JOHN PAULL, for over fifty years at the head of the firm of John Paull & Co., hay and grain dealers in Taunton, was throughout that long period a business man of the highest standing, trusted by all who had relations with him. His honorable methods and upright standards were recognized by all his associates. His success evidenced his ability and placed him among the leading men of the community, although he did not identify himself particularly with its affairs outside the field of commerce.
The Paull family of which John Paull was a descendant is one of the oldest and best known among the old families of Southeastern Massachusetts. The first of the name in New England, William Paull, was, according to tradition, a native of Scotland, and was a weaver by occupation. He located in Taunton, where he was an early inhabitant, where also was Richard Paull, who was supposed to have been a brother of William. William Paull married Mary Richmond, daughter of John Richmond, of Taunton. He became one of the original proprietors of what was known as “Taunton South Purchase,” which was purchased from the Indians in 1672. He was a large landowner in that territory which in 1712 was incorporated as the town of Dighton, Mass. He died, according to the inscription on tombstone, on Nov. 9, 1704, aged eighty years, while his wife Mary died Oct. 3, 1715, aged seventy-six years. Their children were:
- James, born April 7, 1657;
- John, July 10, 1660;
- Edward, Feb. 7, 1665;
- Mary, Feb. 8, 1667;
- Sarah, July 5, 1668; Abigail, May 15, 1673.
James Paull, son of William, was born April 7, 1657. He settled in what is now the town of Dighton, where he was a landowner and farmer. He married Mary, and died before Jan. 14, 1724-25. He was one of the twenty-six proprietors of the South Purchase, Dighton, owning three shares. Among the children of James and Mary was a son William.
William Paull (2), son of James, was born in 1687. He married Mary, and died in 1733-34. He lived in Dighton, where he was a landowner and farmer. Children (or among them) were:
- John and
James Paull (2), son of William and Mary, was born in 1723, in Dighton. He married Sarah White and among their children were:
- John and
- Peter White.
Mr. Paull, according to his great-grandson, after his marriage moved to Putney, Vt., but later went back to Dighton and there lived for a time with his son Peter White Paull. He, however, again returned to Vermont and there died. His son John Paull was one of the twelve men who, under Colonel Barton, captured the British commander Prescott during the Revolution.
Peter White Paull, son of James and Sarah (White) Paull, was born Nov. 30, 1760, in Dighton, where he followed farming. He married (first) intentions of marriage being published March 1, 1783, Silence Briggs, of Berkley. She died May 7, 1795, and he married (second) Hannah. Mr. Paull lived in Dighton until his death, which occurred in January, 1814, his death being caused by an accident, he falling from a load of hay. Children:
- Sally, born Aug. 25, 1784;
- Peter, born March 7, 1787;
- Benjamin, born Dec. 20, 1789;
- James, born March 18, 1791 (all born to the first marriage);
- Elisha King, born Dec. 14, 1798, died May 7, 1824;
- John, born April 25, 1800, died April 9, 1822; and
- Job, born July 15, 1801. Hannah, the mother of the several last named children, died Oct. 7, 1822.
Benjamin Paull, son of Peter White and Silence (Briggs) Paull, was born Dec. 20, 1789, in Dighton, Mass. Here he grew to man-hood and learned the trade of stone mason, which he made his life trade, working in Dighton and then in Taunton, where he finally took up his home. He died in September, 1847, and was buried in the Dighton cemetery in Dighton. Mr. Paull in 1814 married Mary Hathaway, born June 9, 1791, daughter of Isaac Hathaway, of Dighton. She died March 27, 1859, and is also buried in the Dighton cemetery. Their children were:
- Benjamin H., born Jan. 12, 1815, died in Taunton;
- Alfred W., born Feb. 11, 1817, was a well known grain dealer in Taunton and died June 2, 1881;
- Mary A., born March 16, 1819, married. Loring Coggeshall;
- Emily Jane, born Aug. 9, 1821, married Elkanah Lincoln (both are deceased);
- Bathsheba H., born July 23, 1823, married Capt. Jacob Burt (she died Aug. 20, 1847);
- Abbie L., born May 16, 1825, married (first) Ebenezer Walker and (second) Franklin Cobb, deceased (she is living in Taunton);
- Nancy A., born Oct. 28, 1826, married Lauriston French;
- John, born Jan. 4, 1829, and Charles H., born Jan. 26, 1831.
John Paull, son of Benjamin and Mary (Hathaway) Paull, was born Jan. 4, 1829, at Berkley, Mass. He followed various occupations in his youth and early manhood, and with his brother Charles went out to the California gold fields with the “forty-niners,” Charles spending two years, and John five years in that region. They met with success enough to give them a start in business, for on their return home they worked for their brother Alfred Paull, who was engaged in the grain business at the Weirs. They later bought out his interest and conducted the business under the name of John Paull & Co., building up through their own efforts one of the best paying businesses of its kind in this section of the State. In connection with the grain and hay business they supplied provisions and groceries to the vessels which came up the river with produce. Mr. Paull continued to give his full time and attention to his business to the very end of his long life, for though he lived to his eightieth year, he was found daily at his post of duty, working as faithfully as in his younger days. In fact, his death occurred suddenly, while at his place of business on West Water street, April 11, 1908. He was buried in Mayflower Hill cemetery.
Mr. Paull married May 16, 1859, in Taunton, Abbie Frances Gushee, who was born in Weir village in the town of Taunton, daughter of Artemas and Abby (Leonard) Gushee, and granddaughter of Samuel Gushee, and Abiatha and Sarah (Dean) Leonard. Mr. and Mrs. Paull became the parents of three children:
- John Francis died young.
- Edward Curtis, traveling salesman, married Jennie Monks of Rockford., and they have two children,
- Merle Hastings, M. D., of Boston, and
- John Ralph, a student at Yale, class of 1912.
- Lillian Hathaway married Edward G. Hall, of Taunton, Massachusetts.
Mr. Paull was well known and very highly respected for his high moral worth, not only as it characterized his business dealings, but also as shown in his Christian life. He was unassuming in his manner and quiet in his tastes, enjoying home life and temperate pleasures. He belonged to the Old Colony Historical Society, and in religion was a member of the First M. E. Church.
Mrs. John Paull is a descendant on the paternal side from an old French Huguenot family, and on the maternal side a descendant of the Leonards and Deans – the oldest and most prominent families in Taunton. Samuel Gushee was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. Mrs. Paull received her education in the public and high schools of Taunton, the private school of Mr. Southgate, the Bristol County Academy, Taunton, and the Lasell Academy of Newton, Mass. She received her musical education under Carl Zerrahn Keilblock and Dr. John O’Neill, of Boston, in voice culture, and in piano under Dr. John Orth, also of Boston, and she has given much of her time to the study of both. Her voice is a full contralto and she has sung in the churches in Taunton and for many charity musicals and other entertainments. Mrs. Paull has traveled extensively in Europe and also on the American continent, and she is a great student of nature. She has taught both vocal and instrumental music, but since the death of her husband has given much of her time to the conduct of the John Paull & Co. grain business, in which she is assisted by her daughter Mrs. Hall. Mrs. Paull is a member of the D. A. R., being a charter member of the chapter at Taunton, and has for five years been a delegate to the D. A. R.’s Congress at Washington from her Chapter; she was also delegate at Paris, France, in 1900, representing the chapter, and while in France she visited the birthplace of her American ancestor at Toulouse. She is an Episcopalian.
Mrs. Edward G. Hall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Paull, received her education in the public schools and high school of Taunton and the Bristol County Academy. She attended the Cowles Art School at Boston, took a musical course there also, under Madam Van Buren, and has displayed much talent in both. She is a member of the D. A. R. She married Edward G. Hall and their children are:
- John Henry, a student at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia;
- Harold Monroe, a student at the high school; and
- Philip Edward.