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ONE CAPE COD HOMESTEAD
In May, 1916, the Old Colony Commission appointed under an act of the Legislature "to investigate certain spots of general historic interest within the counties of Bristol, Barnstable, Plymouth, Norfolk and Nantucket, and collect such historical information in relation thereto as it shall deem expedient,” met at the courthouse in Barnstable to hear testimony of the claims of that locality. The commission consists of Hon. William T. Davis of Plymouth, Rev. S. Hopkins Emery of Taunton and L. Vernon Briggs, Esq., of Hanover.
Of the spots for which claims will be advanced as to their historic interest, perhaps the most interesting and important is the old Gorham homestead, in which were born and reared members of a notable Cape Cod family whose descendants have become famous.
James Gorham of Benefield, Northamptonshire, Eng., married in 1572 Agnes Berham, and their son Ralph, born in 1575, came to Plymouth in—, and was the ancestor of those of the name in this country. John, the son of Ralph, was baptized January 28, 1620, at Benefield, and came to this country with his father.
In 1643, at the age of twenty-three, he married Desire, the daughter of John Howland, one of the last survivors of the Mayflower passengers. Living at the time at Plymouth, shortly after, in 1646, the young couple settled at Marshfield, and then in 1652 at Yarmouth, adjoining Barnstable. He was owner of a grist mill and wharf; also a tannery. A deputy to the General Court and holding various town offices, his greatest service, however, was of a military nature during King Philip's War, and from the exposure and fatigue incident to the expedition he contracted a fever and died at Swansea February 5, 1674.
Of his children, Desire married Captain John Hawes; Temperance married first, Edward Sturges; second, Thomas Baxter; Lydia married Colonel John Thacher. From these have descended a numerous and distinguished progeny.
Of the sons, James, the eldest, was in 1703 the richest man in Barnstable; Joseph served in the militia; Jabez was the ancestor of the family
in Rhode Island; Shubael, a man of good business capacity, was the youngest. The second son was John, named after his father, and working at his trade as a tanner. He also accompanied his father in King Philip's War, and inherited from him part of the homestead with the dwelling
John Gorham, Jr., born in Marshfield, February 20, 1651, married in 1671 Mary, the daughter of John Otis. His service to the colony like that of his father, was of a military nature, and besides that previously stated he held the rank of captain in the expedition under Sir William Phips to Canada in 1690, and before his death, which occurred December 9, 1716, he had attained the rank of major in 1702, and of lieutenant colonel in 1703, having had active service in expeditions in 1696-97 and 1702-04; and held office as representative to the General Court from 1688 for several years.
Of the children of Lieutenant Colonel Gorham, Temperance married Stephen Clap, and had Thomas Clap, president of Yale College 1740 to 1764; Mary married Joseph Hinckley, and their son, Isaac, was a distinguished patriot of the Revolution; Thankful married Lieutenant John Fuller; Mercy married Hon. Sylvanus Bourne, judgecouncillor, colonel, etc., a wealthy merchant, whose sons, William and Sylvanus, were active at the second siege of Louisburg in 1758. The sons were also progenitors of a distinguished stock. Stephen married Elizabeth Gardner of Nantucket; of this line was the Hon. Nathaniel Gorham of Charlestown, Mass., prominent in the Revolution, and father of Ann, the wife of Peter C. Brooks and grandmother of Hon. Charles Francis Adams and Hon. William Everett. A son of Nathaniel Gorham, Nathaniel, went to Canandaigua, N. Y., of which he was a pioneer settler. Hon. Benjamin Gorham was another son.
The second son of Lieutenant Colonel John was Shubael, born September 2, 1686; at the age of twenty, on the 13th May, 1707, he sailed with the forces under Colonel John March, from Nantasket, in the expedition against Port Royal, with the rank of ensign in Captain Caleb Williamson's company of Barnstable. His military career closed with his services at Louisburg in 1745. He was commissioned “Colonel of the Seventh Massachusetts Regiment and captain of the First Company,” February 20, 1744-5. His greatest service, however, was his successful effort in obtaining the grants of the Narragansett townships to the heirs of the soldiers who fought in King Philip's War. As
a grandson of Captain John and son of Colonel John Gorham, he was granted land in Narragansett, No. 7, or Gorhamtown, now Gorham, Me., and his time and money were freely spent in the settlement of that place to his own pecuniary loss, and insolvency of his estate at his death in 1746. At Gorham, Me., on the town monument, may be seen a quotation from the letter of Captain John Gorham, written in 1675, to Governor Winslow, in which he offers to serve God and his country as long as he had life and health, which he literally fulfilled, in his death during the war. Of the children of Colonel Shubael Gorham, the eldest son, John, born December 12, 1709, was the captain of the second company in his father's regiment, and lieutenant colonel at Louisburg in 1745, and succeeded him as colonel. He left Barnstable in 1742, and resided in Falmouth, now Portland, Me., and about 1750 went to England as agent, and to advance his claim for expenses in the late war. He died there in a few years, and his widow married in 1654, and settled in Gloucester. Their daughter's portrait (Mrs. Elizabeth Gorham Rogers), painted by Copley, was recently exhibited in this city at the Loan Exhibition.
The most distinguished service of Colonel John Gorham was as captain of a company of Indian rangers at Annapolis, in 1744, and as member of the governor's council of Nova Scotia from 1749 to 1751. His death is supposed to have been by smallpox in London, while attempting to obtain justice for his expenditure and share in the capture of the fortress of Louisburg; a fate which befell his brother officer and promoter of the expedition, Colonel William Vaughan, who, with others, attempted to obtain a recompense for their expenses and hardships, which in some cases was not received by their heirs till half a century had elapsed.
David, son of Shubael, was also a soldier at the siege of Louisburg, in 1745, and performed other military service; he was also registrar of probate for many years; he also attained the rank of colonel in the militia. His son, Hon. William Gorham of Gorham, Me., was prominent in the Revolution, and afterward held the office of judge of probate and of the Court of Common Pleas.
Joseph, another son of Shubael, was at Louisburg, and in 1749 lieutenant of rangers, being raised to major in 1760, and lieutenant colonel in 1771. In 1766 he became of the council of Nova Scotia, and for many years was lieutenant governor of Placentia, Newfoundland. He also had great influence over the Micmac Indians in Nova Scotia.
John Gorham, son of Lieutenant Colonel John, and brother of Colonel Shubael, had sons Joseph, Benjamin, etc. Benjamin married Mary Sturgis. Their son, Sturgis Gorham, had a daughter, Mary Sturgis Gorham, who married John Palfrey, Esq., and was mother of Hon. John Gorham Palfrey.
The structure which sheltered the birth of many of the characters in the early history of the Commonwealth and the nation who have been mentioned in this sketch, is deemed a fitting spot to be so marked that future generations will have preserved to them the memory of active and principal participants in turning points in the nation's history. BOSTON
WALTER K. WATKINS
In the eastern part of the town, on the north side of the road, and several houses west of the Yarmouth line, stands an old house, formerly owned by the Gorhams, now owned by Mr. Gilmore.
Lieutenant Colonel John Gorham, in his will dated 1716, says: “I give to Shubael the house in which he now lives, and the lands called Stony Cove lands.” Colonel Shubael and his sons, Colonel John and Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Gorham, took part in the siege of Louisburg. Among those who have lived in the old house were:
Colonel David Gorham, son of Colonel John and his wife, Elizabeth Allen, and Dr. John Davis; also his son, Job C. Davis, Esq., for many years register of deeds.
"It is one of the most interesting relics of old times that Vandalism, under cover of improvement, has permitted to remain, interesting from its family associations and the style of domestic architecture and interior finish.” It is the oldest of four houses now standing which were built by the Gorhams in early times, all of them upon the farm once owned by Captain John Gorham, who settled in Barnstable in 1652.
The Gorhams took a very important part in the Colonial Wars. In volume 67, Massachusetts Archives, there is a letter from Captain John Gorham, written to Governor Winslow, in 1675. Captain Gorham's son John was in his company of soldiers during the war with King Philip and his tribe.
In volume 30, page 500, Massachusetts Archives, there is a letter written by Lieutenant Colonel John Gorham, to Major Walley in 1697. Lieutenant Governor Stoughton, in his instructions to Major Church, August 12, 1696, says: “You are to advise as you can have occasion with Captain John Gorham, who accompanies you in this expedition and is to take your command in case of your death.” Lieutenant Colonel Gorham was second in command in the fourth and fifth expeditions against the French and Indians. His monument is near the Unitarian meeting house in Barnstable.
June 1, 1744, a joint committee of war was called with Sir William Pepperrell of Kittery, president of the council, at its head, five hundred men were impressed, two hundred were dispatched to reinforce Annapolis, which was understood to be threatened by the Indians.
November 9, 1744, Governor Shirley reported to the Duke of Bedford that the French officer Duvivier had retreated from before Annapolis, upon Captain Gorham's arrival with his company of Indian Rangers, from New England, and that Gorham had so used his command that the garrison was now entirely free from alarm.
In 1745, Captain Gorham was sent from Annapolis to Boston to raise troops. While there he was induced to join the expedition then fitting out against Cape Breton. He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Seventh Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by his father, Colonel Shubael Gorham, and on the death of his father at Louisburg was promoted by Governor Pepperrell to be a full colonel. After the capture of Louisburg he returned to Annapolis, and was placed by Governor Shirley, in command of the Boston troops sent to Minas with Colonel Noble.
In July, 1749, he was a member of the Governor's council in Nova Scotia. His brother Joseph was a lieutenant of rangers under Governor Cornwallis in 1749, and later held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the regular army.
In 1749, Colonel John Gorham was sent to England, to explain the state of military affairs in the colonies. Governor Shirley, in a letter written to the Duke of Bedford, October 13, 1749, says "Captain Gorham's service I cannot too much commend to your Grace."
Colonel Gorham and his wife, Elizabeth Allen, were presented at