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 27, 2021

1707 Plympton Home of Luke and Martha (Conant) Perkins

I was so thrilled to see the 1707 Plympton, Massachusetts home of my 9th great-grandparents Luke and Ruth (Conant) Perkins as the subject of the HGTV show “Houses with History.” I did not even know their house was still standing! The television show follows the work of preservationists Mike Lemieux, Rich Soares and Jen MacDonald. Lemieux and MacDonald own Full Circle Homes and a shop in Plympton called Mayflower Mercantile. They really did a remarkable job restoring this beautiful old Cape Cod style center chimney home. Thank goodness for people like this who save historic homes from the wrecking ball.


Luke and Martha Perkins' home, Crescent Street, Plympton 

I took a drive by the property and it’s just gorgeous. It’s located on Crescent Street in Plympton, a winding country road. It’s amazing that the area remains rural and other than a newer (but still antique) home next door, the paved road, and the utility wires, Luke and Martha could return today and recognize it immediately. Behind the house is a cranberry bog and across the street is a field. There are stone walls and plentiful trees. It is an absolutely idyllic setting.  Before moving to Plympton, Luke moved a few times, probably to find better paying blacksmith jobs since men with his skill were in huge demand. But after moving to Plympton they stayed put. Driving down that beautiful street, I can see why!


I edited out utility wires; they just look so wrong!

The town of Plympton granted Luke Perkins an 18 acre parcel of land at Rocky Run when he agreed to be the town’s blacksmith. Luke and Martha relocated to Plympton from Ipswich on the North Shore, built their home there and stayed until they passed away in their 80s. (I thought they settled in Plympton about 1714, but on the show they say the house was built by Luke in 1707).  According to the show, the home was in just two families until it was purchased by Full Circle Homes. The sellers live on a farm next door, and I believe they own the majority of the 20 acres and they also have blacksmithing items recovered from the property.


Field directly across from the house

Luke Perkins was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts (a Boston neighborhood) in 1667, the son of Luke and Hannah (Long) Perkins. In 1668 Luke married Martha Conant at Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. Martha was the granddaughter of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem (there’s even a statue of him there).


Luke and Martha had seven children, including a son Luke from whom I descend. Luke died at Plympton in 1748 at age 81 and Martha in 1754 at age 89. They are buried at the Old Burial Ground (also called Hillcrest Cemetery) on Main Street in Plympton. If you’d like to learn more about Luke and Martha, see the full sketch I wrote here. .  



Saturday, November 20, 2021

Robert Ransom ca 1636-1697, England and Plymouth, Massachusetts

 Robert Ransom was born likely in England sometime about 1636 (based on guessing he was mid-20s at the time of his ca 1660 marriage). He was at Plymouth Colony by 1654 where he started his new life in as an indentured servant in Sandwich. He was a member of the Plymouth church and was made a freeman there in 1657, but he had a rebellious streak and appears frequently in court records. His name is sometimes spelled “Ransome” in records. Robert is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family.

I have seen another descendant give Robert Ransom as being baptized 6 April 1636 at Ipswich, Suffolk, England, but I haven’t researched this myself. My research is very much a work in progress, so I appreciate hearing from people about any errors or gaps in my research!

In 1654 Robert accused Thomas Dexter, Jr., a Sandwich (on Cape Cod) miller to whom he was apprenticed, of treating him harshly. The court found in favor of Dexter and Robert was reprimanded for stubbornness and committed to the custody of the marshal for a night and a day. Thomas Clark of Plymouth bought out his remaining term of servitude from Dexter on 4 August 1654.

Despite his early rebellious nature, sharp tongue and quick temper, he seemed to evolve into a respected citizen, becoming a prosperous business man and landowner whose children married into some of the early, prominent families. He also served his community in minor roles as a highway surveyor and on a committee to collect money from townspeople to increase the minister’s salary. He is called planter and yeoman in many records, but was also an inn keeper and, based on the three sets of scales and weights and other items listed in his inventory, he bought and sold products beyond alcohol and food such as wood shingles.

Circa 1660 Robert Ransom married a woman often referred to as Susanna or Hannah (mostly by author Wyllys Ransom whose work, according to NEHGS Nexus magazine, vol 5, No. 3 1998, under Queries contains inaccuracies including his wife being Susannah). Robert’s probate records refer to his widow as Abigail, which I consider a good chance of being accurate. Children of Robert and Abigail:  

Joshua (he is mentioned in his father’s inventory), m. 1st Mary Gifford, 2nd Susanna Garner

Robert (he is deeded land by his father), m. Anna Waterman



Samuel m. Mercy Dunham

Mary m. Nehemiah Busse

Wyllys Ransom gives them a son Matthew, of Saybrook, CT, who married Hannah Jones, but the above Nexus source states there is no known connection between Matthew and Robert Ransom.

I descend from two of Robert’s children: Hannah who married Eleazer Jackson (I wrote about them here.) and Mercy who married Samuel Waterman (I wrote about them here).

Robert Ransom was involved in many land transactions in his life but unfortunately none of them mention his wife by name. He signed by his mark, indicating he was illiterate although he did own a Bible. See Plymouth Colony Land Records for details. 12 April 1661, Benajah Pratt sold for 10 pounds upland and meadow at Acushenah Coaksett. On 15 October 1661 Samuel Ryder Jr., cooper of Plymouth, deeded to Robert Ransom planter of Plymouth land at Wamonsett Pond in Plymouth near Thomas Clarke's farm, contained 20 acres of upland, also part of Little Meadow and right to the home where he now lives.

Other Land transactions: 20 July 1661, conveyance to Edward Gray; 24 March 1661(?/2) Thomas Pope of Plymouth, cooper, land exchange in Lakenham;  30 June 1662, deed from William Spooner and a deed to Jonathan Pratt;  11 January 1665, agreement of John Ricard, James Cole Jr, Joseph Ramsden and Robert Ransom on division of farm land and meadow at Lakenham; 2 Feb 1665, deed from Town of Plymouth; 15 May 1665, deed to John Tilton for 13 pounds sterling 14 acres of upland at Lakenham; 27 Nov 1667, deed to Zachariah Eddy; 8 July 1672, deed to Samuel Mylam; 16 April 1674, deed to John Andrews.

On 17 June 1686, Robert Ransom Sr gave by deed of trust which took the place of a will, certain real estate holdings, to Robert Ransom Jr "my beloved son." Deed was acknowledged before a justice of the peace on 22 July 1689. Entered and recorded 15 Dec 1704. Robert signed by his mark "R" and his wife by her mark "H" which could look similar to an “A.”  

On 29 September 1696, John Dunham sold to Robert Ransom Sr. of Plymouth, for 14 pounds, 30 acres of upland adjoining the land which said Ransom now lives in the Lakenham village of Plymouth, which bounds the lands of Samuel Waterman (Robert’s son-in-law). Perhaps this late-in-life purchase was to procure more land to leave to his children.

Robert Ransom frequently occurs in Plymouth Colony Court Records.

On 3 Oct 1662 at the General Court Mr. John Barnes complained against Robert Ransom in to the damage of 20 pounds for neglecting to give him sufficient security for the payment for a horse that Ransom bought of Barnes. Court ruled Robert Ransom to make over to John Barnes as security until he paid for the horse 15 acres of meadows in the township of Plymouth, three acres of upland and a house thereon at Lakenham in Plymouth, and five or six acres of meadow belonging thereto, and he is to pay the said John Barnes a barrel of tar for court charges within one month.

On 1 March 1663, Robert Ransome was fined 10 shillings by the court upon complaint of AL Wait for his turbulent and clamorous carriage. In the May 1665 court, Robert Ransom of Lakenham was at court for fencing in common land and was ordered to have fence “throwne down.”

On 2 Dec 1665 Robert Ransom was admonished for calling William Hawkins a rogue and insulting him.

James Cole Jr and Ephraim Tilson were fined 3 shillings, 4 pence each for "breaking the king's peace" when they struck Robert Ransome. Cole testified his brother had been abused by Ransome. On 1 March 1669/70, Robert Ransom appeared for speaking wicked and reproachful words against the governor and magistrates for which the jury cleared him legally as there was just one witness, but they added that it did sound like something Ransom would say. On that same date, John Tilson was fined 3 shillings, 4 pence for striking Robert Ransom. On 3 June 1673, John Andrew was fined 3 shillings, 4 pence for breach of the peace by striking Robert Ransom, and Ransom for “misdemeanoring” himself in abusive words toward Andrews was released with an admonition.

On 2 March 1679/80 Edward Gray of Plymouth complained against Robert Ransom of Lakenham in said town to the damage of 16 pounds for non-payment for 8 pounds of pork. A side note says: "withdrawn." On 7 July 1681, John Doter, late constable of Plymouth, complained against Robert Ransom of said town in an action for the damage of 5 pounds for his putting Doter to much unnecessary trouble, expense of time and loss in the execution of his office of constable. Jury found for the plaintiff.

Fines recorded in the October 1680 court include 5 pound fine to Robert Ransom for selling rum by retail without order. This must have forced his hand in becoming licensed to sell liquor. He was licensed to sell wine, beer, ale, cider or strong liquors as a Plymouth innholder by the court in 1686, 1687, 1688, 1690, and 1691.  

Robert’s tumultuous personality was also present at home. On 29 Oct 1669 Robert Ransom and his wife appeared to answer for their contentious and unworthy carriages each to the other in their walking in marriage condition and on their engagement to live better in that behalf they were for the present cleared and their bonds for their appearance canceled.

Much of Robert’s legal battles seem due to his outspoken nature and perhaps bristling at the prominent role of the Separatists in law making. Later in life he seems to have quieted down, perhaps becoming a respected citizen. He was surveyor of highways, served on a jury of the General Court (where he must have been the juror most familiar with the courts!), was on a committee to receive funds for the increase of the minister's salary, and was prosperous in business affairs. Also, his children married into the most prominent families.

Robert’s death is not recorded in vital records but the date is given in his estate inventory as 14 December 1697. He died intestate and his probate file is PCPR case no. 16575. The inventory of his estate was sworn 22 Dec 1697 and it totaled 136 pounds, 2 shillings, 7 pence, which did not contain all of the real estate he once owned which he conveyed to his children before his death. It does contain land that was John Dunham’s, 24,000 shingles, 200 boards, 2 spinning wheels, a yoke of oxen, 4 cows, 1 mare, 2 small swine, 2 turkeys, farm tools, brass scales and weights, money scales and weights, great scales and weights, 9 barrels of cider, two gallons or rum, empty casks, 8 bushels of Indian corn, about a barrel of beef and pork, three bushels of oats, 9 pounds yarn, a Bible, home furnishings including pewter, brass and iron, sheep’s wool, over 19 pounds in money. Also mentioned is a horse, saddle and arms he gave to his grandson Nehemiah Busse before he died with no value given. There were considerable debts owed to his estate including from his sons Robert and Joshua, Adam Wright for barrels, and an Indian named Sam Clark.

His widow Abigail made oath to the inventory. John Tilson’s 1673 estate inventory mentions Goodwife Ransom (assumed to be Robert’s wife), then Abigail Ransom, aged about 36 years, testified concerning Tilson’s will, which gives further, if somewhat inconclusive, evidence of her name.


Wyllys Cadwell Ransom, Historical Outline of the Ransom Family of America, Volume 2, 1903

William Richard Cutter, New England Families Genealogical and Memorial, Third Series, Vol. IV, 1913

Jonathan A. Shaw, John Shaw of Plymouth Colony, Purchaser and Canal Builder, NEHGR, July 1997

Monday, October 11, 2021

William Freeborne ca 1594 to 1670, Essex, England to Portsmouth, Rhode Island


William Freeborne (also seen as Freeborn/Freebourne) was born, possibly Maldon, Essex, England, about 1594. He married Mary Willson there on 25 July 1625. They are my 9th great-grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family. I haven’t done research on their English ancestry, so any leads are welcome!

St. Mary's, Maldon, Essex

William (age 40) and Mary (age 33), with their daughters Mary, 7, Sarah, 2, and John Allbury age 14, came to Boston from Ipswich, England on the ship Francis in 1634. He first settled at Roxbury (admitted to church and made a freeman there in 1634), then Boston (1637) and finally Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island where he signed the Compact in 1638 as one of the founders of the town. The Compact outlined a non-sectarian civil government consented to by all the inhabitants and was to have a Christian focus. I always find my rebellious ancestors so fascinating!

source: Wikipedia

The 1640/41 list of freeman of Portsmouth and Newport includes William Freeborne.  He was on the 1655 list of Portsmouth freeman. He was granted 140 acres at Portsmouth in 1639/40. Portsmouth was founded by religious dissenters (including Anne Hutchinson) whose beliefs ran contrary to the Puritan Church teachers so were banished from Massachusetts.

William was a miller by trade. He served his community in a variety of other ways: as constable for Newport and Portsmouth in 1641/2 and for Portsmouth in 1653; Portsmouth’s Deputy to the RI General Court in 1657; Portsmouth Selectman 1639; Assessor in 1651/2; overseer and collector for the poor 1654; Town Council 1655; served on jury 1649. He was literate as he signed his deeds and as well as deeds he witnessed.

William's signature from the above Compact

William and Mary had three children:

Mary, baptized Maldon, Essex, 1627; m. Clement Weaver

Sarah, baptized 1631, Maldon, Essex; m. Nathaniel Browning 1650; died Portsmouth 1670 at age 38

Gideon, born about 1639; m. Sarah Brownell, 2nd Mary Boomer Lawton

I descend from Sarah who was deeded Portsmouth land from her father (as Sara Browninge wife of Nathanill) in 1652(?/3) and 1660. I wrote about Sarah and Nathaniel here.

On 20 November 1637 William Freeborn was among the Boston men disarmed for their support of Rev. John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson (part of Free Grace movement which was contrary to Puritan teachings). On 12 March 1637/8, the Massachusetts General Court gave 11 men, including William Freeborne, license to depart or if they remained they would have to answer at next Court. That same month, William Freeborne was one of the men who attended an organizational meeting for the town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

William purchased a mill with land and housing from Samuell Wilbore Junior of Portsmouth in 1654, that had belonged to his father Wilbore and father Porter (also ancestors of mine). In 1655 he purchased a water will, with house and land, from James Sands of Portsmouth.

In 1654 William purchased an 80 acre great lot in Portsmouth from Thomas Lawton.

Plaque/Portsmouth Compact/Founders Brook

At some point William and Mary became Quakers, as their deaths are recorded in Society of Friends records. William died at Portsmouth 28 April 1670, age about 76 years (record says he was 80 but that is likely inflated). His wife Mary died five days later, on 3 May 1670, age 80 (more like 69, so also likely inflated). Burial location unknown.

On 30 April 1670, the court discussed the estate of late William Freeborn of Portsmouth saying he ordered the disposition of his visible estate but did not clearly express who would administer his estate. His son Gideon was named executor; he was to take into his hands all the lands of his late father. Gideon was expected to pay legacies (within 14 days) according to his father’s wishes: sister Mary Weaver 20 pounds in “Island pay” and 20 pounds to children of his deceased sister Sarah Browninge. Robert Denals and John Lapum named overseers.


Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1620-1640, 1930, Reprint 2006

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration 1634-35, vol II, 1995

Jane Fletcher Fiske, Portsmouth Loose Papers, Rhode Island Roots, March 1996, vol 22

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Samuel Eddy 1608-1688, Cranbrook, Kent, England and Plymouth, Massachusetts

Samuel Eddy was baptized at Cranbrook, Kent, England 15 May 1608, the son of William and Mary (Fosten) Eddy. His name is spelled in a variety of ways in records, including Edey and Eddye. He migrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1630, likely with his brother John on board the Handmaid. They arrived at Plymouth Harbor on 29 October 1630 after a very stormy 12 weeks at sea. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis side of the family.

St. Dunstan Church, Cranston, Kent

Samuel and John planned to initially settle in Boston and traveled there with Myles Standish. They were turned away because they didn’t have the correct letters of removal from Plimoth Colony. John later returned with the proper documentation, eventually settling in Watertown, but Samuel remained at Plymouth.

Samuel emigrated with means as on 9 May 1631 Experience Mitchell sold him his dwelling house, garden plot and fence for 20 pounds. In 1636 he was granted three acres next to the lands of John Dunham the elder. That he had at least one servant is also confirmed in records, as Thomas Brian ran away from service to him in January 1633, for which he was punished by a private whipping.

In his 20 August 1616 will, William Eddy bequeathed to his son Samuel 100 pounds of English money when he reach the age of 22, as well as one little silver salt when he reached age 21. 

Samuel married by 1637 Elizabeth, whose maiden is not known with certainty. It is possible she was the sister of Thomas Savory, based on references made in various deeds, but this isn’t conclusive. There is also a theory that she was a daughter of Thomas Rogers who was a Mayflower passenger. Elizabeth and Samuel likely married at Plymouth where their first child was born. They were members of the Plymouth Church. 

Elizabeth and Samuel had five known children:

John born 1637 at Plymouth

Zachariah born about 1639

Caleb born about 1643

Obadiah born about 1645

Hannah born 1647; no further record

I descend through Obadiah who married Bennet Ellis.

Samuel was a tailor. In 1678 the town of Plymouth paid “Goodman Edey viz: Samuell Edey” five shillings for making clothes for soldiers in time of war. Amazing that at age 70, Samuel was still making clothes.

He was admitted a freeman at Plymouth on 1 January 1633/34 and was on the 1643 list of Plymouth men able to bear arms.

Plaque honoring Samuel & John Eddy's 300th anniversary of their journey to America, Brewster Gardens, Plymouth

Samuel must have spent his inheritance on his passage, purchasing real estate, and supporting his family. Although he was early on referred to as a gentleman, it doesn’t appear he prospered in Plymouth, aside from his being a land holder. There wouldn’t have been much call for his tailoring skills and working the land was something he did with no training. Court documents show that Samuel and his wife Elizabeth had not the means to raise their many children, so John (at age 7), Caleb (at age 9) and Zachariah (at age 7) were put into service with other families until the age of 20 or 21.

By 1638 Samuel was rated among the “poore of the town,” receiving four shares in a black heifer as such. In 1644 he again received access to a cow that was part of the “poores stock” and again in 1648. From this point onward, there is no mention of his being on any lists of the poor, so things must have improved for him.

On 6 July 1638 Samuel Eddy sold to Richard Clough for 40 bushels of Indian corn “all that his house and garden in Plymouth wherein the said Samuel now dwelleth.” On the same day, Nicholas Snow sold to Samuel Eddy for the same amount “all that his house and garden adjoining with the fence in & about the same in Plymouth wherein the said Nicholas now dwelleth.”

In 1640 Samuel, with several of his neighbors, bought a large tract of land from the Indians and founded the town of Middleborough. His portion included several hundred acres in the northern section of town and a part of the town of Halifax. Although Samuel didn’t remove to Middleborough, his son Obadiah lived there, as did his descendants, in what became the village of Eddyville.

In 1641 Samuel Eddy was granted six acres of upland lying on the northwest side of Fresh Lake (aka Billington Sea), about the fishing place, 30 acres of upland at the Narragansett Hill (where battle between the Narrangansetts and Pochanockets occurred) and 4 acres of meadow.

On 7 March 1642(/43?) John Allen sold to Samuel Eddy, all his house, barns and buildings with the lands thereunto belonging at Willingsly and Woeberry Plain. On 3 March 1645(/46?) he sold to John Thompson his house and garden and adjoining three acres at Spring Hill, Plymouth. On 20 March 1647 (/48?) he sold one acre of marsh meadow to Experience Mitchell of Duxbury.

As early as March 1651, Samuel Eddy had interest and “proprieties” in land at Punckateesett Necke, Plymouth.

On 14 July 1667 Samuel Eddy was granted six acres of meadow at South Meadow Brook. On 5 August 1672, Samuel Eddy, along with four neighbors, was granted the swamp at Wellingsley near the brook.  Samuel “Eedy” was one of five men who on 7 June 1659 were “desiring some proportions of land to accommodate them for their posterities,” which was granted by the court. He was on the 3 June 1662 list of those permitted to seek some accommodation of land as being the first borne children of this government (perhaps this is through connection of his wife Elizabeth).

On 20 February 1662, Thomas Savory of Plymouth deed to Samuel Eddy of Plymouth, tailor, land at Punckateesett in Plymouth, lying against “Road Iland” in exchange for a parcel of upland and meadow at Four Mile Brook in Plymouth, as well as six acres near Fresh Lake, Plymouth.

On 24 March 1662/63, “Samuel Eedey senir” of Plymouth, tailor, granted to his two sons Zachariah and Obadiah Eedy, land granted to him in June 1662 at Namassakett, reserving six acres for his own use and then after his death they would receive that as well. Samuel would also be permitted to winter three cows on the sons’ share of land. Son Caleb would receive a quarter of the land if he desired it.

On 7 March 1671/2, Samuel Eddy of Plymouth, tailor, sold to Steven Bryant Senior of Plymouth, land at Major’s Purchase lying near Namassekeesett Pond. This was acknowledged by Samuel and Elizabeth his wife.

On 7 October 1651, Elizabeth Eeddy was presented to court for laboring on the Lord’s Day, in time of public exercise. Her transgression was wringing and hanging out laundry. (PCR 2:173) She was fined 10 shillings, which was remitted. On 1 May 1660, Elizabeth Eedey was again summoned to court for traveling from Plymouth to Boston on the Lord’s day. Elizabeth told the court that “Mistris Saffin” was very weak and sent for her and she had an earnest desire to see her. Court admonished her and she was discharged from the Court (PCR 3:186).

Samuel Eddy died 12 November 1688 at Swansea, recorded Plymouth Church records. Elizabeth Eddy died 24 May 1689 “in her 82nd year at the end of it,” also recorded Plymouth Church records. It seems that Samuel and Eddy went to live in Swansea with their adult children in their later years, circa 1681. Their stones do not survive, but it is believed they are buried at the Eddy Family Burial Ground in Swansea. There is a plaque at son Zachariah’s burial plot which also honors his parents Samuel and Elizabeth Eddy, place there at a later date by the Eddy Family Association.


Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995 (see this sketch for land deed references)

 Zacheriah Eddy, Capt. Joshua Eddy, NEHGR, volume 8, July 1854

David Jay Webber, The Mayflower Quarterly, "Was Samuel Eddy's Wife Elizabeth a Daughter of Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower?: A Review and Reassessment of Some Observations of Eugene Aubrey Stratton," Summer 2021

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Constant Southworth ca 1615-1679 and Elizabeth Collier of Plymouth and Duxbury, Massachusetts

Constant Southworth was born about 1615, possibly at Leiden, Holland as that’s where his parents married, the son of Edward and Alice (Carpenter) Southworth. Constant’s father died and his mother came to Plymouth and married Gov. William Bradford in 1623. Constant came to Plymouth in 1628, probably on the White Angel. His brother Thomas came to Plymouth at a later time and it is assumed the boys lived with their mother and stepfather. Southworth is spelled in a variety of ways in records including Southward and Sowthworth.

Constant “Southword” and Elizabeth Collyer were married 2 November 1637 at Plymouth. Elizabeth was baptized St. Olave, Southwark, Surrey, 9 March 1618/19, the daughter of William and Jane (Clark) Collier. Her father was an important man in the colony. Constant and Elizabeth are my 12th great grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Elizabeth and Constant had nine children born Plymouth and Duxbury:

Mercy, m. Samuel Freeman

Priscilla m. 1st Samuel Talbot and 2nd John Irish

Edward, m. Mary Pabodie

Alice, m. Benjamin Church

Nathaniel, m. Desire Gray

Mary, m. David Alden

William, m. 2st Rebecca Pabodie, Martha Kirtland Blague

Elizabeth, m. Samuel Gallup

Not surprisingly the offspring of the “power marriage” of Constant and Elizabeth married into prominent families. I descend from Mercy.

Constant was an influential man in the Colony. He was made freeman in 1637/38, was on the 1643 list of men able to bear arms and in 1648 was licensed to sell wine. He also owned a grist mill at Stony Brook (later known as Mill Brook) in Duxbury. At various times he served as treasurer, Assistant to the Governor, Deputy to the court, constable, served on war councils, was ensign in the Duxbury Military Company, and Commissary General during King Philip’s War. He often served on committees that divided lands, settled bounds, organized repairing of bridges, allowing trade at “Kennebeck.” That he was a man of some learning is also shown as his inventory included books.


 Constant received various land grants:  Mr. William Bradford arranged for land occupied by George Soule to go to Constant and his brother in 1636, received 50 acres at North River with proportionable meadow in 1640 and in 1665 “a competency” of land at Namasskett with three other men. He and George Pollerd purchased a mill in Duxbury at Stoney River from William Hillier in 1646. In 1646/7, he sold all his Island Creek lands and meadows to William Bradford and in 1648 he and his brother sold 100 acres at North River to Francis Godfrey.


A map depicting Duxbury in 1637 shows the home of Constant and Elizabeth Southworth near what is now Tremont Street.  In 1645 he was an original proprietor of Bridgewater but did not move there.

Constant Southworth died at Duxbury 11 March 1678/79.  In his 27 Feb 1678/79 will he names his wife Elizabeth; sons Edward, Nathaniel and William; daughters Mercy Freeman, Alice Church, Mary Alden, Elizabeth Southworth (who was to receive a bequest as long as she didn’t marry William Fobes), Priscilla Southworth; grandson Constant Freeman; cousin Elizabeth Howland; brother Thomas. In the 15 March 1678/79 inventory, his estate was valued at 360 pounds and disturbingly included an Indian boy worth 10 pounds. It also lists real estate, without valuation including about 25 acres in Duxbury where his house, barn and grist mill were located, parcel of land at North Field, several parcels of meadow, totaling about 12 acres, in Duxbury and Marshfield, one share of land called “Freeman’s Land” near Taunton, land and meadow at Paomett in Eastham.


Justin Winsor, “History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, with Genealogical Registers,” 1849

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

Robert Charles Anderson, “The Great Migration Begins,” 1995


Monday, July 12, 2021

Aptuxcet Trading Post, Bourne, Massachusetts


I’ve long wanted to visit Aptuxcet Trading Post and finally did so this weekend. It’s always intrigued me as it’s a replica of the Pilgrim’s trading post, believed to be built on the post’s original foundation. The Bourne Historical Society does a wonderful job of keeping the story of this aspect of the Pilgrim’s story alive.

My 11th great-grandfather and Mayflower passenger John Howland (ca 1592-1672) would have been involved at the trading post since he must have gained experience there before 1634 when he was in put in charge of the Pilgrim’s trading post on the Kennebec River (now Augusta, Maine). I hope to learn more about other Pilgrim ancestors who would have been involved at Aptuxcet. I’m guessing my ancestor and Mayflower passenger Isaac Allerton would have had dealings there as he was involved at the trading post in Machias, Maine, a fish station at Marblehead and was a constant wheeler-dealer.

Later the Pilgrims closed the post and in 1652 sold the land to my 10th great-grandfather Thomas Burgess (ca 1603-1685) of Sandwich. Thomas was allowed to take herring from the river. In 1663 he deeded the land to his son-in-law Ezra Perry (ca 1625-1689), my 10th great-grandfather. Ezra lived on the land with his family and he and his brothers traded at Herring River.

We had an excellent docent, Beth, who gave us such a nice picture of what life was like in the 1620s at the trading post. It is believed that there were typically two men from Plymouth Colony working at the post, sleeping in the upper level, quite possibly indentured servants. She said beer was always on hand for traders to imbibe while they negotiated. The post has one room set up as where the trading, meal preparation, beer brewing and drinking would have occurred and the other room is a tribute to the Wampanoag people. The tool the Native’s used to make wampum from Quahog shells to use as currency is just remarkable.

In addition to the Trading Post building, the property includes the 19th century Gray Gables Railroad Station, which was President Grover Cleveland’s private station used when he visited his vacation home in Bourne, the Joseph Jefferson Windmill built as an art studio for the actor and currently serves as an art gallery, a 19th century saltworks replica, gardens, and schooner replicas. The windmill houses a unique pedal-powered carousel, but it isn't operating because of COVID-19.

The Pilgrims built the trading post in 1627 on the banks of Manomet River to trade with local Wampanoag people and Dutch traders. The river was gobbled up by the construction of the Cape Cod Canal. There were excavations in 1852 and 1926, and an archaeological dig was done by students in 1995. The items discovered in 1995 include animal bones, turtle shells, and pieces of clay pipes, bits of pottery, and shards of glass from windows, all believed date from 1650 to 1770, so likely include items belonging to Ezra Perry’s family.  Some items found in the excavations were used in building the replica including beams and endearingly imperfect bricks.

I always get a shiver down my spine when I walk the same path my ancestors would have walked, but when the terrain is so close to what they would have traveled it really gets to me! After visiting this gem of a place, you can walk a few steps to the paved path that travels along the Cape Cod Canal. There’s also a wooded path to a clearing where you can sit on benches and watch the ships travel along the canal.

I’m now eager to learn more about the Aptuxcet Trading Post, so if anyone has some good resources I’d appreciate hearing from you!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

William Hammond (1568-1662) and Elizabeth Paine (1580-1670) of Watertown, Massachusetts


William Hammond was baptized Lavenham, Suffolk, England 30 October 1575, the son of Thomas and Rose (Trippe) Hammond.

St, Peter and St. Paul Church, Lavenham

On 9 June 1605 William married Elizabeth Paine at Lavenham. She was baptized 11 Sept 1586, daughter of William and Agnes (Neves) Paine. William and Elizabeth are my 12th great grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Children of William and Elizabeth:

William, baptized 20 September 1607; killed by Indians 1636

Anne, born 1608, died 1615

John, born 1611, died 1620

Anne, born 1616, m. Timothy Hawkins and 2nd Ellis Barron

Thomas, born 1618, married Hannah Cross, died 1655 at Watertown

Elizabeth b. ca 1619, died before 1 July 1662 when she is called deceased in her father’s will

Sarah, b. 1623, m. Richard Smith

John, b. 1626, m. Abigail Salter and 2nd Sarah Nicholas

 I descend from Elizabeth who married Samuel Howes of Scituate. I wrote about that couple here.

William emigrated in 1631 and settled at Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He was admitted to the Watertown Church prior to 25 May 1636 when he was made a freeman.

It was interesting to find that William was declared bankrupt in England in February 1629/30, and fled to New England to avoid legal troubles. The timing works out that he would have sailed on the Lyon which left Bristol on 1 Dec 1630 and arrived in New England the following February.

Elizabeth came to New England in 1634 on the Francis with their three youngest children, Elizabeth, Sarah, and John. Her brother William Paine also emigrated, living at Watertown and Ipswich, Massachusetts. Her sister Dorothy Paine Page (wife of John) emigrated to Watertown. How nice it must have been to have her siblings nearby.

William’s mother Rose Steward died in England in 1645, and two years later William’s son Thomas went to England with letter of attorney from William, demanding from the lord of the manor possession of lands in Lavenham, Suffolk, that were in the possession of Rose Steward. 

Rose Trippe Hammond Steward had left bequests to her Hammond grandchildren, William’s children: William, Elizabeth, Hannah, Thomas, Sarah and John.

William was literate and had some education as his inventory included one Bible and three other books. He was involved in local politics, serving as Selectman in Watertown.

William was granted 40 acres at Watertown in 1636, 8 acres in the Remote Meadows in 1637 and a farm of 155 acres in 1642. In the Inventory of Grants he held six parcels of land: homestall of 40 acres, three acres of meadow 40 acres of upland being a Great Dividend, 18 acres of upland beyond the Further Plain, 8 acres of Remote Meadow, and four acres of upland. In the Composite Inventory he also held six parcels but that now included a farm of 155 acres.

William wrote his will 1 July 1662, proved 16 Dec 1662, when he was about 90 years of age. He leaves his full estate to wife Elizabeth, and the land and housing was to go to his son John Hammond after her death. He left 40 pounds to his grandson Thomas Hammond, son of Thomas, deceased. If Thomas dies, then it should go to children of daughter House and children of daughter Barnes (should be Barron). He left 30 pounds to daughter Barnes; 5 pounds each to four children of daughter of Elizabeth House, deceased; one mare to Adam Smith, son of daughter Sarah; five pounds to daughter Sarah Smith. His wife Elizabeth and son John named executors. He signed the will.

The inventory of William Hammond of Watertown totaled over 467 pounds, including 318 pounds in real estate (dwelling house and orchard, 23 acres of pasture land, 11 acres of broken-up land, 15 acres of meadow, 8 acres of meadow remote, 18 acres of land in lieu of township, 1 Great Dividend 40 acres, 1 farm of 160 acres, part of a barn.

William did well for himself—from possibly facing debtors prison in England to being a self-made wealthy man in the new world.

William Hammond died at Watertown on 8 October 1662.

Elizabeth Paine Hammond died Watertown 27 Sept 1670.

I would think William and Elizabeth are buried at the Old Burying Place/Arlington Street Cemetery in Watertown, without surviving stones.


Torrey’s New England Marriages

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995