 

After his marriage Benjamin Marston " settled down " in Marblehead, 
where, for many years, he carried on a large and successful business as a 
merchant. From the " schedule of his property " which he sent to my 
father, and from other papers, it appears that, when he left this country in 
1775, he owned a "store in King Street," and other stores and warehouses; 
and jointly with his " partners," — who I suppose were his brothers-in-law, 
Robert Hooper and Jeremiah Lee, — " several large ships," one of which was 
called " the Salisbury," " Cap'. Jn". Bartlett," and was " in the London 
trade ; " besides other vessels. He also owned " a pleasant and commodious 
dwelling-house, and much real estate and other property, in Marblehead, 
and elsewhere." He also had a large and well selected library, partly in- 
herited from his father, and partly purchased for him in London. A few of 
his books are now in my possession, and some of them, especially the Latin 
and Greek authors, contain marginal and fly-leaf annotations, evincing ac- 
curate and critical scholarship. Here he continued to live for twenty years, 
actively engaged in business, occasionally " getting a visit from his Ply- 
mouth and Boston friends," and enjoying the good things which God had 
given him, in a sober, useful, and religious manner. According to the ac- 
counts of his relatives and connections, who have themselves long since 
passed away, he was considered by his friends and neighbors as " a man 
of pure life, and great integrity of character, active in business, ener- 
getic in public matters, hospitable and benevolent in private ; " "a great 
reader and scholar, and fond of literary pursuits ; always occupying one 
of the most respectable positions in society, and greatly esteemed by all 
who knew him." 

From the town-records of Marblehead we gather the following : " Ben- 

1 Extract from the records of my late Ijrotlicr Benjamin Marston Watson : " Colonel 
Jeremiah Lee, the third Son of my Great-Grand-Fathcr, Samuel Lee, was i-ettlrd at Mar- 
lilehead as a merchant, and was engaged in a most extensive eouiniereial Inisnie.^s at 
the period of the Revolution ; probably at that time more extensive than that of any 
other merchant m the then British colonies. My father, Marston Watson, served his 
mercantile apprenticeship with him at Marblehead, which was unlinished at the time of 
Col. Lee's death, which occurred in 1775. He was a member of the colonial congress of 
Massachusetts, which was in session at Watertown, when, upon an alarm being given of 
the approach of the British forces, the Congress dispersed; and he, having concealed 
himself in a swamp, thereby took cold, which was the cause of his death. The following 
notice of his death is extracted from the South Carolina Gazette of June 20, 1775 :— ' Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts Bay, May 18. On Wednesday morning, 10th instant, died at New- 
ton, near Ncwliury, Jereiniah Lee, Esq., of Marblehead, a member of the Committee of 
Safety, one of the most eminent merchants on the Continent, and a distinguished and, 
resolute asserter and defender of the liberties of his country. We hear he has left tlic Pro- 
vince a legacy of £2000 sterling.' Col. Jeremiah Lee built that" large and elegant mansion 
house, now owned by the Marljlehead Banlc, which was his place of residence at the time 
of his death. At that period, the editice had just lieen completed, and was considered 
the most elegant and exi ensively tinished house in the British colonies, and was reported 
to have cost £10,000 sterling." 


jamin Marston was chosen selectman and overseer of the poor" thirteen 
times in the fifteen years, 1759 to 1773 inchisive ; " assessor in 1760 : " " fire- 
ward," twelve times in fourteen years ; and " moderator of town meetings," 
fourteen times in the eight years between 1765 and 1774. "March 26% 
1759," he was one of ' a coiii'^'' to take under consideration y** aifair of a 
workhouse, & make estimate of y*' charge of erecting such workh*, & y® 
advantages & disadvantages that may arise to y'' town thereby," &c. In 
1765, he was one of a "cofn*^ to examine into y"^ state of y* several schools 
in M'bleh'd : also to consider what alterations are j^roper to be made with 
respect to y^ market in y^ lower part of the town-house : — also to examine 
 and straighten the lines of several estates, and to examine into y^ titles of 
j" same." 

On the 13th of Februarys, 1768, an act of the parliament imposing duties on 
certain articles imported into the colonies having received the royal assent; 
the house of representatives of JNIassachusetts protested against the course 
of the 25arliament in exacting duties from the king's American subjects, 
*' with the sole and express purpose of raising a revenue ; " and addressed 
a circular letter to the other jirovincial assemblies, inviting their concurrence 
in measures of relief from the late obnoxious legislation of the parliament.* 
On the 21st of June, Governor Bernard informed the house that he was in- 
structed to require them " to rescind the resolution which gave birth to the 
circular letter, and to declare their disa})probation of and dissent to that 
rash and hasty jiroceeding." On tlie oOtli the house informed him " that 
they had voted not to rescind, and that on a division on the question there 
were ninety-two nays, and seventeen yeas," — numbers which afterward were 
much rei)eated. The majority' were lauded through the country and 
toasted as " the glorious ninety-two." At a town meeting in JNIarblehead, 
*' 1768, Mr. Benjamin Marston was chosen one of a Coiri*^ to frame a 
letter of thanks to the ninety-two members of the house of repres^for their 
steady resolution in maintaining the rights and privileges of the government, 
and resisting the aggressions of the mother country." 

In the year 1769, many of the towns in Massachusetts "instructed their 
representatives to act for the repeal of the English tax law, and a renewal 
of harmony with the mother country. " * At the May town meeting of 
that year, in Marblehead,* " Benjamin Marston was chosen one of a Coiri'^ 
to draw up " instructions " for their newly elected representative (Joshua 
Orne), to do all in his power to help heal the unhappy breach with Eng- 
land, and to have matters once more replaced upon their ancient footing, 

1 Palfrey's Compend. History of New-England. 

Felt's Annals. 
3 Felt's Annals, vol. ii. p. 540. 
•* Town-Records. 


and avoid every measure which may tend to weaken that 'union which at 
present subsists between the several British colonies in America." 

After this time, however, when the troubles which preceded our Ameri- 
can revolution began to increase, the confidence of his fellow-townsmen in 
Mr. Marston appeal's to have been withheld. They still chose him the mode- 
rator' of all their town-meetings, but we do not find that he was again ap- 
pointed on any important committee. He was known to be " an uncompromis- 
ing adherent to the lawful government of the British colonies in this country ; " 
but, as he violated no agreements, and never attempted to counteract the 
plans of the opposite party, though frecpiently and openly expressing his 
disapprobation of their violent proceedings, he was for some time unmolest- 
ed. At an early period, however, as if apprehensive of future diificulties, 
he began " to sell off some of his property " : " to Jos'" Foster & wife Eliza- 
beth, a house and land, bounded on land of new meeting-house ; " also a 
parcel of land near "new m^ house." "Feb. 23, 1771. To Humphry 
Devereaux, a wall-pew No. 2.5 in the new m» house, tlie G* pew, right 
hand of y*^ pulpit." And " Jan^ 19"', 1774, sold to Richard James a dwelling 
house and land formerly belonging to Nicholas Waltham dec'd, which house 
& land were set off to y^ sd Benjamin & Sarah Marston, in the division of 
the undivided real estate of late Jos. Sweet, Esq. dec'd, in a partition made 
by y*^ sd heirs of y'' sd Joseph, &c." ^ 

In the year 1774, when Governor Hutchinson was about to ^ail for 
England, " more than 200 merchants," lawyers, and other citizens of Boston^ 
Salem and Marblehead sent him addresses, apjjroving his administration, 
and desiring his prosperity. These expressions gave great offence to most 
of the people, and those who uttered them were called addressers" Ben- 
jamin Marston was one of the " addressers," and thus incurred the displea- 
sure of many of the towns-people. After that he was regarded with suspi- 
cion, and " sometimes harshly treated by the most noisy and turbulent 
among them." In the year 1775, his "house was visited by a Marblehead 
committee, who, without any legal authority, entered his doors, broke open 
his desks, embezzled his money and notes, and carried off his books and 
accounts." He made his escape from the town with difficulty, and probably 
remained for some time concealed among his friends in the neighborhood 
of Boston. A letter from "the Hon*'. W". Brown, in Boston, to Judge 
Sam' Curwen," a brother-loyalist, dated Jan. 8, 1776, contains the follow- 
ing •* — " About 2 months ago,"— that is, in the early part of November, 
1775, — " Mr. Marston of Marblehead came here, by night, from Col. Fowle's 

1 He was chosen " moderator of town meetings," twice in 1771; and three times in 
1773 ; and " selectman " in all those years. — Town-Records- 

2 Essex CO. Deeds. 

3 Felt's Annals, vol. ii. p. 551. 
* Curwen's Journal. 


farm. He knows nothiDw about Salem. His wife died last summer." — It 
is also known that in 1776 he went to St. John, New-Bnmswick ; and from 
a letter to his sister, Mrs. Lucia Watson, it appears he was in Windsor, 
Nova Scotia, in the same year. He thence went to Halifax, and there, 
according to a statement in the American Quarterly Reyhter^ " engaging 
in trade, and venturing to sea, he was taken prisoner, and carried into his 
native state, Plymouth (sic), and there continued until exchanged." What 
authority there may be for this statement does not appear ; but in one of 
his letters to his nephew, Marston Watson, he mentions " having sent goods 
to Mirimichi, for sale ; " another to his niece Elizabeth Watson is dated, 
"Boston, Feb^. 1G"\ 1777, written while in duress." From all that can 
now be ascertained respecting him, it seems most probable that he remained 
" in duress, in Boston," until he was exchanged, and then went to Halifax* 
"He returned to Boston in 1787, in the spring of which year he visited his 
friends in Plymouth for the last time, and soon after embarked for London." 
By the kindness of my esteemed kinswomen, the daughters of George 
Watson, Esq., I am permitted to publish the four following letters, copied 
from his records.' 

[bENJ" MARSTOX to his sister MRS. LUCIA WATSON.] 

" Windsor, Nova Scotia, May, 1770. 

" To you, my Lucia, with my picture in miniature. 

" Speed, little picture, quickly hence, and go, 
A Brotiier's likeness to lii.s Sister show ; 
Full to her view disclose his features all. 
And tell her thus appears th' original. 
Health and content enlivening liis face. 
Show that within his breast dwells balmy peace ; 
And tho" now exiled from bis native land, 
Driven from his home by Faction's cruel hand, 
lie still looks down on fickle fortune's power, 
Nor lets her frowns his equal temper sour. 
Still pleaged with life, chearful he spends each day, 
Enjojs each Heaven-sent blessing in his way. 
He still preserves a sympathizing heart. 
And to his neighbor's joy can help his part ; 
For man distressed can shed a pitying tear. 
And what he can't prevent can help to bear. 
Life's ocean thus he calmly passes o'er. 
Nor fears the landing on the other shore." 

" Accept, dear Lucia, this rough piece, 
To amuse you 't'is designed ; 
The ]dcture shows your Brother's face, 
This fragment shows his mind.^ 

B. Marston." 

» Vol. xiv. p. 167. 

2 " FaTuily Book" of George Watson, Esq., late of Roxbury, Mass. He was a son of 
John and Lucia (Marston) Watson. 

^ The miniature which accompanied this letter is now in the possession of my respected 
friend and kinsman Benjamin Marston Watson, Esq., of Plymouth, Mass. 



" Boston, Feby. 16, 1777. 

Written while in duress. 

" My Dear Niece, 

I have reC^ your very kind letter, wch gave me much real pleasure. 
Shall I any longer reckon that a misfortune wch has bru't me to be ac(|uainted wth 
so g )od a girl ? No, I will not, — for, unless what has happened to me, had happen- 
ed, I never should have been in a situation to have experienced your kindness, your 
friendship, & never perhaps should have known half your worth. 

" In the language of men, such accidents as have befalen me are called 7nis- 
forttines. But it depends upon ourselves, my dear Eliza, whether they shall be 
evils or not ; for if we take occasion from any ad vers'e situation to practice Patience, 
Fortitude, & a Resignation to y^ Divine Will, — to get y^ approbation of our own 
Hearts, & of the good and virtuous part of mankind, shall we then have any reason 
to complain of the hardness of our Lot? I think not ; — and if Virtue is a necessary 
condition of Ilaj^pini'ss (as I am much inchned to believe it is), can we ever obtain 
y<^ practice of it at too di^ar a rate? Surely, no. Let this great truth be strongly 
impressed upon our minds; That the Author of all things designs the best Good & 
Happiness of all, and that all the dispensations of his Providence, however dark 
& intricate to us short-sighted mortals, unerringly tend to that (jrand Point. Shall 
we then allow ourselves, for the sake of some temporary gratifications, to wish the 
order & course (jf things to be changed, and this Great, this Good Purpose to be 
suspended or thwarted? — . . . How much more noble to submit, — cheerfully 
to submit, — & thereby (as far I mean as we little creatures can) help forward the 
Great, ye Good design of Him who governs the Universe. 

" The thought is transporting, & I would with pleasure entertain you longer 
with it ; but the Objects which at present surround me, do not in the least lead iny 

mind to such elevated speculations. So here 1 drop them My 

dearest niece, adieu ! Heaven preserve you safe thro these dark perilous days, & 
place you in a situation agreeable to your wishes, is the ardent wish & prayer of 

Your very affectionate 

Uncle Marston." 

" Let me hear from you as often as you can — your letters I am sure will give me 

[bENJ°. marston to MRS. LUCIA WATSON.'] 

" My dearest Lucia, sister, and my friend, 

Whose tender heart a thousand fears invade, 
Lest my misfortunes ne'er should have an end, 

But each bad day a worse 'should still succeed, 
Dispel your grief, and drive your fears away ; 

Clear up your brow, and set your heart at rest ; 
For He, Whose will all nature does obey, 

Will ever order what for all is best. 
He ne'er will suffer burdens too severe 

To lay on any whom His hands have made ; 
But will for ever kindly interfere 

In their distress, and lend all needful aid. 
For passion ne'er impels the mind Divine 

Man to afflict : their good His only aim ; 
Then at His dealings let us not repine, 

But cheerfully submit, and bear the same. 
What tho affliction is a rugged soil. 

Yet are its products right, and good, and fair ; 

1 This niece of Mr. Marston subsequently became the wife of the Hon. Nathaniel Niles, 
of Fairlce, Vermont, who was some time in puljlic life. 

2 The date of this letter is lost, but it is supposed to have been written while the author 
was in duress, in Boston. 



And fully ■will reward our hardest toil, 

If we attend it with a proper care. 
For here alone we find the proper stage 

Wliereon our virtue and our strength to try ; 
And he who does not with his foe engage, 

Can never hope the crown of victory. 
Then let's not shrink when hardships on us lower ; 

Nor wait their coming trembling in our place ; 
But let's exert each active, vigorous power, 

And meet their onset with a manly face. 
Then shall we be to our own hearts approved, 

Conscious of virtue and of inward worth ; 
And those who have from heaven this boon received, 

Those— those are happy ! happy ! of a truth. 

B. Marston." 

[bENJ" MARSTOX to his brother-in-law JOHN WATSON, OF 


" These few lines come to let you know 
That 1 am well,^hope you are so. 
(From this true style epistolary. 
Ail goud writers ne"er should vary.) 
Also to give you inioi'mation 
Of my present situation ; 
Quite unlike yuurs, who, now at ease, 
Can ramble wlieresoe'er you please, 
In town or out — on foot, or nag on. 
To Church, to Burlie's. or the Dragon ; 
Can go see Turn, can dine witli Prince, 
At night beat Peter of his pence ; 
Who, with ill luck quite surly made. 
Growls like a bear with Imikcn liead. 
While I, poor de'il, am here confin'd, 
(A state which no way suits my mind) 
For being, — you know all the stor}% — 
A sad, incorrigil)Ie Tory. 
And being now so left i' the lurch, 
I cannot even go to Church, 
However, even let it run,— 
- 'Tis a long lane that has no turn. 
And when the tide is alf obb"d out, 
The next it does 'twill turn about. 
And fli)W as high, and sometimes more, 
As it low water was before. 
It is some comfort, when the course 
Of things is such they can't be worse, 
For tlie next change they then will take, 
Must certain for the better make. — 
AVell, don't you think reasons like these 
Enough to keep one's heart at ease? 
Some l)eing quaint old sayings too. 
And therefore twice as good as new. 
I '11 thus, to set my heart at rest. 
Of a bad bargain make the ))est. 
And yet it would some comfort be. 
If I could but an old friend see. 
With whom to sit awhile and chatter 
Of this and that and other matter ; 

This letter is supposed to have been written while the author was in duress. 


The many liappy lioui's count o'er 
Which we've eujuyed lievetol'ore. 
So if you will but hither come, 
We 11 add another to the 8uin, 
Then in my turn I'll also tell ye 
The accidents that have lielel me, 
And all the line thiiii^s I have seen, 
In all tlie places where I 've been ; 
AV^hich ril relate as certain true, 
As most all other Travellers do. 

Now love and service where 'tis due, 

But more especially to you. 

So, havin2; nothing more to send 

1 am, 'till death, your loving friend, 

B. Marston." 

[bENJ" marston to his sister MRS LUCIA WATSON.^] 

My Dear Sister, 

I received your kind letter, and am very glad to hear of your enjoying 
so good a dei^ree of Jlealth & Sjjirits (tho i/iat I learn from more comrauuicative 
pens than yours), when you have had much more to sink them than all my mis- 
fortunes ]>ut tt)gether. 

Dangers escaped and Hardships gone thro afford a pleasure on recollection. The 
tale is told with a degree of enjnyment & exultation, & He who can relate the most 
extraordinary adventures & most hair-breadth Escapes is allowed a kind of superiori- 
ty over his less adventurous brethren. 

But the calamities which sunder the close tyes of our Nature, The stroke which 
takes from us those who are parts of ourselves, must always when called to mind 
give a new pang to oi-r sorrows. The idea raises our tenderest feelings, — on our 
hearts a Sense of our Loss immediately makes a most painfidl impression. I truly 
& sincerely sympathise with you in the loss of your poor Boys, but am glad to 
find that so severe a Tryal has not affected the equal temper of your soul. I am 
also glad that their deaths were attended with circumstances which will always 
sooth that grief which the remembrance of thein must occasion. 

For my part 1 enjoy uninterrupted good health. The Hardships I have suffered 
have dona it no harm. Neither have the misfortunes which have befallen me, as 
yet induced me to speak contemptuously of those good Things of Lifie, which 
for the present are out of my Reach. So long as we conceive that the Events of 
the Universe are undw- the control of a Power, wise & Ijenevolent, we cannot con- 
sistently allow ourselves to rejjinc at our Lot. I should like exceedingly well a situa- 
tion less precarious, & less exposed. But if I can't have my Fortune to my mind, 
why then I will endeavcnir to accommodate my mind to my Fortune. Adversity has 
this one advantage at least over a more prosperous State of Things : which is, — 
That we may be sure that any share of Esteem & Regard w'ch we may have in the 
World is paid to our own selves, & not to that w'ch hangs about us : & This at least 
is soothing to our minds. 

I accept with ple.isure, my Good Brother, your kind concern for me, & every 
expression of your friendship. I hope w^e shall again have it in our power to pro- 
mote our mutual happiness in a more solid and real way than by meer wishes, but 
w'ch at present we cannot do. 

And you, my dear Girls, accept the only mark of my Friendship which I can 
now bestow, My most cordial & sincere wish for every thing that is good for you 
& yours. God bless you all, & be assured I am, with all truth and sincerity, 

10, 1782. Your very affectionate 

Ben. Marston. 

1 His youngest sister, wife of John Watson, Esq., of Plymouth, Mass. 


Very little is known respecting his movements after he left this country. 
In one of his letters to his brother-in-law he compares England unfavora- 
bly with " other countries that he liad seen ; " and this seems to render it 
probable that he had been on the Continent of Europe, perhaps for the 
purpose of settling some business accounts with his correspondents in 
Amsterdam, Hamburg, Bilboa, and Malaga. If so the funds which he 
may have thus collected, and the small proceeds of sales of property res- 
cued from confiscation by his friends in this country, must have been almost 
the only source from which he could have derived any means of support. 
However this may have been, it is very certain that he suffered great pri- 
vations and hardships, from poverty and destitution, and from inability to 
procure employment ; and tliat he never solicited or received any pecuniary 
relief froiu the Bi-itish government. 

While he was living in England he corresponded occasionally with his 
brothers-in-law, John, William, and Ellianah Watson, and their families in 
Plymouth, Mass., and also with his nephew, Marston Watson, of Marble- 
head. Some of his letters have been preserved in the family, and a few of 
tliem here follow ; they may serve, in some degree, to show the bearing and 
spirit which he exhibited while enduring the penalties of his honest but 
mistaking judgment respecting the great events which terminated in our 
national indejiendence. 


My dear Marston, London, March 10"', 1791. 

I wrote you about a twelve month since, as 1 did at the same time to 
Brother John Watson & to Lucia, hut liavirig heard from none ol'you 1 am suspicious 
that my k'tters must liavemiscarryod,or I thiiiiv 1 should have heard I'roin some of you.* 

The subject of my letters to you & Bro. Watson was most earnestly to beg you 
both to sett to in earnest ahout settlinir all my N. England afi'airs, selling aU my 
property, piiying all my dehts, and if anything is lelt to send it to me. I now 
re])eat my request with lulditional earnestness, for I want to know if I shall have 
any thing left for me in your quarter to help me now tliat I am fast verging 
towards old age. — Prs^y, my dear JNIarston, pay attention to my request, w'ch 1 
am sure you will, when you consider that you will be helping the only surviving Bro. 
of your Mother : who, after a series of hardships, misfortunes & disappointments, 
for y-' space of near 16 years, has not, now that he has passed his GOth year, a place 
that he can command to \nx Ins head. 

You or Brotiier Watson have my power for selling all my real Estate. If that 
should be by any accident lost, Still Go on to sell, 1 will absolutely confirm Avhat- 
ever yoa shall do in the business. I have inclosed a Schedule of my affairs that 
you may have some general plan to direct your operations by. 

You'll observe that I have made a large allowance of interest in most cases. 
This you must fight off as much as you can, — if yuu can't all — why then what you 
can. I think there was a time in your State when interest could not be recovered 
against your own People by Foreigners : During that interval, at least, I should 
think they ought not to demand it, For Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander. 

^ In a letter dated April 24th of the same year he writes, " Which letter I .sent in a Ship 
w'ph was lost on the l-'rench Coast." 


Or was that law made for friends only ? However, do for me as well as you 
can, — you'll find my affairs in a narrow compass — you won't have many People to 
deal with. 

It may be necessary to observe a few things to you. I find CoP. Lee's heirs had 
attach'd some of my proix'rty as interest of Jos. Hooper's ni n)y hands. I owe 
him but about £10 or 12 Lm. 'tis true tliere was a large aec". vs. me in his 
book, but those articles were delivered in payment of a note of hand of Jos. to 
me for £146 13 4. Lm. in consideration of y"^ last piece of land I sold him to the 
eastward of his house lot. This note was lost or embezzled when the jNlhd com- 
mittee seized upon my books & papers — as many other pa])ers with my last cash 
books were — for that never came with the rest of my books w^^^ were sent me. If 
Col' Lee's heirs avail themselves of this circumstance & take so much of my pro- 
perty as Jos. interest, 'tis so much taken from me lor nothing, for I owe liim no 
more than above recited, & if they have done it. They ought in justice to refund it, 
or tliey'U be guilty of what I think them not capable of seriously intending : the 
doing a great injury to an unfortunate man wlio by accidents w^'' he could not pre- 
vent is unable to defend his right. 1 think when they know the truth they will 
do me right. 

Henry Gallaison has my acct. vs. his Father & vs. the owners of the Salisbury 
down to the last voyage inclusivelj'. I tliink something is due to me tliere. See 
how that affair stands. My letter to him with the acc^ will ex])lain the wliole 
matter. — \Vhen 1 left jMhd in '75 I put a note of £30 l.ui. due from y-' Select-men 
of Kindge in New-Hampshire into Bro. Sweet's hands, he was to collect the money 
& pay £25 of it to Jos. Lee & Co. of Beverly. Pi'ay hunt up that matter & do what 
may be necessary therein. I have, I think, sent you Mr. Sweet's account before, 
but least I should be mistaken I have made such an abstract of it as I could 
from memory only. Therefore any wrong computations must be made rigiit & the 
bl'nks be properly filled up. 

Your aunt Sally Marston left a will in wch she bequeathed two Legacies of £50 
each to the poor of the two Chhes in Plimouth. Now Chhs in N. E. are not bodies 
corporate, therefore can have no poor, & tiiereibre those two legacies are impossibles, 
being made to non-existents. Your Aunt's intention was doubtless a Itenevoknt 
one, to help some individuals of y"-' CIdis wliom she migiit know to be in Indigent 
circumstances. But as they must e'er now be out of tlie reach, as well as want of 
all human charity, I am for stopping the money in our own hands. I don't see 
any injury done to any one in so doing, nor do I think it any breach of y<^ spirit of 
her will, & therefore declare against paying it, if it can be avoided. I am full as 
poor as any of those Chh members whom ii^ally intended her benevolence for, 
& if she were to make her will now she would think me as much an object of her 
cliarity. As to allowing Interest on what may be due to her estate, I hope my 
Brethren will consider my misfortunes. However 1 leave it with them. In the 
case of my debts to D''. Toppan's heirs, as they have denied any demand, I think 
they ought to be content with their simple debt, being ol)liged to tlie Integrity 
of the Debtor for their money. Should they still refuse to take the money you need 
not force it upon them. 

I should be gjad if it would suit you for you to take all my real Estate, 'twould 
be a satisfaction to me to have it go in the Line of the family. As to its value, I 
can be no judge after such a change of circumstances. Make your own terms. Or 
if that would be putting too much upon you. Let Col' Orne, Tho* Lewis, or any 
other two or three of my acquaintance or other Judicious men fix the value. I shall 
be satisfyed with what they may do. In 1784 I sent up to Bro. John Watson or to you 
ye following acct" viz. — Jn" Burnam — Tho. Bootman's — Major Pederick's James 
Mugford's— Uncle PJb'' Stacy's — Rob' Hooper 3tius— Col' Orne's — D''. Lowel's— Jos. 
Lecifc Co, of Beverly — let them all be adjusted. 

Mrs. Marston conveyed to me all her estate in the N. E. end of her Father Sweet's 
mansion-house & Bootman's farm, for wch purpose they were first conveyed to Isaac 
Mansfield jun' & by him to me. The deed to him was recorded. His to me was 
not on acct. of the confusions then taking place. I believe Old Squire Mansfield has 
that deed : hunt it up & have it recordetl. — Presuming that my affixir w"' my cuzen 
Story has been settled according to my Statement, 1 have estimated my mother Lee's 


debt about £50, but this with all submission to the Referees award. — I left in 
Bootniiin's care in '75, 3 Looking Glasses, all my China and Glass Ware. If any 
of tliem are left, Let them all be sold for y^ most they 'II fetch. 

There is among my 
Pewter a Dish with 
the Winslow's arms 
engraved upon the 
Rim : y*^ is also a 
Small 8 Sf^ : looking 
Glass ^ wth a black 
frame : — & a large 
Oaken Chest." These 
once belonged to my 
Grand Father AV ins- 
low of Marslifield, & 
were brot out of Eng- 
land by his Grand: 
Father at the first set- 
tlement of Plymouth. 
If they are yet in be- 
ing as I lioi)e they are, 
take care of them & 
if any Opp" presents send tliem down to A. Krunswic to the care of WardChipman, 
Esqe St. John's. AIs.) Hartley s Essaj- on Man, 2 vols. 8™. 

I am sincerely tired of England, but liow to get out of it is the question : without 
the means 'tis impossible, & nt presi-nt I am witiiout y'". I have about 12 m'^ since 
fallen into an emi)loyment of 50 Guineas a year & sulisistence. This by the end of 
the year will en;il)lt! me to discliarge"some arrears for necessaries when 1 was witiiout 
any means of subsistence. Mj' Health & Vigor, with all my mental powers, are, 
Thank God, uidiurt : I am as fit for any arduous enterprize as I ever was. 

M'. Robie was in Laidon tliis winter. L saw him a few times only, & did not 
kni)w till since Ids departure that be intended returning & residing at Mhd. I owe 
him a))!)ut £!)■) Illfx carr> wth interest from ab;)ut 1st Dec. 1786. I iiave added 
his delit to the Schedule, & I wish you wnuld take care of him as well as of my 
other Creditors. My debt to him and the Deliloises is for Goods W^^'' 1 carryed to 
jNlirimichi and sold y""', but too late to get paid that Season. 1 have about £300 there 
in good hands wch 1 eonld collect if I cou'd go tliither, but for want of means of 
goinir, that property is all useless to me: so tliat if you slumld so succeed in settling 
my affairs as to iiave a surplusage, it would help me more ways than one. 

iSJy dear JNIarston, I think you don't need me to use any arguments to urge you 
to compleat all my affairs. I therefore have only to add, — God bless you & 
j'ours is the sincere wish of 

Your very affectionate Uncle 

Ben. Marston. 

' The " small 8 Sq: lookins-slass,"and the "large oaken cliest," here mentioned, have 
heen carefnily preserved to the present time and arc still in the possession of our family. 
There is also a wcddiui? slipper of Penelope Pelliani, who married Josiah the son of Ed- 
ward Winslow. It was iiiven to my brother, the late B. M Watson, "to transmit to i)os- 
terity," \>y my grandfaihcr Watson, whose wife was Patiince Marston. — I have never 
known what l)cc:une of the " dish, with the Winslow's arms engraved upon the rim," and 
shall be very glad to olttain any information al)0ut it. 

^ The following is the inscription on the brass plate on the old oaken chest, of which a 
wood cut is in the text of this article : 

" This Chest 
was brought to Plymouth in the Ship May-Flower, December 22d, 1620, by Edward 
Winslow, afterwards Governor of Pl.vmoutli Colony, and from liim, through his great- 

Elizabeth Wixslow, 
daughter of the Hon. Isaac Winslow, of Marshtield, ami wife of Benjamin Marston, Esq* 
of Salem, Essex County, and afterward of Manchester, Mass., descended to her great- 
grandson, Benjamin Marston Watson, of the City of Boston, its present possessor, who 
has affixed this plate and inscription this 20th day of June, in the year of our Lord 1»30." 


P. S. I believe there is something due to our old butcher — Parson Waitt, as we 
used to call him. Inquire into it. l'"^ is an acc^ open with him in my book, but 
I've no idea how much. Settle it'as well as you can. 

Should you have any thing to send me, Piemit it to Lane, Son & Frazier, 
mercliMn London, for my acC". — Any lettei-s to nie must be directed to No. 41 
Oxl'ord Street, London, where they will be taken care of. 


London, March 19'^ : 1792. 
My Dear Sister, 

It was with singular satisfaction I rec<^. your letter by Cap°. Davis, which 
1 should have answered bei'ore now, but that 1 had no account to send you which 
could give j'ou any pleasure to read. That circumstance is now altered, and I now 
sit down and write to you with great satisfaction. For I have at lengtli fairly 
waded thru the S/outjh of Despond. I am now landed on the opposite side, & shall 
go on mj' way rejoicing. Having once more" emerged into active Life. 

In fact I am engaged to go out with a large Company who are going to make a 
Settlement on the Ihind Pulam on the coast of Africa, as thfir Laud Surveyor 
(General, on a pretty good lay. I have 60X ster. pr ann. & Subsistence (wch is no 
great Salary for such an emijlojaiient) & 500 acres of Land without any expence to 
me, — others pay £30. for that quantity, and Proprietors who reside in Lngland 
ifiO. Put this land will be worth £500. as soon as the company shall have 
establislied themselves on the Ground by building their houses &c which They will 
soon do as They go out prepared for every thing in great force. 

But my expectations are cliiefly from events wch This Settlement will give rise 
to, The great Object of whicli is to found a great commercial System with the 
Native Africans on reciprocal advantages, To cut up by the roots that most wicked 
traffic. The Slave trade, whicli all 'flesh in this country are strongly setting their 
faces against— W. India planters. & Guinea Merchants excepted — and which will 
most certainly be eventually abolished. 

With common industry This Settlement must succeed & that in a Short time,^ 
The soil is so fertile, & the natural productions so valuable, — Sugar cane of the best 
quality — Cotton, of divers kinds, all valuable — Indigo — Colfee, are among its 
Spontaneous productions, & in great abundance, — Rice is produced twice a year, — ^ 
Indian Corn flourishes exceedingly, — so that I shall once more enjoy the luxury of 
roas/iny ears, & boiled corn & beans, — Yams, — sweet potatoes, — all the Tropical 
fruits, — with poultry & all kinds of Game without number. 

No expedition could have hit my taste & humour more exactly than such an one 
as this promises to do. It is so much of the Robinson Crusoe kind, that 1 prefer it 
vastly to any employment of ecpial emolument & of a more regular kind that might 
have been offered to me in this country. In fact I am truly glad that I can leave 
England, of which I am heartily tired. It is in most respects inferior to every 
country I have ever seen, — excepting what the Art, Skill & Industry of Its Inhabi- 
tants have done for it, — which has not yet, — nor never can — procure for it Bright 
Suns & Serene Skies. 

You say you have mourned me as dead <5f buried. In truth, my dear Sister, I 
have been much w^orse off. I have, for more than four years been bvrycd a/ire. But 
God in Ilis merciful providence, has at last raised me up again to active useful Life, 
for which I feel myself sincerely thankful. 

As to gratifying your wish in making my native country the residence of the 
remainder of my days, it is not at present in my power to do, for want of means. 
But was that otherwise-^ in this day of Enterprize, Revolution & Adventure, I ieel 
myself more gratifyed in being engaged in some active Scene tho arduous, than I 
cou'd possibly be in w^hat is called a calm retreat. That Rambling humour which 
Avas born with me, — & which has never yet been fully gratifyed — being now 
unrestrained by any local connexions, will be yet prompting me to engage in 
adventures which will carry me to new scenes, especially while I have vigor of 
body & mind capable of fatigue & ajiplication — & of that I yet find no decay. — (I 
write & read yet by candle light, without Glasses.) In this I follow my natural 

' Wife of William Watson, Esq., of Plymouth, Mass., Collector of Customs. 


bent, for there is not remaining the least resentment in my mind to the Country, 
because the party whose side I took in the late great Revolution, did not succeed, 
for I am now f'lillj^ convinced It is better for the world that they have not. For it 
is the foundation, — the first step, to what has since followed in France, — & of many 
others yet in Embryo in the other European Kingdoms, in almost all of which the 
fermentation is already begun, — & it will proceed till all Usurpation., all Lordino- of 
one over many, both in Spirituals & Temporals, will be entirely wrot olf & 
despumated, & Man be left master of himself. The very expedition I am engaged 
in is a link in the same great chain, and with some others of the same kind already 
begun in Africa, is the dawn of Light, Knowledge & Civilization to those regions of 
Darkness, Ignorance, & Barljarity. To be aiding in bringing about such events, 
tho even confined to the humble Station of a Surveyor of Lands, is more eligible, & 
in fact more meritorious than to be at the head of 100,000 disciplined cut-throats, 
murdering one's fellow creatures, to gratify the ambition, malice & avarice of some 
Great Scoundrel & Rascal, called King or Emperor. 

I don't mean by this to pay any compliment to the first instigators of our 
American Revolution. Although it has eventually been of such advantage to 
JSlankind, 1 should as soon tliink of erecting monuments to Judas Iscariot, Pontius 
Pilate, & the Jewish Sanhedrim for betraying and crucifying the Lord of Life, 
because that event was so importantly & universally beneficial. 

I am glad, my dear Sister, to find you have so much Faith, Patience, & good 
Sense, as to bear your adverse fortune with so much equanimity, & don't think 
yourself wretched, tho you have been Stripped of your property. Misfortunes 
cease to be so when we use them as opportunities of exercising Patience, Fortitude 
& reiuly Submission to tiie will of Providence. And 'tis wonderful how soon we 
acquire the habits of those Virtues, if we have but the good Sense to find out how 
many Tilings we can do without, I am exceedingly glad that in the midst of all your 
disasters, j\I''. Watson has been so fortunate as to get an employment of a public 
kind, that procures you a comfortable sujjport. 

I tiiank you, my Good Brother, very heartily, for your fraternal Sj-mpathy, & 
your kind ilisposition to assist me under my misfortunes. The Heart of a Friend is 
of more value, more to be esteemed, than a thousand favors bestowed by hands 
which have no feeling lor us. 

My dear Brother & Sister, adieu. Thank God that you have gotten so far thro 
your journey & so well: — that those, for whcmi j'ou would be naturally moi'e 
concerned than for j'ourselves, are well provided for, — otherwise That would be a 

:reat weight upon your minds. But now you have none to care for but yourselves. 

lake youi-selves therefore as comfortable as you can & leave the rest to Provi- 

. Remember me very kindly to M". Xiles,^ & M", Davis, — to Bro. Elkan''. & his 
dtrs. — poor Lucia,'- 1 am sorr^' for her — however Avhat God sends is best for us all. 
To His care & good Providence I heartily commend you all, & am with the greatest 

Your affectionate Bro, 

Ben : Marston. 

The company, with which Mr. Marston "had engaged to go out as land 
surveyor," was composed of a number of individuals of various characters 
and conditions, associated together, — without any charter from the govern- 
ment, — for the purpose of making a British settlement at Bulama, an island 
on the western coast of Africa, about 20 miles from Sierra Leone.'' It was 
then inhabited by the Bijugas, and other savage tribes, and is described as 

' Eliza, dan. of Wm. and Elizabeth (Marston) Watson. 

Ellen, dau. of the same, married the Hon. John Davis, LL.D., of Boston, editor of 
"Morton's Memorial." 

- The Lucia here mentioned wa? not his sister of that name, but his niece, dau. of " Br6 
Elkanh." and Patience (Marston) Watson. She died March 20, 179L 

^ " Life and Services of Capt. PhiUp Beaver, by Capt. W. H. Smith, R,N." 



"densely wooded, of great fertility of soil, and abounding in elephants, 
buifaloes, and other wild animals." It is about 20 miles in length, and 10 
or 15 in breadth. Hesper-Eleusis, — which was the somewhat ambitious 
name given to the new settlement,— is in 11^34' north latitude, and 15°30' 
west longitude. 

" The views of the society in undertaking this expedition were directed 
to cultivation, it being imagined that the produce of the West Indies might 
be readily raised at Bulama by free natives, and .thus, — forming a contrast 
to the vicious habits of the slave-dealing Europeans, — contribute towards 
the civilization of those regions. Moreover it was conceived that a. new 
and extensive channel would be opened to trade, which would at the same 
time be the means of introducing letters, liberty, and above all a knowledge 
of the Christian religion, amongst the sable sons of that vast continent." ' 

It may well be supposed that such elevated views as these would readily 
commend themselves to the feelings and judgment of Mr. Marston ; and 
that in his then destitute condition he would gladly accept the situation 
which was offered him. And we find by his letters at this time that it was 
not only with a deep sense of " thankfulness to God for having lifted him up 
from penury and destitution," but also with the " humble hope that he might 
be of some little service to others, perhaps as destitute as himself." 

But, "■ as might have been expected," says Captain Smith, " all the 
adventurers were not actuated by the same praiseworthy motives, and many 
great errors were committed." After a number of discouraging circum- 
stances, " which seemed as if an inauspicious destiny governed the adven- 
ture," they embarked on board the Calypso, of 29'8 tons, commanded by 
Lieut. Hancorne, and the Hanky, under the authority of Lieut. Philip 
Beaver, R.N., with 275 colonists, men, women and childi'en, and finally left 
England on the 14th of April, 1792 ; and after a long and tedious passage, 
— during which many of the colonists, "tired with the length of the voyage, 
irritated with sickness, the loss of their associates, and the disappointment 
of their hopes, had become dissatisfied with their situation," — the vessels 
at length came to an anchor, on the 5th of June, in sight of Bulama. 

The attempts of the hapless colonists to effect a settlement, " surrounded 
as they were by treachery and danger from the natives, with incessant rains 
pouring like torrents," causing fevers and other diseases, "fraught with 
sufferings almost insurmountable " ; the frightful reduction of their num- 
bers, and the consequent abandonment of the ill-fated expedition by the few 
survivors, are all unaffectedly described by Capt. Philip Beaver, "in 
' his 'African Memoranda,' an interesting book, written in a plain and 

^ " Life and Services of Capt. Pliilip Beaver," &c. 


unpolished, but manly style, every page of which bears internal evidence of 
the strictest veracity." It was from this nari'ative that the friends of Ben- 
jamin Marstou received intelligence of the disastrous termination of the ex- 
pedition in which he had engaged, and that he died on the Island of Bulama, 
of the African fever, on the 10th of August, 1792. 

In an article in the London Quarterly Reviexo, on the " Life and Services 
of Captain Philip Beaver, of his Majesty's Ship Nisus," written by the 
celebrated Robert Southey, there occurs the following passage : 

"One of that little number was one of the first victims to the climate, Mr. 
Benjamin Marston, tlie Surveyor of the Colony, of whom Beaver has left this 
memorial in his Journal : never was a more feeling, or a nobler tribute rendered to 
departed worth : 

" ' Bulama Island, Sunday, 
August 12"^, 179-2. 

" ' Mr. Ozane, who left England in a deep consumption, was dead ; also that truly 
good and valuable man, Mr. Benjamin Marston, our Surveyor. JNIr. Marston was 
born in Marblehead, New-England, where he was a respectable Merchant, and liad 
consideralile property at the commencement of those unfortunate troubles which 
terminated in the separation of that Country fi'om Kngland. In consequence of his 
loyalty he had not only lost a coudortablc competency, ))nt had undeigone for the 
last ten years unheard of, and almost incredible difficulties. Sometimes he was 
whole days without bread ; and weeks together his daily expenditure amounted 
only to three half-pence — a pennj'-wortli of bread, and a half-])enny-worth of tigs. 
Too noble to beg, yet willing to work, but unknown and friendless in England, no 
one would employ him. Thus did this good man struggle in poverty for ten years 
in that country, for whose interests lie had (putted his friends, his relations, the 
lands of his ancestors, and every thing that is dear to man. 

" ' 1 never heard this good man rail at, or say hard things of that country by which 
he had been so ill treated ; he bore all patiently, lie wa» about 00 years of age, 
had been educated at Harvard College, New-England, and was l)oth learned and 
pious. na]jpy in havinii' known such a man, \ felt it a duty to endeavour to record 
his virtues. Should this Journal, by any accident, ever reach iNhirblehead, it may 
be a consolation to some of his friends and family to know what became ot him ; 
at the same time to know, if he did not die a rich man. he died a good man ; for I 
cannot be suspected of flattering or overcharging the character of one whom I 
never saw till in this expedition ; and who, though it ought to have been otherwise, 
was in such a situation as would not be likely to procure an interested panegyrist. 
It may be also some consolation to them to learn that his virtues were not unknown ; 
and that though we may have l)ut little ourselves, we have at least sufficient to 
respect it in others; that this good man lived respected, and died regretted by all; 
and is now we trust, receiving the reward of his virtues and sufferings in this 

" This is such a record as none but a wise and good man could have written; it is 
here inserted to illustrate the character of Beaver himself", and to fulfil the intention, 
or rather the hope with which he penned it. For this Journal assuredly will reach 
Marblehead; and it may yet find there some who are akin to the deceased, and others 
who remember him ; and they will feel upon perusing it, if they can distinguish be- 
tween good and evil, that though this good man took what they deem the wrong, as 
well as the unsuccessful part, and when proscribed from one country, found for his 
earthly recompense ingratitude in the other, neglect, poverty and destitution, he bore 
his sufferings meekly, bravely and contentedly ; with the consciousness of having 
acted according to his own clear of duty ; and has thereby obtained an hcmorable 
remembi-ance. They who bear his name ousht to be mcn-e proud of it than if he had 
left rank and honor and large possessions to his representatives."-^ 

' London Quarterly Review, vol. xli., July, 1829, art. v. 


With this "feeling and noble tribute to departed worth" by Captain 
Beaver, and the sympathizing remarks of Robert Southey, I may well 
close this brief and imperfect account of one, whose character these memoirs 
may serve to illustrate, and whose memory I desire to honor. Among 
those who took the same part with him in the great struggle which led to 
such important results, are found the names of many of his relatives and 
connections ; and it is asserted by Sabine, in his valuable " History of the 
American Loyalists," that " a majority of the best educated and most 
respected persons of their time, at least in New-England, were found, at 
first, on the loyal side." ' 

What may have been the motives of others it is not necessary now to 
discuss ; for at this distance of time all due allowances can be made for 
what ma^ be thought " a mistake in taking the wrong, as well as the 
unsuccessful part." But I am inclined to think that even the scanty materials 
which have here been brought together will be sufficient to convince the 
most pi-ejudiced reader, that, in this case, as, without a doubt, in many 
others, the decision was honestly and conscientiously made. It was from 
no personal considerations ; from no expectation of honors and rewards, 
or desire of rank and distinction ; but simply from a deep conviction of 
duty, a clear sense of loyalty to the British crown, that he gave up every 
thing that was dear to him, — liis "pleasant and spacious dwelling-house," 
with its "fine old garden for morning exercise"; his cherished library; his 
" much property " ; his well-earned reputation as a merchant, a magistrate, 
and a citizen ; his relatives, friends, and native country, and became a 
refugee, and a wanderer upon the face of the earth, " without a place that 
he could command to lay his head." I take up the words of Robert 
.Southey, and acknowledge for myself and his relatives, and " those who bear 
his name," that we are " more proud of it than if he had left rank and hon- 
or and large possessions to his representatives." And I trust that I may 
with propriety express the opinion that few of those who embraced the 
cause of the Mother Country, in those trying times, were led by more hon- 
orable, or disinterested motives, or are more deserving of respectful re- 
membrance than Benjamin Marston, of Marblehead. 

' He also says : "Tliis Book contiiins notices of 150 persons who were educated at Harvard 
College, or soine other American or foreipin institution of learninj^; and could tlic whole 
number of Loyalists who received College honoi-s be ascertained, it would be found probably 
that tlie list is far from being complete." — Sabine's History of the American Loyalists. 


In making this compilation, I have only attempted " to gather up all the 
scattered and decaying records " that could be found at this full late day, 
respecting the three men of New-England birth who form the subject of 
these unpretending memoirs, and who were not altogether undistinguished 
in their day and generation ; " to trace out their genealogy," and that of 
some of the families connected with them, and arrange them according to 
their several dates and periods ; and then " to place the whole in a per- 
manent form" in the pages of the New-England Historical and Genea- 
logical Register. 



Brief Genealogies of some of the Descendants 





"Such as our fathers have told us; that we should not hide them from the children 
of the generations to come : to the intent that when they 
. came up, they miglit show their children the same," — Psalm Ixxviii. v. 4. 


[From the New-England IIisTOPacAL AND Genealogical Register, vol. xviii. p. 363.1 

George Watson was one of the prominent early settlers of Plymouth; 
he was a resident of the town in 1633, and a freeman of the colony in 
1637. In 1635 he purchased a dwelling of Deacon Richard Masterton, 
and became a householder. He married Phebe, the youngest daughter of 
Robert Hickes, who was a passenger in the "Fortune" in 1621; and 
whose wife Margaret, and daughter Phebe, with the rest of the family, 
followed in the "Anne," in the summer of 1623.' 

Mr. Watson was one of the most respectable and useful members of the 
early settlement at Plymouth, holding various offices of trust, and faithfully 
j)erforming his public duties, while liis prudence enabled him to become 
quite independent, owning large tracts of land. He reared up a family of 
four children, — three having died in infancy, — from whom have sprung 
many of the most useful and prominent men of the colony and state, down 
to the present period. 

Mr. Watson died Jan. 31, 1689, in his 87th year. His wife Phebe died 
May 22, 1663. Their children were: (1.) Phebe, m. Jan. 22, 1656-7, 
Jonathan Shaw. (2.) Mary, b. 1641 ; m. Aug. 21, 1662, Thomas Leonard, 
of Taunton; d. Dec. 1723. (3.) John, d. young. (4.) Samuel, twin with 
the following. (5.) Elizabeth, b. Jan. 18, 1647-8; m. Nov. 28, 1667, 
Joseph Williams, of Taunton. (6.) Jonathan, b. March 9, 1652; d. yoimg. 
^(7.) Elkanah, the only son who grew up to manhood, b. Feb. 25, 1656; m. 
in 1676, Mercy Hedge, daughter of William Hedge, and was drowned in 
Plymouth Harbor, Feb. 8, 1690. 

John Watson (first) was the fourth son of Elkanah and Merct 
(Hedge) Watson. He was born in Plymouth, Mass., in 1681. He 

1 "Robert Hickes lived in Berraondsey Street, Southwark, London, about the year 1616. 
He came over to this country in the second small ship, Foitune, which arrived at New- 
Plymouth, Nov. 11th, 1621. Margaret Hickes, his wife, and her children came in the Anne 
in June, 1623. The names of their children are as follow: Samuel, Ephraim, Lydia, and 
•Phebe." — (Davis's Morton's Memorial, pp. 378, 385, 413.) "It is from the youngest of these 
children, Phebe Hickes, who, in 1635, married George Watson, that all the families of the 
Watsons in the old colony derive their descent." 


married (first), Jan. 26, 1715, Sarah Rogers, daughter of Dr. Daniel and 
Sarah (Appleton) Rogers, of Ipswich, Mass., and had two sons, (1.) John? 
born April 19, 1716, and (2.) George, born July 18, 1718. He married 
(second), July 8, 1729, Priscilla Thomas, daughter of Caleb and Priscilla 
(Capen) Thomas, and had two more sons, (1.) William, born May 6, 
1730, and (2.) Elkanah, born Feb. 27, 1732. He died Sept. 9, 1731. 

"1731. John Watson, Esq., expired Sept. 9, aged about 50 years. He 
was a useful and respectable inhabitant of the town, transacted much 
business, and afforded employment to a great number of poor people. He 
was charitably disposed, and supposed to possess the largest estate of any 
person in the county." — (Thacher's History of Plymouth.) 

John Watson (second), the oldest son of John (first) and Sarah 
(Rogers) Watson, was born in Plymouth, April 19, 1716; he wag 
graduated at Harvard College, 1735; and died in Plymouth, Jan. 1753. 
He married, in 1743, ^^{^aSe^/^, daughter of Joseph and Phebe (Manchester) 
Reynolds, of Bristol, R. L, and had children : (1.) John, born 1747. (2.) 
Daniel. (3.) Elizabeth. 

"Mr. John Watson was a scholar and a gentleman. He died in January, 
at the early age of 37 years ; and his wife having died before, they left 
three orphan children, two sons and a daughter. One of the sons was the 
late John Watson, Esq., the second President of the Pilgrim Society." 

— (Thacher's History of Plymouth.) 

John Watson (third) was the oldest son of John (second) and 
Elizabeth (Reynolds) Watson. He was born in Plymouth, in 1747, 
was graduated at Harvard College in 1766, and died Feb. 1, 1826. He 
married (first), in 1769, Lucia Marstoti, youngest daughter of Col. 
Benjamin and Elizabeth (Winslow) Marston, and had children : (1.) 
John, m. 1794, Pamela Howard. (2.) George, b. April 24, 1771 ; m. 
June 24, 1801, Elizabeth Leach; d. in Roxbury, Aug. 21, 1860. (3.) 
Sally. (4.) Benjamin, m. 1804, L. B. Sturgis. (5.) Lucia, d. young. 
(6.) Lucia, m. 1799, John Taylor. (7.) Daniel, m. 1810, Susan 
Studdley. (8.) William, d. young. (9.) William, m. H. Delano. (10.) 
Winslow, m. 1813, H. L. Goodwin. (11.) Brooke. He married 
(second) Mrs. Eunice (Marston') Goodwin, and had children: (1.) 
Edward Winslow, the present owner and occupant of Clark's Island. 
(2.) Eliza Ann. (3.) Albert Mortimer, m. November, 1831, Abigail 

' Mrs. Goodwin was the daughter of John Marston, of Boston, and the sister of the late 
John Marston, Esq., born in Boston 1756, and died in Taunton, Mass., 1846. The children 
of the last John Marston, now living, are : (1.) Louisa, residing in Taunton. (2.) John, 
commodore in the U. S. Navy. (3.) Ward, lieut. colonel U. S. Marine Corps. 

I have not been able to trace the connection of this family with the Marstons of Salem. 


"1826, Feb. 1. Died John Watson, Esq., aged 78. He was graduated 
at Harvard College in 1766, and was one of the founders of the Old Colony 
Club in 1769, and the last surviving member of that association of worthies. 
He was the first vice-president of the Pilgrim Society, and after the death 
of Judge Thomas, the president, was elected to fill that office, which he 
held till his death. Mr. AVatson was the proprietor of Clark's Island, 
where the Pilgrims 'spent y" Sabbath,' Dec. ^J, 1620, and where he resided 
during about forty years of his life. To that spot he always felt a peculiar 
attachment, as affording antiquarian associations, in which he delighted to 
indulge, and to recount to his ftimily and friends. He left many sons and 
daughters of respectable standing in life." — (Thacheu's History of 

George Watson, the second son of John (first) and Sarah (Rogers) 
Watson, was born in Plymouth, July 18, 1718, and died Dec. 3, 1800, 
aged 82. He married, first, in 1747, Abigail, daughter of Richard 
Saltonstall, born Oct. 28, 1728, and had one son, George, who died young. 
He married, second, Elizabetli, daughter of Peter Oliver, born about 1735, 
died Feb. 19, 1767, aged 32 years. By her he had children: (1.) Mart, 
b. April 15, 1754; m. Elisha Hutchinson, son of Gov. Thomas Hutchinson, 
author of the History of Massachusetts Bay. (2.) George, b. July 24, 
1757; d. Aug. 10, 1757. (3.) Sarah, b. March 23, 1759; m. Martin 
Brimmer, of Boston; d. Aug. 23, 1832, aged 73 years. (4.) Elizabeth, 
b. Aug. 29, 1764; d. in infancy. (5.) Elizabeth, b. Feb. 19, 1767; m. 
first, the Hon. Thos. Russell, an opulent merchant of Boston ; m. second, 
Sir Grenville Temple, Bart.; d. at Rome (Italy), Nov. 4, 1809. 

"George Watson died Dec. 3, 1800, universally beloved and respected. 

" Two days after his death the inhabitants of his native town assembled 
together in town meeting, and after a very complimentary preamble, 
eulogistic of the deceased, passed the following votes : 

" 1. Voted, That on the day of the interment of George Watson, Esq., 
the Selectmen be requested to direct the sexton to toll the bell, commencing 
at sunrise, and continue three hours. 

" 2. That it be recommended to the inhabitants to suspend their usual 
business in the streets, by shutting up. their shops, stores, &c., from two 
o'clock P.M. till the funeral is over. 

" 3. That it be recommended to the owners of sliipping in the harbour 
to place their flags half-mast high, in token of mourning during the day of 

" The lamented subject of the above eulogium was of an ancient and 
honourable family ; he died at the advanced age of 82 years. Rev. Mr. 
Kendal preached a sermon on occasion of his death, which was printed." 

— (Thacher's History of Plymouth.) 

William Watson, the oldest son of John Watson (second) by his 

second wife Priscilla Thomas, was born in Plymouth, May 6, 1730 ; 

was graduated at Harvard College in 1751, and died April 22, 1815. He 

married, in 1756, Elizabeth Marston, oldest daughter of Col. Benjamin and 



Elizabeth ( Winslow) Marston. Their children were : (1.) William. 
(2.) Eliza, m. the Hon. Nathaniel Niles, of West Fairlee, Vt. (3.) 
Benjamin. (4.) Ellen, m. the Hon. John Davis, Judge of U. S. District 
Court for Massachusetts. 

" 1815, April 22. Died in this town the Hon. William Watson, Esq. 

" This gentleman ranked himself among the respectable whigs and 
patriots of our revolution, and was ever a zealous advocate for the rights 
and liberties of our country. As a professor of religion he was exemplary, 
giving 23unctual attendance to its ordinances and duties. His moral virtue 
and integrity were unquestionable, and entitled him to the confidence of 
those authorities by whom he was appointed to public offices. In 1775, he 
was appointed the first Post-master ever in this town, by our provincial 
Congress. In 1789, he received a commission, under the hand of Wash- 
ington, as Collector of this Port, which office he sustained till 1803, when 
he was removed by the succeeding President." — (Thacher's History of 

Elkanah Watson, the youngest son of John Watson (second) by his 
second wife, Priscilla Thomas, was born in Plymouth, Feb. 22, 1732. 
He was married (Jirst), Oct. 1, 175i, to Patience Marston, daughter of Col. 
Benjamin and Elizabeth (Winsloio) Marston. She was born in 
Salem, Jan. 2, 1734, and died in Plymouth, April 20, 1767. He married 
(second), Mrs. Fanny (Lee) Glover, widow of Capt. John Glover, of 
Marblehead, and daughter of Col. John Lee, of Manchester, Mass. His 
children by his first wife. Patience Marston, were: (1.) Marston, b. in 
Plymouth, May 27, 1756 ; m. March 30, 1779, Lucy Lee, daughter of Col. 
John and Joanna (Raymond) Lee, of Manchester, Mass. ; d. Aug. 7, 
1800, in Boston. (2.) Elkanah, b. Jan. 22, 1758 ; m. Rachel Smith, 
1784; d. Dec. 5, 1842, at Port Kent, N. Y. (3.) Priscilla, b. Sept. 30, 
1760; m. Nov. 13, 1808, the Rev. Josiah Cotton; d. in Plymouth, Oct. 28, 
1859, aged 99 years. (4.) Martha, b. October, 1762 ; d. unmarried, in 
Roxbury, Mass., Aug. 26, 1840. (5.) Lucia, b. Nov. 11, 1765; d. 
unmarried, in Freetown, Mass., March 20, 1791. By bis second wife, 
Fanny Glover, he had: (1.) Charles Lee, b. in 1793, and d. about 1803. 
(2.) Lucia, b. 1795 ; m. Thomas Drew, M.D. 

In the early part of his life he was a merchant, doing business in 
Plymouth ; after the beginning of the revolution he removed to Freetown, 
Mass., to occupy a farm there, which was part of his patrimony. A short 
time before his death he removed from Freetown to Plymouth, where he 
died on the 11th of August, 1804, and is interred in the Plymouth 
burying-ground. His age at his death was 72 years, 5 months and 19 

Marston Watson was the oldest son of Elkanah and Patience 
(Marston) Watson, and was born in Plymouth, Mass., May 27, 1756. 


On the 30tli of March, 1779, he married Lucy Lee, the youngest daughter 
of Col. John and Joanna (Raymond) Lee, of Manchester, Mass., and 
had children : (l.j Benjamin Marston, b. in Marblehead, Jan. 11, 1780; 
was graduated at Harvard College in 1800 ; m. (first), Aug. 6, Elizabeth 
Parsons, oldest daughter of Chief-Justice Theophilus Parsons. She d. 
Feb. 6, 1831. He m. (second), June 17, 1838, Mrs. Roxanna Davis, of 
Boston. He d. in Newton, Mass., Aug. 31, 1851. (2.) Lucy, b. April 8, 
1781 ; d. in infancy. (3.) Martha Marston, b. May 11, 1782; m. Dec. 
11, 1808, Thomas Gushing, of Boston; d. June 9, 1810. (4.) Lucy Lee, 
b. June IG, 1783; d. in Boston, Feb. 4, 1807. (5.) Sally Maria, b. 
Oct. IG, 1784; m. Dec. 20, 1818, Thomas Welsh, of Boston; d. April 21, 
1824. (G.) Laura A., b. Nov. 8, 178G; d. in Boston, Sept. —, 1858. 
(7.) Henry Monmouth, b. July 14, 1788; d. in Boston, Aug. 9, 1805. 
(8.) Horace Howard, b. June 25, 1789; m. Thirza Hohart, of Hingham; 
d. Dec. 21, 1867, at Chelsea, Mass. (9.) Eliza Constantia, b. July 4, 
1791; m. Jan. 5, 1813, Thomas Ciishing ; d. in Boston, Sept. 21, 1872. 
(10.) Agnes Lee, b. Aug. 30, 1793; d. in Boston, April 12, 1839. (11.) 
Almira, b. June 2, 1795. (12.) John Lee, b. in Boston, Aug. 27, 1797; 
was graduated at Harvard College in 1815; m. idio.. 20, 1^2^, Elizabeth 
West, daughter of John West, Esq., of Taunton, Mass. She wa,s b. in 
Boston, July 21, 1809, and d. in Orange, New-Jersey, Dec. 30, 1871.' (13.) 
Adolphus Eugene, b. in Boston, Nov. 15, 1800 ; was graduated at 
Harvard College in 1820 ; m. (first), Louisa C. M. Stoughton, of Boston, 
Sept. 23, 1822, who d. in Philadelphia, Oct. 24, 1832; (second), Eliza 
Mellen, of Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 8, 1835, who d. at Northampton, Mass., 
April 27, 1843; (third), Susan L. Ferguson, March 25, 1845. 

Biographical Notices op Marston "Watson, Esq., Member of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. 

[From the Mass. Historical Society Collections, vol. viii. p. 80.] 

" Mr. Watson was a descendant from one of the branches of an ancient 
and respectable family in the town of Plymouth. He was born May 27, 
1756. After receiving an excellent school education, and being qualified 
for admission into the university, he was, at the age of fourteen, placed an 
apprentice with Col. Jeremiah Lee, then an eminent mei-chant in Marblehead. 
Upon the death of Col. Lee, in 1775, Mr. Watson resumed his classick 
studies, with an intention of entering college in advance, and had actually 
made arrangements at Cambridge for that purpose ; but the revolutionary 
war having then commenced, and Col. Glover offering him a lieutenantcy 
in his own regiment, Mr, Watson, reluctantly abandoning his literary 


pursuits, accepted the commission, and in the month of December, 1776, 
was actively engaged in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, in which 
Glover's regiment bore a distinguished share. He was particularly patron- 
ized by Gen. Charles Lee, and acted as his temporary aid-de-camp. Gen. 
Lee had made arrangements for his permanent establishment in that office, 
and he served in that capacity at the battle of Monmouth. But upon the 
suspension of Gen. Lee, his hopes of immediate promotion being checked, 
he relinquished the army, and engaged in commerce. His activity and 
industry were prospered. He married in 1779, and established himself at 
Marblehead. lu 1790 he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Marblehead 
regiment, and in about three years afterwards was lieutenant-colonel 
commandant. In 1794, when eighty thousand of the militia of the United 
States were provisionally detached under the apj^rehensions of a 
rupture with Great Britain, Col. Watson was selected to command a 
regiment detached from the division to which he belonged. In the year 
1792 he represented the town of IMarblehead in the general court. In 
May, 1797, he removed from Marblehead to Boston, where his extensive 
commercial concerns could be more conveniently and advantageously con- 
ducted. In this situation he greatly extended his business and connexions, 
and in the midst of a community where the able and intelligent merchant is 
sure to be duly estimated, he was highly respected. His residence in the 
town was considered as a public benefit, and the prosperity which attended 
his commercial pursuits was regarded with complacence, as the just reward 
of strict integrity,' unblemished honor, and well-directed exertion. To 
great industry and application to business, he united the virtues which 
adorn and elevate the human character. He was hospitable, beneficent, 
public-spirited, friendly and sincere. In his domestick relations, the deep 
sensibilities of his afflicted family and friends afford affecting evidence of 
his tenderness and worth. 

" The busy engagements of active life never extinguished that attachment 
to letters, to which he was prompted by the native bent of his mind, and 
by early education. All the leisure he could command w^as devoted to 
mental improvement, and attention to the education of a numerous family. 
The Massachusetts Historical Society, from a conviction of his literary 
attainments, and his regard to the objects of their institution, elected him a 
member of their society, April 29, 1800. 

" He died Aug. 7, 1800, after a short illness, in the 45th year of his age." 

' "An honorable instance of this gentleman's scrupulous regard to justice deserves to be 
reconled. About seven years before his removal to Boston, a ileranged state of his atf.iirs, 
the iffect of nure nii-foituiie, rendered it necessary for him t-) seek a composition with his 
creditor.-, wiio :j;avc lii.u a disciiarge, receiving only a portion of their demands. In a few- 
years afterwards, when his renewed exertions were blessed with success, liis first care was 
to pay those creditors in full, though they had no legal demand against him." 


Elkanah Watson, the second son of Elkanah and Patience 
(Marston) Watson, was born in Plymouth, Jan. 22, 1758 ; in 1784 he 
married Rachel Smith, and had children : (1.) Emily M., b. 1791 ; m. 1816, 
George B. Lamed, of Pittsfield, and d. at Detroit, Mich., January, 1827. 
(2.) George Elkanah, b. Aug. 22, 1793 ; m. Lucy Willis, daughter of 
the Hon. N. Willis, and d. at Detroit, Mich., Jan. 13, 1819. (3.) Mart 
Lucia, b. 1797; m. January, 1820, Gen. Aaron Ward, of New- York, and 
d. at Sing Sing, N. Y., 1853. (4.) Charles Marston, b. 1799 ; m. Dec 
12, 1850, Elizabeth B. ShanMand ; d. at Port Kent, N. Y., 1870. (5.) 
WiNSLOW CossouL, b. Dec. 22, 1803; m. (first), Frances Skinner, 
daughter of 11. Skinner, of Manchester, Vt., who d. April 2G, 1829 ; m. 
(second), Susan Skinner, who d. 1845 ; m. (titird), June 18, 1858, Elizabeth 
A. Patterson. [See Memoir of Elkanah Watson, N. E. Hist, and Gen. 
Register, vol. xvii. p. 97.] 

Passages in the Life of Priscilla (Thomas) Hobart. 
[From the Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. xxvii. p. 24.] 

The following communication is extracted from the records of my late brother, 
Benjamin Marston Watson, born Jan. 11, 1780; graduatetl at Harvard College 
1800, and died Aug. 31, 1851. He receired all the particulars of this somewhat 
romantic history in the year 1848, almost ipsissimis verbis, from my aunt, Mrs. 
Priscilla (Watson) Cotton, then the widow of the Rev. Josiah Cotton, of Plymouth. 

Orange, N. J. John L. Watson. 

chapter i. 

Noah Hobart, the last husband of my great-grandmother, Priscilla 
Hobart, was a school teacher in Duxbury, Mass., having graduated at 
Harvard College in 1724, and become acquainted with Priscilla Thomas, a 
very interesting young girl, daughter of Caleb Thomas, a resi^ectable 
citizen of that town. Their acquaintance ripened into an engagement, and 
mutual promise of marriage, whenever his circumstances would permit him 
to discharge the debts he had contracted for his education. While this 
understanding subsisted between them, and they were enjoying the happy 
relation of affianced lovers, and calmly waiting for such improvement in 
their affairs as would justify their marriage, John Watson, Esq., of 
Plymouth, my great-grandfather, being a widower, having seen Priscilla, 
was much pleased with her, although the serious difference of nearly thirty 
years existed in their ages, he being about fifty, and she twenty-two years 
old. Being, however, thus charmed with Priscilla, he proceeded to 
Duxbury, and called on her parents, and made known to them his views 
and wishes in relation to Priscilla, and requested their consent to visit 
their daughter, with the object of offering himself to her in marriage. 


They informed Mr. Watson that Priscilla was engaged to Mr. Hobart, but 
they would call her, and let her speak for herself, they seeming pleased 
with the offer, as Mr. Watson's circumstances were known to be very 



Priscilla was called, and appeared gratified with an offer from so rich a 
suitor, and observed that she would see Noah, and talk with him about it. 
She conversed with Noah, and he thought that upon the whole it was not 
advisable for her to lose so good an opportunity ; and as he was still much 
in debt for his education, that it was quite uncertain when he would be 
able to relieve himself from his embarrassments, and be in a condition to 
marry her. She then concluded to accept Mr. Watson's offer ; and in a 
few weeks he married her, and carried her to his home in Plymouth. In 
due time she bore him two sons, the eldest, my great uncle, William 
Watson, and the youngest, my grandfather, Elkanah Watson ; and soon 
after, in September, 1731, her husband died of a fever, and left his wife a 
handsome young widow, of about twenty-five years of age. 


About the same time that INIr. Watson's death occurred, the wife of Thomas' 
Lothrop, Esq., one of their neighbors, died, leaving a young infant, which 
was frequently sent to Mrs. Watson to be nursed, she having also a nursing 
infant. In the meantime, Noah Hobart, probably not having yet paid his 
college debts, did not now manifest any particular sentiments, or intentions 
in relation to her, perhaps also being influenced by the contrast in their 
conditions, she being left a rich widow. 

The intercourse created between Mr. Lothrop and Mrs. Watson by their 
mutual interest in his nursing infant, brought about a reciprocal interest in 
each other, and in due time he offered and was accepted by her as her 
second husband. She lived with him happily for some years, and bore him 
three children, two sons and a daughter, viz. : Dr. Nathaniel Lothrop and 
Isaac Lothrop, Esq., of Plymouth, and Priscilla, married to Gershom Burr, 
Esq., of Connecticut; when Mr. Lothrop died, and Priscilla became a 
widow for the second time. 


Noah Hobart, while the incidents related in the former chapter were 
occurring to Priscilla, having been settled in the (Congregational) ministry 

1 On the autliority of tbe Eev. E. B. HuntiDgton, of Stamford, Conn., it appears that 
Fri^'cilhi Thcniiis nrairied for her scw^nd husband, /s«oc Lothrop, and not Thomas; and 
that they liad Jive childien instcrd of Mree, as stated in the following paragiavh. They 
were Isatic, Dr. ^ athaniel, Col. Thomas, Caleb and Priscilla. 


at Fairflekl, Conn., had married, and his wife had died previously to the 
death of Mr. Lothrop. At a suitable interval subsequent to these events, 
he concluded to make a visit to his first sweetheart, and went to Plymouth, 
and again proposed himself for her husband. She was very glad to see 
him, and received him very graciously ; and much regretted that she could 
not accept his proposals without breaking a promise that she had made to 
Mr. Lothrop on his death-bed, not to marry while his mother lived. Noah, 
disappointed, set out for home with a heavy heart, and having reached 
Hingham, called on the Rev. Mr. Shute, who invited him to stop and 
preach the Thursday lecture for him ; to which he assented. After the 
lecture was over, as they were going home, they met a traveller on horse- 
back, of whom Mr. Shute inquired " where he was from ? " He answered, 
"from Plymouth"; when they further inquired "if there was any news?" 
He answered, " nothing particular, except that old Madam Lothrop died 
last night." Noah's countenance brightened up on this announcement, and 
he turned his face again towards Plymouth ; and without being able to 
state any intervening particulars, we know that in three weeks from that 
time, Priscilla married her third husband in the person of her first lover, 
and was settled at Fairfield as " the minister's help-meet," and the wife of 
the Rev. Noah Hobart. 


The life of Priscilla at Fairfield was tranquil and happy ; and it is said 
that she sometimes confessed to her children, in her old age, they being 
also the children of her other husbands, that the period she lived with 
Noah was the happiest portion of her life. She had no children by Mr. 
Hobart. Her oldest son by Mr. Lothrop, Dr. Nathaniel Lothrop, married 
Ellen Hobart, the daughter of Noah, and thus contributed further to 
cement this happy and long deferred union. Priscilla, however, was 
destined to be a widow for the third time, as the Rev. Noah Hobart died at 
Fairfield in the year 1773, and left her in possession of his homestead 


After the death of Mr. Hobart, Priscilla remained at Fairfield, occupying 
his house and receiving the manifestations of the affection and respect of 
his late parish for a period of six years, until July, 1779, when the whole 
village of Fairfield was burned by the English troops under the command 
of Gov. Tryon. Being now houseless, she returned to Plymouth, and 
occupied the house in which she had lived with her second husband, Mr. 
Lothrop. Here she lived serenely and happily many years, in the enjoy- 
ment of the blessings resulting from a well-spent and virtuous life. In the 


year 1786, when I was a child of about six years old, being on a visit to 
Plymouth with my father, I well recollect visiting her, and being by her 
-most cordially received, and welcomed as the first of her great-grand- 
children whom she had seen ; and as a token of her satisfaction, and for a 
memorial of herself, she gave me a pair of gold sleeve-buttons as a keepsake. 
She was at this time eighty years old, her mental and corporeal faculties in 
perfection. Her cai'riage was exceedingly upright. Her person was small 
and well-formed, not exceeding in height five feet, one or two inches. Her 
countenance was animated and expressive, and gave decidedly the impres- 
sion of having been handsome, resembling that of her granddaughter, the 
late Mrs. Judge Davis, more than any other of her descendants whom I 
have seen. She lived until 1796, nearly ten years after this interview, and 
died in June of that year, aged ninety years.