Rev. Joseph Hull Part I – Neither Fish Nor Fowl (1596 -1641)

I have just returned from a research trip to Boston and Cape Cod with my friends Laura and Val. Our goal was to flesh out the lives of our Mayflower and Great Migration ancestors beyond their birth, death and migration dates.  We all had quite a bit of success at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society and then our visit to Plymouth, Barnstable and Sandwich “rounded” out the trip by seeing the actual places the early settlers made their new home.

My family patriarchs from this early period are George Soule (Mayflower passenger and servant to Winslow 1620), Rev. Joseph Hull (Migration 1635), George Allen (Migration 1635), Joseph Holway (Migration 1637-1640), Michael Turner (Migration by 1637/38), Thomas Hunt (Migration by 1637) and Edward Jessup (Migration by 1647).  While all of them have compelling stories to tell, Rev. Joseph Hull is by far the most controversial of all of them and the focus of my blogs for the coming weeks.

My ancestor Rev. Joseph Hull (1596-1665) was born in Crewkerne, Somerset and  was educated as a minister at St. Mary’s Hall at Oxford. He appears to have had a successful rectorship at Northleigh, Devonshire for 11 years, but he resigns in 1632. He moves to Broadway in Somersetshire and is Rector here in 1633-1634. Some researches have speculated that he may have wanted to be near Rev. Richard Barnard, an Anglican minister with non-conformist inclinations and who had spent time with Separatists William Brewster and John Robinson. (Interesting note – Rev. Barnard’s daughter Mary marries Roger Williams in 1629. We will hear more about him later.) It was here that Rev. Hull gathers his own group of immigrants and leaves for New England in 1635.

These were turbulent times in England under Charles I. Most of these early immigrants were looking for religious freedom to practice Puritanism and for economic opportunity.  Charles I did not look favorably on the Puritans and Separatists who challenged the Anglican Church and ultimately his authority as head of the church. They could be arrested and persecuted for simply holding a church service in their home with their own “elected” minister. I point this out because the very thing that had occurred to them in England is exactly what they did to others who did not share their point of view in New England. Rev. Hull is listed as a minister in the ship’s manifest, which implies that he was not hiding his profession and did not fear the authorities preventing him from leaving. He was still a “practicing” Anglican, even if he had Puritan beliefs.

On his arrival in Boston, he is made a freeman in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and given leave to settle with his group in the new town of Weymouth.  He only stays here for a year and it is attributed to the fact that he is one of 3 ministers living there. One of his “rival” ministers was a strong Puritan, the Rev. Thomas Jenner.  Rev. Hull decides to move to Hingham, but only resides here until 1639.

Rev. Hull, Richard Collicutt and Thomas Dimmock receive a grant from Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony (which was a little more “liberal” than Massachusetts Bay Colony).  Hull and Dimmock move to Barnstable to build a new town and he is elected Deputy. Unfortunately, this is a disaster almost from the beginning too. Wouldn’t you know another Puritan minister Rev. Lathrop moves in right away and proves to be more popular.  Rev. Hull isn’t reelected Deputy and he has lost his “Mr.” title in the records by 1641. Seeing a theme? Poor Rev. Hull is in the wrong place and the wrong time and it appears as if there isn’t a place to live at this point in history for a minister who is more “middle of the road”.   It gets worse….

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21 Responses to Rev. Joseph Hull Part I – Neither Fish Nor Fowl (1596 -1641)

  1. Marjorie Arp says:

    Why is Rev. Joseph Hull be written out of the history of Barnstable? If you visit Sturgis Library you never hear his name mentioned.

    • Leon Clinton Hull says:

      Part of the Sturgis Library was the home of Reverend John Lothrop, who excommunicated Joseph Hull for preaching without permission in the neighboring town of Yarmouth. When i published “New England Dreams,” my novel based on the life of Reverend Joseph Hull, i was invited to give a talk at the Sturgis Library in order (as they put it) to give the other side of the story. Copies of my novels are available in the library. Also, in the genealogy room the have a folder of material on Joseph Hull, most of which was prepared by Phyllis Hughes, the genealogist for the Hull Family Association. For more information about my novel, see the HFA website at:
      Clint Hull, Yarmouth Port, MA

      • Rachelle says:

        I wish I could have been there to hear your defense of Rev. Hull! Can’t wait to read your novels. Thank you for getting in touch.

  2. Kate says:

    Thanks for the great history lesson! We are also descended from Rev. Hull and Joanna Bursley. Mom and I will be trekking up to New England/Cape Cod to trod across some of the same land in two weeks. Your blogs will help “lead the way” for us! Thank you again!

    • Rachelle says:

      So glad you enjoyed the blog and the information was helpful. Have a wonderful vacation and be sure to let me know if you find any additional information or sites to see!

  3. Cindy says:

    Can I ask how you found the memorial marker on this page that reference Thomas Dimmock and Joseph Hull? I spent several hours this weekend driving around Barnstable looking at every marker I could find, but never found this one. Could you provide a location? (I am also a Rev. Hull descendent)

    • Rachelle says:

      I never physically found it when I was there either. I had seen the pictures on the internet and looked in town when I was there, but it wasn’t in any of the obvious places. I stopped at the Sturgis Library and they didn’t know either. However, when I got back to Seattle they had e-mailed me the information they got from their local historian Dave Crocker. Here is it…
      The Dimmock stone marker sits across Route 6A opposite the county farm road.
      The other one can be seen directly across from the Lothrop Hill cemetery. It is near the sidewalk in front of the house there. I gave a slide lecture about all the markers along Route 6A, from the Sandwich line right down to Yarmouth Port. These two markers were described.

      Hope to see it in person next time I get back to Massachusetts!

      • Cindy says:

        Thank you so much! I looked it up that spot on Googlemaps and can’t see it and I know I passed that spot at least a half dozen times so it must be well hidden. I guess I’ll just have to find an excuse to go back there and finally find it. If I do, I’ll let you know.

      • Rachelle says:

        Yes, please do let me know if you find it!

  4. Connie says:

    I have found this so interesting I am also a descendant of the Rev Joseph Hull. Joseph Hull’s father never came to the US but was named Thomas, I come from the Capt. Tristram Hull line. Capt. Tristram also was rather courageous one story told by a Colonel Hull in is pamphlet of how Captain Tristram Hull once in direct violation of the law helped and old church member who had been banished and fined for “raising his voice” against the Quaker persecution. He helped him out of the his trouble, took him by force on his his ship and carried him to Sandwich, MA., where he left him.
    From Capt. Tristram who married Blanch I descend from his son
    Joseph and his first wife Experience Harper who lived in Rhode Island and Barnstable MA.
    They had son Tristram who I also come from
    Tristram married Elizabeth Dyer. She was the daughter of Charles and Mary Dyer and Granddaughter of William and Mary Dyer the only women to be hanged for her religious belief and preaching in the Puritan Boston MA. Not for being a witch but for being a Christian of a different faith.
    Tristram and Elizabeth had a son several but I come from Stephen
    then Stephen married Martha Morey He lived in R.I. then to Stonington CT the several children and I come from their son
    Elias I came from his first wife Mary Campbell He lived in Charlestown NH..but fought in the Revolutionary war for R.I Then from that couple was born Horace Hull he lived in Charlestown NH and married Tryphena Downer daughter of Dr. Abram Downer who was a doctor in the battle of Bennington in the Revolutionary war who married Lois Able.
    Horace and Tryphena they both died in Charlestown NH. I came from their first born son not child.
    Abram Downer Hull and his second wife Millia Augusta Baldwin, buried in Charlestown NH. had one daughter she didn’t marry. They are buried in Charlestown NH, Abram was a sheriff in Charlestown for a number of years.They had three sons 3 living sons Albert Ernest, Arthur Egerton and Galen Downer as far as I know neither the last two had any children. Arthur moved to MA buried in Charlestown, NH and Galen died in Durham NC but buried in Charlestown, NH. Both married.but the one I am descended from was….
    Albert Ernest Hull moved to Frankfort, Kansas, he married married Elethia Dwinnell in Frankfort KS. both buried in Frankfort Kansas. They had 4 children only two had issue and only had one son
    Abram Downer Hull number # 2 who in fact went to Charlestown NH for a year or two and went to school there and stayed with his Grandpa Abram Downer Hull and grandma Millia Augusta.
    Abram Downer Hull #2 married Elsie May Thomas in rural Woodston Kansas. They are buried there in the Spring Branch Cemetery in Rural Woodston KS They had two daughters one with no issue and 2 sons I come from the first son..
    Downer (Lee) Hull called Lee who married Thelma Eileen Kelly called Kelly Hull because she didn’t like her other two names. also buried in Spring Branch Cemetery Rural Woodston, KS They had three children I am the youngest..
    I am Connie Lee Hull I have lived in Plainville, Woodston, Hays, Alton, Downs, KS, Corpus Christi TX, Memphis TN, Spokane, WA, St Charles, St. Louis, and St. Peters MO, Keene and Winchester NH I had a daughter who married and I have son Shane Andrew Hull (McNeal) he now lives in Montpelier VT did live in Keene, Charlestown, and North Walpole New Hampshire. Plus Hays and Woodston KS, St. Charles, St. Peters MO. he has a son who is 12 at this writing who is Julian Andrew Hull. upto the present generation So that traces me all the way to the Rev. Joseph Hull. This might help others too who are tracing family history..

    • Rachelle says:

      I too am from Capt. Tristram’s line, but from his daughter Mary who married Joseph Holoway. The same Holoway’s that became Quakers. I found your connection to the Capt’s son Tristram and Mary Dyer fascinating. The Hulls were a brave and independent family for sure! Thanks for sharing your family history.

    • Leon Clinton Hull says:

      I am a descendant of Rev. Joseph Hull, his son Tristram, and his son John, who resettled from Barnstable to Jamestown, Rhode island. I’m working on a trilogy of historical novels dealing with these three generations of my immigrant ancestors. Two of these, based on the lives of Rev. Joseph and Captain Tristram, are in print. The third, dealing with John and Joseph (Tristram’s sons) is in progress. For more information, see the Hull Family Association website at:

      • Rachelle says:

        How wonderful that you have written these books about our ancestors! I definitely want to purchase them. I have not found very many resources on Tristram. What books or articles have you found most helpful in your research about him?

  5. Connie says:

    Thank you for your response. I’m so glad you found that interesting. Nice to meet a cousin. Loved your article on Joseph Hull. I would say the Hull’s are still brave and an independent family!

  6. John Poole says:

    Thank you for sharing your history. My 8th great-grandfather was Edward Pool, listed as a servant to George Allen on the passenger list of Rev. Hull’s company. Have you by chance come across a reference to Edward? Edward’s son Joseph is my 7th great-grandfather and I have wondered if he is named for Joseph Hull.

    • Rachelle says:

      John, I have been corresponding with your sister and mentioned to her that I haven’t been working on Rev. Hull in quite a few years, so I am rusty on the Hull genealogy! I don’t recall seeing Edward Pool except in the manifest of the passengers. Funny, but I am also related to George Allen through his daughter Rose who married Joseph Holloway. I think Joseph was a popular biblical name for Puritans to name their children. But, Joseph Hull was a compelling figure (liked and hated), children could have been named after him by those who admired him. What type of connections have you found between Edward Poole, the Allen’s and Hull prior to migration? Do you know much about Edward’s life in England?

  7. Bernie Corace says:

    Thank you for your informative blog. My children and I are descended from Rev. Hull through his son Capt Benjamin Hull who appears to be born in Hingham in 1639. Do you have any information on him?

  8. dawn Simpson says:

    I am related Joanna Agnes Coffin to Cpt Benjamin Hull who is my 10th Great Grandfather, our family now resides in County Durham England 😀

    • Rachelle says:

      Oh, how wonderful you are so close to doing all your English research! Not to mention just being in England is pretty fabulous all by itself.

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