Captain Hugh Hill House // 1780

Hugh Hill was born in 1740 in Ireland. At the age of fifteen, he left home to join the English navy as a cabin boy. Without any formal schooling, Hill managed to acquire a rudimentary school education through the help of sailors. Upon leaving the naval service, Hill went to Marblehead, Massachusetts, where he married Hannah Goudy in 1766 at the age of 25. Not long afterward he moved to Beverly to the north where he found work as a mariner. In 1775, he was named captain of the privateering vessel Pilgrim by the Cabot brothers of Beverly (I featured their homes earlier in this series) and was sent to disrupt British activity in the Atlantic by capturing ships and taking cargo. In that same year he captured the British ship Industry, which he delivered to George Washington as a gift of war. Many of his successful captures were made off the coast of Great Britain and Ireland, and he earned a notoriously infamous reputation among British captains stationed near there as a “scourge of the British coast. He brought back ships full of British military goods which helped turn the tide during the Revolutionary War. Interestingly, in 1781, he captured the ship Mars in the Irish Channel which had on board the extensive and famous Philosophical Library of Dr. Richard Kirwan of Dublin, Ireland. Upon bringing the plunder to Beverly, the library was auctioned off and later became a basis for the foundation of the Salem Athenaeum!After the War, Captain Hill settled down and had this large home built, near the ocean he loved so much.

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