The Farrar Family Papers in The Lincoln Public Library

Consider this post a placeholder – for myself, or some future researcher – but there is a wealth of primary material relating to the Farrar family of Lincoln/ Concord, currently housed in the Lincoln Public library. And it’s waiting to be gone through and read.

On the genealogical bucket list, this is definitely towards the top (but behind photographing Jonathan French’s journal from the French and Indian War).



Bedford Road, Lincoln, Massachusetts


Farrar Family Collection


[The list of documents below is merely a sample.–LSL]


Series 2, Correspondence

Box # Folder # Identification # Description

  • 1 11 2003.009.2.1 Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, Mass., from children Jonathan and Rebecca French, Hampton, N.H., August 9 [1817?] (Encapsulated)
  • 1 11 2003.009.2.2 Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, Mass., from children Jonathan and Rebekah French, with note added from James French, January 12, 1824 (?) [Accessioned as 1982.56.2]
  • 1 11 2003.009.2.3 Letter to [Jonat]han French, (?) Canada, fragment. (Encapsulated) [Accessioned as 1982.56.4]
  • 1 1 12 12 2003.009.2.9 2003.009.2.9 Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, from son Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, from son Samuel Farrar, Andover, March 10, 1813.[Accessioned as 1982.56.7]
  • 1 12 2003.009.2.10 Letter to Samuel T. French, North Hampton, N.H., from brother J. F. French, Schenectady, N.Y., November 5, 1828.  (Poor condition)
  • 1 32 2003.009.4.16 Copy of part of a letter from Rev. Jonathan French, North Hampton, N.H. (husband of Rebecca Farrar) to Dea. Samuel Farrar, July 25, 1805.[Accessioned as 1982.54.7]

Series 4, Farrar Family Members

Box # Folder # Identification # Description

  • 1 33 2003.009.4.34 Brief biographical sketch of Dea. Samuel Farrar, Jr., 1737-1829, source unknown.


The Battle of Bunker Hill Seen As A Family Affair, And Other Odd Observations

My cousin, Elisha Lee, raised an interesting point last fall. He said (I’m paraphrasing) that if you could go back in time and visit certain key events as they happened, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill, you could more or less pick out numerous ancestors fighting, if not side by side, then at least on the same field. At that particular moment, they had nothing to do with each other, no outstanding connections other than their shared service, but within a century or so, they would, many of them, be united by the bonds of family. The same could be said of the ill-fated Quebec expedition, which saw its members imprisoned by the British.

With this thought experiment in mind, I thought I’d put together a list of events where we either know or are pretty sure that certain ancestors would have likely crossed paths with one another.

I’ve also included a couple other quirky lists, which might just double as Jeopardy topics. These include:  “Tutored by John Adams,” and “Father/ Son Military Service in the Same War.”

Where else were they going to go?


Passage on the Mayflower & Life in the Early Massachusetts Bay Colony

  • William Bradford
  • John Alden and Priscilla Mullens Alden
  • William Mullens and Alice Mullens
  • Edward Doty
  • Isaac Allerton and Mary Norris Allerton
  • John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley Howland
  • John Tilley and Joan Hurst Rogers Tilley


The Battle of Lexington and Concord

  • Timothy Bigelow, Sr.
  • Samuel Farrar, Sr. (aged 66 at  the time!)
  • Samuel Farrar, Jr.
  • (Note: Samuel Lawrence and the Groton company marched at the alarm, but didn’t arrive in time.)


The Battle of Bunker Hill

  • Willam Prescott
  • John Linzee
  • Samuel Lawrence
  • Samuel Farrar, Jr.
  • Jonathan French, Sr.
  • Elishama Brandegee


Quebec Expedition and Life as a POW

  • Timothy Bigelow
  • Elishama Brandegee


The Surrender of Burgoyne

  • William Prescott
  • Samuel Farrar, Jr.


Tutored by John Adams

  • Timothy Bigelow
  • William Paine


Father/ Son Military Service in the Same War

  • Timothy Bigelow, Sr. & Timothy Bigelow, Jr.
  • Samuel Farrar, Sr. & Samuel Farrar, Jr.


If you can think of others, drop me a line!

The Farrar Homestead, Lincoln, MA


There are only a few extant photographs of the house in which generations of Farrars were born, raised, lived, and died– and from which, lest we forget, Mercy Hoar Farrar fled the British.

(Note the span of time between these images, visible in the change in height of the white pines out back.)

Farrar Homestead from Beneath Od Roof Trees

The Farrar Homestead, from Beneath Old Roof Trees, Chapter 18.


The Farrar Homestead, from the Lincoln town archives


There is also this worthwhile account of the house’s history, written c. 1847:


from Beneath Old Roof Trees, Chapter 18, pp. 215-8

Online version available here and here.

Continue reading

Fear Among the Citizens of Lincoln Following the Battles of Lexington and Concord

There’s a short but interesting primary account that touches on the profound fear among the citizens of Boston’s surrounding towns, following the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

After the fighting, the British were making their retreat along the long road back to the city.

MIMA Park Map 2014

Mercy Hoar Farrar, wife of (then) Lt. Samuel Farrar, Jr. and my 4th great-grandmother, was making no assumptions about the behavior of the troops.

As one of the Farrar grandsons would later tell it…

The Concord families living nearest to our home fled this way for safety, and with my grandmother and others of the family left this house, [they] took refuge in “Oaky Bottom,” a retired piece of forest land about one-half mile in the rear of the house. Grandmother in her haste had sufficient self-possession to think of the cattle tied in the barn. These she let loose, desiring to save them from the flames that she expected would be kindled by Gage’s army. She took her babe, Samuel (the third), in her arms, the large family Bible, a loaf of bread, and a looking-glass, with what little silver she had, and bade farewell to the old dwelling, never expecting to gather her family about her again beneath that ancestral roof.

–quote taken from MacLean, John C., A Rich Harvest, Lincoln, MA, Lincoln Historical Society, 1987. p. 276

At the end of that momentous day, happily, the house was intact.

To find out more, click over to the Farrar Pond website, and read Kathy Garner’s excellent post on these events.

I’ll focus on the long and rich history of the Farrar Homestead in the next installment.




Captain Samuel Farrar, ‘The Son’

This entry is really a placeholder.

Briefly, as I mentioned in my last post, Deacon, and also Lieut., Samuel Farrar, Sr. (1708-1783) had a son, Lieut., and later Capt., and subsequently Deacon, Samuel Farrar, Jr. (1737-1829).

Father and son were both committed participants in the cause of independence: the father, primarily as a citizen-activist in the lead-up to the war and participant at the Battle of Lexington and Concord; the son as a soldier throughout the length of the war, which included command of a company of Massachusetts volunteers.

After April 19, 1775, (then) Lt. Samuel Farrar, Jr. went on to participate in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and helped to fortify Dorchester Heights. As I noted above, he was later promoted to Captain, and, after two more years of fighting, was present at Saratoga when Burgoyne surrendered.

For whatever reasons, when the 19th century histories were written about the Revolution, the father received a good deal more ink than the son. While I suspect the son’s contributions were no less significant, I have found nothing more on him. Clearly, more research needs to be done on this man.

Consider that a thinly veiled plea, by the way… If anyone reading this has any leads or pointers, please do pass them along !

(To be continued…)

Deacon Samuel Farrar, ‘The Father’

Deacon Samuel Farrar was a senior and respected member of the Lincoln community, and I suppose you could say, he was one of the local organizers of the first stages of the colonial resistance. He also fought in its first battle, at the tender age of 66.

There isn’t a huge amount written about him, and some of what I have found is copyrighted, but I can pass along this.

[A quick note to say that he also had a son, whose name was Samuel, who fought in the Revolution, and who eventually became a Deacon creating ample room for confusion about who did what. Consequently, I’ve used the term ‘The Father’ in the title of this post, and I’ll use “The Son” in the one to follow. Elsewhere, I’ve gone with the suffixes Sr. and Jr. though the men themselves did not. Lastly, the writers from the mid-1800s typically refer to the older man as Deacon Samuel Farrar, and the younger man as Captain Samuel Farrar. FWIW. –LSL]



from Memoir of the Farrar Family, by Farrar, Timothy, 1788-1874. Publ. 1853 [Lightly edited for clarity.–LSL]



Samuel Farrar, 4 the fourth and youngest son of George, 3 born Sept. 28, 1708, settled on the central or homestead portion of his father’s farm, married Jan. 13, 1731-2, Lydia Barrett, daughter of Capt. Benjamin Barrett, born Aug. 2, 1712. He was deacon of the church ae. 75, she died June 1802, ae. 89. Children: 1. Lydia, born Sept. 2, 1735, married William Bond, March 6, 1755; 2. Samuel, 5 born Feb. 14, 1737, married Mercy Hoar ; 3. Stephen, 5 born Sept. 8, 1738,______, graduated Harvard 1755 ; 4. James, born July 24, 1741, died at New Ipswich, July 11, 1767; 5. Rebecca, born Aug. 13, 1743, married Dr. John Preston, Nov. 29, 1764 — [see Hist. New Ipswich, and post, pp. 18, 19 :] — 6. Lucy,5 born April 27, 1745, married Humphrey Farrar, 5 ; 7. Timothy,5 born June 28, 1747, graduated Harvard 1767; 8. Mary, born July 5, 1754, died Sept. 2, 1756. For some particulars of the life and character of Dea. Samuel,* see Shattuck’s Hist. of Concord, and Hist, of New Ipswich, p. 358; also post, pp. 15. 16…

…Conspicuous among the early, though not among the first settlers of New Ipswich, were four members of this family.

…Dea. Samuel Farrar 4…was born Sept. 28, 1708, the youngest son of George 3 , who first settled in that place in 1692, and great-grand-son of Jacob 1 , who was one of the original proprietors of Lancaster, Mass., in 1653.

…he lived and died on his father’s farm in Lincoln, where his descendants still live…

…He married, Jan. 13, 1731-2, Lydia. daughter of Capt. Benjamin Barrett, and grand-daughter of James Minot, Esq., ” who was one of the most distinguished men of his day in Concord.” She was born Aug. 2, 1712, and died in June, 1802, in her 90th year. He was much interested in public affairs, frequently serving his town as Selectman, Town Clerk, Representative, &c., and was a patriot of great zeal, steadiness and perseverance. He was Selectman of Concord in 1754, when Lincoln was set off, and afterwards for many years Town Clerk and Representative of the new town.

In Nov. 1773, he was Chairman of the first Committee of Correspondence, and afterwards a member of the great Middlesex Convention of Aug. 30, 1774, which led off in the Revolution, by Resolving, among other things of similar import,

“That it is our opinion these late acts [of the British Parliament.] if quietly submitted to, will annihilate the last vestige of liberty in this Province, and therefore we must be justified, by God and the world, in never submitting to them.

He was also a member of the first Provincial Congress, which met Oct. 11, 1774, and at the age of 66 years, took part in the first battle of the Revolution, at Concord, Apr. 19, 1775.

He died soon after the conclusion of the war, Apr. 17, 1783, in the 75th year of his age, having witnessed the establishment of the independence of his country, and endured the hardships of its acquisition, but leaving to his posterity the enjoyment of the rich inheritance of its blessings.