The Stowell House in Hingham, Massachusetts

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

My 9th great-grandfather, Samuel Stowell, was born in 1625 in England. Chudleigh Parish Registers indicate that his father died on December 7, 1628, when Samuel was just three years old. Young Samuel arrived in America some time before 1635, for it was in that year that he went to Hingham, Massachusetts, with Peter Hobart and about 25-30 people who Hobart had brought from England and some he recruited at Charlestown to accompany him.[1] Hobart was a Puritan minister, undoubtedly traveling by boat to Hingham, a distance of about eleven miles. In Hingham, Samuel Stowell worked as a toolmaker and was granted land there in 1656.[2]

The Stowell House, Hingham, Mass. - “One of the oldest houses in America, on Fort Hill Street, at the foot of the hill on which stood the old fort prior to King Philip's War. The streets were then mere grassy lanes without sidewalks. The houses were of logs with thatched roofs and oiled paper for windows. Here Samuel Stowell lived. On the same spot, over 250 years ago, the above house was built. It is still standing and has been occupied by at least five generations of the descendants of Samuel Stowell.” - Stowell Genealogy[3].

In an attempt to find out if the house was still standing today, I found information seeming to match the above description.

A house built in 1685 by Capt. Thomas Lincoln, once occupied by Stowells[4], was moved from its longtime home at 99 Fort Hill Street in 2013 and was relocated to its new home 1.5 miles away. It now sits behind the Old Ordinary Museum on Lincoln Street as part of the museum's campus and is called the "Old Fort".

Google Maps is an awesome tool for potentially seeing the places our ancestors lived without leaving home, so I went looking for images of the home before it was moved in 2013. While click-walking down the street in an attempt to spot the house in the photo, I noticed a home at 106 Fort Hill Street, which looks more like the one in the plate shown above from Stowell Genealogy than the one on the flat bed being hauled in the news photo. Below, the street view image in October 2012 is shown. An image for 2009 is also available, but the house is barely visible, being hidden behind trees. Therefore, it appears the property was cleaned up and the home was remodeled sometime between 2009 and 2012. A date is shown on the corner of the house - "1693". The home appears at the bottom of the hill and looks identical to the Stowell House, which was said to have been built in 1685 by Capt. Thomas Lincoln. Perhaps he built several houses using this basic plan. Samuel Lincoln, original proprietor of Hingham, was the ancestor of Abraham Lincoln.[5]

If you're planning a trip to Hingham, you can visit the museum and fort. Check out the Hingham Historical Society's website for more information. If you are interested in the preservation of Hingham's history, consider donating to the society. A donation link is provided on their page. In the meantime, this video published by the HHS provides an excellent view of the structure believed to have been the long time home of the Stowell family of Hingham, about half way through the video.

Please share your thoughts and comments below!


[1] Annual Meeting, Stowell Family, p. 6, by the Stowell Family Association, 1925. [Link]

[2] An address delivered before the citizens of the town of Hingham, by Solomon Lincoln, 1835. [Link].

[3] "Stowell Genealogy, A Record of the Descendants of Samuel Stowell of Hingham, Mass.", by William Henry Harrison Stowell, 1922.

[4] "17th-century house moved to new home", by Jessica Bartlett, Boston Globe, July 14, 2013. [Link]

[5] "Abraham Lincoln and Religion", by Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection [Link]

Click here to learn more about this branch of my family.

#stowell #harvey #samuelstowell #hingham #historiclandmark #massachusetts


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