History of the town of Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts

My design in the compilation of the following pages, has been to collect such facts relating to the settlement, subsequent history, and present state of the town of Hingham, as appeared to be worthy of preservation. The consideration that many of these facts were preserved only by tradition, or recorded in the decaying leaves of public and private records, rendered it desirable that an opportunity should be embraced to preserve them in a more durable form. Nearly two centuries have elapsed since this town was settled, and no full sketch of its history has ever been published. I have been desirous of noticing such individuals as have been distinguished in public or private life, and especially those of whom only traditionary information is preserved and that fast fading from the memory of our aged fathers. It has been my endeavor to be scrupulously correct; but it will not be remarkable, if some errors in deciphering ancient manuscripts and in copying our town records (some portions of which have become almost illegible,) should have escaped me.

There may be much of this history, which, to some readers, will appear uninteresting, and perhaps some portions of it may be thought too trifling and unimportant to be given to the public. The consideration that we search with avidity for almost any facts which are rendered interesting solely on account of their antiquity, and that "the trifles of the present age become matters of weight with future generations," is a sufficient reason for the introduction of facts of this description.

While engaged in collecting the materials, I have been indebted to many gentlemen in this and other towns, for the readiness with which they have attended to my inquiries for information, and for the kindness with which they have loaned to me valuable manuscripts which have been of essential service to me in endeavoring to illustrate the early history of the town. I feel under particular obligations to Hon. James Savage, for the politeness with which he has furnished information from the public records in Boston, and for the loan of the manuscripts of the late James Otis Lincoln; and to Jotham Lincoln, Esq, Town Clerk of Hingham, for his unwearied patience in furnishing whatever I have desired from the town records. Other gentlemen, to whom I am indebted for much genealogical and traditionary information, will, I hope, find a sufficient acknowledgement of their kindness in the notes.

Influenced by no other motive but that of wishing to preserve for the gratification of the inhabitants of Hingham, whatever is worthy of preservation in the history of the town, or in the character of individuals, I trust that any imperfections w ill be regarded with candor; and shall think myself richly compensated for the time which I have devoted to the subject, if my readers can find any thing in the result of my labors, productive of instruction or amusement.

 

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Hingham, a Post Town, in the County of Plymouth., Massachusetts, has the Bay, North, Cohasset, East, Scituate and Abington, South, and Weymouth, West. The greatest extent of the town from North to South, is seven miles and three quarters, and from East to West, about five miles containing 13,775 square acres. The original limits of Hingham embraced the present town of Cohasset, which was set off and incorporated April 26, 1770. Until March 26, 1793, Hingham formed a part of Suffolk County; at that time, it was annexed to the new County of Norfolk. By an act of the Legislature, pass- ed June 20, 1793, repealing the former act, so far as it related to Hingham and Hull, Hingham again became a part of the County of Suffolk; and by an act passed June 18th, 1803, Hingham was annexed to the County of Plymouth, of which it now forms a part. The distance from Hingham to Plymouth is 26 miles, and from Hingham to Boston, about 14 miles by land, and between 12 and 13 by water.