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, 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


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  3. Hello I was writing to let you know I came across an original document (land deed) ,for and signed by Francis Cary. We are planning to have the document listed for sale this coming weekend but before I did I was wondering if you would be interested because of your ties to him. You can visit our website at chamberlainantiques.com which will have our contact information in case you want to get a hold of us. All the best to you.

  4. This is very interesting, I have links to John Turner (Mayflower) and he features in my family history book called TURNER TREES by Keith Pott Turner.


I'm now moderating comments on this blog. My apologies for any ensuing delays, but the large number of "spam" comments have made this necessary. ~Chris