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.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Nathaniel Baker born 1641/42 in Boston, Mass., died 1691 in Yarmouth (now Dennis), Mass., wife’s name uncertain

My apologies for the length of time without posting. My mother passed away unexpectedly in October and that combined with all the holiday preparations has put my schedule into overdrive. My best wishes for a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year to all my genealogy cousins!

Nathaniel Baker was born 27 March1641/42 in Boston, Suffolk Co., Mass., the eldest child of Francis Baker and his wife Isabel Twining (Boston VR). He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

I have seen other genealogists give his wife as Desire, maiden name unknown, and also as Desire Gray, daughter of Edward Gray. That Desire married Nathaniel Southworth in 1671/2 and died in 1690 at age 39, so the dates don’t match up for her marrying both men.

There is also a Mary Pierce/Peirce/Pearse who married a Nathaniel Baker ca 1670. She was born Duxbury ca 1645, the daughter of Abraham Pierce (Anderson’s Great Migration Begins). Torrey’s New England Marriages gives Nathaniel’s wife as Mary (Pierce?) who died in 1691. Mary Pierce’s brother Abraham married Hannah Baker, Nathaniel’s sister, and as we know our early Cape ancestors kept things in the family!

Savage's Genealogical Dictionary does not give a spouse for Nathaniel. "NATHANIEL, Yarmouth, eldest s. of Francis, had three s. Samuel, b. 29 Oct. Nathaniel, 27 Jan. 1672; and prob. the other was nam. Silas, says Mr. Otis. Both he and his w. d. Dec. 1691, as Mr. O. assures me."

Nathaniel and his wife raised their three sons in an area of Yarmouth that became Dennis.

1. Samuel, born 29 October 1670, Yarmouth, Mass., married Elizabeth Berry (Yarmouth VR state Samuel, son of Nathanell Baker was 4 years old on 29 October 1670).
2. Nathaniel, born 29 January 1671/72, Yarmouth, Mass., married Elizabeth Baker. (Yarmouth VR state Nathanell Baker son of Nathanell was 2 years old the 29th of January 1674.)
3. Silas, born 1678, married Deliverance Kelley, a Quaker, and died in 1752. Seems to be generally accepted Silas was the son of Nathaniel, but I haven’t seen a primary source.

I descend from Silas who. after being referred to as “weakly” in 1692, lived another 60 years.

The pamphlet The Baker Family of Yarmouth, Descendants of Francis published in 1912 gives his wife as unknown but lists their three children as Samuel, Nathaniel and Silas. It states that he and his wife died in December 1691.

Nathaniel Baker’s probate records are located in Barnstable County PR vol 1; 56. He did not leave a will. An inventory of the estate of Nathaniel Baker of Yarmouth was taken 10 February 1691/92 by Jeremiah Jones and Jeremiah Kelley. The real estate listed was a hound and land and two acres of marsh valued at 18 pounds. The inventory was sworn to in court by Samuel Baker (his son) on 21 April 1692.

The inventory is difficult to read by other items included pair of oxen, cows, heifer, calf, two swine, pigs, a mare. An old coop, plow, shovel, ax and other tools. A gun, horn and powder, iron pot, a compass, an eel pot, churn, canoes. A cart, trunks, a smoothing iron, aprons, hooks, a pound of whale bone. Various household items like woolen and linen wheels, blankets, earthen pot. From the inventory we can see Nathaniel was a farmer and did some fishing/whaling. Perhaps was a blacksmith as well. 

Unfortunately the probate file does not list a wife, so she must have predeceased him and his son’s names are not given. Mr. Otis stated that Mary also died in December 1691, but I don’t know a source for that. Eldest son was to have the house and land. The other two sons were to have eight pounds with the youngest receiving an extra four pounds because he was “weakly.”

antique eel pot

Sunday, November 17, 2013

John Davis b. ca 1870 and Grace Ellis (1889-1964) of Falmouth, Mass.

John Davis was born in Massachusetts, or possibly Searsport, Maine, about 1870, the son of Andrew Davis and Charlotte Spencer (approximate date of birth from census records) He was raised in Blackstone, Worcester Co., Mass.

On 15 October 1922 he married Grace Pearle Ellis at Falmouth, Mass. They were members of the Baptist Church there. Grace had married, first, Nahum Leach on 4 April 1906, at Carver, Mass.

I am not related to John and Grace by blood, but they raised my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis. Arthur, nicknamed Art, was born 25 May 1913 in Plymouth, Mass., to Carrie Washburn. His birth was illegitimate as no father is listed on his birth record, but his sister said Carrie told her his father was George B. Smith, who died in a tragic accident before he was born. I wrote about Arthur here.

Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis
Carrie married Everett “Pete” Ellis on 28 August 1914 in Plymouth, Mass., and they had 10 children together. Their son, Francis, was born in 1915 and he also sometimes lived with John and Grace Davis. From what I understand, it wasn’t uncommon for couples with large families to send children off to live with relatives when money was tight. Grace and John also had a son Merle born in 1927.

Grace and John Davis
Grace Ellis Davis was the sister of Everett “Pete” Ellis. She was born 16 October 1889, in Bridgewater, Mass., to William and Maude Ellis.

Grace and John lived at Maravista Ave. and also Gifford Street, in Falmouth, Mass., and had a mushroom growing business and later a pig farm. Grace’s mother married, second, a man named Henry Coulter and they lived near Grace and John in Falmouth.

From Jack Sheedy and Jim Coogan’s book, Cape Cod Voyage, "Falmouth - America's Mushroom Capital." In 1911 the enterprise known as Falmouth Mushroom Cellars Inc. began doing business near the corner of Gifford Street and Morse Road. It was an 18 acre complex with growing rooms that maintained a steady 58 degrees. It prospered and by 1914 was not only producing a large number of high quality fresh mushrooms for the Boston market, but boasted that it was the largest commercial grower in the world. In the fall of 1916, the mushroom end of the business succumbed to a blight. With the US poised to enter WWI, the company shifted emphasis to the canning side of the business: tomatoes, beets and beans. It kept over 100 workers busy during the war years and provided a good market for Cape Cod farmers. After the war, fresh produce replaced the canned market and the company closed for good in 1922. The property was purchased by John Davis of Falmouth Heights who used the large cement buildings for a piggery. Today, as well heeled diners enjoy the ambiance of the nearby Coonamessett Inn there is nothing to mark what was once the largest commercial mushroom business in the entire world.

Mike Crew has a blog entry with old postcards depicting the mushroom cellars:

Grace died 28 March 1964. Her death certificate states she is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Falmouth, but the cemetery office has no record of her. John predeceased her.

I never knew my grandfather growing up, so one of the most rewarding aspects of family history research has been finding out more about Art and his family and having the extreme pleasure of meeting my Aunt Dot. I would love to hear from descendants of Francis, Merle or Arthur. I’m always eager to learn more about the family and am curious as to where John and Grace were buried.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Richard Sears ca 1595-1676 and Dorothy Jones ca 1603-1679 of England, Marblehead and Yarmouth, Mass.

Richard Sears was born about 1595 in England. Some have written he was the son of John and Marie (Egmond) Sears, but I’m not sure there is proof of that. He was my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. The last name is sometimes spelled Sayers, Sares and Seeres.  

Richard married Dorothy Jones by 1637. Dorothy was born about 1603, the daughter of George and Agnes Jones of Dinder, Somerset, England.
Portrait Purported to be Richard Sears from the Van Egmont Family (source: wikipedia)

Richard was first at Plymouth when he is seen on the 1633 tax list (but not on the 1634 list), then by 1637 (as early as 1634) one of the first to live in Marblehead (then part of Salem) and later Richard was one of the founders of Yarmouth, Mass. by 1639. They lived in an area of Yarmouth that became Dennis, on Quivet Neck between Quivet and Sesuit Creeks on land that is now 8 Old County Way.

Richard's homestead would be at the top of the map near Quivet Neck

Sears historian Ray Sears wrote that he believes Richard was part of the group of fishermen working for Isaac Allerton who came into Marblehead on the White Angel in 1632. For four years the group had no meeting house, which was scandalous at that time. In 1634 Allerton sent a group to Newburyport and the boat capsized in a tempest. Many were lost, including Anthony and Elizabeth (Jones) Thacher’s children. The couple felt God sent them a message, so must have mended their ways. Elizabeth was Dorothy’s sister.

The couple had three children:
Paul born about 1637
Deborah born September 1639
Silas born about 1641

I descend from Paul who married Deborah Willard. I wrote about that couple here.

Richard was listed on the Salem tax rate list 1 Jan 1637/8. In 1638 he was granted 4 acres that he had formerly planted. In 1639 he accompanied his brother-in-law Anthony Thacher in settling Yarmouth. He took the Oath of Fidelity there in 1639. He was made a freeman there in1652. It is unclear why he didn't apply sooner to be a freeman. To do so a man had to be a respectable member of the Church. Some avoided citizenship to escape petty offenses and court duties, which could be fined if declined.

20 Oct 1647 he entered complaint against 3 Indians.

Richard served on the grand jury in 1652, as tax collector in 1658/59, constable in 1660 and was deputy to Plymouth General Court in 1662. He is on the Yarmouth list of men ages 16-60 able to bear arms in 1643. On 26 October 1647 he served on the commission appointed to meet at his house to discuss Indian affairs. He was appointed 1 March 1568 to a committee to levy church tax. He signed complaint with 14 others against Nicholas Nickerson for slander of Rev. Thomas Thornton dated 30 June 1667. Same date court with 17 others against John Crow, William Nickerson and Lieut. William Palmer for trespass.

In 1664, Richard Sears, husbandman, purchased land at Sesuit from Alice Bradford, Governor William's widow, for 20 pounds. It adjoined land of Nicholas Snow and Peter Worden.

HG Somerby's manuscript in the NEHGS Library mentions Richard was in the militia and lost his right arm after being shot in a fight with Indians. This can't be confirmed through records.

In 1676 several prominent citizens including Richard Sears paid debt from King Philip's War.

Richard died 5 September 1676 at Yarmouth. He was age 81 years, 4 months.  King Philip’s War had just ended and there was an unnamed sickness taking many Yarmouth residents. A descendent erected a large monument to the family at the Ancient Cemetery at Yarmouth. His exact burial location isn’t known as the early settlers marked their graves with boulders. It is likely his remains are buried at the Ancient Cemetery as his house was just 200 yards away and the monument is at the location of his son Paul’s grave, so quite possible he would be buried near his son in a family plot.
Sears Family Monument, Ancient Cemetery, Yarmouth
Richard’s will was dated 10 May 1667, codicil 3 Feb 1676, both signed with his mark. (Plymouth Records Book 3, Part 2, p. 53-55)  Land valued at 220 pounds. Mentions wife, 3 children, son-in-law Zachary Paddock, brother Thacher, grandson Ichabod Paddock. Wife named Exec. Witnessed by John Thacher, Anthony Frey. Codicil witnessed by Anthony and Judah Thacher. Inventory 8 Oct 1676, includes house, land, cows, bed and furniture, 2 pairs sheets, 1 table cloth, 1 pillow, britches and hat, coat and cloak, stockings and shoes, 1 great Bible and other books, pewter and tin, brass, 1 pr stilliyars, iron furniture for the fire, rugg, 2 chests, 1 beer barrell, 1 earthen pot, 3 chairs, bees, two waitcoats, mare and colt, 1 pound plus in debts, 2 Indian trays. Total should be 269 pounds, 06 06.

Dorothy died in March 1678/79 at Yarmouth. Yarmouth records state she was buried the 19th of March 1678/79.

John W. Sears' speech in the Essex Genealogist, Nov 1986, contains inaccuracies about noble family connections.

L. Ray Sears is a great resource for Sears genealogists. He has a website where he has posted a .pdf of his book, The Sears Genealogical Catalogue. http://www.searsr.com/member/searscat.pdf

Sources Not Listed Above:

L. Ray Sears, Sears Genealogical Catalogue, 1992

Samuel Pearce May, The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888, 1890

Samuel Pearce May, Some Doubts Concerning the Sears Pedigree, NEHGR vol. 40, 1886.

Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, 1995

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Samuel Wilbore ca 1595-1656 and Ann Smith, County Essex England to Portsmouth, RI to Boston, Mass.

Samuel Wilbore was born about 1595 (based on probable age at marriage), probably at Sible Hedingham, County Essex, England, the son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Thickines) Wilbore. Wilbore is spelled in a variety of ways including Wildbore, Wilbour and Wilbur. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Samuel migrated to Boston in 1633, possibly on the ship Griffin and was an original settler of Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1637. He also lived in Taunton, Mass.  

Samuel worked as a merchant and had shares in the Taunton Iron Works.
File:Iron Works sign Raynham.jpg
Plaque marking the site of the Taunton aka Leonard Iron Works, now in Raynham, MA

Samuel married, first, at Sible Hedingham, Essex, 13 January 1619/20 Ann Smith (NEHGR 112:117). Ann was the daughter of Richard Smith. Samuel and Ann had five children, all boys, born England:

1. Samuel
2. Arthur
3. William
4. Joseph
5. Shadrack

I believe Arthur and William died young. I descend from Samuel who married Hannah Porter. I wrote about them here.
“Samuell Wilbore and Anne his wife" admitted to the Boston Church on 1 December 1633 (Boston Church records 17).

Samuel was made a freeman in Boston on 4 March 1633/4.

Samuel married, second, Elizabeth (____) Lechford, widow of Thomas Lechford (on 2 May 1648 "Mr. Samu(el) Wilbore did depose that when he married the widow of Th Lechford late of Boston scrivener deceased, he never received or had any of the widow or other estate of the said Lechford no not so much as his said wife's wearing apparel" (NEHGR 30:201-2, citing SPR Case #71).

On 29 November 1645 "Elizabeth Wilbore the wife of our brother Samuell Wilbore" was admitted to Boston church (BchR44); she died after 30 April 1656, when Samuel wrote his will.

Samuel was banished to Portsmouth, RI for being a follower of Ann Hutchinson and her brother-in-law Rev. John Wheelwright. He later repudiated his signature on a Wheelwright petition and was allowed to return to Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Samuel signed the covenant at the foundation of Portsmouth on 7 March 1637/8 (RICR 1:52). It is referred to as the Portsmouth Compact and established a non-sectarian civil government upon the universal consent of the inhabitants, with a Christian focus. He was admitted as a freeman of the joint government of Newport and Portsmouth by 12 March 1639/40 (RICR 1:100). The group settled on the north east end of Aquidneck Island, establishing a settlement they called Pocasset, but in 1639 changing the name to Portsmouth.

Samuel was literate as he signed documents both in England and New England (NEHGR 113:100-01). His signature is on the Portsmouth Compact of 1638 at the Rhode Island State House and is also attached to a letter in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He also signed as witness of his brother Robert's will, as well as that of Samuel Allen, and as a juror at Sible Hedingham in 1624.
Samuel's signature is 6th one on list of compact signers

File:Portsmouth Compact.JPG
Plaque at Founders' Brook in Portsmouth RI

Samuel served his communities in multiple capacities: on the Grand Jury 19 Sept 1637, Clerk of the Portsmouth train band, 27 June 1638, 13 March 1633/4, Commission for "the venison trade with the Indians," 16 Nov 1638, Portsmouth constable 24 January 1638/9, Auditor March 1640/1 and March 1643/4, and elected Sergeant.

On 1 June 1638 Samuel Wilbore was given permission to sell his house and garden plot to Mr. Offley and his house and ground Next Roxbury" to Samuel Sherman. In 7 September 1640 "Mr. Wilboare" was granted (4(0) acres" at Portsmouth. On January 1657/8 this grant was rescinded.

On 8 Nov 1648 "Samuell Wilbore of Taunton" sold to John Stanford of Rhode Island six acres of meadow in Portsmouth "& also one neck of land abutting upon the Cove."

On 6 May 1603 (sic, prob. 1653) Samuel Wilboare and Elizabeth his wife deeded to Richard Sherman and Elizabeth his wife the easterly part of the house and leanto and chimney in the house which they shared.

Ann (Smith) Wilbore died after 1 Dec 1633 when she was mentioned as a member of the Boston Church and before 1645 when Samuel married again.

In his will, dated 30 April 1656 and proved 6 Nov 1656, Samuel Wilbore of Taunton bequeathed to "my loving wife Elizabeth all the moveable goods that is or shall be in my house in Boston where at present I do inhabit...also my sheep and lambs at Dorchester...also a mare & colt at John Moore's of Brandtry"; to "Samuel Wilbore my eldest son all my lands at Rhode Island and all my debts due to me their first from Richard Smith the elder, and also a debt from Henry Bull which is 4 pounds and an ewe of two years old, also one cow in the hands of James Badcick, and also one cow that is at Bridgwater together with the rent for the said cattle according to agreement and also six hundred of iron lying at Taunton in my dwelling house there"l to "my son Joseph Wilbore my house and land where he my said son Joseph doth inhabit...with all the appurtenances...also twelve acres of grant...by the Iron mills, and also my share in the said Iron works"; to "my youngest son Shedrick Wilbore my house and lands thereunto belonging at Taunton where I dwell with all the moveable goods...and cattle excepting half the orchard and half the said dwelling house & two of the best cows & hay...which I give and bequeath unto my said wife Elizabeth provided she continue and dwell there, but in case my said wife should marry another man and inhabit elsewhere that my said son shall have the said (blank) allowing my said wife or her assigns the sum of 10 pounds"; to "my said son Shedreck my debt of James Seward, Ralph (illegible) & Henry Newland"; wife Elizabeth and son Shidrack executors; "my white horse unto my son Shedrick" and residue of cattle and goods to executors equally; to "Robert Blot of Boston 20s."; to "Goodman Flack 20s."; to "my said son Shedrick the time of service of my man Jno Mockcliet, a Scotchman"; to "Joseph a piece of blue trucking cloth"; to "my son Joseph...10 pounds in iron" (SPR 1:281-82).

Samuel died at Boston on 29 September 1656 (BVR 56).

Sources Not Listed Above:

Benjamin Franklin Wilbour, The English Ancestry of Samuel Wilbore of Boston and William Wilbore of Portsmouth RI, NEHGR, 1958

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, 1995

J.W.W. Hall, Ancient Iron Works in Taunton, NEHGR, 1864

Monday, October 14, 2013

Samuel Waterman 1666-1718 and Mercy Ransome d. 1697 of Plymouth, Mass.

Samuel Waterman was born 16 October 1666 at Plymouth, Mass., the son of Robert and Ann (Sturtevant) Waterman. I wrote about Robert and Ann here. Samuel is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

On 26 July 1692 at Taunton, Bristol Co., Mass., Samuel married Mercy Ransome. I have not found Mercy’s birth, but I believe she was the daughter of Robert Ransome. Her first name is also seen as Marsey and Marcy.

On 14 March, 1688/9, "John Doten of Plimouth ..... Planter", for £3, 10s., sold to "Samuel Waterman of Marshfeild .... all that Tract of prsell of meadow land which lyeth on the Northwest or westrly side of the Meadow which John Waterman bought of Major Bradford Sittuate in .... Plimouth & is in Estemation about three acres. “ The deed was signed by a mark.  The witnesses were Nathaniel Thomas, Jr. and Edward Gray.
On 14 March, 1688/9, John Doten acknowledged the deed "And Elizabeth his wife acknowlegd her Consent to the sale", before Nathaniel Thomas, Justice of the Peace, and Nathaniel Thomas, Clerk of the Peace.
The deed was recorded 1 April, 1689.

Mercy and Samuel had two daughters:

Annah born 7 December 1693 at Plymouth

Mary (unrecorded) who was born before 3 August 1697, the date her mother Mercy died at Plymouth. Author and Mayflower expert Susan Roser found Mary’s name in the division of Samuel Waterman’s estate, dated 24 December 1718, which mentions Anne and Mary Waterman, daughters by his “first wife.” (Plymouth Co. Probate Records, 5:153)

I descend from Mary who married Nathaniel Cobb.

Samuel married, 2nd, Bethiah, by September 1703. I have seen her maiden name as Lucas and Bryant, but no primary sources.  

They had three children recorded at Plymouth:

Samuel b. 23 Sept. 1703
John born 12 January 1704
Hannah born 13 March 1705/6

I have also seen an Elizabeth attributed to them, but not certain. 

Samuel and Mercy’s gravestones and burial location have not survived, but Bethiah died in 1727 and is buried at Old Cemetery, Plympton.
Bethia <i>Bryant</i> Waterman
source: Findagrave.com

JAN. 22d,
1726/27 IN
YE 59th YEAR

Sunday, October 6, 2013

John Nickerson 1703-1768 and Mary Small/Smalley 1705-1755, Yarmouth, Mass.

John Nickerson was born 1 June 1703 at Yarmouth, Mass., the son of John and Elizabeth (Baker) Nickerson. I wrote about his parents here. John’s birth record in the Yarmouth Vital Records states he was born "the first of June 1703 about midnight the night before" so perhaps his birthday is actually 31 May. John is my seventh great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. He lived in an area of Yarmouth that became Dennis, Mass.

On 19 June 1729, John Nickerson married Mary Small at Yarmouth. The marriage was recorded in Yarmouth VR:  John Nickerson and Mary Smalle were joined in marriage on the 19th day of June 1729 by me Peter Thacher, Justice of the Peace. Their marriage intentions were published at Yarmouth on 10 April 1729.

Mary Small was born 15 March 1704/05 at Truru, Mass., the daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca (Snow) Small. Her last name is also seen as Smalle and Smalley. The Mayflower Families “Silver Book” on Stephen Hopkins lists Mary as “no further record” but the Nickerson Family Association identifies her as the Mary Small who married John Nickerson, so I would need to do further research before applying to the Mayflower Society. I have another line to Hopkins already approved, so I’m in no rush!

John and Mary had two children recorded in the Yarmouth Vital Records:
1. Elizabeth (as Elesebeth) born 11 April 1730
2. Mary born 20 January 1732/33, m. Edward Ryder/Rider

I descend from their daughter Elizabeth Nickerson who married Thomas Snow.

John inherited one of his father's houses after the elder John’s death in 1745, which is still standing. It is just across from the north side of South Dennis Congregational Church on Main Street. I haven’t taken a photo of the house and would love to hear from someone who has the current address.

John Nickerson is recorded as signing the Church covenant in 1737.

Two men named John Nickerson were listed as partners in the division of lands at Crocket's Neck in 1739, possibly this John and his father. Crocket’s Neck is current day Dennis Port.

Mary’s death is recorded Yarmouth Vital Records: Mary Nickerson the wife of John Nickerson died 19 July 1755.

John died on 26 February 1768 at Yarmouth. The Vital Records state he died "in a very sudden manner."

I don’t believe gravestones for John and Mary survive.

On 6 April 1771, the division of his estate between his daughters took place.

Edit: Thanks to David Kimball sharing the address of John Nickerson's home, a place he visited as a child. It's at 215 Main Street, South Dennis. I drove by previously and was looking at the wrong/newer house. Still so gorgeous! 

Sources Not Listed Above:

John D. Austin, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations Stephen Hopkins, 1995

Nickerson Family Association, The Nickerson Family: The Descendants of William Nickerson (1604-1689) First Settler of Chatham, Massachusetts covering seven generations beginning with William Nickerson and Anne Busby, vol. 1-3

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Elisha Bourne 1641-1706 and Patience Skiffe 1652-1715, Sandwich, Mass.

Elisha Bourne was born at Sandwich, Mass. in 1647 (based on age at death), the son of Richard Bourne and his wife Bathsheba. I wrote about Richard here. I believe Elisha is my 9th great-grandfather, but I don’t have my line of descent through my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis completely proven yet.

On 26 October 1675 Elisha married Patience Skiffe at Sandwich. Patience was born 25 March 1652 or 1653 (recorded under both dates in the Sandwich VR) at Sandwich, the daughter of James and Mary Skiffe.

Elisha and Patience had seven children recorded in the Sandwich Vital Records:

Nathan b. 31 August 1676
Elizabeth b. 26 June 1679
Mary born 4 February 1681/82
Abigail b. 22 July 1684
Bersheba/Bathsheba b. 12 December 1686
Hannah b. 4 May 1689
Elisha b. 27 July 1692

I descend from Hannah who married Seth Pope.

Elisha was the second eldest son of Richard Bourne and he received his father’s properties in the Herring River and Manomet area. He lived in Manomet near the 1888 location of the Monument Beach Depot on the Cape Cod railroad. The area of Sandwich Elisha lived in later became the town of Bourne. 

Monument Beach Train Station.JPG
the old Monument Beach RR Depot

Elisha was active in the town of Sandwich, serving as a Selectman, Constable and Deputy to the General Court. The town's third grist mill was allowed to Elisha Bourne on Herring River in 1695. There are frequent references after this date about requiring the mill to close each spring for six weeks to allow the herring to get up to Herring Pond to spawn.
Herring Pond in Bourne

Elisha died at Sandwich on 21 December 1706. He is buried at the Old Town Burying Ground, Sandwich.

21 1706
Elisha Bourne
Elisha's gravestone

Elisha’s will is dated 9 June 1686, proved 3 March1706/7. He names his wife Patience, his sons John (this should probably be Nathan) and Elisha (the latter it appears was not in good health) and his five daughters: Abigail, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary and Bathsheba. The estate was finally settled by agreement, dated 8 April 1718, by which time Mrs. Bourne and her son Elisha had died. The agreement is signed by Nathan "only son" and all the daughters and their husbands.

Patience died at Sandwich 25 October 1715. She's also buried at Old Town Cemetery, Sandwich.

Patience Skiffe Bourne's gravestone source: Findagrave.com

Sources Not Listed Above:

RA Lovell Jr., Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, 1984

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Moses Simmons b. ca 1605, died 1689-1691 and wife Sarah, of Leiden, Holland and Duxbury, MA

Moses Simmons was born probably in England ca 1605, assuming he arrived at Plymouth as a young servant. He moved to Leiden, Holland, with his parents who were Separatists. His parents aren’t known, but there was a William Symonson at Leiden, who had a younger son named Moses, a subject which Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs wrote an article about (see sources). His last name is also seen as Symonson, Symons and Simonson. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Moses came to Plymouth on the ship Fortune in 1621. He settled in Duxbury and is referred to in records as a yeoman (a farmer who owns his land).

That Moses was at Leiden is shown through Edward Winslow’s writing: "Moses Symonson, because a child of one that was in communion with the Dutch church at Leyden, is admitted into church fellowship at Plymouth in New England, and his children also to baptism, as well as our own." (Hipocrisie Unmasked)). He was a freeman in Plymouth and later in the Duxbury section of freeman (1639, 1658, 1670 and 1683/4)
Circa 1910 postcard of Duxbury. Imagine how beautiful and  unspoiled it was in the 17th century?

Moses married Sarah, whose maiden name is unknown, circa 1635. Older sources give her maiden name was Chandler, but no modern evidence supports this.

Moses and Sarah had at least seven children. Their births are not recorded, but all but Rebecca and Moses are mentioned in Moses’ will. Rebecca was already deceased, but in 1674 deeded land to John Soule and his eldest daughter Rebecca of Duxbury. Moses Jr. mentions his father Moses of Duxbury in a land transaction.

Rebecca born about 1635, m. John Soule
Moses born about 1639, m. Patience Barstow
Mary born about 1641, m. Joseph Alden (son of John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower) 
John born about 1644, m. Mercy Pabodie
Sarah born about 1649, m. James Nash

Elizabeth born about 1651, m. Richard Dwelly
Aaron born about 1653, m. Mary Woodworth

I descend from Rebecca who married John Soule, son of Mayflower passenger George Soule.

Moses is listed in a number of deeds, which he signed up until 1678 when he used a mark. He served on juries, as a highway surveyor and was on the 1643 list of men able to bear arms.

In the 1623 Plymouth land division "Moyses Simonson & Philipe de la Noye" jointly received two acres (PCR 12:5). In the 1627 Plymouth cattle division Moses Simonson was the 8th person in the first company headed by Francis Cooke (PCR 12:9). On 26 March 1628 Moses Simonson sold one acre to Robert Hicks (PCR 12:7). "Moses Symons" assessed 9s in Plymouth tax lists of 25 March 1633 and 27 March 1634 (PCR 1:11,28). On 3 June 1662 Moses Simonson was 25th on the list of those granted land "as being the first born children of the government," receiving two tracts of land (PCR 4:19). On 13 December 1660 Moses Symons of Scituate sold to Joseph Coleman Sr of Scituate, shoemaker, half of 40 acres of land at Coaksett which was sometimes the land of my father Moses Symons of Duxburrow; acknowledged by Patience, wife of Moses Symons Jr (PCLR 3:183). On 20 April 1669 "Moses Simons" of Duxbury, planter, deeded to "John Simons his true and natural son all that his dwelling house, outhouses and buildings, land, meadow and upland, orchards and garden" in Duxbury, containing 40 acres of upland and 3 acres of meadow "with two acres of meadow...at little wood island in the great marsh" (PCLR 3:139). On 30 Dec 1674 Moses Simons of Duxbury, yeoman "in consideration of a marriage heretofore consummated between John Soule of Duxburrow and my eldest daughter Rebeckah" deeded to them "all my purchased lands at Namaskett" (MD 19:96, citing PCLR 4:43). On 4 Dec 1678 Moses Simmons Senior of Duxbury, yeoman, deeded to "my son Aron Simmons of Scituate" all that my one-half share of land, with upland and meadow lands divided and undivided...that I have as a purchaser or old comer" in Dartmouth (PCLR 4:219).

Sarah died after 3 June 1673 when she is mentioned in a court record, but before 17 June 1689, when Moses does not mention her in his will.

Moses died between 17 June 1689 (will written) and 10 September 1691 (will proved). In his will, Moses Simmons called himself "aged and full of decay.” He bequeathed to "my daughter Mary the wife of Joseph Alden" 4 pounds; to "my son Aaron" 4 pounds; to "my daughter Elizabeth now the wife of Richard Dwelley" 5 shillings; to "my daughter Sarah now the wife of James Nash" 2 lb 10s; to "my son John" 4 lb, he to be executor (MD 31:60, citing PPR 1:106). The inventory of the estate of Moses Simmons was taken 10 September 1691 and totaled 33 pounds 11 shillings, with no real estate included as he had already deeded it to his children (MD 31:60, citing PPR 1:107).

Sources Not Listed Above:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, 1995

Eugene Stratton,  History of Plymouth Colony It's History and People, 1986

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Moses Simons of Leiden, Summer 2004 issue of New England Ancestors

Monday, September 16, 2013

John Darby ca 1610 to ca February 1655/56 and his wife Alice of Dorsetshire, England, and Yarmouth, Mass.

John Darby was born about 1610, in England. I have read that he was
from Dorset, but I’m not sure what the source is for that. He is my
10th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side
of the family. His last name is also spelled Derby and Darbey.  I know
very little about John, so this will be brief!

John was at Plymouth about 1637 and at Yarmouth before 1643.

John married a woman named Alice, maiden name unknown, and they had a
daughter Mary in about 1644, in Plymouth or Yarmouth. They also had a
son born the last of February 1647, but his given name was omitted in
the Plymouth Vital Records, and a son Matthew born 8 February 1649,
recorded Plymouth Vital Records.

Mary grew up and married, as his second wife, Nicholas Nickerson. I
wrote about that couple here.

Plymouth Court Records has information on the 21 Dec 1638 case of Ann
Hynes, wife of William Hospkins, aged about 25, who was deposed in a
case between John Darbey and John Chipman. Ann lived in the house of
John Darbey’s father with John Chipman at the time that John Chipman
came from England to New England to serve Mr. Richard Darbey, his
(John’s) brother, and that the said Ann came afterwards likewise to
serve the said Richard Darbey. This seems to indicate that John
Chipman and Ann Hynes were John Chipman were servants in Mr. Darby’s
household in England and that Mr. Darby had son’s John and Richard who
came to New England. I haven’t seen the original document; perhaps it
mentions Dorset.

John received fourscore acres upland and 20 acres meadow in the 1648
division of Yarmouth lands. Also in 1648, in a dispute over Yarmouth
land, “there was granted also to John Darby to have six acres of
meadow in the Eastern Swan Pond Meadowe, in lieu of 4 acres due to
William Chase, for a debt the town owed him.”

John Darby went to court against Indian Sagamore Massantampaigne for
"his dogs did him wrong among his cattle and did much hurt one of
them." This happened 16 years after English settlement at Yarmouth and
Indians were under subjection to colonial laws.

On 20 September 1655, William and Elizabeth Pearse of Yarmouth sold to
John Darbey of Yarmouth, their dwelling house, 38 acres of upland,
nine acres of meadow, all lying at the Bass Pond River. The sale also
include some items: one closet, bedstead with two shelves, one shelf
in the chimney corner, one mortar, one pestle, one dressing board and
little table by the bedstead, one little bench under the window in the
outward room, one shelf over the door of the inward room. Witnessed by
William and Nicholas Nickerson.

The Cape Cod Genealogical Society Bulletin, Spring 2001, has a map
showing locations of the homes of "Dennis First Comers." John Darby
lived in what is now the Mayfair section of town, on Country Circle
off Mayfair Road. It was a fairly well populated early section of
town. Nearest neighbors were W. Pearse, Francis Baker and David
Kelley. He lived on/near Kelley's Bay.

I have not found John’s death date, but he died before 22 February
1655. An inventory of the estate of John Darby of Yarmouth was taken
22 February 1655, by Edmund Hawes and Robert Dennis, and was proved
before Mr. Thomas Prence, 6 June 1656. Among the items are: five acres
of rye on the ground; children's bedding; ten acres of meadow "which
hee bought of goodman Seares which is to pay for," "one house and 38
Acars of upland and 9 Acars of meddow which hee bought of Willam
Pearse" £15.
The estate was indebted to: "Mr hedge"; William ffalland; "David the
Irishman"; "Peeter the Scotsman"; "goodman Wells"; James Lewis;
"goodman Sturgis"; "goodman Nicarson"; Thomas Phelps; William Chase;
"goodman Seares for Land" £6; "goodman Pearse for house & land" £15.

I also have not found Alice’s death date. Torrey writes that she
married 2nd Abraham Black in 1658. Plymouth Vital records have Allice
Derbey vid (sic) marrying Abraham Blush/Blish on 4 January 1658.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884

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

Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1800

G. Andrews Moriarty Jr., NEHGR Volume 79, Genealogical Research in
England and Genealogical Research in New England

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thomas Freeman 1708-1766 and Dorothy Cole 1712-?1782 of Harwich / Orleans, MA

Thomas Freeman was born 13 September 1708 in Harwich, Mass., the son of Thomas and Mary (Smith) Freeman. I wrote about Thomas and Mary here.   Thomas is my eighth great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Thomas received, as eldest son, 120 pounds, 2 shillings, 8 pence in the division of his father's estate 30 July 1718, and was to split his father’s land with his three siblings after the decease of their mother.

On 6 August 1730, Thomas Freeman and Dorothy Cole were married by Samuel Osborn  at Eastham, Mass. Dorothy was born 15 May 1712 at Eastham, the daughter of Timothy and Apphia (Pepper) Cole. Their intentions were recorded Eastham 19 June 1730 and at Harwich on 20 June. Dorothy’s name is spelled in a variety of ways in records, including Dority and Doretha. I wrote about Timothy and Apphia here.

The births of Thomas and Dorothy’s children are recorded in Harwich Vital Records:

1. Thomas Freeman, born at Cape Cod, 26 April 1731, married Esther Ryder, removed to Falmouth
2. James Freeman, born Harwich 23 June 23 1734, m. Hannah King
3. Isaac Freeman, 12 February 1736/7, m. Hannah Higgins
4. Sarah Freeman, born 23 November 1739, died 23 September 1753
5. Marah Freeman, born 9 April 1742, married Jesse Rogers
6. Obed Freeman, born 27 November 1744, married Didamia Doane
7. Timothy Freeman, born 4 May 1747, married Zerviah Nickerson and Mary Deane

I descend from their son Thomas.

Dorothy was mentioned in her father Timothy Cole's 2 April 1760 will as Dorretha Freeman to receive land with her sisters.

A 1765 petition from the Praying Indians of Indian Town at South Yarmouth asked for money to pay their preacher John Ralph. It is doubtful the petition was ever put into effect because the following year smallpox again devastated the lower Cape. Thomas Freeman was their legal guardian at the time, and John Ralph was appointed Justice of the Peace for the Indians in his place. The disease left only six wigwams in Indian Town by the following year.

Thomas and Dorothy raised their family in Harwich (now South Orleans) near the Chatham line at the head of Pleasant Bay.

Thomas is referred to as yeoman in various land transactions. He also was skilled in the art of medicine and was involved with the local Native Americans (called Portanumquts in the Freeman genealogy, but I believe this should be Pawkunnakuts, another name for the Wampanoag people), serving as justice and guardian for the Christian members.

Thomas died of small pox on 19 July 1766, in  Harwich (now Orleans). I have also seen his death as 19 January, which would make more sense for a March 1766 inventory, but the July date is from the transcribed Harwich Vital Records. If anyone could clarify this, I would love to hear from you! Thomas contracted the small pox from Col. Ryder’s family of Chatham where he went to give medical aid. He must have been a brave man and very committed to offering medical assistance as he knowingly had contact with such a deadly disease. 

In his 1917 History of Chatham, William C. Smith wrote that Thomas' grave could still be seen in the field at South Orleans near his home. I'd imagine he was buried separate from family or with other smallpox victims. It would be interesting to find the location of his burial.

Thomas’ inventory was taken 28 March 1766 (or 1767?), but I have not seen it yet myself.  It mentions his widow Dorathy, sons Thomas, Isaac and Timothy.

According to Frederick Freeman, Dorothy died in 1782, but no source is given. I don’t find her death in vital records. Freeman writes that Dorothy was a member of Mr. Bascom’s church in Orleans and she received him at her house on 26 September 1781 because she was sick. She definitely died after 1766 when she was mentioned in her late husband’s estate.
Sources Not Listed Above:

Susan E. Roser, Early Descendants of Daniel Cole of Eastham, Massachusetts, Friends of the Pilgrim Series Vol. 2, 2010

Delores Bird Carpenter, Early Encounters Native Americans and Europeans in New England, From the Papers of W. Sears Nickerson, 1994

Frederick Freeman, Freeman Genealogy in Three Parts, 1875

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Antique Slides of Plymouth, Mass.

I'm veering away from my usual type of post to share copies of antique slides of various scenes in Plymouth. We picked up two boxes of Magic Lantern glass slides at a New Hampshire flea market. We don't know anything about them but thought they were pretty cool and were a good price (a reasoning that has led to our house being quite full!). When I looked through them at home, I found some of them were Plymouth scenes probably dating to about 1910. Yippee!

Please excuse the quality--I don't have the appropriate technology to make proper scans.

I love this slide of a map of downtown Plymouth. It's a bit blurry to read, but the top left area is Burial Hill and the top right area is the Pilgrim Monument (now referred to as the Forefathers' Monument). The lower left is Town Brook (next to it is site of the first house) and the middle is Pilgrim Hall. Other things that are marked include Plymouth Rock near the waterfront, the Railroad Station and the Court House.

This slide is of a woman dressed in Victorian clothing sitting atop Plymouth Rock. The canopy was replaced with the larger one you see today in 1920. The waterfront storehouses are long gone but are a reminder of Plymouth's past as a working waterfront.

Here is how the Plymouth Rock portico looks today, from a photo I took last year looking down from Cole's Hill.

Slide of Burial Hill. The first time I saw the historic cemetery, I was disappointed it wasn't in better repair. Fortunately, there is now a group of volunteers who are cleaning stones and restoring the cemetery.

 Here is a 2012 photo of Burial Hill.

This slide shows the view from Burial Hill looking toward the water. Note the old factory smokestack.

The view from Burial Hill today.

Slide of the Forefathers' Monument. If you haven't seen this, it's wonderful! It was dedicated in 1889. It is 81 feet tall, made of granite and cost $150,000 to complete. The standing figure represents Faith, an important ideal of the Pilgrims.

The seated figures represent Morality, Education, Freedom and Law.

Recent photograph of the Forefathers' Monument.

Perhaps this was the view from the Forefathers' Monument toward the ocean. It's too distant to be taken from Cole's Hill or Burial Hill. If anyone knows for sure, I'd love to hear from you.