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, November 9, 2014

Richard Pierce b. 1725 and Mary Simmons b. 1723, of Middleborough and Freetown, Mass.

**Sketch updated July 8, 2024**

Richard Pierce (often Peirce or Pearse) was born 15 April 1725 at Middleborough, Plymouth County, Mass., the son of Thomas and Naomi (Booth) Pierce. [The Mayflower Descendant,“Middleborough Vital Records,” 7:240 (1905)]  I wrote about Thomas and Naomi here.He is my seventh great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family.  

On 12 December 1745 Richard Pierce of Middleborough married Mary Simmons at Freetown, Bristol County, Mass. They were married by Thomas Terrey, Esqr,, of Freetown. [Freetown Vital Records in Ancestry’s “Massachusetts, US Town and Vital Records 1620-1988”] Mary was born 9 October 1723 at Freetown, the daughter of Abraham and Ann (Lee) Simmons.  Her birth record lists father only. [Freetown Vital Records on Ancestry’s “Massachusetts, US Town and Vital Records 1620-1988”]

Richard and Mary had three children, first two births recorded Middleborough Vital Records:

i.Zilphah born 9 June 1746 [MD 16:246]; m. Michael Mosher of Middleborough 30 Oct 1770

ii.Jesse born 12 July 1747; married Ruth Perkins [MD 16:246]

iii.Richard who m. first Lydia Boothe of Middleborough, 29 Aug 1776; 2nd Sarah Boothe of Middleborough, 28 Nov 1789 

I descend through Jesse. I wrote about him here.

The only civic involvement I’ve found for Richard is that he was elected one of the deer wardens at Freetown in 1752.

Richard, as well as his son Richard, served in the Revolutionary War, so it can be hard to differentiate between them in records. Richard the elder was a Sergeant and perhaps a Corporal with short-term service; Richard the younger a private with at least three years service. 

The elder Richard Peirce of Middleborough was a sergeant in Captain Abiel Peirce’s 2nd Middleborough Company of militia, which marched to Marshfield on the 19 April 1775 Lexington Alarm, 2 days service. He may also be the Richard Peirce of Middleborough who was a corporal in Captain Levi Rounsevel's company, Colonel David Brewer's  9th Regiment at Roxbury in summer of 1775, serving for 3 months 4 days.

Richard’s service is accepted by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR Ancestor No. A106171). People have joined through his children Jesse, Zadoc, and Zilpha. 

Apparently Richard left Mary and lived with another woman named Lois. Her maiden name of DeMaranville is from family tradition; I have not found documentation. He did not divorce Mary, so their co-habitating would have been illegal and quite scandalous. Richard and Lois had a large family of nine children (eight boys!) whose births are recorded in Middleborough Vital Records page 1:283-84, each entry specifies son or daughter “of Richard Peirce by Lois his wife.”

i.Abner born 2 April 1778

ii.Naomi born 19 January 1782

iii.Russell born 25 June 1784

iv.Thomas 1 March 1787

v.Eli born 23 Jan 1789 

vi.Levi born 25 May 1792 

vii.Preserved born 14 March 1794

viii.Zadoc born 19 April 1796

ix.Philip born 30 Jan 1798

If all those children are in fact Richard’s, he would have been 73 at the last child’s birth! I have also seen children Lois and Lemuel listed for them but haven’t found a source.

Harvey Cushman Pierce wrote that the Middleborough town authorities, in or before 1815, and the Overseers of the Poor of Lakeville recently (1870) denied that Richard and Lois were ever married, or if they were, asserted the marriage was illegal as Mary, the first wife, was alive, and she and Richard were not divorced while the latter was living with Lois. 

Nothing was done to Richard legally for this breach of order, as people pitied him for the wrongs that he had suffered from the conduct of his wife Mary Simmons. A pauper descendant of this 2d marriage was rejected by Middleborough or Lakeville on the plea that the children of Richard and Lois were all illegitimate. I would be very interesting in discovering what type of trouble Mary was up to!

There is an intention of marriage between Richard Peirce of Middleborough and Gabriel[?/le] Demaranville of Dartmouth 13 May 1775. Is this another first name for Lois and they actually married? [Darmouth Vital Records in Ancestry’s “Massachusetts US Town and Vital Records 1620-1988]

I haven’t found death information on Richard or Mary. I also do not know if Mary married again. The DAR database has Richard dying after 1798.

Sources Not Included Above:

Ebenezer W Peirce, The Peirce Family of The Old Colony, 1870

Ebenezer W. Peirce, The Peirce Family, printed in NEHGR in Jan., April, July 1867 and October 1868

William Richard Cutter, editor, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to Families of Middlesex County, Mass., Volume 4, 1908,  

Paul Bumpus article on Ruth Perkins in the September 2006 Mayflower Quarterly 

Harvey Cushman Pierce, Seven Pierce Families: A Record of Births, Deaths and Marriages of the First Seven generations of Peirces in America, 1936

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War, 12:95

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jeremiah Jones ca 1650 to November 1705 and Sarah Dillingham of Yarmouth, Mass.

Note: My line of descent from this family is a bit “iffy” due to lack of records, but it is something I feel confident in personally.  I’m always happy to hear from people who have different information or know of  a source I have overlooked!

Jeremiah Jones was born before 1650 in Yarmouth, Mass., the son of Teague Jones whose wife’s name is not known. I wrote about Teague here.  Jeremiah is my 8th and 9th great-grandfather as I have two lines of descent on my grandmother Milly’s side of the family.

About 1678 Jeremiah married Sarah Dillingham of Harwich (now Brewster), Mass.  I don’t know Sarah’s birth date but she was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Feake) Dillingham.

I don’t think there is absolute proof that Jeremiah married Sarah Dillingham, but they have been identified as husband and wife in various sources including The American Genealogist (see reference below). There’s solid circumstantial evidence, however.  Both of them were from Quaker families with their father’s alternating holding monthly meetings at their homes.  Their children’s names were names of Sarah’s parents and siblings. John Dillingham’s will, dated 15 November 1707, names his daughter Sarah Jones's two children, although not by name (BPR 3:223). Sarah had in fact died before this time, although I'm uncertain as to why he only named two children as I believe all four lived to adulthood. Another detail to work on. 

Children, according to Freeman's History of Cape Cod, order uncertain:

 I descend from Jeremiah and Sarah’s daughter Hannah who married John Baker through two lines: their daughter Alice Baker who married John Burgess and their daughter Bethiah Baker who married Patrick Kelley.

In 1676 he was taxed 2 pounds, 14 shillings toward King Philip’s War.  By deed dated 29 May 1691, Teague Jones conveyed to son Jeremiah his farm on west side of Bass River where Jeremiah was already residing.

Jeremiah didn’t have his father’s penchant for misbehavior as the only time I find his name in records is when he conducted estate inventories or was owned money from or to an estate.

Sarah died before April 1699, likely at Yarmouth. 

Jeremiah married, second, Elizabeth Folland Hall , the daughter of Thomas Folland and widow of Samuel Hall, on 27 April 1699 at Yarmouth (Yarmouth VR).  

Jeremiah died 4 November 1705 at Yarmouth (Yarmouth Vital Records).  He died intestate and administration of his estate was granted to son John who swore to the truth of the estate inventory on 2 January 1705/6 Barnstable Co. Probate Records, 2:208-9). Jeremiah’s estate inventory totaled over 138 pounds and included property where his homestead stood, house and property at South Sea (i.e. Nantucket Sound), meadow at Stage Island (Chatham), household items, farming equipment, including sheep shears, and a pair oxen, a cow and a horse. 

Elizabeth died 17 June 1714. 

Sources Not Listed Above:

Mrs. John E. Barclay , The American Genealogist, The Jones Family of Yarmouth and Middleboro, Mass.,  volume 31, 1955

Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884

Clarence Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1770

William C. Smith, History of Chatham, 1909

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lucy Nye Pierce 1809-1896, Wareham and Acushnet, Mass.

Lucy Nye Pierce is an ancestor I feel very connected to—one of those women of her era who from a distance appears strong and resolute. She married three times, outliving all of her husbands, seems to have fibbed about her age to her one of her younger husbands, buried three very young children and lived to an advance age.  Her first husband, Rowland Bumpus, went not once but twice in search of gold in California.  If he struck gold, maybe the hardship of being left with the children and no income coming in would have been worth it, but I don’t think that was the case. Other than his miner days, Rowland worked at Tremont Nail Factory in Wareham. What made matters worse was that it appears Rowland contracted tuberculosis during or soon after his last adventure and died in 1853 at age 49.  Lucy is my fourth great-grandmother on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Lucy was born September 1809 (based on age at death), in Wareham, Plymouth Co., Mass., one of the six children of David and Desire (Nye) Pierce.  I wrote about her parents here. 

Lucy Pierce Bumpus Tripp Burnham  (original property of Laurie Howland)
Lucy married, first, Rowland Bumpus, on 5 September 1825, at Wareham.  He was the son of Jonathan and Martha (Chubbuck) Bumpus.  His last name is sometimes seen as Bumpas. Lucy and Rowland had 10 children. I wrote about the family in another post, but below is a short summary:

1. Frederick Adams b. about 1827, he married Jane Yates and they raised their family in Wareham where he died in 1893. He also worked at Tremont Nail Factory.
2. Ambrose D. born about 1829, died 30 May 1833 at Wareham.
3. Adeline B. born 3 December 1831, married Samuel Williams and lived at Wareham where she died in 1897.
4. Rowland, born about 1832, died November 1836 at Wareham.
5. Lucy Maria, born about 1834, she married Calvin Benson at Middleborough on 9 November 1851 but I can’t find anything further on the couple.
6. Caroline born about 1838, married Calvin Baker at Marshfield, 21 August 1858, have not found her death record.
7. Mary Briggs, born about 1840, married Seth Washburn 25 November 1856 at Wareham, lived at Plymouth where she died 27 May 1916.
8. Lucretia W., born about 1842, married Asaph Burbank 12 February 1860 at Wareham, and died at Plymouth 29 December 1880.  
9. Pelina, born September 1845, died 18 August 1846, Wareham.
10. Nathan Cobb, born 23 September 1847, married Susan Ellis 12 August 1870 at Acushnet, died there 27 July 1926.  Was a Civil War Veteran.

I descend from Mary whom I wrote about here.

Lucy and Rowland Bumpus (original property of Laurie Howland)

The 1855 state census, Wareham, Lucy is head of household as Rowland had passed away:
Lucy N. Bumpus 45
Caroline P. Bumpus 17
Mary B. Bumpus 15
Lucretia W. Bumpus 13
Nathan C., 8

There is also a Nathan C., age 8, in the 1855 census for Middleborough/W. Bridgewater in what may be a rooming house as mostly single men working as nailors in a factory.

On my long list of things to do is to find the map of the Agawam section of Wareham that shows where Lucy and Rowland lived, listed as belonging Mrs. LN Bumpus, so after Rowland's death.  There is a dark reproduction of the map inside the back cover of the book Glimpses of Early Wareham, and I hope to find a better copy and share it here. 

Lucy married, second, Deacon Brownell Tripp, on 21 March 1861, at Acushnet, a town near New Bedford in Bristol Co., Mass. He was a farmer, later a shoemaker, born in Westport, Mass., son of Philip and Meribah Tripp.  It was his third marriage and they were married by Frederick Tripp, minister (MA VR Vol. 144, Page 67).  Brownell had married first, Ruby Allen and, second, Eliza Case (or Chase). Lucy was 51 years of age and Brownell was about 11 years her senior.  He died on 11 July 1874 of a diseased limb.   

1865 state census, Acushnet, Bristol Co., Mass.:
Brownell Tripp 66 farmer
Lucy N. Tripp 55
Josaphen B. Cochran 19, single
Almeda B. Smith 11, male

I would guess Josephine and Almeda were servants or boarders.

1870 Federal census, Acushnet, Mass.:
Brownell Tripp, 71, shoemaker
Lucy N., 60, keeps house
Nathan C. Tripp, 23 (this would be Lucy’s son Nathan C. Bumpus)
Tabor, Betsey, 50, at home (family member or servant?)

1880 Federal census, Westport, Mass.:
1880 census, Westport, Mass, taken 17 June 1880
John Howland 82, retired mariner
Nancy Howland 67, wife house keeping
Lucy M. Tripp, 70, nurse
This is likely Lucy before her July marriage to Josiah Burnham, perhaps nursing a sick person in their home as a way to earn an income and have housing after the death of Brownell.

Lucy married, third, Josiah Burnham at Acushnet on 31 July 1880. Josiah was born about 1811, to Josiah and Abigail Burnham of Essex, Mass. He was a physician and died of senility on 13 December 1895.  Josiah’s first wife was Susan Getchell of Salem. In the 1860 census he and Susan are living in New Bedford. She died at Acushnet in 1878. In the 1880 census he is age 69, a widower, living in Acushnet, near his soon to be son-in-law Nathan C. Bumpus.

Lucy and Josiah lived on Main Street in Acushnet.  Josiah died in 1895 and family has told me he is buried on the property.

Lucy’s death is recorded in the Massachusetts state vital records: Lucy Burnham died 29 June 1896, age 86 years, 9 months, widow, daughter of David and Desire Pierce, born Wareham, died Acushnet of heart disease.

She is buried at Tabor Cemetery on Main Street in Acushnet.  She shares a large stone with her son Nathan C. Bumpus and his wife and daughter.  I was in the area last week and took a quick drive through town, stopping to pay my respects to Lucy for the first time. 

Sources Not Listed Above:
Records of the First Parish Church of Wareham, by Leonard H. Smith.
Glimpses of Early Wareham, by Daisy Washburn Lovell, Wareham Historical Society

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Samuel Howes ca 1610-1667 and Ann Hammond, Scituate, Massachusetts

Samuel Howes was baptized 10 June 1610 at Eastwell, Kent, England, the son of John Howes and Alice (Lloyd?). His last name is often seen as House in records. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my Grandmother Millie (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Samuel likely came over with Rev. Lothrop’s group of Separatists in 1634. Samuel settled at Scituate in 1634/5 near the harbor, southeast of Coleman's Hills, between the lots of Rev. Lothrop and Richard Foxwell.  Samuel went with Rev. Lothrop and others to be among the first white settlers of Barnstable (1639). He later went to Cambridge, eventually returning to Scituate. His family was close with Rev. John Lothrop—Samuel’s sister Hannah was the Reverend’s first wife.  

About April 1636 he married Ann Hammond who was born about 1619. I have sometimes seen his wife’s name as Elizabeth Hammond. Ann’s parents were William Hammond and Elizabeth Paine who were married at Lavenham, a village in Suffolk, England and immigrated to Watertown, Massachusetts.

The couple had four children that I know of: Samuel, Elizabeth, Sarah and John.

I descend from Elizabeth who married John Sutton.

Samuel was a shipbuilder by trade. Capt. George Henry Preble’s NEHGR April 1871 article Notes on Early Ship-Building in Massachusetts, states that “At Hobart’s landing [Scituate] vessels were built by Samuel House as early as 1650.”

From a deposition in England (below), it shows that he was in the English Navy as a young man. It also indicates he was an opinionated and brave man to make a negative comment about taxation under oath!

The Rawlinson Manuscript, A-128, in the Bodleian Library comprising records of the proceedings of the Court of High Commision (Ecclesiactical Division) 1632, gives an interesting account of the prosecution of Rev. John Lothrop/Lathrop and his flock of dissenters who met at a conventicler [a private meeting to hear illegal preaching]
 in the Black Friars, London. Among those arrested were Samuel Howes and his sister Penninah Howes who was a sister-in-law of Mr. Lathrop and their examination by the different members of the court is recorded as follows;

Register: "Samuel Howes," saith the King's advocate, "you are required by your oath to answer to the articles."

Howes: "I have served the King both by sea and by land, and I had been at sea if this restraint had not been made upon me. My conversacon, I thank God, none can tax."

Register: "Will you take your oath?"

Howes: "I am a young man and doe not know what the oath is."

King's Advocate: "The King desires your service in obeying his laws."

Then Penninah Howes was called and required to take her oath but she refused.

London: "Will you trust Mr. Lathrop and believe him rather than the Church of England ?"

Penninah: "I referre myself to the word of God whether I maie take this oath or noe."

Rev. Lothrop served two years in a London prison where many prisoners died because of the deplorable conditions.

The first church services in Barnstable were held at a large boulder known as Sacrament Rock.
Sacrament Rock, Barnstable

Rev. Lothrop’s Bible is on display at Sturgis Library in Barnstable.

Samuel died in Scituate on 12 September 1667 (date of death given in his probate records). Ann survived him but I do not know her date of death.  Samuel had a large estate in Barnstable and Scituate.

Ann was the niece of William Paine of Boston, a man of great wealth, who left 10 pounds to his "kinswoman Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel House.”

The inventory of the Estate of Samuel House Sr. who deceased the 12th day of Sept 1661: appraised at the request of Samuel House Jr. and Elizabeth House, children of the deceased by Timothy Hatherly, Nicholas Baker, Joseph Tilden and Isaac Chittenden. Among the items are the boat as she with the new sayle at Boston, and all belonging to it: 80 lbs. The house and land at Scituate, 60 lbs. His share of a parcel of land granted by the court, to the ancient freemen of Duxburrow, Scituate and Marshfield, 251 lbs. These goods heer underwritten, not being here at Scituate, were appraised by Tristem Hull and John Chipman of Barnstable, because the goods were there.

The property at Barnstable was all personal, including his wife's gown at 1 lb 17s; his sonnes suite at 1 lbs.  Samuel House Jr. was deposed to the truth of the above written inventory. (Mayflower Descendant Vol. 15, p. 59)

Sources Not Listed Above:
Amos Otis, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers, 1888

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thomas Lettice and his Wife Anne, 17th Century Plymouth, Mass.

Thomas Lettice (sometimes spelled Lettis) is my 13th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. He was likely born in England, came to live in Plymouth before 1637 and married a woman named Anne (or Ann), whose maiden name is not known (although it’s sometimes given as Savory but I’ve seen no solid proof of this).

Savage thought Thomas might have been the Thomas Lettyne, age 23, who sailed from London for New England in the Elizabeth on 15 April 1635, but there is no way to confirm this. Thomas Lettice is first mentioned in Plymouth records on 7 March 1636/7 when Francis Cooke brought charges against Thomas Lettice, James Walker, John Browne the younger, and Thomas Teley, who being in the service of John Browne the elder and Thomas Willet, who were also charged, for abusing Cooke's cattle. Cooke was awarded 3 pounds damages and 13 shillings six pence for costs (PCR 7:5). Apparently there were no leftover feelings of ill will as Francis Cooke’s son Jacob married Thomas’ daughter Elizabeth.

 On 25 March 1640 Willm Pontus, Thomas Lettice and John Greemes were assigned to repair the herring weir and draw it and deliver the shares for the ensuing three years (PTR 1:1).

In several 1641 actions against James Luxford, Thomas Lettice (twice) and other complainants were awarded property belonging to Luxford which was in the hands of others (PCR 7:25, 27).

Thomas Lettis was on the list of those able to bear arms in Plymouth in 1643.

Thomas Lettice became a freeman in 1654 (PCR 3:48).

I know of four children born to the couple, order and birth years uncertain:

Anne who married Samuel Jenney
Elizabeth who married first William Shurtleff (who was killed by lightning), second Jacob Cooke (son of Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke) and third Hugh Cole; she died 31 October 1693
Dorothy, married first Edward Gray, second Nathaniel Clark whom she divorced; she died in 1728
Thomas who died 3 November 1650

I descend through their daughter Dorothy who married Edward Gray. I wrote about that couple here.

Thomas was a carpenter by trade. In Plymouth probate records there are multiple instances of estates owing him money. On 17 March 1651, the estate of Webb Audey of Plymouth owed Thomas Lettice 1 shilling 6 pence for an undisclosed service and 6 shillings for a coffin. (The Mayflower Descendant, volume 11).

Jacob Cooke's Plymouth estate owed Thomas Lettice 4 shillings. Exhibited to court 8 March 1675/76. (The Mayflower Descendant,  3;239) Jacob was Thomas' son-in-law.

On 2 August 1653 Thomas and Anne Savory put their five year old son Thomas Jr out as an apprentice with Thomas Lettice, carpenter, until he reached 21. Young Thomas was to receive meat, drink, apparel, washing, lodging and all other necessities and was to be taught the trade of house carpenter and be taught to read the English language. In turn he was to give his master faithful and respectful service, not absent himself by day or night without license, not marry during his term, not embezzle, purloin or steal any of his master's goods, not give away any of his secrets and to be obedient. On completion of term he would be given two suits of clothes and various specified tools.

Thomas was somewhat active in town affairs.  He served at times on juries and as surveyor of highways. In 1651 a John Lettice was constable for Plymouth (PCR 2:167), but this may have been a clerical error for Thomas, since no John is known.

In 1659 Thomas Lettice brought charges against Thomas Pope for abusive carriages at the mill at Plymouth, and Pope was fine 10 shillings to the use of the colony (PCR 3:173).

On 3 July 1666 Elizabeth Shurtleff of Marshfield, widow, and Thomas Lettice of Plymouth, carpenter, gave bond to administer on the estate of William Shurtliff of Marshfield, late deceased (The Great Migration Begins).

Thomas died after 25 October 1681, when he made oath to a document being his last will and testament. Anne died after him as she’s mentioned in his will.

Thomas Lettice’s will was dated only with the year 1678, he of Plymouth, signed by a mark. The will was very succinct. He left five shillings each to his three daughters: Anne wife of Samuel Jenney, Elizabeth Cooke widow, and Dorethy the wife of Edward Gray. The rest of his real and personal estate, after payment of debts was bequeathed to wife Anne who was made executrix. Witnessed by Jonathan Barnes and Joseph Howland. On 25 October 1681 Thomas Lettice did declare the above to be his last will and testament in presence of Nathaniel Thomas. Lt. Joseph Howland made oath to the will at court. (PCPR Volume IV, part II, page 11)

His will seems to indicate a man without much by way of money and property, but records show that Thomas was involved in multiple purchases of land, so perhaps he had already disposed of them to his children before his death. On 2 December 1639 William Fallowell, Robert Finney, John Finney, and Thomas Letttice were assigned garden places near Webb's Field (PCR 1:136). Thomas Lettice bought a house and seven acres of land in Plymouth from Thomas Cushman on 24 March 1641 (PCR 12:77). On 2 August 1653 John Cooke Senior of Plymouth sold to Thomas Lettice of Plymouth for the sum of three pounds a house and garden with a house standing on it where Thomas now lives (The Mayflower Descendant Vol 3, p. 139).  On 20 March 1657 William Browne deeded a garden place to Thomas Lettice next to where he now lives as well as about an acre of meadow called Doten’s Meadow in exchange for two ewe sheep. The garden was bordered by James Cole on one side (The Mayflower Descendant vol. 12). On 27 August 1679 he was living on New Street (now called North Street) in Plymouth (PCR 6:161).

North Street is a pretty road near Plymouth's waterfront. One historical structure to note there is the 1749 Spooner House, which is open for tours in the warmer months.

Sources Not Listed Above:

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

Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its People and History, 1986

James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 1860

Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 1860

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Francis Cary, born 1648, and Lydia Brett, of Bridgewater Mass.

Francis Cary was born 19 January 1647/48 in Duxbury, Mass., the second child of John 1 and Elizabeth (Godfrey) Cary. The name is also seen as Carey and Carew. His parents, who had a whopping 12 children, moved from Duxbury to Braintree and then to Bridgewater, where Francis was raised, married and lived until his death. The year of his birth is torn in the Bridgewater Vital Records (his father was the first Town Clerk and a proprietor of the town), so 1648 is a guess based on dates of siblings’ births before and after him. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Francis Godfrey. He is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.
I’ve only scratched the surface in researching Francis and Lydia, but this summary is a start.  I have not yet read some of the resources on the family such as the 1911 book John Cary the Plymouth Pilgrim, by Seth Cary.

Most of the older resources (including Torrey’s New England Marriages, Mitchell’s History of Bridgewater) give Francis’ wife as Hannah Brett, but a January/April 1986 The American Genealogist article by RoseMari Finter sorts things out. Ms. Finter shows through documentation that Hannah Brett married John Turner and that it was likely Hannah’s sister Lydia who married Francis Cary. Lydia was the daughter of William 1 Brett, a Duxbury proprietor in 1640 who later moved to Bridgewater.

Francis married Lydia Brett at Bridgewater about 1676. They had five children. Their births aren’t recorded but are mentioned in their father’s will:

I descend from Melatiah who married Joseph Lucas. I wrote about that couple here.  Francis’ will names a daughter Malethiah Lucas, and Melatiah is given as a child of Francis and Lydia in the Mayflower Families book on Richard Warren.

Plymouth County Deeds, reprinted in the Mayflower Descendant, vol, 44, no. 2, July 1994: Samuel Tompkins of Bridgewater, planter, with consent of Lettice his wife, gave to Francis Carey of Bridgewater sole and whole estate after his decease and wife's decease, except some movables that by will he disposed of. Dated 20 May 1673. Signed by Samuel and Lettice using their marks, and Samuel Edson and Thomas Hayward.

Same volume:
John Carey of Bridgewater for 30 pounds paid by Francis Carey of Bridgewater sold 60 acres of land in Bridgewater lying and being on ye westerly side of Johns Bridge river butting on the said river bounded on ye southwest by land of Francis Carey and on ye northwest by lands of Jonathan Hill.  Dated 31 December 1690, signed by John Carey, James Adams, Edward Adams.

Samuel Tomkins of Bridgewater, will dated 20 May 1673 and proved 7 November 1695, aged about 62, bequeathed houses and lands in the township of Bridgewater to Francis Carey “living with me,” and all the rest of his chattels not given to brother John Tompkins, cousin Mary Foster, cousin Elizabeth White, cousin Elizabeth Hall, cousin Mary Doggit. Samuel Tomkins named Francis executor.

William Latham wrote that Francis’ house was half-way between Mr. Strong’s house and Matfield River (this is in 1882), on the old Cary farm where his father lived before him and his son Ephraim lived after him. House was standing as late as 1740. Francis was brought up with Samuel Tomkins, which accounts for the latter leaving him his estate.Francis lived in what today is East Bridgewater.

East Bridgewater Common
East Bridgewater Common

I frequently read that Francis died in Bridgewater in 1718, but his will was written 2 January 1723/4, probated 10 April 1728 and notes that he died 6 September 1727 (this is a transcription done by another researcher; I have not seen the original documents). It mentions his eldest son Samuel Cary, who received Bridgewater lands where he is already living, about 140 acres, and dwelling house. His son Ephraim received Francis’ house and lands, meadow, cedar swamp in Bridgewater. Ephraim was to pay Francis’ daughters Mary, Lydia and Malatiah or their children after their decease 10 pounds each. Mentions Mary was already deceased. Melatiah was to receive 10 pounds, half of the moveables and two cows. Deacon Joseph Edson and Joseph Hayward, his sons-in-law, were appointment executors.

Since Lydia is not mentioned in the will, I assume she died before January 1723/24.

Sources Not Listed Above:
William Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts, 1882

Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, including an extensive Family register, 1897

RoseMari Finter, The American Genealogist, January/April 1986 John Turner and Francis Cary of Bridgewater, Mass. and their Wives Hannah and Lydia Brett

Robert S. Wakefield, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol. 18, Richard Warren,1999

Sunday, June 15, 2014

William Baker and Mercy Lawrence of 17th-18th century Yarmouth, Massachusetts

William Baker was born probably in Yarmouth (now Dennis), Massachusetts, the son of Francis and Isabel (Twining) Baker. I have seen his birthdate as 19 October 1652 but do not know the source. I always feel I should put an asterisk next to my Baker ancestors, as they are a hard family to pin down with definite dates and records!

William married Mercy Lawrence by 1692 (I have seen it as 5 April 1689 but without a source). Mercy was born Watertown, Mass., possibly on 4 December 1671 (as “Mary,” Watertown Vital Records). She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Crispe) Lawrence. Mercy is my 8th great-grandmother on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Not all genealogists agree that William’s wife was Mercy Lawrence or whether she was his first or second wife.  Florence Baker wrote in the Cape Cod Library Pamphlets from the early 1900s that his wife Mercy’s maiden name is unknown. In the manuscript Pilgrims and Indians... by Vernon R. Nickerson, he does give Mercy Lawrence as William’s wife but writes he married first Mary Pierce, but I don’t believe he married Mary Pierce, but rather his brother Nathaniel did.

In Henry Bond’s 1855 Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, he wrote that Mary Lawrence, born 4 December 1671, married 5 April1689, John Earl of Boston and that it was probably Mary, widow of John Earl, who married Michael Flagg on 27 December 1704.

In New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Clarence Almon Torrey states that William Baker married Mercy Lawrence before 1692/3, the year their first child was born.

The most compelling reason I believe William Baker married Mercy Lawrence is that George Lawrence’s 1707 will mentions daughter Mercy Baker living in Yarmouth. It also mentions a daughter Mary Flagg, leading me to believe that the December 1671 birth date is not Mercy’s but is her sister Mary’s, although the two names are sometimes interchangeable in old records or perhaps they were twins.

William and Mercy lived in Yarmouth, where their 12 children were born, all of their births being recorded:

1. Mercy born 4 January 1691/2
2. William born 8 January 1693/4
3. Dorcas born 15 November 1696
4. Experience born 8 Jan 1697/8
5. Judah born 21 March 1700/01
6. Elizabeth born 11 February 1702/03
7. Josiah born 14 December 1704
8. Johanah/Joanna b. 18 February 1706/7
9. Patience b. 27 February 1708/9
10. Elisha b. 11 December 1712
11. James born 20 May 1715 (finally a baby born in the warm weather months!)
12. Thankful born 6 December 1719

I descend through their daughter Dorcas Baker who married William Chase.  The Chase’s are another prolific, confusing family!

Francis Baker’s homestead was in what is now the Mayfair section of Dennis. It was not large to accommodate the growth of the family, so the second generation settled in the area near the present day Ezra Baker School, where West Dennis and South Dennis meet, and northward and eastward along the shore of Grand Cove. The Bakers would become so plentiful in South Dennis that it was later called Baker Town.

William Baker served in the first expedition of King Philip's War in 1675. In Swift's History of Old Yarmouth, it is written that William Baker was paid 8 pounds, 11 shillings for service in King Philip's War in 1675.

In March 1700 William Baker and his brothers John, Daniel and Thomas were asked by the Sandwich Monthly Meeting why they were "walking disorderly concerning training." Apparently several men were attending the militia training and were thereby remiss in their duty to the principle advocated by their Quaker faith. The following month the above men answered. William said "...that he could do more business on that day than in a week at any other time and justified his going." (Nancy Thacher Reid's History of Dennis)

William died in 1727, at Yarmouth or Sandwich between the date he wrote his will on 16 July and it was proved on 14 August. There is a probate file at Barnstable for William Baker of Yarmouth, Case no R4-393, but I have not seen it yet.

William Baker of Yarmouth (his heirs since he was deceased) received 43 lots of land at Narragansett Township No.  7, now Gorham Maine, for his service in King Philip's War, assigned 17 Oct 1733. Brothers Daniel and Samuel also received grants.

Mercy died 26 November 1753 at Yarmouth (as Mercy Baker the wife of William Baker in Yarmouth Vital Records transcription).

Sources Not Listed Above:

George Madison 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, 1896

From Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, The Baker Family of Yarmouth, Descendants of Francis, No. 73, 1912

Henry Bond MD, Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, 1855

Monday, May 26, 2014

Richard Wright and Hester Cooke of 17th Century Plymouth, Mass.

On this Memorial Day, I’m thinking of the brave people who served and died for our country. One family that immediately came to mind is that of Richard and Hester (Cooke) Wright. It is believed they lost three sons during King Philip’s War. All three were young men—not yet married. I can’t even imagine what heartache this tremendous loss brought to the family.

Richard Wright was born 9 June1608 (from age at death). He is my 9th great-grandfather through my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis. Where and to whom he was born in England are not yet known. He was a tailor by trade. He seemed to have minimal education as he signed documents with his mark and had just one book listed in his inventory. He did, however, serve his community in multiple capacities. The first mention of him in Plymouth records is a 1636 land grant.

Richard is mentioned in many Plymouth Colony land grants. On 6 October 1636 Richard Wright was appointed land "5 acres to a pson, at the fishing point next Slowly Field." On 7 November 1636 "The landes at the fishing point, neer Slowly Field, being viewed & fownd too little for Tho. Pope, Rich. Clough, & Rich. Wright, at five acres p pson, by consent was equally devided between them." On 5 February 1637/8 "six acrees of landes are graunted unto Richard Wright, lying at the west end of Mr Dones landes, towardes the Fresh Lake." On 5 March 1637/8 "A garden place is graunted to Richard Wright in the meadow by Thomas Atkinsons."
Fresh Pond in Manomet section of Plymouth

Genealogist Robert Wakefield believed Richard was related to William Wright or another early settler as the amount of land he was granted was unusual for a “stranger.” William did not mention any children in his 1633 will, and Richard was too old to be his son, so perhaps a brother or cousin.

On 24 March 1637 Richard Wright sold five acres of land at "fishing poynt towards the Eele River together wth the fences." A deed to George Russell, 17 November 1637, for the sale of 4 or 5 acres upon "Oulbery Playne" calls Richard Wright of New Plymouth "Taylor." On 25 August 1638 Peter Maycock sold for 40 shillings sterling to Richard Wright "xxv acrees of land due to him for his service."

Richard was on the 1643 Plymouth list of Men Able to Bear Arms.

In 1644 Richard married at Plymouth Hester (sometimes seen as Esther) Cooke. The exact date of their union is not given in Plymouth Vital Records but if marriages are listed in order it would be between 2 and 6 November 1644. Richard was about 36 years old and had been in the Colony for about 8 years. Hester was born between1621-1625, the daughter of Francis and Hester (Mahieu) Cooke. She may have been born in Leiden and come to Plymouth on the Anne with her mother in 1623 or been born in Plymouth after their arrival. Francis came to Plymouth on the Mayflower.

Although only the births of two children were recorded, George Bowman, editor of the Mayflower Descendant, sorted out the family.

Richard and Hester had six children:

1. Adam, born about 1645, married first Sarah Soule (granddaughter of George Soule of the Mayflower); second Mehitable Barrows. He had six children by the first wife and four by the second.
2. John, predeceased his father, unmarried and without issue.
3. Esther, born Plymouth in 1649 (only year given in Vital Records), married Ephraim Tinkham, grandson of Peter Brown of the Mayflower, had six children.
4. Isaac, born at Plymouth 26 August 1652, died in 1675 or 76, without issue and apparently unmarried.
5. Samuel, died before his father, unmarried and without issue.
6. Mary, married Hugh Price and had two children.

Birth records for Esther and Isaac are the only ones found. John, Isaac and Samuel likely died in King Philip’s War, although their names aren’t included in Bodge’s Soldiers in King Philip’s War.

John wrote a will on 7 December 1675, probated 7 July 1676, that mentions his going to war and names his father Richard Wright, his brothers Adam, Isaac and Samuel and his sisters Esther and Mary Wright.

I descend through Adam Wright and his first wife Sarah Soule. I wrote about them here.

On 5 June 1644 and 4 June 1645 Richard was propounded as Freeman.

Richard Wright is on several committees and held several offices as follows: Jury 2 March 1646/7; jury 6 March 1648/9, 7 June 1649, 5 March 1649/50, 2 Oct 1650, 4 March 1650/1, 7 June 1651, 2 March 1651/2 4 October 1653, 6 December 1653, and 4 October 1655; Petty jury 1 June 1647, coroner's jury on the sudden death of John Bond, 23 July 1661; constable of Plymouth 6 June 1652.

On 7 June 1659 he was given liberty to look for land. He was granted land as an ancient freeman "on the northerly bounds of Taunton" on 3 June 1662. He was again given liberty to look for land on 8 June 1664. Land Richard Wright had received earlier from Francis Cooke was ratified by John Cooke on 5 July 1670. Following a request for land in the right of Peter Maycocke, sometimes a servant, the Court determined no right to his claim but allowed him to search for land 1 June 1675. Land was granted Richard Wright, 50 acres out of land that was Tatamamuck’s land, on 7 July 1680.

In another deed, dated 9 May 1669, Richard Wright, with wife Esther releasing dower, gave land in Plymouth to his son John. On 7 June 1676 Richard Wright received four pounds from the estate of his son Isacke Wright, deceased.

Richard was sued by his brother-in-law John Tomson on 1 March 1663 to receive half of the land at Manassakett allotted to Francis Cooke that was granted to Hester Cooke. Tomson argue his wife Mary Cooke should have received half of the land and was so granted by the court.

The heirs of Francis Cooke signed an agreement dated 8 June 1666: "The marke R: of Richard Wright in the behalfe of hester his wife."

Hester’s date of death is not known but she predeceased her husband. She likely died between 8 June 1666, when she signed an agreement of heirs of Francis Cooke, and before 7 December 1675, the date of her son John’s will.

Richard died in Plymouth on 9 June1691 "about two hours after being about 83 yeares old."

Richard wrote a will on 8 June 1691, the day before he died.  He mentioned only his son Adam, his daughter Esther, and his widowed daughter Mary Price.

His will and inventory are transcribed in the Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, pg 165-67.
Originals are found in the Plymouth County Probate Records, Volume 1, pages 101 - 103.
I Richard Wright of ye Town of Plimouth in ye County and Colony of New Plimouth in New England being at Present of Sound and disposing mind and memory under bodily weaknesses not knowing when the hour of my death shall Come do make this my last Will and Testament in maner and forme following hereby Revoaking all former Wills First I comitt my soul to God that made it Resting on ye onely merrits of Christ my Redeemer for Eternall Salvation and my body to ye earth to be buried in a decent maner. My worldly Estate that God hath lent me I thus dispose: my will is that all my Estate Real and Personall House lands money or any  moveables & Chattels in what kind soever be equally and faithfully divided betwixt my three Children Adam Esther and Mary Also my Will is that my daughter Mary have her living in my house During her Widowhoode and in as much as my son Adam hath heretofore had a full double portion in lands my will & desire is that my sd Son deal kindly in Carefull providing what in him lies for my daughter Mary price Also I Make my son and two daughters Executors of this my last Will & Testament Also I do hereby appoint & desire my loving friends John Nelson & Isaac Cushman to be Overseers of this my Will and I Intreate their care to se it faithfully prformed in a just distribution of my estate to my Children as is above Expressed In Attestation yt this is my last Will and Testament I Set to my hand & seal This Eigth day of june 1691 I desire also & Impower John Sturtevant to be on of ye overseers of this my will.
Signed Sealed & declared by    The mark of
Richard Wright to be his           Richard Wright
last will and Testament
In presence of
John Cotton
Nathll Southworth
ye mark M of Martha Cobb:
june 24th 1691 Mr John Cotton and Nathll Southworth two Of ye witnesses here named made oath in Plimouth before ye Magistrates of ye County of Plimouth that they were present and Saw ye above named Richard Wright Sign & Seal & heard him declare this above written to be his last will & Testament & yt to ye best of yr judgment he was of a disposing mind & memory when he so did
Attest Sam Sprague Clerk

June ye 19th day 1691 An Inventory of ye Estate of Richard Wright late deceased taken by us whose names are under written.

Item one Bed and Boulster        03 00 00
One Rugg and one Blanket       00 05 00
One Pillow       00 02 00
One Silkgrass Bed and Boulster            00 08 00
One Curtaine & two Cushions  00 01 06
One Trammill    00 03 00
One pair of Tongs         00 02 00
4 hooks            00 02 00
One Spade       00 02 00
One Ax
More: Old Iron 00 02 00
4 hinges            00 01 00
2 Iron Kittles    00 06 00
One Iron Skillet            00 02 06
One Iron Pot and Pott hookes  00 04 00
One ffrying Pan 00 00 06
One Warming Pan        00 08 00
One Brass Kettle          00 10 00
One Gun          00 18 00
One Sword      00 03 00
More Wooden Dishes  00 01 00
two Earthen Potts         00 00 04
One Barbours Bason    00 00 09
One Glass Bottle          00 00 04
One Book        00 01 06
One pair of sheers        00 00 06
One pair of Pillowbeers            00 03 00
3 sheetes          00 10 00
One Pewter      00 03 06
One Boul          00 02 00
One Pewter Bottle        00 01 06
One Pewter Pot            00 01 06
1 Pewter Bason and Sawcer     00 01 00
One chamber Pott        00 02 00
One Candlestick           00 00 04
One Pail           00 00 06
One chest         00 07 00
One chest         00 02 06
More old Cask 00 03 00
One Box          02 02 02
One Chaire       00 01 00
More Cloathing            02 04 04
One shirt          00 06 09
One shirt          00 04 06
One pair of Drawers     0 01 0
More in Small linnen     0 02 6
More in woollen Cloathing shoose & stockings & hat    0 14 0
One pewter platter        0 24 6
One Pewter Platter       0 02 6
One Pewter Platter       0 03 0
3 Porrengers     0 23 0
one Pewter Bason and Sawcer 0 24 0
one Bagg          0 26 0
one yearling in ye hand of Adam Wright            0 15 0
one ox & one Cow in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam         4 10 0
More in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam      0 24 6
one Blanket a Box & a Band    0 12 6
More in ye hand of Caleb Cooke          4 00 0
More in ye hand Mr Jno Cotton senr     1 01 11
More in Silver Money   5 18 24
More in ye hand of Joseph Sturtevant    0 02 6
More in ye hand of John Gray   0 27 11
One Table        0 01 0
More in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam      1 10 0
Item the land both of upland and meddow         21 00 0
Item Charge for ye ffunerall       1 0 0
More due to William Shirtliff     0 1 4
More due to John Sturtevant     0 2 0
More due to Adam Wright        0 3 0
Isaac Cushman
John Sturtevant
June 24th 1691 Adam Wright made Oath in Plimouth before ye Magistrates of ye County of Plimouth That the before written is a True Inventory of ye estate of his ffather Richard Wright late of Plimouth deceased So far as he knoweth & that if more shall come to his knowledge he will discover it
Attest     Samll Sprague Clerk

Note: There was a different Richard Wright, called Captain in records, who lived at Hingham and Rehoboth.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People, 1986
Ralph V. Wood, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Francis Cooke, 1996
Robert S. Wakefield, Richard Wright of Plymouth Mass., The American Genealogist, Vol 59, July 1983
George Ernest Bowman, Adam Wright’s Wives and Their Children, Mayflower Descendant, Volume 11, 1909
George Ernest Bowman, Richard and Hester Wright’s Children, Mayflower Descendant, Volume 24, 1922