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, January 31, 2016

Nicholas Norton of 17th c. Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard

Nicholas Norton was born 1610 probably in Somersetshire, England, the son of Nicholas and Joan Norton. He is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

I believe Nicholas emigrated to America in 1635, probably coming with the group accompanying Reverend John Hull. There was a William Norton, age 25, on the ship Hopewell that left England in September 1635, which makes me wonder if this was really Nicholas but probably a stretch.

He first settled at Weymouth, Norfolk Co., Mass, where he likely met his future wife Elizabeth, and where they stayed for 20 years or so. Most research I see gives her maiden name as unknown, but some say it was Isaac. Need to do more research on that. They were married by 1641 when their first child was born. They had eleven children: Isaac, Jacob, Elizabeth, Hannah, Joseph, Sarah, Priscilla, Ruth, Benjamin, Esther, Mary. I descend from daughter Priscilla who married John Butler as well as daughter Elizabeth who married James Pease.

Nicholas emigrated from Somersetshire and probably came from the vicinity of Batcombe or Broadway in that county. His business dealings with Standerwicke, a clothier, of the parish of Broadway, has proved to be the important clue in locating this prominent pioneer as a resident and probably native of the same parish. Some of his siblings’ baptisms are recorded at the Broadway Parish in the Dioscesan Registry at Wells, but records for the year he would have been baptized are missing. Edward Poole, a neighbor of his in Weymouth, Mass., was also from Broadway.

Nicholas “Nurton” of Weymouth purchased cattle from Richard Standerwicke of Broadway, Somersetshire, in 20 February 1639(?/40)  (Plymouth Colony Records). The Standerwickes were Lords of the Manor in Broadway, England for over 400 years. Another connection between the two families is shown when John Norton of White Lackington, a tanner, was a witness to the will of John Standerwick of Broadway in 1568.

Nicholas Norton served in the Pequot War, 1635-37, as shown by a petition (Superior Judicial Court, Mss No. 477).

He is named in the 1651 division of lands at Weymouth. He served as Constable there in 1657.

Nicholas Norton was in Edgartown, Dukes County, Martha’s Vineyard by 28 January 1661when a document signed by men from the “towne of Vinyard” included Nicholas Norton.

Nicholas Norton's signature

Nicholas was among the first shareholders of Martha’s Vineyard. On 22 August 1658 Goodman Norton was granted 40 acres of land located north of the Great Swamp and south of the present road to West Tisbury. On the same day it was ordered by the town that “Goodman Norton shall have Liberty to make use of any Pond about the Ox Pond for his Trade, except the Great Ponds.” The use of the ponds suggests he may have been a tanner.

He also owned land in the vicinity of Major’s Cove at Sanchacankackett where his descendants lived for several centuries, as well as meadowland at Aquampache.

In 1661 he was on a committee buy land from the Indians for the use of the town.

Nicholas was involved in multiple lawsuits. In 1659 he sued the Rev. Mr. Cotton, missionary to the Indians. In 1659 he was sued by Henry Goss for five shillings “for charges about the cure of Mr. Gousse’s child: to pay one half in Wampam current and halfe in come and five shillings to the constable for the Tryall about the abuse of Mr. Gousse’s child.” The exact nature of this suit at law is not clear. In the 1660s he was in litigation with various townsmen, and his fence was deemed the pattern and lawful standard to which others were required to conform in the maintenance of boundary fences in the town. In 1666 he was forbidden by the proprietors of the fish weir from taking any fish at Mattakeesett Creek, the right to which he claimed by purchase from the sachem Tewanticut, “contrary to our patent,” upon a penalty of £5 yearly so often as he disobeys the order.

Nicholas and Elizabeth died in 1690.

Nicholas’ will is dated 17 April 1690. It names his wife Elizabeth, son Isaac, son Benjamin, Moses Cleveland, son-in-law Thomas Wolling, son Joseph, daughter Pese, daughter Wil (Wolling or Williams), daughter Stanbridg, daughter Butler, daughter Huxford. He bequeathed them his land, farm animals and household goods. His wife Elizabeth was named executor.

Elizabeth died a few months after her husband, between 8 June, the date of her will, and 8 October, 1690, when it was proven in Court. She leaves five shillings each to her four daughters mentioned in her husband’s will, each grandchild was to receive one shilling, the sons all of the land, and all of the household/farm items to be divided among her children. Her son Joseph was named executor. She signed by her mark.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Charles Banks, History of Martha Vineyard Vol. II, III, 1911

Torrey’s New England Marriages

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Samuel Eaton (ca 1620-1684) and Martha Billington

Samuel Eaton was born about 1620, the son of Francis and Sarah Eaton. He came to Plymouth aboard the Mayflower in 1621. Governor Bradford wrote that Samuel was a “sucking child” on the ship, indicating he was a baby. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. I wrote about his parents here.

Samuel’s mother died during the first winter at Plymouth. Sadly he was orphaned at about age 13 when his father died in 1633.  A few years later at the age of 16 (in 1636), he was apprenticed to John Cooke for the period of 7 years.  John Cooke had come on the Mayflower in 1620, as a 13-year old boy.

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

Samuel married, first, Elizabeth, whose maiden name is not known, around 1646 (year she acknowledged a deed as his wife). They resided in Duxbury, not far from Plymouth.  Surprisingly little is known about this family. Samuel had two daughters with Elizabeth, whose names aren’t known.

On 10 March 1646 Samuel Eaton of “Duxborough” sold to Love Brewster the third part of land sometime belonging to Christian Billington, wife of Francis, formerly wife of Francis Eaton (Samuel’s father). The deed was acknowledged by Elizabeth Eaton.

In a 5 October 1652 court case, Samuel Eaton, age 32 years or thereabouts, deposed and Rachell Ramsden mentioned she heard Goodwife Eaton say Christopher Winter and Samuel Eaton were together on Monday last. (Goodwife Eaton is assumed to be Elizabeth, Samuel's wife, who she died after October 1652 but before January 1660/1).

Samuel married, second, in Plymouth on 10 January 1660/61 Martha Billington. Martha was born about 1638, the daughter of Francis and Christian (Penn) (Eaton) Billington. Christian was Samuel’s stepmother. Martha’s father was a Mayflower passenger, as where her grandparents John and Elinor Billington. I wrote about Martha's parents here.

He and Martha had four children: Sarah, Samuel, Bethiah, and Mercy.

I descend through Mercy who married Samuel Fuller, another Mayflower family.

In the 1660s, the family moved from Duxbury to Middleborough.

He died before 29 October 1684, when his probate estate inventory was taken. He was of Middleborough.

The settlement of Samuel’s estate mentions that the eldest child was to have the house and land that was granted to Eaton by the town of “Middleberry” after his mother's decease; the daughter was provided for by her Grandfather and was to have ten shillings at marriage or when she is of age; and the children of the first wife to have the sum of 20 shillings apiece and such of them as are dead the sum by paid among their children; and the two youngest children each to have their part at age or marriage whichever shall first happen; the widow to have the remainder for her relief.

Martha married, second, after a 7 December 1687 ante-nuptial contract, Robert Crossman of Taunton, born circa 1621 and died before 27 October 1692 when inventory of his estate was taken. He was probably the son of John Crossman. He had married first at Dedham, 25 May 1652, Sarah Kingsbury by whom he had 12 children.

On 4 October 1694 Martha Crossman, daughter of Francis Billington, quitclaimed to Thomas Sawyer of Marshfield land that her father gave to her then husband Samuel Eaton and herself and after their decease to their daughter Sarah now wife of Philip Bumpas.

Martha died after 9 June 1704, possibly in Plainfield, Connecticut. On 9 June 1704, Philip Bump transferred to his mother (in-law) Martha Crossman all his estate both personal and real in Plainfield, Connecticut.

Sources Not Mentioned Above:

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

Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume Five, Edward Winslow and John Billington, published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997

Van Antwerp, Lee Douglas and Wakefield, Robert, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol. 9, Family of Francis Eaton, GSMD, 1996