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 22, 2020

Samuel Sampson from Duxbury, Mass., died 1675 in King Philip’s War

Samuel Sampson (sometimes Samson), was born early- to mid-1640s in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Abraham Sampson and _____ Nash whose first name is unknown. Samuel is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Samuel married a woman named Esther, probably Esther Delano, about 1669.  Esther Delano was born 6 March 1640, daughter of Philip Delano and Hester Dewsbury of Duxbury. The Mayflower Families book on George Soule states Esther who married Samuel Sampson is most probably daughter of Philip Delano. The circumstantial evidence of her identity is that Esther Delano is the only Esther/Hester of the right place and age to be Samuel’s wife.

Samuel and Esther had two sons born in Duxbury:
Samuel born 1670
Ichabod born about 1675

I descend from their son Samuel who married Hasadiah/Assadiah Eddy.

Lt. Samuel Nash of Duxbury made his will 2 June 1681, leaving bequests to Samuel and Ichabod Samson, sons of deceased grandson Samuel Samson.

In 1675 Samuel died as a young man serving in King Philip’s War.

There is some confusion on my part about the year of Samuel’s death. It has been published as 1675 and 1678. According to a transcription in The American Genealogist, on 4 October 1675 the court granted ten pounds to “Ester,” the widow of Samuel Sampson “whose husband was alsoe slayne in the countryes service.” (PCR 5:177) I have not seen the original document. The war ended in 1676, so the 1678 cannot be accurate but likely based on his inventory date of 28 June 1678. As “the children were small and the estate little,” the court assigned the property valued at 27 pounds and change to the widow, except one acre to be reserved for the sons.

Esther married, second, John Soule, son of Mayflower passenger George Soule.  She died 12 September 1733, aged 95. She is buried at Myles Standish Burying Ground in Duxbury.  I also descend from John Soule by way of his first marriage to Rebecca Simmons.

Esther Soule's gravestone, Myles Standish Burying Ground, Duxbury source: wikitree.com

Note: There has been information published that Samuel Sampson married Esther Nash, but this is based on misinterpreting Samuel Nash’s will.

Torrey’s New England Marriages
Clarence A. Torrey, A Nash-Sampson-Delano-Howland Problem, The American Genealogist, vol 15 (1938),
Mrs. John E. Barclay, The Early Sampsons, The American Genealogist, vol 28 (1952),
Casualties in Philip's War, The American Genealogist, Vol 60 (1984:
William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 3
George Soule of the Mayflower and his Descendants for Four Generations, Mayflower Families in Progress, General Society of Mayflower Descendants

Thursday, April 9, 2020

John Hall born England ca 1611; died 1696 at Dennis, Mass.

John Hall was born about 1611. His English home town has been identified as Coventry, London and Warwickshire, but I haven’t found definitive proof of any of these places. He emigrated about 1630. He was first at Boston then at Charlestown, both in Suffolk County. He was then in Barnstable in 1640, eventually settling in Yarmouth by 1653 (in an area that became Dennis), both towns being in Barnstable County.  He is my 11th great-grandfather on my Grandmother Milly Booth Rollins’ side of the family. There are two John Halls of about the same age during this time, which has caused some confusion and conflicting/incorrect information, including in the works by Savage and Pope.

John married Bethia, whose maiden name is unknown, by 1632. Published books (see those by Deyo and Thacher Reid under Sources) have his first wife’s name was Bethia Farmer and that he married second Elizabeth Larned/Learned, but without sources.

John and Bethiah “Haule” were admitted to the Charlestown church as founding members on 2 November 1632. They had 10 sons:

Samuel about 1636, m. Elizabeth Folland, died without issue
John, baptized Charlestown 13 May 1638, m. Priscilla _____ (possibly Bearse but no strong evidence)
Shebar, baptized Charlestown 9 January 1639/40, no further record
Joseph, baptized Barnstable 3 July 1642, m. Mary Joyce
Benjamin , baptized Barnstable 14 July 1644, buried 23 July 1644
Nathaniel, baptized Barnstable 8 Feb 1645/6, m. Ann Thornton
Gershom, baptized Barnstable 5 March 1647/8, m. 1st Bethia Bangs; 2nd Martha Bramhall
William, baptized Barnstable 8 June 1651, m. Esther _____
Benjamin, baptized Barnstable 29 May 1653, m. Mehitable Matthews
Elisha, b. about 1655, m. Lydia _____

I hope Bethia had some close female family and friends given all those men she in her house! The gap between their marriage and the birth of Samuel (whose baptism isn’t found in Charlestown records) is unusual.  I descend from John 2 Hall.

John appears to be literate as his estate inventory included books.  He served as Barnstable constable, Yarmouth surveyor of highways, on Plymouth grand jury, and on a coroner’s jury. He was in the Barnstable section of the 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms.

Amos Otis wrote that John Hall was eminently distinguished for his moral worth and religious character and it would be difficult to find a more honest and upright man. Not sure if there is truth to this claim, but I like it nonetheless!

He received Charlestown land grants in 1635, 1636, 1637, 1638, becoming a significant land owner. In 1672 bounds of land that John and his sons had acquired at Yarmouth/Dennis over 20 years were recorded. He owned a very large tract of land at Nobscusset (now Dennis) between the homesteads of Thomas Howes and John Crowe. Today it would be between Nobscusset Road and Elm Street.
Hall's home location shown at top of map near Hall Cemetery; source CCGS Bulletin, Spring 2001

John Hall died 23 July 1696 in Yarmouth. He is likely buried at the Hall Burying Ground in Dennis, but without a surviving headstone. He wrote a will on 15 July 1694, which was proved 25 Aug 1696. His will mentions land he already gave to his sons. He gave eldest son Samuel 20 acres, son John 20 acres, son Benjamin 15 acres, son Elisha 12 acres. He gave son John three more acres, son Elisha parcel of marsh or meadow land lying above the beach, sons William and Elisha parcel of meadow and broken marsh below the little beach. Elisha received his dwelling house, out housing, yards, orchard. Sons John, Joseph, William, Nathaniel, Gershom, Benjamin and Elisha to receive residue of moveable estate equally divided. Sons John and Elisha named executors. His inventory was sworn 6 Aug 1696 and was valued at over 66 pounds, not including any real estate.

Bethia Hall is said to have died 1 February 1683 (/4) (according to Ancestry of Thomas Chalmers Brainerd, edited by Donald Lines Jacobus, 1948 and The Hall Family of Yarmouth).

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

Nancy Thacher Reid, Dennis, Cape Cod: From Firstcomers to Newcomers 1639-1993, 1996

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

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

CW Swift, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 67, The Hall Family of Yarmouth, 1913

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