Capt. William Hamblin & Amanda Bearse

My 3rd-great-grandfather, Capt. William Hamblin, son of Timothy and Rebecca (Bacon) Hamblin, was born 13 June 1813 in Hyannis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 26 May 1893. He married Amanda Bearse, who was born 27 September 1810 in Barnstable (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 13 May 1890, daughter of Ebenezer Parker and Susanna (Baxter) Bearse.

William was a master mariner, who died of heart disease. Amanda was a homemaker. They lie buried in the Baptist Church Cemetery, on Main St. in Hyannis. William’s will was written in 1890, and a copy of his signature is on a document from his estate, in possession of his 3rd-great-grandson, Richard Kelley. Probate was not settled until 35 years after his death, on 12 June 1928.

Amanda & William were the parents of six children:

i. Capt. Timothy Francis Hamblin, mariner, born 16 July 1839 in Hyannis, died there 27 September 1912. He married 12 June 1862 in Barnstable, Sarah C. Cannon, who was born in April 1840 and died about 1930, daughter of John and Ruth (Crowell) Cannon. The following is from the Hyannis Patriot, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 21 September 1908, page 2:

Capt. Timothy Hamblin
Timothy Hamblin came from old English stock. His great-grandfather came to Hyannis from Plymouth in 1745 and his grandfather, Timothy Hamblin, was born in Hyannis in 1775, and married Rebecca Bacon, sister of the late Owen Bacon, who had eight children–Simeon, William, Hiram and Joel, Betsy, wife of James Snow, Dorinda, wife of Nehemiah Baker, Sarah, wife of Capt. Philip Burgess, and Rebecca, wife of Joseph P. Bearse, all now deceased.

Timothy Hamblin, the subject of this sketch, was born in Hyannis on Ocean street in the 1839, son of William. He commenced going to sea with his father, who was skipper of many vessels in the fishing business. Later Timothy went on coasting vessels and was in the schooner Elizabeth B., previous to her going to the gold regions of California in 1849.

The EB., on her voyage to the gold fields, was commanded by Capt. Almoran Bacon, who owned an interest in her and was sailing master. Several of our smartest captains, who were masters of the famous clipper ships at that time, Capt. Frank Bearse, master whip Winged Arrow, Allen H. Bearse, of the Radiant, Orlando Bassett, John H. Frost, James H. Lothrop and Daniel B. Hallett were passengers. The vessel stayed there some two years, then the party disbanded, and Capt. Bacon brought the schooner home, the voyage being not a very successful one.

Later Mr. Hamblin was in the government employ carrying supplies to soldiers, to Wilmington, N.C., from New York, so he has seen something of the world. The Hamblins were always noted for their shrewdness and knew how to save money. Later Capt. Simeon was master of many fine vessels and made big money. At the time Mr. F.C. Tobey failed, he, like many others, deposited money in his hands supposing it better than any bank. We believe he paid 50 cents on the dollar, but Capt. Hamblin waited a short time and got the whole. Capt. Simeon Hamblin always lived on Ocean street, also Hiram and William. Mr. Roscoe Hamblin, his son, who was in Taunton many years in business, has a nice new house near the old homestead. The Hamblin’s were all branch pilots and knew every inch of water in Lewis Bay. “They say” that Tim can hold flaxseed in his hand and not let it slip through his fingers and hold on to a quarter of a dollar and make the eagle squeal.

ii. Capt. William Nelson Hamblin (my 2nd-great-grandfather), born about 1844, died 19 May 1883 in West Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Anna Eliza Baker, who was born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, and died 2 December 1927, daughter of Benjamin and Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker. Anna & William were the parents of four children.

iii. Simeon Albert Hamblin, born 20 January 1847 in Hyannis, died 14 March 1927 in Barnstable.

iv. Ebenezer Porter Hamblin, born about 1849, probably died before the 1870 census.

v. Eliza Anna Hamblin, born 8 September 1853 in Hyannis, died 28 January 1935 in Quincy (Norfolk) Massachusetts. She married (as her first husband) 12 November 1873 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts, Francis P. Kelley, who was born 28 July 1848 in West Dennis, and died 12 September 1874 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, four days after the birth of his son. He was the son of Francis and Paulina (Sears) Kelley. Eliza married (as her second husband) 21 January 1879 in Dennis, Marcus Bradley Baker, who was born 10 November 1843 in Dennis and died 21 October 1927 in Hyannis, widower of Emily (Crowell) Baker and son of Sylvester and Charlotte (Eldridge) Baker. Eliza & Marcus were the parents of four children.

vi. Harriet Amanda “Hattie” Hamblin, born 20 January 1856, died 18 April 1902. She married (as his third wife) 2 September 1880 in Barnstable, Isaac William Chase, who was born 8 November 1851 in Dennis, and died 30 May 1921 in Rhode Island, son of William Mason and Irene (Crowell) Chase. Harriet & Isaac were the parents of a daughter.

Last Revised: 2 March 2021

West Dennis Cemetery

West Dennis Cemetery at 55 Fisk Street in West Dennis Village, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is where my 2nd-great-grandparents, Capt. William Nelson & Anna Eliza (Baker) Hamblin and my 3rd-great-grandparents, Benjamin & Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker, lie buried. I don’t know much about the latter — yet. This cemetery was once known as the Crowell Family Burying Ground. I do have Crowells on my family tree — in fact, Benjamin’s mother was a Crowell — so I imagine returning here for more ancestor hunting in the future.

10.17.17 ~ West Dennis Cemetery

Benjamin Baker, son of Aaron and Achsah (Crowell) Baker, was born 31 May 1821 in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, and died there 31 July 1893. He married 28 December 1843 at Harwich, Massachusetts, Eliza R. Eldridge, who was born 3 September 1823 in Harwich, and died 3 June 1901 in Dennis, Massachusetts, daughter of Leonard and Nancy (—) Eldridge.

I have only been able to find two daughters for this couple:

1. Anna Eliza “Annie” Baker (my 2nd-great-grandmother), born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, died 2 December 1927 in Yarmouth. She married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Capt. William Nelson Hamblin, who was born about 1844 and died 19 May 1883 in West Dennis, son of Capt. William and Amanda (Bearse) Hamblin. Annie & William were the parents of three children.

2. Susan Maria Baker, born 20 July 1849 in Dennis, died there 26 September 1933. She married  31 January 1869 in Dennis, Ebenezer Ellis, who was born there  17 July 1846 and died about 1930, son of Ross Gifford and Thankful (Joy) Ellis. Susan & Ebenezer were the parents of a son.

Many sea captains from Dennis rest here. I was moved by the epitaph of Zenas C. Kelley (1812-1853, not a relative as far as I know):

For him break not the green turf
Nor turn the dewy sod
His dust shall rest beneath the surf
His spirit with its God

10.17.17 ~ West Dennis Cemetery

Information on Annie (Baker) & William Hamblin, my 2nd-great-grandparents, and their children can be found on this previous post: A Sea Captain.

10.17.17 ~ West Dennis Cemetery

10.17.17 ~ West Dennis Cemetery

This couple’s gravestone was located in the same plot. I found a connection through their Baker lines, which would make Seth Baker and Benjamin Baker fifth cousins. I suspect they are more closely related through another line. Jerusha’s maiden name is Wixon. When I was researching the land records at the Barnstable County Couthouse I found a pair of Wixon sisters sold land to my 2nd-great-grandfather, Martin Edward Thompson in the 1800s. More clues!

Capt. William Nelson Hamblin & Annie Eliza Baker

Annie Eliza Baker (1845-1927), center front, and her three children:
William Nelson Hamblin (1883-1958), Amanda Eliza Hamblin (1879-1966),
and Benjamin Francis Hamblin (1873-1955).

My 2nd-great-grandfather, Capt. William Nelson Hamblin, son of William and Amanda (Bearse) Hamblin, was born about 1844 in West Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 19 May 1883. He married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Annie Eliza Baker, who was born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, and died 2 December 1927, daughter of Benjamin and Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker.

Hamblin home ~ 123 Fisk St., West Dennis

William was a sea captain and Annie was a homemaker. On the 1880 census we find the young family living in Dennis, William & Annie with children Benny, age 6, and Amanda, 9 months old.

William died of heart disease when he was only 39 years old, six weeks before the birth of his last son, who was named after him. Annie was a widow for 44 years. In the 1900 census we find her living with her mother Eliza and her son William in Dennis in Eliza’s house. In the 1910 census Annie is head of the household in Dennis, living with her son William, her daughter Amanda, and her granddaughter Emma, age 3, Amanda’s daughter. (Amanda’s husband was a sea captain and presumably out at sea.) By the time of the 1920 census Annie was living with her son William, daughter-in-law Sadie, and grandson Gordon on Main St. in Yarmouth.

William & Annie lie buried next to each other in West Dennis Cemetery, not far from their home on Fisk Street.

10.17.17 ~ West Dennis Cemetery

~ HUSBAND ~
WILLIAM N. HAMBLIN
Died
May 19, 1883
Aged
39 Years.
We hope to meet thee in Heaven.

10.17.17 ~ West Dennis Cemetery

~ WIFE ~
ANNIE E. HAMBLIN
Died
Dec. 2. 1927.
Aged
82 Years
Gone but not forgotten.

Annie & William were the parents of four children:

i. an unnamed son, born 23 June 1869 in West Dennis and died there 4 July 1869.

Benjamin Francis Hamblin
(1873-1955)

ii. Benjamin Francis “Benny” Hamblin, born 23 November 1873 in West Dennis, died 26 October 1955. He married 30 November 1899 in West Bridgewater (Plymouth) Massachusetts, Lillian Wright Pratt, who was born 16 September 1872 and died 20 May 1946 in Abington (Plymouth) Massachusetts, daughter of Ira A. and Lucy Ann (Hathaway) Pratt. Benjamin & Lillian were the parents of a daughter, Ruth Vivian Hamblin, who married Arthur John Coburn. Ruth was an only child, just like my grandmother, her cousin. Grandmother told me that she and Ruth considered themselves sisters more than cousins and were very close. Ruth’s husband, Arthur, made the cherry magazine rack that my grandparents, John & Emma White, gave Tim & me for a wedding present.

iii. Amanda Eliza Hamblin (my great-grandmother), born 2 August 1879 in Dennis, died 6 July 1966 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts. She married 1 February 1900 in Dennis, Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson, who was born 29 March 1875 in South Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts and died 13 July 1965 in Dennis, son of Martin Edward and Elisabeth Emma (Freeman) Thompson. Amanda & Martin were the parents of Emma Freeman Thompson, my grandmother and Ruth’s cousin.

iv. William Nelson Hamblin, born 1 July 1883 in Dennis, two months after the death of his father, died 31 December 1958. He married Sadie Louise Crowell, who was born 11 September 1884 in Dennis, and died 23 March 1972 in Yarmouth (Barnstable) Massachusetts. Apparently the younger William did not follow his father to a life at sea. William & Sadie were the parents of two sons: Gordon and Francis Hamblin were the much-talked-about cousins of my grandmother.

Gordon & Francis Hamblin
photo by Milton Moore

The following is from the Sunday Cape Cod Times, June 22, 1980 article by Craig Little, pg 13, South Yarmouth:

Hamblin’s Garage in Bass River is a living museum of roadside retailing, a dusty monument to the time when gas stations were stucco and red tile, not shiny plastic and chrome floating on a sea of jet black seal-coated asphalt.

Like an archeological dig, the inside of the gas station has strata of artifacts. Peel back a tire sealant ad from the ’50s and you find a tobacco ad from the ’40s. Peel that back, and underneath is a flyer from the ’30s. Time stands still here.

But after 66 years of pumping gas and changing flats here, the Hamblins are selling out. “Don’t wanna die here,” says Francis, the talkative Hamblin who acts as the front man, pumping gas, taking care of the candy store and making small talk with the customers.

His brother, Gordon, takes care of the mechanical work (“We don’t do any big jobs like transmission work or rebuilding engines. We do mufflers, brakes, tune-ups, exhausts. Yep, we do all that”). He’s been there since 1934, when he was right out of high school. Francis didn’t arrive until after World War II, when the brothers took over the business from their father, W. H. Hamblin.

Their father began selling Mobil gasoline from 55-gallon oil drums mounted in his Main Street front yard in 1914, when Main Street was still Route 28. Ten years later, when it was clear that cars were here to stay, he had the garage built a few dozen yards from his house. Even in 1935, when Route 28 was rerouted to the north and Main Street was relegated to a scenic bypass, there was enough business to keep the station going.

Even in 1967, when a shiny new Mobil station was built down by the Bass River Bridge, the Hamblins managed to survive, by switching to Arco. “That’s comin’ too close,” philosophizes Francis.

W.H. Hamblin bought the little candy store and moved it to the property in 1928 so his wife could sell ice cream. Now window boxes with geraniums decorate the outside, hanging below the old wood-framed glass display cases.

The more you look around, the more you wonder why antique dealers didn’t clean out the Hamblins years ago. “Oh, I got some baseball cards of Babe Ruth and them at home. Must be worth $40 or $50 apiece,” says Francis, who knows by now that an old thing gets more valuable as it gets older.

Probably the newest thing in the garage… a rototiller destined to carve out a garden for Francis in New Hampshire. “Just bought a place there last year,” he says. “Hope to have a good-sized garden.”

After Francis leaves, Gordon will stay on in the house behind the shop. He’ll keep on driving school buses for the town, something he’s done for years. For years he’s also serviced the South Yarmouth’s post office’s fleet of mail vans, working on them on an outdoor hydraulic lift installed in 1930. “Oh, I dunno, I guess they got about 18, 19, or 20 of ’em,” he says from under his cap, worn at an angle, Rootie Kazootie style. “I work on all of ’em — they usually get ’em down here about 5 in the evenin’. They need ’em in the day.”

The Hamblins charge between $5 and $6 an hour for labor. It doesn’t seem to bother them that other garages get three times that for the same work. “Because of the war, our father started closing Sundays,” says Francis. “He liked it so well he never got back to the seven-day week. We stay pretty busy, ‘specially at inspection time. Most of ’em is repeats.”

“Yep, been an inspection station since I was a kid,” adds Gordon, twisting a final spark plug into place on Silva’s Mustang. “As far as I know, since the early ’20s.” Behind the car, in a corner next to a pile of old boxes capped with a dusty pith helmet, is a sagging easy chair where Gordon can sneak a break during his long days.

“A lot of people come in to have work done on their old cars,” Francis says, nodding toward the 1936 Packard that someone dropped off in the back lot. “They hate to see us go. Oh, we’ve just gotten up in age and want to take it a little easier. Anyway, fella that wants to buy the place says he’s gonna try to keep it as a landmark… won’t do much modernizing. Geez, hope they pass those papers.”

Last Revised: 20 February 2021