Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. 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 male 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, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Isaac Pepper, born Roxbury 1659, m. Apphia Freeman, died Eastman before July 1740


Isaac Pepper was born 26 April 1659 at Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, to Robert and Elizabeth (Johnson) Pepper. He was baptized there on 1 May 1661. Isaac is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.  I wrote about his parents here.

Isaac was one the early settlers at Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, living there prior to 1675. He became the schoolmaster, replacing Jonathan Sparrow, indicating he was educated.  (A History of Early Orleans pg. 34)

Isaac married Apphia Freeman at Eastham on 7 October 1685. Apphia was born 1 January 1666 at Plymouth, the daughter of Samuel and Mercy (Southworth) Freeman. 

The children of Isaac and Apphia, recorded Eastham:

i. Apphia Pepper born 24 February 1687; married Timothy Cole; died 6 April 1718 at Eastham

ii. Mercy or Mary born 7 August 1690; married William Freeman, 16 October 1711 

iii. Isaac born  29 July 1693,  m. Elizabeth Freeman

iv. Robert born 15 February 1695/6l m. Mary Snow

v. Elizabeth born 11 July 1698; m. Robert Young

vi. Joseph born 1 November 1700, died 1 May 1703

vii. Solomon born 15 January 1703; m. Phebe Paine 

viii. Joseph was born  24 February 1704/5

I descend from Apphia who married Timothy Cole on 2 November 1709, at Eastham. 

Isaac and Apphia settled in the lower portion of Eastham which in 1696 separated into the town of Harwich. 

May 1710 Issac Pepper was appointed to enforce the whaling regulation of Eastham.  He was to collect a fee from the whalers who caught them near the shore.  He was to keep one-fourth of the fees collected, but it is unknown how successful it was since it was discontinued a few years later.  (History of Billingsgate pg. 96-97)

Mr. Isaac Pepper and Captain Samuel Freeman were on the committee at Eastham to lay out 24 parcels of land at Billingsgate (later Wellfleet)  in the 1711 Eastham land division. Settlers as well as Indians already at Billingsgate petitioned to stop the land grants since they used the land, its timber, and other resources for themselves.  

In 1722 Isaac Pepper along with John Paine and Samuel Knowles where appointed to a committee to hear why the community of Billingsgate should establish its own town government. That same year the General Court of Massachusetts allowed the community to separate from Eastham owing to the difficulty of the church members to attend church at Eastham.  (History of Billingsgate, pg. 40)

Isaac was named first in his father Robert Pepper’s 4 July 1684 will, to receive the lot in the Pond Plain and a lot at Ainsworth Hill together with four acres of salt marsh next to John Ruggles’ marsh. Isaac and Jacob to divide the 21.5 acre wood lot their father received in the third division of lands in Roxbury; Isaac to have the half next to Dedham and Jacob the half next to Roxbury. If Isaac decides to sell the land, he is to offer it first to his brother Jacob. Isaac is to pay his sister Elizabeth Everett of Dedham twenty pounds in money or in cattle, five pounds each year over four years. Isaac and Jacob to make payments to the two schools at Roxbury. Jacob was to receive his father’s house, barn, orchard, and meadow. Isaac was Robert and Elizabeth’s sixth son; all of his older brother’s pre-deceased him. 

Isaac served as a selectman and frequently witnessed his neighbor’s wills, acted as an estate administrator, and conducted estate inventories, indicating he was an important and respected member of the community. He is, at times, referred to as Gentleman in records. 

  • On April 15 1697 Isaac Pepper was listed as an administrator of the estate of Richard Rich who died in 1692, written as both Pepper and Piper in the documents. He and Richard Rich conducted the inventory and Isaac Pepper is listed as being owed 1 pound 8 shillings from the estate. (BcPR 2:39)
  • On 18 July 1700, Isaac Pepper took the inventory of Mrs. Mary Smith. (BcPR 2:181)
  • 15 August 1702 Isaac Pepper was one of the men who conducted the inventory of the estate of Thomas Crosby of Harwich. (BcPR 2:118)
  • In 1712 Isaac Pepper, gentleman, was appointed as administrator of his father-in-law Samuel Freeman’s estate. Samuel is referred to as a deacon from Eastham.
  • Isaac Pepper presented Samuel Freeman’s inventory to the Probate Court at Barnstable 29 January 1712/13. (BcPR 3:108)
  • Isaac Pepper witnessed Stephen Atwood’s 20 May 1715 will. Made oath to this on 12 July 1722.  (BcPR 4:64)
  • 10 August 1715, Isaac Pepper witnessed the will of Nathaniel Mayo of Eastham. (BcPR 3:306)
  • Isaac Pepper witnessed the will of George Brown of Eastham, 29 June 1721. He was also one of the men who took Brown’s estate inventory 24 July 1721. (BcPR 4:213)

I’ve seen other researchers give Isaac’s death as 1704 and Apphia’s as 1705 but without sources. This seems improbable as Apphia and some of her children and grandchildren signed an agreement to the settlement of Isaac’s estate on 29 July 1740, so Isaac would have died closer to that date.  

The agreement of the heirs of Isaac Pepper [Sr.] of Eastham, yeoman, dated 29 July 1740, was signed by:

the mark of [widow] Apphia Pepper

son Isaac Pepper (administrator)

Son Robert Pepper (who received land where he lived near Indian Brook)

Son Solomon Pepper 

Son Joseph Pepper

Isaac Cole, son of daughter Apphia Cole, deceased

Granddaughter Dorothy Freeman (by mark) and her husband Thomas Freeman of Harwich

Granddaughter Susan Brown (by mark) and her husband Joseph Brown of Eastham

Children of deceased daughter Apphia (Pepper) Cole

Daughter Mercy Freeman wife of William Freeman of Harwich (by mark) 

Daughter Elizabeth Young (her mark) and her husband Robert Young Jr of Eastham

Witnesses: Nathaniel Snow (his mark), Hannah Remick (her mark), Seth Knowles and Desire Doane (her mark) the settlement was acknowledged 6 July 1743, by all but widow Apphia Freeman Pepper and Joseph Brown


Torrey’s New England Marriages to 1700

Durand Echeverria, History of Billingsgate, 1991, pg. 35-36

David Hamblin, NEHGR, “The First Settlers of Eastham, Mass.,”  vol. 6, Jan 1852

Barbara Lambert Merick (compiled by), William Brewster of the Mayflower and the Fifth Generation Descendants of his Daughter Patience, GSMD’s Mayflower Families in Progress, 2001, p 73

Emily Clark Landon, Pepper Genealogy: Ancestors and Descendants of Robert Pepper of Roxbury, Mass., Angola, NY, 1932

Ruth Barnard, A History of Early Orleans, Orleans, Massachusetts, 1975 

Barbara Lambert Merrick, Mayflower Families in Progress William Brewster, published by GSMD, 2014 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Nathaniel Morton about 1613 to 28 June 1685, of Leiden and Plymouth

Nathaniel Morton was born about 1613 at Leiden, Holland, the son of Separatists George Morton and Juliana Carpenter.  After two failed attempts at passage, he arrived at Plymouth in 1623  on the ship Anne with his parents and siblings Patience, John, and Sarah. His father died the following year and Nathaniel went to live with his uncle, by marriage, Governor William Bradford, who groomed Nathaniel to be a colony leader. In 1645 Nathaniel became the Colony secretary (later called clerk), a position he held until his death some 40 years later. He was a devout man who through today’s lens was intolerant of anyone who held differing religious views. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family.

Gov. Bradford statue at the Mayflower Society in Plymouth

I also descend from Nathaniel’s brother Ephraim who married Ann Cooper as well as his sisters Patience who married John Faunce and Sarah who married George Bonham. 

Nathaniel was a scholar and historian who wrote New England's Memorial, published at Cambridge in 1669, which for many years the primary published source for history and origins of Plymouth Colony and was the first historical work to be printed in the English North American colonies. In the book, he continues the work of his uncle William Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation which culminates in 1646. 

Nathaniel also wrote First Beginnings and After Progress of the Church of Christ at Plymouth in New England. Being a religious man, he focused a great deal on Plymouth’s ministers and attributing happenings like storms and a comet as acts of God. He was an accomplished writer with strong knowledge of the Bible and local history.

Nathaniel appears in William Bradford’s household on the 1627 cattle division. Nathaniell Morton was taxed 9 shillings in the 1633 tax list; same amount in 1634. He was made freeman 3 January 1636/7. He is on the 1643 Plymouth list of Men Able to Bear Arms with his brothers John and Ephraim. He served on juries and Councils of War. 

Nathaniel married Lydia Cooper 25 December 1635 at Plymouth (PCR 1:35). She was the sister of John Cooper who came to Scituate in 1634. They had eight children, as well as a stillborn daughter, all born Plymouth: 

Remember born about 1638; married Abraham Jackson; died Plymouth 24 July 1707

Mercy born about 1639; m. Joseph Dunham; died Plymouth 19 February 1666/67

Lydia born about 1641; m. George Elliston

Hannah born about 1646; m. Isaac Cole and Benjamin Bosworth; died likely in Hull

Eleazer born about 1648; died Plymouth 16 January 1649/50

Elizabeth born about 1652; m. Nathaniel Bosworth; died at just age 20 on 6 April 1673

Joannah born 9 November 1654; m Joseph Prince

Nathaniel born about 1666, died Plymouth 17 Feb 1666/67

I descend from Remember, sometimes recorded as Remembrance.  I wrote about Remember and Abraham here.. 

Nathaniel took in a boy to raise after his own two sons died young. On 12 April 1667, about 2 months after their son Nathaniel died, Nathaniel and Lydia Morton entered into an agreement with Sgt William Harlow to raise his son Nathaniel Harlow who was about two and half years old. Nathaniel Harlow's mother died a few days after his birth. 

The couple’s stature in the community is obvious in Lydia’s detailed death record: Mistris Lydia Morton, the wife of Nathaniel Morton, Senr, deceased 23 Sept 1673, after she had lived with her said husband neare the space of 38 yeares. After much dollorous paine and sickness, shee ended her life with much peace and comfort. Shee was a good woman and lived much desired, and died much lamented, especially by her poor sorrowfull husband; shee was honorably buried on the 25th of the said monthe att Plymouth. (Plymouth VR 1:668)

Nathaniel married, second, Anne/Hannah Pritchard Templar, 29 April 1674 at Plymouth (PCR 8:35), the daughter of Richard and Ann Pritchard. She had married first Richard Templar. 

Anne died on 26 December 1690 at age 66 “an aged woman” at Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. 

Nathaniel was a large land owner. He received land from his step-father Manassah/Manasses Kempton beginning Jan 1637/38 with 20 acres in Plymouth where Nathaniel was already living, 2 acres of fresh meadow, and marsh meadow at Island Creek in Duxbury. In February 1660 Manasses deeded Nathaniel all his portion of land known as Punckateesett in Plymouth, lying against "Road" Island. In Feb 1662 Manasses sold to Nathaniel upland at a place called Hobshole alias Wellingsly in Plymouth which was the land of Samuel Jenney. On the same day Thomas Southworth sold to Manasses Kempton of Plymouth, yeoman, land in same location. Kempton in turn deeded it to Abraham Jackson of Plymouth [Nathaniel Morton’s son-in-law]. In March 1663 the list of owners of land on Puncateeseet Neck included lot 34 of Manasses Kempton and Nathaniel Morton. 

Nathaniel was also granted land by the town and colony. In September 1638 he received meadow land called Log Poynt (sold in 1652 to Experience Mitchell). January 1638/9 ten acres toward the head of his lot next to Richard Higgins. November 1640 six acres at the South Meadows toward Agawam, Colebrook Meadows. October 1642 four acres "if it be there to be had" of North Meadow by Jones River (which he swapped in 1664 for land in the lower south meadow). February 1648[/?9], an acre of meadow "lying above Mr. Atwood." March 1651/2 a "small Moyety of land lying betwixt the highway by his house and the waterside or creeke commonly called and knowne by the hobshole alias Wellingsley. The said smale moiety being compassed on the one side with the aforesaid hole or creeke and on the other side with the brooke running into the said creeke which makes it a necke..." October 1662 fifty acres of upland at the further end of Manomet Ponds near the Indians. Jan. 1665[/6] one acre meadow on the North side of the cove. June 1665, one share in 24 shares of land, about 30 acres per share, west side of Namasskett River. August 1672 the whole of the swamp of Wellingsly was granted to the "neighbors there" including Nathaniel Morton Sr and Abraham Jackson. In June 1675 Nathaniel asked the court for liberty to "seek out for some accommodation of land for himself and in the behalf of the posteritie of his brother, John Morton, deceased, as being descended of Mr. George Morton, deceased, who served the country this many years.”

In March 1645 Nathaniel Morton bought from Nicholas Snow an acre of upland at Wellingsley Brook for 10 shillings to be paid in merchantable corn at the next harvest.

In March 1647 the Plymouth church deacons sold to Nathaniel Morton for 5 pounds to be paid in corn or cattle, a house and four acres at Weelingsly Creek. On 2 April 1659, Nathaniel was one of 26 men who purchased from Wamsutta and Tatapanum all the tract of upland and meadow lying on the easterly side of Taunton River beginning or bounded towards the south with the river called the falls or Quequetteand, extending northerly until it comes to a little brook called Stacyes Creeke by the English, out of the woods into the marshes and bay of Assonett close by the narrowing Assonett Neck. In September 1659, he and John Morton of Plymouth sold to Daniel Wilcockes of Portsmouth for 40 pounds land known as Cushena and Acoacksett, and February 1660 Ephraim Morton of Plymouth quitclaimed his rights to the land of George Morton, deceased, at Acushena Coaksett and places adjacent commonly called the Purchase land to [his brothers] Nathaniel Morton and John Morton. In April 1685 Nathaniel Morton Sr of Plymouth sold for 50 shillings in weaving of cloth to John Wood alias Atwood of Plymouth "all that my garden place in the town of Plimouth aforesaid, in the New Street...lyeing unto the garden place or homestead of Thomas Lettice." 

The area where Nathaniel lived is referred to as Wellingsley, Jabez Corner, and Hobs Hole. He lived on the north side of Wellingsley Brook aka Hobs Hole Brook, located on Sandwich Street about a mile south of Plymouth center. Today Jabez Corner is unremarkable to look at, with Bradford Liquors and a convenience store (with a sign saying it’s the oldest continually operated grocery store in America), but it is not far from the ocean.

Jabez Corner today

Nathaniel wrote his will 22 April 1685 (Ply Col PR 5:350). He specified that he wanted to be buried near his first wife, Lydia Morton. His widow Ann to be executrix with Nathaniel's brother Ephraim Morton and kinsman William Harlow as supervisors. Witnesses Eliezar Churchell and John Churchell. 

Bequests from his will:

  • Wife Ann to have whatever household items she brought with her, which he took an inventory of and left in his little painted box, plus two of his best cows, five of best ewe sheep, half of the swine and all of the poultry, a mare colt about two years old, one-third of all the corn or grain, his green worsted rug and pair of his best blankets. As long as she remained his widow, she was to receive three pounds silver money annually and to live in his house at Plymouth with use of the orchard and the little piece of land at the end of orchard for garden. He also left Ann a book entitled "the Whole Armour of God." 
  • To daughter [Remember] Jackson he gave the "great bible According to her mothers desire" 
  • To daughters Hannah Bosworth and Joanna Price the book "Mr. Burrows upon the Three First Chapters of Hosea" to be shared equally and then to belong to the longer liver of them
  • To daughter Lidia Ellison two small books entitled "Mr. Wigglesworth's Verses" and the other penned by (Gray) a Scottish man (book of sermons)
  • Sisters Patience and Sarah each ten shillings
  • To grandson Nathaniel Bosworth son of his son-in-law Nathaniel Bosworth [and Nathaniel’s late daughter Elizabeth] two small lots of land both upland and meadow lying at or about Pocassett near Swanzy [Swansea], provided that Nathaniel Bosworth or his friends pay 10 shillings a year to his widow Ann
  • To two grandsons Eliezer Dunham and Nathaniell Dunham [sons of his late daughter Mercy] the land their father lived on at Wellengsly in Plymouth
  • To kinsman Nathaniell Harlow [his foster son] a young cow and calf, his mare, lately fallen [born] and the next foal or colt his mare has bridle and saddle, a small parcel of land lying on southerly side of Wellingsly Creeke below John Drewe's house and below the highway by the fishing stages, and a little gun
  • He gave all his estate real and personal of all sorts and kinds to his daughter Remember Jackson one part, daughter Lydia Elliston one part, daughter Hannah Bosworth one part, daughter Joanah Prince one part, and Eliezer and Nathaniell Dunham one part, in all five parts or shares, which in case Nathaniell Bosworth doe pay his ten shillings in silver to my wife, with my sd daughters will make up three pounds to my wife yearly abovesaid. 

Nathaniel Morton died 28 June 1685 at Plymouth: June 28 [1685] dyed our Brother Mr. Nathaniel Morton in the 73d year of his age, he was a sincere christian, very religiously tender & careful in his observation of the Sabbath day & of speaking truth, he had divers times spoken in publick to edification in the absence of the minister & vacancy of the ministry; he took much paines to record the Dispensations of God as appears in the former part of this book."(Ply Ch Recs 1:160) He is likely buried at Burial Hill but no stone for him survives. 

Burial Hill, Plymouth

The inventory of Nathaniel’s estate was taken in July 1685. It includes books valued at 3 pounds but they are not itemized. Real estate included "House & barne & Cellar & homestead (40 pounds), 20 acre lot between land of George Morton and Joseph Churchell (15 pounds), land below the Kings Road bounded on southeast side by land of Elizabeth Churchell and on northwest by lot called Wellingsly (10 pounds), 11[? ] acres of upland meadows in lower south meadow, two acres meadow in upper south meadows, one acre of fresh meadow in __?__ meadow (14 pounds), parcel lying on easterly side of Assawamsett pond (20 pounds), small lot of land lying on westerly side of Nangakett River together with another parcel lying and Namagakott called "sixteen shilling purchase" (16 pounds), 2 small lots at Ponchatossott (22 pounds), small parcel between the above's homestead and the land of Jno Drewe. Debts due estate included 20 bushels of Indian Corne due from Yarmouth for “salloroy” (3 pounds) and half a year's saloroy due from the County (10 pounds). Ann Morton filed her account on 7 July 1685. 

On 20 November 1686 Abram Jackson and Remembrance his wife, George Elliston and Lidia his wife, Isaac Cole and Hannah his wife, Joseph Prince and Joanna his wife "all sons-in-laws and daughters of Mr. Nathaniel Morton late of Plimouth deceased" sold for 28 pounds to George Morton of Plimouth all of the land their father bequeathed to them.

Sources not included above :

Nathaniel Morton, The New-England’s Memorial, or A Brief Relation of the Most Memorable and Remarkable Passages of the Providence of God, Manifested to the Planters of New-England , in America with Special Reference to the First Colony Thereof, Called New Plymouth, 1669

Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony It’s History and People 1620-1691, 1986

Alicia Crane Williams, Early New England Families 1641-1700, NEHGS Study Project, 2013

Robert Charles Anderson, Mayflower Descendant, “Plymouth Colony Records of Deeds,”vol 39, July 1989

Bradford Kingman, Epitaphs From Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts,  1892 (Genealogical Publishing Reprint, 1977)

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Sarah Carey/Cary born say 1592 Suffolk, England, died about 1655 in Plymouth, Mass., wife of John Jenney

Sarah Carey/Cary was born, say 1592, in England. She was in Leiden, Holland, by 1614 when she married John Jenney (sometimes Jeney, Jenne, Jennings) and was a member of the Pilgrim Separatists. Sarah was a wife, mother, and business owner. It’s always exciting when I have enough information on an early female ancestor to write a sketch! Sarah Cary is my 11th great-grandmother on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

I have yet to find Sarah’s birth information, but her 1614 marriage record to John Jenney at Leiden states she was from “Monksoon,” which would be Monks Soham, Suffolk, England.  

A transcription of the marriage record is available at PilgrimHallMuseum.org: 

The betrothal and marriage of John Jenney and Sarah Carey is recorded in the records of the City of Leiden: "Jene, Jehan of Norwich in England, Brewer’s mate, living in Rotterdam (Zuid-Holland), acc[ompanied] by Rogier Wilson his acq[aintance] betr[othed] 5 Sept. 1614, mar[ried] 1 Nov. 1614 to Sara Kaire of Monksoon in England, acc[ompanied] by Johanna Leyns her acq[aintance]”

Sarah and John Jenney came to Plymouth in 1623 on board the Little James. Sarah gave birth to a son during the voyage but unfortunately he died sometime before the 1627 cattle division. 

Children of Sarah and John:

  1. Samuel born Leiden about 1616; m. (1) after 1637 Susanna Wood (NEHGR 69:188-89); TAG 35:70-72); m. (2) by 1657 Anne Lettice (eldest child b. Plymouth 22 November 1657 (TAG 35:72) 
  2. Child, buried Leiden 1618 [Dexter 619]
  3. Abigail, born say 1621; m. Plymouth 28 April 1644 Henry Wood [PCR 2:79]
  4. Son, born 1623 aboard Little James, d. before the 1627 Plymouth cattle division
  5. Sarah b. say 1625 m. 29 May 1646 Thomas Pope [PCR 2:98]
  6. John b. by 1627; named in father’s will but not in mother’s will; no further record
  7. vii.Susanna, born say 1634, m. by 1654 Benjamin Bartlett, son of Robert Bartlett

I descend from Sarah who married Thomas Pope whom I wrote about here.  

John Jenney was a brewer and became an early grist mill owner in Plymouth. The current Plimoth Grist Mill (a re-imagining of Jenney Mill; it is not known exactly what the original looked like) on Town Brook is in roughly the location where John and Sarah’s mill stood. After John’s death between 1643 and 1644, Sarah ran the mill. She must have been a strong woman and an equal partner to her husband, unusual for the time. I’ve visited the mill and love envisioning Sarah overseeing the operation, chatting with neighbors as they waited for their grain to be milled. It’s still a beautiful spot and is a popular destination each spring to watch the herring run upstream from Plymouth Harbor, up Town Brook, past the mill, to spawn in the lake called Billington Sea. 

After John Jenney’s death, the Plymouth leaders expected the mill to continue without a hitch as Sarah was admonished at court for not keeping things at the mill up to snuff. On 20 August 1644 “Mrs. Jenney, upon the presentment against her, promiseth to amend the grinding at the mill, and to keep mortars clean, and bags of corn from spoiling and loosing.” [PCR 2:76].

Sarah Jenney lived on for 12 years after her husband’s death, and although she was not a young woman she took an interest in business and conducted land transactions and clearly had a head for finance, making good investments in her land purchases.

2 Oct 1650 “Mis Sara Jennings” complained against Roger Nash for 50 pounds in damages. Jury found for Sarah in the lawsuit. 

Mistress Jeney is on the March 1651 list of those that have interest and properties in Punkateesett (Little Compton) against Rhode Island. 

On 1 Dec 1640, a group of Plymouth Purchasers, including John Jenney, purchased large tracts of land at “Acusana, Ponagansett and Coaxett” later to be known as Dartmouth, although the actual purchase was not made until a few years after John’s death, so it was Sarah who concluded the deal on 7 March 1752. Each party owned 1/34 of the vast amount of land. The land included what is now all of New Bedford, Fairhaven, Westport, Acushnet, and Dartmouth. The price paid was: 30 yards of cloth, 8 moose skins, 15 axes, 15 hoes, 15 pairs of breeches, 8 blankets, 2 iron kettles, one cloak, 8 pounds in campus, 8 pairs of stockings, one iron pot, and 10 shillings in another commodity, presumably rum.  Sarah did not settle there but her son Samuel was among the first settlers. Samuel’s holdings were east of the Acushnet River in what is now Fairhaven and Acushnet village. Acushnet Library stands on what was Jenney ground, nearby the ancient burying ground. Her daughter Sarah with her husband Thomas Pope settled at Dartmouth as well, something the family must have deeply regretted as two of their children and their son-in-law were killed fleeing for safety during King Philip’s War. 

In Sarah’s will, dated 4 April 1654 and proved 5 March 1655/56, “Mrs. Sarah Jeney of Plymouth being sick and weak in body” thinking it “good to dispose of some small things that is my own proper goods leaving my husband’s will to take place.” 

Sarah’s bequests:

  • to “my daughter Pope” a bed and household goods and “further I bequeath to my daughter Sarah Pope all my wearing clothes to dispose of them to my daughter Abigail Wood and to my grandchild Sarah Wood for their use as they have need excepting two of my petticoats which have not been worn which I give to my daughter Sarah Pope for her pains” 
  • to “my son Samuell Jeney and to my daughter Abigail Wood my mare equally to be divided between them”
  • to “my son Benjamin Bartlett all my …cattle…in the hands of Joseph Warren at the Eel River”; “my sheep be kept together till my legacies be paid”
  • to “the teacher Mr. John Reyner one ewe lamb”
  • to “the Elder Mr. Thomas Cushman one ewe lamb and the Bible which was my daughter Susanna’s”
  • to “my loving friend Goodwife Clarke” one ewe lamb
  • one ewe lamb to Thomas Southworth 

Signed by Sarah Jeney, her mark

Witnessed by Thomas Southworth

"Att the generall Court held att Plymouth the fifth of march 1655 (1656) Leiftenant Thomas

Southworth Testifyed upon his oath that the Will abovewritten is all the will of Mis Sarah Jeney Deceased which shee left with him."

Sarah wrote a codicil dated 18 August 1655:

That which was her own since the death of her husband she give to two daughters and the children of son Samuel, excepting what I give as followeth: 

  • one colt to the three daughters of children viz. Sarah Wood, Susanna Pope and Sarah Jeney if she come hither to abide, or else not to have any part of this colt or anything else of her estate
  • if son Samuel take away his children that were with Sarah, then none of them shall have anything of hers…but it shall be reserved for the two boys if they do well when they come to age
  • Benjamine Bartlett was given only the starred cow which is at Thomas Pope’s recalling whatsoever else is mentioned in my former will
  • daughter Sarah Pope household goods including her mother’s bed, bedding, petticoats

Loving friends Capt. Standish, Elder Cushman, Thomas Clarke, and Thomas Pope  (her son-in-law) were overseers [MD 8:171, citing PCPR 2:1:17-18]

Sarah signed by her mark in the presence of William Bradford and Alice Bradford. 

At the General Court held at Plymouth 5 March 1655[/56] Mr Willam Bradford Senr and

Mis Alice Bradford did testify upon their oaths that this next before written was the last Will and Testament of Mis Sarah Jeney Deceased.

Reading the codicil, I at first thought Sarah was perhaps controlling and manipulative using her assets to get what she wanted, but after doing more research it seems after her daughter-in-law had died, Sarah likely wasn’t enamored of her son Samuel Jenney’s parenting skills. Her granddaughter Sarah was about eight years old and her grandsons living with her were about five and seven when she wrote the codicil. 

The inventory of the estate of “Mrs. Sarah Jeney” was taken by Thomas Willett and Thomas Southworth on 18 February 1655[/6] and totaled 248 pounds 5 shillings 8 pence, include 131 pounds in real estate: “the land & meadow at Lakenham,” 7 pounds; “all the land at Strawberry Hill and meadow at the Salthouse Beach,” 14 pounds; “the Purchasers’ land” 10 pounds, and “the mill with the land belonging to it and dwelling house” 100 pounds [MD 8:173-75, citing PCPR 2:1:18-21].

Her inventory also included:

  • cows, horses, sheep, pigs, beef
  • copper, iron, pewter, earthenware, and brass kitchenware, three silver spoons, mortar and pestle, brass candlestick, andirons, a dozen trenchers 
  • Sheep sheers, a cheese press, sheep wool, brewer’s slings, tallow, a great trough 
  • A large variety of clothing including waistcoats, hat, silk caps, a hood, handkerchiefs, muff, petticoats, pair of shoes, pair of stockings, loose coat, and a flannel coat
  • Linens including curtains, aprons, napkins, tablecloths, carpet, sheets
  • Books: four old books, a psalm book, Mr. Ainsworth of Genesis and Exodus, Cartwright on the Remise, Downham’s Works, a great Bible, a small Bible
  • Furniture including two bedsteads, a table, a chair, two stools, five chests and a case
  • Linen, wool, cotton wool, cotton sheet, Spanish leather skin, 12 parcels of lace and yarn
  • Cash:  one piece of eight & 2 half Crowns & more, seven pence in silver
  • Debts owed to the estate totaled 9 pounds 19 shillings and 6 pence

The inclusion of books in Sarah’s inventory leave me hopeful that she could read, but it could well be the books were simply kept in the house after the death of her husband. Although I cannot imagine running a mill without some ability to read as well as a head for figures.

Sarah Cary Jenney died at Plymouth between 18 Aug 1655 (will codicil) and 5 March 1655/6 (probate of will). 

From my research, it is clear that she and her husband John were an affluent, important Plymouth couple. They were friends with some of the prominent people in town: Governor Bradford and his wife Alice, Edward Winslow, the Southworths, the Cushmans, Thomas Prence, Miles Standish. Their children married into some of the best families. They are often referred to in records with the honorifics of Mr. and Mrs, and John is sometimes called Gentleman. 

After Sarah’s death, her son Samuel and son-in-law Thomas Pope took over the mill operation. Samuel was living in Dartmouth and on 13 October 1680 sold his one-half of the “grist mill or corne mill” lying on the Town Brook and one half of the three acres lying with it to Charles Stockbridge.

Thomas Pope, cooper of Dartmouth, sold his one-fourth of the mill on 31 October 1680 to Charles Stockbridge of Scituate, cooper. I have not researched who owned the final quarter of the mill after Sarah Jenney’s death. Her son-in-law Benjamin Bartlett is one possibility to investigate.

Sources not listed above:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

The Jenney Book: John Jenney of Plymouth and his descendants, compiled from manuscripts of Bertha W. Clark, 1988.

Marriage record: Johanna W. Tammel, comp., The Pilgrims and Other People from the British Isles in Leiden, 1576-1640, c1989), p. 135