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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

William Baker and Mercy Lawrence of 17th-18th century Yarmouth, Massachusetts




William Baker was born probably in Yarmouth (now Dennis), Massachusetts, the son of Francis and Isabel (Twining) Baker. I have seen his birthdate as 19 October 1652 but do not know the source. I always feel I should put an asterisk next to my Baker ancestors, as they are a hard family to pin down with definite dates and records!

William married Mercy Lawrence by 1692 (I have seen it as 5 April 1689 but without a source). Mercy was born Watertown, Mass., possibly on 4 December 1671 (as “Mary,” Watertown Vital Records). She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Crispe) Lawrence. Mercy is my 8th great-grandmother on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Not all genealogists agree that William’s wife was Mercy Lawrence or whether she was his first or second wife.  Florence Baker wrote in the Cape Cod Library Pamphlets from the early 1900s that his wife Mercy’s maiden name is unknown. In the manuscript Pilgrims and Indians... by Vernon R. Nickerson, he does give Mercy Lawrence as William’s wife but writes he married first Mary Pierce, but I don’t believe he married Mary Pierce, but rather his brother Nathaniel did.

In Henry Bond’s 1855 Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, he wrote that Mary Lawrence, born 4 December 1671, married 5 April1689, John Earl of Boston and that it was probably Mary, widow of John Earl, who married Michael Flagg on 27 December 1704.

In New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Clarence Almon Torrey states that William Baker married Mercy Lawrence before 1692/3, the year their first child was born.

The most compelling reason I believe William Baker married Mercy Lawrence is that George Lawrence’s 1707 will mentions daughter Mercy Baker living in Yarmouth. It also mentions a daughter Mary Flagg, leading me to believe that the December 1671 birth date is not Mercy’s but is her sister Mary’s, although the two names are sometimes interchangeable in old records or perhaps they were twins.

William and Mercy lived in Yarmouth, where their 12 children were born, all of their births being recorded:

1. Mercy born 4 January 1691/2
2. William born 8 January 1693/4
3. Dorcas born 15 November 1696
4. Experience born 8 Jan 1697/8
5. Judah born 21 March 1700/01
6. Elizabeth born 11 February 1702/03
7. Josiah born 14 December 1704
8. Johanah/Joanna b. 18 February 1706/7
9. Patience b. 27 February 1708/9
10. Elisha b. 11 December 1712
11. James born 20 May 1715 (finally a baby born in the warm weather months!)
12. Thankful born 6 December 1719

I descend through their daughter Dorcas Baker who married William Chase.  The Chase’s are another prolific, confusing family!

Francis Baker’s homestead was in what is now the Mayfair section of Dennis. It was not large to accommodate the growth of the family, so the second generation settled in the area near the present day Ezra Baker School, where West Dennis and South Dennis meet, and northward and eastward along the shore of Grand Cove. The Bakers would become so plentiful in South Dennis that it was later called Baker Town.

William Baker served in the first expedition of King Philip's War in 1675. In Swift's History of Old Yarmouth, it is written that William Baker was paid 8 pounds, 11 shillings for service in King Philip's War in 1675.

In March 1700 William Baker and his brothers John, Daniel and Thomas were asked by the Sandwich Monthly Meeting why they were "walking disorderly concerning training." Apparently several men were attending the militia training and were thereby remiss in their duty to the principle advocated by their Quaker faith. The following month the above men answered. William said "...that he could do more business on that day than in a week at any other time and justified his going." (Nancy Thacher Reid's History of Dennis)

William died in 1727, at Yarmouth or Sandwich between the date he wrote his will on 16 July and it was proved on 14 August. There is a probate file at Barnstable for William Baker of Yarmouth, Case no R4-393, but I have not seen it yet.

William Baker of Yarmouth (his heirs since he was deceased) received 43 lots of land at Narragansett Township No.  7, now Gorham Maine, for his service in King Philip's War, assigned 17 Oct 1733. Brothers Daniel and Samuel also received grants.

Mercy died 26 November 1753 at Yarmouth (as Mercy Baker the wife of William Baker in Yarmouth Vital Records transcription).

Sources Not Listed Above:

George Madison 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, 1896

From Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, The Baker Family of Yarmouth, Descendants of Francis, No. 73, 1912

Henry Bond MD, Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, 1855

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