1637-1931; bulk: 1860-1890

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of records of Hingham, Mass. related to town business, as well as papers related to Hingham individuals and families, 1637-1931.

Historical Sketch

The town of Hingham, Mass. was founded in 1633 and incorporated in 1635.

Solomon Lincoln (1804-1881) was a lawyer, representative to the Massachusetts General Court in 1829 and 1841, state senator in 1830-1831, and president of the Webster Bank in Boston, 1869-1876. His son Francis Henry Lincoln (1846-1911) was a Hingham real estate broker.

George Lincoln (1822-1909) was a Hingham dry goods dealer and genealogist.

Lyman B. Whiton (b. 1834) was a captain in the 3rd Regiment, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.

Collection Description

This collection consists of records of Hingham, Mass. related to town business, 1637-1931. Included are town records, warrants, contracts, deeds, petitions, correspondence, survey maps and reports, tax schedules, military rolls, treasurers' records, and receipts. The bulk of the collection dates from 1860 to 1890, when treasurers' and selectmen's activities are particularly well documented.

Early records include a book of minutes of town transactions, 1642-1651; comparative data related to town meeting agendas, 1669-1684; and official reports of highway rights of way and construction, constable writs, town orders, summonses, depositions, deeds, and documents pertaining to land grants, 1665-1700. Much of this material may have been created or collected by Daniel Cushing (1619-1689), the Hingham town clerk from 1669 to 1689, and other members of the Cushing family. Papers of the colonial period include muster rolls for 1756-1759, as well as land deeds of the Hingham, Cohasset, and Scituate areas. Tables and lists used for computing town and county taxes date from 1768, 1779, 1788, and 1796-1899. Nineteenth-century town papers include citizens' petitions to the selectman for 1831-1894; town statements of expenditures, 1829-1862; and contracts for buildings and roads, 1844-1870, including a full file related to the construction of the Hingham-Quincy turnpike and bridge, 1862-1870.

Papers related to Hingham's role in the Civil War, 1862-1885, consist of directives from the federal and state level regarding enlistments, draft quotas, passes, apprehension of deserters, veterans' aid, and correspondence between the selectman and Adjutant General William Schouler. Also included are papers pertaining to the Overseers of the Poor, 1864, and the Board of State Charities, 1880, as well as a large collection of receipts to the town for payment for service and goods, 1870-1888.

In addition to official records, the collection also contains papers related to Hingham individuals and families probably collected by members of the Lincoln family for a published history of Hingham. Foremost among the contributors was George Lincoln, who compiled two volumes of Hingham family genealogies. Included in his papers are notes, correspondence, scrapbooks, and reminiscences, 1837-1907.

Papers of Solomon Lincoln, 1841-1878, include documents related to his legal practice and the settlement of the estates of Lydia Bass, 1850-1857, and Nathaniel Nicols, 1813-1861. Among his correspondents were Caleb Cushing, 1841, Daniel Webster, 1841, John Langdon Sibley, 1861, and Charles Francis Adams, 1878. Also included are letters pertaining to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Hingham, 1869-1870; notices related to Solomon Lincoln's political activities; and certificates of membership and deeds. Papers of his son Francis H. Lincoln include notes on his education; correspondence as chairman of the school committee, 1879-1881; and manuscripts of talks to the Historical Society and Unitarian Society at Hingham, 1884-1886.

Incidental Lincoln family papers include documents related to the estates of David Lincoln (1668-1714), 1715; David Lincoln, Jr. (1695-1756), 1762-1799; and Joshua Felton Lincoln (1794-1812), 1814. Correspondence and reports on the disputed settlement of Rev. Joseph Richardson as minister of the First Parish date from 1804 to 1808. Deeds and correspondence of Levi Lincoln, Jr. include a letter from Sydney Howard Gay in 1861 about Rev. Ebenezer Gay's views on Unitarianism.

Other Hingham families represented in the collection include that of Thomas Andrews (1663-1727). Andrews papers consist of documents, 1699-1740, pertaining to the settlement of his father's estate; deeds; correspondence with his brother Rev. Jedediah Andrews; and papers related to the estate of his grandson Thomas (1760-1821), 1821-1852. Bates family papers include excerpts from a journal of Caleb Bates, 1700-1713; a will; and an inventory of property, 1793-1797. Papers of William Davis include letters and commissions, 1854-1884. Leavitt family papers, 1699-1863, include an early land deed of Joshua Leavitt and pieces pertaining to the estate of John Leavitt, 1838. Loring family papers include a personal property contract between Benjamin Loring and Deborah Cushing at the time of their marriage in 1726, as well as an account ledger for general merchandise at the store of Abner Loring, 1770-1790. Papers of Thomas Herman West include family letters, accounts, notebooks, and diaries dating 1860-1922. Papers of Capt. Lyman B. Whiton (b. 1834), 1863-1864, document his service at Fort Berry and Fort Richardson in Virginia with the 3rd Regiment of Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. The collection also contains papers of George Lane, 1799-1801, consisting of letters, receipts, and accounts related to his shipping interests and participation in the slave trade.

Papers related to the United States Sanitary Commission, 1862-1866, include forms; a list of subscribers to the Ware Fund compiled by Frederick N. Knapp in 1864; letters to Knapp describing relief of the wounded written by John Strong Newberry at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1865; and letters from Frederick Law Olmsted regarding meetings in 1866.

The collection also contains the diary of George Hyland with autobiographical notes, 1869-1922, accounts, and ledgers for merchandise sold at the general store of Nathan Rice, 1783-1795, and at Henry Thaxter and Son, 1792-1794, 1805-1806, and 1833-1841. Also included is a commonplace-book kept by Rev. Joseph Richardson in 1801 and genealogies of the families of Lincoln, Thaxter, and West.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Frances Foley, Hingham, Mass., February 1969.

Box List to the Collection

I. Loose papers, 1637-1931

Arranged chronologically.

Box 1
Undated papers
Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
Box 6
1865-May 1870
Box 7
June 1870-Feb. 1873
Box 8
Mar. 1873-Aug. 1875
Box 9
Sep. 1875-Apr. 1877
Box 10
May 1877-Oct. 1878
Box 11
Nov. 1878-Feb. 1880
Box 12
Mar. 1880-June 1883
Box 13
July 1883-1885
Box 14
Box 15
Genealogy, town history, and printed material, undated
Box OS
Oversize material

II. Volumes, 1642-1922

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. 1
Town records, 1642-1651
Vol. 2
Account book, 1770-1788
Vol. 3
Nathan Rice account book, 1783-1795
Vol. 4
Account book, 1792-1794
Vol. 5
Joseph Richardson writing book, 1801
Vol. 6
Account book, 1805-1806
Vol. 7
Edward & Henry Thaxter ledger, 1833-1840
Vol. 8
Account book, 1834-1843
Vol. 9
George Lincoln account book, 1837-1858
Vol. 10
George Hyland diary, 1869-1922
Vol. 11
Nathaniel W. Treat book, 1871-1880
Vol. 12-13
George Lincoln scrapbooks, 1873-1896
Vol. 14-15
George Lincoln scrapbooks, undated
Vol. 16
Thomas Lincoln & some of his descendants, undated
Vol. 17-19
Receipt book, 1879-1880
Vol. 20-22
Scrapbook, 1892-1896
Vol. 23-25
George Lincoln scrapbook, 1897-1899
Vol. 26-27
George Lincoln scrapbook, 1900-1902
Vol. 28-30
George Lincoln scrapbook, 1903-1905

Preferred Citation

Hingham (Mass.) records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Adams, Charles Francis, 1835-1915.
Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859.
Cushing, Caleb, 1800-1879.
Foley, Mason A.
Gay, Sydney Howard, 1814-1888.
Hyland, George, 1854-
Lincoln, George, 1822-1909.
Lincoln, Solomon, 1804-1881.
Long, John Davis, 1838-1915.
Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903.
Richardson, Joseph, 1778-1871.
Schouler, William, 1814-1872.
Sibley, John Langdon, 1804-1885.
Whiton, Lyman B., 1834-


United States. Army. Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment, 3rd (1861-1864).
United States Sanitary Commission.


Account books.
Hingham (Mass.)--History.
Hingham (Mass.)--Maps.
Real property--Massachusetts--Hingham.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Muster rolls.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Massachusetts Artillery (Heavy), 3rd Volunteers.