Bidwell Lore – The Wives of Agrippa Hull

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 147! This week we will share a short post about the wives of Agrippa Hull.  And we are so excited that our 2023 season has begun! Check out all of our upcoming programs and get your tickets HERE. 

Portrait of Agrippa Hull, unknown artist, unknown date. Acc# 47.002. Courtesy of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives. Painted from an 1845 daguerreotype taken by Anson Clark in West Stockbridge, also in the collection of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives.

The Wives of Agrippa Hull
Rick Wilcox, 2022

Agrippa Hull, it is believed, was first married about 1795, to Jane Darby, who had fled her enslaver in Lenox and had gone to Stockbridge. She was freed with the help of Theodore Sedgwick. Agrippa and Jane had two sons: James, who died at age 27 on November 27, 1827, and Asaph, who died September 5, 1836, at age 34. Their third child, a daughter named Charlotte, survived and married.

“Agrippa’s older sister Margaret (Peggy), married Caesar Freeman at Great Barrington in 1783. [1] Perhaps he is the same Caesar, the ‘servant child’ of Nathaniel Ball, who was baptized in the Stockbridge Church in June of 1772.” [2] You may recall from the previous installment of Bidwell Lore that, according to Emily Piper’s book, the above mentioned Caesar was “able to contribute to [Bathsehba’s] comfort and support, but refuses.” Bathsheba was Agrippa’s mother and Caesar’s Mother-in-law.

We do not have a date for the death of Jane Darby, but we do know that Agrippa Hull and Margaret Timbrook were married on February 4, 1813. Their wedding was performed by the Rev. E. G.  Swift, the minister of the Congregational Society of Stockbridge, and took place at the meeting house that was located at what is now North Church Street and Old Meeting House Road. Marriage records for 1812, 1813, and one for 1815 indicate the Rev. Dr. Stephen West performed only one marriage ceremony during those years, as his health was declining, and Swift had been co-ministering at the church.

A grassy field in winter, with pine and deciduous trees in the back ground
North Church Street in Stockbridge as it looks today on a lot near the intersection with Meetinghouse Road

Agrippa’s 2nd wife “Margaret was born in Great Barrington, about 1782, and was abandoned as a bundled baby to an elderly couple by a man who was said to have been told to drown her. ‘The town’ found a caregiver for her, but there is no record as to where this took place. She came to Stockbridge at age 18, joined the Stockbridge church in May of 1804, and married Agrippa on Feb. 14, 1813.” [3]

On Nov. 11, 1843, Agrippa Hull wrote his will in which he left his estate to his second wife, Margaret. If Margaret remarried during her life then Agrippa’s estate would pass to his daughter, Charlotte Potter. She was his only remaining child and the wife of a man named Morris Potter. Agrippa died about five years later, on May 21, 1848, age 89.

According to Emily Piper:
“It is not generally recognized that Agrippa and Jane [Darby] had a daughter. The Potters were a prominent family in the western part of Pittsfield. William, Morris’ father, was a ‘blood relative of the Mohawk Indians.’ But in the custom of the time the family was called ‘colored’ or ‘Negro.’ Morris, born about 1800, was a ‘strong and stalwart husbandman’ in Spunky Hallow’ He and Charlotte were married in Stockbridge on Feb. 3, 1822. In 1846 Morris led a committee to build the Second Congregational Church in Pittsfield, where the Rev. Samuel Harrison would become pastor in 1850. Charlotte wrote a will naming two nephews of her husband, should she inherit from her father. However, Morris, ‘his wife Deliah’ as she called herself in this case, and Margaret Hull sell  four acres in Stockbridge in Nov. 1849, and another four acres in August of 1851; this time only Margaret and Morris sign the deed.”

Next week we will bring Barnabas and Mary Bidwell into the story 

1. Arthur C.M. Kelly, transcriber, Remarkable Records of Rev. Gideon Bostwick, 1770-1793, Great Barrington, Massachusetts (Rhinebeck, NY, Kinship, 1988) p. 100. Agrippa Hull’s Landholdings, Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives, Agrippa Hull Collection.
2. The Family of Agrippa Hull, Emily S. Piper, Berkshire Genealogist, volume 22, number 1, page 4. As Emily had researched the church baptismal records in Northampton, so I suspect she is correct.
3. The Family of Agrippa Hull, Emily S. Piper, Berkshire Genealogist, Volume 22, Number 1, page 4. I looked at marriage records for 1813 and thought the date written was Feb 4, 1813. I would however bow to Emily’s superior skill as a researcher.