Brought to you by Hingham Realtor Alice Pierce serving the South Shore of Boston
It is possible that one of the the earliest homes in the United States is for sale in Hingham, MA. It is likely that this is also the oldest home on the real estate market today. The house, known as the “Samuel Lincoln” house is at 170 North Street in Hingham and was first deeded to Samuel Lincoln in 1649, 14 years after the first land parcels were granted in Hingham.
The Suffolk County Registry of Deeds recorded that Cornelius Cantelbery deeded his house at what is now known as 170 North Street in Hingham, along with two acres of land to Samuel Lincoln in 1649, sixteen years after the arrival of the first settlers to Hingham. The recording of the transaction is in BOOK 1, PAGE 103. At the time the property was deeded, the town of Hingham was still part of Suffolk County.
The earliest records showing the disposition of land was in 1635 (the same year that Hingham incorporated as the 12th town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony) when land grants were drawn by Hingham’s inhabitants for the purposes of agriculture and pasturing animals. The lots of land were deeded from the Algonquin natives and were situated on what are now known as North, South, Main and Lincoln Streets.
This homestead at 170 North Street was purchased 12 years after Samuel Lincoln’s arrival to America, and close to the time of Samuel’s marriage to Martha Lyford (her Christian name) from Ireland. Samuel and Martha had 11 children, 8 of whom survived well into adulthood, and 3 who died close to their times of birth. Their eldest son was named Samuel Lincoln Jr after his father and was born in 1650.
Hingham MA in the 1600s and Beyond
New England was the third region to be settled by colonists. In 1630, the Mayflower landed in Plymouth carrying a group of 900 Puritans, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, centered in Boston, ruled itself rather than be governed by England.
One must keep in mind that less than half of the first Pilgrim families that landed at Plymouth Rock survived their first winter on American soil. There were small settlements scattered along the coast from Virginia and the Carolinas to Massachusetts, but not all succeeded.
For example, Popham, Maine’s attempt to colonize failed when its original leader, George Popham, died and the successive leader, Raleigh Gilbert took command. It was less than one year later that Gilbert received news that he had inherited land in England, causing him to return, takin the remaining settlers with him. It is written that tense relations with Indians and the fear of another severe winter affected the decision to abandon Popham.
It wasn’t until 1635 that Hingham was incorporated, and it was only the twelfth town in America to do so. By 1649, when Samuel Lincoln was deeded the homestead at 170 North Street, Hingham was barely a town in the making. America was still wild and overwhelming, and its residents constantly courted disease for which there were no remedies, the severe New England weather, and the exhausting, never-ending labor required to live another day.
The first towns saw inhabitants clustered closely together within two room houses. Each home had a single fireplace and chimney in the beginning used for heat and for cooking. Since all travelers aboard the west-bound ships were allowed just one trunk of belongings, furniture was made by hand with available materials and many tools had to be shaped from scratch.
Every hour of every day was taken by matters of survival. Food had to be hunted, crops planted and tended to with watering and weeding, and wood milled so that houses could be built, all with short resources. Harsh winters saw a scarcity of food and water, and many areas had hostile native tribes who wished that the settlers would vanish. Remarkable numbers of colonists starved or froze to death, or succumbed to disease and other hazards.
Hingham was fortunate to build and preserve amicable relationships with the natives of the area who deeded land to the settlers, and more importantly, taught them how to grow food and hunt. It was not until the 1700s, that settlements began to thrive and houses started to double in size.
The population of Hingham swelled to 2000 during the American Revolution when over 600 male residents served in the war. Following the Revolution, peace ensued and the economy exploded. Farming, shipping, fishing and milling became the staple the industries of the time, and Hingham has never looked back.
If recorded history can be taken literally, Samuel Lincoln arrived from Norwich, England in 1637 aboard a ship called “John & Dorothy.” Because of family differences occurring in the Lincoln’s homeland in England, Samuel Lincoln’s father, Edward, was cut out of the family will and was forced to relocate to a small piece of land in Norfolk, England. At a very young age, Samuel became an apprentice weaver under Francis Lawes, also of Norfolk.
In 1637, Samuel Lincoln set sail with the Lawes family somewhere between the age of 12 and 15. Many historians remark that Lincoln lied about his age so that he would be granted access to the voyage. It is noted that Samuel spent some time in Salem, MA with the Lawes family before settling in Hingham. In 1937, the 300th anniversary of Samuel Lincoln’s arrival in Massachusetts was commemorated with the dedication of a tablet that is displayed at the Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts.
Samuel’s older brother Thomas is believed to have settled in Hingham, Massachusetts two years prior in 1635 and was granted a house lot by the town. Thomas married twice but had no children and after his death, and left several house lots to Samuel and his nephews.
It was 1681 when 140 families in Hingham raised money for the construction of the Old Ship Meeting House and Samuel was one of the lead crafters for the project. Today, the Old Ship Meeting House is recognized as the oldest wooden church structure building still in use in the United States.
Later in life Samuel was designated as a “mariner.” He died May 26, 1690, in Hingham, at the age of 71.
The Samuel Lincoln House
Various historical reports state there have been 7 generations of Lincolns who have resided in the original home at 170 North Street. Ancestral lines show that Samuel was related to many political figures, including his 4th great-grandson, President Abraham Lincoln.
It was Samuel’s eldest son, by the same name, Samuel Lincoln, Jr, who lived at the paternal homestead on North Street following his father’s death in 1690. He raised three sons and six daughters and also attended to his sister Martha who never married.
Samuel Jr. first married Deborah (Hersey) Lincoln, and later married Elizabeth (Jacobs) Lincoln. His occupation was that of a carpenter, but he also held multiple military offices. In 1675 he was a member of Captain Johnson’s Company, and participated as cavalryman in the great Narragansett fight when Captain Johnson lost his life. In 1694 and 1698, Samuel served as a town selectman.
His son, Samuel Lincoln (III), born in 1691 and also a carpenter, was granted his father’s estate at 170 North Street in 1721 where he lived until the year 1758 and held the position of deputy sheriff in Hingham. He too named a sone Samuel Lincoln (IV) who was born in 1715, married and had five children while residing at 170 North Street.
The Samuel Lincoln homestead has seen many changes since its first incarnation using coveted kings’ wood. An addition expanded it into a two family home in 1700, and it was expanded to 4,100 square feet in 1869. It has since undergone many revisions and improvements to make it into the stunning luxury property it is today, while still in keeping with the historical charm that is so rare and sought after.
The Holiday season in New England is an ideal time to start looking for homes in Hingham MA and all of the surrounding towns south of Boston . There is no better Realtor to show you what the South Shore of Massachusetts has to offer than one of the top South Shore real estate agents, Alice Pierce. Alice is native to Hingham MA and can talk to you about Hingham’s neighborhoods and their distinctive characteristics, as well as Cohasset, Hull, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover, Marshfield, Duxbury and all of the South Shore towns.