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Hawthorne at Salem


The Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Major William Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal great-great-great grandfather; c. 1606-1681)

Major William

Hathorne arrived in the New World in 1630 on the Arbella. After living in Dorchester, MA, he moved around 1636 to Salem. He became a deputy to the General Court of Massachusetts and gained the rank of major in campaigns against the Indians. He was, as Hawthorne later characterized him, "a bitter persecutor" of Quakers. In particular, he is remembered for ordering the whipping of Ann Coleman. Both in "Main Street" and in "The Custom House" sketch, Hawthorne refers to this ancestor as a persecutor of Quakers, and he is referred to indirectly in "Young Goodman Brown."

Justice John Hathorne (son of Major William Hathorne and Hawthorne's paternal great-great-grandfather; 1641-1717)


Hathorne was the third son and fifth child born to Major William and Anna Hathorne. He became a prosperous merchant in Salem and a judge on the Superior Court. He was also commander-in-chief against the Indians in 1696. He is best known, however, as the "witch judge" as he was a magistrate of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and the chief interrogator of the accused witches in the Salem witchcraft hysteria of 1692. John Hathorne is enterred at the Charter Street Burying Point in Salem.

Captain William Hathorne (brother of Justice John Hathorne; 1645-1678/79)


Willliam Hathorne fought in King Philip's War in 1675.

Joseph Hathorne (son of Justice John Hathorne; 1692-1762)


Hathorne prospered, first as a ship captain and then as a farmer. He married Sarah Bowditch, daughter of William Bowditch and Mary Gardner, who was the first cousin of Ruth Gardner Hathorne.

Daniel Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal grandfather; 1731-1796)

Son of

Josepth Hathorne, Daniel married Rachel Phelps at 27 Union St. in Salem, the house where Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804. Daniel Hathorne served in the Revolutionary War and was hailed for his bravery in a song entitled "Bold Hathorne." When he died in 1796, he was honored by the Marine Society and the Fire Club at his funeral at the Charter Street Burying Point, and the notice of his death was published in the Salem Gazette.

Captain William Hathorne (brother of Daniel Hathorne; 1715/16-1794)


Hathorne, Hawthorne's great uncle, married Mary Touzel. William Hathorne and his wife inherited from John Touzel half of the house on Essex St. owned by Philip English. (Touzel left the other half to Susannah Touzel Hathorne, a widow.) Captain William Hathorne is buried in the Charter Street Burying Ground as is his wife, Mary Touzel Hathorne.

Rachel Phelps Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal grandmother;1734-1813;)

Hawthorne was also descended on his father's side from the Phelps; his paternal grandmother was Rachel Phelps

Hathorne. Rachel is a descendant of Henry Phelps and his first wife, Eleanor Batter . Henry's second wife, Hannah, was originally married to Nicholas, Henry's brother. Nicholas and Hannah Phelps were Salem Quakers who held meetings at their home in the Woods, as the area west of Salem was called at the time. William Hathorne had ordered that those who held such meetings be arrested, and eventually Hannah was jailed and Nicholas was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Thus Hawthorne may have felt a connection to both the persectors of Quakers and the persecuted which, says Margaret Moore in The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, may account for "the very ambiguity with which he treats the Quakers" (37).

We are grateful to Richard James Phelps, Associate Director of Public Affairs, College of the Holy Cross, and Gwen Boyer Bjorkman, noted Quaker/Hannah Phelps historian, for the following genealogy of the Phelps/Hathorne connection:

  • Henry Phelps, born 1595, married Eleanor Sharp
  • son Henry Phelps, Jr, born 1615, arrived in Salem 1634, married Eleanor Batter
  • son John Phelps, born 1644, married Abigail Antram
  • son Henry Phelps, born 1673, married Rachel Guppy
  • son Jonathan Phelps, born 1708, married Judith Cox
  • daughter Rachel Phelps, born 1733, married Daniel Hathorne
  • son Nathaniel Hathorne, born 1775, married Elizabeth Clarke Manning
  • son Nathaniel Hawthorne, born 1804

Captain Nathaniel Hathorne (1775/6-1808;Hawthorne's father)

Son of Daniel

Hathorne, Nathaniel Hathorne was, like his son, born at 27 Union St. in Salem. Like many of his Hathorne ancestors, Nathaniel Hathorne chose a life at sea. He sailed aboard the America in the late 1780s, aboard the Perseverance, a ship owned by his brother-in-law, Simon Forrester, in 1796. Nathaniel Hathorne married Elizabeth Clarke Manning who lived a block away on Herbert St., on August 2, 1801. Their first child, Elizabeth, born on March 7, 1802, and their second child, Nathaniel, born on July 4, 1804, were both born while Hathorne was on a sea voyage. Hathorne returned later in 1804, having achieved the rank of Captain, and was inducted into the East Indian Marine Society in November of that year. He sailed on this last voyage on December 28, 1807, on the Nabby bound for Surinam, or Dutch Guiana. Less than a month later, on January 9, 1808, his wife gave birth to Maria Louisa. A few months later, in early April of 1808, she received the news of her husband's death from yellow fever in Surinam.