Tristram was born circa 1624, probably in Somerset, England, and came to America with his father in 1635. In 1643 he married Blanche (____). He was living in Yarmouth at that time and was enrolled and mustered in the little army of which Miles Standish was "Captain-General." Prior to 1648, he moved to Barnstable.
Evidently he was bred to a sea-faring career, for he owned a ship named The Catch, was part owner of the bark Hopewell, and frequently made long sea voyages. Customs entries show that he was engaged to a considerable extent in trade with the West Indies. Capt. Hull when "on shore" took a lively interest in local affairs affecting the well-being of Barnstable, was treated with special considerations by his fellow townsmen, and unhesitatingly performed the multifarious duties expected in those days of prominent and public spirited citizens.
The records of Barnstable show that Tristram frequently served on juries, was one of the town dignitaries appointed to wait upon the Assembly Committee concerning the town charter, took a leading part in the purchase of town lands from the Indians, served one year as constable, and during the last six years of his life was a leading member of the town board of selectmen. In the government's fanatical and inhuman persecution of Quakers, his sympathies were with the latter, and he boldly rendered them assistance and succor whenever and wherever occasion offered. For this he was subjected to much annoyance and heavy fines, but there is nothing to indicate that this made him change his course. In spite of the government's unjust and cruel attitude toward the Quakers, or rather because of it, several of his children and many of their descendants publicly espoused the Quaker faith, and some of them become prominent leaders in the denomination.
Capt. Hull died at Barnstable, leaving a large estate for one of his age and times. His will is dated December 30, 1666 and was proved on March 12, following. (Tristram died February 22, 1667.) In the inventory of his estate, in addition to the lands and ships mentioned, were 36 head of cattle assessed at £118, 5 shillings; cash £105, and due the estate, exclusive of an undefined amount "in hands of the Indians", £300. His will provides that his son Joseph shall have the homestead and lands attached and six acres more; that his wife Blanche shall have the use of new portion of house and £150; that his three daughters shall each have £100; that his son John shall have a certain lot and £30; that Robert Davis shall have £3, and that the residuary estate be divided equally, share and share alike, among his wife and children. A short time after his death his widow, Blance was married to a Capt. William Hedge, who was old enough to have been her father, and from whom she soon separated.
Blanch is frequently named on the records as a woman whose reputation was not creditable to her herself, her family or her friends.
The law put the onus on a woman to cry out for help if she was being propositioned against her will. In March 1656 John Gorum was fined forty shillings "for unseemly carriage toward Blanche Hull at an unseasonable time, being in the night." Blanche Hull was fined fifty shillings "for not crying out when she was assaulted by John Gorum in unseemly carriage towards her." Both Gorum and Blanche were married at this time, Gorum to Desire Howland, eldest daughter of John Howland and his wife, Elizabeth Tilley Howland, and Blanche to Tristram Hull. The court evidently considered Blanche to have been a willing participant rather than a victim.
Not all desertion ended in divorce, and it was rare for a wife to be cut off in her husband's will, but when Captain William Hedges of Yarmouth drew up his will in 1670, he left his second wife, Blanche Hull, widow of Tristram Hull, only a token twelve pence, "full eleven pence more than she deserved". And "also what I have received of hersÉshall be returned to her again," because she had deserted him.
Please send e-mail to Sam Behling.
See lineage of Hull Family
Read the Biography of Tristram's father, Rev. Joseph Hull
Read the Biography of Tristram's sister, Elizabeth Hull Heard
Return to Story Page