|Birth: ||Sep. 4, 1608|
|Death: ||Sep. 16, 1661|
Major General Humphrey Atherton
PARENTS: Edmond Atherton and Mary Rudd from Winstanley, Lancashire, England
WIFE: Mary Wales from Winwich, Lancashire, England. Married befor 1627.
CHILDREN BORN IN ENGLAND:
CHILDREN BORN IN DORCHESTER, SUFFOLK CO., MA:
CAUSE OF DEATH: Thrown from his horse in Boston Common
HERE LYES OUR CAPTAIN AND MAJOR OF SUFFOLK WAS WITHALL
A GODLEY MAGISTRATE WAS HE AND MAJOR GENERALL
TWO TROUPS OF HORS WITH HIM HERE CAME SUCH WORTH HIS LOVE DID CRAVE
TEN COMPANYES OF FOOT ALSO MOURNING MARCHT TO HIS GRAVE
LET ALL THAT READ BE SURE TO KEEP THE FAITH AS HE HATH DON
WITH CHIRST HE LIVS NOW CROWND
HIS NAME WAS HUMPRY ATHERTON
Humphrey Atherton was admitted as a freeman at Dorchester on May 2, 1638. He began his Massachusetts military career as a member of the artillery company in 1638, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1645, to Captain in 1650, to Major 1652,and to Major General in 1661.
Robert de Atherton lived in the time of King John 1199–1216. From this we trace down through the centuries to Humphrey Atherton who was born Lancashire, England, about 1609, and came with his wife (Mary Wales) and their t young children, in the ship, James, from Bristol, England, in 1635, to Dorchester, in New England. ... At about the time when Humphrey Atherton arrived with his young family in Dorchester, the larger part of the Dorchester Church, with its pastor, removed to Windsor, Connecticut, and Humphrey Atherton, with his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Wales, assisted Richard Mather, (Rev) (who came in the same ship with them) in nurturing the Dorchester Church back into thrifty life again. As the years went on, Humphrey Atherton became more and more a prominent in the town and the colony, ...
In 1644 there were "wardens" appointed to take care of and manage the affairs of the first public school in Dorcheser. Blake in his Annals says that "they were to see that both the master and the scholar performed their duty, and to judge of, and end, any difference that might arise, between master and scholar, or their Parents, according to sundry rules and directions there set down." Humphrey Atherton was one of the first wardens, who were chosen for life. Thus was inaugurated the public school, which had no precedent in America.
In 1645, £250 was raised to build a new meeting house, to replace the earlier one (which was a rude building, thatched with straw, with a stairway on the outside), and Humphrey Atherton was one of those chosen to attend to this matter.
He had decided taste for military affairs, organized the first training band in Dorchester in 1664, was early a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, was its captain 1650 to 1658, commanded the Suffolk regiment with title of major general, was chief military officer in New England, many years Selectman and Town Treasurer, deputy to General Courts 1638–1641, in 1659 was Speaker, and had great experience and skill in treatment of the Indians.
Capt. Johnson in his "Wonder-working Providence" speaks of Humphrey Atherton as a "lively courageous man," and says:— "Altho he be slow of speech, yet he is down right for the business, one of cheerful spirit, and entire for the country."
In 1645 the commissioners of the United Colonies appointed a council of war, placed Capt. Miles Standish at its head, with Humphrey Atherton as one of his colleagues. He is said to have been "a man of courage and presence of mind," for when he was sent with 20 men to Pessacus, an Indian sachem [chief] to demand the arrears to the colony of 300 fathom of wampum, Pessacus put him off for some time with dilatory answers, not suffering him even to come into his presence. Atherton finally led his men to the door of the wigwam, entered himself with pistol in hand, leaving his men without, and, seizing Pessacus by the hair of his head, drew him forth from the midst of a great number of his attendants, threatening, if any of them interfered, that he would despatch them. Pessacus paid waht was demanded, and the English returned in safety.
Gen. Humphrey Atherton had a grant of 500 acres at Nonotucke, beyond Springfield, Mary 26, 1658 — given to him by the General Court in recognition of his public service, Nonotucke being the Indian name for the region about Hadley and Hatfield. This grant interfered with other grants previously made, and so, in Nov. 1659, the Court granted an additional 200 acres (700 in all) which were relocated at Waranoke, now Westfield. The estate of Gen. Humphrey Atherton after his death, included in the inventory a "Farme of seven hundred acres at Waronoco."
The death of Major General Humphrey Atherton, by accident, in 1661, deprived the colony of one of its principal men.
"While returning home in the dark after reviewing his troops on Boston Common his horse was struck by a stray cow. In the collision he was thrown and killed. Sept. 16, 1661."
His epitaph reads: "Here lies our Captain and Major of Suffolk, was withal, A Godly Magistrate was he, and Major General. Two troops of horse with him here came, such worth his love did crave, Ten companies of foot also, mourning marched to his grave; Let all that read be sure to keep the faith has he has done; With Christ he lives now crowned, his name was Humphrey Atherton." Major General Humphrey Atherton died after falling from his horse returning from Boston, according to "The Sexton's Monitor, and Dorchester Cemetery Memorial," Roxbury, Mass., Printed by Thomas S. Watts, 1826.
Mary Wales Atherton (1613 - 1672)
Elizabeth Atherton Mather (1628 - 1678)*
Mary Atherton Weeks (1636 - 1692)*
Rest Atherton Swift (1639 - ____)*
Thankful Atherton Bird (1644 - 1719)*
Dorchester North Burying Ground
Plot: DN / C17
Created by: Star Rhodes
Record added: Mar 07, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18294785