The south shore of Boston, an assemblage of colonial waterfront communities sharing a robust seafaring history, to this day hosts a lasting representation of the first settlers. This house, known as the Jacobs Collamore Estate, stands in the semirural town of Norwell, until 1888 known as Scituate (Satuit a Wampanoag word meaning “cold brook”), approx 18 miles south of Boston. Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod Bay and a hardy river system provided a reliable means for shipbuilding, advancing the economies of Quincy, Weymouth (birthplace of Abigail Adams), Hingham (settled by notable families including Samuel Lincoln, 4th great-grandfather to 16th United States President and abolitionist Abraham Lincoln), Scituate and Marshfield that lasted for centuries.
While meandering the towns surrounding Massachusetts Bay one will notice each community bearing streets named Cushing, Whiting, Lincoln, Hobart, Hersey, Loring, Turner, Otis, Thaxter, Jacobs & Hancock; all descendant surnames of the early settlers and all directly link to the Jacobs.
Along with Samuel Lincoln, Nicholas Jacobs (1597?1604-1657) sailed from Hingham, Norfolk England during the Great Puritan Migration in 1633. One of the early colonists to incorporate Bare Cove as the town of Hingham in 1635 Jacobs, a man of influence and authority in the town as innkeeper and deputy to the Hingham General Court, is the direct ancestor to all the families bearing his name on the south shore. The Jacob bloodline produced several heirs of significance to the vitality of Colonial Massachusetts and inspiring the establishment of important American institutions.
John Jacobs (1630-1693), eldest son of Nicholas, was militia captain during King Philip’s War during which his eldest son John was killed in 1676 at their homestead by natives. He was an elected official and contributor to the construction of the Old Ship Church of Hingham the oldest church in the United States to be used continuously for worship.
Dr. Joseph Jacobs (1707-1780), great-grandson of Nicholas Jacobs, and first cousin to John Hancock, is a first generation Jacob from Scituate. Schooled at Harvard, Jacobs was a substantial landowner, deacon of the 2nd Church and proprietor of Jacob’s Mill, both a saw and grist mill on Jacob’s Pond. He built the ancestral homestead in Assinippi on the Kings Highway, listed in the “History of the Town of Hanover” as “partly in Norwell, partly in Hanover”, in the mid 1700s. Jacob “was a skillful physician, a man of good talents, successful in his practice, and of respectable standing”. What structure remains of this Jacobs’ estate is now a colonial housing the nautical antiques and ship models of the Lannan Gallery on 483 Washington St. in Norwell.
Dr. Joseph Jacobs resides in the main home with his wife and children until his death in 1780. The estate is divided between his wife Mary, the heirs of his late and eldest son Elisha, and sons Nathaniel and Joseph. Dr. Jacobs, his wife, son Elisha, daughter in law and granddaughter are buried nearby the main home in the Jacobs Collamore Cemetery on Jacob’s Trial just a few steps from the door of our Gallery.
The house passed through the Jacobs family until Jacob’s wife Mary died in 1794. The purchase of the 1/8th portions of property willed to the heirs of Elisha Jacob were purchased by Revolutionary Capt. Enoch Collamore. Collamore served as sergeant in Capt. John Clapp’s company of Minutemen “for the relief of Boston” at the Lexington Alarm. He was a member of the Committee of Correspondence, and also member of the General Court. Collamore was married to Hannah Cushing, a direct descendant of two prominent and important first settler families of Hingham. On her paternal side were the Cushings, a long line of high court justices including the Hon. William (1732-1810), one of the original six associate Supreme Court justices appointed by General Washington in 1789. Hannah Cushing’s maternal side are the Lincolns where she shares 5th generation great-grandfather with Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States.
Historical accounts pertaining to Enoch Collamore suggests he was a proprietor of a tavern on the property of his home. “The History of Ridge Hill, Norwell, Massachusetts” contains the most substantial evidence of the Tavern: “With the beginning of the Old Colony Stage Coach Lines in 1800, we find the Collamore Tavern listed as one of the regular stops on route which ran from Roxbury to the Cape and the Islands” on the Boston-Plymouth Stage Road.
Also in the “History of Scituate, Massachusetts: From Its First Settlement to 1831” it is noted that “Capt. Enoch kept a well known tavern there for many years” on the Boston-Plymouth Stage Road.
Enoch and Hannah reside at the estate until their deaths in 1824, upon which the estate is divided between their three living sons John, Horace and Enoch. The homestead remains in the Collamore family for the next two generations where they referred to the property as Gilman Plain.