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History of James Hamblin Sr.
James HAMBLIN I [the Immigrant] was born about 1608 in London, London, England. He died on 22 Oct 1690 in Barnstable, Barnstable, Massachusetts. Biography 1608 - 1690.6
1. JAMES HAMLIN: So far as is known was the first of the name in America. Little has been learned of his early life. The records show that he came from London, England, and settled in Barnstable, Mass., in the spring of 1639. Records exist from which traces of him have been discovered. The late David Hamblen, Esq., of Boston, the first to investigate the family history, about 1849, caused research to be made in England for his ancestry, and discovered records which may relate to him and his ancestors...
...It is understood that he was brother of Thomas, gentleman of London, living in 1623; sons of Giles, of Devonshire; son of John, of Cornwall, England, who was living in 1570.
This is not regarded by the writer as conclusive proof of his pedigree, but a suggestion where to search for further evidence of it. The parish records of St. Lawrence, Reading, Berkshire, England, contain, as we suppose, the baptisms of his children who were born in England; and the burial of one child;
Hamlin, James, son of James, Oct. 31, 1630
Hamblin, Sarah dau. of James. Sept. 6, 1632
Hamlin, Mary dau. of James July 27, 1634
Hamlin, James son of James April 10, 1636
Hamlin, James Oct. 24, 1633
Thus is appears that the oldest child died in England. When or how James Hamlin came to America has not been discovered, but an approximate inference is ascertained when the members of the family left England and came to America from the dates of the baptisms of his children above; and the dates of the births of the children born in Barnstable. It appears to have been the custom of the family to baptize the children on or near the day of birth if possible; so that the dates of baptism are supposed to be about the dates of birth of those born in England. The first record of his children born in Barnstable is that of Bartholomew b. Apr. 20, 1642, we have found no record either in England or Barnstable, of the birth of the child, Hannah; but infer that she was born in England, between 1636 and 1642. Possibly the family was broken up about the time of her birth, preventing the record of her birth, or it may have been recorded elsewhere from where the others are found. It is believed the James Hamlin came to America without his family about 1638-9, and that they followed him later. While no record of the fact had been discovered; other circumstances render it probable that he was obliged to leave his family and flee England to escape religious persecution. This may account for the failure to discover the time and manner of his passage; which may have been intentionally concealed, for his escape and safety. He was a Puritan and a member of Mr. Lathrop's church after the latter came to Barnstable. We have seen that he came from London; he may have been a member of the Independent church there, and fled from the persecutions of Archbishop Laud, under Charles I; but there is no proof of it.
An account of the persecutions of the congregation of Mr. Lathrop in England will be of interest, and may in the future lead to information concerning our ancestor.
Rev. John Lothrop was pastor of an Independent or congregationalist Society at Southwalk, London. April 29, 1642 [sic -- hkb should be 1632?], fourty-five members of this church were apprehended for unlawful meeting, eighteen of whom escaped. Some were confined in the Clink, New Prison, and the Gate House, for about two years, and then released on bail; except Mr. Lothrop, for whom no favor could at first be obtained. There is some question as to the terms of his release, but the fact remains that these people caused the English government no little trouble; religion was regulated by the law at that period; and this society were non- conformists. That they believed they were right does not alter the fact. The exact date of their release is not given, but on Sept. 18, 1634, the Griffin and another ship arrived in Boston with passengers, among whom were Mr. Lothrop and thirty of his followers. It is not supposed Hamlin was with them. Soon after Mr. Lothrop and most, if not all those who came with him, went to Scituate, Massachusetts, where there was a small settlement of his old friends, whom he had known in England, and who invited him to become their pastor. There were nine of these families then at Scituate who had previously come from England, settling first at Plymouth; and Mr. Lothrop gives a list of "The Houses in ye plantation of Scituate att my Comeing hither, onely wch was aboute the end of Sept. 1634, all wch small plaine pallizadoe Houses." The name of James Hamlin is not in the list, nor does it appear there down to the date of removal of Mr. Lothrop and his church to Barnstable hereafter related.
In 1899 the home lot of James Hamlin in Barnstable was visited by the writer and a picture of it obtained through the kindness of Mr. Gustavus Hinckley, of Barnstable, and Miss Deborah Hamblin, of Yarmouth, Mass., the latter a decendant of James Hamlin. The home lot of James Hamlin, senior, of eight acres, probably one of those laid out by Mr. Collicut, was bounded north, and west by a small and beautiful sheet of water, anciently known as Coggin's and also as Cooper's Pond; the present county road passing through it east and west leaves a triangular piece of about two acres of the north end, where the buildings were located, between the highway and the pond, occupied in 1899 by Mr. A. T. Jones. The ancient dwelling thereon has been gone for a century, but its site was nearer the line between the Hamlin lot and the lot of Gov. Hinckley to the eastward, and from which it was separated by a rough, loose, stone wall. Mr. Gustavaus Hinckley stated that a well was anciently situated on the line between the two lots; but had been covered over by the wall for many years; that he remembered when a boy of finding it by dropping pebbles in the holes in the wall and hearing them fall into the water in the well; but its exact location he had forgotten. On the opposite or north side of the pond was the lot of Henry Coggin; a public watering place on the shore of the pond at the southern apex in ancient times, intervening between it and the Hamlin lot. A modern house stands on the Hamlin lot west of the site of the ancient dwelling. The present highway was laid out through the Hamlin lot in 1686, and the balance of his lot laid south of this road between it and the commons. The ancient grave yard lies to the eastward. [hkb sources in Barnstable told me in 1995 that the ancient graveyard was the commons in the early days]. His lands as described on the records in 1667 were as follows: Eight acres of upland, be it more or less, butting westerly upon ye Highway against ye pond. Easterly by ye commons, bounded northerly by Thomas Hinckley and southerly by ye commons. (This was his home lot above described, but the ancient highway which went north to the pond was changed in 1686); also three shares in Calves pasture bounded westerly by Gdd. (Goodman) Bearse, easterly by John Phinney: two shares more bounded westerly by John Phinney, easterly by Gdd. Bearse; one share more bounded westerly by ye lands of Henry Coggin, deceased, easterly by John Phinney: six acres of upland more or less, in ye sd Calves pasture bounded easterly by John Phinney, westerly partly by John Phinney and partly by ye beach; twenty acres of upland, more or less, bounded easterly by Henry Bourn, westerly by John Cooper, northerly to ye great creek by Jewell's Island; one acre of marsh meadow, more or less, bounded easterly by John Crocker, westerly by Thomas Hinckley; forty acres of upland butting against ye Great Indian pond running northeast into ye woods, bounded southerly by Thomas Lothrop's and northerly by ye commons.
The accompanying picture looking south from the north side of Coggin's pond gives a good view of the site of the home of James Hamlin, the immigrant. The old house stood in the open space between the boat and the stone wall to the left, which is the division between the Hamlin and Hinckley lots. The house in the right of the picture on the Hamlin lot is a modern structure [hkb: "modern" in 1899! In 1997 we would say it is "old", but it is still there!]; the old county road runs in front of it, nearly east and west, and between it and the house in the center of the picture. In ancient times the road touched the pond at the right of the new house, for a watering place; but is now shut off from the pond. The house shown dimly at the extreme left is that of Gov. Thomas Hinckley.
The name of James Hamblen appears frequently in the records of Plymouth Colony. The first mention is: "March 1, 1741-2, [hkb: 1641-2?] James Hamblen was propounded for Freeman.
"At the Genrall Court of our Souraigne Lord, Charles, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France, Ireland, Defender of the Fayth, &c, holden at Plym aforesd the VIJth of March, in the XVIJth yeare of his Ma'ts now Raigne, &c.
"Before Willm Bradford, gent. Gou. (and other members of the court named) James Hamlen (was appointed) Constable for Barnstable."
List of Freemen in Barnstable in 1643, taken from Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 8, 176-7. Those marked * have been erased on the original record.
* Mr. Joseph Hull* William Caseley
Mr. Lothrope Mr. Robte Linnett
Mr. Thomas Dommock Mr. John Mayo
Anthony Annable Samuel Hinckley
*James Cudworth* Edward Fitzrandle
Isaac Robinson Georg Lewes
Henry Rowley Samuel Jackson
John Cooper JAMES HAMLENE
Henry Cobb Thomas Hinckley
Bernard Lumbert Nathaniel Bacon
Henry Bourne Dolar Davis
March 15, 1657, James Hamblen served on inquest on the body of a child, Simeon Davis.
June 3, 1657, James Hamblen was sick and could not serve on the Grand Enquest.
The name of James Hamblen appears on the list of Freement of Barnstable in 1658.
May 29, 1670, James Hamblen served on Grand Enquest; same day he was a member of a trial jury.
March 6, 1671, James Hamblen served on a jury.
June 3, 1679, James Hamblen served on a jury in the case between Capt. John Williams and Edward Jenkins.
July 7, 1681, James Hamblen served on juries.
July 6, 1682, James Hamblen summoned too serve on a jury, and served.
In 1638 [hkb: 1683?] James Hamblen consented to a way across his land in the Calves Pasture to the beach and creek.
In the list of Freemen of Barnstable for 1689, among others appear the names of James Hamblen, James Hamlen, Jr., John Hamblen, Eleazar Hamblen.
Mr. Lothrop taught that Baptism was an ordinance of primary importance, and published a work on the subject, urging that the parent, being a member of the church, who unnecessarily delayed the performance of this service, thereby periled the salvation of the child. The practice in Mr. Lothrop's church was to baptize children on the Sabbath next following their birth. Instances are given of children born on Sabbath morning, and carried two miles the same day at an inclement season of the year to be baptized.
It would seem that James Hamblen conformed to this custom. It will be observed that his three youngest children were baptized on the day of birth.
Mr. Otis says: "He was never dignified with the title of Mr." and was, all his life, called "Goodman." Speaking of this custom, he says, "In the Plymouth Colony, the Governor, deputy governor, the magistrates, and assistants, the ministers of the gospel, elders of the church, school masters, officers to the militia, men of great wealth or connected with gentry or nobility, alone were entitled to be called Mister, and their wives, Mistress; this rule was rigidly enforced in earlier colonial times; and in all lists of names, it was almost the invariable custom to commence with those that stood highest in rank, and follow that order to the end."
"Goodman Hamblen was not much in public life. He was an honest man, a good neighbor and a sincere Christian; he was industrious and prudent in his habits and brought up his children to walk in his footsteps. His descendants have, with few exceptions, inherited the good qualities of the ancestor."
The correct spelling of his name is a question of doubt. As a matter of fact, people in those times were not particular, and the same individual did not spell his own name uniformly, in many instances; there was no standard of English orthography then. In the foregoing pedigree the name is spelled Hamelyn and Hamelin, in the record of baptisms, Hamblin and Hamlin; in the colonial records, Hamlene, Hamlen, and Hamblen. His pastor, Rev. Mr. Lothrop wrote the name uniformly, Hamling; Rev. Mr. Russell, a successor of Mr. Lothrop, wrote Hamblin; but as signed to his will, it is spelled Hamlin. The descendants spell the name variously: Hamlin, Hamlen, Hamline, Hamblin, and Hamblen.
There is a tradition that four brothers, who were his descendants, agreed, upon their separation, each to spell the termination of the name differently. The time and place where this occurred, or the individuals are not known; but in matters of this kind traditions are not of much value until established to positive evidence.
David Hamblen was of the opinion that James Hamblin and his wife Anne, were both born in London. They were members of the church in Barnstable at the settlement of Mt. Jonathan Russell, 1683.
He died Barnstable, 1690. His personal estate was appraised at 19.17.3 Pounds. He was probably over eighty years old, and had probably distributed some of his personal estate before his death, as indicated in the will.
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