Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. 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, August 4, 2018

John Sutton, 1594 to 1672 of Norfolk, England, Hingham and Rehoboth, Mass.

John Sutton was baptized July 1594 in Great Snoring, Norfolk, England, the son of John Sutton and Dionysia Clements. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side. Great Snoring is my new favorite place name!

Saint Mary the Virgin Mary Church, Great Snoring

There has been a lot of conflicting information about the identity of John’s wife. The latest research by Eugene Cole Zubrinsky shows he married Julian Adcocke 22 October 1620 at Eaton, Norfolk. Julian’s name is also seen as Judeth and Judith. She was baptized February 1598/99 in Attleborough, Norfolk, the daughter of John Adcocke and Elizabeth Eldred. 
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Attleborough, Norfolk where Julian was baptized
John Sutton and Julian Adcocke were married 22 October 1620 at Eaton, Norfolk. 

St. Andrew's Church, Eaton, where Sutton's married with a modern addition

The Suttons immigrated to Plymouth Colony on the Diligent in 1638.

Children of John and Julian:

John Sutton who m. Elizabeth Howes/House
Elizabeth Sutton, did not immigrate to Plymouth with her family
Mary Sutton, married John Fitch
Judith Sutton, died 1631 in Great Snoring, Norfolk
Anne Sutton, married John Daggett
Hannah Sutton, d 1642 at Hingham
Esther Sutton, m. Richard Bowen  
Margaret Sutton, m. Joseph Carpenter

I descend from their son John.

The family settled in Hingham, moving to Rehoboth about 1649. In June 1644 John Sutton participated in a division of Rehoboth woodland. In Jan 1644(/45), he was one of 18 men who "have forfeited their lots for not fencing, or not removing their families according to a former order."

Most of these men, including Sutton, were still among the proprietors who registered their land holdings about that time. In June 1645 he was one of those who drew lots for a division on Rehoboth's Great Plain. On 26 December 1645 "it was voted that the house-lot and the rest of the accommodations that was laid out for John Sutton forasmuch as he hath not come to live amongst us, nor fulfilled the order agreed upon, and bearing date the 24th of the 9th month (October) 1643, be granted to William Devell."

Finally on 11 January 1648/9 the lot that was given unto George Robinson had been forfeited to the town and then was given to John Sutton. I’m not sure why the Suttons did not move to Rehoboth earlier.  No record is found of John Sr. deeding the Hingham land to John Jr.

Some people believe John Sutton was a follower of non-conformist Rev. Samuel Newman, but I need to do more research on that.

John Sutton died 1 Jun 1672 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co., Mass.

Julian Sutton died Jun 1678 in Rehoboth.


Eugene Cole Zubrinsky, Julian Adcocke, Wife of John 1 Sutton of Hingham and Rehoboth, Mass., and Their Family, NEHG Register, January 2013, vol 167:7-14

Eugene Cole Zubrinsky, The English Origin of John 1 Sutton of Hingham and Rehoboth, Mass., NEHG Register, Winter 2018

Howard Dakin French for William Arthur Whitcomb, Sutton Family, NEHGR, Vol 91, 1937

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Peter Browne 1595-1633 of Surrey and Plymouth

Peter Browne

Peter Browne was baptized 26 January 1595 at Dorking, Surrey, son of William Browne.  I need to confirm, but I would think he was baptized at St. Martin's Church, an Anglican parish church in Dorking, Surrey. Surviving parts of the structure date back to the Middle Ages. It is in the archdeaconry of Dorking, in the Diocese of Guildford. His last name is also spelled Brown. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family, although I have not submitted my line to the Mayflower Society.

St. Martin's, Dorking, Surrey

He was a young man of 25, one of the “strangers,” when he boarded the Mayflower. He brought along his English Mastiff dog.

The Browne family appears to have had several associations with the Mullins family of Dorking, who also came on the Mayflower. 

The Pilgrims were unsettled by the far off presence of Indians when they first landed at Plymouth. They would see smoke from Indians' fires in the distance. Work was interrupted for several days when Peter Browne and John Goodman went missing one noontime while gathering thatch for the common house roof. A party searched the woods until dark but didn't find them and they were afraid the Indians had killed them. Peter and John were near a pond when their dogs, a large Mastiff (Browne's) and a small Spaniel, raised a big buck which went bounding into the woods. The men tried to follow but were soon winded and lost. They wandered around in a cold drizzle that turned to snow. They lay on the cold ground to sleep and were awoken by two lions roaring, so they dashed for the nearest tree, intending to climb if attacked. The Mastiff kept trying to go after the lions. The next day they climbed a hill and saw the bay, which gave them their bearings. They stumbled into camp after dark. Goodman's shoes, which were worth their weight in gold, had to be cut from his swollen, frost -bitten feet. They soon learned the “lions” were actually wolves!

In a partial list of the house locations of the Pilgrims made out in 1620, John Goodman and Peter Browne appear to have been neighbors on the south side of the Street and the ocean side of the Highway.  Peter Browne was apparently still living there during the 1623 Division of Land.
Abt. 1626 he married the widow Martha Ford whose maiden name is unknown.  She came in 1621 on the Fortune, giving birth soon after landing. Peter and Martha had two children: Mary and Priscilla. The latter perhaps named after Mayflower passenger Priscilla Mullins who was also from Dorking. Martha would die soon after giving birth, I descend from Mary.

Mary, born about 1626, married Ephraim Tinkham, had 8 children and remained in Plymouth. Priscilla, born about 1628, married William Allen and moved to Sandwich.
Peter Browne's Tankard, at Pilgrim Hall Museum
In 1623 Plymouth land division "Peter Browen" received one acre as a passenger on the Mayflower (PCR 12:4). In 1627 Plymouth cattle division Peter Brown, Martha Brown and Mary Brown were the fourth, fifth and sixth persons in the eighth company (PCR 12:11).

In the 1627 Division of Cattle he, Peter, his wife Martha, his daughter Mary Browne, and his stepchildren John and Martha Ford were included with the Samuel Fuller and Anthony Annable families.  About a year later, Peter and Martha would have daughter Priscilla but wife Martha would die shortly thereafter. 

Peter Brown was on the 1633 Plymouth list of freemen ahead of those made free on 1 Jan 1632/33 (PCR 1:4). He was assessed 18 s. in Plymouth tax list of 25 March 1633 (PCR 1:10); Widow Brown assessed 9 s. in list of 27 March 1634 (PCR 1:28).

Peter married, second, Mary whose maiden name is also unknown and had two more children: Rebecca born about 1631 and a child born about 1633. name unknown, who did not live to adulthood. 

Rebecca married William Snow and lived in Bridgewater.

The evidence for the marriages of Peter Brown's three daughters is largely from deeds in which his land was sold by his sons-in-law, with the consent of his daughters.

Peter Browne's brother John Browne came to America about 1632 and settled in Duxbury, just to the north of Plymouth.  John Browne was baptized in Dorking on 29 June 1600.

Gov. Bradford wrote that "Peter Browne married twice. By his first wife he had two children who are living and both of them married, and the one of them hath two children. By his second wife he had two more. He died about sixteen years since."

Peter died between 25 March and 10 October 1633 at Plymouth, likely in the fall when there was a general sickness in town. He was just 38 years old. Mayflower passengers Samuel Fuller (Peter’s neighbor) and Francis Eaton, both my ancestors, and several other Plymouth residents died at that time.

His estate inventory taken 10 October 1633 shows that he owned 130 bushels of corn, six melch goats, one cow, eight sheep, and a number of pigs, and a Bible, among other things. The Bible indicates he could read. His widow Mary Browne was granted administration. He died without a will leaving “diverse children by diverse wives,” his estate amount to 100 pounds.

In his estate records, Peter’s daughter Mary is mentioned as having been placed with John Doane of Plymouth for the past nine years and was to stay with him until age 17. Widow was to pay down 15 pounds to Doane for “the use of Mary Browne, daughter of said Peter.” She was also to pay down 15 pounds to Mr. William Gilson for the use of Priscilla Browne, another daughter of Peter.  It mentions the widow having two children by the said Peter together with her own third, so she must have been married before Peter. Sadly, I appears placed her step-daughters with other families when Peter died.
Peter Browne and his family bring home to me the danger of living in Plymouth in the 17th century—illness, lack of comforts of home and the cold winter climate. He died as a young man in his 30s and he had already buried two wives and possibly one of his children. I wonder though if he regretted coming to Plymouth. He owned land, which likely wouldn’t have happened back in England and experienced a lot more freedom in Plymouth. After his death his children by his first wife were put out to other families, something I find very sad.   

My line from Peter Browne:
Peter Browne and Mary (____) (Ford)
Mary Browne and Ephraim Tinkham
Helkiah Tinkham and Ruth (_____)
 John Tinkham and Anne Gray
Ann Tinkham and Samuel Fuller
Mary Fuller and Jabez Nye
Desire Nye and David Pierce
Lucy Nye Pierce and Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus
Mary Briggs Washburn and Seth Washburn
Charles F. Washburn and Hattie Benson
Carrie C. Washburn and George Brewster Smith (unmarried)
Arthur Washburn Davis (changed his surname from Washburn to Davis)
My parents

Famous descendants of Peter Browne: Dick Van Dyke, the Beach Boys (Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson).

Sources Not Listed Above:
Caleb Johnson, The Probable English Origin of Mayflower Passenger Peter Browne, And His Association with Mayflower Passenger William Mullins, The American Genealogist vol. 79 (July 2004)

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Vol, 1, 1995

Mrs. John E. Barclay, The Widow Martha Ford, The American Genealogist, vol. 42, 1965

William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation

Robert S. Wakefield, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations. Volume Seven, Vol. 7: Peter Brown, 1992

George F. Willison, Saints and Strangers, 1945

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

John Bell born ca 1610 and died before 20 September 1700, of Sandwich, Harwich and Yarmouth, Mass.

I know very little about John Bell. He was born ca 1610 (based on probable ages of his daughters) but his origins and parentage are unknown to me. He is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

He was of Sandwich when he purchased land near Nobscusset from the Indian Little Robin on 16 December 1668. In 1721, well after his death, there was a controversy regarding the boundaries of this land. The owner of the property to the west and Samuel and John Berry of Harwich, both claimed ownership of the land. The boundary dispute over this tract of land, later named Bell’s Neck, was settled by John Paine of Eastham, Peter Thatcher of Yarmouth and Shubael Gorham of Yarmouth. His probate information mentions him being of Yarmouth, so he likely lived there late in life, perhaps while being cared for by his daughter and son-in-law.

Map showing Bell's Neck, Harwich source: Harwich Conservation Trust

John Bell was of Sandwich by 1643 when he was on the list of men able to bear arms. He left Sandwich for Harwich, perhaps through the influence of Wing and Dillingham who had done the same.

His wife’s name is unknown but from his probate information we know she predeceased him and that they had two daughters: Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth married Richard Berry before January 1682 when their first child was born. Mary married Samuel Nickerson who was born about 1638. I don’t know Mary and Elizabeth’s birth dates but Elizabeth’s husband Richard was born in in 1654 and Mary’s husband Samuel was born ca 1638, so perhaps there was a substantial gap between their births and other children were born to John and his wife that did not survive. I descend from Elizabeth who lived in Yarmouth and then Harwich.

John Bell died before 20 September 1700 when the estate inventory was taken by John Miller and Gershom Hall. On 3 October 1700 letters of administration in probate court were granted to son-in-law Samuel Berry of Harwich, but John had died some years before. He and his wife were taken care of by Samuel Berry. He for three years and she for five years. He left a small estate. Land from Little Robin on east side of Herring River was valued at 11 pounds, 11 shillings.

He is rarely mentioned in records. He was one of 12 men who in 1668 laid out a way.
In 1690 his house is mentioned in a deed. 

Herring River near Bell's Neck source: Harwich Conservation Trust

From Barnstable County Probate Records, 2:112:

On 3 October, 1700, "Samuel Berry of Harwich" was appointed administrator of the estate "of John Bell formerly of Yarmouth .... who died Intestate." The Inventory of the estate of John Bell .... taken by John Miller and Gershom Hall" 27 September, 1700; "one halfe of the Land gave to sd John Bell by little Robin lying on the aster side of the herring River in Harwich prized att" £11. 10s.; "1 Cow that Samuel Nickersons Daughter had" £2, 10s.; "1 yearling that Samuel Berrys Daughter had" £2.
"Samuel Berry Demands for thre(e) years tending and diets of his sd Father in law John Bell 8£ รพ yeare" £24; "And for dietting sd Bells wife 5 years" £15; "Funerall charge of sd Bell and wife £2.”

On 27 September, 1700, Samuel Berry made oath to the inventory.

On 2 October, 1700, the estate of John Bell, "who died Intestate Some years since" was settled; after payment of debts and "Charge of sd Deceased sickness and long Languishing lying", "the Remainder .... If any be shall be Equally divided .... unto .... his two Daughters to say Elizabeth Berry and Mary Nickerson."

If anyone can fill in any of the many holes in my John Bell story, I would very much appreciate hearing from you!


Vernon R. Nickerson, From Pilgrims and Indians...," manuscript

Josiah Paine, History of Harwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1620-1800, 1937

Garrett M. Tunison, History of the Herring River, report, 1997