The Other South Wellfleet Hatchs

Exploring the family connections of the two Isaiah Hatchs caused me to sort-out other Hatchs who lived in South Wellfleet.  A clipping in the South Wellfleet folder at the Wellfleet Historical Society reported the unfortunate demise of Lewis Hatch, who lived near the South Wellfleet Cemetery just past and a bit to the north of the house on Cemetery Road that served as the Parsonage to the South Wellfleet Congregational Church. I wondered who he was, and where he fit into the Hatch family. I also wondered if Clifford Hatch, the owner of Hatch’s Fish store in downtown Wellfleet, was a member of this family. A little genealogical research tied it all together.

Bethia Arey, daughter of the first Reuben Arey of South Wellfleet, married Thomas Hatch, whose family line stretched back to the Scituate Hatchs, as like the Isaiah Hatchs did.  Bethia and Thomas had eleven children. When Thomas and Bethia died, they were buried in Duck Creek Cemetery. Their ninth child, William Horton Hatch, was born in 1820. He married Hannah Snow, stayed in Wellfleet, and had numerous children.

One of William’s daughters, Eunice, married Seth Foster, son of Scotto Foster and Elizabeth Doane, a family I’ve written about.  Another Hatch son was William Junior, who never married, and lived in Wellfleet with his parents. Another son, Solomon Hatch, moved to Provincetown, and was the grandfather of Clifford Hatch. Yet another son, Lewis, married and moved to Boston.

By the time of the 1920 Federal census, Eunice and William –brother and widowed sister — are living in South Wellfleet and both are in their seventies. In the next few years, both of them died. By the 1930 Federal census, their brother Lewis (also spelled Louis in some accounts) was living there alone. In the 1930 Federal census, he is a widower.

The 1939 clipping I found at the Historical Society told of the sad death of “Louis” Hatch when his house and barn was burned and destroyed. This was just one of many fires in South Wellfleet that destroyed old homes. Mr. Hatch was 85 years old, and drove a horse and wagon that supplied vegetables to his neighbors.  There’s a wonderful photo of Mr. Hatch in Daniel Lombardo’s book “Wellfleet Then and Now.”

The fire at Mr. Hatch’s was on December 27, 1939. The temperature was down to fifteen degrees, with the wind blowing at twenty miles per hour. A Mr. Murphy was driving by on his way to Orleans at around 7 pm when he noticed the flames, and quickly went back to Mr. Davis’ South Wellfleet store to summon the Wellfleet Fire Department. Mr. Murphy returned to the fire, broke windows, and opened the barn door; only three piglets survived. Later, Mr. Hatch’s charred body was removed, not identifiable by the county coroner, but presumed to be the elderly man.

The news report says that the firemen laid hose to “Duck Creek” – they meant Blackfish Creek – but did not have sufficient hose to put out the fire. They summoned the Truro Fire Department through the radio system; Lawrence Gardiner had a radio in his car. The size of the fire attracted numerous onlookers. Smaller brush fires were ignited, but the proximity of the cedar swamp helped to contain their spread.

The fire was declared accidental. According to the news report, Mr. Hatch lived in only one room of the 150 year old house. There may have been a defective chimney, or it was supposed that Mr. Hatch may have tripped while holding a kerosene lamp.


Family History records at

U.S. Federal Census collection at

David Kew’s Cape Cod History site:

Barnstable Patriot (various) online archive:

Newspaper account online at


Family history researcher living in New York City.
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1 Response to The Other South Wellfleet Hatchs

  1. Pingback: Professor Hicks writes about his neighbor, Ikie Paine | South Wellfleet, Massachusetts

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