Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983
Students of the Family History - Chapter I,
on the service performed by Gyles Merrill of Haverhill,
Mass., in respect to the family genealogy, Gen. Lewis
Merrill wrote: To his zealous and intelligent gathering
of data and information, and his laborious and critical
examination of every puzzling question referred to him,
and to his deep interest in and sympathy with the labor
undertaken in compiling this record, the writer is very
deeply indebted, as are all who have any interest in the
image Gyles Merrill signature >
Merrills interest in the history of his family began
when he was a young man, and continued until his death.
At no time, however, had he any thought of preparing a
history for publication. His work was simply an agreeable
employment, aimed at satisfying his own curiosity, and
it was done in the scant leisure which the activities
of a busy life afforded. His research involved a study
of many closely related lines of his own ancestors, the
families of Putnam, Cushing, Wainwright, Bradbury, True,
and a number of others, engaging his attention in an equal
obtaining possession of the Merrill records gathered by
Rev. Samuel H. Merrill, Gyles Merrills research
extended over a wider field, but still he formed no plan
for continuing the work which the clergyman had undertaken.
He entered heartily into the spirit of Gen. Lewis Merrills
genealogical project, however, and assisted in every way
in his power, and he keenly regretted that Gen. Merrill
was forced to discontinue his work, the genealogy still
far from finished.
his death in 1894 Gyles Merrill left to the compiler of
this Memorial all his genealogical books and papers. It
is as a personal tribute to his memory, and with a view
to preserving this material, and the large amount of additional
matter which has been gathered since his death, and making
it accessible to those who are interested in the subject,
that this book is now given to the public.
Merrill was born and died in the house where his father
spent his life, and where his grandfather, Rev. Gyles
Merrill, and his great-grandfather, Rev. James Cushing,
lived during the seventy years covered by their two ministries.
The same house, three miles from the center of population
of Haverhill, is now the home of his eldest surviving
James4 Cushing was a descendant from Matthew1
Cushing (1589-1660), emigrant, through John2
(1627-1708) of Scituate, colonel of the Plymouth regiment,
Deputy and Assistant of the Plymouth
Colony, and Rev. Caleb3 (1673-1752) of Salisbury.
He was great-grandson of Rev. John Cotton,
who held pastorates in Boston, England, and Boston, Mass.,
and grandson of Rev. John Cotton of Plymouth, the Indian
scholar. Rev. James4 Cushing was born 15 June,
1705, in Salisbury, graduated at Harvard in 1725, and
was ordained as the first minister of the North Parish
Church in Haverhill 2 Dec. 1730. He died 13 May, 1764.
James Cushings wife was Ann Wainwright, whose grandfather,
Capt. Simon Wainwright, was killed by the Indians in Haverhill
in 1708. Her father, Capt. John Wainwright, was drowned
in 1721, when Ann was only eight years old. John Wainwrights
cousin, Lucy Wainwright of Ipswich, had married Judge
Paul Dudley of Roxbury, son of Gov. Joseph Dudley. Judge
Dudleys six children having all died in infancy,
his wifes young cousin was given a home in the Judges
household, and it was there that James Cushing married
her, 15 Oct. 1735. (**) Mehitable Wainwright, sister of
Ann, was the wife of Meshech Weare, President of New Hampshire
during the Revolution.
the Dudley homestead in Roxbury a number of cuttings of
apple trees were taken to Haverhill, about the time of
Ann Wainwrights marriage, and grafted on trees on
the parsonage grounds. They were of a variety called snoutings,
and the original stock was brought from England. Currant
bushes and an asparagus bed were also set out at the parsonage,
the plants coming from the Dudley estate. It used to be
said that for many decades this was the only asparagus
bed in Haverhill. Both the asparagus bed and the apple
trees were still in existence, and in bearing condition,
at the time of Gyles7 Merrills death
in 1894, though the trees showed evidence of extreme old
Rev. James4 Cushings children, James5
was a surgeon in the British Navy, and died, 2 June, 1764,
at Madras, India, and John5 was a surgeon in
the American service in the Revolution, was captured by
the British, and confined in the Mill Prison, Plymouth,
England. His daughter Lucy5 was born 1 Aug.
1747, and died 7 Aug. 1798. She married Rev. Gyles Merrill
13 Oct. 1767.
pallbearers at the funeral of Rev. James Cushing were
eight clergymen, and, following a custom of the time,
each in turn supplied the North Parish pulpit for one
Sunday following Mr. Cushings death. Rev. Gyles
Merrill thereafter occupied the vacant pulpit, and was
ordained some months later. (***)
Gyles5 Merrill was born 12 March, 1739, in Salisbury,
his father being Moses4 (Moses3, Daniel2).
He was named for Dr. Samuel Gyles of Newburyport, who had
married his mothers sister. He graduated at Harvard
College in 1759, and then studied theology with his uncle,
Rev. John True of Hampstead, N.H. He died 27 Apr. 1801.
in 1860 the author of Chases History of Haverhill
said: The Rev. Mr. Merrill had a peaceful ministry,
and was greatly respected and beloved by his people. As
a preacher he was orthodox in faith, of sound learning,
and was justly and highly esteemed. The simplicity, kindness
and dignity of his manners are even yet remembered by
many, with the greatest respect and veneration. He had
the welfare of his people constantly at heart, and those
who survive him testify to his amiable disposition, and
his devoutness as a Christian.
Gyles Merrill has been described as being tall, with dark
eyes and hair, and of fine personal appearance. He had
positive convictions, but was tactful in meeting opposition,
and was often called upon, when friction arose in neighboring
parishes, to act as arbiter, seldom failing to bring the
warring factions into accord. He was a sound scholar
and learned divine, simple and earnest. (****)
schools were few in his time, and a number of young men
were prepared for college under his instruction, boarding
in his household while pursuing their studies. In respect
to worldly possessions he was more prosperous than most
of his calling. Aug. 12, 1771, he purchased from the Parish
the parsonage house and three and a half acres in connection
with it, (*****) and by subsequent purchases aquired fifty-nine
acres of farm land near the parsonage, besides twelve
acres in Plaistow and 12 ½ acres of woodland in
Londonderry, N.H. The inventory of his estate shows that
this farm was well stocked and equipped. At his death
he had a horse, a pair of oxen and seven cows, besides
seven other cattle and thirteen sheep and lambs. He seems
to have been looked upon by the people of his parish and
neighborhood as a man of means and a friend in time of
need, for at his death he held about twenty promissory
notes, (******) ranging in amount from $2 up to $255.
The total of the inventory was $4742.37.
the desk at which, in his later years, Rev. Gyles Merrill
wrote his sermons, much of the work of compiling this
history has been performed, and seated there I finished,
with pen and ink, this picture of the desk itself. June
8, 1792. Moses Cushing brought home my desk and book case.
This entry in the diary of Rev. Gyles Merrill records
the advent of the fine old article of furniture in the
Merrill household. Since then, for a century and a quarter,
it has faithfully served a succession of the clergymans
descendants. The cabinet maker was an older brother of
Lucy Cushing, and he lived about a mile south of the parsonage,
on the road to Haverhill.
Gyles Merrill had five sons and four daughters. His two
youngest sons, James-Cushing6 and Samuel6,
graduated at Harvard College in 1807. Both were noted
for their scholarship in the classics, both became lawyers,
and both served in the Massachusetts Senate. James-Cushing6
Merrill was for seventeen years one of the judges of the
Boston Police Court, and Samuel6 Merrill was
president of the Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Company,
of Andover, Mass. Another son, Moses6 Merrill,
lived on the homestead place in Haverhill, and died there
in 1864 at the age of 88 years. From 1819 until his death
he was a justice of the peace, and was widely known as
Squire Merrill. He was for many years tax collector
of Haverhill. Moses6 Merrills youngest
son was Gyles7 Merrill, the genealogist.
old parsonage house of the North Parish was the birthplace
of Gyles7 Merrill, as it had been of his father
and his fathers mother. He was born there 13 March,
1816, and died there, of pneumonia, 23 Jan. 1894. The
house was built by the Parish about 1731, and remained
practically without change until 1863. It has never been
unoccupied, and many of the original timbers lend strength
to the larger house which now occupies the site.
Merrill received the usual common school education, supplemented
by courses at Atkinson Academy and in private schools,
under the tuition of his cousin Gyles-Merrill Kimball,
grandson of Rev. Gyles5 Merrill through Lucy6
Merrill, and of another kinsman, John Kelly, whose uncle
Jacob had married Mary6 Merrill, Lucys
sister. Gyles7 Merrill taught school each winter
for six years, beginning when he was nineteen years of
age, and worked on his fathers farm, and as a surveyor,
the rest of the year. (The silhouette, made in his youth,
was the work of a Putnam cousin.)
in 1840 the Boston & Maine Railroad was under construction
through New Hampshire, and he became a bookkeeper and
paymaster for the contractors, leaving this position to
assume the superintendency of a screw factory at Rotterdam,
N.Y. Wishing to live nearer his old home he resigned this
position in 1847, and entered the employ of the Norfolk
Lead Company of Roxbury (now Boston). Within a year he
became superintendent. He devoted himself to the manufacture
of white lead and kindred products until 1852, when the
company sold its business to the Boston Lead Company.
He next took a position with the Sullivan Railroad Company,
shortly becoming superintendent, and lived in Charlestown,
N.H., in this capacity, from 1852 to 1859.
1859 the Vermont Central and Vermont & Canada Railroads
leased the Sullivan road, and he became superintendent
of the combined system, with offices first in Northfield,
Vt., and, after 1860, in St. Albans. Ill health forced
him in 1873, to resign, his position then being that of
general superintendent of the Central Vermont system.
The company had added to its mileage by construction and
lease, and when he left the management it was operating
a network of fifteen railroads in Vermont, New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Canada. The aggregate
length of the system was nearly eight hundred miles.
Merrill returned to Haverhill in 1874, and occupied again
the old homestead, where he spent the remaining years of
his life. He made a tour of Europe in 1878, and travelled
in the Western and Southern States, but most of his later
years were spent quietly at his home. He was deeply interested
in all public questions, but never held public office, except
for a single term, in 1858, as a member of the New Hampshire
Legislature. Although renominated, he declined a reelection.
He was an active member of the church with which his family
had been for many years associated. Singularly modest and
unassuming in character, he was distinguished for strict
integrity and broad benevolence, and died without having
ever made an enemy.
Merrill married, 28 Nov. 1849, in Roxbury, Eliza Watson
Newbury, daughter of Leonard and Grace (Watson) Newbury.
She was born 26 Jan, 1816, in Mickleover, Derbyshire,
England, and came to the United States with her family
in 1832, and settled in Lockport, N.Y. She was a teacher
in Roxbury prior to her marriage. For twenty years she
was a vicepresident of the Womans Board of Missions
of the Congregational Church. She died 24 June, 1890.
Merrill had four children:
born 6 Oct. 1850; died 3 Aug. 1880; B.S., Dartmouth College,
born 27 Jan. 1852; died 13 April, 1878.
born 9 Sept. 1853; now living at the Haverhill homestead.
(Died 12 Sept. 1927.)
born 1 Jan. 1855; compiler of this Memorial.
Gyles7 Merrills grandchildren, Gyles9
(Samuel8), born 2 Nov. 1891, was a first lieutenant
in the 77th Field Artillery (United States Regulars) in
France in 1918-19. Wainwright9 (Samuel8),
born 26 May, 1898, was killed in action at Ypres 6 Nov.
1917, and is buried in the Ypres Reservoir Nurch Cemetery.
Merrill was a sophomore in Harvard College when, in November,
1916, five months before the tardy declaration of war
by the United States, he left college and enlisted in
the Canadian Artillery. A volume of his letters, written
from English training camps and from the front to members
of his family and others, and edited by one of his college
instructors, was published in 1918 by George H. Doran
Company of New York under the title, A College Man
in Khaki. The degree of bachelor of arts, for
honorable service in the war, was conferred by Harvard
College on Wainwright Merrill as of the class of 1919.
The accompanying picture is from a photograph
made in 1861. The house was thoroughly reconstructed in
The will of Lucy (Wainwright) Dudley, executed
in 1756, contains this entry: Item, I give to my
kinswoman, Mrs. Cushing of Haverhill, £13, 6s. 8d.
Ann (Wainwright) Cushing died 12 Feb. 1810, aged 97 years.
In the Library of the British Museum I
found a printed sermon Preached at the Ordination
of the Rev. Mr. Gyles Merrill, to the Pastoral Care of
the Church and Congregation in Plastow, and the North
Part of Haverhill, March 6, 1765, by Rev. Edward
Barnard of Haverhill. The text was from Luke xii, 42-46.
Biographical Dictionary, 1857.
County Deeds, book 130, leaf 74
In May, 1778, the town of Haverhill voted
to borrow money "to enable the officers to raise
soldiers" for the war. Thr first name in a long list
of those who loaned money for this purpose was that of
Rev. Gyles Merrill. The amount of his loan was £75
- Chase's History of Haverhill, p407.
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