My seventh great-grandfather,
Ebenezer Eldredge (often spelled Eldridge) was born in Chatham, Mass. in
February 1706/07, the son of Jehosophat and Elizabeth (Covell) Eldredge.
Ebenezer is mentioned in his
father's 9 Feb 1732 will, receiving land with his brother Barnabas. They were to
receive his dwelling house after their mother's decease or second
Ebenezer Eldredge was a miller as well as a farmer and
|Postcard of an old mill at Chatham|
In about 1742, Ebenezer married
Deliverance Nickerson. She was born in Chatham on 11 June 1728, the daughter of
William and Sarah (Covell) Nickerson.
The story goes that he fell in
love with Deliverance when she was a girl and waited until she was 15 to marry
her (kind of creepy!). He was 20 years her senior. Geneva A. Eldredge of Sagamore tells of
this story in her note to Pauline Wixon Derick in 1933. She says he was born at
Crows Pond and Deliverance at Great Point, both Chathamport.
From Delores Bird Carpenter's, Early Encounters Native Americans and Europeans in New England, From the Papers of W. Sears Nickerson, Michigan State Press, 1994: Ebenezer was a fine, strapping, blue-eyed boy with ruddy cheeks and yellow hair like his Saxon forbears. Time passed, and although many a Cape Cod lass set her cap for Ebenezer, it looked as if he could end his days a bachelor.
One fine morning, however, a little baby girl was born to his neighbor, William "Red Stockings" Nickerson and his wife Sarah. Her hair curled in ringlets over a little, round head, and her brown eyes were as deep as the pools in the native Italian lakes of her Lombard ancestors. They named her Deliverance for her grandmother Nickerson, and when the staid Ebenezer saw her, he made a vow then and there that he would wait for her to grow up and make her his wife. When Deliverance reached her 15th birthday, she became his wife, and in spite of the disparity of over 20 years in their ages, they lived happily ever after, having a family of 12 children.
Ebenezer and Deliverance had at
least twelve children, their births recorded in Chatham (I am not certain of all the marriages):
John who married Mary Nickerson
and Thankfull Nickerson
Stephen who married Hannah
Elnathan who married Dorothy
Sarah who married Nathaniel
Ebenezer who married Tamsen
Doane; served in the Revolutionary War
Desire who married Elkanah
Jonathan who married Zerviah
Elisabeth who married Shubael
Hinckley, John Loper, and Isaac Hallett
Heber who married Molly/Mary
Smith; served in the Revolutionary War
Bethiah who married ____ McCoy
and possibly Humphrey Russell
Mercy who married Enoch Chase
and Nathan Chase, who were brothers and possibly James Chase.
Ensign who married Sarah
I have also seen a daughter
Polly whose birth is not recorded in Chatham. There is a Polly Eldredge who
married Lot Pratt, Thomas Bee and Job Chase.
Some sources also list a twin to Mercy, Alery, who died
as an infant, although I believe this is likely a transcription error for Mercy.
I descend from Elnathan, who I
wrote about here.
At least early in their
marriage, Ebenezer and Deliverance lived in one-half of the old Covell house at
Chathamport, with his mother and sister Elisabeth lived in the other
Ebenezer paid 5 pound tax for
pew choice in 1742.
Ebenezer Eldredge’s 1755 tax
assessment: 1 poll, 7 real, 12 personal.
On 27 July 1758 his sister conveyed to him a half
interest in her part of her father's estate, reserving to herself half of the
On 24 August 1758 his brother, Barnabas, conveyed
his share to Ebenezer, reserving half the house for his sister. On the back of
this transfer is a receipt dated 12 May 1759, signed by Ebenezer, apparently for
the reserved portion of his sister's half of the house, calling it "The Covell
Land deeds involving Ebenezer
Reuben Rider of Chatham ....
yeoman" for £7, 6s. 8d. "Lawful Money, paid me by Ebenezer Eldredge of the same
Town .... yeoman" sold him "all that my several parts parcels and shears of
meadow sedge Ground or flatts that I have .... In the Township of Eastham ....
that is to say all that which I Bought of Nathaniel Smith of sd Eastham and Do
hold by one deed .... baring Date the 11th day of February A:D: 1748/9 .... and
also all the meadow sedge Ground or flatts which I Bought of Willard Knowles of
sd Eastham and Do hold by one Deed .... Baring Date the 11th day of February
The deed was dated 23 July
1765, and acknowledged 9 November 1765, before Kenelm Winslow, Justice of the
Peace. The witnesses were James Covel and Joseph Atkins. It was recorded 25 June
1766, in Book 30, folio 225, by Solomon Otis, Register.
Ebenzer Eldridge and Nathaniel
Eldridge both of Chatham .... yeomen "for £3, sold to "John Smalle of Yarmouth
.... Husbandman .... a certain piece of Salt meadow lying on the southerly side
of the Red river neck in said Chatham Bounded as follows beginning at a stake
and stone at the foot of the Bank in the rang of the thirty fourth Lot thence
Easterly by the Bank thirty pole to a stone in the ground thence south on a
strait line into the sea and is bounded on the west by the thirty fourth Lot
aforesaid being about two acres"
The deed was dated 20 October,
1789, and was signed by Elnathan Eldredge as attorney to "Ebenr Eldridge", and
by "Nathanel Eldredge iuner". It was acknowledged the same day, by "Elnathan
Eldridge attorney to Ebenezer Eldridge" and by "Nathaniel Eldridge", before
Elijah Knowles, Justice of the Peace. The witnesses were Elijah Knowles and John
The deed was recorded to
December, 1789, in Barnstable County Deeds, Book 43, folio 9, by Ebenezer Bacon,
Ebenezer Eldridge and Nathaniel Eldridge both of Chatham, yeomen,
who sold to John Smalle of Yarmouth husbandman piece of salt meadow on south
side of the Red river neck for 3 pounds. Deed dated 20 October 1789 and was
signed by Elnathan Eldredge as attorney to Ebenr Eldridge and Nathanel Eldredge
jr. Acknowledged same day by JP Elijah Knowles. Recorded Barnstable Court 20
October 1789 in Deed book 43, folio 9.
Ebenezer was one of the
Anabaptist Church members in Harwich asking for Pastor Richard Chase's dismissal
1790 Federal Census has
Ebenezer Eldridge with 1 male over 16, one male under 16, 1 female.
Ebenezer died 26 February 1797.
I have read he died at his son Elnathan’s home in East Harwich. He is buried at
the Methodist Cemetery in East Harwich.
His stone reads:
Ebenezer Eldredge died 25 February 1797 aged 90
His stone is slate with weeping
willow and urn engraving. Has surface damage.
|Ebenezer's stone at the Methodist Cemetery (bad time of day!)|
Estate information for Ebenezer
Eldredge, Barnstable Co. Probate records, Vol 28, pg 350-51 (writing is
difficult to read; misspellings are left as is):
Whereas we the subscribers
being appointed by the Hono David Davis Esq Judge of Probate for the County of
Barnstable to make partition and division in the estate of Ebenezer Eldridge
late of Chatham, deceased, by setting off to Deliverance Eldridge relict widow
of said deceased on either part thereof and being sworn as the Law directs have
accordingly proceeded to set fit off said thirds this sixth day of June it D.
1798 and ___ beginning at ______ and stone out in the ground in Elisha Smith's
range to the west end of the dwelling house thence easterly as the ridge of the
house runs through the _____ & middle of the East door to a heap of stones
___ from said door thence northerly one rod & an half to a heap of stones
thence easterly to a ____ and stone on the northerly side of the
swamp thence southeasterly two rods to Jonathan Eldridges range then ___ in said
Jonathan's range about five rods to the corner of the ___ _____for the easterly
in said Jonathan's range to the bank or edge of the ___ and thence westerly by
the bank or edge of the wetlands to Elijah Smith's range then northerlly in said
Smith's range to the corner of the fence thence westerly in said Smith's range
to the corner thence northwesterly in said Smith's range to the first bound.
Also the liberty of a way out and off the other land to a allowed way. Also a
landing below said land and a way to it allowing to the heirs a way by gates and
bars to ____pass through said thirds. Also set to said widow the southernmost
great room in said Dwelling house and the chamber over it to the middle of the
ridge and the entry way to the middle of the East Door and stairway also the
west bedroom and ____ with the privilege of baking in the ___ in the back room.
The allowing to the heirs the privelege to water in the well and the liberty to
pass and repass on from said well and to pass through said entry out in at the
fore door and up and down stairs. Also set to said widow the meadow at the beach
in Orleans. Also set to said widow the westerly third of the woodlot lying in
Harwich Phineas Nickerson's bounds begining at a heap of stones to Judah
Eldridges range thence southerly in the range of said to the southwest corner of
said lot to a heap of stones and to exdend Eastward from such bound in the range
of said lot so as to take one third of said lot.
Isaac Freeman, Rueben Rider,
Jonah Crowel, Dividers
2 Tuesday Feby
Accepted and ordered ___ by the
Honorable Judge N. Freeman Regn. Attest Nath. Freeeman Regn.
Barnstable Co. Probate, Volume
31, p 255:
Barnstable Co To Hon John Davis
Esq Judge of the Probate of with & for the County of Barnstable.
The account of Elnathan
Eldridge, Adm. to the Estate of Ebenezer Eldridge, late of Harwich, in fair
(My apologies for the numbers not lining up in columns!)
Your accountant chargeth
himself with the personal estate of fair deceased
or apprized or
By improvement of estate since
his decease i.e. 2/3 11.00
And prays an allowance for the
following charges and payments viz
To what the judge allowed the
To Today attendg probate court
To attendg apprizers and
To supinas do and paid
To a debt due to Ebenr
To a Debt due to John Eldridge,
To my own account, agnst Estate
ye balance and schedule 412.30
To judge and register, ____
To future charges supposed to
March 14th 1800
Errors Excepted Elnathan
Barnstable Pr March 17 1800 The
above account was presenedt sworn to, vouchd and allowed John Davis
Compared Nath. Freeman Regr
Also from Ebenezer's estate,
Barnstable County Probate, Volume 35, P. 271:
Barnstable Co: To Honble John
Davis Esqur Judge of Probate. The accnt of Elnathan Eldridge Adm. to the Estate
of Ebenr Eldridge late of Chatham intestate deceased.
Your accountant charges himself
with inventory as before
By improvement of estate viz
2/3 to that time which was March 17 1800
By sale Real
And prays an allowance for the
following charges viz:
To cash paid
To attendg court
To twice going to
To my sons labour for
To attending vendue & liq.
To Regr 5.00 Judge
March 21st 1804 received sworn
to and allowed John Davis J. Prob.
Copared by Nath. Freeman
Inventory, Barnstable Co.
Probate Volume 30, p 56-7:
An inventory of the estate of
Ebenr Eldridge late of Chatham deceased taken by the subscribers this sixth day
of June AD 1798 being sworn as the Law directs.
To personal Estate
To one bed & furniture,
bedstead & cord 37.00
To one old bedstead & cord
& one old vest .66
To pewter householdware
one _____ teapot 3.75
To _______- to one old
To two tables
(amt cut off by copier)
To old caske washtub &
sifting trough 1.17
To old chains one old axe &
copse & pink one hammer(?) 2.66
To one looking glass ___ to one
foot wheel one great wheel 2.08
To one cow to three sheep two
To fifteen pounds of sheeps
To real Estate viz
To the homestead land &
To woodland lying in Harwich
near ____ Nickerson 154.00
To one pew(?) standing in the
Above awarded 2.4.0 pounds.
Compared N. Freeman Regr.
Letters of Administration,
Barnst. Co. Probate, Vol 25, p 177:
Letter of Administration for
Ebenr Eldridge late of Chatham, dated 10 April 1798, by order of Judge Daniel
Davis. Letters of Admin. granted to Elnathan Eldridge of Harwich.
In November 1804 Deliverance
Edlrexdge sold her estate rights to her brother Lumbert's share. In February
1805 she sold her mother Sarah's third part in the estate.
Deliverance died 25 April 1808
at Chatham and is buried next to Ebenzer at the Methodist Cemetery.
Her stone is a slate stone,
with urn and weeping willow. Some surface damage. It reads:
"In memory of Mrs. Deliverance
wife of Ebenr Eldredge who died 25 April 1808, aet
Resources Not Listed Above:
Josiah Paine, A History of Harwich, 1937
Nickerson Family Association,
The Nickerson Family, Part 1
John Carroll Chase,
compiled for him by George Walter Chamberlain, Some of the Descendants of
William Chase of Roxbury and Yarmouth, Mass., NEHGR, January 1933
William Smith, A History of Chatham, 1909