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.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Edward Bumpus ca 1603 to 1693, England to Plymouth to Duxbury to Marshfield, Mass.

Edward Bumpus, also seen as Edouad Bompasse and a bunch of other variations to the last name, was born about 1603. I’ve been hesitant to write about him as my Bumpus family is very much a work in progress, but I’d like to share what I have thus far. Edward is likely my 9th great-grandfather on my Grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Edward’s last name is of French origin. Jeremy D. Bangs writes that he was probably Walloon and the correct spelling of his name would have been Bonpas. He came to Plymouth as a young man in November 1621 on the ship Fortune.

According to George Willson’s Saints and Strangers, he was a “Saint” who was with the Pilgrims at Leiden, Holland, so must have shared their Separatist beliefs.  Edward received one acre in the 1623 land division at Plymouth as he was a passenger on the Fortune. In 1627 he received a share of the cattle as part of Isaac Allerton’s company, indicating he was single. He wasn’t on the 1633 list of Freeman, which was unusual.

About 1630 Edward married Hannah, whose maiden name is unknown, and they had at least twelve children, first eight being recorded at Marshfield. This list is by no means set in stone!

1.      Sarah born 9 March 1631
2.      Elizabeth born 9 March 1633
3.      John born 02 Jun 1636
4.      Edward born 15 Apr 1638, died unmarried
5.      Joseph born 15 Feb 1639(?/40)
6.      Isaac born March 1642 who likely died young
7.      Jacob born 25 March 1644
8.      Hannah born 03 Apr 1646, died unmarried
9.      Philip born abt. 1648
10.  Thomas born about 1660
11.  Mary born about 1652
12.  Samuel b. about 1654, died unmarried, fighting in King Phillip’s War in 1675

Savage gives them a daughter Faith born ca 1631. Others say that Faith may have been a twin to Sarah and that she died at birth or shortly after. Others say there is no evidence of a daughter Faith.

For years I believed I descend from Thomas who married in 1679 Phebe Lovell, eldest daughter of John Lovell of Barnstable. From the Bumpus genealogy and other sources, I thought my line then went: Samuel who married Joanna Warren, Thomas who married Mercy Stewart, Jonathan who married Martha Chubbuck, Rowland who married Lucy Nye Pierce. Unfortunately it has been found that Jonathan, who was from Wareham, was not the son of Thomas and Mercy. So while I know they connect back to Edward Bumpus somehow, I’m not certain exactly how. I wrote about Jonathan and Martha here. and Rowland and Lucy here, here and here..

Image result for early marshfield mass
Love this old postcard of Marshfield; imagine how rural it was when Edward settled there
Edward sold his acre of Plymouth land in 1628 and was granted 20 acres of land on Duxbury Bay where he built a house. In March of 1634/35 he sold his Duxbury property to John Washburn and was allowed to "take up land in another place.” In March of 1644/45 when the boundaries of Marshfield were laid, his property was included. A map showing the 1637 location of settlers’ homes in Duxbury shows Edward and Hannah's home near the Marshfield line, by Duck Hill River, with no other homes nearby.

Sometime before September 1645 Edward sold his property to Solomon Lenner. On the 15 July 1653 Edmond Chandler of Duxbury exchanged his rights in lands in Satuckquett (Satucket=Brewster?) for Edward Bumpus's lands and rights in Cushenett and Coaksett (Westport and Dartmouth?). In 1655, with the consent of his wife Hannah, Edward Bumpus of Marshfield sold to Edmond “Chandeler” of Duxbury, the Duck Hill land lying between the lands of John Rouse (Rose?) and the lands of Edmond Chandeler.

Some researchers have him as one of the original proprietors of Middleborough, but I don’t think that is accurate.

Edward wasn’t much for public service. He is included in the 1643 list of men able to bear arms at Marshfield. He was on the jury in 1654 and 1655 and took the oath of fidelity at Duxbury in 1657.
After 1656 he seems to have lost control of his properties and through lack of support in the family he and his wife Hannah were to some extent dependent upon the community for their well-being. In 1656 Edward was described as "one of the town's poor" and was loaned a cow. In 1663 there was a contribution for his relief with 12.5 bushels of corn collected from townspeople. Some people mentioned him in their wills, leaving him corn and wheat. Hannah was placed in the Winter and Hewitt families to be taken care of in her old age.

Although Edward and his sons as "first borne in the colony" were eligible for grants, they did not take advantage of their positions. However in the next generation several branches of the family prospered and left good estates. It is quite strange to me that Edward and Hannah had a large family yet none of them took care of their parents. It makes me wonder if they were difficult people who drove their kids away, but it doesn’t seem that way since townspeople were kind to them. That Edward started out as a landowner and ended up as a poor man indicates to me he either suffered from poor health or made bad decisions.                                           

From Marshfield Town Meeting records: 14 August 1683 the inhabitants have voted that Christopher Winter shall demand & receive into his custody the goods of Edward Bumpus & his wife, which is at Joseph Rose's, their bedding & clothes and what is theirs only for the said persons to enjoy for their comfort & benefit during their lives and Edward & his wife shall have power at their death to dispose of what is left of it to their children or otherwise as they care. 

There is one case in Plymouth records concerning the abuse of parents by their own child. This is the case of Edward Bumpas, who was brought to court on 4 July 1679 for "stricking and abusing his parents" for which he was whipped at the post (PCR 6: 20). However, it states in the record that "hee was crasey brained, otherwise hee had bine put to death or otherwise sharply punished.” Abusing one's parents was a very serious crime in Plymouth Colony according to this statement.

Edward and Hannah had other hardships to endure with their children. 8 June 1651 John Bumpus, who would have been just 15 years old, was sentenced to be whipped for "idle and lacivius behavior."

On 10 June 1662 Thomas Bird was sentenced to be whipped twice for making adulterous attempts on Hannah Bumpus and she was sentenced to be publicly whipped for yeilding to him and not making such resistance as she should. Bird was also to pay 10 pounds to her as part satisfaction for the wrong he had done her. I assume this was Hannah the daughter of Edward and Hannah and not the elder Hannah. She is also referred to as “distracted” in another record, so perhaps she had some issues as well as her brother Edward.

Marshfield records the deaths of Edward and Hannah: "Hannah, widow of old Edward Bumpuas, died 12 Feb 1693," and that Edward Bumpuas died nine days before.

A great source for Bumpus descendants is Paul Bumpus’ website http://www.bumpusgenealogy.org/.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners, Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation, GSMD, 2009

Lynn Albert Bumpus, A Genealogy of the Descendants of Eduoad Bompasse of the Ship Fortune, 1986

Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its People and History, 1986

Mrs. John E. Barclay The Bumpus Family of New England, TAG 43:65 (April 1967)

Carle Franklin Bumpus, Bompasse, Bumpas, Bump, Bumpus and Allied Families 1621-1981, rev. 1985

Jason Jordan, Domestic Violence in Plymouth Colony, Historical Ethnography, April 1998

Amos Otis, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers, originally published in the Barnstable Patriot, Volume 1 and 2, 1888

Monday, March 19, 2018

Henry Atkins b. England ca 1617, died Eastham, Mass., before 1700

Henry Atkins was born England say1617 (based on typical age of men at marriage). He immigrated to Plymouth Colony by 1643 when he was on the Plymouth list of men able to bear arms. He settled in Eastham on Cape Cod before 1655. He is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

He married, first, Elizabeth Wells at Plymouth on 9 July 1649. She was born likely in England about 1621. They had children Mary (died young), Samuel born Eastham 1651 (died in 1675 fighting in King Phillip’s War) and Isaac born 1657. Elizabeth died at Eastham in 1662. 

Henry married, second, Bethiah Linnell at Eastham on 25 Mar 1664. They had eight children, all born Eastham: Desire b. 1665, John b. 1666 (died young), Nathaniel b. 1667, Joseph b. 1669, Thomas b. 1671, John b. 1674, Mercy b. 1676, and Samuel b. 1679. I descend from Joseph who married Martha Pease. Henry would have been in his early 60s when Samuel was born. 

I wrote about Joseph and Martha Atkins here.

Bethiah Linnell was born 1641, the daughter of Robert Linnell and Peninah Howes. She married, second, at Eastham in 1701, Stephen Hopkins, the son of Giles and Katherine (Whelden) Hopkins. Giles and his father Stephen Hopkins were Mayflower passengers. Bethiah and Stephen removed to Harwich, in an area that is now Brewster, where she died 25 March 1726 at age 85.

Henry Atkins is mentioned among the freemen of Eastham 22 May 1655. He served on juries in 1653. He was Eastham constable in 1657 and 1659, and surveyor of highways in 1674, 1675, and 1676.

On 12 May 1655 John Morton of Plymouth conveyed to Henry Atkins of Eastham his dwelling house, etc. in Eastham bought of Mr. John Major, Sr., sometime inhabitant of Eastham.

He bought much of his real estate in Eastham of Mr. John Mayo, 21 April 1659 when he purchased five acres lying near John Mayo Jr., 4 acres of cedar swamp, and a lot of meadow at the harbor's mouth toward Rock Harbor. His other purchases, a piece of meadow at Great Meadow and Boat Meadow were confirmed 25 April the same year.

In 1659 Henry witnessed a receipt, signing with his mark.

Henry died before 21 August 1700. He made a will that was proved 13 Oct 1700. His estate was valued at 181 pounds 11 shillings. His inventory was presented August 1700. He desired to be buried in the old burying ground at Eastham. He remembered his children in his will, although only Isaac by name, giving each just a shilling. His wife “Bethya” was named as executrix of his will.

The Mayfower Descendant, July 1937, printed a transcription of Henry’s inventory and a summary of his will.

 [p. 113] On 21 August, 1700, The estate "of Henry Atkins late deceased praised att Eastham" by "David Melvil and Thomas Paine Junr".
"his housing Lands and meadow" in Eastham valued at £100; "one bed in the garrets" £2, 16s. The total was £181, 11s. The estate owed £6.
On 28 August, 1700, "Bethya Adkins Widow .... of Henry Adkins" made oath to the inventory.

The will of "Henry Adkins of Eastham" was not dated. Bequests were as follows:
To "my son Isaac Adkins one shilling in money"
To "all the Rest of my Children on shilling apeice in money"
"I do give unto my loving wife Bethya all my whole Estate both Reall and sonall for to be att her dispose"
"I do make .... my loving wife bethya my whole and sole Executor"
The witnesses were Jonathan Sparrow and Samuel Treate.
On 3 October, 1700, "Then Samuel Treat Gent and Jonathan Sparrow Esq." made oath that they saw "the above named Henry Atkins signe and Seale this Instrument" and it was probated.

Simeon L. Deyo, editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890

Josiah Paine, Early Settlers of Eastham, Book 2, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 32, 1916

Rev. Enoch Pratt, A Comprehensive History, Ecclesiastical and Civil, of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans, County of Barnstable, Mass. from 1644 to 1844, 1844

Gary Boyd Roberts, NEHGR 9:282, Mayflower Source Records p. 598

Torrey’s New England Marriages to 1700