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Hawthorne at Salem

Life & Times

Paternal Ancestors

The Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne
Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne(courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 
Major William Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal great-great-great grandfather; c. 1606-1681)

Major WilliamHathorne 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)

John 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)

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

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

Joseph 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)

William 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.

Images Related to The Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autograph of John Hathorne from Perley's <I>History of Salem</I>
Autograph of John Hathorne from Perley's History of Salem
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Charter Street Graveyard and  Peabody (Grimshawe) House in Salem
Charter Street Graveyard and Peabody (Grimshawe) House in Salem
Judge Hathorne and seven other Hathornes are buried here, but Hawthorne is buried in Concord. The Peabody House is where Sophia lived with her parents when Hawthorne courted her. It is also the setting of "Grimshawe" and the unfinished novel,The Dolliver Romance. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
The Burying Point, 1637, Salem
The Burying Point, 1637, Salem
The Burying Point, Salem's oldest cemetery, dates from 1637 and contains the remains and gravemarkers of many prominent people in Salem's history. Some of Hawthorne's early ancestors are buried here, as well as individuals associated with the witchcraft episode and China trade period. The burial ground is situated on what was once a bluff, projecting into the South River. Cattle used to graze in the burial ground, and for several years it was the site of John Horne's windmill.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
Hathorne Family Gravestones in The Burying Point
Hathorne Family Gravestones in The Burying Point
Hathorne family gravestones in The Burying Point,established in 1637, and the oldest cemetery in Salem. It is located on Charter St. next to the Peabody (Grimshawe) house in Salem. None of the Hawthornes are buried in the Charter Street Burying Point. (photography by Bruce Hibbard)
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
Slate gravestone of Magistrate John Hathorne (1641-1717), Charter Street Cemetery, Salem (The Burying Point, 1637). Hawthorne's great-great grandfather was at the center of the witchcraft hysteria of 1692--as an interrogator of the accused and as a member of the infamous Court of Oyer and Terminer.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
Slate gravestone of Magistrate John Hathorne (1641-1717), Charter Street Cemetery, Salem (The Burying Point, 1637). Hawthorne's great-great grandfather was at the center of the witchcraft hysteria of 1692--as an interrogator of the accused and as a member of the infamous Court of Oyer and Terminer.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)

 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Critical Commentary Related to Paternal Ancestors

Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne
Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)