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1838- December 20th Born to Samuel Lyman Hinckley and Henrietta Elizabeth Rose

1838- December 30th Death of Mother Henrietta

1859- Graduated from Yale

1864- Harvard Law Degree

1864- March 23rd Commisioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Massachusetts 5th Calvary

1864- June 15th Combatant at the Battle of Baylor's Farm

1865- May 23rd Resigns his commission from the Army

1866- June 2nd Marries Mary Wright Barrett and moves into his wife's family home, The Manse 

1867- Birth of Son Edward

1869- Birth of Son Donald

1871- Birth of Son Henry 

1871- December 13 Death of Father

1874- Birth of Daughter Rose

1875- Birth of Son Benjamin Barrett Hinckley

1879- Birth of George 

1884-5 Served on the Northampton Common Council

1885-6 Served on the Board of Alderman

1887 to 1908- President of the Northampton Cutlery Company

1903- November 20th Death of Wife Mary

1918-June 9th Dies in Northampton MA

young henry.jpg

Henry is by far the most well-documented ancestor in this project. He was a prolific writer and as a result, there is no shortage of his thoughts and movements throughout much of his life. However, it is not only his loquacious personality that has made researching him so easy. His daughter Rose transcribed many of his letters in her later years using a typewriter as well as keeping all of the originals. Then her son Benjamin used the files to aide in his research when he wrote his own book on the history of the Hinckley Yacht Company, and finally Henry's great-granddaughter Ann Levy rescued the now very old files and donated the originals to the New England Genealogical Historical Society and kept the files that Rose transcribed, which she passed on to me to aide in my research.

In a strange coincidence, this photograph of Henry in his later years as well as many other photographs of the family from this time were taken by a photographer named Katherine McClellan, who was a Smith graduate and had a photo studio in Northampton in the early 1900s.

The Text


Read by his Great Grandson Henry Rose Hinckley III.    


Henry enlisted in March of 1864; the war had been raging for three long years. During that time Henry had been a student at both Harvard and Yale as well as traveling in Europe. Henry was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Massachusetts 5th Calvary. This unit consisted of volunteer Black soldiers and white officers. Coincidently, this is also the same regiment as Fredrick Douglas' son, Charles, who was the first sergeant, though he was in a different company than Henry. I read twenty-nine of Henry's letters to his parents during his time with the 5th Calvary. It is apparent that Henry had had little interaction with Black Americans prior to his service. His first letters are peppered with comments such as, "There is nothing like getting used to things. When I first joined the regiment, I rather shrank from contact with a negro, and could not look them in the face without breaking into a broad grin. Now I look on them as a matter of course. I have messed with them out of the same pork barrel, drank out of their canteens, lent them my blankets, borrowed their overcoats without a particle of  the fastidiousness which I used to feel towards my best friends before coming into the army."  While it is clear from comments made by his father in their letters that Henry held a more progressive view than his father, his experience was still one of the privileged white upper classes. As such he had never had the opportunity to put his principles to the test before. By the time of the Battle at Baylor's farm which Henry recounts in the letter above it is clear he has gained a new appreciation for the soldiers. 

The Hidden Layer


Henry was born into privilege just as generations in his family before him. He was highly educated and well-traveled. In his hidden layer, there are the seals for Harvard where he earned his undergraduate degree and Yale where he earned his law degree. There is a steamship representing his many trips to Europe. There is also the symbol for the 5th Calvary where he served as 2nd Lt. and a map of South Carolina where his mother and her family were from. The image on the bottom right is the Northampton Cutlery factory that his father became the first president of right before he died and is part of Henry's inheritance. 

In his later years, Henry authored many essays documenting his thoughts on a variety of subjects. I have included two of those essays that illustrate how Henry viewed governance and money both topics relevant to this project. 

Essay on Governance
Essay on Philanthropy

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