(1^^^- //^/ y^^/J /^^<^
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
COMPILED, PRINTED AND PUBLISHED
FOK GRATUITOUS DISTRIBUTION
AMONG NEAR RELATIVES,
TTM. BL^KE PIEHO.E.
E I?> K> .^ T .^ : .
llth page, 9th line. John Piekce had, by his first wife, a son who died in infancy.
21 st page, 8th line. Mrs. Wait Blake was born in 1784, not 1794 as stated.
25th, page. The Memoirs of Mrs. Sarah Tappan, often herein refered to, contain
the following statement p. 125 : "Christopher Toppan threatened to disinherit his son
Edmund for altering his name to Tappan." I am perhaps wrong in stating tha.t Peter
Toppan was the first to spell the name Tappan.
35th page ,7th line. For Susannah read Jane.
44th page, 20th line. For Neirton read Norton.
^^^OtD B.LEE LIB'
BRIGHAM YOUNG LTsliTRS'TV
- - • ^ "-Jill
r» K, E F J^. C E .
I have little to say by way of preface. My humble volume is not intended for
general inspection, but for gratuitous distribution among near relatives and friends who
have a personal interest in the facts narrated, and who will understand and appreciate
my motives in collecting and printing them. I have attempted nothing but a brief and
simple narrative of well authenticated facts concerning immediate ancestry in a direct
line from the time they first landed in America. I have felt no disposition to extend my
researches back among our progenitors in England. The Puritan dates his nobility from
the time his fathers sacrificed all, and braved all, for the maintenance of civil and
religious liberty and he cares not how noble or ignoble his descent may have been
previous to the period of the mighty exodus.
" It was no earth born-story,
That made the adventurers stray,
This world and all its glory.
To them had passed away."
While, therefore, thp minions of British aristocracy seldom attempt to extend their
investigations, among a people they have always despised, beyond the time that their robber
ancestors under the great King Richard, first landed and fastened upon their shores, neither
will the Puritan pursue his inquiries among institutions he condemns, to trace out the
beginnings of those wrongs and outrages which finally drove his fathers into the
It is not idle curiosity which has prompted this undertaking. Having come into
possession of the valued records of my honored father, I have felt under a sacred
obligation to preserve them in such form as will be likely to be most useful and permanent,
and finding that the direct line of all my ancestors in America has been preserved, an
unbroken chain without a missing link, I have felt called upon to collect and print such well
authenticated facts as may be interesting and useful to present and future generations.
In doing this, I have not in all cases given my authorities. In general terms I may,
however, say that where I have not credited an important fact, I find it narrated by
different parties. The facts concerning my Pierce ancestry are gathered chiefly from my
father's records. Those concerning the Blakes, I have obtained from the same reliable
source, and also from the excellent publication of Samuel Blake, Esq., which he styles
" Blake Family,'^ hniyfh.idh.l have referred to as ^^ Blake's Memoirs.'^ For the history
of the Tappans I am largely indebted to my uncle, Lewis Tappan, and to my sister, E. P.,
whose indefatigable efforts have put me in possession of many valuable facts. I am
equally indebted to her for many interesting particulars concerning the Homes family.
I have printed but a small portion of the matter in my possession or at my command,
concerning my honored ancestors, as I do not attempt to write biographies of them, but
simply to furnish such brief and characteristic notices as may suffice to indicate the
leading dispositions of their lives. Of their peculiar religious or theological opinions I
feel that I have nothing to say beyond admiration for the fidelity and truthfulness with
which they held and maintained them, which was so signally manifest in all their actions
Throughout the whole narrative, I have spoken freely and bluntly in the first person,
rating the whole line of descent to myself as its teraiination. I do this for directness
and clearness and without fear of being deemed conceited or egotistical. Were my
ancestry such as the world rates noble or honorable, I might, as a matter of taste, have
avoided such reference to them, but their dignity not being such as is acknowledged by
the ordinary standards of worldly judgment, in view of the real nobility of their
characters, I take pride and pleasure in claiming them as my kin.
As a further and final reason for collecting and publishing these memoirs, I may cite
the admirable words of the Rev. Lieut. Governor AVilliam Stoughton, himself a resident of
Dorchester, in an " Election Sermon," preached by him in 1668, which was said to have
been one of the most powerful and impressive that had ever been delivered before the
" General Court of Massachusetts." After uttering that memorable saying, " God sifted
a whole nation, that he might send choice grain to this wilderness," he proceeded to say:
" Consider and remember, always, that the books that shall be opened at the last day
will contain genealogies in them. There shall then be brought forth a register of the
genealogies of New England's sons and daughters. How shall we, many of us, hold
up our faces there, when there shall be a solemn rehearsal of our descent, as well as of our
degeneracies ! To have it published, whose child thou art, will be cutting to thy soul,
as well as to have the crimes reckoned up that thou art guilty of."
MT ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
ROBERT PIERCE AND WILLIAM BLAKE, my earnest patemal ancestors m
this country, were among the first settlers of the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts,
where many of their descendants still live. For a more perfect understanding of who
they were and why they went there I make the following extract from the " History of
the Town of Dorchester," published in Boston in the year 1859, by a committee of the
"Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society" :
"Among the mass of emigrants who landed upon the shores of Massachusetts, from
all parts of England, in 1630, the first settlers of Dorchester may be regarded as the
special delegation of the western counties, the home of Raleigh, Gilbert, Popham, and
Gorges ; that region which had almost monopolized the intercourse with the northern part
of the American continent from its first discovery by Cabot, in 1497, until the settlement
of the Bay, one hundred and thirty-three years afterwards. The Rev. John White, of
Dorchester, emphatically the prime originator of the movement which resulted in the
Massachusetts charter and the settlement of the Bay, found but little difiiculty in collecting
a company among a population to whom the New England ooast was not an unknown
region and who naturally turned their thoughts to the shores already familiar to them,
when the edicts of the Star Chamber and the despotism of the hierarchy first suggested
the idea of emigration. Mr. White was the rector of Trinity parish, Dorchester, in
Dorsetshire; and though he had not renounced the Episcopal form of worship at the time
of the pilgrimage to Plymouth, in 1620, he sympathized strongly with that movement,
and actually assisted the undertaking by pecuniary aid, his name being the first on the
list of adventurers in that expedition. His residence at Dorchester also brought him into
daily contact with the persons engaged in the New England fisheries, and in 1623 he
joined an association of adventurers in his neighborhood, who raised £3,000 sterling for
the purpose of making a settlement on the shores of New England. His motives were
probably difi'erent from those of his associates who doubtless had purposes of business in
view; but in the language of Bancroft: 'Mr. AVhite breathed into the enterprise a higher
principle than the desire of gain.' He had for some years cherished the thought of
forming a community in New England where all who felt themselves aggrieved by religious
or political persecution might find an asylum.
"On the 4th of March, 1629, the Massachusetts charter, granted on the petition of
the company, received the Great Seal, and eai*ly in May following the ships sailed from
the Isle of Wight, for Salem, with three hundred passengers accompanied by two ministers,
Messrs. Higginson and Skilton, both of whom had been selected for the undertaking by
Mr. White. They all arrived in safety before the end of June. Most of them came from
the channel ports, and one of the ships, the 'Lyon's Whelp,' was entirely taken up by
passengers from Weymouth and Dorchester.
"No sooner was the S.alem fleet dispatched than Mr. White, ever active in furthering
his favorite project, immediately began to assemble a new company in the western coun-
ties. He wrote to Governor Endicott,* in the summer of 1629, to appoint places of habit-
J *This samo History of Dordiester informs us that " one of the Dorchester Grantees, John Kndicott. consented
to embark as Supervisor of a former enterprise, and that he arrived in Salem in September, 162S. He was not
(xovernor in 1029, nor until many years afterwards, although in liis capacity as Siipiuvisor and in the abst-nce of
any higher autliority, he may have performed the functions of a Governor. John Winthrop whs the first iJovc^rnor
of the Colony of Massachusetts Biy. He was chosen by tlu) Company in October, lti2'.t; embarked for America
March -22x1 cif the folIowin<; year, (1630.) and arrived at Salera June I:?, 1630. Three clays after his arrival he
visited the Dorchester Company who had arrived at Nantasket only two wewks before, (M'ly -'l, 1630,) and who
were then deliberating whether they would remain at Mattapan (Dorchester) or settle upon Charles river, their
original destination Very full and interesting accounts of (jovernor Winthro|i have been recently published by
the lion. Rol)Prt C. Winthrop, a descendant in the seventh generation, throwiu'j; much light upon the early history
of the Massachusetts Colonies. Governor Winthrop never returned to Kngland, but continued to live among the
colonies of his planting, (chielly in Boston.) for a period of nineteen years, or until his death, and to hold the
office of Governor for a greater part of the time. John Endicott was elected his successor as Governor."
b MT ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
ation for sixty families out of Dorsetshire which were to arrive in the following spring.
Great pains were evidently taken to construct this company of such materials as should
compose a well-ordered settlement containing all the elements of an independent commu-
nity. This company assembled at Plymouth, Devonehire, where a large ship of -400 tuns,
the Mary & John, Capt. Squeb, chartered for the voyage, was fitted out. She was destined
for Charles river, the spot doubtless pointed out for the company by Governor Endicott,
who had sent thither two Dorsetshire men, Ralph and Richard Sprague, to explore the
country the year before. Roger Clap informs us that this godly company assembled with
their two ministers in the new hospital at Plymouth, and kept a solemn day of fasting
and prayer, at which Mr. "White was present and preached in the forenoon ; and in the
afternoon the people did solemnly make choice of those godly ministers, Messrs. Maverick
and Warham, to be their ofiBcers, 'who did accept thereof and express the same.' Both
these gentlemen had formerly been ordained by bishops, and though now thorough non-
conformists no re- ordination was deemed necessary. Mr. Clap mentions that after a
passage of seventy days the ship arrived at Nantasket May 30, 1G30, and that the Word
of God was preached and expounded every day during the voyage. The number of
passengers was one hundred and forty.
" A portion of the male passengers, ten in number, under command of Captain
Southcote, procured a boat, left the ship at Nantasket, and went in quest of the promised
land. They felt their way through the islands and reached the peninsula at Charlestown,
where some Indians had their wigwams, and found one European, probably Thomas
Walfourd, living in a thatched house. After dining with the latter upon a bit of fish
without bread, they passed up Charles river to Watertown and landed with their baggage
for the night, probably near the present arsenal, keeping watch on account of the vicinity
of Indians. They had a friendly interview with them the next day, through the
medium of an old planter who accompanied them from Charlestown. After staying two
or three days in the camp at AVatertown, they received an express from the ship ordering
their return, learning that other persons of the same company had found a convenient
place a.t Mattapan where pasturing for their famished cattle could be had. Tradition has
always fixed upon the south side of Dorchester neck, (South Boston,) in Old Harbor, as
the place of landing. Our company were doubtless attracted by the salt marshes about
Old Harbor which afforded immediate sustenance for their starving cattle, still intending
to make their permanent settlement on the Charles river. During the summer their
investigations induced the company to relinquish the Charles river project entirely, and
establish their permanent settlement in the vicinity of their first encampment. After
choosing the spot for their home they desired to secure the best sites for cultivation, giving
the preference to places which had been cleared for planting by the Indians, and attaching
great value to the salt marshes as furnishing an immediate supply of hay."
A few years afterwards one Josselyn gave the following description of the town of
Dorchester which we also copy from the before-mentioned history :
"Six miles beyond Braintree lyeth Dorchester, a frontier town pleasantly seated and
of large extent into the mainland, well watered with two small rivers, her body and wings
filled somewhat thick with houses to the number of two hundred or more, beautified with
fair orchards and gardens, having also plenty of corn land and store of cattle: counted
the greatest town heretofore in New England but now gives way to Boston. It hath a
harbor to the north for ships."
The following is "Woods' description of Dorchester in 1633, from the same history:
" Dorchester is the greatest town in New England but I am informed that others
equal it since I came away. Well wooded and watered, very good arable lands and hay
ground, fair corn fields and gardens with kitchen gardens. In this plantation are a
great many cattle or kine, goats and swine. This plantation hath a reasonable harbor
MY AXCESTOKS IX AMERICA.
^ /3) rniC^«i '^y first paternal ancestor in this
*% 1^ «f ftnT v>|p^^ l^ttf*"!^ country, was born in England prob-
,11 |J |i|l |l /C^^Jsf^ls l^f^f ably in or near the town of Dor-
chester, Dorsetshire, from whence
he emigrated to America and set-
tled at Dorchester, Mass., in June,
1630. He came in the Mary & John, Captain Squeb, a ship of 400 tuns burden, which
sailed from Plymouth, England, and arrived at Nantasket, Massachusetts, May 30, 1630,
after a seventy days passage, bringing one hundred and forty persons who were the first
settlers of the town of Dorchester. Further particulars of this emigration and settlement
may be found in the foregoing notice, (page 5,) from the " History of Dorchester, Mass-
The same history, (page 95,) contains the following record : " Robert Pierce came to
Dorchester in 1630. He married Ann, the daughter of John Greenway. He died January
11, 1664. His wife died December 11, 1695, aged about one hundred and four years. He
had a daughter, Deborah, born (12) 1639, died 15 (2) 1640. He left a son, Thomas, who
succeeded to his estate, and a daughter, Mary, who married Thomas Haven, of Dedham.
Tradition points out the well, on the banks of the river, about thirty rods northeast of
the Neponset Railroact station in Dorchester, where Robert first settled. He afterwards
built the house where Lewis Pierce, Esq., one of his descendants, now lives, on Adams
street, and in whose possession some of the bread his ancestor Robert brought from
England is still preserved."
My father's records, now in my possession, contain the following account which differs
in some trifling respects from the foregoing but in no important particular: "Robert
Pierce was born in England but emigrated to America and settled in Dorchester, Mass.,
probably in the year 1630. This is inferred from the fact that he owned land immediately
on the water bounded on the south and east by the Atlantic Ocean and Neponset river,
which lands were eagerly chosen by the very first settlers of Dorchester who arrived
during that year, as affording greater security against the Indians. He was married in
England to Ann, daughter of Goodman and Mary Greenway, who came with them to this
country. His occupation in this country was that of a farmer. His wife was born in
1591, and died in Dorchester, December 31, 1695, aged 104 years, the most advanced age
mentioned in the Dorchester town records. The records show that he and his wife joined
Dorchester church June 10, 1640. He died in Dorchester January 6, 1665."
His will, which is still on record in the Probate office of Suffolk county, Mass., con-
cludes with the following tender and expressive words : "And now my dear children, a
father's blessing I bequeath unto you both and yours. Be tender and loving to your
mother ; loving and kind one unto another. Stand up in your places for God and his
ordinances while you live. Then he will be for you and bless you."
It would seem from this will that he left but two children, Thomas and Mary.
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
The " History of Dorchester " also contains the following notice (page 55) of John
Green way, the father-in-law of Robert Pierce: "John Greenway was doubtless one of
the passengers of the Mary & John, and was the first applicant from Dorchester for free-
manship. This name occurs on the record as Goodman Greenway as late as 1G41. He
was past the prime of life when he came. His wife was Mary. His children were Ursula,
who married Hugh Batten; Mary, who married Thomas Millott; Ann, who married
Robert Pierce, and Katharine, who married AVilliam Daniel, all of this town. Mr.
Greenway was a millwright by trade and much respected by his fellow townsmen."*
son of Robert and Ann (Green-
way) Pierce, was born (probably
in Dorchester, Mass.) in 1635,
and died there October 26, 1706,
aged seventy-one years. He also
was a farmer. He was married
to Mary, daughter of George Proctor, of Dorchester, by whom he had nine children, viz :
Thomas, Mary, John, Robert, Samuel, Sarah, Elizabeth, Hannah and Joseph. His wife
died March 22, 1704, aged sixty-two years. He joined Dorchester church August 22,
George Proctor, grantee of land in Dorchester, 1634, '37, '56. Town bailiff in 1642.
His wife was Edith. His children were Sarah and Mary, who probably came with their
parents; Abigail, born August 24, 1637, married Joseph Lowell, of Boston, March 8,
1659 ; Thomas ; Samuel, born November 8, 1640. Sarah married Thomas Trott. Mr.
Proctor died 29 (11) 1661. After his decease his widow removed to Boston and undoubt-
edly lived with her son, Samuel, who settled there. Mr. Proctor's residence appears to
have been on the northeast side of Meeting House hill, on or near the spot where Samuel
Downer, Jr., now resides. After Mrs. Proctor removed to Boston it was sold to David
Jones, then to John Beighton. [^History of Dorchester, page 73.
* Perhaps it was for this reason that he was commonly called Croodman. His name was certainly John, 38 ia
abundantly proved by documentary evidence.
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
son of Thomas and Mary (Proctor)
Pierce, and grandson of Robert and Ann
(Greenway) Pierce, was born in Dor-
chester, Mass., October 26, 1668, and
died there January 27, 1744, aged sev-
enty-six years, three months, and one
day. His death was occasioned by a fall at a time when he was in full health and vigor.
He was married to Abigail, daughter of Deacon. Samuel Thompson, of Braintree, (now
Quincy,) Mass., January 6, 1693, by whom he had eight children, viz : Abigail, Mary,
Sarah, Ann, Samuel, Ann, John, Hannah. His widow survived him a little upwards of
three years, and died June 24, 1747, aged seventy-nine years. He joined Dorchester
church March 7, 1692, and his wife April 7, 1700. He, too, was a farmer. He is said to
have been greatly noted as a hunter of wild fowl, having preserved an account of thirty
thousand brandt he had killed, besides numerous other birds of different kinds. Several
amusing and well authenticated anecdotes are related of him which show that he wa^ not
unworthy of his Puritan ancestry, rivaling the strictest of them, if not in the elevation of
his faith, at least in his conscientious devotion to its minutest requirement. He was
punctilious in the observance of the Sabbath, which he believed to commence with the
going down of the sun on Saturday afternoon. It is related that on one occasion he went
hunting in his boat on Saturday, but was prevented by adverse winds and tides from
reaching home untiMate in the afternoon. His first thought was preparation for the
Sabbath. He shaved but once a week, and that on Saturday ; and, having a heavy and
obstinate beard, it required some considerable time and labor to remove it. He went to
work vigorously, but alas ! he had but half completed his task when to his consternation
he beheld that the sun had fairly set behind the western hills. He could not work on Sun-
day, but more than all, he could not absent himself from " the Lord's house on the Lord's
day." He was accordingly compelled to appear at church on the following morning but half
shaved; a most ludicrous spectacle, we may well suppose, in those days of cropped hair and
smooth faces, and more particularly as he was leader of the choir and compelled to face the
" The Boston Weekly News Letter," of February 9, 1744, contained the following
notice of his death.
" DoBCHESiEB, 31 January, 1744
"Oa the 27th inst. died here, and this day was decently interred, Mr. John Pierce, in the 77th year of his
age. He wao a man of exemplary piety; steady in his adherence to God's word, to His worship. Sabbath and
ordinances ; benevolent, charitable and just in his disposition towards mankind; humble and modest ; temperate
and self-denying as to himself His death is generally lamented. He has loft a sorrowful widow and seven
children, and has had fifty-one grandchildren."
10 MY ANCESTORS IN AMEKICA.
son of John and Abigail (Thompson)
Pierce, grandson of Thomas and Mary
,, ^^ ^^ ,.^^^ (Proctor) Pierce, and great grandson of
"^-^^ Robert and Ann (Greenway) Pierce, was
born in Dorchester April 5th, 1707, and
died there, of small pox, August 8th,
1778, aged seventy-one years, three months and twenty-two days. He is said to have
been in vigorous health when taken with this disease, and bid fair to have lived many
years longer. He was a cabinet maker, having learned his trade with one Rand, whose
shop was on Ann street, in Boston. He set up his business in Dorchester, where, like
his fathers before him, he united with the Dorchester church, and was for some years the
leader in. church music, as his father had been. On the 15th of April, 1736, he married
Elizabeth Shcpard, of Milton, who died of fever, without issue, September 19th, 1736,
aged twenty-four. On the 10th of November, 1741, he was again married, to Elizabeth
Fessenden, daughter of Thomas and Abigail Fessenden, of Lexington, Mass., by whom he
had fourteen children, viz : John, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Peter, Jonathan, Sarah, Daniel,
James, Ebenezer, Lemuel, Hannah, Isaac, and twins who died in infancy. Four of his
children lived to be upwards of eighty years, seven upwards of seventy, and nine upwards
of sixty. His wife, Elizabeth, was born March 18, 1721, and died November 11, 1780,
surviving him but two years. He was a man of good native powers, industrious in his
vocation, and remarkable for his temperance, making it his practice to rise from his
meals with an appetite. He maintained an uniform reputation for piety and morality,
educating his children in the fear of the Lord, and being scrupulous in the discharge of
MY ANCESTOKS IN AMERICA.
eldest child of John and Elizabeth (Fes-
senden) Pierce, grandson of John and
Abigail (Thompson) Pierce, great grand-
son of Thomas and Mary (Proctor)
Pierce, great great grandson of Robert
and Ann (Greenway) Pierce, was born
in Dorchester September 22, 1742, where he lived, as his fathers before him had lived for
four generations, and where he died December 11, 1833, aged ninety-one years two
months and eight days. He was married four times, but his children were all by his
second wife, Sarah Blake, daughter of Samuel and Patience (White) Blake, of Dorchester
Neck, now South Boston, to whom he was married June 9, 1772, and by whom he had ten
children, all of whom survived him, the youngest, Lemuel, being forty-four years of age
at the time of his father's death. His children were John, Sarah, Molly, Eunice, Jonas,
Samuel, Hannah, Lois, Patience, Lemuel. His wife, Sarah Blake, died of apoplexy July
18, 1791, aged thirty-six years, nine months and twenty-seven days. (See a notice of her
upon another page.) At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Mr. Samuel Howe, of
Dorchester, shoemaker, who was a man of mark in those days, often representing the
town in the general court. He continued to work at this trade for seventy years, main-
tained his family reputably and died without owing a cent, but leaving a handsome
property for his children. Through life he was most scrupulous in fulfilling his engage-
ments ; careful in making promises, but when made he would submit to any sacrifice
rather than forfeit his word. All his ancestors in this country, paternal and maternal,
had been professors of religion, as was he and each of his four wives. Like his father
and grandfather before him he was leader of church music for many years. His punctuality
in attending public worship was a matter of common notoriety, being always at his post and
never having been absent in a single instance when there was service, for more than half
a century previous to his last illuess, save once when detained by snow which neither he
nor his neighbors could break through, .and once when prohibited from attending by vote
of the towa, the small pox being in his house. This was the more extraordinary as he
lived upwards of a mile from the meeting house. But although rigidly scrupulous in his
religious ob^ervaaces he always claimed for himself and encouraged his children to exer-
cise the right of private judfjment in the examination and interpretation of the Scriptures.
Upon the formation of the Dorchester Temperance Society, he was elected their first
President, which office he continued to hold until the day of his death. At a meeting of
the society held December 13, 1833, soon after his decease, a series of appropriate
resolutions was offered by Charles J. Adams, and were unanimously adopted. Among
these resolutions was the following : " Resolved, That the Dorchester Temperance Society
cherish feelings of the highest respect and veneration for the character and virtues of
12 MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
their late venerable President, Mr. John Pierce. After a long course of years, spent in
industry and frugality ; in the practice of prudence, of virtue, and of temperance, he
then promptly came forward, at a period when his age exceeded that of any other man
in the town, and gave his name and influence to promote the philanthropic and benevolent
cause of temperance, in which he manifested an unabated interest and zeal to the last
period of his life." And adds the Secretary of the society who communicated the
resolutions : " His life has been a bright comment upon our principles, and was marked
with that Christian simplicity, industry, and uprightness which makes the worth of the
republican citizen, and which constitutes man the noblest work of his Creator." My father
thus concludes a notice of him, prepared at the request of the above society : " He left
no will, trusting that in the settlement of his estate his children would do justice to one
another, to all concerned, as well as to his memory. But he has left them a legacy in his
precious example far above all price and compared with which the wealth of the Indias is
but dross." Mr. Samuel Blake in " Blake's Memoirs," (often herein referred to,) says
of him: " He was a great reader and a profound thinker, a man of sound judgment and
sterling integrity. He was a dear lover of sacred music, especially church music, in
which he delighted to take a part to the close of his life. He was much esteemed by all
for his sincere devotion to every benevolent object, and his daily practical virtues."
My father, in his private journal, thus concludes an extended notice of him :
" The following lines in Pope's ' Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot' admirably apply to my
beloved father :
" ' stranger to civil and religious rage,
Ttie good man walked innoxious through hia age.
No courts he saw; no suits would ever try,
Nor dared an oath, nor hazwded a lie,
Unlearned, he knew no schoolman's subtle art ;
No language but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise ;
Healthy by temperance and by exercise.
His life, though long, to sickness past unknown —
His death was instant and without a groan.
O, grant me thus to live and thus to die.' "
MY ANCESTOKS IN AMEBICA. 13
eldest child of John and Sarah (Blake)
Pierce, grandson of John and Elizabeth
(Fessenden) Pierce, great grandson of
rr7\^ (^!rv^ John and Abigail (Thompson) Pierce,
great great grandson of Thomas and
Mary (Proctor) Pierce, great great great
grandson of Robert and Ann (Greenway) Pierce, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts,
July 14, 1773. On the 31st of October, 1798, he was married to Abigail Lovell, of Medway,
Massachusetts, who had been one of his pupils at Leicester Academy. She died July 2,
1800, leaving one child, who also died April 18, 1802. On the 6th of May, 1802, he was
again married, to Lucy Tappan, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (Homes) Tappan, of
Northampton, Massachusetts, by whom he had ten children, eight of whom survived him
and are still living, (January, 1864,) Sarah, Elizabeth, Abigail, Lucy, Feroline, John,
Robert, William, Benjamin, Mary. He entered Harvard College in 1789 and graduated
in 1793. In his private memoirs he writes: "I had the appointment of the first English
oration given to my class at the close of the Junior year. I was the first in my class
admitted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and also the first into the Adelphoi Theologia, a
religious society. On taking my first degree I had the second English oration, which I de-
livered on "Astronomy," it being the second part in honor assigned to the class, the present
Judge .Jackson having the first assignment which was the valedictory oration. In taking
my second degree at college I performed the valedictory oration in Latin." On leaving
Harvard college he received the appointment of teacher in Leicester academy where he
remained two years, or until July 10, 1795, when he commenced the study of divinity
under the Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, of Dorchester. On the 22d of February, 1796,
he was "approved" by the Boston association of ministers at the house of Dr. John
Elliott, of Boston. On the 2d of November, 1796, he was appointed tutor at Harvard
university. On the 18th December, 1796, he received an unanimous call to settle as pastor
over the church at Brookline, Mass., which, as he writes, "after mature deliberation I
accepted February 1, 1797, and was ordained March 15, 1797." " He never changed
nor wished to change his place," but remained, a faithful and happy pastor to a virtuous,
united and prosperous people for more than fifty years, or until his death, August 24,
1849. On Commencement day, August, 1822, he received from his beloved Alma Mater, to
whom he was always a most loving and devoted son, the honorary degree of Doctor of
Divinity. During his long ministry he published but twenty-one discourses, although he
was a frequent contributor to religious and literary papers, such as the " Literary Miscel-
lany," "The Christian Disciple," " The Christian Register," &c. He never courted
distinction as a mere writer, seeming rather to avoid than to cultivate the graces of
rhetoric. Directness, clearness, but above all, truthfulness, were all that he aspired to.
No one ever disputed his figures or his facts, of which he possessed a perfect encyclopedia
80 methodically arranged in his extraordinary memory, as always to lie available for
immediate use. His very dear friend, the learned and Reverend Dr. Wm. B. Sprague, of
14 MY A>'CESTOKS IN AMEKICA.
Albany, N. Y., once playfully remarked to him : " AVere I in possession of a single fact
of which you are ignorant, I should consider myself entitled to a biography." He re-
ferred to a subject of mutual interest, to which each had devoted much attention. But if
he was not particularly noted as a writer, he was widely and justly distinguished in many
other important particulars. I shall not attempt, in my narrow limits, to give any ac-
count of this honored parent beyond the few simple facts of his history. His memory is still
cherished by so many loving hearts, that there is no need of eulogy from his children,
and the published accounts of him, from able writers, have already become permanent
history. Among these accounts I would particularly refer to the notice contained in the
Second Volume of the American Unitarian Biography, which was edited by Eev. Wm.
Ware, and published in Boston in 1851 ; to that contained in 'he Book of the Lockes,
from page 370, and to Volume 1st, 4th Series of the collection or" the Massachusetts
Historical Society commencing 277th Page.
He held many important and responsible offices, several of which he resigned in the
spring of 1849, in view of his approaching dissolution. He was a member of the first
Temperance Society of America (the memorable thirteen) and was a most earnest and
devoted advocate of that good cause until the day of his death. He was one of the
founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society and served as its Secretary for more than
nineteen years, and as its President for twenty-one years, until his resignation, April 5,
1849. He was Secretary of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University for upwards
of thirty-three years, or from May 1816 to July 12, 1849, when he resigned. Upon ac-
cepting his resignation the Board adopted a series of resolutions from the eloquent pen of
their Ex-President, Hon. Edward Everett, which expressed much more than the ordinary
formal ofiFerings usual upon such occasions.
Although descended from what the world may deem an humble origin, his children
may well entertain an honest pride in view of so long a line of virtuous ancestry, and
respond to the sentiment which their dear father so often expressed while living, "that
he felt more honored by this heritage of virtue than he would have felt had wealth or
dignities descended to him, with the prejudices and vices which too often accompany
In closing this brief notice of my beloved father, I don't know that I can exhibit in
truer, or fairer lines, the crowning virtues and beauties of his character, than by giving
the following extract from a letter written by him in immediate prospect of his " great
and last change." I saw him afterwards, for he lived for nearly four months from the
time this letter was written, but his faith only grew brighter and clearer and his confidence
firmer, until he passed the Heavenly portals and entered upon his rest.
Brookline, April 13, 1841.
Dear William : — The interest you take in my health is such as I should expect from
you. Let me describe my case as it appears to myself, though I may be a partial judge.
Five weeks ago last Saturday, I sent for Dr. AVild the first time as my physician. He
has been constant in his attendance. Last Tuesday I met Dr. AVild and Dr. Jackson at
brother John Tappans, to consult in my case. They both pronounce me diseased ; but
are at a loss to decide what is my disease. After they had maturely deliberated, Dr.
Jackson came where I was and said "the Apostle Paul directs 'wives obey your
husbands,' but in your case you must reverse this direction and must obey your wife.
She knows better than you what you can bear." I am feeble. I have lost a great deal of
flesh. No animal food relishes, but there are things which I can enjoy. I feel perfectly
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA. 15
willing to resign myself to the disposal of infinite rectitude, wisdom and love. It is
forty -four years since my rheumatic fever, my last illness before this. Should it be the
will of my merciful Disposer soon to take me away, there is no period in my life in
which I could be better spared. My children are grown up. Your mother enjoys
excellent health, and almost resented it when some of our ladies insisted on my having
a nurse. "No," said she, "I would rather lie down and die with him than submit to
such a necessity." I have a Colleague who is everything I could desire. I have a
resting place for your mother and myself just east of my tomb, as we choose rather to
lie in the ground than to be so near the surface as in the tomb. I am resigning, one
after another, the numerous oflBces I have sustained, so that should my Maker soon call
me away, I may have nothing to do but to die. My people are constantly overwhelming
me with kind and uninterrupted attentions. Notwithstanding the sombre aspect of this
letter, I have no immediate apprehensions of dissolution. I may recruit again my flesh
and stay a little longer with my family, flock and friends. Should it be otherwise
ordained it is probable that my decay will be gradual so that a good opportunity may be
aflForded you to come and bid me farewell. In this alternative you may depend on having
From what I have said I charge you, my son, to indulge no needless anxiety. My mind
is at ease, trusting in the mercy of God through the Redeemer. I have the delightful
anticipation of soon meeting my numerous friends, who have died in the Lord,
" where the wicked cease from troubling and where the weary are at rest."
With much love to your wife and children, I remain
Your affectionate Father, JOHN PIERCE.
The following resolutions were passed by the Overseers of Harvard College and by
the Bible Society o( Massachusetts, upon accepting the resignation of their Secretary
and President, the former having been prepared and submitted by the Honorable Edward
Everett and the latter by the Rev. Francis Parkman, who was especially selected and
appointed for that purpose :
" At an adjourned meeting of the Overseers of Harvard College, held in the Council
Chamber in Boston on the 12th day of July, 1849,
"A letter having been submitted to the Board from the Reverend Dr. Pierce,
Secretary of the Overseers of Harvard College, tendering his resignation.
Resolved, That it is with deep regret that the Board find themselves called upon to
accept the resignation of their very able Secretary, rendered necessary by the state of
his health ; that the grateful acknowledgments of this Board are due to Dr. Pierce for
the untiring diligence and extreme punctuality with which he has for moi'e than thirty
years performed the duties of his important ofiice ; and that the Board on this occasion
reflect with satisfaction and deep sensibility on his long connection with the University
as an honored son and a faithful servant, and on the many proofs given by him of a strong
and enlightened interest in its welfare.
Resolved, That a certified copy of these votes be transmitted to the Rev. Dr. Pierce,
with the assurance on behalf of the Overseers, that since, in the course of Divine
Providence, his ofiicial connection with the University is henceforward to cease, the
remembrance of his welcome presence and animating services, continued for so long a
course of years on the public academic occasions, will be held by this Board in lasting
and affectionate remembrance."
16 MY ANCESTORS IX AMERICA.
On the 28th of May, 1849, the Bible Society of Massachusetts held its XLth
Anniversary in Central Church, Boston.
At the last stated meeting of the Trustees a communication was received from the
venerable Dr. Pierce, resigning, on account of advancing years and infirmities, his office
as our President. It was with deep sensibility that the Society have been informed of
his resignation, and while reluctantly yielding to the considerations which, in his own
views, rendered it expedient, they cannot fail to recall the long, varied and faithful service
which their late President has rendered ; as one of the founders of the institution,
assisting at its organization ; as its first Secretary and afterwards as its President, in
the former relation for more than nineteen years, and the latter for twenty-one years
embracing the whole period of the existance of the Society, his name has been intimately
associated with its origin and progress ; in the characteristic punctuality of his
attendance on its meetings, which was next to invariable ; in the cheerfulness and
cordiality of his personal intercourse with all alike of his own and of every Christian
name ; in his hearty and efficient interest in the promotion of this, as well as of the
various institutions with which he has so long stood connected, the Bible Society of
Massachusetts recognizes one of its most faithful and valued members. They regret his
retirement from the duties and honors he has so well sustained. They respectfully
sympathize in the infirmities to which, by the appointment of a paternal Providence, he
has been called, and they unite their prayers and heartfelt wishes that the God who has
sustained and blessed him so long, may still be with him in the gracious smiles of His
presence and the sustaining power of His truth, so that his declining days may be
brightened by the remembrances of the past and by the cheering hopes which, in the Gospel
of Jesus Christ, are opened to the faithful in the future."
LINES SUGGESTED BY THE ILLXESS OF REV. DR. PIERCE.
BY HAEniET WOODS.
" He lingers with us yet,
Even as golden light, at parting day
Lingers in beauty on the western sky.
Calm, peaceful and serene, his useful life
Is ebbing silently; and far and wide
Young lips are murmuring for him
Their fervent blessings; and his aged friends
Whose lives have glided parallel with his,
Offer their heartfelt tribute to his worth.
But can we spare him yet? thou in Heaven
Who blessed us by apportioning our lot
Within the circle of his usefulness ;
His sweet companionship, his noble thoughts ;
We thank thee for his life ; and for each word
Of kind advice and counsel he has given.
But naust he leave us ? and the vacant place.
The blank be left no other one can fill?
Yes, though we sorrow; let thy will be done!
For, 0, we know, we feel, that far in Heaven
Thou hast a home for him; that there remains
A crown of light and glory for his brow.
Then should we bid him longer, linger here?
smooth for him the short descending path!
MY AXCESTORS IX AMEBICA.
my fathers first maternal
ancestor in this country
was born in England about
the year 1594, and emi-
grated to this country in
the spring of 1630, with
his wife Agnes and their children. I learn from the " Memoirs of the Blake Family,"
compiled with great labor and care by Samuel Blake, Esq, one of the descendants, and
published in Boston in 1857, that this William Blake was a son of Giles and Dorothy
(Tweedy) Blake, of Little Baddow, county of Essex, England ; grandson of Richard and
Mabel (Coverte) Blake, Essex, England ; great-grandson of John and Anna (Rawson)
Blake, and great-great-grandson of John Blake of Little Baddow, county of Essex,
England, gentleman, the first ancester of whom I have any account. (This information
was'obtained by John S. Blake, Esq., from records in England.) William and Agnes
Blake, sailed from Plymouth, England, March 20th, and arrived at Nautasket, (now
Hull), Massachusetts, May 30, 1630.* They came in the ship Mary and John, Captain
Squeb Master, the first vessel that arrived, of a considerable fleet which sailed shortly
afterwards from the same port. This company commenced their settlement in Dorchester,
Massachusetts, early in June of that year. From the early records of the Blake Family,
obtained, as aforesaid, in England, it appears that the first and second John Blake, of
Little Baddow, above mentioned, were denominated " gentlemen." Further than this we
have no knowledge of their occupation. Our first ancestor in this country, the said
William Blake, was probably a farmer. He was made "freeman " of Dorchester, Mass.,
March 14, 1638-9. He was thrice elected one of the "selectmen" of that town, viz: in
1645, 1647 and 1651, In 1656 he was chosen "Recorder" of the town and " Clerk of
the Writs," for the County of Suffolk, which ofiices he held until the day of his death,
Oct. 25, 1663, he then being in the 69th year of his age. He and his wife Agnes joined
Dorchester Church, August 23, 1636. Agnes, his widow, survived him nearly fifteen
years and died on the 22d of July, 1678. From his will, still on record in the Probate
* It is with considerable doubt and misgiving that I have included William Blake among the earliest settlers
of Dorchester, who came over in the Mary and John in 1630. I have done so because I find it so stated in Blake's
Memoirs, (excellent authority), because my fiither's records show it, and .John S. Blake, Esq., who has given
much time to the investigation, " has firm faith in it " and says that " it has been so believed in the family for
the last hundred years."
On the other hand, I have received private letters from Samuel Blake, Esq., author of Blake's Memoirs, in
which he says, " I do not know that there is any positive proof. I should be very happy to see the proof of
the time in regard to it." In the History of Dorchester, page 106, I find the following entry, '• William Blake
was bora in England, in 1594 and came with his wif« Agnes to Dorchester about the same time with Mr. .Matlier,
probably in the same ship. He joined the Church in 1636, was a grantee of land in 1637, was admitted freeman
March 14, 10.38-9, was a selectmaa in 1645, '47 and '51, &c., &c." Kev. Richard Mather, the person above referred
to, grandfather of the famous Cotton Mather, came over in the "James," and arrived in Boston in August, 1635.
If William Biake had been among the first settlers who came over in 1630, it is probable that the records
would afford some evidence of it. isubstantial, influential and public spirited man that he wiis, and, withall,
eminent for piety, he would probably have joined the Church before 163'-.; have been a, grantee of land before
1637, and have been admitted freeman before March 14, 163S. It U understood that most, if not all, of the
passengers by the Mary and John, were from Dorsetshire, whereas William Blake was from Essex. "The Rev.
. Mr. White wrote to Governor Endicott in the summer of 1029 to appoint places of habitation for sixty families
out of Dorsetshire, vihich were to arrive in the following spring." See History of Dorchester page 17. These
were the passengers by the Mary and John. All the passengers by that vessel were not from Dorsetshire, but
I believe they were all from the western Counties and none from Essex.
:>IY AXCESTOES IN' AMERICA.
Office of Suffolk county, Mass., it appears that he left five children surviving him, four
sons and one daughter, viz: William, James, Edward, John and Ann. In Blake's
Memoirs, above referred to, it is said of him that "he appears to have been a man of
consequence in the new settlement, and also of public spirit, as the first bequest in his
will goes to prove." He made a small bequest to the town, "to be bestowed for the
repairing of the burial place, so that swine and other vermin may not annoy the
graves of the saints." So reads his will and the records show that his Executrix (his
widow) paid the money to the town. Unfortunately, however, the precise spot of their
resting place cannot now be found.
son of William and Agnes
Blake, was born in England in 1623
and came to this country with his
parents in 1630. He died in Dor-
chester June 28, 1700, aged 77 years.
Blake's Memoirs say of him "that
he was one of the selectment of the town of Dorchester thirteen years, and was at
dififerent times Rater, Constable, Deputy to General Court, Clerk of the Writs, Recorder,
&c." He was chosen Deacon of Dorchester Church and ordained to that office June 30,
1672. He served as deacon about fourteen years and was then chosen ruling elder and
served about the same length of time, until his death. He was probably a farmer, but
his time must have been much taken up with other business for we find that he was
frequently engaged in settling estates, writing deeds and other instruments, having been
an excellent penman. He was noted for sound judgment and discretion and he appears
to have had a strong faith in his " Glorious God and Redeemer," as he expressed himself
in his last will and testament, which is still on file in the Probate Office of the County of
Suffolk, Mass. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Deacon Edward Clap, of Dorchester,
who was born about the year 1634 and died June 16, 1694, in the 61st year of her age.
Their gravestones are both in the burying yard of Dorchester in a good state of
preservation. The records show that they had s^ix children, viz : James, John, Elizabeth,
Jonathan, Sarah and Joseph. He was again married, Sept. 17, 1695, to widow
Elizabeth Hunt, of Rehobeth, Mass., but it does not appear that he had children by his
For the above facts I am chiefly indebted to my father's records. The following I
copy from Blake's Memoirs. " In addition to the time spAit in municipal and Church
affairs, he was frequently engaged in settling estates, as overseer of the will of some
friend or neighbor or guardian of orphan children, in writing deeds and other
instruments, &c. It appears that he had a high reputation for sound judgment and
discretion, and a faculty for leading others in important undertakings."
MY ANCESTORS IX AMERICA.
eldest son of James and Elizabeth
(Clap) Blake, and grandson of William
and Agnes Blake, was born
in Dorchester August 15, 1652, and
died there October 22, 1732, aged
80 years and two months. He had
two wives ; the first Hannah Macy, who died shortly after their marriage, and by whom
he had one child (Elizabeth) who died in infancy. His second wife Ruth Batchelder,
was born in 1662 and died January 11, 1752, in the 90th year of her age. They had three
children, Hannah, James and Increase. Hannah .appears to have died in infancy.
Blake's Memoirs say of him, " He was not in public business so much as his father
before him or his son after him. He was Selectman six years and Deacon of the Church
in Dorchester about 23 years, or until the day of his death. Upon bis gravestone, which
is still to be found in the burying ground at Dorchester, is the following inscription:
"Here lies buried the body of Mr. James Make, who departed this life Oct. 22, 1732, aged 80 years and
2 months. He was a member in full communion with the Church of Christ in Dorchester above 55 years
and a Deacon of the same Church above 23 years."
"Seven yuars strong pain do end at last,
His weary days and nights are past.
The way is rough, the end is peace.
Strong pain gives place to endless ease."
I copy the following from Blake's Memoirs: "Perhaps most persons now are not
aware, that one hundred years ago it was the fashion here in New England to furnish
gloves and fans to the mourners at funerals, the expense to come out of the estate of the
deceased. In my examination of some old papers, I found the original bill against Mr.
Blake's estate, which, it will be perceived, is dated one day after his decease." As a
curiosity I copy it entire :
"The Estate of Mr. James Blake, Deceased,
Bought of EzEKiEL Lewis,
Boston, Oct. 23, 1732.
5 doz. Men's and Women's White Gloves,
2} yds. Black Taflfety,
2 yds. Black Lutestring, - _ .
9| yds. Alamode, - . . .
4 Black Paper Fans, - - -
2 yds. Ferritt. Is Gd, 3 yds Girdles,
If yds. Black Silk - - . .
By 13 pairs White Gloves returned
Nov. 17.— To 2 yds. Wide Crape,
Received the contents,
4 7 9
£2i 1» 9
£21 13 9
' £22 13 y
Per EZEKIEL LEWIS.
20 MY ANCESTORS IX AMERICA.
In 1764 there was a non-importation and non-consumption agreement entered into
by many in Boston, and the first public demonstration was at the funeral of Mr. Ellis
Callender, of the Baptist Society. Mr. Andrew Hall, the chief mourner, appeared in
his usual garb with a crape round his arm, and his wife, who was sister, and nearest
relative to the deceased, with no other token of mourning than a black bonnet, gloves,
ribbons and handkerchief. The funeral was attended by a large procession of merchants
and gentlemen of figure, as a testimony of their approbation of this piece of economy,
and as a mark of their esteem for a family who had shown virtue enough to break a
custom which had proved ruinous to many families in the community."
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
son of James and Ruth (Batchelder)
Blake, grandson of James and Eliza-
beth (Clap) Blake and great-grandson
of William and Agnes
was born in Dorchester, Mass., Apr.
30, 1688, and died there Dec. 4, 1750,
in the 63d year of his age. He was married to Wait, daughter of Jonathan Simpson,
of Boston, who was born in 1694 and died in Dorchester, May 22, 1753, in the 69th year
of her age. He seems to have been a very useful and influential man and was highly
esteemed for learning and piety. He was a noted land surveyor and has left many fine
specimens of his artistic skill, correct and beautiful in design and in execution. He left
in records alone, upwards of 1,000 folio pages. In cases of litigated boundary his plans
and surveys were considered the very highest authority, and were so admitted by
the Courts. He is said to have been well versed in astronomy, and sometimes
indulged his constructive genius in the manufacture of dials and surveying instruments,
some of which are still preserved in the family. The gravestones of himself and wife
are in a good state of preservation in the Dorchester burying ground. They had seven
children, viz : Samuel, James, Wait, Thomas, Ruth, Thomas and Thomas. The three
Thomases died in infancy.
I copy the following from Blake's Memoirs: "James Blake says of himself, in
Blake's Annals, (for jt was he who wrote them) ' I have in that time wrote in the second
book of the Town Records 208 pages, which finishes the book, and have began the third
book of Records and wrote therein 119 pages, besides making tables for both the two
first books of Records, in an entire book by itself. I have, also, in the Tre.isury
business, made, began and wrote out, two large folio books of Accounts, containing about
224 folios or 448 pages each and the major part of the third folio book of about the same
bigness, besides large bundles of tax lists, tables to make rates by, warrants for town
meetings, divisions of the highways, plans of land sold by the town, &c. All which is
more, I suppose, by many times over, than any one man before me has wrote or done for
the town.' In March, 1749, he says: 'In November last I relapsed into a chronical
disease I have labored under for above 30 years, occasioned at first, as I conclude, by
over heats, wet and cold in my laying out the wild and unimproved lands belonging to
the proprietors of this town. I have been brought near unto the gates of the grave and
am yet but weak and low and have been ever since confined to my room. And how it
will still please God to deal with me I know not, but pray that I may have grace to yield,
not only sincere, active obedience to His will, bui also passive obedience, and that He will
fit and prepare me for His good will and pleasure.' He was in poor health from that
time until his death, which took place Dec. 4, 1750, between eight and nine o'clock in the
evening, in the 03d year of his age. He was much esteemed for his learning and piety."
22 MT ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
eldest son of James and Wait
(Simpson) Blake, grandson of
James and Ruth (Batchelder)
Blake, great-grandson of James
and Elizabeth (Clap) Blake, great-
great-grandson of William and
Agnes Blake, was born in Dorchester, Mass., Sept 6, 1715, and died there of
violent fever. May 1, 1754, aged 38 years, 7 months and 14 days. He married Patience,
daughter of Edward White, of Dorchester, June 5, 1740, by whom he had nine children,
six sons and 8 daughters, viz: Samuel, Edward, Thomas, Patience, Jonathan, James,
Thomas, Sarah and Mary. He was a farmer and surveyor of lands. The records show
that he was continually called upon by his townsmen to occupy important offices in
surveying lands, writing deeds, settling estates, etc. In July 17G4, his widow was again
married to Deacon Richard Hall but had no children by her second marriage. She died
at Dorchester, December 19, 1786, aged 71 years, 11 months and 27 days. " The children
of Samuel and Patience Blake, were distinguished by their practical good sense,
inflexible integrity and moral worth, having given good heed to the instructions of their
worthy parents." Four of the sons served reputably in the Revolutionary War Samuel,
the eldest, died in the army. James was a graduate of Harvard University, studied
Divinity and was about to enter upon his ministry when he departed this life, Nov. 17,
1771. He is represented as having been exceedingly attractive in his manners and
beautiful in person, giving promise of great influence and usefulness.
I copy the following from Blake's Memoirs, giving, however, only a few disjointed
extracts from the " diary " therein referred to :
•* I have been favored by a friend and kinsman, (Edward Howe, Esq., of Portland,
Me.,) with an extract from his mother's diary, (Mrs. Patience Howe, of Dorchester, and
eldest daughter of Samuel and Patience Blake,) which gives a better account of Mr.
Blake and his family than I can otherwise collect."
" My father was one whjo was often from home several days together in measuring
and laying out land. The last of April in the year 1754, on Saturday night he
returned home very unwell. A fever set in and he died on the Wednesday following,
May 1, 1754, in the 39th year of his age. My father was married to Miss Patience White,
June 1740. April 1741, my brother Samuel was born and in the war with England he
went into the army, was taken in Fort Washington and by the best accounts we could get
he died a prisoner in New York in 1776. My second brother, Edward, was born Dec.
1742, and is now living in Boston. My third brother, Thomas, was born Nov. 1744, was
the first child baptised in the North Meeting House the first Sunday they met in it, viz :
Dec. 2, 1744. He died when about one year old. I was born Feb. 15, 1747, the only one
of the children now living in Dorchester. My fourth brother, Jonathan, was born Jan.
1, 1749, and is now living in Warwick, Mass. My fifth brother, James, was born Dec.
1750. He entered Harvard College in the fifteenth year of his age. He spent the time
there with pleasure to himself and the approbation of his teachers. He was beautiful
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
in person, sociable, entertaining and edifying in his conversation. He studied Divinity
with Rev. Mr. Smith, of Weymouth, Mass., wrote twenty sermons and preached one
Sunday in Dorchester, Nov. 10, 1771. He met the approbation of old and young and
many spoke highly in his favor. The next Sunday morning (Nov. 17) he died and was
brought to his mother's, a corpse, at night. The sermons he preached at Dorchester are
in print. My sixth brother, Thomas, was born in Oct., 1762, and is now living in Boston.
My two sisters, (twins), Mary and Sarah, were both born Sept., 1754, a little more than
four months after the death of my father Mary was a lively pretty child but very
weakly. She died when about 22 months old. My other sister, Sarah, lived in this
town. She married Mr. John Pierce. As she and I sat down in life, not far distant
from each other, we spent many happy hours together. She was of an even temper, very
thoughtful and studious, her conversation agreeable and friendly. She was taken from
her family and friends at a time, when, it appeared, to us, she was very much wanted.
She died in July 1791, in the 37th year of her age, and left ten children, four sons and
six daughters. 'And Aaron held his peace.' It becomes us to be still and know that
the Lord'He is God."
daughter of Samuel and Patience
(White) Blake, granddaughter of
James and Wait (Simpson) Blake,
great-granddaughter of James and
Ruth (Batchelder) Blake, great-great-
granddaughter of James and Eliza-
beth (Clap) Blake and great-great-great-granddaughter of William and Agnes
Blake, was born on Dorchester Neck, now South Boston, Sept. 21, 1754, and on the 9th
of June 1772, was married to John Pierce, eldest child of John and Elizabeth (Fessenden)
Pierce of Dorchester. On the 16th of May 1784, she joined Dorchester Church. On the
18th of July 1791, she died of apoplexy aged 36 years 9 months and 27 days, leaving
ten children, her surviving, the eldest of whom, my father, then a student at Harvard
College, was but eighteen years of age. The following entry appears upon my father's
journal, which he kept through his college course and continued to the last days of his
life. "July 15, 1791, (Friday,) I went home and found my mother sick of a slow fever,
though, as all supposed, not dangerous. She continued in this fever till the next Monday
morning, when, at about half-past 5 o'clock, she was seized with an apoplectic fit, which,
in about five minutes, sent her immortal soul to the realms
'Where momentary ages are no more,
Where time and pain and chance and death expire.'
None but the Divine ha.nd which caused the wound can apply a remedy. The
distressing condition to which our family was reduced by this affecting dispensation of
2-1 MT ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
Providence, was enough to extort a tear even from the eye of a Myrmidon. She, in the
bloom of life, left my father in its decline, with a family of ten young children, of whom
I, the eldest, am eighteen years and the youngest but one and a half years. But the
Disposer of events, who ' can joy out of trouble bring,' saw tit to bear us up under this
affliction, which, at first, seemed insupportable. This was a gloomy vacation to me. My
mind was like the troubled sea. I found most consolation in the study of Doctor Young,
next to that of the Sacred Scriptures. I have reason to think that ' if ever soul
ascended,' my mother is conveyed to the happy realms of everlasting bliss."
At a later date my father wrote : " My mother was nearly twelve years younger than
my father. I well remember her youthful appearance and that I, who grew tall very
early, was sometimes taken for her brother. She lacked just two months and a week of
19 years when I, her oldest child, was born. My mother was, constitutionally and
, habitually, one of the mildest of the mild. She exercised but little authority over her
children, depending almost entirely on my father for the exercise of discipline, and would
often weep at the merited chastisement inflicted by him, which she had neither the
resolution to impose, even when most deserved, nor the fortitude to witness."
A sister, and perhaps a less partial witness, writes of her and other members of the
family as follows : " They were models of Christian excellence, walking before their
families, in faith, in the religion they professed. It may be said of them that they lived
above the world. They left large families, whose descendants are widely scattered,
many of them filling important stations in public and social life. Their descendants
need not.blush for their ancestors but may well take heed for themselves and see that
they perform their part according to "the light and knowledge with which they are so
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
my first maternal an-
cestor in this country-
was born in Calbridge,
York county, England,
about the year 1606.
His baptism is re-
corded in the records of that place as having taken place, April 10, 1606. He emigrated
with his family to New England in 1637, in the " Mary Anne," and died at Newbury,
Mass., November 5, 1672, aged 66. His widow, Susanna, lived in Salisbury, Mass., and
died there, March 20, 1689, aged 82. Her maiden name was Goodale. They had six
children, viz : Peter, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, John and Patty. My cousin, Lewis
William Tappan, wrote to me under date of Jan. 12, 1861 : "I have spared neither
labor nor expense in tracing back our family name, and with the following results.
The name was originally Topham or De Topham, taken from a place of that name in
Yorkshire upon the introduction of surnames in England and meaning Upper Hamlet
or Village. The earliest mention of the family in the registry of the Archbishop of
York is found in the will of John Topham of Pately Bridge in the West Kiding of
Yorkshire. This will is dated May 1, 1403, and was proved 13th of June following. He
divided his property between his wife Elizabeth and his sons and daughters but does
not give their names.
ROBERT TOPHAjM, with whom our pedigree commences, resided at Linton, near
Pately Bridge. He made his will in January, 1550.
THOMAS TOPHAM, his second son, was of Arncliife, in the neighborhood of Linton,
who, dying in 1589, was buried in the Church.
EDWARD TOPHAiV, eldest son of Thomas, has his pedigree recorded in the College
of Arms, with Armorial bearings. He was of Aiglethorpe near Linton. One of his sons
was Lieut. Col. in the service of King Charles and was slain at the battle of Marston
WILLIAM TOPPAN, fourth son of Edward of Aiglethorpe, resided some time at
Calbridge, where his son Abraham was baptised, April 10, 1606, and from whence he
probably emigrated to New England, as before stated.
The cause of the change of name from Tophan to Toppan 1 am not informed, but it
appears that the subsequent change from Toppan to Tappan, was made by our next
ancestor, Abraham's eldest son, Peter, and that his father threatened to disinherit him
for 80 doing. It seems, however, that most of the descendants have continued to bear
the name of Tappan from that time, although some of them afterwards wrote the
name Toppan. The family still exists in England, and are now of Middleham Hall,
Yorkshire. Their crest is a Maltese Cross.
My Uncle, Lewis Tappan, has furnished the following interesting particulars from
the public records :
" May 10th, 1637, the examination of Abraham Toppan, of Yarmouth, aged 31 years,
and Susanna his wife, aged 30 years, with two children, Peter and Elizabeth, and one
MY ANCESTORS IN AMEBICA.
maid servant, Anne Goodwin, aged 18 years, are desirous to pass to New England to
inhabit." Persons wishing to emigrate in those days had to have their intentions recorded
in London, and obtain permission.
In the town records of "Old Newbury," under date of Oct. 1637, is the following
" Abraham Toppan, being licensed by John Endicott, Esq., to live in this jurisdiction,
was received into the Town of Newbury as an inhabitant thereof, and hath promised,
under his hand, to be subject to any lawful order that shall be made by the town."
"Signed, ABRAHAM TOPPAN."
The following year he was chosen one of the Selectmen.
or Tappan, the eldest son of
Abraham and Susanna (Goodale)
Toppan, was born in England in
the year 1634, and emigrated with
his parents to America in 1637.
He was married to Jane Batt, of
Boston, daughter of Mr. Christopher Batt, in 1661, by whom he had five children, viz :
Peter, Jane, Samuel, Elizabeth and Christopher. He was a physician by profession and
practiced medicine in Newbury, Mass., where he died Nov. 3, 1707. He lived upon the
land afterward occupied by his son Samuel, part of which is now owned (1864) by
Joseph Tappan, one of their descendants.
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
son of Peter and Jane
(Batt) Tappan, grandson
of Abraham and Susanna
(Goodale) Toppan, was
born, probably at New-
bury, Mass., June 5th,
1670 and died there Oct. 30, 1750, aged 80 years. He married Abigail, daughter of the
Rev. Michael Wigglesworth of Maiden, Mass., who was born March 20th, 1681 and died
Jan. 28, 1771, aged 90. They had ten children, viz: Samuel, Joseph, Wigglesworth,
Abigail, Martha, Mary, Ebenezer, Lydia, Benjamin and Joseph. The first Joseph
probably died young.
My sister E. P., furnished me the following interesting particulars, obtained from
reliable sources in Newbury : " It is related that when Abigail Wigglesworth came to
Newbury on a visit to see the wife of the Rev. Christopher Toppan, who was a Miss
Angier, of Cambridge, as she was walking near the house which Samuel was then
building, she asked him for whom he was building that house. His reply was, ' For you,
if you please.' On the 3d of Dec. 1701, she was pleased to marry him. The house in
which Samuel Toppan lived was built in 1700, and is still standing. It is situated on
High street, the second house south from Marlboro' street. He was a farmer, and was
the third child of Dr. Peter Toppan.
"January 28, 1771. — This day died Mrs. Abigail Toppan, in the 90th year of her
age. She was a daughter of that eminently pious man of God, the Rev. Michael
Wigglesworth, of Maiden, and truly worthy of such an excellent father. It appears
from her writings that she gave herself up to God in her early days, and her life and
conversation testified to that transaction ever afterward. Her memory and understanding
continued surprisingly to the last. She lived many years in daily expectation of death,
and apparently waiting for her last change. And when the time came, she was found
upon the watch, and took her dismission with joy. May her children that survive be
followers of her, as she was of Christ Jesus."
The following letter from Mrs. Abigail Tappan to her son Benjamin, then a student
at Harvard College, I copy from a " Memoir of Mrs. Sarah Tappan," published by my
uncle, Lewis Tappan, in 1834, for gratuitous distribution among her descendants. It is
interesting not only to her immediate descendants, who cannot fail to discover therein
evidence of a superior mind and will, but to all who would know the depth and fullness
of those fountains, from which puritanism obtained its supplies. Her brother. Rev.
Edward Wigglesworth, was first HoUis Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, which office
he held for forty-four years. His son. Rev. Edward Wigglesworth, succeeded him and
held the office twenty -six years. The Rev. David Tappan succeeded him and held the
office eleven years :
Newburt, (Mass.,) April 14, 1740.
Son Benjamin : — I rejoice to hear of your bodily health, but more especially that the
Spirit of God is striving with you, minding you of your duty and interest; and that you
28 MY ANCESTOES IN AMERICA.
are calling to mind sick-bed promises and resolutions. The Lord enable you to pay the
vows which your lips have uttered, and your mouth hath spoken, in the day of your
distress ! Having opened your mouth to the Lord, you may not go back : God will
account it sacrilege, if you do. Read Ecclesiastes v. 4 : '* When thou vowest a vow, defer
not to pay it ; for God hath no pleasure in fools. Pay that thou has vowed." Besides,
with what face will you dare to sue for mercy any more in time of danger and distress,
if you neglect to pay your vows ?
To renew your covenant with God is your undoubted duty and interest ; and I advise
you to do it, first in secret between God and your own soul, and that with the greatest
seriousness, solemnity and mature deliberation ; and afterwards publicly ; and with a
deep sense of your own impotency and unworthiness. By earnest, fervent prayer, in the
name, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, implore the assistance of the Holy Spirit of grace,
that he would take an everlasting possession of your soul, and set up his kingdom there ;
that he would loose the bands of sin, the chains and fetters of iniquity, and set your
soul at liberty, to run in the way of his commandments with enlargement of heart.
Be diligent, constant and very serious in attending upon the means of grace in public
and private ; and watch, pray and strive against a vain, wandering and trifling spirit in
holy duties. As a remedy against such an evil disease endeavor to get a thorough sense
of the vast weight of unseen and eternal things ; possess your mind with a sense of the
vanity and emptiness of all earthly enjoyments, and with the worth and value of your
immortal soul ; — that it will be a most unprofitable bargain to gain the whole world with
the loss of your soul. Labor to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and your deep and
deadly pollution by it. Fix your eye on your wicked heart, that fountain and spring of
corruption, that defiles all your actions, that inclines to all evil, and makes you averse to
do anything that is good. Then look over your innumerable actual transgressions.
Think how you have sinned against the clearest light, the dearest love, and against
promises and vows of amendment.
Let these thoughts fill you with shame and sorrow ; and beg of God to give you
repentance unto life, and to pardon your sins for Christ's sake. Endeavor to see the
transcendent beauty, loveliness, and excellency of Jesus Christ, his fullness and all-
sufficiency ; — that God has laid help upon one that is mighty ; that there is enough in
him to pay all your debts ; to supply all your wants, be they ever so many, ever so great.
Pray to God for the grace of faith, and that He would draw you to Jesus Christ, and
enable you to believe on His name.
Think of the blessedness of the man, whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin
is covered ; of the man that has God for his portion. Remember that God ofi"ers himself
to you, to be your shield and exceeding great reward ; that he commands you to seek his
face, and says, "My son, give me thy heart." Now obey his voice, and turn at his
reproof. * * * Consult the exceeding great and precious promises of the gospel. " Ask,
and ye shall receive ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and ye shall find rest unto your
souls. He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me, shall
Excite all the ardor of your soul to a fixed resolution to be the Lord's, and to join
yourself to him in an everlasting covenant, that shall never be broken nor forgotten. I
earnestly advise you to go to the minister, who will rejoice in having an opportunity to
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
serve God, and to assist you with his counsel and prayers. Tell him plainly your case,
your promises, your hopes, your fears ; and be sure to observe his directions. Now the
God of all grace be with you, bless you, and make you a blessing ; direct, strengthen,
settle you, and build you up by faith upon that Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ, that God hath
laid in Zion for sinners to build upon. Your loving mother,
son of Samuel and
Abigail ( Wiggles-
grandson of Peter
and Jane (Batt)
Tappan and great-
grandson of Abraham and Susanna (Goodale) Toppan, was born at Newbury, Mass.,
February 28th, 1721, and died there May 6, 1790, aged 69. He graduated at Harvard
College in 1742, after which he taught a school in Haverhill, Mass., boarding in the
family of Mr. David Marsh, whose eldest daughter, Elizabeth, he married in 1746. She sur-
vived him about 17 years and died in August 1807. They had twelve children, Benjamin,
Samuel, Mary, David, Wigglesworth, Abigail, Samuel, Ebenezer, Michael, Elizabeth,
Martha and Amos. He was settled in the ministry at Manchester, Mass., in 1745, and
remained there till his death in 1790. He had young men studying with him from time
I regret to record so little of this worthy ancestor, although I do not know that I
could serve my present purpose better by multiplying facts than by giving the following
letter from him to his son Benjamin Tappan, my honored grandfather, after the latter
was settled in his business at Northampton. I copy this letter from the Memoir of my
grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Tappan, herein before referred to. It shows him to have been
an affectionate, anxious parent and a firm believpr in the Puritan's religious faith :
Manchester, February 7, 1770.
Dear Child — : It is difficult for me to write to you ; but yet easy and natural for me
to remember and care for you. God is my witness that I think of you by day and night ;
and that I forget you not in my addresses to the throne of grace. I am greatly concerned
for your welfare. I mean yoirr spiritual and eternal. When I think of the carelessness,
heedlessness, and irreligion of young people, I am in distress for you — my son. 0, my
painful fears, lest you live as other young people seem commonly to do. in the neglect of
God, Christ, and their own souls. However, I hope you do not. \
Beware lest you miss of the grace of God, and fall short of his kingdom. Let the
blessings of God's kingdom be sought in the first and chiefest place. Give all diligence
30 MY ANCESTOKS IN AMERICA.
in your endeavors to secure the good part which shall never be taken away. Let God's
grace, and love, and salvation, be the objects of your most vehement desires, with fervent
prayers, and most careful and unwearied endeavors. Let it be your main concern, on
common days, as well as Sabbath days, to make provision for your soul's welfare. Be
solicitous, both day and night, about a preparation for death, judgment and eternity.
Beware of the world, flesh, and devil. Be addicted to serious consideration. Think
often of your soul, your errand into the world, and your work in it ; the greatness of
your work here ; the shortness of time ; the uncertainty of time ; the duration of eternity ;
the blessedness of such as die in the Lord ; the misery of such as die in their sins, and
under their Maker's displeasure; the worth of salvation; the fearfulness of damnation,
Be addicted to serious and impartial self-examination. Be much in prayer and
supplication. Be watchful as well as prayerful. Make conscience of your behaviour
towards God and man. Willingly neglect no ordinances or duties whatever. Be religious
in secret, as well as in public. See to it that you are religious indeed and in truth, as
well as in word or profession.
Take heed that you rest not in an external profession. See to it that you have the
internals and externals both. Live not contented without regeneration by the Spirit of
God. Seek to have all old things done away, and all things become new in you. Rest
in nothing short of that faith, and love, and repentance, and fear, and obedience, and
devotedness to God, which is according to the sacred word. Give yourself no rest till you
have obtained God's Spirit, grace, salvation, and love. Give yourself no rest, till you
can humbly conclude God yours, Christ yours, salvation yours, and Heaven yours.
My son! my son! my son ! my dear son ! my own flesh ! Will you hear me ? will
you hearken to a father who loves you like himself, and your soul like his own ? God
give you ears to hear, and eyes to see, and a heart to obey ! AVill he make you wise for
your own soul ! May it please Him to make you wise unto salvation, and for eternity !
We are all well, through divine mercy, and hope you are. We long to hear from
you. Send us a line the first opportunity. We have not heard from you since the
reception of your letter of October. My love, with your mother's and brothers' and
Your affectionate father, B. Toppan.
P. S. There have been several sudden deaths, of late, in Ipswich and Salem.
Boast not, my son, of to-morrow. Be solicitous to be always ready to die, and appear in
the presence of God.
Lieutenant Lee, last week, received news of the death of his daughter Bishop.
Heavy tidings. 0, how heavy ! 'Tis sad work, very sad, to bury dear children. 0, how
sad to bury adult children, unless they are evidently pious ! What work is it to bury
children of whom we have scarcely the least hope !
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA. 31
"^ iolT grandson of Samuel
^7^ and Abigail (Wig-
' glesworth) Tappan,
great-grandson of Peter and Jane (Batt) Toppan, great-great-grandson of Abraham and
Susanna (Goodale) Toppan, was born at Manchester, Mass., Oct. 21, 1747, and died at
Northampton, Mass., Jan. 29, 1831, aged 83 years. He was married to Sarah, daughter
of William Homes, Esq., of Boston, Mass., Nov. 2, 1770. They had eleven children,
Sarah, Benjamin, Rebecca, Lucy, William, John, Charles, Arthur, Lewis, Elizabeth and
George, four of whom are still living, January 1864, the youngest of whom, Lewis, is
now nearly 76 years of age. For the following account of this honored grand parent I
am indebted to my sister, E. P., who lived in his family for many years and until the day
of his death, and who knew him, perhaps, more intimately than any other person, not
excepting his children, particularly during the last years of his life :
At the age of 14 he was nearly fitted for College, and, as he was very fond of books,
was doubtless looking forward with pleasing anticipations to the pursuit of his favorite
employment, when one day he heard his father remark to a brother in the ministry that
he should only be able to educate one son at College, and he had thought that David must
be the scholar, because his right hand had been so severely burned, when quite a little
child, as to unfit him for any mechanical employment. Although this remark struck a
death-blow to the fond hopes of young Benjamin, he nobly resolved to bear the trial in
secret, and the next day informed his father that he had decided to learn a trade. He
was soon afterwards sent to Boston and spent seven years in the family of Mr. William
Homes, goldsmith, and became master of that trade. He was rewarded for his heroic
self-denial by the friendship of his master's daughter, a lovely young girl, very nearly of
his own age, who afterwards became his wife. They lived long and happily together, and
she proved to be a rich treasure, being one of those virtuous women whose *' price is far
above rubies." The young brother, for whose benefit the sacrifice was made, appreciated
his advantages at Cambridge College, and afterwards became Professor of Divinity
in that University. Instead of cherishing any feelings of jealousy towards his brother,
Benjamin loved him with a strong afl"ection, and delighted to speak of his success. The
first Hollis Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, Rev. Edward Wigglesworth, was in office
44 years. He was brother of Mrs. Abigail W. Toppan. His son Edward succeeded to
the same Professorship and was in office 26 years. His cousin's son. Dr. David Tappan,
above referred to, was in the same office 11 years.
At the age of 21 Benjamin Tappan went to Northampton, in the beautiful valley of
the Connecticut, to establish himself in business, and returned to Boston and was married
at the age of 23. The remainder of his life was spent at Northampton.
He was a man of middle stature, neat in his person, exceedingly orderly and regular
32 MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
in his habits, very punctually keeping his engagements, and expecting the same of others.
He had a pleasant, benevolent countenance, bright, expressive eyes, and was very social
in his feelings. He vi&s particularly fond of the company of the clergy, (perhaps because
he had enjoyed their conversation in the home of his childhood,) frequently inviting them
to his house. The last time he signed his name was a few days previous to his last illness
to subscribe thirty-seven dollars for the benefit of the Education Society.
He was deeply interested in the political welfare of his country, and very anxious
that virtuous rulers should be chosen by the people.
He greatly enjoyed the visits of his children and grand-children to his house, and
often spoke of the pleasure it would give him to see them all together.
He was remarkable for his constant and devout attendance upon public worship even
to his last days, and the Holy Scriptures were increasingly dear to him as he drew near
to his Heavenly rest. The last two or three years of his life he usually spent two
hours each day in perusing them in connection with Scott's commentaries. Almost his
last words were that Jesus was "very precious." Perhaps the words of the Apostle Paul
to Titus, would form a good summary of his character : "a lover of hospitality, a lover
of good men, sober, just, temperate ; holding fast the faithful word as he had been
"The sweet remembrance of the just,
Shall flourish while they sleep in dust."
The following letters were written by him at different periods of his life. The two
former to my father and mother soon after their marriage ; the latter to my mother giving
particulars of the death of his wife, my honored grandmother. The originals are now
in my possession :
Northampton, July 16, 1802.
My Dear Child : — Your affectionate letter of the 23d and 30th ult., was duly received
and I can hardly express to you the pleasure it gave us, to hear that you are contented
and happy. Our house is greatly emptied by your absence from it, but when we consider
that our loss is your gain, we have abundant reason to be satisfied. Your lot (my dear
daughter) is cast in a most delightful situation, on many accounts, but what we most
regard is, that you are united to a kind and tender husband, (as well as a man of religion
and piety,) who will endeavor to make your life comfortable and happy — and shall I not
add, be greatly assisting you in the duties of life, and help you on in a religious course,
so that you may adorn the station in which Providence has placed you, and be a blessing,
not only to him, but to all around you. I should have written to you sooner had an
opportunity presented. Your mother unites in love to Mr. Pierce and yourself. Lewis
and Eliza desire theirs also. I am, my dear daughter, your ever affectionate parent,
Northampton, Sept., 7, 1802.
Dear Children : — Your kind and affectionate letter by Mr. Kirkland is just received.
We rejoice to hear of the health and happiness of so dear a child, and feel happy, that
we have disposed of her to a person who will make her happiness and comfort the object
of his constant solicitude. We often wish to step in and visit you, and speak of it most
of all at tea table, where Lucy has so long and so constantly accompanied us. We should
MY ANCESTOES IN AMEEICA. 33
be very glad to see you here this fall, was it more practicable, but hope to make
you a visit a£ Brookline about the first of October, by leave of Providence. I feel thankful
that I can inform you, that (except slight indispositions in all our families, of late) your
dear friends nere enjoy usual health at present, through the distinguishing goodness of
God. We are losing our neighbors every day almost, but they are principally children.
But five adults have as yet fallen by the King of Terrors. * * * * But we hope that
the disorder is abating. I think there are but five cases since the alteration of the
weather, and the sick are (we hope) generally mending. Mr. Williams is very busy in
visiting the sick and afflicted. I have been thus particular, thinking it would be a
satisfaction to Lucy to hear what families were in trouble with whom she was more
particularly acquainted. Mr. Kirkland dined in town and then went on. He informs
me, that John came on with him to Brookfield, and then took the stage for New Haven,
to be at Commencement before he makes us a visit. I am informed that about 13 or 14
have fallen a sacrifice to the yellow fever in Boston, and all in the neighborhood of (or
not very far from) Mr. Sewall's house. We wished to detain Arthur here sometime
longer, but he wished to accompany Charles back, as he must return at that time. But
as you justly observe, our firm belief that our times are in God's hands, serves to allay
unnecessary anxiety. Mr. Tucker is now here, and expects to marry soon and take
his bride on to Boston immediately, I suppose. Mr. Whittemore is also here, and expects
to carry off another of Lucy's acquaintances to New York in a few days. W. is about
50 years old and has two grand-children. We are, dear children, your affectionate parents,
B. & S. TAPPAN.
NoRTBAMPTON, April 11, 1826.
My Dear Daughter: — I was disappointed in not having your company on the late
mournful occasion, as I thought you might have come so far on Tuesday as to have reached
this place on the forenoon of Wednesday, in time to have seen your beloved mother once
more (before she was forever shut up in the grave) and to have attended her funeral. I
was sorry to be informed that your health was so delicate, as that it was not thought by
your brothers, and of course by your dear husband, safe for you to risk the journey. We
could not expect to see your sister Edwards or brother William, as the distance forbade
it, but you may well conceive of the comfort it would have afforded me, (and your sister
S.,) to have had the whole number of my children here, and I am sure it would have been
a great gratification to all to have paid their last respect to a parent, who has
deserved so much love and esteem from them. You can hardly conceive of the loss
which T have sustained in being separated from the wife of my bosom, with whom I have
lived so happily for more than 55 years, and at so short a warning. I can scarcely realize
it myself, but every day and every night bring fresh proofs that I am indeed solitary and
alone, although I have as good and affectionate grand-children with me as any person
could have, and who do everything for my comfort that is in their power. I have often
heard it observed, that aged people are more in want of the society of each other and
more affected at the loss of it than persons in younger life, and I am fully convinced of
the truth of the observation by my own sad experience. But I desire and pray, that I
may be resigned to the will of God, and say, it is the Lord who is righteous in all His
ways, and does not afflict the children of men, but for their good. I, also in this day of
rebuke, desire to look back with praise and thankfulness to Him who gave me so dear and
34 MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
valuable a friend at first, and who has continued her precious life and health through so
long a course of years and even to old age, and has made her so rich a blessing to me and
to our children, and to so many of our grand-children. Her example, counsel and
prayers for her beloved offspring will never be forgotten by them in this world, and her
dying request of God was, that she might meet every one of them at the right hand of
her Saviour and Judge, and spend an eternity with them in Heaven, in singing the
praises of redeeming Love. Your three brothers were a great comfort to me, and I hope
C. and L. had a good journey home and found their families well. I hope to have your
prayers, and those of your husband, for me, that I may spend the few days allotted me
here in preparing for my great change, and that I may, in the close of life, have a
comfortable hope of going to spend a state of happiness with the dear saint who has gone
before me, and with our parents and children, brothers and sisters, who are, or may be,
admitted to that region of blessedness. Your mother longed to have her children around
her dying bed, and also your children, and our other grand-children, but could not be
gratified. You have received a paper left by her (or a copy of it) and some of her dying
words to her friends and neighbors, and can but wish to die such a death ; but in order to
do that we must live as she lived, and God grant that our latter end may be like hers,
having spent our lives as she did. That you may enjoy perfect health, and be happy in
your family, and that all our dear children and grand-children may live piously and
Godly in this evil world, is the prayer of your affectionate but mournful parent,
MY ANCESTOKS IN AMERICA.
daughter of Benjamin and Sarah
(Homes) Tappan, granddaughter of
Benjamin and Elizabeth (Marsh)
Tappan, great-granddaughter of
Samuel and Abigail (Wigglesworth)
of Peter and Susannah (Batt) Toppan and great-great-great-granddaughter of Abraham
and Susanna (Goodale) Toppan, was born at Northampton, Mass., July 14, 1777, and
died at Brookline, Mass., Feb. 12, 1858, aged 80 years and 7 months, lacking two days.
She was married to Rev. John Pierce, of Brookline, May G, 1802, by whom she had ten
children, eight of whom survived her and are still living, (January, 1864), viz : Sarah,
Elizabeth, Abigail, Lucy, Feroline, John, William and Mary. She had two sons who
were then deceased, viz : Ilobert, who died Oct. 6, 1819, aged 6 years and Benjamin,
who died Dec. 1849, aged 32 years.
I am indebted to my sister, L. (P.) H., for the following account of this darling
mother, feeling neither competent nor worthy, myself, to undertake even a faint portraiture
of her angelic virtues :
" Born of excellent and godly parents who had carefully trained her youth and
deeply impressed, in early life, with religious truths, she consecrated all her gifts to the
service of God, and, through her whole life, His approval was her highest aim. His love
her solace and support. All could feel the charm of her personal presence, so full of
dignity, tempered by sweetness ; many can recall her beaming smiles, her ready
sympathy, her kind offices of love, but only those who lived in her light and were trained
by her fostering care, could do full justice, even in thought, to a character whose retiring
modesty was one of its crowning charms. The centre of a happy home — it was there
she found her true sphere, her greatest happiness ; but all the just claims of society, of
neighborhood and especially the wants of the needy or suffering, were promptly and
gladly met. Her love of beauty, which was a deep sentiment, pervading her whole
being, did not lead to extravagance, nor care, in adorning her own lovely person, save
with exquisite neatness and taste, but sought gratification in the culture of flowers, with
which she surrounded herself and illustrated her humble dwelling. The rarest exotics
grew under her hand and assumed wonderful beauty, as if expressly for her. The heart
of her husband did safely trust in her, and with wise economy she administered his
resources. The personal care of a large family of children never disturbed her unvarying
sweetness, nor can they recollect one ebullition of impatience ; one momentary act of
injustice, but a ' constant flow of love, which knew no fall,' an assiduous solicitude for
their future and everlasting well-being. If I would mention the leading characteristics
among all the clustering beauties and adornments of her character, I would say purity,
of both mind and person, and sweetness : the white lily is her type. But the lilies toil not
and how untiring was her industry ! The fruits of the spirit were all hers, 'love, joy,
peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.' The weight
36 MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
of four score years did not bow that graceful form, nor cloud that active mind, nor
weaken that strong affection which still surrounded her own beloved with tender offices of
love and went forth to all mankind in good wishes and ready sympathy, and, to many, in
deeds of active benevolence. She ever sought to contract the circle of her own wants in
order to enlarge her charities. The peace of God shone in her face. One who saw her
but a few moments, during the last year of her life, expressed her gratitude for having
seen her, and said, ' it was like looking on the face of an angel.' Though often subject to
illness, attended with severe pains, her bright cheerfulness never forsook her. Her soul
was like the lark, which arose singing and soaring sung even to the gate of heaven."
Another dear sister, F. (P.) F., has furnished me with the following, not intended,
probably, for publication in this form, but I have chosen so to insert it, as being more
expressive than a less familiar account might be :
" You request me to write something about our darling mother. Most gladly would
I lay an humble wreath of flowers on her grave, but they should be the sweetest Spring
or Summer could offer. May flowers, sweet violets, lilies of the valley, mignonette, I
would scatter daily where that dear head was laid. My earliest recollections of mother
are, that there was sunshine in the house when she was there, and in her absence all was
dark. I can remember often coming home from school and wandering from room to room
in utter loneliness, because she was away. I can never remember that she raised her
voice, or used strong epithets, when, as children, we were most provoking, but always
maintained the same calm dignified sweetness. When dressed for a party I can remember
how beautiful she looked, to me more lovely than any one present. How much we must
have tried her patience, and yet how gentle she ever was we all can testify. Her
religious instructions made a deep impression upon me, so that to be good seemed the
most desirable thing on earth. To the influence of both our blessed parents I attribute
this early wish, for both father and mother were devoted to making their children better.
My dearest father's prayers I can never forget. In his sick room they were most touching
and thrilling He omitted family prayer only once ortwice before he left us, and often, as he
lay upon his bed, just before going to sleep, when his breath was affected by disease, he
would still breath forth those tender, loving thoughts to his Heavenly Father. Once he
said : ' I thank thee, dear Father, for the comfort my children and grand-children have
been to me.' Oh William, I cannot speak of these dear ones separately, they are so united
in my heart — a blessed union."
My mother's brother, Arthur Tappan, writes concerning her, March 1863 : " I wish
I could give you more facts concerning your mother's early life. She was an universal
favorite, always having a countenance beaming with love, and she was, I believe,
universally beloved. Your father's house was a place of great attraction to me, during
my residence in Boston, and the many Sabbaths I spent there are remembered as the
happiest days of my early years."
Her brother, Charles Tappan, writes March 14, 1863 : " All my recollections of your
mother, till the close of her life, are very much cherished in my heart."
The following public notice appeared in the " Boston Transcript," the day after her
A Venerable Lady Gone. — Mrs. Lucy (Tappan) Pierce, widow of the late Rev.
John Pierce, D. D., died, at her residence in Brookline, Mass., about 3 o'clock yesterday
afternoon, aged 80 years and 7 months. Her last illness was short and severe, but she
had lived to a good old age so worthily, and was so well prepared for the last hour, that
MT ANCESTOfiS IN AMERICA. 37
her death cannot be regarded as untimely; and the grief of relatives and friends must
be without bitterness, because her life below closed with the peace and faith to assure
them she was ready to enter upon the life above.
There are some living yet, who remember the loveliness and gladness of her girlhood
— still more, who saw the graces of person and the far higher graces of character, which
adorned her maturity — and many who have looked with admiration upon that beauty of
old age, 30 much more significiint, oftentimes, than the beauty of youth — since there is
in it a transfiguration of the countenance by the outshining of the disciplined soul. All
who, at any time, knew her, held her in affectionate respect for her amiableness, excellent
sense, unswerving conscientiousness and deep but unobtrusive piety. With cheerfulness
she accepted as they came the burthens of many cares; with calm resignation she bore
the sorrows that shadowed the brightness of her path, and with a faithfulness without
reproach, she fulfilled all the obligations that belonged to her position.
The toils, trials and responsibilities of existence are not to be measured by their
publicity; and especially is it true that the retired lot and domestic sphere of women
demand and give opportunities for the exercise of all the virtues. To be the efiicient
helpmate for nearly a half of a century of a clergyman with a limited income, to bring
up well a large family of children, to meet the calls of friendship with an ever ready
response, to be true to all the claims of kindred — to be and to do this, with sagacity and
energy concealed and softened by feminine delicacy and sweetness of temper, was
characteristic of the subject of this brief eulogy ; and a little thought tells us that thus
she gave evidence of qualities of mind and heart — graces of the soul — firm principles,
true instincts and warm affections, none the less admirable because unostentatious in
their secluded activity'.
In a consistent, harmonious, faithful. Christian life of fourscore years, with its bright,
joyous morning, its noontide of patient diligence, its evening of unclouded serenity — in
a long Christian pilgrimage, wherein the blessings were received with thankfulness, the
duties discharged with uncomplaining obedience, and the hardships borne with unmur-
muring submission — in such a life, and such a pilgrimage, there is a sublimity to be
reverenced, lessons to be learned, an example to be studied and followed ; and when the
remains of the venerable woman are laid by the side of tbe husband of her youth, many
will feel, that through that slight and graceful form of flesh and that fair countenance, a
rare purity and singleness of heart, a clear and truthful mind, disinterested affections
and a childlike faith, were made manifest, to be a benediction here and give new
confidence to the "hope of immortality."
Much more might be said of one who was the light of a happy home — the beloved of
many friends, but the memory of her retiring humility and shrinking from all public
notice forbids. We have spoken here, almost against her wishes, of her departure,
becau.se, amidst the strifes and sad and disheartening scenes of life, it is not well to let
marked examples of right living and calm dying — of worthiness on earth and fitness for
heaven, pass unnoticed. They are needed to strengthen and steady the oft tempted belief
in the reality of truth and goodness.
I will close this notice already, perhaps, too far extended, with a much valued poetic
tribute to our dear mother's worth from the pen of an accomplished lady who knew her
well and who spoke from the understanding as well as fi-om the heart.
MV ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
Lines on the death of Mrs. Lucy Tappan Pierce, who died Feb. 12, 1868, Aged 80
years and 6 months, and whose last words were
"RKST IN HEAVKN."
Sleep on, sweat spirit, in thy holy reat ;
We would not wake thee from that soft repose ;
Sweet be thy slumbers in earth's quiet breast,
Sweet as the hope that cheered thy evening's close.
* Kest ' for the busy feet that nerer stayed
Their kindly visits to the couch of pain;
' Rest ' for the willing hands whose gentle aid
So m(tny sought nor erer sought in vain.
'Best' for the pleasant roice, whose cheerful tone
In memory oft will fall upon the ear;
' Rest ' for the loving heart, whose boundless zone
Held all humanity in bonds most dear.
'Rest' from earth's toils and cares, sweet "Rest in HeaTes/'
What boundless raptures do these words unfold I
Visions of Joy to mortal eyes ne'er given I
Celestial music hymned to harps of gold.
There with the laved and lost of other days— *
How blest the meeting on that happy shore !
Where prayer Is changed to songs of endless praise,
And death and sorrow shall be known no more.
MT ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
was born in
the north of
Ireland, probably near Londonderry, in the year 1663, He married Katherine, daughter
of Rev. Robert Craighead, of that town, about the year 1693. He was ordained a
Presbyterian minister Oct. 21, 1692. He emigrated with his family to New England in
the year 1714, and was settled pastor at Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, in 1715 or 1716.
He was considered a man of worth and was highly venerated by his cotemporaries.
Some of his sermons were published and may still be found in the public libraries of
Boston. He had seven children, three sons and four daughters.
A gentleman from Belfast, Ireland, himself a descendant of the Homes family, has
furnished me with the following information concerning them : ** My great-great-
grandfather Homes," says he, " was a Henchman to McDonnell, Lord of the Isles and
head of that clan in the Highlands of Scotland. The whole clan of Homes came from
Scotland and settled on the northeast coast of Ireland, where they are now to be found
in numbers, true old Presbyterians, who would never renounce ' the solemn league and
covenant.' In Coleraine, Strabane and Londonderry many of them are to be found
who speak the Scotch dialect and retain their national manners and customs."
Macauley, in his history of England, says : (Vol. 3, Chd.p. 1^) " The inhabitants of the
north of Ireland were not all of one country or one church, but Englishman and Scotchmen,
Episcopalians and Presbyterians, seemed to have generally lived together in friendship ;
a friendship which is sufficiently explained by their common antipathy to the Irish race
and to the Popish religion." And speaking of the siege of Londonderry, which
terminated so triumphantly for the besieged, on the 30th of July, 1689, he writes : "So
ended this great siege, the most memorable in the annals of the British Isles. It had lasted
105 days. The garrison had been reduced, from about 7,000 effective men, to about
3,000. Every attack had been repelled, but the fighting men of the garrison were so
much exhausted that they could scarcely keep their legs. The people perished so fast
that it was impossible for the survivors to perform the rites of sepulture. Even in that
extremity the general cry was ^no surrender,' and there were not wanting voices which
in low tones added, ' first the horses and hides, and then the prisoners, and then each
other.' But the victory remained with the nation, which, though inferior in numbers,
was superior in civilization, in capacity for self-government and in stubbornness of
resolution." The besiegers, it is well known, were French and Irish Papists. Our first
ancestor, Homes, having been an Irishman, a just respect for his memory seems to demand
the above explanation, as to what manner of men the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians really
were. It appears, from evidence hereafter referred to, that William Homes was in
America at the time of the siege. His father-in-law, Rev. Robert Craighead, was in
40 MT ANCESTORS IN AMEKICA.
Glasgow, Scotland, with a portion of his family, the remainder being in Londonderry.
I have no positive knowledge whether our honored grandmother was in Glasgow or
Londonderry upon that memorable occasion.
Rev. James Gibson, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Strabane, Ireland, a
successor of William Homes, wrote to me under date of September 14, 1863, from whose
letter I make the following extract :
"I send you a condensed history of my congregation, drawn up by Doctor Killen,
and originally inserted in McComb's Presbyterian Almanac, Belfast, 1860. It says th-at
Mr. HoiiiCS was born in Ireland, but I have been able to gather no further information
respecting him. Surely the records of the Ediaburgh University would tell the place of
The history, above referred to, contains the following clause :
"Tlie first minister of Strabane, on record, is Mr. Robert Wilson, who -was ordained
here in 1659. He died in the city of Derry during the siege, in 1689, having fled there
fur safety. His successor was Mr. William Homes. He was born in Ireland, but had
eraigraled to New England, from which he returned in July 1691, and having produced
to the Presbytery of Lagan satisfactory testimonials, he was received by them, and
having gone through second trials, was ordained, Dec, 21, 1692. He was married to
the daughter of Mr. Craighead, minister of Derry. In 1715 he demitted his charge and
again returned to New England."
Fiev. William M. Cline, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Londonderry,
and a successor to Rev. Robert Craighead, wrote to me Sept 3, 1863: " I enclose a brief
history of my congregation, written by myself a few years ago, for the purpose of
insertion in an Almanac published here. You will see that I notice particularly the Rev.
Robert Craighead," etc., etc. The notice referred to is as follows :
" In the reign of James the First, Ulster was planted by colonists from Scotland,
who brought with them their national religion. Though the city of Londonderry was
planted chiefly by persons from England, under the London Companies, yet the greater
number of these belonged to the Puritan party, who at this time abounded in the
metropolis, and maintained the characteristic principles of Presbyterianism. In 1642,
and for many years afterwards, the Presbyterians were supplied with ministers from
Scotland. The Rev. Robert Rule, and his brother, Rev. Gilbert Rule, afterwards Principal
of the University of Edinburgh, officiated in Derry as stated ministers. At the Siege,
the defenders of the city were principally Presbyterians. During the siege, eight
Presbyterian ministers took refuge within the walls, and conducted their worsnip
alternately in the Cathedral with the Episcopal clergy. Four of the Presbyterian
ministers died within the walls, and one of the survivors, Rev. John Mackenzie, wrote
the best and fu!le-t account of the tiege that is extant. He was minister of Derriloran,
near Cookstown, in the county Tyrone. When Lord Antrim's men were marching towards
the city, it was the Rev. James Gordon, Presbyterian minister of Glendermott, who
proposed the shutting of the gates, although Dr. Hopkins, the Bishop of Derry, made a
speech to the multitude to dissuade them from the undertaking. The names of eight or
nine of the Apprentice Boys who closed the gates, are given in Mackenzie's Narrative of
the Siege, most, if not all, of whom were Presbyterians. On the return of peace, the
Rev. Robert Craighead, who had been minister of Donoughmore, county Donegal, was
transferred to Derry in the beginning of the year 1690, and continued in the pastoral
MY ANCESTOES IN AMERICA. 41
charge of the congregation until his death in August 1711. Mr. Craighead was
distinguished by his great learning and talents as an author. Besides his writings on
controversial subjects — to which he was forced by the conduct of the High Church party,
he published several excellent devotional works, especially a treatise on the Lord's
Supper, which has frequently been reprinted in Scotland. It was in 1704, during his
ministry, that the Test Act was extended to Ireland, and enforced with peculiar severity
in this city. Ten out of twelve aldermen, and fourteen out of twenty-four burgesses,
were ejected from the corporation for refusing to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper according to the usages of the Church of Ireland. So long as the reign of King
William, their co-religionist, continued, Presbyterians were protected ; but when Queen
Anne ascended the throne, the most unjustifiable attempts were made to force them into
conformity with the religion established by law. Mr. Craighead was succeeded by the
Rev. James Blair, in June, 1713, who died in 1716," etc.
The following account of llev. William Homes has been recently condensed by a
descendant, Rev. Heury A. Homes, now conuecied with the State Library at Albany,
N. Y. Many of the facts by him enumerated 1 have also obtained from other sources,
and for some of them he is indebted to me, but he has added many valuable particulars,
and I insert the whole as being probably the best and most reliable history erxtant. It
will be perceived, however, that he is at fault concerning the birthplace of William
Homes, or else he has obtained information of which I am ignorant :
.William Homes was born probably in Scotland, in the year 1668. He first came to
America in the year 1686, when he was twenty-two years old. There is no known record
of the fact, whether he came from Ireland at that time or from Scotland, though the
former has usually been assumed. It was about the period of his first coming over that
both Scotch and Scotch-Irish commenced emigrating to America to escape the persecution
of the Stewarts and the Prelacy.
On William Homes' arrival he engaged as a teacher at Chilmark, then in Tisbury, Dukes
County, which was then, and continued until 1602 to be under the jurisdictioa of the
government of New York. At this time there were ou the Island about o.OUD Indians,
of whom nearly one half were Christians, converted under the labors of the Mayhews.
Chilmark embraced the cape of Gay Head, where, to this day, lives the remnant of the
Indians. The English continued to employ him here as a teacher to their children for
three years, when he returned again to Scotlaud and pursued the course of study of the
University of Edinburgh. He received the degree of Master of Arts from the University,
March 2, 1693. He was ordained a clergyman Oct. 21, 1692, at Strabaue, a borough town
twelve miles southwest of Londonderry, by the Presbytery of Coaroy, aad was a settled
clergyman over the Presbyterian Church there. He was often chosen Moderator of the
Provincial Synod. While here he married Miss Katherine, daughter of Rev. Robert
Craighead, who had been minister of Donoughmore, in Donegal, and who was translated
to Derry in the beginning of the year 1690, and continued there until his death, August
22, 1711. Mr. Craighead was the author of books of piety and of religious controversy
with Bishop King.
After several years of service for the Church in Strabane, William Homes was settled
in Raphoe, a town seven miles west of Strabane, and about eleven miles southwest of
Derry. It is the seat of an Irish Bishopric. In 1714 he came again to America and
revisited Martha's Vineyard, at the age of 50. The people of Chilmark, incorporated as
a town in 1714, remembered the young man who had previously taught among them, with
42 MY ANCE8TOKS IN AMERICA.
gatisfaction, and invited him to become their pastor. Their only pastor previously was
Ralph Thacher, who had been dismissed the same year, with Mr. Home's return. He
discharged the duties of a pastor faithfully for thirty-one years, having a high repute for
his piety, and as a man of worth and learning. It is said that he used to fast twice a
week. His salary was £60 a year. He took some care of a farm, but lived mostly on his
salary. He was the author of five printed volumes, three of them published during his
life, and the two after his death were on " Family Prayer," and " Family Government,"
with a preface reccommending them, by Revs. Drs. Sewall and Prince, of Boston. He
preferred, and recommended, a moderate Presbyterianism to the evils which he thought
he saw in the Congregationalism by which he was surrounded. His name does not often
appear on the records of New England Ecclesiastical History for this reason, and also
on account of his not being a graduate of Yale or Harvard and his duties being discharged
on a secluded Island.
He died in the year 1746, at the age of 83. He was preaching in his pulpit and fell
down suddenly in a fit and gradually declined to his death. A marble stone in the grave-
yard at Chilmark, marks his burial place. It bears the following inscription :
" In memory of the reverend, learned, eminently prudent and pious, Mr. William
Homes, late pastor of the Church of Christ in Chilmark, who departed this life, June 17,
1746, aged 84."
Katherine, his wife, lies by his side, died 1754, aged 82.
In the new Church which I visited in 1828, was the identical pulpit in which he used
to preach. I also conversed with the widow Hilson, an hundred years old, who had lived
in his family and heard him preach. He was a man of such forbearance, that while in
his native land he used to be called Mr. Homes the meek, to distinguish him from another
of th» same name with himself.
On his second arrival he had with him three sons and three daughters, viz : Robert,
Margaret, Jane, Hannah, John and . Robert was a master of a sloop trading on
our coast. Married Mary Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister, in Boston, and
was a member of the old North Church in Boston. He is several times mentioned in
FranTilin's autobiography. His son William, was my great-grandfather.
Hannah was never married. She was remarkable as a peacemaker. The memory of
the good works and alms deeds which she did is still fragrant among the people. A negro
said he could not swear if he were sitting in her chair. She died in the house of one of
the Aliens, in 1794, aged 90. The diary of William Homes was in her custody until she
came to live at Mr. Allen's, in 1789.
Margaret married Colonel Jonathan Allen, of Chilmark. They had children.
In the grave-yard at Chilmark is the following epitaph : " In memory of Margaret
(Homes) Allen, wife of Sylvanus Allen, who, after a life of piety, exchanged this world
for immortality, 1763, aged 67.
MT ANOESTOna IN AMKRIOA.
Y^ ni9 (^^tfP^ sonof Rev. William and Eatherine
rtfllMtT! ^fSrttttl^lj^ (Craighead) Homes, was born
,^fi |J l^^ I? /Jk^ ^ lll'l^^ f probably at Strabane in the north
of Ireland and emigrated with his
parents to America in 1714. He
was afterwards master of a vessel
trading between Boston and Philadelphia, and died at sea while pursuing his vocation.
He married Mary Franklin, daughter of Josiah Franklin, of Boston, and sister of Doctor
Benjamin Franklin. She was born, probably in the city of Boston, Sept. 26, 1694.
Doctor Franklin makes mention of this brother-in-law in his autobiography and speaks
of his sister Mary with affection in his family letters. They left two children, William
and Abiah, bearing the names of their grandfather Homes and grandmother Franklin*
My sister, E. P., has furnished me with the following particulars :
Mary (Franklin) Homes was the tenth child of Josiah Franklin and the third of
Abiah (Folger) Franklin, his second wife. (Benjamin Franklin was the eighth child of
the second wife and the 15th of his father's children.) She was married to Captain
Robert Homes, son of Rev. William Homes, in Milk street, Boston. Dearborn, in his
reminiscences of Boston, 1851, observes that seventeen children were born to Josiah
Franklin, yet no one is now living to perpetuate the genealogical record of the family.
Mr. Sparks, in his life of Dr. Franklin, makes no reference to any descendants of Josiah
Franklin, and was surprised and gratified to be informed that the Homeses were direct
In the records of the old North Church, Boston, it appears that Robert Homes was
admitted to that Church in March 1714, and William and Abiah were baptised Jan. 1717,
and Dec. 1718.
Josiah Franklin, (our ancestor,) is thus described by his son Benjamin in his auto-
biography: "He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle stature, well set and
very strong; he could draw prettily, and was skilled a little in music; his voice was
sonorous and agreeable, so that when he played on his violin and sang withal, as he was
accustomed to do after the business of the day was over, it was extremely agreeable to
hear. He had some knowledge of mechanics, and on occasion, was very handy with
other tradesmen's tools ; but his great excellence was his sound understanding and solid
judgment in prudential matters, both in private and public affairs. It is true he was
never employed in the latter, the numerous family he had to educate and the straitness of
his circumstances keeping him close to his trade; but I remember well his being
frequently visited by leading men, who consulted him for his opinion in public affairs
and those of the Church he belonged to, and who showed a great respect for his judgment
and advice ; he was also much consulted by private persons about their affairs when any
difficulty occurred, and frequently chosen an arbitrator between contending parties. At
his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to
converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse,
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
which might tend to improve the minds of his children. Josiah Franklin was torn in
1655, and died in 1744, aged 89. Abiah Franklin was born in 1667, and died in 1752,
In another page of the autobiography Dr. Franklin writes : " I had a brother-in-law,
Robert Homes, master of a sloop that traded between Boston and Delaware. He being at
Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, and hearing of me, wrote me a letter
mentioning the grief of my relations and friends in Boston at my abrupt departure,
assuring me of their good will to me, and that everything would be accommodated to my
mind, if T would return, to which he entreated me earnestly."
son of Robert and Mary
( Franklin) Homes and grand-
son of Rev. William and
Katherine (Craighead) Homes,
was born in Boston, Mass.,
Jan. 10, 1716, in a house
located at the corner of Union and Hanover streets, the residence of his grandfather,
Josiah Franklin. Benjamin, who was the youngest son of Josiah Franklin, was
then ten years of age. We may fairly presume that the embryo philosopher was at
that time well pleased with his babj- nephew. William Homes was afterwards a merchant
trading with Philadelphia in flour and iron. Afterwards he bought a farm in Newton,
Mass., where he moved with his family. He died of dysentery while on a visit to Boston,
in July 1785, aged 6'.). He married Rebecca, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Dawes, of
Boston, who was born there March 9, 1717, and where she died in July or August 1786, at
the house of her son William. This house was located on Ann street and was one of
those old fashioned .structures having its second story projecting and a ki:chen
fireplace large enough to admit a seat. Oak Hall, a noted clothing store, now occupies
its site. William and Rebecca (Dawes) Homes had fifteen children, viz : Mary, William,
Thomas, Katherine, Rebecca, Sarah, Benjamin, Elizabeth and several who died in infancy'.
I am again indebted to my sister, E. P., for the following particulars:
Mr. AVilliarn Homes, before the Revolutionary War, held the commission of Justice
of the Peace, under the royal governor ; was Lieutenant of the Artillery company in
1761 and in 1765 was Captain in the regiment of which John Hancock was Colonel.
Clarke, in his history of Norton, supposes that Homes had been driven from Boston
in 1770 " on account of his hostility to the despotic acts of the British Government."
January 18, 1773, he signed with others a letter of encouragement to the Committee of
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
correspondence, on the difficulties with Great Britain : " We wish to express our obligations
to the town of Boston," write they, "for their spirited behaviour from time to time, in
opposing the arbitrary measures of those whom we fear have a desire to enslave us.''
From 1773 to 1781 he was one of the three selectmen of the town, under the name of
Captain William Homes, or William Homes, Esq., and was several years moderator of
the annual town meetings ; Jan, 6, 1783, was one of the corporators of the Parish Church
" In 1775, Mr. Homes was the delegate from Norton and Mansfield to the second and
third Provincial Congress of Massachusetts In the journals of the Congress he is called
Capt. Homes ; was a member of the Bristol County Committee on correspondence and
safety on the state of the Counties, in reference to the pending war ; on Committee of said
Congress what measures to adopt with regard to assisting the poor of Boston to move with
their effects ; again, for distributing them in the towns ; again, for providing arms for the
destitute; again, to wait upon Gen. Washington about their adjournment, to prevent
intelligence being given to the enemy."
Mr. Homes was a member of the old South Church, in Boston, and was admitted to
the Church in Norton, by letter, in 1774. He was a decided Christian an(i strict in the
observance of the Sabbath.
Lewis Tappan says of him in his memoirs of Sarah Tappan, hereinbefore referred to :
" In his personal appearance Mr. Homes was thin, rather round shouldered, and in hia
countenance was thought to bear a striking resemblance to hia uncle, Dr Franklin."
daughter of William and Rebecca
(Dawes) Homes, granddaughter of
Robert and Mary (Franklin) Homes
and great-granddaughter of Rev. WiU
liam and Katherine (Craighead) Homes,
was bora, in Boston, Mass., Jan. 2,
1748, and died at Northampton, Mass., March 26, 1826, aged 78. She was married to
Benjamin Tappan, of Northampton, October 22, 1770, by whom she had eleven children.
(See notice of Benjamin Tappan, her husband, page 29 of these memoirs.) Her father
lived at the old family mansion on Ann street, Boston, at the time of her husband's
apprenticeship to him. She used to tell her grandchildren that she remembered seeing
her great-uncle, Dr. Franklin, on a visit to that house and sitting upon his kneeio listen
to his stories. By consulting Dr. Franklin's auto-biography it appears that he yisited
46 MT ANCESTORS IN AMERICA.
Boston in 1754, when she was between six and seven years of age. Of her brother
William Homes, Jr., the following notice appeared in Bowen's picture of Boston, page 239,
1838 : " Opposite the Golden Key we find one or two more of the old fashioned structures
with projecting upper stories. One of these was latterly occupied by Mr. William Homes,
proverbially, ' the honest goldsmith.' It was once the resort of Franklin, who was a
relative of the family, and if the exterior should continue to appear less inviting than
that of some buildings in the vicinity, the owner, the occupant and the observer may
improve the consideration by reflecting that no one of them ever gave shelter to a greater
man than the latter, or a better man than the former."
Of this most honored grandparent I need add nothing to the account given of her
by a devoted son, my uncle Lewis Tappanin, his " Memoirs of Sarah Tappan," often
herein referred to and to the notice of her on pages 31 and 33 of this book. The writer of
that notice, E. P., knew her well, having lived in her family for many years during which
time she was a constant recipient of her tender fostering care. In another place she
writes of her : " Grandmother Tappan was a woman of much strength and energy of
character, untiring and most self-denying benevolence and sincere and active piety. After
a long and useful life and a calm and peaceful old age, cheered by the frequent visits of
her children and grandchildren and brightened by Christian hopes and anticipations,
she gently yielded up her spirit and entered into the rest that remaineth for the people of
God on Easter Sunday morning, March 26, 1826.
"Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."
MY ANCESTORS IN AMERICA. 47
THE cmiL.r)K.E:i>i^ of
BENJAMIN AND SARAH TAPPAN.
Of Benjamin and Sarah Tappan's children, save my own dear mother, it is not in
accordance with the design of these pages to speak. Some of them are still living and
all of them are well known by most of those to whom I shall present this little volume.
The eldest child, Sarah, was the wife of Solomon Sioildard, of Northampton, Mass., an
honest lawyer and a most estimable man, who lived to be nearly an hundred years of
age, and who recently died beloved and honored by all who knew him. The second child,
Benjamin, removed to the State of Ohio in e.irly manhood, where he practiced law for
many years ; was Judge of the Supreme Courts of the State, and more recently, Senator
of the U. S. The third child, Rebecca, was the wife of William Edwards, a grandson
of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, one of the most noted and influential divines New England
has ever given to the world, whose principal published work, " Edwards on the Will,"
vriU ever continue to take foremost rank among the theological literature of his day.
The fourth child, Lucy, my beloved mother, is already noticed in these pages. The fifth
child, William, was a merchant at the West, but spent his last days at Binghampton,
N. Y. The sixth child, John, one of the pioneer silk merchants of Boston, is now living
there in retirement, greatly and justly honored and beloved on account of his many active
virtues and noble charities. The seventh child, Charles, is still living near Boston,
where he was also for many years a prominent merchant, but more recently a book seller
and publisher. He is now, we trust, enjoying a comfortable and happy old age, in the
retirement he loves so well. The eighth and ninth children, Arthur and Lewis, still
living, the former in New Haven and the latter in Brooklyn, N. Y., are so widely known
in connection with the many philanthropic and charitable movements of the present and
recent past, that it is unnecessary more than to refer to them. They have made their
mark on the history of the times and posterity will do them justice. Elizabeth and
George, the two youngest children, died in early life ; the latter in infancy and the
former a few years after her marriage to Alexander Phoenix, a lawyer of New York
48 MY ANCESTOES IN AMERICA.
THE CHILDIiEN OF
JOHN AND LUCY PIERCE.
I will couclude these brief and iuipert'ect sketches with a mere mentioa of my own
brothers aud sisters who, equally with myself, enjoy the high privilege of descent from
the virtuous aud pious ancestry mentioned in these pages. Sarau Tai'pan Pierce was
born March 4, 1803 ; was married to Rev. Calvin Durfee August 15, 1831, and now lives
with her family at Williamstown, Mass., her husband being connected with Williams
College, at that place, as a linancial agent. Elizabeth Pierce and Abigail
LovELL Pierce, my maiden sisters, are now living, the latter in Brookline, Mass., and
the former in Williamstown, being the E. P. often referred to in these pages. Elizabeth
was born Sept. 15, 1804, and Abigail Sept. 13, 1806. Lucy Pierce, was born June 24,
1808; was married to Rev. Frederic Henry Hedge, D. D., Sept. 7, 1830, and now
lives with her family in Brookline, Mass. Her husband is pastor of the First Church of
that place, the same Church where our father ministered for more than tifty years. He is
also a professor in the Theological School at Cambridge and editor of the Christian
Examiner, published in Boston. Feroline Walley Pierce was born March 20, 1810 ;
was mai-ried to llev. Thomas Bailey Fox Oct. 27, 1831, and now lives with her family in
Dorchester, Mass. Three of her four sons enlisted into the service of their country from
Boston on the breaking out of the present rebellion. The eldest, Charles, is now Major
of a Massachusetts Regimentj stationed at Folly Island near Charleston, S. C. ; the third
son, John, is now Adjutant of the famous Second Regiment of Mass. Volunteers, who
are, at our present writing, in the vicinity of Chattanooga ; the youngest son, Thomas,
was a Captain in the same (Second) Regiment, but received his death wound at the battle
of Gettysburg. John Tappan Pierce was born Dec. 15, 1811 ; married Martha Haskins,
of Middlesex, Vt., July 25, 1837, and is now living with his family at Geneseo, 111. He
was a graduate of Cambridge, studied divinity aliernaiely at Princeton, Lane Seminary and
Obeiiin, but has been compelled to discontinue preaching in consequence of feeble health.
William Blake Pierce, the present writer, was born Sept. 26, 1815 ; married Elizabeth
F. Peck, of Albany, N. Y., June 1, 1842, and now lives with his family at Hyde Park, near
Chicago, 111. Mary Wild Pierce was born Dec. 6, 1820 ; was married to Henry Varnura
Poor Sept. 7, 1841, and now lives with her family in New York City, her husband being
Secretary of the Pacific Railroad. He formerly^ practiced law in Bangor, Me., but has
more recently been editor and proprietor of the Railroad Journal, of New York. He is
about to retire from business and to remove with his family to Brookline, Mass., his wife's
native place. Robert Pierce and Benjamin Tappan Pierce, the two younger sons,
are both now deceased. (See page 35 of these memoirs.) All the above-mentioned
children were born at Brookline, Mass.