George Lincoln

Photograph of George Lincoln

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George Lincoln was born in Hingham, Massachusetts on September 23, 1822 to George and Jane (Loring) Lincoln.  His father was a sailmaker at the harbor and one of the first seven Methodists to live in Hingham.  Young George attended Derby Academy, graduating at the age of fourteen and proceeded to work in a store in Boston.  He then went on to live and manage a store in Provincetown for four years.  He came back to Hingham in 1843 and married Mercy Hall, with whom he had nine children.  He also opened a general store on Bridge Road.

George Lincoln is renowned for his fascination with all things related to Hingham, chronicling the history of the town in published works and in personal diaries. He and Fearing Burr spent many years poring over documents to publish the book titled The Town of Hingham in the Late Civil War in 1876.  The book included a general history as well as information about different regiments, types of enlistment, the draft, aid received by families, and the names of those whose served in the military.  He also wrote articles and/or obituaries every Thursday and Friday for the Hingham Journal.  In the 1870s he became a Justice of the Peace, a position that gave him access to more local government records.

George's great historical work was his 1893 publication entitled The History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts.  It was originally published in three volumes and included chapters on such historical topics as military history, geology, animal life, plant life, ecclesiastical history, and lawyers in and around the town.  The publication also contained an extensive genealogy of Hingham families.  There were entries for individuals born as early as the sixteenth century, with all available information on each person's birth, death, profession, marriage, and children.  It has become one of the most important and trusted resources for the history of the town and its residents.

George was also a great observer of life in Hingham.  His diaries include his impressions of important events not only for the town of Hingham, but also in the lives of individual residents and families.  He wrote about topics such as town anniversary celebrations, holiday events, politics, deaths, births, marriages, and crimes.

Outside of his roles as historian and shop-keeper, George Lincoln was known to be a socialite.  He could regularly be found traveling to Boston to visit friends, attending parties in and around Hingham, viewing local theater performances, and chatting with his friends at club, society, and church outings.  A prominent member of the Hingham Agricultural and Horticultural Society, he worked as the secretary for the annual Society fair and exhibition.   In addition, George taught violin lessons, served as a lay preacher, belonged to the Tree Association, and sang in the Hingham Choral Society. 

Family was important to George, and he spent a great deal of time caring for his children and grandchildren.  On the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and other holidays, the large Lincoln family came together for celebrations.  George was also known to play his violin and flute when feeling depressed after the death of a family member or overjoyed at the birth of a new generation.  He pursued all of his varied interests until his death in 1909.