SC2030 – Mordecai Lincoln 1693 coroner’s report for drowned African Americans

Lincoln’s Massachusetts Roots

Abraham Lincoln’s American ancestry began in 1637, when numerous families with his last name migrated to the Massachusetts Colony town of Hingham. The future president’s most direct ancestor—his great-great-great grandfather Mordecai Lincoln—soon left for another part of Massachusetts to start a line that would later wind its way into Virginia and Kentucky. Yet most of the Lincolns stayed in Hingham—constituting a quarter of the town’s residents in 1680.

This document provides a snapshot of the Lincoln family engaging in Hingham public life as late as 1693. It is a coroner’s report investigating the death of an African American man. It does not state if he was enslaved (which would have been legal in colonial Massachusetts at the time), but he appears to have drowned. Among the jury are two Lincolns, Mordecai and John (both spelling their last name differently)—foreshadowing the legal work of their famous descendant 150 years later.

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