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, October 22, 2017

Nathaniel Covell, of Chatham, died before 1687, and His Wife Sarah Nickerson

Nathaniel Covell is my 9th great-grandfather on my Grandmother Millie (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. Nathaniel’s father, also Nathaniel, was of Chelmsford, Essex Co., England, so that could be where Nathaniel was born. He died when Nathaniel was a boy. Nathaniel the younger came to Boston on 26 August 1653.  He was a saddler by trade. He was an indentured servant to Edward Winslow of Marshfield for seven years after arriving in New England. Part of that time he spent in service of Winslow's son-in-law Peregrine White. For his servitude he received his passage over, his support during his indenture and 10 pounds in goods and commodities, 13 bushels of Indian corn, and a “double good apparel” at end of his time. He came to Yarmouth, Mass., soon after his end of service.There is a lack of records for early Chatham, so Nathaniel's story is incomplete.

I have read that this Covell family was among the early merchant adventurers, being on the list of share-holders in the Virginia Company 1608-1624, but it’s not something I have looked into.

Transcription of Nathaniel’s indenture:
An Indenture appointed to bee Recorded
This Indenture made the eighteenth Day of Aprill in the yeare of our Lord God one Thousand six hundred fifty and three Between Nathaniell Covell sonne of Nathaniell Covell late of Chelmesford in the County of Essex yeoman Deceased on the one pte; And Edward Winslow of Marshfeild in New England gentleman in New England on the other pte Witnesseth that the said Nathaniell Covell the son of Nathaniell Covell Doth heerby covenant promise and graunt to and with the said Edward Winslow his exequitors and assignes from the
Day of the Date heerof untill his first and Next arivall in New England aforsaid and after for and During the tearme of seaven yeares to serve in such service and Imployment as hee the said Edward Winslow or his assignes shall there Imploy him according to the Costome of the Countrey in like kind; In Consideration wherof the said Edward Winslow Doth heerby for him selfe his exequitors and assignee Covenant and graunt to and with the said Nathaniell Covell to pay for his passage and to find and allow him meat Drinke apparrell and lodging with other nessesaries During the said Tearme and att the end of the said Tearme to pay unto the said Nathaniell Covell the sonne the vallue or worth of ten pounds of lawfull money of England in such goods and Comodities as the Countrey affords and alsoe thirteen bushels of good Indian Corn; and then alsoe to provide for and Deliver unto him the said Nathaniell Covell good Double apparrell in Witnesse wherof the said pties above mencioned to these Indentures have Interchangaby sett theire hands and seales the Day and yeare first abovewritten
Sealed and Delivered             Nathaniel Covell (seale)
in the prsence of us
Thomas hewitt
Edw: Wolrich Scr:
These are to signify that Mr Edward Winslow by a letter sent to mee bearing Date the 2cond of May 1653 gave mee power in his name to assigne over the pty within Named (Nathaniell Covell) to Mr Perigrine White his sonneinlaw to serve him according to this Indenture and the full time therof the which I have now Donne this 16th of September 1653 they both appeering before mee at this time;
By mee Willam Bradford Governor
Alsoe the said Mr Perigrine White Doth heerby bind himselfe his heires exequitors and assignes to pforme the Covenants within specifyed to this his servant mencioned in this Indenture and Discharge Mr Edward Winslow of the same and for that end hath heerunto put his hand;
Perigrine White;
Nathaniell Covell Arived Att Boston 26 of August 1653

Nathaniel married Sarah Nickerson between 15 Jan 1662 and 4 July 1663 at Yarmouth, Barnstable Co., Mass.. Sarah was born about 1644, the daughter of William and Anne (Busby) Nickerson. One to two years later they moved to Monomoit, now Chatham, near Alewife River and Ryder's Cove. Sarah was given land by her father who was the founder of Chatham. 

Map showing early settler's homes in Chatham

Children, births not recorded so not all a sure thing:
Daughter whose first name unknown, possibly Sarah who married Benjamin Phillips/Phelps

I descend through Elizabeth who married Jehosophat Eldredge (one of my favorite ancestor names!)

Nathaniel served as deputy constable for Chatham in 1674,to serve under Eastham constable.

Sarah received 50 acres of land by deed from her father 11 Feb 1673/4. An April 1677 deed shows William Nickerson sold parcel of woodland to Nathaniel Covell on the east side of Great Hill. William Nickerson purchased Monomoit lands from Indians in 1656 (PC Records IV, 51).

A Deed Appointed to bee Recorded
To all people to whom these prsents shall come Timothy hatherley of Scittuate in the Govrment of New Plymouth in New England in America gent: sendeth greet &c: Know yea that I the aforsaid Timothy hatherley for and in consideration of a full and valluable satisfaction to mee in hand paied by Thomas Ensinge of Scittuate aforsaid in the Govrment aforsaid planter wherwith I the aforsaid Timothy hatherley Doe acknowlidg my selfe fully Satisfyed contented and fully paied and therof and of every pte and pcell therof Doe exownerate acquite and Discharge the aforsaid Thomas Ensinge hee his heires exequitors Adminestrators and assignes for ever by these prsents have freely and absolutly bargained and sold enfeofed and Confeirmed and by these prsents Doe bargaine sell enfeofe and Confeirme from mee the said Timothy hatherley and my heires; to him the said Thomas Ensinge and his heires Exequitors Adminnestrators and assignes for ever All that my three pcells of upland and all that my whole Tract or pcells of meadow land lying and being in Scittuate neare Scittuate harbour being by estimation thirty and three acres of upland mor or lesse the marsh is by estemation twenty acres more or lesse all which said land is bounded in mannor and forme following viz: that is to say four acres more or lesse of the aforsaid three pcells of upland is bounded towards the East to the way neare the harbour towards the West to the land of John hollett Towards the North to the land of Richard Sealis and towards the south to the highway likwise Nine acres more or lesse of the sd three pcells of upland is bounded towards the East to the way neare the harbour towards the North to the land of Goyen White towards the west to the land of Goyen White towards the North another pte of the North border bounds to Goyen White towards the West ffor another pte of the west border bounds to the land of John hollett and towards the south it bounds to the land of Richard Sealis likwise twenty acres more or lesse of the aforsaid three pcells of upland which said twenty acres is there knowne by the name of the first Clift and all the Marshes adjoyning as aforsaid; which said upland and Marshes is bounded towards the East to the sea towards the west to the Mayne Creeke where vessels goe to the harbour towards the North to Scittuate harbours mouth and towards the south its halfe the way to the 2Cond Clift bounding a little on that land that was the land of Mr Thomas Tart to the south to a great Creeke with all and singulare the appurtenances and privilidges therupon belonging and appertaining to all and every pte and pcell of the said three pcells of upland and Tract or pcells of Marsh; To have and to hold the aforsaid Tract or pcells of Marsh unto the aforsaid
Thomas Ensinge hee his heires and assignes for ever to the proper use and behoofe of him the said Thomas Ensinge hee his heires and assignes for ever to bee holden according to the mannor of East Greenwich in the Countey of Kent in free and Common Soccage and not in Capite nor by Knights Service by the Rents and service therof and therby Due and of Right accustomed and Warranting the sale and title of the aforsaid land against all people whatsoever in by through or under mee the said Timothy hatherley or by my Right or title Claiming any Right title or Interest of or in the prmises or any pte or pcell therof; And The said Timothy hatherley; Doth [p. 152] Doth alsoe Covenant promise and graunt that it shall and may bee lawfull to and for the said Thomas Ensinge either by himselfe or his Attorney to Record or enrowle these prsents to cause them to bee Recorded or enrowled in the Records of Conahassett land or in any other place of Records according to the usuall Mannor of Recording or enrowling evidences in such Case provided; To and for the true pformance of the prmises I the said Timothy hatherley bind mee my heires executors adminestrators and asignes feirmly by these prsents in witness wherof I the sd Timothy hatherley have. heerunto sett my hand and Seale This twentieth Day of June Anno: Dom 1654
Signed Sealled and                Timothy hatherley (seale)
Delivered in the prsence of
the Interlining alsoe
made in the prsence
of viz
Samuell house
Isack Chittenden;
Memorandum that these words in the seaventh line in the originall Deed viz: [all that my whole tract or] and in the fivfteenth line therof [To the harbour] and in the seaventeenth line therof [ to the south to a great Creeke] and in the eightenth line therof [Tract or] and in the same line [Tract or] were Interlined before the sealing and Delivery heerof;
The abovsaid Deed was enrowed on the seaventh of May 1655
Nathaniel is listed on the pioneers of Chatham plaque

Nathaniel died before 1687 when Sarah is mentioned as a widow when her father deeded her all of his land. Unfortunately Nathaniel died in the prime of life, leaving a large family.

In 1699 Sarah Covell divided her property between her four sons, so she died after that time.

Nickerson Family Assoc.,The Nickerson Family: The Desc. of Wm. Nick. 1604-89, First Settler of Chatham, MA, Part 1, first Four Generations with vital statistics of 5th Generation, 1973

William C. Smith, A History of Chatham, Mass. Formerly the Constablewick or village of Monomoit," 1909

James Hawes, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 90, Covel, 1912

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Robert Wixon died Eastham 1686

Robert Wixon was born in England, his birth date and exact origins unknown. Robert is my 9th great grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. He came to Plymouth Colony in 1630 as an indentured servant to William Hedge. His services were transferred on 5 November 1638 to Gov. Thomas Prence for 12 pounds, which is how he came to be familiar with Eastham as Gov. Prence lived there as well as Plymouth. I would imagine this means he was good at whatever he was doing if the governor wanted him as a servant. I am also a direct descendant of Gov. Prence. I love that in early America whether you came as a wealthy, educated man or a servant, you had a chance to become successful, the beginning of the American Dream.

Robert married a woman named Alice before the birth of their first child in 1655, likely in Eastham. Some descendants believe Alice was a Native American and others that her maiden name was Titus, but I haven’t seen any proof of either claims. Alice and Robert had four children, first three recorded Eastham/Orleans Vital Records and all four named in will:

Jemima, born 30 Aug 1655, Eastham
Titus, born 02 Dec 1657, Eastham, died Yarmouth in 1718, no marriage or children found for him in records
Elizabeth born 29 May 1660, Eastham, married Nathaniel Mayo, had a large family, died Eastham Dec 1699
Barnabas born between 1660–1663, likely in Eastham, married Sarah Remick.

I descend from Barnabas. The name Wixon is spelled in a myriad of ways in records, including Wixam, Wickson, Vixon, Wixen, Waxam.

Robert Wixon was at Plymouth by1634 and from there lived in Eastham, where he is registered as one of the legal inhabitants in 1665 but was there earlier.

He is listed in an Eastham agreement dated 16 July 1662 concerning Lieutenant’s land with meadow to be used for public use and not disposed to any one person.

 He served his community in a variety of ways. He was constable at Plymouth in 1647. On 8 June 1655, he was named surveyor of highways at Eastham (Plym Col Vol III, p 79). On 5 June 1666 he was appointed constable of Eastham. He sat on a jury to hear a case against John Williams by his wife Elizabeth, who claimed abuse. They found against him and she was allowed to cease living with him (Vol IV, p. 123). On 2 July 1667 he sat on inquest jury of the death of a child of Daniel Doane's who drowned in a well (Vol IV, p 169). On 1 Jan 1667/8 Robert Wixam was on inquest jury concerning death of 5-6 year old child kept by John Smalley Jr., of Eastham; found that the child got lost in the woods and died of exposure (Vol IV, p 177). On 3 June 1674 he was again Surveyor of Highways (Vol V, p 146) and again on 1 June 1675 (Vol V, p 167). On 7 June 1676 again Surveyor of Highways (Vol V, p 197). On 1 Nov 1676 Robert Vixon appointed administrator of the estate of Nathaniel Brewster, a highly respected family (Vol V, p 212).

Robte Wickson on the August 1643 list of those able to bear arms in Plymouth, aged 16-60. On the Eastham list in 1665. On 3 March 1644/5 he posted bond for the good behavior of George Crispe.

At the June session of the Old Colony court at Plymouth, in 1651, he was made a freeman, so he had completed his term of service with Gov. Prence. On 29 May 1670 Robert was listed as a freeman of Eastham (Vol V, p 278).

Robert Wixon sat on a jury which convicted three Native Americans of the murder of John Sassamon, a Harvard educated Native American who lived among the whites. Tobias, Wampapaum and Mattushamama were found guilty of murdering him by laying violent hands on him and striking him or twisting his neck until he was dead and to cover up the murder they pushed his body through the ice of Assowamsett Pond on 29 Jan 1674. Natives and English served on the jury that found them guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging. On 8 June 1675 Tobias and Mattashamama were hanged, but Wampapaum was reprieved for one month from that date, but was then shot dead. This event angered other Native Americans who did not like being subjected to English trials and is considered one of the triggers of King Phillip's War.

One of the roads he helped to lay in 1668 was a road, referred to as an Indian Path, from Eastham through what is now Brewster. It was the same Indian path further widened and used in the 1800s as the main road in Brewster.

A 9 November 1666 deed refers to Robert Wixon as an early purchaser in Eastham.

Easthamlibrary.org has a transcription of his land transactions there, the first dated 1654. He owned considerable land at Eastham, including low meadow on Pochet Flats, meadow between the Bay and the Creek at the harbor mouth at Namskaket, 20 acres at Pochet Island, meadow at Billingsgate, marsh at Rock Harbor, meadow at Blackfish River, 40 acres at Little Namskaket, land at Little Billingsgate. The land owned by Robert Wixon described in these deeds amounts to about 110 acres. Pretty amazing for someone who came here as a servant.

Robert Wixon died Eastham in October 1686. He is most likely buried in an unmarked grave at Cove Burying Ground. 
Image result for robert and alice wixon
Cemetery where Robert and Alice Wixon are possibly buried

His will was written 1 October 1686, proved ten days later. His widow Alice Wixam appeared before the court 18 October 1686 and testified that the inventory of her husband's estate was correct, taking the oath before John Freeman, Assistant.

Will of Robert Wixam says he was very weak of body but sound and mind and "but dayly expecting his change" and includes references to God. It names his wife Alce (Alice) as executrix, with son-in-law Nathaniel Mayo to offer her assistance.

Daughter Jemimah to receive one browne cow with a star on its forehead, one hive of bees, room in the house and privileges in the orchard as long as she is unmarried.

Grandchild Nathaniel Mayo: one calf (this would be his late daughter Elizabeth’s child).

Rest of personal estate, after debts paid, to loving wife Alice for her support during her natural life, including part of house she lives in and orchard.

Son Titus Wixam: other part of dwelling house and out housing and all land on that side of highway house stands upon and all meadow adjoining it, half acre meadow in Rock Harbor, lying between the house and Thomas Williams' meadow. Other part of house after wife's decease, parcel of upland between mouth of Little Skaket and Rock Harbor and small upland above the highway of 2 acres he now improves with.

Son Barnabas Wixam: remaining 30 acres above the highway with meadow and marsh in Namescakitt by the beach and small parcel of meadow at Rock Harbor between Giles Hopkins and Daniel Cole.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Thomas Tupper 1578-1676 Sandwich, Mass.

Thomas Tupper was born Bury, Sussex Co., England 28 (or 27) January 1578, the son of Henry Tupper. According to the Tupper Family Association, he grew up on a farm at Bignor (near Bury), West Sussex County in Southern England at the foothills of the South Downs and that Tupper descendants still live on this beautiful land. Thomas is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Thomas Tupper was one of the “Ten Men From Saugus” who founded the town of Sandwich. I have read that Thomas was the only exception of the “Ten” who do not come off well as participants in early town government. In the case of the marshlands’ allocation, they show themselves as distinctly indifferent to the interests of their fellow townsmen. The ten founders declared themselves owners of all the marsh along the shores near their farms, forcing others to go much further away for salt hay. Not very welcoming or neighborly!

Plaque at Sandwich Town Hall

Thomas received a bequest from wealthy man named Dennis Geere who contract smallpox aboard the Abigail in 1635. Tupper was probably on that ship as well.

Thomas was a shoemaker by trade. Apparently he was also on crews of several boats from England to US, where he eventually decided to stay.

He is listed as a long-term Sandwich settler of the original 62 that came 1637-1640 and was the oldest man among those first settlers.

He was married three times:
First to Katherine Gator in 29 April 1622, Parish of Chelmsford, Essex County, England. He had children Katherine and Robert (who died in infancy) with her. She died before January 1628 when Thomas remarried.

Second, he married Susan Turner, a widow, on 25 January 1628/29, in Topsfield, Mass. and had Thomas (who died in infancy) and Robert, who married Deborah Perry and returned to England. She died in Topsfield in 1634, but I don’t have a source for that.

He married third widow Anne Hodgson on 21 December 1634. With Anne he had a son Thomas who grew up to marry Martha Mayhew and have a large family in Sandwich.

I descend from Katherine who married Benjamin Nye of Sandwich.

At age 65, Thomas was likely the oldest man in Sandwich listed as able to bear arms in 1643. He was allowed to solemnize marriages in Sandwich as a reputable senior and did lay preaching in town. He served the town in many ways. He was town clerk and deputy to the court.  In 1644 the town meeting warned the selectmen to repair the meetinghouse and several people agreed to pay Thomas Tupper in corn "for as many bolts as would shingle the old meeting house." In 1645 Thomas Tupper was on committee appointed by court to investigate Kenelm Winslow's charge of injustice in his suit against John Maynard, but committee found charge untrue. In 1650 he was one of the men that improved the parsonage for Rev. Leverich. Part of committee of five men ordered at 21 November 1651 town meeting to make a levy of six pounds for the payment of the Clerk and the committees. Town Meeting 22 May 1652 committee of four men named, including Goodman Burgess Sr. and Goodman Tupper shall have power to call a town meeting. Served on committee of five men approved at the 13 May 1654 town meeting to buy Indian lands, the area of Manomet. The first selectmen found in Sandwich records were in 1667, and included Thomas Tupper Sr. In June 1676 a special committee of four was named, including Thomas Tupper, to take an account of the town's debts as a result of The Indian War.

The only black mark against him in records is when he was accused of “light and lascivious carriage” toward the adultress Anne Lynceford but was only admonished.

In October 1658 brought a new land regulation resulted in some of Thomas Tupper's land being taken for a dock and access road for the town (currently Harbor Street).

A map depicting 1667 settlers' home locations in Sandwich Village and Spring Hill shows Thomas lived on what became Dock Lane off Main Street on the right hand side near Tupper Road and Town Neck.  The Jarves Street to Ox Pasture Neck area. His neighbors were Richard Bourne, James Skiffe, William Bassett and Nathaniel Fish. All but Fish are my direct descendants, showing how cozy neighbors were!

The Tupper House on the Back Street (later Tupper Road) seems to have been first occupied by John and Katherine Briggs (they are also my direct descendants) and their two children. Could well date from 1637 and was then taken over by Thomas Jr., the only son of Thomas Senior.  It was tragically burned by an arsonist in 1921, just a year after the Tupper Family Association restored the house. A boulder marks the spot on Tupper Road, which is now a Memorial Park. The Tupper Family Association owned the house and after it was destroyed developed a Memorial Park where there is a stone marker in Thomas and Anne’s name.
Thomas Tupper's house in Sandwich  source: Tupper Family Association

The first reference to Mashpee lands occurs in Plymouth Colony Records in 1654: The freemen of Sandwich viz Mr. John Vincent, Thomas Burgess, Thomas Tupper, Richard Bourne and James Skiffe desired some several parcels of land at the places following: viz some land by Marshpee Pond and 10 acres of meadow; some land by Santuit Pond to the value of one hundred acres; a neck of land by Cotuit River to keep cattle; certain meadow lying upon and about a place called Mannamuch Bay.
Monument at site of Tupper's house in Sandwich

A Thomas Tupper was involved in mission work with Native Americans in the Herring Pond area. Although it seems likely this is his son of the same name, Thomas may have been involved earlier. Thomas Jr. was not ordained, but mastered the Indian language and was able to preach.

Thomas Tupper died Sandwich 28 March 1676, in his 98th year, a remarkably long life for that era. His death is recorded in Sandwich Vital Records: Thomas Tupper Senir: Deceased the 28th of March Anno Dom one Thousand six hundred seaventy and six; hee Died in the 98th yeer of his age, and 2cond month.

Anne Tupper’s death is recorded directly after her husband’s in Sandwich Vital Records: Anne Tupper, deceased the 4th of June 1676 in the 90th year of her age.

You can learn more about the Tupper Family Association at www.tupperfamily.org.

Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People 1620-1691, 1986

Barbara Gill, CCGS Bulletin, Spring 2005, article on The Ten Men From Saugus

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

RA Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, by RA Lovell, Jr., 1996

Thomas 1 Tupper and His Descendants, As Communicated by the Tupper Family Association, NEHGR, vol, 99, 1945