Tribute to a Patriot–Colonel Josiah Quincy
Colonel Josiah Quincy’s life influenced not only his son Josiah Quincy Jr. “The Patriot,” but that of John Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin.
Born in the Dorothy Quincy Homestead in 1710, Colonel Quincy was the first in a lineage of six Josiah Quincys who would have an impact on the independence, politics, and education of Massachusetts and the newly formed nation.
Colonel Quincy purchased the birthplace of John Hancock in the 1750’s (present site of the Adam’s Academy/Quincy Historical Society). When this home was destroyed by fire he built a second house on the site. With the destruction of the second home in 1769, again by fire, Colonel Josiah Quincy built a third house in Wollaston, known today as the Josiah Quincy House.
Colonel Quincy suffered the loss of each of his sons. His eldest, Ned, died at sea in 1768. His youngest son, Josiah Jr. among the Patriot leaders in Boston, died upon his return voyage from a secretive mission to Great Britain in hope of obtaining firsthand information that might avert the war. His middle son, Samuel–a Crown appointee–fled the colonies with the outbreak of hostilities in April of 1775 never to return.
Though most would fall into paralyzing despair after such enormous grief, Colonel Quincy was determined to be of service in the earliest months of the American Revolution. From the monitor windows in his attic he could view the harbor which was the shipping lane in and out of Boston. Each day he would watch the movements of the British fleet and send reports to the newly appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington.
Colonel Josiah Quincy would remain in his Wollaston home until his death in 1784. Though Josiah Jr. had bequeathed in his will that his father be placed alongside him in death, Colonel Quincy, in honor of his son’s extraordinary courage and patriotism, requested to be buried at the foot of his tomb.
Please join the Massachusetts Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution at the Hancock Cemetery for a flag placement ceremony to honor Colonel Josiah Quincy’s devoted service to his country.