SCUA

Flint and Lawrence Family

Flint and Lawrence Family Papers, 1642-1798.

2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 273

Personal, financial and legal papers of Flint and Lawrence families of Lincoln, Massachusetts including wills, estate inventories, indenture documents, receipts of payment for slaves and education, correspondence; and records of town and church meetings, town petitions and receipts relating to the construction of the meeting house. Papers of Reverend William Lawrence include letter of acceptance of Lincoln, Massachusetts ministry, record of salary, a sermon and daybook. Personal papers of loyalist Dr. Joseph Adams, who fled to England in 1777, contain letters documenting conditions in England in the late 1700s and the legal and personal problems experienced by emigres and their families in the years following the Revolutionary War.

Biographical Note

Thomas Flint arrived in Massachusetts Bay, from Matlock, Derbyshire, England, in approximately 1636. He was a Puritan. Soon after his arrival he was appointed to Governor Winthrop’s Council. At an unknown date he moved to the town of Concord, where he owned approximately 275 acres. Unlike most men, who generally began with a cooperative type of agricultural system, Flint was able to maintain a more independent farmstead. Flint also owned a farm within the boundaries of the future Lincoln. During Flint’s lifetime this property, which appears to have been the first functional farmstead in this area, was occupied by a member of the Wheeler family of Concord.1 In 1646, Flint helped draw up a code of conduct for Indians, with a list of penalties for each infraction. Thomas Flint was undoubtedly a prominent figure in Concord. In 1654, a year after his death, a committee was established to make a second town division on newly cleared lands, and it was decided that in recognition of Flint’s services to Concord, his heirs should receive the area known today as Lincoln centre. Under the terms of Flint’s will, which was the first recorded by the Middlesex County Records in Cambridge, his property was not divided among the Flint family for many years.

Edward Flint was born in 1685, and was the grandson of Thomas Flint. In his mid-twenties he acquired some family farmland, and began operating a sawmill. After inheriting and purchasing more land from family members, he sold the mill, and some of his own holdings, and established a farmstead of approximately 110 acres.2 Edward Flint played a significant role in establishing Lincoln first as a precinct, (the first precinct meeting was held at his house in May 1746,) and then as an independent town, in 1754. He donated an acre of land, on the area now known as Lincoln Hill, for the site of the meeting-house. Two black servants worked for him, at various times. At an unknown date Flint married Love Adams, a widow who had two children, John and Love, from her first marriage to John Adams. At various times servants and two slaves worked for the Flint household. Flint died in 1754.

Ephraim Flint was born in 1714. He was the nephew of Edward Flint. His Harvard education, (B.A. 1733; M.A. 1736,) provided him with a rare qualification among Lincoln farmers. His 257 acre farm was one of the largest in Lincoln. Not surprisingly he became one of the town’s early political leaders. He was both the first Precinct Clerk and first Treasurer, as well as being one of the first Selectmen.3 He donated one acre of land to the town to be used as a burial-site. In return for his generosity the town built him a pew in the meeting-house at public expense.

William Lawrence was born in 1723. His father was a prosperous farmer, and an experienced blacksmith in Groton, Massachusetts. In his youth, William attended Concord’s Grammar School. He entered Harvard College in 1739, and graduated in 1743. During 1743-1744, he was a school teacher in Waltham, Mass. He also spent part of 1744 teaching in the grammar school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He spent 1745 teaching at Groton grammar school. He also preached in Groton during this year. Later that year he returned to chamber to study for his Master’s degree, and he remained at the college under a Hopkins fellowship. During this time he preached at various locations. In 1748 he accepted the invitation of Lincoln precinct to preach there, and on December 7, 1748, he was ordained as minister. In the context of the revivalism of the 1740′s, the congregation at Lincoln aligned itself with the “Old Lights” rather than the “New Lights.” Rev. Lawrence’s own style of preaching did not embrace the style and spontaneity of the revivalists, being instead quite formal.4 On February 7, 1751, he married Love Adams, step-daughter of Edward Flint. Between 1752 and 1771, the Lawrence’s had nine children. At the time of his death in 1780, Rev. Lawrence owned approximately 75 acres.

Dr. Joseph Adams. In 1774 he married Lovey, eldest daughter of Rev. William and Love Lawrence. Soon after their marriage they moved to Townsend, Massachusetts. Adams was a Loyalist, and he fled to Cornwall, England, in approximately 1777. In 1784 he was joined by his wife, many months after his lands had been confiscated and actions had been taken forbidding his return home. In England he was appointed a Master Surgeon of His Majesty’s Royal Navy. It would appear that later, together with Lovey’s younger brother Abel, he established a practice which was both extensive and lucrative.

Footnotes

1MacLean, John C., A Rich Harvest, Lincoln Historical
Society, 1987.

2 ibid, 86.

3 ibid, 132-33.

4 ibid, 96.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection contains a wide variety of personal papers belonging to members of the Flint and Lawrence families, long time residents of the area known today as Lincoln, Massachusetts. The papers are dated between 1642 and 1798. The collection also includes the records of several town and church meetings, town petitions, and a large number of receipts documenting the construction of the meeting-house between 1746 and 1750.

Lincoln was not established as an independent township until 23 April, 1754. As early as 1734, inhabitants of south east Concord, and adjacent areas of Lexington and Weston, began petitioning their local governments to allow them to establish their own precinct. The reasons cited included the inconvenience of living at such a great distance from the place of worship. The petitions in this collection show that not all inhabitants favored this motion, mainly due to the loss of taxes such a step would bring about. However in 1746 the Massachusetts House of Representatives established Lincoln as a precinct, and 8 years later Governor William Shirley signed the bill for its complete independence. Edward Flint, whose papers form a significant part of this collection, played an instrumental role in this struggle for independence.

The personal papers in this collection are predominantly the records of business and legal transactions. The former, dating from 1642-1798, include the records of land sales, indenture papers, and contracts. They provide insight into the general economic situation during this period. The latter, in particular the wills and estate inventories and settlements, are valuable for the information they contain about land and property holdings. The most extensive personal letters are those of Dr. Joseph Adams, a Loyalist who fled to England in approximately 1777. His letters to his brother-in-law provide insight into both the conditions in England at the end of the 1700′s, and the legal and psychological problems faced by emigres. The Massachusetts House of Representatives’ decision concerning the sale of Adams’ property provides interesting information both about the distribution of emigres’ estates, and the provision made by the state government for the maintenance of emigres’ families. The only other mention of the Revolutionary War in this collection is provided by the records of a church meeting held to examine Rev. William Lawrence’s supposed lack of a patriotic stand.

Finally, the accounts of the construction of the town’s meeting-house, 1746-1750, provide some insight into the occupations of Lincoln’s inhabitants, and their position in the town hierarchy, as well as into the cost of labor and materials during this period.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Flint and Lawrence Family Papers (MS 273). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Cedric L. Robinson, 1989

Processing Information

Processed by Jean Kemble, 2002.


Additional Information

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation.

Language
English.


Contents List
Thomas Flint (d. 1653)
Will (oversize-box)
1651
Box 2:1
Ephraim Flint
Land inventory
1680
Box 1:2
Edward Flint
Genealogy
1642-1723
Box 1:3
Contract with Stephen Wesson
1724
Box 1:3
Notice from Nathaniel Hapgood
1731
Box 1:3
Power of attorney
1733
Box 1:3
Receipts of payment for black slave
1735-1737
Box 1:3
Receipt of payment to Samuel Douglass
1736
Box 1:3
Receipt of payment to Thomas Paine
1737
Box 1:3
Receipt of payment to David Myer
1748
Box 1:3
Receipt of payment to Samuel Farrar
1748
Box 1:3
Indenture for nephew’s study of medicine
1749
Box 1:3
Will (oversize-box)
1752
Box 2
Receipt of payment to Zebediah Smith
1751
Box 1:3
Receipt for payment of nephew’s education
1753
Box 1:3
Transaction with Nathaniel Menam
1754
Box 1:3
Edward Flint: Accounts of payments made
according to his will
Abigail Hanbrook
1755
Box 1:4
Abigail Estabrook
1755
Box 1:4
Jane Flint
1756
Box 1:4
John Flint
1756
Box 1:4
William and Love Lawrence
1756
Box 1:4
Timothy Green
1757
Box 1:4
Thomas Green
1757
Box 1:4
John Green
1757
Box 1:4
Samuel Estabrook
1757
Box 1:4
Josiah Convers
1758
Box 1:4
Elizabeth Blanchard
1759
Box 1:4
Love Flint
George Adam’s request for payment of account

1755
Box 1:5
Receipt of payment from Samuel Bond’s estate

1763
Box 1:5
Will (oversize-box)
1767
Box 2
Will (oversize-box)
1770
Box 2
John Adam’s receipt of inheritance
1772
Box 1:5
Lydia Gregory’s receipt of inheritance
1772
Box 1:5
John Adams (first husband of Love
Flint)
Settlement of estate (oversize-box)
1726
Box 2:6
Inventory of estate (oversize-box)
1728
Box 2:6
Ephraim Flint
Land sale to Elishah Child
1749
Box 1:7
Record of property
1749
Box 1:7
William Lawrence: Correspondence
Letter from (illegible)
1740
Box 1:8
Letter from William Shurtle
1744
Box 1:8
Letter of acceptance of Lincoln ministry
1748
Box 1:8
Letter declining ministry in Sandwich
1748
Box 1:8
Letter to Timothy Brown
post 1748
Box 1:8
Letter from Joseph Perry
1766
Box 1:8
Letter from Jonathon Bancroft
1769
Box 1:8
Letter from Joseph Perry
1772
Box 1:8
Letter from Joseph Perry
1773
Box 1:8
Dinner invitation from Dr. Russell
n.d.
Box 1:8
William Lawrence: Miscellaneous
Sandwich town meeting vote on Lawrence
1748
Box 1:9
Lincoln town meeting vote on Lawrence
1748
Box 1:9
Nathaniel Appleton’s testimony of Lawrence
1748
Box 1:9
Lincoln Town’s decision to appoint Lawrence
1748
Box 1:9
Record of salary
Box 1:9
Sermon
1751
Box 1:9
Account of property due to wife from her
father’s estate
1755
Box 1:9
Autobiographical memo
n.d.
Box 1:9
Account of property left to his wife and to
her brother
n.d.
Box 1:9
William Lawrence’s Daybook
Box 1:10
Joseph Adams
Letter to Samuel Bass
1784
Box 1:11
Letter to Samuel Bass
1784
Box 1:11
Letter to Samuel Bass
1786
Box 1:11
Letter to Samuel Bass
1798
Box 1:11
Copy of letter to Samuel Bass
1783 [5]
Box 1:11
Copy of letter to Samuel Bass
1784
Box 1:11
Lovey Adams
Mass. legislature’s decision on her receipt
of her husband’s estate
1783
Box 1:12
Meeting House Accounts
1746-1750
Box 1:13
Church Meeting
1779
Box 1
Two records of church meetings held to
discuss Lawrence’s position toward the war
1779
Box 1:14
Note stating the title of these discussions
n.d.
Box 1:14
Petitions concerning the establishment of
Lincoln
Concord petition (oversize-box)
1734
Box 2:15
Lexington petition (oversize-box)
1735
Box 2:15
Weston petition (oversize-box)
1735
Box 2:15
Concord petition (oversize-box)
1735
Box 2:15
Miscellaneous
Anonymous sermon
n.d.
Box 1:16
An anonymous account of notes of interest
1770′s
Box 1:16

Subjects

  • American loyalists--Great Britain
  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Church buildings--Massachusetts--Lincoln--Costs
  • England--Emigration and immigration--18th century
  • Flint family
  • Immigrants--England--17th century
  • Land tenure--Massachusetts--Lincoln
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--Lincoln
  • Lawrence family
  • Lincoln (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Lincoln (Mass.)--History
  • Lincoln (Mass.)--Social conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Emigration and immigation--18th century
  • Slaves--Prices--Massachusetts--Lincoln

Contributors

  • Adams, Joseph, 1749-1803
  • Flint, Edward, 1685-1754
  • Flint, Ephraim, b. 1714
  • Flint, Love Adams, d. 1772
  • Flint, Thomas, d. 1653
  • Lawrence, William, 1723-1780

Types of material

  • Accounts
  • Genealogies
  • Indentures
  • Inventories of decedents estates
  • Wills
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