Shadrach Hoar (1743 – 1832)

Shadrach Hoar is my 6th Great Grandfather on the Forster side of our family. His Heritage is Puritan.  His Great Grandfather, Hezekiah arrived in the Massachusetts from England in 1634 as a single man of 26.  He married at age 45 and had eight children before his death at 85.

Shadrach was born September 18, 1743 in New Salem Massachusetts and moved to Deerfield Massachusetts prior to 1774.  Deerfield is an interesting town, which we’ll explore later in another story.

From about age 33 – 35, Shadrach fought in the American Revolution. He enlisted at Ervingshire, Massachusetts and served at Roxbury, Dorchester Heights and the Battle of Saratoga.

In the book “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors Revolutionary War”, we find this:

Hoar, Shadrach, Ervingshire. Private, Capt. Samuel Taylor’s co., Col. Nicholas
Dike’s regt.; pay abstract for mileage, dated Roxbury, Sept. 17, 1776; mileage
(98 miles) allowed said Hoar; also, same co. and regt.; pay abstract for travel
allowance, dated Dorchester Heights, Nov. 28, 1776; said Hoar credited with
allowance for 5 days (98 miles) ; also, Corporal, Capt. Moses Harvey’s co., Col.
Woodbridge’s regt. ; engaged Aug. 22, 1777; discharged Oct. 29, 1777; service, 2
mos. 14 days, at Saratoga, including 5 days (100 miles) travel home ; company
raised to reinforce Northern army until the last of Nov., 1777.

Shadrach was a Baptist convert, and therefore believed in a simple pious existence. Baptists were at that time considered religious zealots.

In August of 1786 a popular rebellion arose in the Salem and Deerfield area of Massachusetts.  Many were unhappy with the poor economic conditions and what they thought of as unreasonable taxes.  Along with thousands of others, Shadrach took up arms against the Massachusetts Commonwealth and the Articles of Confederation in what was known as  “Shay’s Rebellion” The rebels were known as “Regulators”.  Their motivations seem to me to be pretty similar to those that moved the perpetrators of the Boston Tea Party a decade earlier.

The Massachusetts Legislature was not at all pleased by an armed rebellion and passed a “Riot Act” which forbade more than 12 people to assemble.  They suspended “Habeas Corpus” and called out the militia against the Rebel Regulators.  Bloody battles were fought and in at least one instance the militia used canon against a mass of regulators.

In February of 1787, Massachusetts governor offers a pardon to rank-and-file regulators who would take an Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

We find in Massachusetts records that on March 29, 1787, Shadrach Hoar “took and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth before Daniel Shaw, Jus Peace”

If you’re interested in Shay’s Rebellion, you can read about it here:

On May 27, 1787 the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia and adjourned on September 17 after writing the Constitution of the United States.

As you’ll see if you study Shay’s rebellion, the events in Massachusetts were very much on the minds of the men in the Constitutional Congress.  They saw in the rebellion the need for a union that was stronger than the then-in-effect Articles of Confederation.

Now comes an interesting bit of family business and, I think, a small mystery:

In 1818, 31 years after the end of Shay’s Rebellion, Shadrach’s two sons Elija and William (William is my 5th Great Grandfather) both legally changed their last names from HOAR to HANSON.  They both also changed all their children’s names to HANSON.  My 4th Great Grandmother Lucy was 20 years old, just a year before marriage, when her last name was changed to Hanson. Their names were changed legally by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature which later found it’s way into a book listing all name changes over more than 20 years.  Here’s a clip from that book:

William Hoar changes name to Hanson

There is a bit of family lore, found on the internet, which suggests the reason for both brothers changing their name was their father Shadrach’s participation in Shay’s rebellion . . . and their wish to separate themselves from his name. If this should be the case, I do wonder why it took them 31 years to act.

Two brothers both changing their name, and the names of 14 minor children, to Hanson.  Very strange. There simply must be some compelling reason for them to rid themselves of the name Hoar.

My next blog post will address Lucy Hanson, the girl who’s name was changed a year before her marriage.  Lucy traveled to Iowa with her husband and children, by wagon.  Soon after arriving in Iowa she was widowed and left with three children on a new and undeveloped homestead.

Stay tuned for that story of overcoming adversity.

October 30, 2013

7 thoughts on “Shadrach Hoar (1743 – 1832)

  1. Dwight I am Tom hanson 6th generation to elijha hoar hanson son of shadrach hoar I am pleased by your posting on shadrach I think I can help with a few items 1 shadrach appears to have died in new salem ma in1812 his sons changed their name in 1818 two years after poem rook ma also changed their name to hanson ma in honor Alexander conte hanson of md who authored the anti federalist papers and was an ardent anti slaver he was the son of johnathan hanson first president of the articles of confederation added with your shays connection I believe these are the two reasons for the name changes By the way it was pembrook ma to hanson. 2shadrach was a pew holder in the new salem baptist church on fish hill there was a cemetary there I believe he was laid to rest there his wife who was a haskins and his son shadrach jr in the baptist cemetary there later the church moved and necame the presscott new salem baptist church elijha and his brother John were members there the chuch is now the swift river historical society in new salem ma shadrach is a passion of mine I know a lot more about him if interested contact me at merry christmas

  2. My great grandfather was William Hoar from Halifax nova Scotia Canada . I was told we had many relatives in the Boston area . My grandfather was Clifford Hoar .are we related?

    1. Hi Karen: I certainly don’t know off the top of my head if we are related. If you’re interested to find out if you’re related to Shadrach Hoar, I strongly recommend joining and tracing out your family history. Dwight

    2. Probably not most of the hoar family from Boston was the wealthy famous hoar family that came to scituate ma in the 1660s if you look up the family history of senator George frisbee hoar you can go back very far . No known connections are found between hez hoar great grandfather of shad hoar and the hoer family who came to scituate ma two separate lines if you have any other questions contact me at

  3. Dwight , I have offered to help you with some of your facts which are totally incorrect. I am in possession of primary sources which totally disputes some of your claims about Shadrach Hoar. I wish you would allow me to help you to get the record straight . I don’t like information published without proper documentation and this article of yours is full of these falsehoods and lack of any documentation. Please either retract article or allow me to help fix it up. Tom Hanson, 7th generation grandson of Shadrach Hoar.

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