History of Duxbury Massachusetts

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The town was first settled about the year 1632, by the people of Plymouth, although it is probable, according to the records, that there were some settlers in Duxbury before this period. But they returned to Plymouth, in the winter, to insure their better attendance at public worship, and also, to protect themselves from the attacks of the Indians.

The town was incorporated June 7th, 1637. It received its name, out of respect to Captain Miles Standish, from Duxbury Hall, the seat of tho Standish family in England. Captain’s Hill, formed a part of an early grant to Captain Standish, who settled near its base. The outlines of the foundation of his house are still visible.

The first tavern license was granted Francis Sprague in 1638. In 1678, the town licensed Mr. Seabury “to sell liquors unto such sober minded neighbors, as hee, shall think meet, soe as hee self not lesse then the quantities of a gallon at a time to one person, and not in smaller quantities by retaile to the occasioning of drunkenness.”

In 1643, there were 82 persons capable of bearing arms, this would show that the population was about 400. In 1800, there were 1664 inhabitants.

Among the earlier settlers of Duxbury, were some of the ablest men in the Colony, including John Alden, Wm. Brewster, Thomas Prence, George Soule and Joshua Pratt.

Inseparably connected with those early days will ever remain tho story of the ” Courtship of Miles Standish,” so beautifully sung by Longfellow. The old warrior sent his fair-faced, stripling assistant, John Alden, to plead his ease with Priscilla Mullins.

“If die great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me,
Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me?
If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!”

Archly the maiden smiled and, with eyes overrunning with laughter,
Said, in a tremulous voice, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John? “

From John Alden, descended all of that name in the Old Colony.

Ralph Partridge, was settled over the Duxbury Church, in 1637. After a forty years, ministry he died at a good old age, and was interred in the first burying ground, on Harden Hill. John Holmes was his successor, who died in 1675. Ichabod “Wiswall was settled in 1676, died in 1700. John Robinson, settled in 1702. He found great fault with his support and was dismissed, on this account, in 1738. Samuel Veasie was ordained in 1739, dismissed 1750. Charles Turner, 1752-1775; Zedekiah Sanger, 1776-1786; John Allyn, 1788-1825, after which date he had for colleague Benj, Kent, until his death in 1883. Rev. Josiah Moore, the present pastor, was settled in 1834.

The M. E. Church was organized in 1819. House of worship erected in 1823. The West Duxbury M. E. Church was organized in 1831. House erected in 1832. A chapel at North-West Kingston is connected with this church. The Wesleyan Methodist Church was organized about 1842, and house erected two years later.

“Partridge Academy” was founded by Hon. Geo. Partridge, who at the time of the Revolution, and afterwards, was a Member of Congress.

Hobomok, the Christian Indian, for twenty years the faithful friend of the Colony, lived here with Miles Standish.

Ship building was very extensively carried on at one time. In 1837, 11,711 tons were built. There was formerly a Bank and Insurance Office.

Died in Revolutionary Service From Duxbury

There were in the Army and Navy from Duxbury, 236 men. Thirty-five of these died in service, as follows:

Charles E. Alden, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Fever, at Quarantine Hospital, Mississippi River, March, 9th, 1863
William Baily, Co. Gr, 38th Reg’t, at Baton Rouge, of Diarrhea, Mar, 29, 1863
James H. Bowen, Oo. E, 18th, died June, 1861
Edward Bishop, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, at Alexandria Hospital, Grace Church, Va., Nov, 10th, 1862, of Chronic Diarrhea
Joshua T. Brewster, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Chronic Diarrhea, at Marine Hospital, New Orleans, August 2d, 1863
Geo. Bryant, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, in Saulisbury Prison, Oct. 1st, 1864
Charles J. Chandler, Co. G, 38th Reg’t, at General Hospital, Carrollton, La., of Bronchitis, Feb, 17th, 1863
David F. Church, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, was’ killed at Bull Run, Aug. 30th, 1862
Stephen Clark, Jr., Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Disease, at Algiers, La., July 16th, 1863
John H. Crocker, Oo. G, 38th Reg’t, April 21st, 1863, at Berwick City Hospital, of wounds received at the Battle of Bisland
Daniel W. Delano, Co. 1, 4th Reg’t, of Chronic Diarrhea, in Charity Hospital, New Orleans, March 22d, 1863
Oscar Delano, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Diphtheria, in Indianapolis, Aug. 15th, 1863
Francis B. Dorr, Co. G, 38th Reg’t, at New Orleans, of Typhoid Pneumonia, May 13th, 1863
Harrison T. Glass, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Congestive Fever, at Port Hudson, La., July 30th, 1863
Seth Glass, Co. G, 38th Reg’t, at New Orleans, of wounds received at the Battle of Port Hudson, June 17th, 1863
Henry B. Paulding, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, at Sharpsburg, Va., from wounds received at Bull Run; Walter Peterson, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Typhoid Fever, at Port Hudson, August 3d, 1863
Daniel Rix, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, was killed at the Battle of Bull Run, Aug. 30th, 1862
Bradford Sampson, Co. G, 38th Reg’t, in New York City, of Typhoid Fever, Aug. 30th, 1864
Eden Sampson, Co. G, 38th Reg’t, at Baton Rouge General Hospital, May 7, 1864
George B. Sampson, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Chronic Diarrhea, at Marine Hospital, New Orleans, July 11th, 1863
Aaron Snell, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, was killed at Bethesda Church, Jan. 3d, 1864
Aurelius Soule, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, Feb. 28th, 1864, at Camp Hospital, Beverly Ford, Va., of Lung Complaint
John Southworth, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, in 1864, in Rebel Prison
Daniel J. Simmons, at Berwick City Gen. Hospital, of wounds received at Battle of Bisland, La., May 10th, 1863
Joseph E. Simmons, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, was killed at Bull Run, Aug. 30, 1862, he had been promoted Aug. 14th, 1862, as 1st Lieut, in the 38th Reg’t, and had received his commission.
Wilber F. Simmons, at Berwick City Gen. Hospital, of wounds received at Battle of Bisland, La., April 27th 1863
William Wadsworth, Co. L 4th Reg’t, at Court House Hospital, Baton Rouge, from wounds received in Battle at Port Hudson, July 24th, 1863
James H. Weston, Co. I, 4th Reg’t, of Chronic Diarrhea, in Charity Hospital, New Orleans, May 1st, 1863
Walter Weston, Co. E, 18th Reg’t, was killed at Fredricksburg, Va., Dec. 14th, 1862
William Soule, Co. G, 38th Reg’t, at Memphis, August 31st, 1863
William J. Keep, at Annapolis, Md., Mar. 16th, 1865, he had been a prisoner 7 months, and had just been released
Gershom Winsor, 54th Reg’t, in New York, of Consumption, Deo. 29th, 1864
Elisha Swift, died in the service, not known when or where
Abel T. Lewis, Co. E, 4th Reg’t, died June 26th, 1863.

To perpetuate the memory of these fallen heroes, the citizens of Duxbury will erect a suitable Monument. Steps in that direction have already been taken, and nearly one thousand dollars have been secured for that purpose. The Monument will be located in the Cemetery, a lot having been already graded.

Note. We are indebted to H. Barstow, for the soldier’s list, and to Justin Winsor’ very interesting history of Duxbury, published in 1849, for many facts.



MLA Source Citation:

A transcription of the Plymouth County Directory and Historical Register of the Old Colony, Middleboro, Mass: Published By Stillman B. Pratt & Company, 1867. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 26 July 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/massachusetts/history-of-duxbury-massachusetts.htm - Last updated on Feb 13th, 2013


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