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Hull Family Papers

Hull Family Papers, 1825-1998

William Hull (1753-1825) was born in Derby, Conn., the son of Joseph and Eliza (Clark) Hull (1732-1826). He graduated from Yale College, studied law in Litchfield, Conn. and was admitted to the bar in 1775.

In that year he joined the army of the revolution in Cambridge, Mass. as a captain of a company of Connecticut volunteers. During the Revolutionary War he saw active and almost continuous service, taking part in the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Saratoga and Stony Point. For his service during the war he won the commendation of both General Washington and Congress, and was promoted to the rank of major(1777) and later to lieutenant-colonel (1779).

After the close of the Revolution, he moved to Newton, Mass. to practice law. In 1781 he married Sarah Fuller Hull (1759-1826) and moved into the home of her father, Judge Abraham Fuller. (Papers of the Fuller family can be found at the Newton History Museum.)

Hull's military service continued after the war and in 1787 he assisted in putting down Shay's rebellion. In 1805 President Jefferson appointed by Hull governor of the Michigan Territory. At the commencement of the War of 1812 he was appointed commander (General) of the north-western army. He surrendered the army of 2,000 men to British general Isaac Brock. He was condemned by court martial to be shot, but President Madison remanded the execution because of Hulls Revolutionary services and his advanced age. He was dropped from the army and returned to Newton where he lived until his death in 1825.

Isaac Hull (1773-1843) was born in Shelton, Con.., the second of seven sons born to Joseph (b.1750) and Sarah (Bennett) Hull. When he was young he was sent to live with and later was adopted by his uncle William Hull in Newton, Mass. In 1789 he entered the Navy as a lieutenant. In 1800 he became first lieutenant of the frigate Constitution.

In 1810 he was given the command of the Constitution. His fame chiefly rests on his command of the Constitution in her victory over the Guerriere in 1812. It was the first important naval battle of the War of 1812 and to lose would have been a moral defeat to the whole country.

In 1813 he married Anna McCurdy Hart (they had no children). After the war he commanded various naval stations and Navy yards including Boston, the Pacific and Washington, finally settling in Philadelphia where he died in 1843.

The papers of the Hull family consists of biographical information, newspaper clippings, essays, correspondence, photographs and other miscellaneous materials spanning the years 1812 to 1998.

The collection primarily documents the life and military career of General William Hull with the bulk of materials dated from 1825 to 1974. There is also a small amount of material relating to his nephew Commodore Isaac Hull which is dated from 1844 to 1976.

The remainder of the collection consists of materials relating to William Hulls wife Sarah Fuller Hull dated 1897 to 1913 and the Hull-Fuller house dated 1889 to 1956.

No. of boxes: 1 MS box.
Vertical Files: 2
Finding Aids: Manuscript boxes/inventory.

Dictionary of American Biography, New York: C. Scribner's sons, 1928-1958. Husher, Jean M., General William Hull - Sacrificial Goat, A paper presented at the Social Science Club of Newton, 1998. Jackson, Francis, History of the Early Settlement of Newton, Boston: Printed by Stacy and Richardson, 1854. Smith, Samuel Francis, History of Newton, Massachusetts, Boston: American Logotype Co., 1880.