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.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ephraim Tinkham (1618-1684/5) and Mary Brown

Ephraim Tinkham was baptized Barnstaple, Devonshire, 23 Feb 1617/18, son of John Tincombe. His mother’s name is not known.  He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. His last name is spelled in quite a variety of ways.

Ephraim migrated to Plymouth, Mass., circa 1634. In about 1647 Ephraim married Mary Brown (sometimes Browne), likely in Plymouth. Mary was born in Plymouth, the daughter of Mayflower passenger Peter Brown and his wife Martha. She is listed in the 1627 cattle division with her parents and others.

Mary’s childhood was not without sadness. She was very young when her mother died, the Court placed her with John Doane. In 1633 when her father’s estate was being settled, it was directed that his widow Mary was to give 15 pounds to John Doane of Plymouth for the use of Peter’s daughter Mary, which he was to give to Mary at the end of her service with him.

Ephraim was an indentured servant, then later a planter, then a yeoman. One of the things I love about researching my Plymouth ancestors is seeing how taking such a huge risk of coming to the New World could reap such rewards. Ephraim went from an indentured servant to a man who owned considerable land, served his community in a variety of ways including Selectman, raised a large family with his wife Mary, and moved amongst respected members of society.

Ephraim and Mary had eight children born in Plymouth and Middleborough:

John who died young

I descend through Helkiah who was born in Plymouth on 8 February1655.

Ephraim was in the Plymouth section of those who had taken the oath of fidelity in 1657. In the Plymouth section of 29 May 1670 list of freemen as Sergeant Ephraim Tinkham. I have read he served in King Phillip’s War in 1675 but I haven’t found a source for that yet. Because of the dangers of the war, the Tinkhams and other Middleborough families abandoned their homes and returned to Plymouth. After the War, Ephraim remained in Plymouth but three of his sons lived on his Middleborough lands. 

Ephraim signed his deeds and will by his mark. Perhaps he could read though as his inventory included "one Bible & other small books" valued at 17 s. He also conducted inventories for other people, including that of Mayflower passenger Francis Cook in 1663, so I would imagine that means he could write and add numbers.

On 2 August 1642 Ephraim Tinckhame was to have 25 acres of land for his indenture.

He served on the petit jury multiple times and on the coroner's jury once. He was sometimes named by the Court as someone who would lay out land to resolve disputes.

Ephraim served as a Plymouth selectman, surveyor of highways, and was on the Plymouth list of men able to bear arms in 1643. He was a Sergeant in the militia by 1666. His inventory included 6 guns and one rapier (sword).
Sword in Pilgrim Hall Museum Collection attributed to John Thompson

On 27 Oct 1647 Ephraim “Tinkeham” and Mary his wife sold to Henry Sampson of Duxbury all that third part of land of Peter Browne deceased, dwelling house and buildings in and upon the same...proved that Ephraim doth reserve to his own use all the fruit trees and liberty to remove them in convenient time, as also the use of all the housing for this winter. (PCR 12:146). This shows that his wife Mary was the daughter of Peter Brown.

He is listed as one of those that have interest and proprieties in the town's land at Punckateesett over against Rhode Island. (March 1651, Plymouth Town Records, 1:36).

On 1 June 1675 Sargeant Ephraim Tinkham was fined 40 shillings for coming into court drunk. So he wasn’t perfect after all!

Ephraim died between 17 January 1683/4 (date of will) and 20 May 1685 (date of inventory) in Plymouth.

Mary died after June 1685 when she is mentioned in Ephraim’s probate proceedings.

Ephraim’s will is reproduced in the Mayflower Descendant, volume 4 (1902). It mentions his dear and loving wife Mary Tincom, to whom he left his dwelling house in Plymouth with orchard, as well as land and meadows in Plymouth, Middleborough and Dartmouth. Also left land to his eldest son "Epharim," son Ebenezer, Peter, son Elkiah, son John and son Isaack. Daughter Mary Tomson to get 50 acres of upland in Plymouth near Momponsett. After wife's death children to split goods and chattels evenly, with Ephraim getting double portion. He already gave his six guns to his six sons. Mary to be executrix. Dated 17 January 1683. Signed with his mark: ET in presence of William Hoskins Sr and Jonathan Shaw Sr.

Inventory taken 20 May 1685, included one Bible and other small books, one great wheel, one little wheel, pewter platters, pots, porringers, salt cellar, spoons, earthenware, stoneware, a churn, washing tub, linens, lumber, iron tools, sickels, sythes, axes, hoes, a spade, (pitch)forks, cart, plow, tackling, 3 yoke of oxen, 3 steers, 8 calves, one bull, 3 yearlings, 23 sheep, 5 swine, 6 guns, one rapier. Housing and lands worth over 407 pounds, total 500 pounds 17 shillings 9 pence. Debts due from the estate over 5 pounds. By Nathaniel Southworth and Thomas Faunce.

Sources Not Mentioned Above:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

Robert S. Wakefield, Peter Brown, Volume 7, Mayflower Families Series

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Roger Conant 1592-1679, Founder of Salem, Mass., and his Wife Sarah Horton

Roger Conant was born abt. Apr 1592 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England (he was baptized there on 9 April at All Saints Parish), youngest of the eight children of Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Roger married Sarah Horton on 11 November 1618 at St. Ann Blackfriars, London. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas and Catherine (Satchfield) Horton, born ca 1598 (NEHGR 147:234-39).

Children, first three born London:

Sarah who died young

Some researchers also give them a daughter Joanna, but not sure what the source is for that. I descend from Lot who married Elizabeth Walton.

Roger Conant was the founder of Salem, Massachusetts, and there is a statue of him there. The statue stands atop a huge boulder brought from the woods near the floating bridge at Lynn. Artist Henry H. Kitson designed the bronze statue which was dedicated 17 June 1913. Because of the placement of his statue near the Witch Museum, people often assume he was involved in the Witch Trials, but he died well before they took place.

Roger Conant Statue

He came first to Plymouth from London in 1624. He removed to Nantasket in 1624, Cape Ann in 1625 (in an area that is now Gloucester) and Salem in 1626. His house in Salem was built on what is now Essex Street.

Roger was a salter by trade. He signed the composition bond of his brother John on 20 January 1619/20 as "Roger Conant, salter."

"Roger Connant" is in the list of Salem Church members compiled in late 1636 (Salem Church Records 5). He was admitted a freeman on 18 May 1631.  He could read and write as his hand is seen on many documents at Essex court in the early Salem Town records.

Roger believed in civic duty. He served as Deputy to General Court for Salem 9 May 1632. Committee to lay out land for John Humphrey, 7 Nov 1632. Committee to determine bounds between Salem and Saugus, 20 Nov 1637. Appointed Essex magistrate 17 May 1637. Essex Magistrate 1637, 1638, 1639. Grand jury 1644, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 55. Essex jury 1636, 1653 (foreman). Petit jury 1642 (foreman), 1643 (foreman), 44, 45, 46, 53, 54, 57. Essex surveyor of canoes June 1636.

He served as Salem selectman, 1637-41, 1650-54/55, 1657. Salem town clerk 11 Sept 1637. Committee to draw the line between Ipswich and Salem 27 March 1643. Surveyor of lots, 1636, 1637, 54, 56, 58. Auditor 1638, 1648. Director of highway repairs Feb 1643/44. Surveyor of highways June 1644. Rater Sept 1645. Arbitrator Feb 1655/6, 1656/7, 1658.

Some people question whether Roger Conant resided at Plymouth when he first arrived and whether he was the salter described negatively by Bradford who arrived in 1624 with Rev. John Lyford. Given the great advantages available to him, including his many prominent connections in Puritan circles and his appointment in 1625 to direct the activities of the Dorchester Adventurers at Cape Ann, some question why did he not take a larger part in the affairs of the Mass Bay after the early 1630s.

Robert Cushman wrote to Bradford 24 January 1623/4 "the salt-man (we have sent) is a skillful & industrious man, put some to him that may quickly apprehend the mystery of it..." (Bradford 373), but Bradford refers to this person in less glowing terms:

"...he whom they sent to make salt was an ignorant, foolish, selfwilled fellow...he caused them to send carpenters to rear a great frame for a large house, to receive the salt & such other uses. But in the end all proved vain. Then he laid fault of the ground, in which he was decieved...The next year he was sent to Cape Anne and the pans were set up there where the fishing was; but before summer was out, he burnt the house, and the first was so vehement as it spoiled the pans...(Bradford 146/7).

I personally believe he is the same Roger Conant who was at Plymouth. As a religious Puritan he was not in sympathy with the Pilgrim's religious position. He also clearly had leadership qualities, so probably spoke his mind to Bradford and other leaders.  He went to Nantasket where he became a leader. About a year later he received a letter from Mr. Humphrey offering him the position of the governor of the settlement at Cape Ann. He found insubordination among the men and its suppression was a difficult task. No minister had been sent there until he took charge. He engaged Rev. John Lyford, living at Nantasket, but he turned out to be unsatisfactory.

Affairs at Cape Ann did not improve much, and in 1626 the plan was abandoned by the London merchants, largely due to losses in fishing and in the value of their vessels. In two and a half years, 1,000 pounds had been spent and not 100 received in profits. The company paid the men their wages and offered them a passage home.
Site of where Roger Conant lived in Gloucester

Poor soil was a problem and they sought more fertile land along the shore. About 16 miles southwest they found a secluded place on a peninsula by a wide river with good harbors in the territory called by the Indians "Naumkeag." As they passed through what is now the harbor of Beverly, a view of Danvers River opened before them and to the left the North River broadened out. Mr. Conant and his companions removed here in the autumn of 1626.

Rev. Lyford tried to persuade them to go with him to Virginia, but Mr. Conant refused, and to his surprise his companions stayed by his side. Rev. John White from England promised to provide a patent and send them men and provisions, so Conant and his associates cleared the forest and built their homes.

The Dorchester Company went into bankruptcy in 1627 and became the Mass Bay Colony in 1629 under a charter from England. Conant considered himself "...an instrument, though a weak one, of foundering and furthering this colony..."

"The humble petition of Roger Conant of Bass River alias Beverly, who has been a planter in New England forty-eight years and upward, being one of the first, if not the first, that resolved and made good my settlement under God, in matter of plantation with my family, in this colony of the Massachusetts Bay, and have been instrumental, both for the founding and carrying on of the same, and when in the infancy thereof, it was in great hazard of being deserted, I was of means, through grace assisting me, to stop the flight of those few that then where here with me, and that by my utter denial to go away with them, who would have gone either for England or mostly for Virginia, but hereupon stayed to the hazard of our lives. Now my humble suit and request is unto this honorable court only that the name of our town or plantation may be altered or changed from Beverly and be called Budleigh. I have two reasons that have moved me to this request. The first is the great dislike and discontent of many of our people for this name of Beverly because (we being but a small place) it hath caused on us a constant nickname of "beggarly," being in the mouths of many, and no order was given or consent by the people here to their agent for any name until they were sure of being a town granted in the first place. Secondly, I being the first that had house in Salem (and never had any hand in naming either that or any other town) and myself with those that were then with me, being all from the western part of England, desire this western name of Budleigh, a market town of Devonshire and near unto the sea as we are here, in this place and where myself was born. Now in regard of our firstness and antiquity in this so famous a colony, we should humbly request this little privilege with your favors and consent, to give this name aforesaid unto our town. I never yet made suit or request unto the General Court for the least matter, tho' I think I might as well have done, as many others have, who have obtained much without hazard of life or prefering the public good before their own interest, which I praised God I have done ..." (Conant Gen 116-17, citing MA Arch 112:217)

Not surprisingly, Roger Conant was a large landholder. He was one of five prominent men to receive a 200 acre farm at the head of Bass River 25 Jan 1635/6. He received one acre in the Salem grant of 1637 with a household of nine persons. This grant is in his handwriting.

On 4 Feb 1638/9, Henry Bayley requested a piece of land "next Mr. Conants house at Catt Cove." On 7 May 1639 "Mr Conant" received a grant of five acres of meadow "in some convenient place."

At the General Court on 28 May 1679 "Mr. Roger Conant of Beverly, alias Bass River," received one parcel of land in the wilderness on the eastern side of Merrimack River consisting of 200 acres as laid out by Jonathan Danforth.

Sarah Conant is included in the list of Salem Church members compiled in late 1636. She was alive in November 1660 to depose about the marriage of James Bede and the widow "Ellot." She is not named in her husband's will so probably died before 1 March 1677/78.
Site of son Exercise's house in Beverly, on land once owned by Roger Conant

Roger Conant died 19 November 1679 in Beverly, Essex Co., Massachusetts.

In his will, dated 1 March 1667(/78) and proved 25 Nov 1679, "Roger Conant aged about eighty-five years...thought weak & feeble in body" bequeathed to "my son Exercise:" 140 acres near Dunstable (a part of 200 acres granted by the General Court) and 10 acres adjoining his present homelot, two acres of marsh at the south end of Wenham's great pond "Or if my daughter Elizabeth Conant will exchange to have so much at the great marsh near Wenham, swamp at the head of the rails which is yet undivided, my portion of land lying by Henry Haggat's on Wenham side. To "my grandchild John Conant, son of Roger" 10 acres adjoining his 20 acres by the great pond, he to pay 20 pounds toward the discharge of my legacies. To "my grandchild Joshua Conant" 17 acres by the south side of the great marsh "and the rest to return to my executor." To "my daughter Sara" to her and her chidren, two acres between the head of the rails and Isaac Hull. To "a daughter of Mrs. Pitts deceased...now living in Calleton a town in Devon in old England" into the hands of Capt. Roger Clap of the Castle near Dorchester as attorney for Mrs. Pitts "for certain goods sold for the said Mrs. Pitts in London and was there to be paid many years since but it is alleged was never paid." To "my son Lott his ten children" 20 pounds to be equally divided. To "my daughter Sarah's children" to John 5 pounds, to the four daughters' 5 pounds between them. To "my daughter Mary Dodge" to herself 5 pounds and 5 pounds to her five children equally divided. To "Exercise his children" four pounds between them. To "Adoniron Veren" 3 pounds. "To his sister Hannah" 20 shillings and "her two children each 10s." To "my cousin Mary Veren wife to Hillier Veren" 3 pounds. To the daughters of cousin Jane Mason deceased 3 pounds "including Love Steevens her child a share." To "my son Exercise" residue of moveable goods and "my gray horse and cattle." To "Rebacka Connant my grandchild" my sheep. To "Mary Leach" one sheep, "and whereas there remains in my hands a certain portion of cattle belonging unto one Mr. Dudeny in England and by him assigned unto his nephew Richard Conant" valued at 25 pounds "and now left in the hands of my son Exercise Conant that there be a rendering up of such cattle or their valuation...unto the said Richard Conant upon seasonable demand. Son Exercise named executor. Son William Dodge and grandchild John Conant Senior to be oversees (Essex Probate Records 3:335-37).

The inventory of the estate of "Roger Conant deceased" taken 24 November 1679 totaled 258 pds 10 shillings of which 198 pounds was real estate which included 200 acres of land lying at Dunstable not improved 60 pounds; more land sold to Elizabeth Conant not paid for 40 pounds; more land ten acres and more ten acres totaling 20 acres, 20 pounds; more land 23 acres 59 pounds; more two acres of meadow 10 pounds; swampy land 20s; two acres of land at 5 pounds, 6 pounds; more land one pound.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's description of Main Street, Salem, he speaks of Conant as follows: "Roger Conant, the first settler of Naumkeag, has built his dwelling on the border of the forest path, and at this moment he comes Eastward through the vista of woods, with his gun over his shoulder, bringing home the choice portions of a deer. Roger Conant is of that class of men who do not merely find but make their place in the system of human affairs. A man of thoughtful strength, he has planted the germ of a city."

Sources Not Listed Above:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

Frederick Odell Conant, A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, 1887

Samuel Eliot Morison, Builders of the Bay Colony, The Essex Genealogist, Vol 15, 1995

Robert Charles Anderson, The Conant Connection, Part One, The Register, vol 47, 1993

Sunday, September 20, 2015

John Cole (ca 1662-1724) and Susanna Gray (1668-1727) of Plymouth and Plympton, Mass.

John Cole was born about 1662, based on his age at death.  I have not found his parents with any certainty.  I have seen them as Hugh Cole and Abigail Davenport or Mary Foxwell or James Cole and Mary Tilson. Hugh Cole of Swansea had a son John born 16 May 1660. If anyone has any information on his parents, I’d greatly appreciate hearing from you!

At any rate, John is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

I haven’t found the record of Susanna (also spelled Susannah) and John Cole’s marriage but a court record confirms they married. On 1 April 1688 Susannah Cole ("who was Grey") was called before the church for fornication with John Cole before her marriage to him. At the June 1688 court session, John Cole and wife Susanna of Plymouth were found guilty of pre-marital fornication and fined five pounds. Susanna was a daughter of Edward Gray and his second wife Dorothy (Lettice). Her 15 October 1668 birth is recorded in Plymouth.I wrote about Edward Gray here.

Susanna was a minor at time of her father Edward’s death, who died intestate. She received land during a "Cast of Draw.” Edward Gray was one of the richest men in Plymouth, so it surprise me he didn’t have a will.


The births of three of John Cole Sr. and Susanna his wife’s children are recorded in Plympton VR:
Joseph Cole was born 14 February 1705/6
Benjamin Cole was born 15 February 1707/8
Elizabeth Cole was born 4 June 1710

I would guess the above were their younger children born in Plympton. Perhaps their older children were born in Plymouth, unrecorded. They had a son Samuel who died 22 March 1723/4 in the 23rd year of his age (Plympton VR), a son John who was deeded land from his father and a daughter Mary who is mentioned in her father’s probate record. Since they married about 1668, it is likely they had even more children.

I descend from Mary who married Isaac Wright. The probate of the estate of John Cole, which includes a quitclaim, dated 15 March 1727, in which "we Isaac Wright of Plimpton ...& Mary Wright his wife which said Mary was daughter to Mr. John Cole & his wife Mrs. Susannah Cole both late of Plimpton aforesd deceased..." I haven’t seen the probate file myself, which I hope will give more information on names of children.

Torrey gives John Cole a wife Patience Barber, but I believe that is his son John.

On 7 July 1688 James Cole deeded land in Plymouth to his son John Cole (Plymouth Co. Land Records 15:211-12). On 26 March 1689, John Cole of Plymouth, fisherman, sold this land to William Shirtliff; it was acknowledged by John Cole and wife Susanna on the same day (PLR 1:183).

Mr John Cole, died March 14, 1723/4. in the 63d year of his age (Plympton VR).
John's stone at Lakenham Cemetery Source: Findagrave.com
Susanna’s death was recorded in Plympton Vital Records: Susanah Cole wife to John Cole Senr deceased Augst 26th 1727 (in her 59th .yr.).

Susanna's stone at Lakenham Source: Findagrave.com

Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Mass., by Charles M. Thatcher:
North Carver Cemetery (now called Lakenham)
John Cole died Mar. 14th, 1724, in his 63rd year.
Susanna, wife of John, Aug. 31, 1727, in her 59th year.

Sources Not Listed Above:
Ralph V. Wood, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Francis Cooke, 1996
Robert S. Wakefield and Alice H. Dreger. The Wives and Children of James2 Cole (circa 1625–1709) of Plymouth, Massachusetts, The American Genealogist, vol. 67 (1982): 243–45.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

John Snow ca 1638-1692 and Mary Smalley 1647-1703

John Snow was born about 1638, probably in Plymouth, Massachusetts, son of Nicholas and Constance (Hopkins) Snow.  Constance came to America on the Mayflower with her father Stephen Hopkins and other family members. I wrote about Constance and Nicholas here. . John is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. Funny, I now pronounce John Snow with a really bad accent after watching Game of Thrones!

On 19 September 1677 John married Mary Smalley (sometimes seen as Small) in Eastham, Barnstable Co., Mass. She was the daughter of John Smalley and Ann Walden. She and her brother Isaac were twins. Mary and John had nine children, all births recorded Eastham: Hannah, Mary, Abigail, Rebecca, John, Isaac, Lydia, Elisha, and Phebe.  

I descend from Rebecca who married Benjamin Small.

John took the Freeman’s oath at Eastham on 5 June 1684 and lived there for the most of his life, except for a brief time at Piscataway, New Jersey where his in-law’s were residing.

John Snow died before 4 April 1692 when an inventory of his estate was taken (Barnstable Probate vol 1, pg 53).  His estate included land at Pamet (what the area that is now Truro was then called) and a very long list of items, including carpentry tools, a large amount of farm animals and equipment, items for spinning wool, guns, and a whale bone. His personal estate totaled over 148 pounds; real estate at Pamet 50 pounds.

The inventory was taken by John Freeman and William Walker.

Mary Snow relict of said deceased made oath to truth of the inventory in court 20 April 1692. 

One third of his estate was to go to relict Mary Snow to use during her natural life. She was to pay her daughters four pounds each as they came of age or were married.  The sons of John Snow were to have the lands and housing according to law.

Some sources, including Eugene Stratton’s Plymouth Colony, It's History and People have Mary Smalley Snow marrying second, Ephraim Doane. An article in NEHGR, July 1925, The Knowles Family of Eastham, Mass., states that Mary Smalley Snow Doane died in 1703, no source given.

Resources Not Listed Above:
John Austin, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Stephen Hopkins, 1992
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995
Eastham/Orleans Vital Records

Sunday, June 28, 2015

William Nye (1733-1806) and Abigail Pope (1747-1829) of Sandwich, Mass.

William Nye was born in Sandwich, Massachusetts on 1 September 1733, the son of Nathan and Dorothy (Bryant) Nye.  William was baptized with his sister Deborah on 22 October 1738, at the First Parish Church, Sandwich. He is my sixth great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

On 6 February 1766 William Nye and Abigail Pope were married at Sandwich by the Rev. Mr. Williams. Abigail was born in Sandwich on 28 July 1747, the daughter of John and Mercy (Swift) Pope. Abigail was baptized on 23 August 1747.

I have found three children for William and Abigail:
William born June 1765
Elisha born before 22 November 1772 when he was baptized with his brother William
Mary born before 26 January 1777 when she was baptized

I descend from son William who married Ruth Snow.

"Abigail Nye, William's wife" was listed on the Sandwich Church catalog of living members on 18 April 1787.

Abigail Nye is in the 1820 census for Barnstable, household containing two people: 1 free white woman over 45 and one free white woman under 16.

If I have the correct William Nye (there were so many!), William died at Sandwich on 6 July 1806 at age 72 (although church record state he was 74 but a discrepancy like this isn’t uncommon).  Abigail Nye, widow, died on 6 January 1829 at age 81. I have not found their burial locations. I would be surprised if they were buried anywhere other than Sandwich. Perhaps they did not have gravestones or they have not survived.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Thomas Pierce(b. ca 1684) and Naomi Booth (b. 1691) of Middleboro, Massachusetts

Thomas was born about 1684, probably in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, the son of the son of Isaac and Alice (Chartley) Pierce and grandson of Abraham Pierce, the first of the line in Plymouth Colony. His family later left coastal Duxbury for the inland town of Middleborough. Although his birth record is not found, Thomas is mentioned in his father Isaac’s 22 January 1722 will, receiving land Isaac received for his service in the Narragansett War. His last name was often spelled Peirce or Perse but I use to Pierce since I’m an “i before e” kind of girl! Thomas is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis' side of the family. I also descend from the Pierce family (through Abraham's daughter Mary as well as his daughter Alice) on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins' side of the family. It is often unsettling in how many ways my grandparents were unknowingly blood relatives!

On 16 April 1714, Thomas Pierce married Naomi Booth in Middleborough (Middleborough VR). They were married in a joint wedding with Naomi’s sister Rachel.

Naomi was born 31 July 1691 at Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, the daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Sutton) Booth. Her name is sometimes spelled Naoma and Naomy.

Their children: (Shadrach, Jonathan, Richard and Hilkiah’s births recorded Middleborough VR):
1. Thomas who married Rebecca Jones
2. Shadrach born 8 July 1717, married Abigail Hoskins
3. Naomi 1 October 1719, married Josiah Jones  
4. Jonathan born 23 March 1721/22
5. Richard born 15 April 1725 who married Mary Simmons and Lois DeMaranville
6. Hilkiah born 19 Oct 1727 who married Hannah Briggs

I’m uncertain of what proof exists that Thomas and Naomi are their children, although they are included in the Pierce genealogy and the names certainly fit. I do need to do more research on the family. I descend from their son Richard and his first wife Mary Simmons.

Thomas was an Anabaptist as early as 1737 in Middleborough. Anabaptists are Christians who believe in delaying baptism until the candidate confesses his or her faith.

William Richard Cutter’s work includes a statement from a family historian on Naomi: “Like the creaking wheel of the fable, Naomi was always complaining; sick, sick, always sick, too feeble to attend to a house-keeper's legitimate cares; too feeble to cook a meal and indeed too feeble to get out of bed till it was cooked and fully prepared for eating. But, though destitute of a proper sense of shame, she lacked nothing in that of smell. And as the savory odor of tempting viands reached her olfactories, a surprising change quickly came over the spirit of her sluggish dreams, when crawling from her bed, she came to the table to astonish all beholders with her surfeit and gluttony. The mulish Isaac Pierce, Jr., was probably as innocent of instituting means which conspired, by and through the assistance of his model wife, to make his life a success, as was his more intelligent brother Thomas incapable of resisting the downward and destructive tendency in his, encumbered and ever discouraged as he was by this burden like a mill-stone about the neck." My goodness! Not sure how information like that would have come down through the generations, but it’s certainly entertaining.

Thomas and Naomi signed a quitclaim deed in April 1746. I have not found their death dates or burial locations so only know they died after that date.  

If anyone has some resources on the family I have missed, I’d very  much appreciate hearing from you.

Sources Not Mentioned Above:
Ebenezer W. Peirce, The Peirce Family, printed in NEHGR in Jan., April, July 1867 and October 1868.

William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Mass., Volume 2, 1910

Malcolm A. Young, The American Genealogist, July 1999, The Two Wives of Benjamin 2 Booth of Early Scituate and Middleborough, Massachusetts

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Benjamin Fuller 1695/96 to 1755 and Mary Sampson/Samson 1700 to 1755

Benjamin Fuller was born Plymouth 7 March 1695/96 at Plymouth, Mass., the son of Samuel and Mercy (Eaton) Fuller.  Benjamin was the descendant of Mayflower passengers Samuel Fuller, Francis Eaton and John Billington.  He is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.  Please note that I have not had the above mentioned Mayflower lines approved by the Society but believe they are pretty solid.  This is a newer ancestral line for me. Most of my information comes from the Fuller and Eaton “Silver books.” If anyone has other resource suggestions, please let me know!

Benjamin married Mary Sampson (sometimes spelled Samson), the daughter of Samuel and Hazadiah (Eddy) Sampson before 1720 when their first child was born. 

Benjamin and Mary had three children born Plympton, Massachusetts:
Jeptha born 26 July 1720, died young
Hasadiah born 3 March 1721/22, married James Sturtevant
Samuel born 17 May 1724

I descend through their son Samuel who married Ann Tinkham.

A Benjamin Fuller served on Plymouth juries multiple times, including in September 1727 and May 1748.

There is no probate record for Benjamin in Plymouth County, and I have not found death dates for Benjamin and Mary but they died after 4 July 1755 when Samuel Fuller deed all his homestead and land at Plympton to Samuel Fuller, laborer, of Plympton. I assume that this is his son Samuel. If anyone has a transcription of this deed, I would really appreciate a copy.

Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 10, Family of Samuel Fuller, GSMD, 1996
Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol. 9, Family of Francis Eaton, GSMD, 1996

Monday, February 16, 2015

William Browning and Rebecca Wilbore of Portsmouth, Rhode Island

William Browning was born after 1657 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the son of Nathaniel Browning and Sarah Freeborn (or Freeborne).  I have seen his birth year as 1651, but this doesn’t work with his not being age 21 in 1678 (see below).  In 1687 William married Rebecca Wilbore of Portsmouth. Rebecca was the daughter of Samuel Wilbore (spelled in a variety of ways) and Hannah Porter.  I wrote about that couple here. William Browning is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Both William and Rebecca’s families were non-conformists in England, probably Puritans, which precipitated their migration to Massachusetts.  According to other researchers, William’s father Nathaniel purchased land from the Indians in Warwick, Rhode Island, for three pounds of wampum and later settled Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island.  

I have found five children born to William and Rebecca:

Hannah born 16 July 1691 married William Knowles
Sarah born April 1694

I descend from their daughter Sarah who married Eleazer Kelley of Yarmouth (now Dennis), Massachusetts, both through their son Patrick who married Bethiah Baker and their son Eleazer who married Hannah Baker.

Rebecca died 18 March 1727/78, although again I am without a source.

Henry A. Baker wrote that William married second a woman named Sarah but no source provided.  Perhaps she is mentioned in his will. 

William was admitted a Freeman at N. Kingstown, Rhode Island, in 1684.

William died in 1730 as did his second wife Sarah.  I don’t have a death date for his first wife Rebecca.  He did leave a will, dated 12 January 1730, which I have not seen for myself yet.  His inventory included a female slave. If anyone has a transcription of his will and is willing to share, please contact me!  

I have a lot more research to do on this family but it has been interesting thus far.  

Sources Not Listed Above:
Henry Augustus Baker, History of Montville, Connecticut , 1896
Various issues of Rhode Island Roots

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Thomas Freeman (1653-1716) and Rebecca Sparrow (1655-1740) of Eastham and Brewster, Mass.

Thomas Freeman was born in September 1653 at Eastham, Barnstable Co., Mass. He was the son of Major John and Mercy (Prence) Freeman.  I wrote about his parents here. On 31 December 1673, Thomas married Rebecca Sparrow at Eastham.  Rebecca (often spelled Rebecka) was born 30 October 1655, the daughter of Jonathan and Rebecca (Bangs) Sparrow. I wrote about her parents here. Their marriage united two prominent families.  Later Thomas’ brother William married Rebecca’s sister Lydia Sparrow.  Thomas is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. 

Thomas and Rebecca moved to an area of Harwich that became Brewster. They had ten children (first nine recorded Eastham and Harwich Vital Records; Rebecca recorded just Harwich VR):

Mercy born 30 October 1674, married Paul Sears
Thomas born 11 October 1676, married Bathsheba Mayo and Mary Smith
Jonathan born 12 November 1678, married Mercy Bradford
Edmund born 11 October 1680, m. Phebe Watson
Joseph born 11 February 1681/82, m. Lydia Thacher and Mary Watson
Joshua born 7 March 1684/85, died before1716
Hannah born 27 September 1687, died in 1707
Prence born 3 January 1689/90, m. Mary Doane
Hatsuld (also Hatsell) born 27 March 1691, m. Abigail Hallett
Rebecca born 26 April 1694, m. Joseph Vickery and John Wing

Thomas must have been thrilled to have so many sons. I often think of what life must have been like for 17th century women raising such large families, especially with them born roughly two years apart.  It is also amazing that eight of their ten children survived childhood to marry and have children of their own.  Rebecca was 19 when her first child was born. At just shy of  25 years old, she had four children under the age of six.  She was 39 when her 10th and last child, Rebecca, was born in 1694.  She would have then had nine to ten children ranging in age from newborn to 19 years of age. I descend through their son Thomas and his wife Mary Smith, whom I wrote about here.

Thomas was one of the eight individuals who first gathered as the First Church Harwich and was named a church Deacon on 28 November 1700. He also served as Town Clerk, Treasurer and Selectman.  

Deeds survive and were published in the Mayflower Descendant for land transactions between Thomas Freeman Sr. and two Native Americans, for land he purchased at Harwich.  First is from John Sipson, 14 acres at a place called Keequanset, dated 1 June 1711 or 1712. The second is from John Quason, whose late Jonathan father was an Indian Sachem financially indebted to Thomas’ father Major John Freeman, 6 acres at South Sea near Bacon’s Tarkils and Short Cove, dated 13 August 1711.

Rebecca lived to an astonishing age of 84 years, dying on 7 February 1739/40 in Harwich (now Brewster), Mass.  Thomas had died some years earlier, on 9 February 1715/16.  They are buried together at the Old Burial Ground behind the First Parish Church in Brewster.  

Thomas' stone is inscribed: Here Lyes ye Body of Deacon Thomas Freeman of Harwich decd Febry ye 9 1716 in ye 63 year of his age.” The stone is slate in very good condition for its age.  It has a winged skull and hourglass engravings. 

Their sons Thomas and Jonathan and daughter Hannah are buried nearby.  There is also a small stone that reads “Rachel” with the rest unreadable.  

Thomas’ will was dated 4 February 1715/16. He was of Harwich and bequests were made to: son Thomas who received land where he already dwelled on the south side of Harwich and land near Short Cove towards Chatham, land at Tom’s Island and Strong Island, meadowland and land in Eastham called Smith’s Purchase; son Joseph received land on the Common Road that leads from Harwich to Chatham, upland and meadow near his uncle John Freeman’s land; son Prince received land where his house now stands and land at the Great Lots at James Cole’s Field, land eastward of Samuel Hopkins’ house and a few more lots; son Hatsell upland and meadow Hatsell already fenced off, land adjoining father's homestead lot allowing mother Rebecca to cut wood there, land at Sheep Pond; son Edmond choice of one entire lot that hasn’t been disposed of to his brothers.  After decease of their mother, his four sons to equally divide land at Sachamuses Neck and other land in Harwich. Daughters Mercy and Rebecka each to receive 30 pounds at his dear wife’s decease or before if it can be spared. Thomas signed his will with his mark.

His probate was proven on 20 April 1716 and administration was given to his widow Rebecca Freeman. It mentions wife Rebecca, sons Thomas, Edmond, Joseph, Prince/Hatsuld and daughter Mercy.  Eldest son Thomas was named co-executor but he died the next year.  Inventory was taken by John Freeman and John Sparrow and sworn to by widow Rebecca Freeman 20 April 1716. It includes cattle, horses, swine, sheep, farm tackling, grain, meat, beds/bedding, linen, tables and chairs, pots/kettles/other ironware, pewter and other small things, silver money and paper bills of credit worth 12 pounds, some plate of unknown value, some odd trifling things.

Rebecca Freeman’s will was dated 13 June 1729 and proved 18 March 1740. Named sons Edmund and Hatsuld, son-in-law Paul Sears, daughters Mercy Sears and Rebecca Wing.  Her inventory was dated 29 September 1741 and shows that son-in-law Paul Sears had died and Edmund Freeman was the surviving executor.  

Resources Not Listed Above:
Frederick Freeman, Freeman Genealogy in three parts, viz: I. Memorial of Edmund Freeman of Sandwich and his desc., II Memorial of Samuel Freeman of Watertown and his Desc., III Notes, Historical and Genealogical of Families of the Name of Freeman, distinct from Parts I and II, or whose connection is not clearly ascertained,” 1875.

Simeon Deyo, Editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890
Frederick Freeman, Freeman Genealogy

Charles Mayo, Mortuary Record from the Gravestones in the Old Burial Ground in Brewster, Mass., 1898