THE BIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM HEWETT
Son of John and Hannah Orrett Hewett
17 Dec 1749 - 11 Apr 1826
“One day in England when the King’s Guard, a picked company, was having a contest on lifting a large rock, all failed...William Hewett, who was standing with his company, told his captain that he thought he could lift it, so they allowed him to try. He succeeded. The Hewetts always have been noted for courage, strength, and agility, as well as nobility of character.” 1
William’s parents would never know of his accomplishment because his father, John, died before William’s birth in December 1749, and his mother, Hannah, died a few weeks after his birth. His father had a public inn or tavern called the “Ram’s Head” (or possibly “Lion’s Head”) in Warrington, Lancashire. 2 This is where William was born as well as his four brothers: Thomas, Joseph, John, and Edward, non of whom came to America. 3 Being an orphan he went to live with an uncle, a brother of his father, who kept him until about age fourteen. He was then apprenticed to a weaver until eighteen. Because he was unhappy there, and/or because he was the youngest son, he enlisted as a private in the British Army in 1769. One descendant wrote that he was sent to Scotland where he remained until about the year 1773.4 His grandson, James Henry Hobbs Hewett, however, wrote that William served eight years in the king’s Guard in London.5 He came to America early in 1775, probably Boston, with Cornwallis as a non-commissioned officer under Sir William Howe to help subdue the colonial rebels.
Sometime later in 1775 “William and an old comrade took a vacation without a pass in the nighttime, and they did not return to answer to their names at roll call. They were unacquainted with the surrounding country, never having been out of Boston, but by traveling at night and resting in the daytime they made their escape. They met a Quaker, who saluted them by swinging his hat, took them to his home and fed them, and after exchanging Quaker suits with them for their English uniforms, and giving directions how to keep clear of spies and Tories, he wished them a safe journey. The fugitives had but little to fear of being detected in their new suits for, to use an expression common with him ‘I say for’t I hardly knew myself.’” 6 (There are two possible reasons for the desertion, one, that their sympathies lay with the colonist, and second, that they had been poorly treated on the boat.)
Guided by the North Star they made their way to New Ipswich, Hillsborouth County, New Hampshire where they hired out to work on a farm. (In 1775 William owned vacant land there in South Range III #2, south of the Old Burying Ground.)7 Here he met the Benjamin King family that included a daughter he would later marry. When men were called to enlist as patriot volunteers, William became a drill master as an orderly sergeant. In a 1818 letter to the government he stated that he “enlisted on 7 Mar 1777 to the Army of the American Revolutionary War on the Continental establishment in the New Hampshire line, under Capt. Farwell in Colonel Joseph Cilly’s (Gilley?) Regiment.”8 Eventually he went to the front ans was in many battles such as the Battle of Stillwater (October 1777) and Monmouth, as well as witnessing the surrender of Burgoyne. “As he stood with arms presented and the captives marched out without arms to the tune of Yankee Doodle, he recognized some of his old officers and comrades, and he used to say, “I say for’t, I felt bad for them’”9 His name appears on wage lists at Valley Forge in 1778.10 For some time after the Battle of Monmouth he was sergeant in the body guard of Washington.11
At the close of the war in 1781, he received an honorable discharge signed by George Washington, was paid off in Continental money worth about 5 cents on the dollar, and was honored with the Badge of Merit.12 A letter written by his grandson, James Henry Hobbs Hewett, to F. Ben Davis June 15, 1896 states “His discharge, such to the regret of his descendants, was not treasured and preserved in his family so that we are not able to find it, though both my father and my uncles while living were positive that he had it, and declared that they had seen and read it. But it is feared that prior to the time when the document assumed any great importance in the estimation of its possessors, some curiosity or autograph hunter with a view to is prospective value, obtained it at a small price.”
Also fighting in the Revolutionary War was Benjamin King (1722-1777) who had moved to the New Ipswich area about 1752 where he was the first settler on lot 34.13 Benjamin was in Capt. Ezra Towne’s company at Bunker Hill. After 1777 his residence is unknown and it is thought that he was killed in the war. His wife was Sarah Taylor of Townsend, Massachusetts and they had eight children.14 One of them, Sarah, married William on February 27, 1781. He used to say he came to America and married the daughter of a king.15 They heart about land being settled in Main (part of Massachusetts at that time) so with their infant son, William Jr., they boarded a vessel in 1786 and sailed from Boston with Capt. Robert Thorndike and landed at Rockport Harbour (Goose River as it was then called), near Peter Ott’s inn and tavern.16 Traveling by a line of spotted treas for six miles they came to an area being settled by Charles Barrett.
Charles Barrett and his agent Samuel Appleton, both from New Ipswich, New Hampshire, were laying out a new town above Camden to be called Hope. “Barrett promised 100 acres for building a cabin and clearing three acres with the option of buying the remaining additional sixty-eight acres of the lot as laid out. This was an attractive offer considering the scarcity of money following the war...The winder of 1785-6 when Barrett was laying his plans for the settlement of Hope, was remarkable for its severity. The snow was so deep and hard crusted that wolves were able to roam at will...The fall of 1786 was so dry that mills could not run.”17
These were the rather bleak conditions as William and Sarah Hewett arrived to take up Barrett’s offer in September 1786 about the second family to settle in this part of the town. He lived long enough to see the town well settled with prosperous farmers. He took lot #98 in the southwest part of Barrettstown (Hope’s early name) for which he received a deed three years later on April 10, 1789, for 168 acres more or less for 5 shillings.18 This land was located about a mile SSE of “Barrett’s Town” (Hope would be incorporated in 1804).17 About 1823 Rev. Lemuel Rich, an ordained Baptist minister, settled on a field near William Hewett resulting in the Hewett land later becoming known as the Lemuel Rich farm. 19 In 1988 the only descendant still residing in the area was Clifton Robbins who lived on this land, pointing out to visitors a depression in the field below his house where William is said to have built his log cabin. It is along the present road called Robbins Road. 20
William and Sarah had seven children, the third one, Samuel, being the first white male child born in Hope. 21 All seven births were recorded in the Hewett family Bible. Their first child died in infancy, hence the six--not seven--chapters in this book. A copy of part of the page is in the National Archives, and reproduced in the back of this book (The Hewett History). 22 All six children lived to be over seventy and four of them above eighty. William pursued the weaver’s trade for which he had apprenticed as a youth.
In 1795 many citizens of Barrettstown signed a petition to the Senate and House of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, stating that there were over fifty families settled and, therefore, they wanted the advantage of “a publick school...and the benefits of publick roads.” The signature of “William Hewitt” can be found among the petitioners. For an unknown reason the petition was turned down. In 1804, over 74 families lived in Hope and the need for schools and roads had increased so another petition was attempted and the town of Hope was successfully incorporated in May 1804. This petition was signed by “William Hewitt” and his nineteen-year-old son, “William Hewitt, Jr.” 23 About this time Micah Hobbs bought a 60 acre portion from William Hewett’s lot #90 for $400. Between 1801 and 1811 William sold sections of his land to four different people until by 1820 he owned not land. No reason has been found for his disposing of all his land.
On March 18, 1818 Congress passed an act to provide pensions and land bounties for Revolutionary soldiers. So in April 1818 William wrote a letter requesting the pension. "In addition to establish my claim to the land bounty... I declare that the reason of my reduced circumstance in my old age (being sixty-eight years old) I stand in need of assistance from my country for support." On July 12, 1820 (to prove his need) William lists his personal estate as "No land (he had transferred Lot #98 to Lemuel Rich), Furniture - 2 table 6 chairs 1 iron pot 1 teakettle and other articles for cooking $10. 1 owe two small notes of $5 each. I have nothing owing to me. By occupation I am a weaver or labourer which I am unable to pursue by reason of age, am so feble (sic) I cannot do any thing but make brooms and baskets." He then lists his family as Sarah 66 years, with the comment "my wife has been very weakly for several years."24 He received a pension of $8 per month. William died April 11, 1826 after residing in Hope for forty years and is buried in the Hope Grove cemetery along with his wife. His gravestone reads "WILLIAM HEWETT d. April 11, 1826 aet 76 yrs." His wife's reads "SARAH HEWETT d. Aug. 25, 1837 aet 83 yrs." In 1870 as far as ascertained, there had been 64 grandchildren with 57 living to adulthood, and 461 descendants, with 47 of them serving as soldiers in the Civil War. 25
On July 4, 1836 Congress passed another Act regarding pensions which would benefit the widows. So on March 15, 1837 Judge Johnson was called to Sarah's residence, "the said Sarah being unable to attend at the courtroom by reason of bodily infirmity," to make a declaration in order to obtain these benefits for her. These benefits were given on 10 July 1839 (after her death!) amounting to $640, arrears to the 4th of March 1831. 26
From a newspaper article reporting on the Hewett reunion commemorating the 100th anniversary of William Hewett’s arrival in Hope we read: “On September 1, 1886 the descendants of William Hewett assembled in large numbers at the residence of Simon C. Hewett of Hope ...There were many features of interest connected with this reunion, some of which are as follows: there was the identical table brought here a century ago by the venerable patriarch, upon which were various kinds of dishes as old as the table itself, among which was one much older, viz, a pewter platter brought across the Atlantic by Miles Standish in the Mayflower. Such reunions are grand educators, and the more they become the custom the better it will be for all who attend.
1. 1933 letter by Elizabeth Hewett, Great-granddaughter of William.
2. John probably had a tavern licenses the keepers were required to “post and keep a sign.” Printed signs were useless because most were illiterate. Since each town had several taverns the symbol had to be something distinct, usually an animal.
3. Warrington Christenings, Mar 1701-1760, Norman Collection (Salford, England), pp. 113,118,123,129, and 144, and typed by Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, 1961. Warrington is a municipal, parliamentary and county borough on the Mersey River, 16 miles east of Liverpool.
4. Letter from R.L. Hewett to Anna Veith Hewett, before 1960.
5. Letter by James H.H. Hewett, Thomaston, Maine, Feb 23, 1897.
6. Simon Crane Hewett’s personal account, “The Hewetts of Hope, Maine,” 1870.
7. Charles Chandler, “History of New Ipswich,” Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 1914, p. 274.
8. William Hewett’s 1818 letter requesting a pension, National Archives, Washington, D. C. Also Carleton E. Fisher, “Soldiers, Sailors & Patriots of the Revolutionary War - Main,” 1982, p. 363.
9. Simon C. Hewett, 1870.
10. History of New Ipswich, p. 86, 91.
11. Edmunds, A. C., “Nebraskans, Pen Sketches,” R& J Wilbur Stationers, Omaha, 1871, p. 308.
12. Actual discharge was not to be effective until the peace treaty was signed (September 1783); he was considered “on furlough” until then.
13. History of New Ipswich, p. 272.
14. Ibid, p. 504.
15. Rockland newspaper, June 1904.
16. Simon C. Hewett, 1870.
17. “Lincolnville and its Neighbors,” Vol. III, Part II, 1975-84, p. 88.
18. Rockland Registry of Deeds, Vol. 7, p. 264.
19. Hardy, Anna, “History of Hope,” Penobscot Press, Camden, Maine, 1990, p. 67.
20. Author’s visit, August 1988; Clifton died in December 1988.
21. Hardy, p. 4.
22. When son John needed to prove the death of an earlier sibling, also named John, he wrote in 1838 as follows to the government: “I have in my possession the family Bible belonging to my father...” A copy of the entire letter is in the National Archives and included with this history.
23. Hardy, pp. 19-33.
24. National Archives.
25. Simon C. Hewett, 1870.
26. National Archives.
WARRINGTON, LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND CHRISTENINGS
March 1701 - March 1760
Norman Collection ~(Salford, ~Eng.), typed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, 1961
~Pg Date Child Father Mother Surname Trade
113 Mar 26,1740 Thos John Hannah Huet alehse kpr
118 Sep 12,1742 Joseph John Hannah Huett alehse kpr
123 Jan 22,1744 John John Hannah Huet alehse kpr
129 Sep 1,1745 Edwd John Hannah Hewet soldr
144 Dec 17,1749 Wm John Hannah Hewett nalstr
103 Jan 19,1738 Joseph Wm Sarah Huet barber
Jul 15,1740 Margret Wm Sarah Huet
118 Aug 21,1742 David Wm Sarah Huett barber
127 Mar 24,1745 Wm Wm Sarah Huet barber
136 Aug 16,1747 Randel Wm Sarah Hewyett barber
141 Jan 1,1748 Sarah Wm (Sarah) Hewet barber
165 Oct 5,1755 Thos Wm Sarah Hewitt barber
175 Sep 24,1758 Hannah WE Sarah Huit peruke skr
123 Jan 5,1743 Mary David Judith Huet barber
129 Oct 25,1745 David David Judith Huet barber
139 Apr 15,1748 Judith David Judith Hewyet barber
148 May 24,1750 Thos David Hewett eruke akr
155 Jul 27,1753 Wm David Judith Hewitt barber
166 Apr 23,1756 Ralph David Judith Hewitt barber
180 Oct 26,1759 Judith David Judith Hewitt barber
195 Sep 7,1762 (?Pitt) David Judith Hewit barber
146 Aug 26,1750 Wm Thos Sarah Hewet flaxdresser
163 Jun 8,1755 Thos Thos Sarah Hewitt
173 Apr 2,1758 Sarah Thos Sarah Huit flaxdresser
184 Jun 1,1760 Ann Robt Ann Hewit faxdresser
197 Feb 18,1762 Thos Robt Ann Hewit flaxdresser
Jan 22,1764 Ellen Thos Ann
208 Mar 17,1765 Edwd Thos Ann Hewet flaxdresser
Earliest stories about William Hewett say that he was born in early 1750, had 4 brothers, that his father's name was John and that John ran a pub called Ram's Head or Lion's Head. It is also said that John had died before William was born and the mother died soon after William's birth. These facts correlate closely to the first family on the above list. One could speculate that John became a soldier and was killed in 1749, but England wa~s not engaged in any major war that year. "Malstr" is an abbreviation for maltster (a maker of beer), a very possible trade for someone who had run a pub house.
Further evidence that the first family in the list is probably our line comes from the children's names that our William and Sarah used: John, William, Samuel, Sarah, Hannah, John (first John died), and Benjamin.
It would be exciting to find a John Hewett and/or a Hannah Orritt being christened sometime between 1720-1730 thereby reaching back another generation, but, alas, none has been found. (Research done by Evelyn Hewett, June 1989, at Akron, OH Mormon church.)
From Loa Don Glade of Bountiful, UT: "I searched microfilm copies of the Warrington (St. Elphin) Parish records from 1698 to1783, following each member of John and Hannah Hewett's family in birth, marriages and death entries. I found that William Hewett born 17 Dec 1749 was married to Dorothy Andrews 3rd of March 1771. Then, their son, William, aged 9 months, was buried 13th of August 1772. No further mention of this William Hewett, soldier. Also, no record of a death for a Dorothy Hewett." (Research done October 1989) My (Evelyn Hewett) personal opinion is that William's wife probably died in England while he was in the British Army and that he never bothered to talk about it in his "new" life in America.
CHARLES BARRETT of New Ipswich in the County of Hillsborough, and State of Newhampshire, Esquiror and in consideration of the Sum of five shillings to me in hand paid by WILLIAM HEWITT of Barrettstown so called in the County of Lincoln and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, yeoman, the Receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, have, gilaen, granted, bargained and ~soici and released, and by these presents,do ~giU,,, grant, bargain, sell; release convey & confirm to him tile said Hewitt his heirs & assigns a certain Tract of Land lying in Barrettstown, aforesaid, being Lot No. Ninety eight, containing one hundred and sixty eight acres, be t~he same more or less.
TO HAVE A~ND TO ~HOID the said granted and bargained Premises, with the Appurtenances thereof to him the said Hewett his heirs and assigns and to his an( their only proper use benefit and ~behoof forever.
I do hereby engage to warrant secure and defend the said granted Premises against all Claims and demands of any person or persons claiming by from or under me or my heirs.
Also from those Proprietors called the twenty associates, of the Lincoln~ohi)re Company or their heirs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this eighth Day of April in the year of our Lord A. D. one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
Charles Barrett & a seal.
Signed, sealed & delivered in presence of us, Dorcas Barrett, Charles Barrett
Jun I ~r.
Middlesex County April t~he ~10th 1789. The within named Charles Barrett personally appearing acknowledged the within above Instrument to be his free act and Deed, Before me, James Barrett Just peace.
~Reeld'December ~21st. 1791. and entered & examined by Tho~ss Rice Reg~lr.
I//STATE Of MAINE, no "I
A TRUE COPY OF ~lNqTR
FAMILY HISTORY and ANCESTORS OF SARAH KING HEWETT
(wife of William Hewett)
(Note: to keep the three generations of Sarahs straight, each will be given a number, Sarah (1) ? - 1767, Sarah (2) 1726/7 - 1819, and
Sarah (3)1754 - 1837, wife of William Hewett. Sarah's ancestors
have been traced back to the ~1600's but William Hewett's have not been found as yet.)
Sarah (1) and Benjamin Taylor had a daughter Sarah (2) on 17th January 1727/28 in Concord, Massachusetts. She was under 5 years of age when her parents moved the family to Townsend, Massachusetts (along with a second daughter, Lydia). Townsend was in the process of becoming an incorporated town and Benjamin became one of its proprietors. Two more children, Benjamin and Anne, were born there.
Sarah (2) grew to womanhood in Townsend and met a young man, Benjamin King, born @ 1722. (From Edward True's grandmother's personal papers: "The family of King resided in the Parish of Ug~borough, Devonshire, England for centuries. They have a Coat of Arms.) They were married 3 September 1745. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born 2 April 1746. Two years later their second child, Samuel, was born but he died in May 1748. On the anniversary of his death their third baby, Benjamin, was born 12 May 1749.
The town of New Ipswich in New Hampshire was being created in 1749 which meant that Sarah (2) and Benjamin King now had the same opportunity of which her parents had had in settling Townsend, Massachusetts. So the King family moved to lot 34 ND in New Ipswich about 1752 where a baby girl was born. But death came to this child in December as well as their first-born, Elizabeth, who died 25 December 1752. Theirs was a bleak Christmas.
Fortunately, time helps to heal wounds and in the spring of 1754 Sarah's (2) arms were again filled with a new baby. Little Sarah (3), who later married William Hewett, was born 7 April 1754. Through the years Sarah (2) and Benjamin were blessed with five more children: Elizabeth 4 September 1757;. Silence 10 May 1759; Mary 18 December 1760; Samuel I March 1763; Ebenezer 22 Feb. 1768.
Benjamin and Sarah (1) Taylor had remained in Townsend, Massachusetts where Sarah (1) died sometime before 1767. Benjamin remarried soon after. As their son, Benjamin Jr. grew, it became apparent that something was wrong. In 1771 he was declared to be non ~compos ~mentis and given a guardian to protect his parents from his. Sarah's (2) father died intestate in February 1776 and the unhappy task of administration fell upon Sarah (2) because she was the eldest child, her only brother was incompetent, and her husband was away in the Continental Army (apparently her stepmother was deceased as there is no mention of her in the probate proceedings).
It was in 1777 when Sarah (2) knew her husband would never return from the war. (He l~iad enlisted in Capt. Ezra Towne's Co. 13 May 1775; 5'6", blue eyes.) The historians state that he was either killed in battle or died as a prisoner of war. The date 2 November 1777 for Benjamin King's death is given on town records, but no details are known. (See "history of New Ipswich, NH" 1852, pp 77 and 504.) However, where and how he died remains unknown.
After a few years Sarah (2), now a widow, moved her family to Winthrop, Maine-(then Massachusetts) settling near her sister, Lydia Chandler, and not too far from where her daughter Sarah (3) would eventually live with William Hewett. They made the trip to Maine on horseback. Sarah (2) remained in Winthrop and died 6 January 1819 at age 92. For many years she was the nurse and "doctress" of the neighborhood for miles around. In her lifetime she had many sorrows--losing 3 of her children as infants and 2 later in life. Son Benjamin Jr. died in July 1802 when a bean fell on his while raising a mill, and son Samuel died in June 1816 from an accidental injury received while unloading lumber. Also, her mother had died while her children were yet young, her father had died a little more than a year prior to her husband's death, and her only brother had been declared insane. In spite of all this, she spent many years in the service of others. (Documentation for this article was published in the June 1990 Thomas Tolman Family Magazine, Bountiful, Utah.)
Note: All the Sarahs and their husbands are great- great ?-?-? grandparents to everyone in this genealogy book who descends from William and Sarah Hewett, or, in other words, anyone who has an Arabic number next to their name in the genealogy section. All persons on the following pedigree chart are direct ancestors as well.
FOOTNOTES TO THE PEDIGREE CHART:
1. New Ipswich Town Records, Vol. I 1749-1910 (Family History Library film #015249).
2. Revolutionary War Pension Records give both Sarah's marriage and death dates.
3. A. H. Ward, "Rice Family".
4. History of Mason, Hillsborough, NH Record of Deaths, p. 177.
5. Townsend, Middlesex, MA Town Records, p. 330, "On September 3, 1745 were lawfully married Benjamin King and Sarah Taylor both of Townsend.: (FHL US film #868717).
6. Concord, MA Births, Marriages & Deaths, Concord Registers Book 11 p.- 125, "Sarah Taylor, ye daughter of Benjamin Taylor and Sarah, his wife, was born January 17, 1727/8 (FHL US bk #974.44/c4).
7. Maine, Kennebec, Winthrop VR 1790-1908, p. 127.
8. Concord, MA Births, Marriages & Deaths.
9. Middlesex, Massachusetts Vital Records.
10. Sudbury, Massachusetts Vital Records.
11. Samuel Rice was born in Berkhanstead, Hertsfordshire, England, and immigrated to America.
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD
RECENT (NOV. 1992) DISCOVERIES
William Hewett (also spelled Hewitt), son of John and Hannah Orrett Hewett, was born the 17th of December 1749 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. His father, John was an Alehouse keeper, Malster and soldier. John died the 4th of Oct 1750 when William was just 10 months old. William’s mother, Hannah died less than a year later, the 12th of July 1751. This tragedy orphaned five young boys and became the demise of family life as they had known it. Joseph, John and Edward were immediately taken to the Poorhouse where 18 months later, John, age 9, died the 30th of December 1752. Joseph had been taken out of the Poorhouse October 4, 1751, one month after his tenth birthday. So, after John’s death, seven year old Edward was alone. He remained in the poorhouse for at least nine years, learning the Weavers trade.
Nothing is known of Thomas’ whereabouts during that period of time, but at the age of twenty, death came again to Thomas’ home. His wife, Sarah died July 2, 1761. However, by the next February, Thomas was married to Ellen Jefferson on the 17th of said month 1762.
William at 18 months of age was too young to be put in the poorhouse at the time of his mother’s death, so according to family legend, his Uncle took him until he was fourteen. Then he was apprenticed to be taught the Weaver’s trade.
The life of William’s parents has remained obscure. Many vital records have been searched, but nothing more has been found. The Hewett and Orrett families were among the earliest families on record in Warrington Parish, so we hope to continue the search until a link is found.
The following biography has been copied, by permission, from Evelyn Hewett’s book “William Hewett (Hewitt) 1749-1826 and His Descendants.” To obtain your copy of her book write to: Evelyn Hewett, 2380 Saga Circle NE, East Canton, Ohio 44730-1832. Act fast. Supply is limited.
Loa Don Hofhine Glade
(NOTE: We have a copy of Evelyn Hewett’s book at the Thomas Tolman Family Research Center in Bountiful, Utah - Loraine Tolman Pace, family genealogist)