Nathaniel Hinckley

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Nathaniel Hinckley

Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Harwich, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts
Death: 1790 (51)
Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Hinckley and Ruth Hinkley
Husband of Mercy Hinckley (Nickerson)
Father of Deborah Ward; Isaac Hinckley; Nathaniel Hinckley; Mercy Goodspeed; Thomas Hinckley and 2 others
Brother of Seth Hinckley; Thomas Hinckley; Mary Hinckley; Mary Crowell; Ruth Phinney and 5 others

Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About Nathaniel Hinckley

Extensive research on the Hinckley Family was prepared by Bruce D. Despain, Professional Genealogist and presented in an article “Hinckley Origins” compiled and published by Lorin A. Hinckley and must be credited here as a source for much of this information.

The late Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints was a direct descendant of this patriot Nathaniel Hinkley. Compatriot and Sons of Liberty Past President David Hayball, Compatriot 1st Lieutenant Sean Duffield Hayball U. S. Army as well as Compatriot and Sons of Liberty Chapter Past Color Guard Commander Sergeant Major William Francis Fitzgerald III, U. S. Marine Corps of the Sons of Liberty Chapter are all descendants of Nathaniel Hinkley.


The Patriot ancestor of our Compatriots, Nathaniel Hinkley was born in Harwich, Massachusetts on June 25, 1738. He was married to Mercy Nickerson of Chatham, Massachusetts at Harwich January 21, 1761 by Reverend Stephen Emery and settled in Bridport, Panton, Vermont before the Revolution. Mercy Nickerson was also a descendant of Stephen Hopkins and his daughter, Mayflower passenger Constance Hopkins; and a direct descendant of Mayflower passenger Elder William Brewster.

And there is also another ancestor linked to the Mayflower through Nathaniel Hinkley’s bloodline: Quadequina, the Wampanoag King; one of the “two kings” of the tribe along with his brother Massesoit, Chief of the Wampanoag tribe. Quadequina is the one credited with bringing popcorn to the first Thanksgiving and introducing it to the Pilgrims.

Parnell Hinckley wrote in an article “Hinckley History” published in “Arza Erastus Hinckley, Ira Nathaniel Hinckley, Descendants and Ancestors” Compiled by Lorin A. Hinckley, p. xxiv,

“There has been a great deal of interest concerning the Indian ancestry in the Hinckley Family. The story is that Gabriel Wheldon and his brother came to America from England on the Mayflower, 18 years after it had brought the Pilgrims to America. Gabriel Wheldon was a member of the ships company, and he was a freedom loving man. History says that these two brothers became deserters from the Mayflower. They went inland to the village of Chief Massisoit, the great Indian friend of the Pilgrims (statue at the Capitol Building). Here they married two of the Chief’s nieces (daughters of Massisoit’s brother Quadequina). Gabriel named his Indian wife Margaret which was also the name of his wife who was buried in England….Gabriel and his Indian wife Margaret had a large family of fine girls……”

Although there is ongoing controversy about this claim among genealogists and those who wish it to be true…Its origins come from Native American oral history of Wampanoag genealogy, much like the cataloguing of oral history that lead to the inspiration of Alex Haley to write “Roots.”

The Wheldons descend through the Hopkins and Merrick families and then through the Hinckleys with the marriage of Ruth Merrick to Nathaniel’s father, Thomas, on 31 March 1730 in Harwich, Massachusetts.

Revolutionary War Period

After Nathaniel Hinkley and Mercy Nickerson married in 1761 they lived in Harwich, and Chatham, Cape Cod until the early 1770’s where children Deborah, Isaac, Nathaniel, and Mercy were born. They lived in Westerely, Rhode Island briefly where their son Thomas was born in 1773, and then moved to Vermont where their daughter Rachel was born in 1776 in Bridport and son Elijah was born in Rutland in 1783.

Having cast his destiny in the Lake Champlain Region of Vermont and New York, Nathaniel Hinkley and his descendants participated in the major battles of that region in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. We know that the British pillaged the area and burned the Hinkley Farm, and took their cattle and destroyed their crops and left them as well as many families destitute and in need of relief. In an order issued by the Treasurer of Vermont receipted 20 January 1780 Nathaniel Hinkley is given payment “for flour and pork given wife and children of, when they were burnt out by the enemy on Lake Champlain.”

As a result of the brutal attack on civilians by the British and the loss of all of the holdings of Nathaniel Hinkley in Bridport on the 15th of May in 1780, along with other patriots Nathaniel petitioned Vermont for a part of the parcel of 1,500 acres at Fort Crown Point, and as a result settled his family on these lands on the other side of Lake Champlain in Essex County, New York.

Nathaniel Hinkley served in the Vermont Militia in Ebenezer Allen’s Regiment, Captain Samuel Williams’ Company and answered several Alarms in October and November in the Year 1780.

Vermont and the Lake Champlain region was of great strategic importance in the Revolutionary War because it was the most direct path to the British garrisons in Canada by which the American forces could invade Canada. The waterway from Lake Champlain to the Hudson River Valley provided the British with an excellent way to move swiftly with a great deal of support for their efforts against the Continental Army and the State Militia’s in the Region. Major Christopher Carleton (nephew of Sir Guy Carleton, Governor of Quebec and Thomas Carleton, Governor of New Brunwick) lead two major raids into Vermont inflicting heavy casualties and plundering the Lake Champlain area pillaging farms and burning the property of the residents. In the fall of 1778 Major Carleton marched his force comprised of British Regulars, Loyalist troops, Hessians and Native Americans into the area of Lake Champlain were Nathaniel Hinkley lived on its shore at Bridport.

The “Carleton Raid” of 1778 devastated Nathaniel Hinkley and his family who were taken prisoner by Carleton’s forces in November of that year. Over 200 prisoners were taken from the towns surrounding Bridport and Nathaniel’s wife Mercy and his children were put aboard the ship HMS Mariah and detained and taken to Whitehall. About 40 men from the Bridport and Addison, Vermont area were taken prisoner and shipped up to Quebec and held there. The prisoners who were later released returned to Rutland, Vermont where refugees of the area rejoined other family members and stayed there for the duration of the War. The British destroyed everything in their path including crops, hogs, cattle, farms and homes and anything of value for miles around to guarantee that any efforts the American forces would try to invade Canada would have no way of provisioning their troops along the way and would necessarily have to get everything from exhaustively long supply lines from New York. It is not certain whether Nathaniel was one of the 40 men taken to Quebec…However, we do know that upon release from British captivity he and his family returned to their home in Bridport only to be victims of Major Christopher Carleton’s 2nd raid, “The Burning of the Valleys” raid of 1780.

We do know that Nathaniel Hinkley was burned out of house and home because of the Vermont Treasurer’s Order “for payment of flour and pork given wife and children of, when they were burnt out by the Enemy on Lake Champlain.” Dated January 20, 1780.

On May 15, 1780 he signed a petition with other men in the area for 1,500 acres at Fort Crown Point, and relocated his family in that area when it was granted.

He served later that year in the Vermont Militia in October and November of 1780 in Ebenezer Allen’s Regiment, Captain Samuel Williams’ Company, and was paid for his services on May 3, 1781.

He and his wife Mercy Nickerson Hinkley had their youngest child at Rutland, Vermont when Elijah was born January 18, 1783.

The family moved to the other side of Lake Champlain and settled in Elizabethtown, Essex County New York.

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Nathaniel Hinckley's Timeline

June 25, 1738
Harwich, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts
July 30, 1738
January 30, 1762
Age 23
Harwich, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts
September 25, 1767
Age 29
Harwich, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts
July 12, 1769
Age 31
Harwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
April 1, 1771
Age 32
Harwich, MA, United States
July 15, 1773
Age 35
October 2, 1776
Age 38
Bridport, Vermont Republic
January 18, 1783
Age 44