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Hull, John

Born in Leicester, England. Came to America and landed in Boston November 7, 1635. Employed on the family farm. Married Judith Quincy in 1647. He entered the military as a corporal in 1648. He was promoted through the ranks to captain in 1671.

His father Robert Hull married Elizabeth Stover who died May 7, 1646. His wife's parents were Edmund and Judith Quincy. After the death of Edmund, Judith married Moses Paine. Moses died and Mrs. Paine married Robert Hull. Thereby John Hull's father was married to his wife's mother.

John and Judith had twin daughters January 23, 1652. They died in infancy as did two later sons. Their only surviving child, Hannah, was born February 14, 1657.

Hull joined Robert Sanderson to produce silver coinage for Massachusetts. They began operation in 1652 and continued until 1685. Hull was well paid for his production of coinage. He also had other successful businesses. Late in life he was called the "richest merchant on the continent." He died in Boston.

John Hull was described as fat and jolly. His minting business had been very profitable. His daughter, Hannah Hull, was also a woman of ample proportions. Hannah was described as weighing close to 200 pounds. On the day of her wedding to Samuel Sewall, her father gave her a dowry equal to her weight in silver. According to the story, Hannah sat on one side of a balance and her father piled the other side with his Pine Tree Shillings. The purchasing power at the time would have been considerable. The marriage produced 14 children.

This story has generated interesting numismatic controversy over the weight of Hannah and the value of the dowry. An account by Lossing in Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution (1851) lists the amount of the dowry as $150,000 (or L30,000). It has been computed that this would have been the equivalent of 10,000 pounds Troy weight and would have required more shillings than Hull produced. Another report lists her weight as 125 pounds and the dowry at L500.

bio: ApCAB; DAB; Drake; TCBDA; WWWA-H profile: AJN 27 Jan 1893 pages 49-54


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