previous next
[p. 54]

Turell Tufts and his family connections.

DR. Simon Tufts, Jr. (1727-1786) married Lucy Dudley (1727-1768), February 23, 1749. Their children were Simon, born April 7, 1750; Lucy, born April II, 1752; Katherine, born April 25, 1754. The first became a merchant in the East Indies and died at the Cape of Good Hope in 1802. Lucy married Benjamin Hall, Jr. (1754-1807), November 22, 1777. Their home is still standing, just east of Governors avenue. Dr. Tufts' second wife was Elizabeth Hall, who was born May 15, 1743, and whom he married October 5, 1769. She was the daughter of Hon. Stephen Hall (1704-1786), who was representative to the General Court, 1751, 1763. The children by this union were Turell, born 1770, died 1842, unmarried; Cotton, born 1772, died 1835, was insane for forty-four years; Hall, born 1775, died 1801, at Surinam; Hepsibah, born 1777; Stephen, born 1779, died young.

‘His sons by the second wife were fond of gaiety, and were said to be rebellious to their father, who is said to have been severe towards them.’

The home of this family, erected 1709 and taken down 1867, was on the corner of Main and Forest streets. A view of it was published in the April register, 1909. Letters written by some of these children have been published at different times in the register.

Turell Tufts, who made the speech of welcome to Lafayette, belonged to a family prominent in the business and social life of the town for many years. On the maternal side he was the fifth generation from John Hall the first of this family to establish a home in Medford; and in what was once called the Old Garrison House, descendants of the eighth and ninth generation are living today, while the tenth generation is also represented in the city. In this same house Lucy Tufts, after her marriage to Benjamin Hall, made her early home. Turell Tufts on the paternal side was fifth in the line of descent from Peter Tufts of Malden, whose son, Captain Peter, [p. 55] settled in Medford. The husband of his half-sister, Lucy, was also descended from the John Hall to whom his mother traced her line.

Turell Tufts was selectman, 1820—1825 and 1827-1828. He served the town as its treasurer in 1827. In 1824 he was fence viewer, on the committee to audit the treasurer's books, was chosen moderator in absence of Dudley Hall, who was first chosen, and was representative to the General Court. He had forty-nine votes to Mr. Hall's fifty-six, and there was a third candidate. The following year, with others, he was on the committee to petition the Legislature in behalf of the new bridge over Charles river from Charlestown to Boston; again selectman, and on the committee to audit the treasurer's report.

We of today should remember him with gratitude for his gifts to the town, one of five hundred dollars for shade trees, some of which, planted on the highway we know as Forest street, have made it the most beautiful one in our city, admired by all who have passed that way; and the other to the Social Library, the benefits of which have descended to us through the channels of the Public Library, into which the former was absorbed. He gave to the First Parish two silver cans for the communion table and the portrait of Rev. Ebenezer Turell, the second pastor of the church, whose name he bore. From his own portrait Turell Tufts looks down upon us from the library wall of our local Historical Society. This portrait was the gift of his grandnephew in a half degree, the late Dudley C. Hall, who named a child of his, who died young, for this distant relative. This short account of Turell Tufts is fortunately supplemented by that interesting one from the pen of the late James A. Hervey, in his delightful ‘Reminiscences of an Earlier Medford’ in July register, 1901.

Turell's father was agent for Colonel Royall's estate after the latter left in 1775. His mother is described as being ‘a commanding, portly looking lady, with a handsome double chin.’ After reading such a statement [p. 56] we realize that standards of taste vary. She used to tell the story of receiving a polite bow from Washington on the occasion of his visit to Medford (1789) when she was ‘gaily dressed for the occasion.’ She was then forty-six years old, and as widow of the doctor of the town probably a woman of importance, a strong character, besides being a woman of property, which she inherited from her father. After a widowhood of nine years, her children being no longer young, at the age of sixty-two she married, July 12, 1795, Captain Duncan Ingraham of Concord, who came to Medford to live. The Ingrahams lived for a while in a house of the colonial type on High street, which later became the site of our first high school building, which housed the high school and a grammar school.

Mr. Ingraham died in 1811 and his age is stated as eighty, and also as eighty-eight. Mrs. Ingraham died in 1830, aged eighty-seven. Where she lived after her second husband's death I am unable to say, but the house above mentioned was afterwards occupied by Hatter Hall, so called, and in 1824 by John Howe.1

Mrs. Ingraham belonged to that band of charitable and kind-hearted gentlewomen of Medford who regularly supplied Marm Betty, the poor and aged schoolmistress of Medford, with food. Mrs. Ingraham sent on Thursdays.2

Mrs. Ingraham, as a woman of means, was probably a good business woman for investments, or she had the advice of her son, Turell Tufts, who was well versed in town affairs. A broadside of the town expenses, when such were printed on a single sheet, shows in the miscellaneous account,3 March 19, 1825, to April 18, 1826, [p. 57] that she was paid one year's interest on note of $400, $24; on note of $250, $15.

It is hardly fair, after having given so much space to his wife and her son Turell, to pass over Duncan Ingraham without a word, and if we do we shall lose much, for he had a marked individuality. There was a touch of the picturesque in his life, and if he came here with the same air he had in Concord he must have filled quite a space in the town's horizon. At this time he was nearly seventy years of age.

He was a wealthy retired Boston merchant, a widower with a family of children when he moved to Concord. Of English birth, undoubtedly, inclined to Toryism, an owner of slaves and probably a dealer in them, in that quiet village he made quite a stir. On account of his political views he was subjected to disagreeable experiences, such as having a sheep's head and pluck hung on his new chaise, and being treated to a mock serenade when he entertained British officers. He was brusque in manner and his speech was of the rugged kind savoring of the rough life of the sea, not always fit for ears polite. He was fond of display and luxurious living. With another member of similar tastes he was the cause of breaking up for a while the famous club of Concord known as the Social Society and later as the Social Circle. This club was formed on a high plane, and its members were pledged to moderation in drink at their gatherings and to the serving of no refreshments. Ingraham deviated from this frugal line and served such elaborate and expensive suppers that he broke up the club, but it was reorganized.

He built a colonial house on the road to Walden, but this large three-story house disappeared long ago, though in Thoreau's time there were traces of it and of the homes of several of his slaves whom he had allowed to build near by. That author says, ‘East of my bean-field, across the road, lived Cato Ingraham, slave of Duncan Ingraham, Esquire, gentleman, of Concord village who [p. 58] built his slave a house, and gave him permission to live in Walden Woods.’

He served on the town committees and was Concord's representative, 1788-1791. As the success of the American cause grew his feelings became less ardent for the Tory side. In Brooks' History of Medford a very interesting story is told of a slave of Ingraham's son Nathaniel.

Several of Duncan's children made their names known in the world in various ways. A daughter married an Episcopal clergyman. Another daughter married an Englishman and her daughter was the mother of Captain Marryat, the English novelist.

Another son, Duncan junior, was a merchant in Boston. ‘The Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay,’ Vol. V, gives Duncan Ingraham, Jr., as one of the signers of a petition to Governor Hutchinson, May, 1773, in regard to auctioneers selling goods at private sale. Boston records show that he was chosen one of the clerks of the market, March 14, 1774, and also on March 29, 1776, when he was excused.

His name is found on the rolls of 1772 of the Boston Cadets, and he was clerk of the company in 1774 and as such inserted notices in several Boston newspapers. The following appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser under date of August 22-29, 1774:—

1 For several years following her husband's death there is evidence that Elizabeth Ingraham occupied three-quarters of some house and the remainder was occupied by others at the same time, namely, Joseph Burrage and Benjamin Tufts.

2 Marm Betty had a room in the old bakery, as we knew it. At that time there was a small door on the south side, of ordinary size, close to the east end.

3 In this same account there was paid to Turell Tufts one year's interest on second donation to January 1, 1825, $42; one year's interest on second donation to January 1, 1826, $42.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: