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.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Love Brewster (b. ca 1610 Holland, d. January 1650/51 Duxbury, Mass.) and his wife Sarah Collier

Love Brewster was born circa 1610, in Leiden, Holland, the son of William and Mary Brewster. It is believed he was about nine when he came to Plymouth on board the Mayflower. He is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandfather Art Washburn Davis’ side of the family. I wrote about William and Mary Brewster here.
Love married at Plymouth on 15 May 1634, Sarah Collier (PCR 1:30). Sarah was the daughter of William and Jane Collier. She was baptized St. Olave, Southwark, Surrey, on 30 April 1616. 

Jane and Love lived in Duxbury and raised four children there: Sarah, Nathaniel, William, and Wrestling. After Love’s sister Fear Allerton died, they also bought up her son Isaac. 

I descend from their son William Brewster who married Lydia Partridge of Duxbury.

Love was included in the 1627 Cattle Division as part of the household of his parents William and Mary Brewster. In 1636 he was a Pequot War volunteer, but Plymouth’s soldiers weren’t needed. Love became a freeman in Plymouth Colony on 2 March 1635/6. He was, along with his father and others, an original settler of Duxbury, sometimes spelled Duxburrow and Duxborough. He volunteered for the Duxbury militia under Captain Myles Standish.

Early on Love and Sarah Brewster lived in an area called the Nook, a cove area, now known as Standish Shore. Love lived next to his father William Brewster, eventually moving in with his father as the latter aged. Love inherited the farm after his father died in 1644. Jonathan and Love were the only sons to survive William Brewster, and they divided their father’s 111 acres in Duxbury.  Love received 43 acres on the east side of Eagle Nest Creek; Jonathan received more acres but it is thought that Love’s land was of better quality.

The location of William Brewster’s house, later Love’s home, is off what today is Marshall Street. Although there is some question, it looks like in 1646 Love sold part of the farm to Samuel Eaton, son of Mayflower passenger Francis Eaton. In Duxbury: Ancient and Modern, Henry Fish writes that Love Brewster moved next to his father-in-law William Collier’s house on Waiting Hill near North Hill and he shows the location on a map included with the book. Collier was the richest man in the colony.

In 1642, Love’s household must have been rocked by the conviction of his servant Thomas Granger for buggery with a variety of animals, including a mare, cow, two goats, diverse sheep, two calves and a turkey. Thomas, who is my 11th great-uncle, was sentenced to death by hanging after all of the animals were killed in front of him (according to Leviticus 20:15 the animals were unclean and not fit for work, food or clothing). Gov. Bradford described Granger as about 16 or 17 years old. Although sodomy and buggery were considered by the Pilgrims worse offences than premarital sex and adultery, there must have been public outcry as Thomas was the last man executed for a sex crime in the Colony. Aside from the horror of what happened to Thomas, losing such scarce and valuable livestock would have been a tremendous loss for Love Brewster. I’m assuming the animals belonged to Love, but I’m not sure about that. 

In Bradford's 1651 accounting he says Love "lived till this year 1650 and died and left four children, now living."

Love Brewster died, presumably in Duxbury, between 6 Oct 1650 (when will was written) and "last day" January 1650/1 (inventory taken). He was about 40 years old.

Love Brewster's probate is recorded in the Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories, Volume 1, folios 89, 90 and 91. The will was written 6 October 1650 and proved 4 March 1650/51. It mentions his wife Sarah and children Nathaniel, William, Wrestling and Sarah. All to receive a kettle, sons to each receive a gun. Wife Sarah was to receive the residue of his whole estate, goods, chattel, and land at Duxburrow for the bringing up of their children. His land was to go to eldest son Nathaniel after Sarah’s decease; if he should die then to William, then to Wrestling.  His wife Sarah was to distribute his books. Land that was due to Love by purchase or for being a first-comer in 1620, should be equally divided by his three sons. Wife Sarah was to be executrix. Witnessed by Myles Standish.

An inventory of his estate was taken by William Collier (his father-in-law) and Captain Myles Standish on the last day of January 1650[/51] and totaled over 97 pounds, not including real estate. It includes a detailed account of household items such as a salt cellar, firkin, and candlestick; furnishings such as two cradles, two old stools, three chests, four featherbeds; clothing; faming tools such as three wedges and rakes; a large collection of books (presumably many inherited from his father) including two books of the commandments, a Bible, five books of Moses, Cotton’s Concordance, a dictionary, a book of Husbandry, a French dictionary, and a book on the Spanish Inquisition; and firearms including pistol, powder, shot, powder horns, pair of bandoliers, shot bag; livestock including three cows, a yearling, a sow, two “shoats,” three ewe sheep, poultry; bushels of wheat, rye Indian corn, peas, barley, oats, malt.

Sarah survived Love for thirty years, dying on 26 April 1691 at Plymouth in her 76th year. She had married, second, Richard Park/Parke of Cambridge sometime after 1 September 1656. Richard Park died in 1665. 

There are no surviving headstones for Love and Sarah Brewster. It is quite possible they are buried at the Myles Standish Cemetery in Duxbury.

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 2000
Mayflower Families in Progress, William Brewster
Barbara Lambert Merrick, Mayflower Families in Progress, William Brewster of the Mayflower and his Descendants for Four Generations, 1997
Torrey’s New England Marriages
James Deetz and Patricia Scott Deetz, The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love and Death in Plymouth Colony, 2000
Mary B. Sherwood, Pilgrim A Biography of William Brewster, 1982
Lamont “Monty” Healy, Elder William Brewster and the Nook, 3-part series, Duxbury Clipper, June 26, July 24 and August 28, 2013 (Note: Mr. Healy’s excellent series of Duxbury Clipper articles are available for purchase on the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society website)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

William Nelson (died 1679) and Martha (Ford) Nelson (died 1683) of Plymouth Colony

William Nelson is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’s side of the family. He was of Plymouth as early as 1636 since in March 1637 he was hired to keep the cows for the year, at the same wages he had been paid the previous year (Records of Town of Plymouth 1:3). Some family history folks have him born Barton-upon-Humber, North Lincolnshire, 21 June 1615, but I haven’t seen the source for this information and it isn’t included in any of the published sources I have seen.

William married Martha Ford on 29 October 1640 in Plymouth (Plymouth VR 1:153). Martha was born about 1620 (based on age at death), the daughter of “Widow Ford.”  She came to Plymouth on the Fortune in 1621. Her father’s first name is not known but it I believe he would have come on the Fortune with his family and died on the voyage or soon afterward. It seems unlikely that a very pregnant woman (she gave birth to a son the day after she landed at Plymouth) would have made the voyage alone.

Martha and William’s children, born Plymouth, only Jane’s birth was recorded but all named in will:
Martha b. ca 1641, married John Cobb
John b. ca 1643, m. 1st Sarah Wood, 2nd, Lydia (Barnaby) Bartlett, 3rd Patience Morton
William b. ca 1645, m. Ruth Foxwell
Jane b. 28 February 1650, m. Thomas Faunce

I descend from Martha. I wrote about Martha and John Cobb here.

On 3 August 1640, William Nelson was granted six acres of upland at Plymouth (PCR 1:159).

William was on the Plymouth 1643 list of Men (age 16 to 60) Able to Bear Arms.

William was on the list of Plymouth freemen in 1658 but in 1670 he was one of just six freemen at Middleboro (although the latter could be his son William).

He was also on the 1662 Plymouth list of “first born children” because of his marriage to Martha Ford. I believe this list was of any needy child or parent of a child who were in Plymouth by 1627 but not certain.

On 3 June 1662 the Plymouth Colony Court granted William Nelson, by right of his wife “one of the first born children,” land at what is now Middleborough, Massachusetts (PCR 8:19). This seems to indicate she was born in Plymouth but her age at death and that Edward Winslow writes her mother gave birth to a baby boy in 1621 cast doubt on that theory. In Plymouth Colony Deeds (III:21), he received the twenty third lot in a land division.

On the second Tuesday of September 1668, "The Towne have (with the consent of John Everson) disposed of Richard Everson his son unto William Nelson senr of Plymouth to be and Remaine with him until he hath attained the age of one and twenty yeares hee being att the date hereof about two yeares old." (Records of the Town of Plymouth, 3 volumes, 1:105.) John Everson was a transient who was warned out of town a few months after giving up his son, but was he still in town six months later. He put out two additional children to local families.

William Nelson Sr of the town of New Plymouth in the Colony of New Plymouth wrote his will 31 October 1679. He names his wife Martha Nelson, sons John and William Nelson, daughters Martha Cobb and Jane Faunce (Plymouth Colony Wills 4;2;74).

William died between 31 October 1679 (when he wrote his will) and 15 Dec 1679 (date of inventory).

Martha Ford Nelson died at Plymouth 10 December 1683 in her 64th year (PChR 1:250).

There is an inventory for Martha Nelson’s estate, 7 March 1683/84, Plymouth Colony Wills 4(2):74, with John Nelson as executor. She left housing, upland, four acres of meadow, one acre of meadow at Doty’s Meadow, one acre of meadow on the northwest side of Cedar Swamp, four acres of meadow up Jones River. Her estate also contained two cows, one heifer, two calves, 13 sheep, one mare, two pigs, various tools, crops, household and personal items including a Bible and a Psalm book. The inventory totaled 98 pounds, 8 pence.

I have only seen partial transcriptions of William and Martha’s probate records. Seeing the originals is on my list of things to do.

William T. Davis, Genealogical Register of Plymouth Families, 1899 

Thomas Weston, History of the Town of Middleboro, Massachusetts, 1906

Robert Wakefield, Men of the "Fortune,” The American Genealogist, 1980

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Thomas Chase 1679-1767 and Sarah Gowell

Thomas Chase was born Yarmouth, (in an area that is now Dennis) Barnstable County, Massachusetts on 20 August 1679. He was the son of John Chase (son William 2, William 1) and Elizabeth (Baker). He is my 7th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Thomas married about 1703 Sarah Gowell, born circa 1692, the daughter of Richard and Hannah (Remick) Gowell of Kittery (in area of Massachusetts that became Maine). Their marriage record isn’t found but Sarah is called Sarah Chase in her father’s 1729 will and she named one of her twin sons Gowell and her eldest daughter Hannah. 

Sarah is maddeningly invisible—I have found no birth, marriage or death record for her. But we do know she had nine children recorded at Yarmouth (now Dennis):

Twins Gowell (“Guell”)  and Samuel, born 22 January 1708
Hannah, born 24 May 1712
Phebe, born 4 July 1713
Richard, born 3 March 1715
Joseph, born 17 March 1717/18
Priscilla, born 10 April 1720
Sarah, born 20 May 1722
Abner, 22 June 1729

I descend from Richard who married Thankful Berry. I wrote about this couple here.

A Thomas Chase, not positive this Thomas, received  7.5 shares in 1712 division of common lands and land at Crocket's Neck  (now Dennis Port) in a 1739 division of lands.

Thomas was a church Deacon. He died 20 November 1767 and is buried at the Ancient/Town Hall Cemetery in South Dennis. His slate stone in adorned with skull and wings and reads: Mr. Thomas Chase Died Novemr ye 20th 1767 Aged 88 years & 3 months.

Thomas Chase's stone

There is no stone nearby for Sarah. But the cemetery has hundreds of gravesites but very few surviving stones. There is a large slate stone near Thomas but the inscription is completely eroded.

I have read that Sarah died in 1726 but that's inaccurate. Her son Abner is born in 1729. The gap in years between Sarah and Abner’s births made me wonder if perhaps Abner was the son of an unknown second wife of Thomas Chase. But Sarah is named as Sarah Chase in her father’s December 1729 will, so she definitely didn’t die in 1726. 

If anyone has additional information on Thomas and Sarah, I'd very much like to hear from you. 

"Some of the Descendants of William Chase of Roxbury and Yarmouth, Mass., contributed by John Carroll Chase, compiled for him by George Walter Chamberlain, NEHGR, January 1933

"The Yarmouth Family of Chase," Library of Cape Cod History & Genealogy, No. 59, CW Swift, publisher, Yarmouthport, MA, 1913,