John Hull (merchant)

Captain John Hull (18 December 1624 – 1 October 1683) silversmith, goldsmith, Mintmaster and Treasurer for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hull was born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire England. He married Judith Quincy (1626–1695), daughter of Judith Pares (d. 1654) and Edmund Quincy, progenitors of the prestigious Quincy family. His nephew, Daniel Quincy (1651–1690) was an apprentice to Hull. Daniel Quincy was great grandfather to Abigail Smith Adams; first Second Lady of the United States and the second First Lady of the United States.[1]

John Hull
1st Treasurer and Mint Master
In office
Preceded bynone
Personal details
Born(1624-12-18)December 18, 1624
Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England
DiedOctober 1, 1683(1683-10-01) (aged 58)
Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Cause of deathunknown
Resting placeGranary Burial Ground Hull Tomb
SpouseJudith Quincy Hull
ChildrenElizabeth, Mary, John, Hannah Quincy Hull (Sewall) and Samuel
RelativesQuincy political family
EducationBoston Latin School
Pine Tree Coinage by John Hull


Hull was "the earliest scholar who can now be named of Philemon Pormort, whose school, the only one in Boston, the first school of public instruction in Massachusetts " (Boston Latin School).[2] "On May 11, 1647 the twenty two year old John Hull married Judith Quincy, daughter of Edmund Quincy (1602-1636) and Judith Quincy. In his diary John Hull wrote that he had been married in his own house, his exact words were, "Mr. John Winthrop married me and my wife Judith, in my own house,..." (Hull, Private Diary, p. 143)." Hull's father Robert Hull married the widow of Edmund Quincy, Judith Pares.

Hull MintEdit

He spoke numerous languages including Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Starting in 1663, Hull was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts . First as an Ensign, Lieutenant (1664) and Captain (1671-1678). "Hull's distinction, however, goes far beyond his work as silversmith. He became ultimately the leading merchant in Boston, with dealings in all parts of the world and was authorized by the Massachusetts legislature to make the earliest coinage of the colony, the pine tree shilling which, as it turned out, was in complete violation of the laws of England."[3]

Robert Hull received a "great allotment" in 1636 and passed the property to his son John. It was here on Summer Street that the "Hull Mint" (United States Mint ) was located.[4] His partner at the "Hull Mint" was Robert Sanderson.[5] Inscription: "The Hull Mint - Near this site stood first mint in the British colonies of North America. Prior to 1652, the Massachusetts financial system was based on bartering and foreign coinage. The scarcity of coin currency was a problem for the growth of the New England economy. On May 27, 1652, the Massachusetts General Court appointed John Hull, a local silversmith, to be Boston's mint master without notifying or seeking permission from the British government. The Hull Mint produced several denominations of silver coinage, including the pine tree shilling, for over 30 years until the political and economic situation made operating the mint no longer practical."

Charles II of England deemed the "Hull Mint" high treason in the United Kingdom which had a punishment of Hanging, drawing and quartering. "On April 6, 1681, Edward Randolph (colonial administrator) petitioned the king, informing him the colony was still pressing their own coins which he saw as high treason and believed it was enough to void the charter. He asked that a writ of quo warranto (a legal action requiring the defendant to show what authority they have for exercising some right, power, or franchise they claim to hold) be issued against Massachusetts for the violations."[6] On June 4, 1683, among many "articles against the Governor and Company of Massachusetts", item one was "They have coined money with their own impress."[7]

Since Robert Hull's Allotment of 30 acres, (#96 on "Plan of Boston showing existing ways and owners on December 25, 1635 Creator: Lamb, George,[ca. 1928] Boston Public Library; Norman B. Leventhal Map Center) John Hull greatly expanded his property on Summer and Washington.[8] Over the years C.F. Hovey and Co., J. C. Penney and as of 2020, Macy's is in the exact location of the "Hull Mint" (Summer Street (Boston).

1635 BendellsCove Boston map byGeorgeLamb

Public Service of the Massachusetts Bay ColonyEdit

In his later life Hull devoted all of his time and most of his fortune to the public service of the colony. At the time of King Philip's War, when the colony was all but bankrupt and the devastations of the Indians threatened to wipe out whole sections of the population, Hull personally financed the only military resistance which could be effectively raised. He was never repaid.[9] The population of the Pilgrims/settlers then was 65,000. "Hull demanded that his associates operate under the same principles. He commanded his ship captains to resist their occupational temptations: mistreating common sailors, swearing, dealing on the Sabbath, neglecting worship on board, making a fast bargain, unloading damaged goods on unsuspecting buyers, or trading in slaves. [10]

Hull Street in Boston is named for him, because he once owned the land there.[11] "On the south-west about 330 feet it is bounded by Hull street, which derived its name from John Hull, the famous mint-master, through whose pasture it was laid out; on the north-east, it is bounded by Marshal place, about 120 feet, on the north-east'again, about 127 feet, by private property; and lastly, on the South East, about 123 feet, also by private property, and the Hull street Primary School. The oldest portion, that which has been generally called the North Burial Ground, is situated at the northeasterly part of the present enclosure, and is the ground concerning which the following order was passed, Nov. 5th, 1660"

Harvard College BenefactorEdit

He originally owned Longwood Historic District (Massachusetts), Muddy River (Massachusetts), a 350 acre farm passed down to his daughter Hannah Hull (Sewell) Brookline MA. Hull, having known John Harvard (clergyman) was one of Harvard College's earliest benefactors giving 500 acres, 700 £ (pounds) and a library to Harvard College (Harvard Library) and a founding member Old South Church (Third Church) Boston, 1669. The town of Hull, Massachusetts is named for John Hull.[12]

"Mr. Hull died Oct. 1, 1683, and was buried in his own tomb in the Granary Burying Ground. Reverend Samuel Willard preached his funeral sermon from Numbers xxiii : io, " Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." Among other things he said : " This town hath lost a good benefactor; this church an honorable member; his company a worthy captain; his family a loving and kind husband and father."[13]

The (Tomb) slab is inscribed : —

"JUDGE SEWALL'S Tomb. Now the property of his Heirs. PHILIP R. RIDGWAY 1810. RALPH HUNTINGTON. 1812 N» 185 Ralph Huntington."


  1. ^ "Massachusetts Historical Society: Quincy, Wendell, Holmes, and Upham Family Papers, 1633-1910". Archived from the original on 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
  2. ^ "The diaries of John Hull, mint-master and treasurer of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, from the original manuscript in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, with a memoir of the author". Boston. 1857.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-09-21. Retrieved 2020-08-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Robert Hull, the father of John, arrived in Boston Nov . 7, 1635 . He was admitted a freeman March 9, 1637 . He had a house - lot and " great allotment ” as early as December, 1636 . Ile was one of the Antinomians who were disarmed Nov . 20, 1637 . His house - lot is de scribed in the Book of Possessions ” as “ one house and garden bounded with John Hurd South, the High Street West, Job Judkin North and Gamaliel Waite East . " This lot lay on the easterly side of Washing ton Street, formerly Newbury Street, between Summer and Bedford Streets . The lots, by the “ Book of Possessions, " were six in num ber between these two streets . Beginning at the north, the first lot was Elizabeth Purton ' s, afterwards Robert Noone ' s; second lot, Job Julkin ' s; third, Robert Ilull ' s; furth, Jolin Hurd ' s; fifth, William Plantayne ' s, or Blanton ' s; sixth, Thomas Wheeler ' s . The lots were proximately four rods wide and sixteen rods deep .
  5. ^ "The Hull Mint - Boston, MA - Massachusetts Historical Markers on". Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  6. ^ "Why Was the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter Revoked?". 14 January 2020.
  7. ^ "America and West Indies: June 1683 | British History Online".
  8. ^ "Plan of Boston showing existing ways and owners on December 25, 1635 - Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center".
  9. ^ "A Peculiar Stamp of Our Owne": The Massachusetts Mint and the Battle over Sovereignty", Jonathan Barth.
  10. ^ Providence in the Life ofJohn Hull: Puritanism and Commerce in Massachusetts Bay
  11. ^ "Boston 1676 Created 1920c MHS Digital Image 3850 Massachusetts Historical Atlas". Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  12. ^ "In 1652 John Hull Built a Fortune – One Shilling at a Time". 25 April 2016.
  13. ^ R. R. R (1893). "John Hull, the Coiner of the Pine Tree Shillings" (PDF). American Journal of Numismatics, and Bulletin of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society. 27 (3): 49–54. JSTOR 43585298.

Further readingEdit

  • "JOHN HULL, THE COINER OF THE PINE TREE SHILLINGS" Author(s): R. R. R., Source: American Journal of Numismatics, and Bulletin of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, JANUARY, 1893, Vol. 27, No. 3 (JANUARY, 1893), pp. 49–54
  • 1635 Map of Boston MA - Property Owners

External linksEdit