Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Francis Cary, born 1648, and Lydia Brett, of Bridgewater Mass.

Francis Cary was born 19 January 1647/48 in Duxbury, Mass., the second child of John 1 and Elizabeth (Godfrey) Cary. The name is also seen as Carey and Carew. His parents, who had a whopping 12 children, moved from Duxbury to Braintree and then to Bridgewater, where Francis was raised, married and lived until his death. The year of his birth is torn in the Bridgewater Vital Records (his father was the first Town Clerk and a proprietor of the town), so 1648 is a guess based on dates of siblings’ births before and after him. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Francis Godfrey. He is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.
I’ve only scratched the surface in researching Francis and Lydia, but this summary is a start.  I have not yet read some of the resources on the family such as the 1911 book John Cary the Plymouth Pilgrim, by Seth Cary.

Most of the older resources (including Torrey’s New England Marriages, Mitchell’s History of Bridgewater) give Francis’ wife as Hannah Brett, but a January/April 1986 The American Genealogist article by RoseMari Finter sorts things out. Ms. Finter shows through documentation that Hannah Brett married John Turner and that it was likely Hannah’s sister Lydia who married Francis Cary. Lydia was the daughter of William 1 Brett, a Duxbury proprietor in 1640 who later moved to Bridgewater.

Francis married Lydia Brett at Bridgewater about 1676. They had five children. Their births aren’t recorded but are mentioned in their father’s will:

I descend from Melatiah who married Joseph Lucas. I wrote about that couple here.  Francis’ will names a daughter Malethiah Lucas, and Melatiah is given as a child of Francis and Lydia in the Mayflower Families book on Richard Warren.

Plymouth County Deeds, reprinted in the Mayflower Descendant, vol, 44, no. 2, July 1994: Samuel Tompkins of Bridgewater, planter, with consent of Lettice his wife, gave to Francis Carey of Bridgewater sole and whole estate after his decease and wife's decease, except some movables that by will he disposed of. Dated 20 May 1673. Signed by Samuel and Lettice using their marks, and Samuel Edson and Thomas Hayward.

Same volume:
John Carey of Bridgewater for 30 pounds paid by Francis Carey of Bridgewater sold 60 acres of land in Bridgewater lying and being on ye westerly side of Johns Bridge river butting on the said river bounded on ye southwest by land of Francis Carey and on ye northwest by lands of Jonathan Hill.  Dated 31 December 1690, signed by John Carey, James Adams, Edward Adams.

Samuel Tomkins of Bridgewater, will dated 20 May 1673 and proved 7 November 1695, aged about 62, bequeathed houses and lands in the township of Bridgewater to Francis Carey “living with me,” and all the rest of his chattels not given to brother John Tompkins, cousin Mary Foster, cousin Elizabeth White, cousin Elizabeth Hall, cousin Mary Doggit. Samuel Tomkins named Francis executor.

William Latham wrote that Francis’ house was half-way between Mr. Strong’s house and Matfield River (this is in 1882), on the old Cary farm where his father lived before him and his son Ephraim lived after him. House was standing as late as 1740. Francis was brought up with Samuel Tomkins, which accounts for the latter leaving him his estate.Francis lived in what today is East Bridgewater.

East Bridgewater Common
East Bridgewater Common

I frequently read that Francis died in Bridgewater in 1718, but his will was written 2 January 1723/4, probated 10 April 1728 and notes that he died 6 September 1727 (this is a transcription done by another researcher; I have not seen the original documents). It mentions his eldest son Samuel Cary, who received Bridgewater lands where he is already living, about 140 acres, and dwelling house. His son Ephraim received Francis’ house and lands, meadow, cedar swamp in Bridgewater. Ephraim was to pay Francis’ daughters Mary, Lydia and Malatiah or their children after their decease 10 pounds each. Mentions Mary was already deceased. Melatiah was to receive 10 pounds, half of the moveables and two cows. Deacon Joseph Edson and Joseph Hayward, his sons-in-law, were appointment executors.

Since Lydia is not mentioned in the will, I assume she died before January 1723/24.

Sources Not Listed Above:
William Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts, 1882

Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, including an extensive Family register, 1897

RoseMari Finter, The American Genealogist, January/April 1986 John Turner and Francis Cary of Bridgewater, Mass. and their Wives Hannah and Lydia Brett

Robert S. Wakefield, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol. 18, Richard Warren,1999

Sunday, June 15, 2014

William Baker and Mercy Lawrence of 17th-18th century Yarmouth, Massachusetts

William Baker was born probably in Yarmouth (now Dennis), Massachusetts, the son of Francis and Isabel (Twining) Baker. I have seen his birthdate as 19 October 1652 but do not know the source. I always feel I should put an asterisk next to my Baker ancestors, as they are a hard family to pin down with definite dates and records!

William married Mercy Lawrence by 1692 (I have seen it as 5 April 1689 but without a source). Mercy was born Watertown, Mass., possibly on 4 December 1671 (as “Mary,” Watertown Vital Records). She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Crispe) Lawrence. Mercy is my 8th great-grandmother on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Not all genealogists agree that William’s wife was Mercy Lawrence or whether she was his first or second wife.  Florence Baker wrote in the Cape Cod Library Pamphlets from the early 1900s that his wife Mercy’s maiden name is unknown. In the manuscript Pilgrims and Indians... by Vernon R. Nickerson, he does give Mercy Lawrence as William’s wife but writes he married first Mary Pierce, but I don’t believe he married Mary Pierce, but rather his brother Nathaniel did.

In Henry Bond’s 1855 Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, he wrote that Mary Lawrence, born 4 December 1671, married 5 April1689, John Earl of Boston and that it was probably Mary, widow of John Earl, who married Michael Flagg on 27 December 1704.

In New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Clarence Almon Torrey states that William Baker married Mercy Lawrence before 1692/3, the year their first child was born.

The most compelling reason I believe William Baker married Mercy Lawrence is that George Lawrence’s 1707 will mentions daughter Mercy Baker living in Yarmouth. It also mentions a daughter Mary Flagg, leading me to believe that the December 1671 birth date is not Mercy’s but is her sister Mary’s, although the two names are sometimes interchangeable in old records or perhaps they were twins.

William and Mercy lived in Yarmouth, where their 12 children were born, all of their births being recorded:

1. Mercy born 4 January 1691/2
2. William born 8 January 1693/4
3. Dorcas born 15 November 1696
4. Experience born 8 Jan 1697/8
5. Judah born 21 March 1700/01
6. Elizabeth born 11 February 1702/03
7. Josiah born 14 December 1704
8. Johanah/Joanna b. 18 February 1706/7
9. Patience b. 27 February 1708/9
10. Elisha b. 11 December 1712
11. James born 20 May 1715 (finally a baby born in the warm weather months!)
12. Thankful born 6 December 1719

I descend through their daughter Dorcas Baker who married William Chase.  The Chase’s are another prolific, confusing family!

Francis Baker’s homestead was in what is now the Mayfair section of Dennis. It was not large to accommodate the growth of the family, so the second generation settled in the area near the present day Ezra Baker School, where West Dennis and South Dennis meet, and northward and eastward along the shore of Grand Cove. The Bakers would become so plentiful in South Dennis that it was later called Baker Town.

William Baker served in the first expedition of King Philip's War in 1675. In Swift's History of Old Yarmouth, it is written that William Baker was paid 8 pounds, 11 shillings for service in King Philip's War in 1675.

In March 1700 William Baker and his brothers John, Daniel and Thomas were asked by the Sandwich Monthly Meeting why they were "walking disorderly concerning training." Apparently several men were attending the militia training and were thereby remiss in their duty to the principle advocated by their Quaker faith. The following month the above men answered. William said "...that he could do more business on that day than in a week at any other time and justified his going." (Nancy Thacher Reid's History of Dennis)

William died in 1727, at Yarmouth or Sandwich between the date he wrote his will on 16 July and it was proved on 14 August. There is a probate file at Barnstable for William Baker of Yarmouth, Case no R4-393, but I have not seen it yet.

William Baker of Yarmouth (his heirs since he was deceased) received 43 lots of land at Narragansett Township No.  7, now Gorham Maine, for his service in King Philip's War, assigned 17 Oct 1733. Brothers Daniel and Samuel also received grants.

Mercy died 26 November 1753 at Yarmouth (as Mercy Baker the wife of William Baker in Yarmouth Vital Records transcription).

Sources Not Listed Above:

George Madison Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's War, A Critical Accounting of That War with a Concise History of the Indian Wars of New England from 1620-1677, 1896

From Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, The Baker Family of Yarmouth, Descendants of Francis, No. 73, 1912

Henry Bond MD, Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, 1855

Monday, May 26, 2014

Richard Wright and Hester Cooke of 17th Century Plymouth, Mass.

On this Memorial Day, I’m thinking of the brave people who served and died for our country. One family that immediately came to mind is that of Richard and Hester (Cooke) Wright. It is believed they lost three sons during King Philip’s War. All three were young men—not yet married. I can’t even imagine what heartache this tremendous loss brought to the family.

Richard Wright was born 9 June1608 (from age at death). He is my 9th great-grandfather through my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis. Where and to whom he was born in England are not yet known. He was a tailor by trade. He seemed to have minimal education as he signed documents with his mark and had just one book listed in his inventory. He did, however, serve his community in multiple capacities. The first mention of him in Plymouth records is a 1636 land grant.

Richard is mentioned in many Plymouth Colony land grants. On 6 October 1636 Richard Wright was appointed land "5 acres to a pson, at the fishing point next Slowly Field." On 7 November 1636 "The landes at the fishing point, neer Slowly Field, being viewed & fownd too little for Tho. Pope, Rich. Clough, & Rich. Wright, at five acres p pson, by consent was equally devided between them." On 5 February 1637/8 "six acrees of landes are graunted unto Richard Wright, lying at the west end of Mr Dones landes, towardes the Fresh Lake." On 5 March 1637/8 "A garden place is graunted to Richard Wright in the meadow by Thomas Atkinsons."
Fresh Pond in Manomet section of Plymouth

Genealogist Robert Wakefield believed Richard was related to William Wright or another early settler as the amount of land he was granted was unusual for a “stranger.” William did not mention any children in his 1633 will, and Richard was too old to be his son, so perhaps a brother or cousin.

On 24 March 1637 Richard Wright sold five acres of land at "fishing poynt towards the Eele River together wth the fences." A deed to George Russell, 17 November 1637, for the sale of 4 or 5 acres upon "Oulbery Playne" calls Richard Wright of New Plymouth "Taylor." On 25 August 1638 Peter Maycock sold for 40 shillings sterling to Richard Wright "xxv acrees of land due to him for his service."
Eel River, Plymouth

Richard was on the 1643 Plymouth list of Men Able to Bear Arms.

In 1644 Richard married at Plymouth Hester (sometimes seen as Esther) Cooke. The exact date of their union is not given in Plymouth Vital Records but if marriages are listed in order it would be between 2 and 6 November 1644. Richard was about 36 years old and had been in the Colony for about 8 years. Hester was born between1621-1625, the daughter of Francis and Hester (Mahieu) Cooke. She may have been born in Leiden and come to Plymouth on the Anne with her mother in 1623 or been born in Plymouth after their arrival. Francis came to Plymouth on the Mayflower.

Although only the births of two children were recorded, George Bowman, editor of the Mayflower Descendant, sorted out the family.

Richard and Hester had six children:

1. Adam, born about 1645, married first Sarah Soule (granddaughter of George Soule of the Mayflower); second Mehitable Barrows. He had six children by the first wife and four by the second.
2. John, predeceased his father, unmarried and without issue.
3. Esther, born Plymouth in 1649 (only year given in Vital Records), married Ephraim Tinkham, grandson of Peter Brown of the Mayflower, had six children.
4. Isaac, born at Plymouth 26 August 1652, died in 1675 or 76, without issue and apparently unmarried.
5. Samuel, died before his father, unmarried and without issue.
6. Mary, married Hugh Price and had two children.

Birth records for Esther and Isaac are the only ones found. John, Isaac and Samuel likely died in King Philip’s War, although their names aren’t included in Bodge’s Soldiers in King Philip’s War.

John wrote a will on 7 December 1675, probated 7 July 1676, that mentions his going to war and names his father Richard Wright, his brothers Adam, Isaac and Samuel and his sisters Esther and Mary Wright.

I descend through Adam Wright and his first wife Sarah Soule. I wrote about them here.

On 5 June 1644 and 4 June 1645 Richard was propounded as Freeman.

Richard Wright is on several committees and held several offices as follows: Jury 2 March 1646/7; jury 6 March 1648/9, 7 June 1649, 5 March 1649/50, 2 Oct 1650, 4 March 1650/1, 7 June 1651, 2 March 1651/2 4 October 1653, 6 December 1653, and 4 October 1655; Petty jury 1 June 1647, coroner's jury on the sudden death of John Bond, 23 July 1661; constable of Plymouth 6 June 1652.

On 7 June 1659 he was given liberty to look for land. He was granted land as an ancient freeman "on the northerly bounds of Taunton" on 3 June 1662. He was again given liberty to look for land on 8 June 1664. Land Richard Wright had received earlier from Francis Cooke was ratified by John Cooke on 5 July 1670. Following a request for land in the right of Peter Maycocke, sometimes a servant, the Court determined no right to his claim but allowed him to search for land 1 June 1675. Land was granted Richard Wright, 50 acres out of land that was Tatamamuck’s land, on 7 July 1680.

In another deed, dated 9 May 1669, Richard Wright, with wife Esther releasing dower, gave land in Plymouth to his son John. On 7 June 1676 Richard Wright received four pounds from the estate of his son Isacke Wright, deceased.

Richard was sued by his brother-in-law John Tomson on 1 March 1663 to receive half of the land at Manassakett allotted to Francis Cooke that was granted to Hester Cooke. Tomson argue his wife Mary Cooke should have received half of the land and was so granted by the court.

The heirs of Francis Cooke signed an agreement dated 8 June 1666: "The marke R: of Richard Wright in the behalfe of hester his wife."

Hester’s date of death is not known but she predeceased her husband. She likely died between 8 June 1666, when she signed an agreement of heirs of Francis Cooke, and before 7 December 1675, the date of her son John’s will.

Richard died in Plymouth on 9 June1691 "about two hours after being about 83 yeares old."

Richard wrote a will on 8 June 1691, the day before he died.  He mentioned only his son Adam, his daughter Esther, and his widowed daughter Mary Price.

His will and inventory are transcribed in the Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, pg 165-67.
Originals are found in the Plymouth County Probate Records, Volume 1, pages 101 - 103.
I Richard Wright of ye Town of Plimouth in ye County and Colony of New Plimouth in New England being at Present of Sound and disposing mind and memory under bodily weaknesses not knowing when the hour of my death shall Come do make this my last Will and Testament in maner and forme following hereby Revoaking all former Wills First I comitt my soul to God that made it Resting on ye onely merrits of Christ my Redeemer for Eternall Salvation and my body to ye earth to be buried in a decent maner. My worldly Estate that God hath lent me I thus dispose: my will is that all my Estate Real and Personall House lands money or any  moveables & Chattels in what kind soever be equally and faithfully divided betwixt my three Children Adam Esther and Mary Also my Will is that my daughter Mary have her living in my house During her Widowhoode and in as much as my son Adam hath heretofore had a full double portion in lands my will & desire is that my sd Son deal kindly in Carefull providing what in him lies for my daughter Mary price Also I Make my son and two daughters Executors of this my last Will & Testament Also I do hereby appoint & desire my loving friends John Nelson & Isaac Cushman to be Overseers of this my Will and I Intreate their care to se it faithfully prformed in a just distribution of my estate to my Children as is above Expressed In Attestation yt this is my last Will and Testament I Set to my hand & seal This Eigth day of june 1691 I desire also & Impower John Sturtevant to be on of ye overseers of this my will.
Signed Sealed & declared by    The mark of
Richard Wright to be his           Richard Wright
last will and Testament
In presence of
John Cotton
Nathll Southworth
ye mark M of Martha Cobb:
june 24th 1691 Mr John Cotton and Nathll Southworth two Of ye witnesses here named made oath in Plimouth before ye Magistrates of ye County of Plimouth that they were present and Saw ye above named Richard Wright Sign & Seal & heard him declare this above written to be his last will & Testament & yt to ye best of yr judgment he was of a disposing mind & memory when he so did
Attest Sam Sprague Clerk

June ye 19th day 1691 An Inventory of ye Estate of Richard Wright late deceased taken by us whose names are under written.

Item one Bed and Boulster        03 00 00
One Rugg and one Blanket       00 05 00
One Pillow       00 02 00
One Silkgrass Bed and Boulster            00 08 00
One Curtaine & two Cushions  00 01 06
One Trammill    00 03 00
One pair of Tongs         00 02 00
4 hooks            00 02 00
One Spade       00 02 00
One Ax
More: Old Iron 00 02 00
4 hinges            00 01 00
2 Iron Kittles    00 06 00
One Iron Skillet            00 02 06
One Iron Pot and Pott hookes  00 04 00
One ffrying Pan 00 00 06
One Warming Pan        00 08 00
One Brass Kettle          00 10 00
One Gun          00 18 00
One Sword      00 03 00
More Wooden Dishes  00 01 00
two Earthen Potts         00 00 04
One Barbours Bason    00 00 09
One Glass Bottle          00 00 04
One Book        00 01 06
One pair of sheers        00 00 06
One pair of Pillowbeers            00 03 00
3 sheetes          00 10 00
One Pewter      00 03 06
One Boul          00 02 00
One Pewter Bottle        00 01 06
One Pewter Pot            00 01 06
1 Pewter Bason and Sawcer     00 01 00
One chamber Pott        00 02 00
One Candlestick           00 00 04
One Pail           00 00 06
One chest         00 07 00
One chest         00 02 06
More old Cask 00 03 00
One Box          02 02 02
One Chaire       00 01 00
More Cloathing            02 04 04
One shirt          00 06 09
One shirt          00 04 06
One pair of Drawers     0 01 0
More in Small linnen     0 02 6
More in woollen Cloathing shoose & stockings & hat    0 14 0
One pewter platter        0 24 6
One Pewter Platter       0 02 6
One Pewter Platter       0 03 0
3 Porrengers     0 23 0
one Pewter Bason and Sawcer 0 24 0
one Bagg          0 26 0
one yearling in ye hand of Adam Wright            0 15 0
one ox & one Cow in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam         4 10 0
More in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam      0 24 6
one Blanket a Box & a Band    0 12 6
More in ye hand of Caleb Cooke          4 00 0
More in ye hand Mr Jno Cotton senr     1 01 11
More in Silver Money   5 18 24
More in ye hand of Joseph Sturtevant    0 02 6
More in ye hand of John Gray   0 27 11
One Table        0 01 0
More in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam      1 10 0
Item the land both of upland and meddow         21 00 0
Item Charge for ye ffunerall       1 0 0
More due to William Shirtliff     0 1 4
More due to John Sturtevant     0 2 0
More due to Adam Wright        0 3 0
Isaac Cushman
John Sturtevant
June 24th 1691 Adam Wright made Oath in Plimouth before ye Magistrates of ye County of Plimouth That the before written is a True Inventory of ye estate of his ffather Richard Wright late of Plimouth deceased So far as he knoweth & that if more shall come to his knowledge he will discover it
Attest     Samll Sprague Clerk

Note: There was a different Richard Wright, called Captain in records, who lived at Hingham and Rehoboth.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People, 1986
Ralph V. Wood, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Francis Cooke, 1996
Robert S. Wakefield, Richard Wright of Plymouth Mass., The American Genealogist, Vol 59, July 1983
George Ernest Bowman, Adam Wright’s Wives and Their Children, Mayflower Descendant, Volume 11, 1909
George Ernest Bowman, Richard and Hester Wright’s Children, Mayflower Descendant, Volume 24, 1922