The Hooper family, to which belonged the late George Mitchell Hooper, one of Bridgewater’s well-known citizens, is an old and distinguished one in New England. George Mitchell Hooper, son of Mitchell, was born in the town of Bridgewater Sept. 1, 1838. He received his education in the public schools and Bridgewater Academy, later attending Peirce Academy and the State normal school at Bridgewater, graduating from the latter institution in 1857. After leaving school he engaged in teaching, a profession he followed for one year and then began the manufacture of brick with his father, a business in which he engaged for half a century. He was also a surveyor. He was identified with the banking interests of Bridgewater, having been one of the trustees of the Bridgewater Savings Bank, also filling the office of clerk. He was clerk and treasurer of the Bridgewater Cemetery Association; a member of the Plymouth County Agricultural Association, of which for years he was treasurer, and was secretary; and trustee of the Memorial Public Library. He died July 2, 1909, in his seventy-first year. On Oct. 16, 1861, Mr. Hooper was married to Mary E. Josselyn, who was born at Hanson, Mass., daughter of Hervey and Elizabeth (Howland) Josselyn. She died Jan. 30, 1884, and was buried in Mount Prospect cemetery. Eight children were born of this marriage.
The family bearing the name of Mitchell is one of the oldest in the New World, its progenitor being Experience Mitchell, who came over in 1623 in the “Ann,” and from that time to the present the records of various towns of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, chiefly Plymouth, Duxbury and the Bridgewaters, bear mute testimony of the prominence in peace and war of the members of the family in the different generations, and the present head of the family in Brockton, Isam Mitchell, president of Isam Mitchell & Co., lumber dealers and contractors, and his son, the late Herbert Isam Mitchell, active in business with his father and prominent in fraternal circles, have proved themselves firm in purpose and able in business.
The Allen family of New Bedford Massachusetts is descended from George Allen who’s children and descendants would eventually settle in Old Dartmouth and New Bedford Massachusetts. This is an extensive genealogy of five sons of the fourteen children of James Allen and Sarah Howland of New Bedford MA, including the ancestry of James Allen back to George Allen.
Lysander Franklin Gurney, late of Brockton, Plymouth Co., Mass., was a descendant of some of the earliest settlers of this section. Going back to the mother country, we find the following general information in “The Gurneys of Earlham” (two volumes, Hart, Mich., March 16, 1906).
The family bearing this name in East Bridgewater, whose head was the late Hon. Isaac Newton Nutter, descends from an ancient and honorable family of early New Hampshire, and is connected by marriage in later generations with a number of the old and highly respected families of Plymouth Colony, among them descendants of the “Mayflower” Pilgrims. The emigrant ancestor,
Elder Hatevil Nutter, was born in England in 1603. He was one of those of good estate and of “some account for religion” who were induced to leave England with Captain Wiggins in 1633, and to found a town in New England on Dover Neck, in New Hampshire. His wife, Annie, and son, Anthony, accompanied him. He received several grants of land, and became a large holder of real estate. He was a ruling elder in the first church at Dover, and sometimes filled its pulpit. He filled various offices in church and state, was highly respectable, and possessed of a good share of this world’s goods. He died before June 28, 1675 (when his will was proved), at the age of seventy-one years, leaving a “present wife, Ann,” and three children.
Horace Alden Keith, founder of the Brockton Webbing Company, one of the successful and thriving industries of Brockton, and one of that city’s enterprising and progressive business men, is a descendant on both his paternal and maternal sides of historic old New England ancestry. Mr. Keith was born in West Bridgewater May 25, 1862, eldest son of the late Henry Snell and Thalia (Alden) Keith. The ancestral line of the branch of the Keith family in this country to which Horace Alden Keith belongs, and which follows, is given in chronological order from the first American ancestor. Rev. James Keith, born in 1644, was educated in Aberdeen, Scotland (as tradition says at the expense of a maiden aunt), where he was graduated likely from Marischal College, his name appearing on the roll of 1657, said college having been founded by George, the fifth Earl of Keith Marischal, in 1593. At the age of eighteen years he emigrated to this country, arriving at Boston in 1662. He was introduced to the church at Bridgewater by Dr. Increase Mather, and became settled as the minister of the Bridgewater Church Feb. 18, 1664. Rev. James Keith passed away in West Bridgewater July 23, 1719, aged seventy-six years, having labored in the ministry of the town for fifty-six years.
Lawrence Wilkinson, the first of the race here in New England, was born in Lanchester, County of Durham, England, a son of William Wilkinson by his wife Mary, sister of Sir John Conyers, Bart., and the grandson of Lawrence Wilkinson, of Harpley House, Durham. He was a loyalist, and at the surrender of Newcastle, 1644, was taken prisoner by the Parliamentary and Scotch troops. At this time he held a lieutenant’s commission. He was deprived of his property, and his estates sequestered by order of Parliament. After having obtained special permission from Lord Fairfax, chief commander of the Parliamentary army, he embarked with his wife and child for New England, leaving, according to Somerby, in 1652. Arriving at Providence he signed the civil compact and received a gift of twenty-five acres of land and commenced his pioneer life. He was admitted as one of the original “Proprietors of Providence.” He soon acquired a large real estate, and held a prominent position among his fellow citizens. He was frequently chosen to fill offices of trust in the infant colony; was elected a member of the Legislature in 1659 and subsequently. He was an active business man. He participated in the Indian wars. He lived in his adopted country nearly half a century. His death occurred in 1692.
Ellis Brett, president of the Plymouth County Trust Company, of Brockton, and one of that city’s honored and respected citizens, is a worthy representative of historic New England ancestry, the Brett family having resided in this community since the first settlement of the mother town of Bridgewater, from which the town of North Bridgewater (now Brockton) was set off. Mr. Brett was born in the latter town Oct. 23, 1840, only son of Ephraim and Ruth (Copeland) Brett. The early history of the Brett family in America begins with William Brett, who came to Duxbury, Mass., in 1645, from Kent, England, and later became one of the fifty-four original proprietors and first settlers of the town of ancient Bridgewater, settling in the West parish of the town. He was an elder in the church, and often when the Rev. James Keith, the first ordained pastor of the church there, was ill, Mr. Brett preached to the people. He was a leading man in both church and town affairs, and was deputy to the General Court from the date of the in-corporation of ancient Bridgewater in 1656 to 1661. That he was well educated and intelligent is manifest from a letter to Governor Winslow, still extant, and he was much esteemed by his brethren and often employed in their secular affairs. He died Dec. 17, 1681, aged sixty-three years
The Perkins family is one of long and honorable standing in America, being one of the oldest in New England, where it is first found of record in Hampton – then in Massachusetts, now in New Hampshire. This family has numbered among its members men who have been prominent in the learned professions as well as in the business and financial circles of this country. This article is to particularly treat of that branch of the family through which descended the late John Perkins, of Bridgewater, of which town his ancestors were early settlers, and where he was actively identified with the iron manufacturing industry for a number of years. The ancestral line of this branch of the family is here given in chronological order from the first American settler, Abraham Perkins. Through his grandmother, Huldah Ames Hayward, who became the wife of Asa Perkins, Mr. Perkins is also descended from another of the oldest and best known families of Massachusetts. The progenitor of this family, Thomas Hayward, came from England to New England, becoming one of the early settlers of Duxbury before 1638. In the early part of the eighteenth century many of the Haywards changed their name to Howard, the two names in all probability having been the same originally, as both have the same Norse origin. Among the distinguished descendants of this Hayward or Howard family may be mentioned William Howard Taft, president of the United States. The branch of the family through which Mr. Perkins descends is herewith given, in chronological order.