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Historical marker, Samuel Lincoln House, Hingham, Massachusetts
Samuel Lincoln (date of birth unknown; baptised in Hinghammarker, Norfolk, Englandmarker, August 24, 1622, as the son of Edward Lincoln; died in Hinghammarker, Massachusettsmarker, May 26, 1690), was progenitor of many notable United Statesmarker political figures, including his great-great-great-great-grandson, President Abraham Lincoln, Mainemarker governor Enoch Lincoln, and Levi Lincoln, Sr. and Levi Lincoln, Jr., both of whom served as Massachusetts Representatives and Governors. Because of Samuel Lincoln's descendants, his fortuitous arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the fact that his ancestry is known for several generations, he is considered father of the most prominent branch of Lincolns in America.

Journey to America

Samuel Lincoln House, Hingham, Massachusetts, built by grandson of immigrant Samuel on land he purchased
Having grown up in meager circumstances due to a family squabble in which his wealthy grandfather disinherited his earlier children, Samuel Lincoln became an apprentice weaver under Francis Lawes of Norwichmarker, Englandmarker. Samuel Lincoln's father Edward had abandoned his home at Swanton Morleymarker near Hingham after he was cut out of his father Richard's will, and relocated to some small acreage at Hingham. In 1637, Lincoln left England for the New World with Lawes' family, embarking on a ship named John & Dorothy. Although most accounts indicate that he was 15 years old at the time, it has been suggested that he misrepresented his age in order to be permitted to make the voyage.

Samuel sailed for the colony of Massachusetts, where his older brother Thomas – known in early records as "Thomas Lincoln the Weaver" to distinguish him from several other unrelated Thomas Lincolns – had already settled. Samuel's brother Thomas, who settled in 1635 in Hingham, Massachusetts, where he was granted a house lot by the town, later left at his decease a great deal of his property, including several house lots, to Samuel and to his nephews. (Although twice married, Samuel's brother Thomas had no children.)

Life and family in Massachusetts

Bust of Abraham Lincoln, descendant of Samuel, St. Andrew's Church, Hingham, England
Samuel Lincoln helped to build the Old Ship Churchmarker in Hingham. He married Martha Lyford of Irelandmarker around 1649, possibly the daughter of the Rev. John Lyford, and the couple had eleven children, three of whom died in their infancy, but another three of whom lived into their eighties. Lincoln's eldest son, born August 25, 1650, was also named Samuel. The emigrant Samuel Lincoln's fourth son was Mordecai Lincoln, who became a blacksmith, and who was the ancestor of Abraham Lincoln. Genealogists have noted the common and repeated use of certain Biblical names in the Lincoln family, particularly Abraham, Samuel, Isaac, Jacob, and Mordecai, a common practice among early Puritan settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Many later Lincoln descendants, including the original emigrant's son, were named Samuel in succeeding generations.

Interestingly, Samuel's mother also belonged to a family long associated with American government: the Gilmans of Exeter, New Hampshiremarker. Samuel's mother Bridget Gilman was the daughter of Edward Gilman of Hingham, Norfolkmarker, England, whose son Edward Gilman Jr. emigrated to Hingham, Massachusetts, later to Ipswich, Massachusettsmarker and finally to Exeter, where he and his family became prominent businessmen, elected officials and, later, ardent Revolutionary War patriots. Nicholas Gilman, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, was a member of this family.


In 1937, the 300th anniversary of Samuel Lincoln's arrival in Massachusetts was commemorated with the dedication of a tablet at the Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. President Abraham Lincoln is honored by a bust in the church of St. Andrews in Hingham, Norfolk, England, unveiled in a 1919 ceremony by then-American Ambassador John W. Davis. Samuel Lincoln's father Edward, who remained in Hingham, England, died on February 11, 1640, and was buried in the graveyard of St. Andrews Church.



  1. The Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln, James Henry Lea, Robert Hutchinson, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1909, p. 4.
  2. Bulletin of the Essex Institute, Vol. I, 1869, Essex Institute Press, Salem, Mass., 1870
  3. Waldo Lincoln, History of the Lincoln Family: An Account of the Descendants of Samuel Lincoln of Hingham, Massachusetts, 1637–1920 (1923) ISBN 0788414895; John George Nicolay, John Hay, Abraham Lincoln: A History (1890) p. 2.
  4. The Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln, James Henry Lea, Robert Hutchinson, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1909
  5. Abraham Lincoln's antecedents in the county of Norfolk,
  6. William Eleazar Barton, The Life of Abraham Lincoln (1935) p. 25.
  7. History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Vol. III, Thomas Tracy Bouvé, Published by the Town, John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, Mass., 1893
  8. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XIX, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Published by the Society, David Clapp & Son, Printers, Boston, Mass., 1865
  9. History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Thomas Tracy Bouvé, et al., Published by the Town, 1893
  10. Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the Year 1917, Illinois State Journal Co., Printers, Springfield, Ill., 1917
  11. Waldo Lincoln, History of the Lincoln Family: An Account of the Descendants of Samuel Lincoln of Hingham, Massachusetts, 1637–1920 (1923) p. 64.
  12. Hingham and the Lincoln Connection,
  13. St Andrew, Hingham,

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