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 29, 2020

John Holmes b. 1603 Colchester, England; migrated to Plymouth, Mass. in 1632

John Holmes was baptized 22 February 1603 (/04?) at St. James, Colchester, son of Thomas Holmes. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. Research by Denwood Nathan Stacy Holmes, published in The Register, Spring 2017 (see Sources below), shows that John was the son of Thomas Holmes, gentleman and maltster of Colchester, Essex. Thomas’ 1637 will leaves bequest to Thomas son of “my son John.” In the margin is an additional bequest to son John five pounds and corslet and pike and all armor. There is no mention of specific burial instructions, typical of non-conformists. In a 1627 document, Thomas Holmes is referred to as a gentleman and a gaoler of Colchester Castle.
St. James, Colchester, where John Holmes was baptized
Thomas Holmes’ daughter Susan (Holmes) Morton’s 1652 will, proved in 1656 at a Canterbury court, leaves bulk of her property to her nephew Thomas “eldest son of my brother John Holmes” and leaves bequests to two more nephews, also sons of John: John Holmes, age 21, five pounds; Nathaniel Holmes, age 21, two pounds. She also directed nephew Thomas to pay five pounds annually to his father John Holmes.
Example of corslet armor   Source: wikipedia
Susan Holmes married Tobias Morton/Moreton, a well-educated lawyer, whose 1629 will was witnessed by Thomas and John Holmes.

John migrated to Plymouth in 1632 and was admitted freeman there 1 Jan 1634/35. He served as a messenger for the General Court (later a position called marshal, still later county sheriff).  John was presented at court for taking five shillings for serving a warrant, staying up at night drinking “inordinately” while on public business and for abusing other men’s names to procure money to use for drink.  He was cited other times for drunkenness including on 1 April 1633 when he was sentenced to sit in the stocks and fined 20 shillings.
He is an interesting man! His government position and being referred to in records as “Mr.” and sometimes gentleman indicate some standing in the community and also that he was literate. Conversely he is frequently cited for drunkenness.

John also served on juries and was on the Plymouth list of men able to bear arms in 1643. He owned a house and land adjoining Reed Pond, purchased from William Palmer in 1632. He also received hay ground from the town and was granted 40 acres of upland at Narragansett Hill living between the highway and Derby Pond. If anyone can use the mention of these ponds to pinpoint where John Holmes lived, I would very much appreciate hearing from you!

He married Sarah whose maiden name is unknown.  Since there was a large gap between the first and second child’s birth, perhaps John married twice, both times to women named Sarah. Children:

Thomas Holmes, born Feb 1628/29 in Colchester, Essex, England
John Holmes, b. about 1636 in Plymouth, Mass.
Nathaniel Holmes b. about 1643 in Plymouth, Mass.

I descend through Nathaniel who married Mercy Faunce.  Please note that Robert Charles Anderson writes that Nathaniel is probable son of John and Sarah. Historian and author Susan Roser has written there is enough circumstantial evidence that Nathaniel was John’s son. This is the only Holmes family in Plymouth in which Nathaniel could be placed; his age is the right fit for this family; he and John 2 Holmes married sisters; and naming patterns of their children (Nathaniel named children John and Sarah; John 2 married children John and Nathaniel).  More recent research by Denwood Nathan Stacy Holmes finds John Holmes’ sister named nephews Thomas, Nathaniel and John in her will.

William Spooner of Colchester, Essex, indentured himself to John Holmes of New Plymouth in America, gentleman, for a term of six years beginning in 1637, then that same year his indenture was transferred to John Coombs of Plymouth. John also took Dorothy Temple (and her illegitimate child) into service in 1639, taking over her agreement from Stephen Hopkins for a payment of three pounds.

In 1642 John Holmes was paid 3 pounds 10 shillings for boarding Thomas Granger, a teenager sentenced to death bestiality (who is my 11th great-uncle), and for executing Granger by hanging, and then killing eight animals Granger allegedly made unclean. Wish I didn't discover this fact about John Holmes. 

Mrs. Sarah Holmes died 18 Aug 1650 at Plymouth.

John Holmes died after 3 June 1652 (date of his sister’s will which implies he was alive). It is possible he returned to England, but more research is needed.

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 995
Various Plymouth Court Records

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

House Location of William and Mary Brewster of Plymouth, Mass.

William Brewster came over on the Mayflower and was one of the more influential members of the Pilgrim contingent and served as a spiritual advisor. He was born about 1567 at Scrooby, Nottingham, and married Mary (maiden name unknown) who was born about 1593. They are my 10th-great grandparents. William and Mary had six children: Patience, Jonathan, Fear, Love, Wrestling and an unnamed children who died young. I have lines of descent from Love, Fear and also from Patience. I've written more about William and Mary Brewster here.

I recently took photographs of the William and Mary's Plymouth house location. Mary died in Plymouth in 1627. William moved to nearby Duxbury where he died in 1646.

Plaque indicating the location of William Brewster's house

Currently the Post Office is on the site of Brewster's house (corner of Leyden and Main Streets)

Leyden Street was formerly called First Street

I appreciate the historical information included on the downtown street signs

View from the top of Leyden Street down to the harbor

Monday, February 24, 2020

Benjamin Nye ca 1620 to 1704-07, Kent to Sandwich, Mass., and Katherine Tupper

Benjamin Nye ca 1620 to 1704-07, Kent to Sandwich, Mass., and Katherine Tupper

Benjamin Nye came to America as a young man on the Abigail in 1635. He was first at Saugus (now Lynn), then he settled in Sandwich, Barnstable Co., Mass., where he built a grist mill.  His last name is spelled in a variety of ways in records, including Noye, Noy and Nie.  Benjamin is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. There is a lot of misinformation on Benjamin Nye out there. Some genealogies have given him an exact birth date, origin and father’s name (Thomas) in England with a long royal ancestry going back to Denmark; some have said he was a 15 year old cabin boy on board the Abigail; others that he was an apprentice to Thomas Tupper. But as far as I know none of this has been proven according to genealogy standards.

What is known is that on 19 October 1640 Benjamin married Katherine Tupper (Plymouth VR p. 654). Plymouth Colony Court Orders has the marriage date as 6 October 1640.  Katherine was the daughter of Thomas and Katherine (Gator) Tupper.

Benjamin and Katherine had eight children, born Sandwich:
Mary born ca 1641, m. Jacob Burgess
John Nye, born ca 1644, married Esther _____ (seen as Shed, daughter of Daniel Shed, but not sure what the source for that is)
Ebenezer born say 1647, m. Sarah Gibbs
Jonathan b. 20 November 1649, married 1st Hannah ____; 2nd Patience Burgess
Mercy Nye, born 8 April 1652, did not marry
Caleb, born say 1655, m. Elizabeth Wood/Atwood
Nathan, b. say 1657, m. Mercy ____
Benjamin, b. say 1659, did not marry, killed while serving in King Philip’s War in 1676

Most of the births are unrecorded but are proven as children of Katherine and Benjamin from other records, except for Benjamin and Caleb. But since Benjamin was the only man of the name in Sandwich at the time it seems quite certain they were his sons. Also, Caleb had land near his brother Jonathan in Sandwich.

I descend through John as well as Jonathan.

According to a 1667 map, Benjamin lived at the beginning of Spring Hill Road where it meets Rt. 6A. The map shows his mill was on Old County Road between Hoxie and Nye Ponds.  In 1685 he built a second house in that area as well as a fulling mill, giving his Spring Hill house to his son John.  His second home was given to his son, Jonathan, by deed dated 1704 "if he will take care of me and Katherine Nye, my wife."
Source: Sandwich A Cape Cod Town, RA Lovell

The Nye Family Association of America owns the old Nye house (Benjamin’s second home) on Old County Road in Sandwich.

Nye Family Homestead

Fellow Abigail passenger Dennis Geere left Benjamin money in his will, so one would think they were related in some way but no evidence has been found.

Benjamin died between 9 June 1704 when he deeded land to his son Jonathan and 17 May 1707 when he is called deceased when son Jonathan received land.

Katherine Tupper Nye died after 9 June 1704 when she was mentioned in her husband’s deed of land to their son Jonathan. No gravestones for Benjamin and Katherine have survived. 
Photograph I purchased at an estate sale that shows the location of Nye memorial

RA Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, third edition published by the Sandwich Archives and Historical Center, 1996, first printing 1984

Bernard Peterson , The Nye House at Sandwich, Cape Cod Library of Local History and Genealogy Pamphlet Series, No. 12, 1925

George Washington 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, Leominster, MA, 1896

Simeon L. Deyo, editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, HW Blake & Co., New York, 1890

Ian Hilder, George R. Nye and Jonathan A Shaw, NEHGR Vol 158, October 2004, The Origins of Benjamin 1 Nye: Examining the Sources

George Hyatt Nye and Frank E. Best, Benjamin Nye of Sandwich, Massachusetts, His Ancestors and Descendants, A Genealogy of the Nye Family, 1907