Rev. Joseph Hull

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Joseph Hull

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Crewkerne, Somerset, England
Death: Died in Kittery, York, Maine
Place of Burial: York, York, Maine
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas (the Younger) Hull and Joane Hull
Husband of 1st wife of Rev. Joseph Hull and Agnes Hull
Father of Joanna Bursley; Joseph Hull; Temperance Bickford; Elizabeth Heard; Griselda Hull and 12 others
Brother of Rev. William Hull, Vicar; Mary Hull; Agnes Hull; Richard Hull; Thomas Hull and 9 others

Occupation: Minister
Managed by: Christopher Garland
Last Updated:

About Joseph Hull

Additional Curator's Notes:

Rev. Joseph Hull was not married to 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 roughly 3 years old when she supposedly married, so that marriage is clearly wrong. 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)

Agnes, second wife of Rev. Joseph Hull, was probably not a Coffin, either. She may have been related to Richard Barnard, "a noted Puritan," but this is not proven. Rev. Hull, Agnes, and his children from his first marriage emigrated to America with Richard Barnard's son Massachiel. This is why some researchers feel Agnes may have been related to Barnard.

Rev. Hull's profile is locked to prevent the addition of Joanna Coffin as his wife. Please contact me or any curator if you need access to this profile.

Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator, April 28, 2014

===================================

Like his father and grandfather, the Rev. Joseph Hull 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. England had been Catholic, then Anglican, then Puritan under Cromwell, then back to Catholic with the Restoration. That's a bit simplified, but shows why religion played an important role in Rev. Joseph's life.

Joseph Hull was the son of Thomas Hull the Younger and Joan Pysing. He was born late 1595 or early 1596 in Crewkerne, Somerset, England, the youngest of eleven children. He was baptized April 24, 1596 at Crewkerne. He was educated at Oxford, matriculating in 1612, and was ordained a deacon in 1619. n 1620, he was ordained a priest, and in 1621, received the living at St. Giles Rectory, Northleigh, Devon. James I was on the throne.

He married his first wife about 1619. Her name is not known. There were seven known children. She died between 1632 and 1634, between the birth of her last child and Joseph's remarriage. He married Agnes and they had at least nine children and possibly eleven. Agnes' maiden name is not known.

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.   Rev. Joseph, as you will see, had a way of avoiding confrontation if at all possible.  His enemies called him contentious because he would do anything to avoid a fight - except change his opinions.

Some time in the early 1630's his only remaining brother, George, emigrated to America. Also about this time, Joseph developed a pattern of being in trouble with the church authorities.

  • 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 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. The passenger list wasn't exactly a passenger list, which is a fairly modern concept. Passengers who shipped their belongings with them paid an export tax and Rev. Joseph appears on the list of taxes paid for that voyage. As most people traveled on the same vessel as their belongings, it is fairly safe to assume he was aboard the Welcome.

Rev. Joseph was about 40 years old at the time of this journey. Agnes was about 25. Seven children, ages 15 to 3, went with them, along with three servants. The family 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). 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 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 in 1639.

In one short year he fell from his high position, he was excluded from office; he had lost his influence; he was unpopular, and many of his early friends had deserted him. He had been a magistrate and member of the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, as well as minister at Weymouth. He, however, was in antagonism to the Boston Puritanical Party, retaining his attachment for the old establishment. He was the political and religious opponent of Governor Winthrop, being more than suspected of Prelacy. He felt chagrined; and the ungenerous treatment he thought he had received, induced him to move.

In late spring 1641, he moved a few miles away, to Yarmouth, where he founded the Second Church of Yarmouth - and a few weeks later (1 May 1641), found himself excommunicated, for breaking communion with the Barnstable Church. On 7 Mar 1642 it was ordered at a session of the General Court "that a warrant shall be directed to the Constable of Yarmouth to apprehend Mr. Joseph Hull (if he do either exercise his ministry amongst them or administer the Seals), to bring him before the next magistrate, to find sufficient sureties for his appearance at the next General Court, to answer his doings (being an excommunicant)."

In 1643, the Barnstable records state that Rev. Joseph Hull acknowledged his sin and was again received. "Our Sister Hull renewed her covenant, renouncing her joining at Yarmouth and confessed her evil in so doing, with sorrow." Rev. Joseph 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.

Rev Joseph stayed in Maine for about five years, working mostly as an itinerant missionary, but his old enemies were extending their sphere of influence. The Bay Colony was taking on Maine but would not allow Maine to join in alliance because of an "excommunicated preacher" in a position of influence. Sometime between March 1647 and January 1648/9, he and Agnes and some of the children returned to England.

He served as the vicar at Launceston in Cornwall for the next several years, without any noticeable disputes - 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:"

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.

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. Her date and place of death are not known. The chief item in his estate inventory was his library, valued at ten pounds.

Reviewing all, we can conclude that in England Rev. Joseph Hull was a conformist, and remained within the pale of the church, obedient to Anglican or Episcopalian authority, that in New England he endeavored to hold to a middle course, but that failing in this, after repeated attempts, he finally withdrew to a province where he was free to practice and profess as best suited his conscience. No whisper has reached us that he was unorthodox or weak in his theology, and of his moral nature we catch glimpses of but three traits; that in habit he was scholarly, in temperament religious, and in spirit contentious.

Children of Rev. Joseph Hull and 1st wife (whose name is not known):

  • 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.
  • Joseph, Jr, born ~1622, probably at Northleigh (his father became rector there in 1621)
  • Captain Tristram, born ~1624, probably at Northleigh.
  • Temperance, baptized 20 March 1625/6 at Northleigh. She married John Bickford ~1649.
  • 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.
  • Grissell/Griselda, born ~1630. (She did NOT marry James Warren)
  • Dorothy, born ~1632. She married twice, first Oliver Kent; second Captain Benjamin Mathews.

Children of Rev. Joseph Hull and second wife Agnes (maiden name not known):

  • 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 with the 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."
  • 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.
  • Naomi, baptized 23 March 1639 in Barnstable, Barnstable, MA; died after July 05, 1682. She married David Daniels sometime after 1667.
  • Ruth, baptized 9 May 1641 in Barnstable, Barnstable, MA.
  • Dodavah (often spelled 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Ephraim, baptized 13 Feb 1649/50 in Launceston, Cornwall, England.
  • Isaac, baptized 25 March 1651 in Launceston, Cornwall, England; died 1653.
  • Priscilla, baptized 30 March 1652; buried 9 June 1652 in Launceston, Cornwall, England.

Links to additional material:

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Rev. Joseph Hull's Timeline

1594
April 25, 1594
Crewkerne, Somerset, England
1595
1595
Crewkerne,Somerset,England
1595
Windham, Crewkerne, Somerset, England
1596
April 24, 1596
Age 1
Crewkerne, Somerset, England
April 26, 1596
Age 2
Windham, Crewkerne, Somerset, England
April 26, 1596
Age 2
Windham, Crewkerne, Somersetshire, England
April 26, 1596
Age 2
Windham, Crewkerne, Somersetshire, England
April 26, 1596
Age 2
Windham, Crewkerne, Somerset, England
April 26, 1596
Age 2
Windham, Crewkerne, Somerset, England
1597
1597
Age 2
Crewkerne, , Somerset, England