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  • ID: I1111
  • Name: Humphrey "Immigrant" Atherton
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 28 SEP 1608 in Lanchester,Winwick/ Minwich, England
  • Death: 17 SEP 1661 in Dorchester,Suffolk, Mass
  • Note:
    Humphrey Atherton was a descendant of an ancient family of Preston in Lancashire, England. He was the first of that name who came to New England-- as early as 1636, probably with Rev. Richard Mather, as one of Richard's sons married Catharine, a daughter of Humphrey Atherton. He lived in Dorchester, and was one of the most distinguished citizens of the Bay Colony; he was a member of the artillery company in 1638, and its captain in 1650; a representative to the general court for nine years; elected governor's counselor in 1654, and held the office for seven years. In 1656 he was commissioned major-general of all the forces of the colony, and continued in command until his death, which was caused by being thrown from his horse on returning home in the evening from a military review on Boston common; the horse being frightened at a cow.

    Deputy from Dorchester to Massachusetts General Court, 1638, 1639, 1641, 1643, 1645, 1646, 1648, 1650, 1651, 1653. Speaker of the House, 1653. Member of Council of War for the United Colonies, 1645. Ensign, 1645; Captain of the Dorchester Company, May 16, 1646. Captain of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, 1650, 1658. Commissioner of the United Colonies, 1653. Assistant, 1654-1661. Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1658. One of the Purchasers of the "King's Province," 1659. Major-General of Massachusetts Colony, 1661. That same year he commanded an expedition against Pesacus, a Narragausett Indian Chief. He also served in the King Phillip's War as a Major.

    Artillery Company, Ancient and Honorable, oldest military organization in the United States, established in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1637 as the Military Company of Boston. It was composed of the leading citizens of Boston and adjacent towns. The company took an active part in the American Revolution. Although its functions are now mainly social, the company holds military drills and participates in various ceremonial events, including patriotic parades. Headquarters is at Faneuil Hall in Boston. "Artillery Company, Ancient and Honorable," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    Maj. Gen. Humphrey ATHERTON- b. 1609, Winwick, England; d. Sep. or Dec. 17, 1661, Boston, MA. To America on 'James' from Bristol 1635. Possibly son of Edmund ATHERTON (d. Apr. 10, 1613) of Winstanley, Lancashire. Lived at Lancashire, England and Dorchester and Boston, MA. Admitted freeman at Dorchester May 2, 1638; member of artillery company 1638; Lt. 1645; Capt. 1650; Maj. 1652; Speaker of the House 1653; Maj. Gen 1661. Tradition says death resulted from a fall when his horse stumbled over a cow lying in the road. Humphrey was married "when an infant."**

    Major-General Humphrey Atherton of Dorchester, is said by Farmer to have come from Preston, Lancashire, England. One of his descendants Charles H. Atherton, says, "he arrived in Boston in the ship James in 1635, and was between fourteen and fifteen years of age when he married, his wife being between thirteen and fourteen, and that they brought children with them. Her name was Mary, probably a daughter of Nathaniel Wales, Sen." He early showed a decided taste for military affairs, and soon became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and was its captain from 1650 to 1658. In 1644, he organized the first train-band in Dorchester. Later on he commanded the Suffolk regiment with the title of Major-General, and was the chief military officer in New England. For many years he served as selectman and town treasurer, and in 1638 and 1641, was Deputy to the General Court. General Atherton was employed in several expeditions against the Narragansett Indians, and when they became tributary to Massachusetts, was sent several times to collect the tribute of wampum. Upon one occasion when sent with twenty men to demand of the Sachem, Pessacus, the arrears due the colony of three hundred fathoms of wampum, his courage, presence of mind and quick decision were strikingly exhibited. Pessacus had put him off
    with dilatory answers, not suffering him to come into his presence. At last, his patience exhausted, he led his men to the door of the wigwam, entered alone pistol in hand, and seizing Pessacus by the hair of his head, dragged him from the midst of his warriors, threatening any who interfered with instant death. It is to be assumed that the wampum was paid. In 1645 the Commissioners of the United Colonies appointed a Council of War, which was composed of Captain Standish, Mason of Connecticut, and everett and Atherton of Massachusetts.

    Father: Edmund Atherton b: 1576 in Winstanley, Lancastershire, England
    Mother: Mary Rudd b: ABT 1575 in Winstanley, Lancastershire, England

    Marriage 1 Mary Wales b: 1610 in Lanchester, England
    • Married: 1627 in Preston, Lanchester, England
    1. Has Children Elizabeth Atherton b: 28 SEP 1628 in Lancashire,Winwick/Minwich, England
    2. Has No Children John Atherton
    3. Has No Children Mary Atherton
    4. Has No Children George Atherton
    5. Has No Children Jane Atherton
    6. Has No Children Samuel Atherton
    7. Has No Children Submit Atherton
    8. Has No Children Patience Atherton b: 1654
    9. Has No Children Watching Atherton b: 1651
    10. Has Children Hope Atherton b: BEF 30 AUG 1646 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass
    11. Has No Children Consider Atherton b: 1646
    12. Has No Children Thankful Atherton b: 1644
    13. Has No Children Increase Atherton b: 1640
    14. Has No Children Rest Atherton b: 1639

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