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Sunday, October 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #43: Dr. Benjamin Gott

     Benjamin Gott was the great grandson of Charles Gott who came to America in 1628 on the ship, Abigail.  He was one of the founders of Wenham, Massachusetts where Benjamin was born on 13 Mar 1705. The name Gott is of Old English origin, meaning a waterway or water course and is seen in the derivation of our words gutter and gut. Benjamin was the son of John Gott and Rebecca Tarbox. When he was about 13 is father apprenticed him to Dr. Samuel Wallis of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to learn "the art and mysteries" of the physician's trade.  He was well learned but never attended college, apprenticeship was the way one became a Doctor in those days. His father died while Benjamin was still mid his apprenticeship and left instructions in his will that all necessary steps were to be taken to see that Benjamin could complete it.

     By about 1727, he had completed hi

s apprenticeship and moved west to Marlborough, Massachusetts.  Here he married Sarah Breck, daughter of Rev. Robert Breck(see my earlier post), a very popular minister of the day.  They had four daughters and two sons and one or more apprentices. Sarah died in 1740 and Benjamin remarried Lydia Ward.  They had a daughter. Lydia died in 1745 leaving him with all the children. He died in 1751 at the age of 46.

     He was a very popular Doctor and man in his town of Marlborough.  He left a host of mourning friends, some of whom testified to their sorrow by the following quaint obituary notice, published in the Boston News-Letter of August 1, 1751 : Marlborough, July 27. 1751 "On the 25th deceased, and this Day was decently interr'd, Dr. Ben- jamin Gott, a learned and useful Physician and Surgeon : The Loss of this Gentleman is the more bewail'd in these Parts, as he was not only a Lover of Learning and learned Men, and very hospitable and generous ; but as he was peculiarly faithful to his Patients, moderate in his Demands, and charitable to the Poor ; a Character very imitable by all in the Fac- ulty; and was taken off in the very Meridian of Life, being but in the 46th Year of his Age. It seems Marlboro had indeed lost a faithful citizen and a good man. 

     He was a man of considerable property. When he died he left personal property of 1445 pounds and real property of 2060.  But the most fascinating thing is that the inventory of his library still exists.  This includes about 123 books, many are medical, herb lore, and religious but there are also many Latin classics such as Ovid and Horace, a History of the World and even Aesop's Fables. It was said that he read from the Bible to the family in Latin. He was a man of learning, of liberal culture and a lover of books.  It was said that he also was a kind father and a good citizen. An ancestor to be proud of!

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