Rev. Joseph Hull

~1595 - 1665
Somerset, England - York Co, Maine

Most of this information comes from the articles by Phyllis Hughes in the Hull Family Association Journal:
"The Hulls of Crewkerne, County Somerset, England."
Part I: Richard : Grandfather of Early Immigrants, George and the Rev. Joseph Hull
- published v. 12, #3 Autumn 2001 pp 83-86
Part II : Thomas Hull of Crewkerne, County Somerset, England : Father of Early Immigrants, George and the Rev. Joseph Hull
- published V. 13 #1 Spring 2002, pp. 9-12
The Reverend Joseph Hull : Immigrant to America, 1635; Goods Shipped on the Vessel Welcome
- published V. 16 #1 Spring 2006

Like his father and grandfather, the Rev. Joseph was born in interesting times; unlike them, he seemed to have felt the effects - possibly because he was a minister, and religion was the interesting topic of the day. 

He was born in about 1595 (baptized 24 April 1596) at Crewkerne, Somerset, England, the youngest of eleven children born to Thomas Hull the younger and his wife Joane Peson/Pysinge. His father must have been fairly well off - he sent two sons to Oxford, both to St. Mary's Hall.  William, the eldest, matriculated in 1592, and in January 1611/12 became the vicar of Colyton in Devonshire.  Joseph, the youngest, matriculated in 1612, and was ordained a deacon in 1619.  He probably spent the years from 1614-21 working with his brother in Colyton.  In 1620, he was ordained a priest, and in 1621, his father presented him with the living at St. Giles Rectory, Northleigh, Devon. James I was on the throne.

Joseph probably married his first wife in about 1619, probably in Colyton or Silferton/Silverton, Devon.  Very little is known about her EXCEPT that her name was not Joanna Coffin. The name comes from some inventive and quite persuasive speculation by an eary Hull researcher, Orra Eugene Monnette. He based his speculation on the usual genealogical suspects: names of children, locations of possible relatives, etc. However, Phyllis Hughes found that the Joanna Coffin under consideration - daughter of Peter and Joanna (Thember) Coffin - was only ~3 years old when she supposedly married, so that's that.  You still see the name in various published genealogies, because other researchers copied Monnette, and still others copied them - but it is quite wrong. (See Phyllis's article in the Hull Family Association Journal, v. 12, #1, Spring 2001, pp 23-4)

Joseph and his first wife had 7 children that we know of:

1. Joanna, born winter 1619/20, probably in Colyton or Silferton, Devon.
Joanna married twice, first Captain John Burstley - 28 Nov 1639, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA - and second Dolor Davis, ~1671.  She died sometime after 1693.
2. Joseph, jr, born ~1622, probably at Northleigh (his father became rector there in 1621)
3. Captain Tristram, our next ancestor, born ~1624, probably at Northleigh.
4. Temperance, baptized 20 March 1625/6 at Northleigh.  She married John Bickford ~1649.
5. Elizabeth, born ~1628, probably at Northleigh.  She married John Heard (who was NOT the son of Luke Heard and Sarah Wyatt) in ~1643, probably at York, Maine.  She died 30 Nov 1706.
6. Grissell/Griselda, born ~1630. (She did NOT marry James Warren)
7. Dorothy, born ~1632. She married twice, first Oliver Kent; second Captain Benjamin Mathews.

In 1627, two of his brothers (William and John) died; he and his brother George were the only children of Thomas still alive.

In the winter of 1632/33, he resigned his living at Northleigh and moved back to the vicinity of Crewkerne - to Batcombe.  It is not known why he resigned; this was the middle of the reign of Charles I, and I am not familiar enough with English history to know if there was some particular trouble associated with that year.  Rev. Joseph, as you will see, had a way of avoiding confrontation if at all possible.  His enemies called him contentious, which was ridiculous - he would do anything to avoid a fight - except change his opinions.  

His wife died sometime between 1632 and 1634. Also around this time, perhaps earlier, his only remaining brother, George, emigrated to America. I have no idea whether these were contributing factors (to his decision to leave Northleigh) or not. But from the time he left Northleigh, he was in trouble with the churchly authorities for preaching without a license.  The trouble, in fact, began slightly earlier: in 1629, the wardens of Crewkerne were "presented" for allowing him to preach there without signing the Book of Strange Preachers. He was cited for illegal preaching at Broadway (Jan 1635) and, again in Jan 1635, he allegedly preached a sermon at Glastonbury, in which he was quoted as saying that "judgment hung over the land and that first it would fall on the clergy and then the laity."  On 17 Feb 1635, he was actually expelled from the Church of England - not for the preaching as such, but for "failing to respond to the court's citation."  On 26 March 1635, he left for the new world.

He had married his second wife, Agnes Hunt, on 13 Mar 1633, St. Cuthbert’s, Wells, Somerset. This information comes from Linda Lyons [private email, 3 June 2016] who also says, "I haven’t found baptism record but there were lots of Hunts in Broadway, Somerset where Hull was at that time." She may have been related to Richard Barnard, "a noted Puritan," who may have encouraged him to emigrate.  (Who knows? he may also have encouraged the illegal preaching.)  Anges and the children went with him to America.

He was the leader of a group of about 100 Puritans (including Richard Barnard's son Massachiel) who sailed, probably on the ship Welcome of Mellcomb, Thomas Chappell, master, from Poole (of which Weymouth is a part).  I say "probably on the ship Welcome" because the passenger list wasn't exactly a passenger list -"As to the passenger lists: they were not in fact 'passenger lists,' which is a rather new concept.  These are lists of persons who have paid what is in effect an export duty." [note from the British researcher who found the list]. But mostly people traveled on the same ships as their belongings, so it might be slightly pedantic to be so cautious.  Here is (a portion) of the list:

Joseph Hall of Somersst a Minist aged 40 yeare
Agnis hall his Wife aged 25 yrs
Joane Hall his daughtr aged 15 yeare
Joseph Hall his sonne aged 13 yeare
Trhistrm his son aged 11 yeare
Elizabeth Hall his daughtr 7 yeare
Temperance his daughtr aged 9 yeare
Grissell Hull his daughter aged 5 yeare
Dorothy Hull his daughtr aged 3 yeare
Judeth French his srvaunt aged 20 yeare
John Wood his srvaunt aged 20 yeare
Robt. Dabyn his srvaunt aged 28 yeare.

They left on 20 March, and arrived in Boston on the 5th or 6th of May, 1635.  On June 7, they landed at Dorchester, and on July 8, they settled at Weymouth (it was then known as Wessaguscus).  At the General Court in  Boston an order was entered on the minutes: "There is leave granted twenty one families to sit down at Wessaguscus . . ." On September 2nd, Rev. Joseph became a Freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and took the oath at the General Court in Boston.  He was the first legally authorized minister of the town of Weymouth under the rule of the Bay Colony, but he did not remain there long.  The town split into various religious factions (Separatists, Moderates, and Hutchinsonites), so our Rev. Joseph . . . left. 

He settled at Hingham (now Norfolk Co, MA) in 1636. He received a grant of land there, and his son Hopewell, first child of Rev. Joseph and Agnes, was probably born there that same year. In 1638, he was elected a deputy to the General Court, and was appointed a magistrate (for the settlement of "small causes").  He seems to have devoted himself to civic affairs - another minister, the Rev. Peter Hobart, baptized his next son Benjamin - and to plans for colonization. In 1639, he led a group of people to settle in the Plymouth Colony, on Cape Cod, at what was then called Mattakeese, now Barnstable.  The rock still stands where he preached his first sermon; the inscription reads:

At this rock
now in fragments
tradition reports that
the settlers of Barnstable
received the sacrament
for the first time
in their new abode
and held
thier first town meeting.
This tablet to their memory
was set up in

The chronology was as follows:

1639 May 5 - preached his farewell sermon at Hingham.
1639 May - moved to Old Colony of Plymouth.
1639 June 4 - Plymouth Court granted authority to "Mr. Joseph Hull and Thomas Dimoc" for themselves and their associates "to erect a plantation or town at or about a place called by the Indians Mattakeese," - now called Barnstable on Cape Cod
1639 Dec 3 - elected Deputy (with Thomas Dimmock) from Barnstable to the General Court of Plymouth Colony. (They were the first two ever). Admitted freeman at the same court
1639 Dec 11 - held Thanksgiving in his house at Barnstable with Rev. John Lothrop
1639/40 March 23 - daughter Naomi baptized by the Rev. John Lothrop at Barnstable
1640 Apr 15 - assisted Rv. Lothrop at the ordination of Mr. John May as the teaching elder of the Barnstable Church.
1640 June - NOT reelected Deputy from Barnstable.

More or less the same thing happened to him at Barnstable as had happened earlier at Weymouth. . . .

"Mr. Amos Otis, in his treatise on the Rev. Hull, states:
Mr. Lothrop and his church came October 21, 1639. Mr. Hull and the other settlers welcomed them to their homes. In Oct., 1639 Mr. Hull was the leading man in the town . . . . In one short year thereafter he fell from his high position, he was excluded from office; he had lost his influence; he was unpopular, many of his early friends had deserted him, and others reaped the fields he had sown. He felt chagrined; and the ungenerous treatment he thought he had received, induced him to move."
      - quoted in the Hughes article v. 16 #1

. . . only this time it was not so easy for him to leave.  He did - in late spring 1641, he moved a few miles away, to Yarmouth, where he founded the so-called (I don't know why it is called the "so-called") Second Church of Yarmouth - and a few weeks later (1 May 1641), found himself excommunicated, for breaking communion with the Barnstable Church. He patched things up, more or less, but decided to move on again - this time to Maine, to the episcopal colony of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.  Sometime before April 1643, he became the minister at Accomenticus (now York); he also had the Isles of Shoals under his charge.  When Maine tried to join the confederation of the United Colonies (10 May 1643), it was refused admission, because of him - an excommunicated person and "very contentious."  In August, he did more apologizing and was received again into fellowship with the Barnstable church.

Phyllis Hughes thinks he stayed in Maine for about five years, working mostly as an itinerant missionary, but his old enemies were extending their sphere of influence, and sometime between March 1647 and January 1648/9, he and Agnes and some of the children returned to England. (Many of them were already grown up and on their own by now.) There was no obvious reason for his return to England, but it seems a reasonable thing for him to do, given his psychology.

He served as the vicar at Launceston in Cornwall for the next several years, without any noticeable broils - perhaps the country was too busy with the Civil War to bother with him.  Charles I was beheaded on 30 January 1649.  Rev. Joseph appears to have managed fairly well under the Cromwells - In 1656 (April 11), he became became Rector (or possibly Dean) at St Buryan, Cornwall (near Lands End).  He did have some trouble with Quakers there - in 1659, George Fox, the Quaker apostle, visited Lands End, and wrote a paper addressed to priests and justices, containing some uncomplimentary remarks addressed specifically to "Priest Hull:"

Priest Hull, are these thy fruits? Hast thou taught the people no better manners and conversation, who are so brutish and heathenish? And Priest Hull, have people spent their money upon thee for that which is no bread? All such teachers that make a trade of the Scriptures, we utterly deny, who own Christ, and are come off from your steeple-houses.

But whether he was good or not, it didn't matter. The Restoration of Charles II (1660) brought with it the restoration of the priest who had previously been in charge of St Buryan.  Rev. Joseph was at loose ends again, and in 1662, he returned to America.

He went first to Oyster River (a precinct of Dover, now Strafford County, NH) where several of his children were living - and he had some more trouble with Quakers there.

1662 - In Oyster River, Mary Tompkins went to Priest Hull's place of worship, "who standing before the old man, he began to tremble, and having spoken something against women's preaching, he was confounded and knew not what to say; whereupon Mary, standing up and declaring the truth to the people, John Hill in his wrath thrust her down from the place where she stood with his own hands, and the Priest [Hull] pinched her arms . . . ." Amos Otis says that this happened in the morning (and that the pinching was merely his way of trying to keep a firm grip) and that in the afternoon, he "allowed the quakeresses to do as their spirits moved - he did not distrub their meeting . . . "
      - quoted in the Hughes article v. 16 #1

Not long after this, he recovered his old parish at York, where he died 19 Nov 1665, somewhere on the Isles of Shoals, or possibly in York itself.  He left no will.  He was buried in York.  Agnes was granted Letters of Administration of the estate in June 1666, so she lived at least that long, but I do not know how much longer.

The Rev. Joseph and Agnes had 9,  possibly 11, children. [1655 Aug - John Tingecombe (Rector of Truro, Cornwall 1649-62) wrote of Hull "Tis hoped the man is godly. He has a very greate charge of children, neare twenty. Some say more."]

1. Hopewell, born ~1636 probably at Hingham, Plymouth Colony, MA; died April 03, 1693 in Piscataway, Middlesex, New Jersy. He married Mary Martin ~1668.
         Remarried after 29 Dec 1669, Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey.
         note - "Monnette states that Hopewell Hull married Mary Martin in 1689, "but probably they were before that date properly married, in accordance witht eh Friends' Ceremony, which was not at that early date recognized as legal by the Courts of the Jerseys, for on 29 Dec 1669, an order was issued declaring their co-habitation illegal and they were obliged to remarry."
Monette, Orra Eugene, "John C. Fremont Hull." the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly, V 12, Jul 1909, V 13, Jan 1910, p. 28 (contains errors)
2. Benjamin, baptized 24 March 1639 in Hingham, Plymouth Colony, MA; died 1713 in Probably at Piscataway, Middlesex, New Jersey. He married Rachel Yorke Abt. 1668.
3. Naomi, baptized 23 March 1639 in Barnstable, Barnstable, MA; died after July 05, 1682. She married David Daniels sometime after 1667.
4. Ruth, baptized 9 May 1641 in Barnstable, Barnstable, MA.
5. Dodavah (often spelled - incorrectly - Dodivah), born ~1643.
      There is no primary documentation for this child. Several reputable genealogists say he is one of Rev. Joseph's sons
          Article by Phyllis Hughes discussing this issue in Hull Family Association Journal, v. 4, #2, Autumn 1993
6. Samuel, born between 1645-47 probably at York, York, ME; died between 1703-06 probably at Piscataway, Middlesex, New Jersey. He married Mary Manning October 16, 1677 in Piscataway, Middlesex, New Jersey.
7. Phineas, born ~1647. He married (1) Jerusha Hitchcock (2) Mary Rishworth White Sayward.
       There is no primary documentation for this child. Several reputable genealogists say he is one of Rev. Joseph's sons
          Article by Phyllis Hughes discussing this issue in Hull Family Association Journal, v. 4, #2, Autumn 1993
8. Reuben, baptized 23 Jan 1748/9 in Launceston, Cornwall, England; died between 1689-93. He married Hannah Fernside/Farnside ~1672 probably in Boston, Suffolk, MA.
9. Ephraim, baptized 13 Feb 1649/50 in Launceston, Cornwall, England.
10. Isaac, baptized 25 March 1651 in Launceston, Cornwall, England; died 1653.
11. Priscilla, baptized 30 March 1652; buried 9 June 1652 in Launceston, Cornwall, England.

That's it. I do encourage you to search out the article by Phyllis Hughes, which has full notes and documentation.

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