HON. NATHANIEL WALES
Among the families that for generations have given the impress of strong, steady character to this section must be mentioned the Wales family. Nathaniel (1), the immigrant, came from England with Rev. Richard Mather, in the ship " James," from Bristol, in 1635, and settled in Dorchester, where he was made a freeman Nov. 2, 1637. His wife, Isabel, daughter of Humphrey Atherton and Mary Wales, outlived him but two weeks. He had children, -Timothy, John, and Nathaniel (2), - and died at Boston Dec. 4, 1661, having removed thither in 1654. Nathaniel (2), born in England was a ship-carpenter, settled in Boston, where he died May 20, 1662, leaving Nathaniel (3), Samuel, Mary, and Jonathan. Nathaniel (3), born 1659, settled in Braintree with his wife, Joanna, about 1675, and had fifteen children, of whom Thomas was one. Mr. Wales was a deacon in the church at Braintree, and ordained ruling elder Feb. 27, 1700. He died March 23, 1718. His wife died May 11, 1704. Thomas Wales (4th gen.), born April 19, j 1695, was a deacon in the church, a man of good re- I pute, married Mary Belcher, Jan. 13, 1719, and lived in the South Precinct of Braintree (now Randolph), where he died in 1775. They had twelve children, Nathaniel being seventh. Mrs. Wales died Jan. 30, 1741. Mr. Wales married, second, Sarah (widow of Samuel) Belcher, Dec. 7,1742. By her he had three children. Nathaniel Wales (5th gen.), born Oct. 26, 1729, married Sarah ----, settled in Stoughton, and, like his father, was a deacon in the church. He was a farmer, and had eleven children. He lived a quiet and useful life, and died, esteemed, at a good old age. His son, Joshua (6th gen.), was born Feb. 21,1752, in Stoughton, where he always resided. He was a marketman and farmer, was three times married, was an active, energetic man, marked for his sound sense and sterling honesty, and closed a long life in the fullness of years, leaving a large family of children. By his first wife (a Porter) he had five children, the oldest being Nathaniel (7th gen.).
This Nathaniel, born Sept. 11,1788, in Stoughton, married, Jan. 1, 1815, Phebe, daughter of Capt. William French and Mary Perkins, his wife. (Capt. French was a descendant in direct line from John French, the emigrant, who came from England to Dorchester, where he was admitted freeman in 1639. He was a well-to-do farmer of East Stoughton, and died about 1820, leaving one son, Alpha, and several daughters.) She was born Jan. 30, 1789. Mr. Wales was a manufacturer of shoes and lasts, and, in connection with that business, kept a grocery. Active in militia service, immediately after the war of 1812 he served in the various grades to captain with acceptability and credit, and resigned his commission as captain April 28, 1820. He was one of the first in this section to adopt the religious doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg and enter the "New Church." He moved from Stoughton to North Bridge water in 1817, where he died of consumption Feb. 8,1826. He left two children who attained maturity,- Harriet G. and Nathaniel (8th gen.), - and a business fairly successful. His wife was a woman of great strength of character, quiet dignity, and practical judgment, and added to the property left by her husband, and brought up her young children (Nathaniel being but six years old at his father's death) with great credit to herself. She died Dec. 25, 1855. From the elegant " Souvenir" of "The Government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," published in 1880, we extract this graphic sketch of Nathaniel (8th gen.):
"Hon. Nathaniel Wales, of Stoughton, represents the First Norfolk Senatorial District. He was born in North Bridgewater (now Brockton) Nov. 25,1819, and received his education at the public academic and normal schools of that town and Bridgewater. When quite a young man he engaged successfully in teaching in his native town and in other towns in that vicinity. He afterwards taught as principal in the high school in Pawtucket, R. I. As a young man he showed great enterprise and energy. Being the only son of a widow, he was in early life solely dependent on his own efforts for advancement. In 1843 he engaged in trade in Stoughton, resigning his position in Pawtucket for this purpose, and continued in mercantile business, with others or by himself, for a period of twenty-eight years. During this time he was postmaster at Stoughton from 1860 to 1867, when he resigned, being then appointed United States Assessor of Second District of Internal Revenue, the duties of which once he discharged acceptably till its discontinuance. He also held commissions of more or less importance under Governors Banks, Andrew, Washburn, and Bullock. He was appointed commissioner to superintend the drafting of militia for Norfolk County by Governor Andrew in 1862. and afterwards was appointed by President Lincoln United States commissioner of the Board of Enrollment for the Second District of Massachusetts from 1863 to 1865. Since 1872 he has been associated with the Stoughton Boot and Shoe Company as treasurer, and has held several other positions of public and private trust."
1 See Atherton family.
Source: D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. (Philadelphia, Pa., J. W. Lewis & Co., 1884), pgs. 412-414.
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