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.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Thomas Freeman (1653-1716) and Rebecca Sparrow (1655-1740) of Eastham and Brewster, Mass.

Thomas Freeman was born in September 1653 at Eastham, Barnstable Co., Mass. He was the son of Major John and Mercy (Prence) Freeman.  I wrote about his parents here. On 31 December 1673, Thomas married Rebecca Sparrow at Eastham.  Rebecca (often spelled Rebecka) was born 30 October 1655, the daughter of Jonathan and Rebecca (Bangs) Sparrow. I wrote about her parents here. Their marriage united two prominent families.  Later Thomas’ brother William married Rebecca’s sister Lydia Sparrow.  Thomas is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. 

Thomas and Rebecca moved to an area of Harwich that became Brewster. They had ten children (first nine recorded Eastham and Harwich Vital Records; Rebecca recorded just Harwich VR):

Mercy born 30 October 1674, married Paul Sears
Thomas born 11 October 1676, married Bathsheba Mayo and Mary Smith
Jonathan born 12 November 1678, married Mercy Bradford
Edmund born 11 October 1680, m. Phebe Watson
Joseph born 11 February 1681/82, m. Lydia Thacher and Mary Watson
Joshua born 7 March 1684/85, died before1716
Hannah born 27 September 1687, died in 1707
Prence born 3 January 1689/90, m. Mary Doane
Hatsuld (also Hatsell) born 27 March 1691, m. Abigail Hallett
Rebecca born 26 April 1694, m. Joseph Vickery and John Wing

Thomas must have been thrilled to have so many sons. I often think of what life must have been like for 17th century women raising such large families, especially with them born roughly two years apart.  It is also amazing that eight of their ten children survived childhood to marry and have children of their own.  Rebecca was 19 when her first child was born. At just shy of  25 years old, she had four children under the age of six.  She was 39 when her 10th and last child, Rebecca, was born in 1694.  She would have then had nine to ten children ranging in age from newborn to 19 years of age. I descend through their son Thomas and his wife Mary Smith, whom I wrote about here.

Thomas was one of the eight individuals who first gathered as the First Church Harwich and was named a church Deacon on 28 November 1700. He also served as Town Clerk, Treasurer and Selectman.  

Deeds survive and were published in the Mayflower Descendant for land transactions between Thomas Freeman Sr. and two Native Americans, for land he purchased at Harwich.  First is from John Sipson, 14 acres at a place called Keequanset, dated 1 June 1711 or 1712. The second is from John Quason, whose late Jonathan father was an Indian Sachem financially indebted to Thomas’ father Major John Freeman, 6 acres at South Sea near Bacon’s Tarkils and Short Cove, dated 13 August 1711.

Rebecca lived to an astonishing age of 84 years, dying on 7 February 1739/40 in Harwich (now Brewster), Mass.  Thomas had died some years earlier, on 9 February 1715/16.  They are buried together at the Old Burial Ground behind the First Parish Church in Brewster.  

Thomas' stone is inscribed: Here Lyes ye Body of Deacon Thomas Freeman of Harwich decd Febry ye 9 1716 in ye 63 year of his age.” The stone is slate in very good condition for its age.  It has a winged skull and hourglass engravings. 

Their sons Thomas and Jonathan and daughter Hannah are buried nearby.  There is also a small stone that reads “Rachel” with the rest unreadable.  

Thomas’ will was dated 4 February 1715/16. He was of Harwich and bequests were made to: son Thomas who received land where he already dwelled on the south side of Harwich and land near Short Cove towards Chatham, land at Tom’s Island and Strong Island, meadowland and land in Eastham called Smith’s Purchase; son Joseph received land on the Common Road that leads from Harwich to Chatham, upland and meadow near his uncle John Freeman’s land; son Prince received land where his house now stands and land at the Great Lots at James Cole’s Field, land eastward of Samuel Hopkins’ house and a few more lots; son Hatsell upland and meadow Hatsell already fenced off, land adjoining father's homestead lot allowing mother Rebecca to cut wood there, land at Sheep Pond; son Edmond choice of one entire lot that hasn’t been disposed of to his brothers.  After decease of their mother, his four sons to equally divide land at Sachamuses Neck and other land in Harwich. Daughters Mercy and Rebecka each to receive 30 pounds at his dear wife’s decease or before if it can be spared. Thomas signed his will with his mark.

His probate was proven on 20 April 1716 and administration was given to his widow Rebecca Freeman. It mentions wife Rebecca, sons Thomas, Edmond, Joseph, Prince/Hatsuld and daughter Mercy.  Eldest son Thomas was named co-executor but he died the next year.  Inventory was taken by John Freeman and John Sparrow and sworn to by widow Rebecca Freeman 20 April 1716. It includes cattle, horses, swine, sheep, farm tackling, grain, meat, beds/bedding, linen, tables and chairs, pots/kettles/other ironware, pewter and other small things, silver money and paper bills of credit worth 12 pounds, some plate of unknown value, some odd trifling things.

Rebecca Freeman’s will was dated 13 June 1729 and proved 18 March 1740. Named sons Edmund and Hatsuld, son-in-law Paul Sears, daughters Mercy Sears and Rebecca Wing.  Her inventory was dated 29 September 1741 and shows that son-in-law Paul Sears had died and Edmund Freeman was the surviving executor.  

Resources Not Listed Above:
Frederick Freeman, Freeman Genealogy in three parts, viz: I. Memorial of Edmund Freeman of Sandwich and his desc., II Memorial of Samuel Freeman of Watertown and his Desc., III Notes, Historical and Genealogical of Families of the Name of Freeman, distinct from Parts I and II, or whose connection is not clearly ascertained,” 1875.

Simeon Deyo, Editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890
Frederick Freeman, Freeman Genealogy

Charles Mayo, Mortuary Record from the Gravestones in the Old Burial Ground in Brewster, Mass., 1898

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Richard Pierce b. 1725 and Mary Simmons b. 1723, Middleborough of Freetown, Mass.

I have a lot more research to do on this family, but here is what I have thus far…Richard Pierce (often Peirce or sometimes Pearse) was born 15 April 1725 at Middleborough, Plymouth County, Mass., the son of Thomas Pierce and Naomi Booth.  He is my seventh great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. 

On 12 December 1745 Richard married Mary Simmons at Freetown, Bristol Co., Mass.  Mary was born 9 October 1723 at Freetown, the daughter of Abraham Simmons and Ann Lee. 

Richard and Mary had three children, first two births recorded Middleborough Vital Records:
Zilphah born 9 June 1746 m. Michael Mosher of Middleborough 30 Oct 1770
Jesse born 12 July 1747
Richard who m. first Lydia Boothe of Middleborough, 29 Aug 1776; 2nd Sarah Boothe of Middleborough, 28 Nov 1789

I descend through Jesse and his wife Ruth Perkins.

Richard was elected one of the deer wards at Freetown in 1752.  Richard Peirce appears on the roll of the company of Capt. Job Peirce in service at Rhode Island in 1777, and in Col. Theophilus Cotton's Regiment, but possibly Richard Peirce Jr. According to family, he was a sergeant in Captain Abiel Pierce's company, which marched on the Lexington Alarm, 19 April 1775, to Marshfield.  He was a corporal in Captain Levi Rounsevel's company, Colonel David Brewer's Regiment at Roxbury in summer of 1775. His son Richard also served in the Revolution.  

Apparently Richard left Mary and lived with another woman, Lois DeMaranville, who is said to have been of Acadian descent.  Her name is from family tradition and not from records. He did not divorce Mary, so their co-habitating would have been illegal.  Family tradition states that Richard and Lois had 11 children, but I have not confirmed that with records: Abner, Naomi, Russell, Thomas, Eli, Levi, Preserved, Zadoc, Philip, Lois, and Lemuel. If all those children were in fact Richard’s, he would have been 73 when the last was born!

The town authorities of Middleborough in or before 1815, and the Overseers of the Poor of Lakeville recently, denied that Richard and Lois were ever married, or if they were, asserted it to be illegal, as Mary the first wife was alive and she and Richard not divorced while the latter was cohabiting with Lois.

Nothing was done to Richard legally for this breach of order, as people pitied him for the wrongs that he had suffered from the conduct of his wife Mary Simmons. A pauper descendant of this 2d marriage was rejected by Middleborough or Lakeville on the plea that the children of Richard and Lois were all illegitimate.

I haven’t found death information on Richard or Mary and I have not yet researched court records to see what kind of antics Mary was up to. If anyone knows about this or has some resource suggestions, I’d very much like to hear from you.

Sources Not Included Above:

Ebenezer W Peirce, The Peirce Family of The Old Colony, 1870

Ebenezer W. Peirce, The Peirce Family, printed in NEHGR in Jan., April, July 1867and October 1868

William Richard Cutter, editor, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to Families of Middlesex County, Mass., Volume 4, 1908,  

Paul Bumpus article on Ruth Perkins in the September 2006 Mayflower Quarterly

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jeremiah Jones ca 1650 to November 1705 and Sarah Dillingham of Yarmouth, Mass.

Note: My line of descent from this family is a bit “iffy” due to lack of records, but it is something I feel confident in personally.  I’m always happy to hear from people who have different information or know of  a source I have overlooked!

Jeremiah Jones was born before 1650 in Yarmouth, Mass., the son of Teague Jones whose wife’s name is not known. I wrote about Teague here.  Jeremiah is my 8th and 9th great-grandfather as I have two lines of descent on my grandmother Milly’s side of the family.

About 1678 Jeremiah married Sarah Dillingham of Harwich (now Brewster), Mass.  I don’t know Sarah’s birth date but she was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Feake) Dillingham.

I don’t think there is absolute proof that Jeremiah married Sarah Dillingham, but they have been identified as husband and wife in various sources including The American Genealogist (see reference below). There’s solid circumstantial evidence, however.  Both of them were from Quaker families with their father’s alternating holding monthly meetings at their homes.  Their children’s names were names of Sarah’s parents and siblings. John Dillingham’s will, dated 15 November 1707, names his daughter Sarah Jones's two children, although not by name (BPR 3:223). Sarah had in fact died before this time, although I'm uncertain as to why he only named two children as I believe all four lived to adulthood. Another detail to work on. 

Children, according to Freeman's History of Cape Cod, order uncertain:

 I descend from Jeremiah and Sarah’s daughter Hannah who married John Baker through two lines: their daughter Alice Baker who married John Burgess and their daughter Bethiah Baker who married Patrick Kelley.

In 1676 he was taxed 2 pounds, 14 shillings toward King Philip’s War.  By deed dated 29 May 1691, Teague Jones conveyed to son Jeremiah his farm on west side of Bass River where Jeremiah was already residing.

Jeremiah didn’t have his father’s penchant for misbehavior as the only time I find his name in records is when he conducted estate inventories or was owned money from or to an estate.

Sarah died before April 1699, likely at Yarmouth. 

Jeremiah married, second, Elizabeth Folland Hall , the daughter of Thomas Folland and widow of Samuel Hall, on 27 April 1699 at Yarmouth (Yarmouth VR).  

Other for sales at Stage Harbor Waterfront with Dock 180 Stage Island Rd Chatham, Massachusetts,02633 United States 
$4.5 million can get you this view from Stage Island today!
Jeremiah died 4 November 1705 at Yarmouth (Yarmouth Vital Records).  He died intestate and administration of his estate was granted to son John who swore to the truth of the estate inventory on 2 January 1705/6 Barnstable Co. Probate Records, 2:208-9). Jeremiah’s estate inventory totaled over 138 pounds and included property where his homestead stood, house and property at South Sea (i.e. Nantucket Sound), meadow at Stage Island (Chatham), household items, farming equipment, including sheep shears, and a pair oxen, a cow and a horse. 

Elizabeth died 17 June 1714. 

Sources Not Listed Above:

Mrs. John E. Barclay , The American Genealogist, The Jones Family of Yarmouth and Middleboro, Mass.,  volume 31, 1955

Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884

Clarence Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1770

William C. Smith, History of Chatham, 1909