Modern history


art The Hitchborn Family

The first of this line in America was David Hitchborn, who migrated in 1641 from Boston, Lincolnshire, to Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife Catherine and infant son Thomas.

This son, Thomas Hitchborn I (b. 1640), was a man of humble but independent rank. He makes a fleeting appearance as “Hitchborn, Drummer” in the diary of Samuel Sewall (I, 138, April 25, 1687). He and his wife Ruth married before 1673, and had several children. Sewall recorded on June 22, 1691, that “Tom Hitchborn’s son died this day” (I, 279).

A surviving son, Thomas Hitchborn II (1673-1731), was a joiner and boatbuilder. He prospered in his calling, became proprietor of Hitchborn’s wharf, and was given a license for the sale of spiritous liquors. He married Frances Pattishall (1679-1749), who inherited the wharf and liquor license from her husband. They had at least six children:

Thomas Hitchborn III (1703—77) became a boatbuilder and inherited the wharf. He married Isannah Fadree; they had at least ten children.

Deborah Hitchborn (1704-77) married the goldsmith Apollos Rivoire and became the mother of the Patriot Paul Revere.

Frances Hitchborn (born 1706) married Joseph Douglass.

Nathaniel Hitchborn died “young.”

Richard Hitchborn died “young.”

Mary Hitchborn (1713-1778) married Captain Phillip Marrett. They had at least one son, Phillip Marrett, who later served under Paul Revere’s command in the War of Independence.

Thomas Hitchborn III (1703-77), the only surviving son of that union, and his wife Isannah Fadree had at least ten children, of whom nine lived past infancy. These were Paul Revere’s Hitchborn cousins, with whom he played as a child:

Thomas Hitchborn IV (b. 1733) became a boatbuilder like his father, and proprietor of Hitchborn wharf.

Nathaniel Hitchborn (1734-96), also a boatbuilder, married Elizabeth King, prospered in his trade, and bought a three-story brick home in the North End, two doors from his cousin Paul Revere on North Square.

Frances Hitchborn (b. 1737) married (1) Thomas Fosdick, the hatter with whom Paul Revere had fisticuffs; and (2) John Glover, a rich merchant and Whig leader in Marblehead, who became the colonel of a famous fighting regiment of Marblehead mariners and later a general in the Continental army.

William Hitchborn (b. 1739), a hatter.

Robert Hitchborn (b. 1740), a sailmaker, who fell on hard times and borrowed money from Paul Revere for his children’s schooling.

Mary Hitchborn (b. 1742) married a Captain Greeley.

Phillip Hitchborn (b. 1744) was apprenticed to a master tailor and died in his youth.

Benjamin Hitchborn (1746-1817) graduated from Harvard College in 1768, became an eminent lawyer, state senator and an associate of Paul Revere in many civic activities. He was the principal figure in a great Boston scandal. In 1779, Hitchborn was with his friend Benjamin Andrews. Hitchborn testified that he was handing Andrews a pistol to take on a trip when it went off, mortally wounding the latter. A year later Benjamin Hitchborn married Andrews’ beautiful widow Hannah.

Samuel Hitchborn (b. 1752) was apprenticed to Paul Revere and became a prosperous silversmith. In 1817 President Monroe visited his home while in Boston. Isannah Hitchborn (b. 1754), married Stephen Bruce.

NOTE: The family name was variously spelled Hitchbourn, Hichborn, Hitchbon, etc.

SOURCE: Patrick M. Leehey, “Reconstructing Paul Revere: An Overview of His Life, Ancestry and Work,” in Nina Zannieri, Patrick M. Leehey, et al., Paul Revere—Artisan, Businessman, and Patriot; The Man Behind the Myth (Boston, 1988), 15—39.

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