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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Josiah Swift ca 1675 to 1750s Sandwich, Massachusetts

 Josiah Swift was born about 1675 (a rough estimate), in Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, the son of William 2 (William 1) and Ruth [—?—] Swift. He is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis' side of the family. He married, first, Mary Bodfish in Sandwich on 19 April 1706 (Sandwich VR p 72). Mary was of Barnstable at their marriage; she was born 1 March 1680 to Joseph and Elizabeth (Besse) Bodfish. 

Josiah and Mary had four children (Sandwich VR p 82-3):


William born 22 August 1707, m. Elizabeth Wheeler in Lebanon, Connecticut

Mary born October 1710, married Nathan Barlow at Sandwich

Josiah Jr. born November 1712 married Mrs. Mary Morey at Plymouth

Joanna born February 1714 and died young


In Joseph Bodfish’s 20 August 1735 will, he left bequests to "the four children of my deceased dau. Mary Swift.” This is puzzling since from what I’ve found in 1735 three of Mary’s children were living, so perhaps I am missing a child. 


Mary died before 1718 when Josiah married, second, Experience Nye in Sandwich on 23 June (Sandwich VR p 108).  Experience was born Sandwich 16 December 1682, the daughter of John and Esther (Shed) Nye. Josiah and Experience had four children (Sandwich VR p 82-3):


Mercy b. 19 April 1719, m. John Pope, died 1815

Hannah born 15 February 1720/21 [I’ve seen her husband as both Nathan Davis and Benjamin Collins of Lebanon; need to do more research]

Joanna b. 25 August 1723, m. Benjamin Gibbs

John b. 3 October 1727, m. Desire Swift at Falmouth


I descend from Josiah and Experience’s daughter Mercy who married John Pope. I wrote about that couple here.  


In John Nye’s 9 July 1720 will, he left a bequest to "my dau. Experience Swift.”


Josiah also owned land in Lebanon, Connecticut, and Plymouth and Wareham, Massachusetts, but I’ve found no indication he lived anywhere but Sandwich. Although it is interesting that his children William and Hannah’s spouses were from Lebanon. 


In his December 1705 will, William Swift left his son Josiah his house and land in Sandwich, except for one lot to go to his grandchildren. This is unusual because Josiah is the youngest son, but perhaps the older sons already received land from their father or had substantial land of their own. 


Josiah Swift, yeoman of Sandwich, wrote his will 23 October 1753 which was presented at court 6 December 1757, so he died between those two dates. (Barnstable Probate 9:311).  He mentions his wife Experience, son William of Lebanon received all the housing and land in Lebanon, sons Josiah and John who were to receive half the Lebanon land if William didn’t have children, and daughters Mary, Mercy, Joanna, and Hannah. His wife Experience and Elisha Tupper of Sandwich were named executors. 


An inventory of the estate of Josiah Swift of Sandwich was presented 19 December 1757 and included real estate at Lebanon valued at 400 pounds, land at Sandwich, Wareham and Plymouth valued at 800 pounds (Barnstable Probate 9:314).  He also owned livestock, farm implements, as well as gold and silver. His inventory includes a “negro man, ” such a heart wrenching thing to see. 


Josiah Swift is mentioned in Plymouth Court Records, although I’m not sure if they are all referring to the Josiah or his son of the same name. 


December 1733: Josiah Swift (Sandwich Cordwainer) v. Ebenezer Morton or Joseph Bearce (both Plymouth Yeoman or Labourers) by atty. James Otis, Gent. Debt, on bond dated 9 November 1731 for 35 pounds on demand. Default by defendants. Bond chanced. Judgment for 19 pounds 6 shillings 8 pence and costs of 3 pounds 4 shillings 6 pence. Appealed by defendants with Daniel Johnson (Bridgewater Yeoman) and John Hyland Jr. (Scituate Yeoman) sureties. (PCR 5: 55-59)


April 1734: Josiah Swift (Sandwich Cordwainer) v. Ebenezer Morton  and Joseph Pearce (Both Plymouth Yeoman), or either. Debt. Defendants pleaded in abatement. Abated. Costs for defendants taxed. (PCR 5: 14-16)


September 1737: Josiah Swift (Sandwich Cordwainer) v. Joseph Burge Jr. (Rochester Weaver) by atty John Otis, Esq., Debt, on bond dated 16 October 1732 for 44 pounds “Current Lawfull Money of New England” on demand. Default by defendant; bond chanced. Judgment for 25 pounds 6 shillings 10 pence and costs of 2 pounds 13 shillings. Appealed by defendant, with Timothy Ruggles Jr., Gent. and Daniel Lewis, Gent. (PCR 6: 194-199)


December 1756: Josiah Swift (Sandwich Yeoman) attached Robert Brown Esq. (Plimouth) Trespass on the Case, on 6-month note dated 27 April 1756 for 10 pounds, 6 shillings payable to plaintiff or his order, to plaintiffs damage of 20 pounds. Default by defendant, judgement for the full amount plus costs of 1 pound 10 shillings 7 pence. Appealed by defendant. (PCR 11:186-189)


Experience Nye Swift died 3 April 1761 in Sandwich. 


Sources:

Eben Swift, ”William Swift and Descendants to the Sixth Generation," 1923, Pamphlet No. 15, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy


Jane Fletcher Fiske, “William Swift, Citizen and Leatherseller of London, and Planter of Sandwich, Massachusetts,” The American Genealogist, Vol 77, no. 3, July 2002 



Saturday, June 4, 2022

Abraham Jackson, born ca 1623-1628 England, died 1714 Plymouth, Mass., married Remember Morton

Abraham Jackson was born circa 1623 to 1628 (based on his being referred to as upwards of 80 years of age in 1708), likely in England.  I have not yet researched his origins. He was at Plymouth, Massachusetts probably well before 18 November 1657 when he married Remember Morton (Plymouth VR p 662). Remember was born ca 1638 (based on her age at death) the daughter of Nathaniel Morton, an important man in the Colony, and his wife Lydia Cooper. They are my 9th great-grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family. His first name is sometimes seen as Abram and last name as Jacson. Remember’s name is sometimes written as Remembrance.

The couple had five children, named in this order in Abraham’s 1708 will:

Abraham who m. Margaret Hicks

Nathaniel who m. Ruth Jenney

Eleazer who m. Hannah Ransom 

John who m. Abigail Woodworth

Lydia who m. 1st Israel Levitt, 2nd Preserved Hall


I descend from Eleazer; I wrote about him here.


Abraham Jackson of Marshfield took the Oath of Fidelity in 1657 (Plymouth Colony Records, p. 178) He was admitted a freeman on 1 June 1658 (Plymouth Colony Records, p. 197) and on 3 June 1662 he became a constable of Plymouth (PCR 4:14)). He frequently served on juries and sometimes was a surveyor of highways. He is referred to as a cordwainer (shoemaker) on one record and was an inn holder. 


One of his occupations was producing and selling tar, and in 1665 he was fined 5 pounds of ruining several barrels of tar by putting dirt in them (PCR 4:111). On 6 March 1665/66 the court allowed Giles Rickard, Jr. 10 shillings from Abraham Jackson concerning a controversy between them over a parcel of tar, and on 1 May 1666 the court heard a complaint by Jackson that Nathaniel Warren detained a barrel of tar delivered by Jackson for town use (PCR 4:117, 120). On 1 June 1669 he petitioned the court to remit his forfeiture of three barrels of tar to the government for breaching a law prohibiting the making of tar, and the court, referring to his poor condition and many losses, ordered that he should have seven bushels of corn paid for by the treasurer (PCR 5:21). 


In 1661 the guns and swords of Plymouth were disposed of, including a short gun and sword given to Nathaniel Morton for the use of Abraham Jackson (Plymouth Town Records 1:44).


Thomas Weston wrote in the History of Middleboro that Abraham was a proprietor in the South Purchase there but was always a resident of Plymouth, and that he was  an apprentice of Colony Secretary Nathaniel Morton who became is father-in-law.


Abraham signed documents with his mark, indicating he could not write, which surprises me since he worked for Nathaniel Morton, a well educated man. He often witnessed deeds and other documents, sometimes with Morton. Abraham must have had some good qualities as a man of Morton’s stature wouldn’t let his daughter marry just anyone. Remember and Abraham inherited land from her father, as well as household items including the family Bible. 

Abraham's mark from his 1707 will


On 20 November 1686 Abram Jackson and Remembrance his wife (both signed by marks),  George Elliston and Lidia his wife, Isaac Cole and Hannah his wife, Joseph Prince and Joanna his wife, "all sons-in-law and daughters of Mr. Nathaniel Morton late of Plimouth deceased" sold for 28 pounds to George Morton of Plimouth all of the land their father had bequeathed to them in his will.


Abraham Jackson of Plymouth was a licensed inn holder in September 1690. Abraham Jackson Sr and Nathaniel Jackson served on inquest into death of Samuel Dunham, son of John Dunham. They went to the house at Winnitusett and found his body partly consumed by fire, found no wounds on his body, so judged he was burned to death in his house. Sworn 28 Jan 1688 before Ephraim Morton JP. (PCR 1688)


Abraham Jackson Senr upwards of 80 years of age was admitted  to the Plymouth Church on 14 March 1708. I am curious to know why Abraham waited so long to join the church and why he waited until the death of his wife to do so. Remember was noted a member of the church on 10 March 1703, but it does not indicate when she was admitted.


Abraham was involved in other court cases:


On 7 May 1662 the court heard Abraham Jackson’s complaint that Rose, wife of Thomas Morton, had called him a lying rascal and rogue, and she confessed her fault and promised to be more careful of her words (PCR 4:11) On 3 June 1662 he became constable of Plymouth (PCR 4:14).


In 1665 he was ordered to pay eight shillings to William Nelson to end a controversy about the keeping of two sheep (PCR 4:105).


In September 1702, the Plymouth Court ordered that Abraham Jackson of Plymouth be paid 3 pounds by the county treasurer "when said Jackson and his son Nathaniel Jackson shall quit their claime to the lands belonging to the prison and prison house." (PCR 1:64)


In Plymouth Court records, Abraham Jackson Sr (Plimouth) v. Jonathan Pratt (Taunton), debt, of six pounds and seven shillings due Jackson from Pratt as per said Jackson "his Book and testimony may appear that is to say more particularly the sum of five pounds and five shillings which about three years now past the said Jackson at the request and per the order of said Pratt paid for his account to John Sturtevant and the sum of twenty two shillings for sheep which the said Pratt hath some time past bought and received of said Jackson which said sums the said Pratt neglecteth to pay to the Damage of said Jackson as aforesaid." To pltf's damage of 15 pounds. The jury find for the Plaintiff six pounds seven shillings five pence in money and cost of the suit, taxed at 1 pound 2 shillings 6 pence. (PCR September 1691)


The Plymouth Court requested Capt. James Warren and Lt. Shurtleff to make enquiry of George Bonum concerning the lands which Abraham Jackson saith that he bought of one John Smith being a quarter of an acre of said Bonum's land, to be by them sett out and returne thereof made to the next sessions. (PCR June 1702)


An agreement between the Court and Abraham Jackson (Plimouth): "That whereas the said Jackson makes claym to some lands on the Northerly side and each end of the prison he now agrees and consents that the County shall or may take in the width of six feet of land on the Northerly side of said prison and at each end hereof to enclose said prison by a wall. (PCR June 1700)


Some land transactions involving Abraham:


On 27 June 1662, Mannasses Kempton of Plymouth gave half his share of lands at Hobshole alias Wellingsley, to Abraham Jackson of Plymouth (MD 17:104-5, citing PCLR 2:2:95).


Abraham Jackson Senr of plimouth…yeoman for and in consideration of … nine shillings…by Richard Cooper of …. Plimouth Blacksmith…sell…All that my little plot of Land on which the said Richard Coopers Smith Shop now standers contayning in length Eighteen foote and in width fourteen foote…4 June 1690. Abraham signed by his mark.  (Mayflower Descendant, Vol 53, No 2, p 136, 2004)


Abraham Jackson of Plimouth…Cordwainer…for and in Consideration of…three pounds…paid by Mr. William Clarke of Pimouth…yeoman…sells…thirty Acres of upland…lying…in plimouth…towards the head of the Eele River the southerly End there of Beginning where Warrens Wells Brooke and ye said Eele river meets….& so Runeth down for ye length of it by ye sd river Easterly to a dead spruce…which sd thirty acres…I…have bought of Samuel Dunham of plimouth…and was Granted to him by the sd Town Anno 1672. Dated 11 Jun 1676. Witnessed by Nathaniel Morton and Joseph Dunham. Abraham signed by his mark. Remember his wife gave her free consent 11 June 1676. (Mayflower Descendant, vol 42, no 1, Jan 1992)


Abraham Jackson snr of …Plymouth…for & in consideration of…Eight pounds…paid by Peter Tompson of … Middleborough…sell..all that my thirty acres…in…plimouth…15 June 1697.

Abraham Jackson signed with his mark. (Mayflower Descendant, vol 53, no. 2, 2004)


Abraham Jackson senr of … Plimouth for and in consideration of nine pounds…in hand by George Morton of…Plimouth…sell…parcel of land Suituage lying in Plymouth…on which I formerly lived And Wyeth next adjoyning unto lands of Eleazer Morton…bounded…Stephen Barnebeye…Also all my right unto or share of a certain swamp…8 June 1697.  Abraham signed by his mark. Acknowledged 18 June 1697 by Abraham and Remembrance his wife.  (Mayflower Descendant, vol 54, no 1, p. 76, 2005)


On 26 March 1689, John Cole sold Plymouth land to William Shurtleff which mentions the sale would not include the new house of Abraham Jackson Senr and land on which it stood that was 40 by 50 feet. It was on the north side of Town Brook, South Street, and East Street. (Mayflower Descendant 32:36) 

Current day Town Brook; photo by Chris Chirokas


Abraham Jackson of Plymouth, being weak and infirm of body but of sound and disposing mind and memory, wrote his will on 16 January 1707/8, signing by his mark which looks like a square written with a shaky hand. He left eldest son Abraham all his wearing apparel. All estate, real and personal, left to five children to be divided equally: Abraham, Nathaniel, Eliezer, John, and Lydia Hall to be equally divided. Son Eliezer named executor. Witnessed by Nathaniel Thomas Jr, Ephraim Little Jr, and Mary Thomas. On 22 Dec 1714, Nathaniel Thomas Jr, Ephraim Little, and Mary Thomas confirmed by oath they saw Abram Jackson sign and seal and hear him declare his last will and testament. (PPR 3:323)


Abraham Jackson Senior of Plymouth’s inventory taken 8 October 1714. It includes various household items, a gun, sheets wool, woolen yard, spinning wheel and cards. 


On 22 Dec 1714, Eliazer Jackson, executor of his father Abram Jackson, made oath to truth of inventory.


Abraham and Remember’s descendant Lydia (Lidian) Jackson became the second wife of philosopher, poet and Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Remember the wife of Abraham Jacson Sr. died on the 24 July 1707 (PVR, p 136). Her death is recorded in the Plymouth Church Records, p. 205: July 24 (1707) “dyed Remember Jackson ye wife of Abraha Jackson senr in ye 70 year of her Age a pious Christian.”


Abraham Jacson Sr. died 4 October 1714 (Plymouth VR p 137). His death is also recorded Plymouth Church Records, p. 213: “old Mr Jackson” died in 1714.



Sources:

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995


Thomas Weston, History of Middleboro, 1906


Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700


John Farmer, A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England: ... To which are Added Various Genealogical and Biographical Notes, Collected from Ancient Records, Manuscripts, and Printed Works, 1829


Alicia Crane Williams, Early New England Families 1641-1700, NEHGS Study Project, 2013


Lee D. Van Antwerp, compiler, Vital Records of Plymouth Mass. to the year 1850, Rhode Island Society of Mayflower Descendants,1993


Eugune Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691, 1986

Monday, May 23, 2022

Obadiah Eddy ca 1645 to ca 1727 and his wife Bennet Ellis of Plymouth, Sandwich and Middleborough, Massachusetts

 

Obadiah Eddy was born about 1645, probably in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) Eddy. I wrote about Samuel here. His name is often spelled Eedey or Eeddy in records. He was at Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, as a teenager where he likely was apprenticed in the shoemaking trade. Obadiah is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis' side of the family. 


He married Bennet Ellis by 1669, probably in Sandwich. Bennet (sometimes spelled Bennett) was born 27 February 1648/49 to John and Elizabeth (Freeman) Ellis of Sandwich. 


Their children, order uncertain:

  • John born 22 March 1669 (Plymouth Colony VRs 18: 70)
  • Hazadiah/Hassadiah/Assadiah born 10 April 1672 (Plymouth Colony VRs 18: 70)
  • Samuel (Middleborough Vital Records state he lived and died in Middleborough)
  • Jabez (a Jake is named as a brother of Samuel in Middleborough Vital Records)
  • Joel
  • Benjamin (named as a brother of Samuel in Middleborough Vital Records)
  • Elizabeth
  • Bennet
  • Hannah 


Obadiah names his nine children in his 1722 will, although some had predeceased him and he named their children. I descend from Hazadiah who married Samuel Samson. 


Zachariah Eddy in “Capt. Joshua Eddy,” also gives Obadiah and Bennet daughters Mary and Mercy but I haven’t found a source for this.


The Middleborough Vital Records, Vol 1, p 351, put together at a later date for this era since original records were destroyed by fire during King Philip’s War, state the “Obadiah Eddy son of the said Samuel he flourished in Middleborough in the year 1674 & on to 1686.” Also mentioned is Obadiah’s son Samuel Eddy who lived and died in Middleborough aged 77 years 63 years age [not sure why two different ages, perhaps a transcription error] and that he had two brothers Jabez and Benjamin. 


Obadiah and Bennet likely moved to Middleborough (often spelled Middleboro) after their marriage and raised their family there. He first appears in records there when he served on a Grand Inquest in 1673. He was on a Grand Inquest again in 1679 and 1681, was Surveyor of Highways in 1679, 1681, 1683, and 1689, served on a grand jury in September 1687, was Constable in 1690, and Selectman in 1694. I need to do more research, but I believe the area he lived in is in current day Halifax near Winnetuxet River in a neighborhood aptly called Eddyville. 


Some land transactions Obadiah was involved in: 

On 24 March 1662 Samuel Eedey Senior of Plymouth, tailor, granted land to his two sons Zachariah and Obadiah all the land he was granted by the court the past June lying near Namassakett to be equally divided between them, reserving six acres of land for his own use to winter his cows, which would become Zachariah and Obadiah’s upon Samuel’s death. If Caleb Eedey should want a quarter of this land, he would have it. 


On 29 April 1663 Obadiah “Eedey,” shoemaker, deeded land near Namaskett to his brother Zachariah of Plymouth, one half of the land their father Samuel gave them. At court on 7 July 1674 Obadiah and Zachariah nullified and voided bargain by mutual consent. 


On 6 January 1686/87 Obadiah Eedy of Middleborough purchased four acres of meadow abutting Winnetuxet River in Plymouth for four pounds five shillings to Nathaniel Southworth of Plymouth. 


On 5 June 1690, Nathaniel Warren of Middleborough sold for 10 pounds to Obadiah Eddy of Middleborough, lot of land in Bridgewater numbered fourth lot of about 100 acres. 


On 9 January 1693/94 Obadiah Eedey of Middleborough sold for 19 pounds one share of Bridgewater land to Charles alias Pompmaet of Tittecutt. 


On 17 December 1695 Zachariah Eddy of Swansea deeded Middleborough land, both meadow and swampland, for six pounds to “my brother Obadiah Eeddy” that belonged to “my honored father Saml Eeddy” and plus land that Obadiah’s house was standing on by Mehutable Brooke and Peter Tinkham’s meadow. 


When King Philip’s War broke out in 1675, he was one of 21 homeowners in Middleborough, all of whom had their houses burned. His family had taken refuge in the fort and then went to Plymouth until the trouble was over. He returned to Middleborough at the end of the war to rebuild.


The First Church of Middleborough was organized in 1694, where Obadiah was a member for the remainder of his life. 


Bennet died about 1702. Obadiah died between 17 December 1726, when he wrote a codicil to his will, and 6 November 1727 when three men made oath they witnessed his signing the codicil. 


He wrote his will 18 May 1722 and left bequests to his son Samuel (a steer and calf, besides what he already gave him); son Benjamin (mare, saddle, hoops for cart wheels, draught chain, plow irons, grindstone, horse chains, iron dog, three hogs, tackling for a yoke, iron kettle, washing tube, beside what already gave him); to Samuel and Benjamin to share log chain, crosscut saw, and hatchet; daughter Elisabeth Delano (cow that she has as well as what he had already given her); granddaughter Sarah Eddy the daughter of  son Joel (bed, bedding, two pewter platters, quart pot, warming pan, brass skillet, pewter basin, iron pot, pot hooks, iron trammel, pint pot, and also pewter porringer and frying pan that were her mother’s; granddaughter Mehitabel Eddy, daughter of son John, a cow; daughter Malatiah Eddy wife of son Samuel, all household stuff left at house of son Samuel Eddy except that given to Sarah; son John, son Jabez, daughter Hazadiah Samson [word deceased inserted], daughter Bennet Woodward, daughter Hannah Clark, their full part and portion of the estate. Loving friend Captain Jacob Tomson named executor. Signed by his mark. There is a codicil dated 17 December 1726, which named his son Samuel Eddy executor because Jacob Tomson had died. On 6 November 1727 Joel Ellis, Thomas Darling, and Joseph Bates made oath that they saw Obadiah sign the codicil. 


There is an Eddy Family Association that maintains an historic home in Middleboro: https://www.eddyfamilyassociation.com/


Sources:

Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700


Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995


Zacheriah Eddy (communicated by), “Capt. Joshua Eddy,” Register, 8: 202-203 (July 1854)


Plymouth Colony Deeds 2:5; 1:239; 1:246


Editor abstracts, “Plymouth County, Mass., Records of Deeds,” The Mayflower Descendant. 4: 30 (1937)


Obadiah Eddy’s will: “Pilgrim Notes and Queries,” MSMD 5:104-05; citing Plymouth County Probate File, page 7086:3


Thomas Weston, History of Middleboro, 1906


Ruth Story Devereux Eddy, The Eddy Family in America, 1930


For Bennet’s identity as Bennet Ellis see: Lydia B. Brownson and Maclean W. McLean, “Lt. John and Elizabeth (Freeman) Ellis of Sandwich, Mass.” Register, 119 (1965) 161-173, 260-75. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

John Johnson (ca 1588-1659) and Mary Heath (ca 1594-1629) of Roxbury, Massachusetts

 

John Johnson was born ca 1588 at Ware, Hertfordshire, England, to John and Hannah (Throckmorton) Johnson. He is my 12th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. 


John married, first, Mary Heath at Ware, Hertfordshire, on 21 September 1613. Mary was born ca 1594, the daughter of William and Agnes (Cheney) Heath.

St. Mary's Church, Ware, Herts (credit: www.achurchnearyou.com) 


John and Mary had 10 children born Ware: Mary, Isaac, John who died young, Elizabeth, Humphrey, Joseph who died as a newborn, Susan who died as a child, Sarah, Joseph who died as a newborn, and Hannah. I descend from Elizabeth who married Robert Pepper. 


Mary Heath Johnson died 15 May1629 at Ware. 


John Johnson migrated to Massachusetts with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630 where he became an influential citizen of Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood. He was among the list of first comers to the Roxbury Church. He was made a freeman in May 1631 which was requested in October 1630. He was Deputy for Roxbury to the General Court from 1634 to 1637. 


He was a Captain, quartermaster, and surveyor general in the military. In 1642, he was assigned the duty of distributing gunpowder to the major towns in the colony because of threats from Native Americans. In 1644 he was to give each soldier a musket, sword, and pair of bandoliers and match for the muskets. In 1652 he signed a report concerning the building of a castle and batteries on Castle Island. He was paymaster for the building of Boston prison in 1649, was Roxbury constable in 1630, and on a committee to review colony defenses in 1647. 


There is a long list of other service John Johnson performed. He was on many committees from setting bounds for Charlestown and Newton to purchasing lands for the Indians to live in an “orderly way” amongst the white settlers. John Johnson was admitted to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1638, its first year of existence. 


John married, second, Margaret (her maiden name is sometimes seen as Scudder but no proof for this found) in the early 1630s. She died before 9 June 1655 when she was buried at Roxbury. John married, third Grace Negus, the widow of Barnabas Fawer. 


On the earliest list of Roxbury inhabitants made ca 1642, John Johnson’s valuation of 15 pounds, 12 shillings and 6 pounds, 8 shillings with six goats and four kids, was one of the highest in town. 


In the Roxbury land inventory of the early 1650s, John Johnson held 13 parcels, six of which were granted by the town. His house sat on 8 acres that included an orchard and he also owned 3 acres of marsh, 20 acres of mowing ground, 10 acres of woodland, four acres by Rocky Swamp, 110 acres and one quarter from the last division, 51.5 acres in the thousand acres near Dedham, six acres, 16.5 acres, 1.25 acre, 3 acres of woodland, 4 acres of fresh meadow, 13 acres and 20 rods of land, wood and pasture. 


In 1640 he took in a servant, Samuel Hefford, for three years. There are records of his various land transactions and payments for his military and civic service.


In March 1645, John Johnson’s house caught fire, an event that was recorded in various people’s diaries. He stored gunpowder on the property and the explosion when it caught fire was thought to be an earthquake when it shook houses as far as Cambridge. 


John Johnson of Roxbury wrote his will 30 Sept 1659, which was proved 15 October 1659. To his loving wife he left his dwelling house, certain lands he’d already given her and 60 pounds. After her decease, the house and lands as well as any residue of his estate, were to go equally divided to his five children, with his eldest son to have a double portion. He left five pounds each to his grandchildren who had lived with him, Elizabeth and Mehitabel Johnson. He mentioned 55 acres he received in the third division  that he had formerly given to sons Isaac Johnson and Robert Pepper (Robert would be his son-in-law). 


John Johnson died 30 September 1659 at Roxbury, Massachusetts, aged about 71 years. Roxbury Church Records record his death as “John Johnson, Surveyor General of all the arms, died & was buried the day following.” 


His inventory was presented 15 October 1659 and totaled over 623 pounds of which more than 350 was in real estate. Also in his inventory were two fowling pieces and one cutlass worth 2 pounds. Not surprisingly, his inventory included two Bibles, one psalm book and eight additional books, so he was a man who could read with some education. However, he signed his will with his mark, but perhaps that was due to age or infirmity. 


Grace Negrus Johnson wrote her will 21 December 1671, proved 29 Dec 1671. She left her estate to her brothers Jonathan and Benjamin Negrus. 


Sources:


Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1620-1640, Boston, 1930, Reprint c. 2006, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD


Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700


Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995


Ray G. Hulburt, “Capt. John Johnson and Wife Margery of Roxbury—Who Were They?” The American Genealogist, Vol. 22, 1945, p, 47-49


Paul Franklin Johnson, editor, Genealogy of Captain John Johnson of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Generations I to XIV, 1945