Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy --- Go to Genealogy Page for Hugh Stone --- Go to Genealogy Page for Hannah Foster

Notes for Hugh Stone and Hannah Foster

Hugh Stone and Hannah Foster were ancestors of president Chester Arthur. [1]

Historical Sketches of Andover states, [2]

The termination of one wedding contract of old Andover was tragic. "In 1689, died Hannah wife of Hugh --- - murdered by her husband April 20, 1689." In respect to this, Savage's "Genealogy " says: - Hugh --- Andover m. 15 Oct- 1667 Hannah Foster perhaps d. of Andrew. had John born 1668 and others ... from the records we find the death of his wife 20 Apr. 1689 murdered by her husband, whence it is safe to conclude that he was insane." (It is not known that there are any descendants in the town, yet to avoid an erroneous connection with names now existing, but not related, the name is suppressed.)

Cotton Mather, in the 11 Magnalia, gives a detailed account of the execution of one of this name, undoubtedly the same man, for murdering his wife, and says that the particulars were told him by a minister, who attended the prisoner on the scaffold. Although such details are not, ordinarily, pleasant or profitable reading, still, forming as this does a part of the famous "Magnalia " of Mather, it cannot properly be passed by. The account here presented is much abbreviated: "One Hugh - upon a Quarrel between himself and his wife about selling a Piece of Land having some Words, as they were walking together on a certain Evening very barbarously reached a stroke at her Throat with a sharp knife and by that one stroke fetched away the Soul of her who had made him a Father of several children and would have brought yet another to him if she had lived a few weeks longer in the world. The wretched man was too soon surprised by his Neighbors to be capable of denying that Fact and so he pleaded Guilty upon his Tryal. There was a Minister that walked with him to his execution; and I shall repeat the Principall Passages of the Discourse between them in which the Reader may find or make something useful to himself, whatever it were to the Poor man who was more immediately concerned in it." The conversation of the minister with him on the scaffold is repeated, in which he inquires if the prisoner is now prepared to stand before the tribunal of God, and on receiving an answer that he having repented of his sin, hopes that he is, the clergyman examined him still further to ascertain whether he had repented of the sin of Adam, for which said he you "deserved to be destroyed as soon as you first came into this world." The prisoner seeming to have doubts, or not to be quite clear on this point, the minister instructed him and demonstrated that he had broken every commandment of the Decalogue. Going on to inquire what led to this commission of murder, the prisoner made answer: - " It was Contention in my Family. I had been used to something of Religion, and I was once careful about the Worship of God, not only with my Family but in Secret also, But upon Contention between me and my wife I left off the ways of God and you see what I am come to." The prisoner from the scaffold made an address to the company: - "Young men and maids. Observe the Rule of Obedience to your Parents; and Servants to your Masters, according to the Will of God and to do the will of your Masters: If you take up wicked ways, you set open a Gate to sins to dead in bigger afterwards. Thou canst not do anything but GOD WILL SEE thee, though thou thinkest thou shalt not be catched ... "O young woman that is married and young man, look on me here! Be sure in that solemn engagement you are obliged to one another. Marriage is an ordinance of God: have a care of breaking that bond of Marriage Union. If the Husband provoke his wife and cause a Difference, he sins against God and so does she in such carriage; for she is bound to be an obedient wife. "0 you Parents that give your children in Marriage remember what I have to say. You must take notice when you give them in marriage you give them freely to the Lord ... Here is this murderer; look upon him, and see how many are come with their eyes to behold this man that abhors himself before God ... There are here a great many young People and 0 Lord that they may be thy servants ... I will tell you that I wish I never had had the opportunity to do such a murder. If you say when a Person has provoked you 'I will kill him,' tis a thousand to one but the next time you will do it ... He then intimates that it was under the effect of strong drink that he gave way to his passion : - "When thou hast thy head full of drink, remembrance of God is out of thy heart. I have cause to cry out and be ashamed of it, that I am guilty of it because I gave way to that sin more than any other and then God did leave me to practice wickedness and to murder that dear woman whom I should have taken a great deal of contentment in; which if I had done, I should not have been here to suffer this Death." The author of the "Magnalia" adds this brief description of the melancholy end of the life of this first murderer in Andover: - "After this he was by the prayers of a minister then present recommended unto the divine mercy, which being done, the poor man poured out a few broken ejaculations, in the midst of which he was turned over into the Eternity which we leave him in."


[1] Gary Boyd Roberts, Julie Helen Otto, Ancestors of American Presidents (1995), 49-50, [GoogleBooks].

[2] Sarah Loring Bailey, Historical Sketches of Andover (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1880), 79, [HathiTrust], [GoogleBooks].