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 between 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