Anthony Eames

Sketch of the Division of Land Plots to the Early Settlers of Hingham

(Other Images Below)

Anthony Eames was born around 1595 in Fordington, Dorsetshire, England to Thomas and Millicent (Brewster) Eames.  In approximately 1615 he married Margery Pierce, also of Fordington, and they had eight children together. Anthony, his wife, and most of his children emigrated from Weymouth, England in 1634 on the ship Recovery of London, settling in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

In 1636 the Eames family moved to Hingham, Mass., around the time that Anthony became a freeman.  In 1637 he served as a representative to the Massachusetts General Court - a position he held several times up to 1661. Eames was very active in Hingham, serving as the lieutenant in the Hingham militia, setting up a corn mill near Bare Cove, serving as a town official, and assisting in the creation of boundaries between the Massachusetts and Plymouth land patents.

Eames' fame comes not from his exploits on the battlefield but rather due to a dispute between the town of Hingham and the Massachusetts colonial government.  The residents of Hingham, led by Rev. Peter Hobart, wanted the ability to make some decisions for themselves with regard to local governance.  They resented what they believed to be the interference of the Massachusetts government even on small matters, including on the town's choice of its militia captain. 

In 1644, the Hingham militia nominated Lieutenant Eames as their new captain. After sending this nomination to Boston for approval by the colonial government, the Hingham militia rescinded their appointment and instead elected Bozoan Allen.  Eames pressed for his right to become captain, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony government sided with him.  Despite this decision, eighty-one Hingham citizens continued to protest his appointment.

When the militia met for a drill session they did not inform Eames, and they ignored his commands when he joined them. They also argued with and insulted him.  The tension mounted at the meetinghouse as well.  Rev. Hobart threatened to excommunicate Eames, which would have disqualified him from serving as a town officer.  Tempers were eventually calmed, but Eames and twelve other people later left the church to form their own congregation. 

The town continued to fight the magistrates, even going so far as to initiate an unsuccessful impeachment of Lieutenant Governor John Winthop.  In 1645 the residents of Hingham lost the battle against the magistrates and the eighty-one petitioners were fined for court costs.  This was the first of many battles between Hingham, led by Peter and Joshua Hobart, and Massachusetts Bay Colony’s (Lieutenant) Governor John Winthrop.

Despite the antagonism toward him, Anthony Eames remained in Hingham until approximately 1650.  He and his wife then moved to Marshfield, Mass. after purchasing a house and a plot of land in joint ownership with their son Mark. Eames lived the rest of his life in Marshfield, and continued serving in local government as town moderator and as a member of the council of war.  He died in June of 1686.