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, November 12, 2023

Samuel Freeman (1638-1712) of Watertown and Eastham and His Wife Mercy Southworth (1638-1712)

Samuel Freeman was born 11 May 1638 at Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel and Apphia (Quick). He was about six years old when his parents divorced, something that was highly unusual at the time. It seems the divorce did not hurt his mother’s reputation as she married, second, Plymouth Colony Governor Thomas Prence of Eastham. 

Samuel married Mercy Southworth on 12 May 1658 at Eastham (MD 6:201). Mercy was born 11 May 1638 at Duxbury, the daughter of Constant and Elizabeth (Collier) Southworth. Mercy’s parents were both from prominent Plymouth and Duxbury families. I wrote about Constant and Elizabeth here. Mercy and Samuel are my 11th great-grandparents on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. 

Samuel and Mercy had as many as nine children. First five children recorded Eastham and Orleans Vital Records. Mercy/Marcy’s name is also included in the vital records but without a date. 

  1. Apphia born 11 December 1659; died 1661
  2. Samuel, born 26 Mar 1662, married Elizabeth Sparrow (mentioned in father’s estate settlement)
  3. Apphia  born 1 Jan 1666, married Isaac Pepper
  4. Constant born 31 March 1669, married Jane Treat 
  5. Elizabeth born 26 June 1671, married 1st Abraham Remick and 2nd Joseph Merrick 
  6. Edward born about 1675 (mentioned in father’s estate settlement) 

May have also had these three daughters whose births are not recorded:

        vii. Mary

        viii.Alice born 1673, married Nathaniel Merrick 

        ix. Mercy born about 1679, married Daniel Cole

I descend from Apphia. I wrote about Apphia and her husband Isaac Pepper here.

Samuel was made Deacon of the Eastham Church in 1676, which he remained until his death. In 1678 Samuel Freeman was on the Committee at Eastham to build a new meeting house. I have read he served as Representative to the General Court, but I need to find a source for this. Enoch Pratt wrote that he inherited his step-father Thomas Prence’s estate which would have been substantial. Samuel was literate as his estate inventory contained books.

Samuel died at Eastham on 25 Nov 1712 at age 74 and is buried at Cove Burying Ground. Mercy died before 17 October 1713 when she is not mentioned in the settlement of Samuel’s estate. 

Samuel Freeman's gravestone

An inventory was taken of Deacon Samuel Freeman of Eastham’s estate on 29 December 1712. It included four or five parcels of land valued at 40 pounds, household items totaled over 16 pounds and included books, a cane, spectacles, a butter churn, an hour glass, a silver buckle, a gun and cutlass. It notably lacks farm implements or livestock, so perhaps his sons had taken over Samuel’s original homestead. 

Isaac Pepper was named administrator of the estate of Deacon Samuel Freeman of Eastham on 28 Jan 1712/13. Samuel died intestate. On 17 Oct 1713 the remainder of Samuel’s estate was to be divided amongst his daughters who unfortunately are not given by name. It states that Samuel’s sons Capt. Samuel and Lt. Constant had been gifted much more than their sisters from their father during his lifetime. 

Sources Not Included Above:

NEHGR, Early Records of Boston; Vol. 7 (1853); pg.160 (Samuel’s birth)

Willis Freeman/communicated by, The American Genealogist, “The Ancestry of Samuel Freeman, of Watertown,” 11:171-179 (1934)

Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration Begins, 1995

Barbara Lambert Merrick.  William Brewster of the Mayflower and His Descendants for Four Generations 

Josiah Paine, Eastham and Orleans Historical Papers, pamphlet no. 55 in the Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, 1914

David Hamblin, NEHGS Register “First Settlers of Eastham, Mass.,” vol 6, pg 45 (Jan. 1852) 

Enoch Pratt. A Comprehensive History, Ecclesiastical and Civil, of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans, County of Barnstable, Mass., from 1644 to 1844, pub. 1844

Sunday, November 5, 2023

John Gray 1661-1732 and His Wife Joanna Morton

 John Gray was born Plymouth 1 Oct 1661 son of Edward and Mary (Winslow) Gray (Plymouth VR p 663). He was the grandson of Mayflower passenger Mary Chilton. I wrote about his parents here.

John married Joanna Morton at Plymouth 9 Dec 1686 (Plymouth VR p 85). She was born about 1667 at Plymouth, the daughter of Ephraim and Ann (Cooper) Morton. Ephraim’s water damaged will does not mention a daughter Joanna, but Robert Sherman in Mayflower Families 15:37 states that John Gray married the daughter of Ephraim and Ann (Cooper) Morton and explains that although Joanna is not mentioned in Ephraim's will, the 1709 will of Nathaniel Morton (Ephraim's son) names Ann Gray, the daughter of his sister Joanna Gray. 

Births of children of John and Joanah Gray are listed in Plymouth VR p 5-6:
Edward  born 21 Sep 1687;  died 20 Feb 1688

Mary born 7 Dec 1688; who died at age 14 on 17 Mar 1703

Anne born 5 Aug 1691; m. John Tinkham; died Plymouth 30 Dec 1714 at age 39

Desire born 1 Dec 1693; died 6 Dec 1695 at age 2

Joannah born 29 Jan 1696; m. Ebenezer Fuller; died 25 Sep 1776 at age 80

Samuel born 23 Dec 1702; m. Patience Wadsworth 

Mercy born 4 Feb 1704; m. Jabez Fuller; died in 1733 at age 78

I descend from Anne who I wrote about here.

John Gray received a large amount of land from his father Edward Gray’s March 1682/3 estate settlement as the eldest son. John chose the house and land where his father lived, contained in the two deeds of John Cooke and Francis Combe given and delivered to his father, with those small additions of land which were granted by the town of Plymouth to his father, and also two shares and a half of Punckaeest (sp?) land, being about 28 acres. 

I’m not sure if these appointments are this John or another of the same name: 

John Gray was named surveyor of highways in Plymouth in 1690. 

In 1691 John Gray was appointed constable of Plymouth. 

I assume the John Gray of Plymouth who was brought before court multiple times for drinking was a different John Gray. The John Gray that is the subject of this sketch was the son of the wealthiest man in the Colony and a large landholder himself. Also there is never any mention of this John Gray being of Kingston and when John Gray died, he is referred to with the honorific of “Mr.” which wouldn’t be applied to a known problem drinker. 

  • Plymouth Court March 1688/89, John Gray was fined 5 shillings for being drunk, the fine going to help the poor.
  • Plymouth Court September 1700, a John Gray of Plymouth was at court for being drunk; charges couldn’t be proven so were dismissed. 
  • Plymouth Court, June 1704, John Gray fined 5 shillings for drunkenness, to go toward helping the poor. 

Again, not certain if the John Gray below is the one of this sketch. His father Edward was once himself in court for outspokenness. 

  • Plymouth Court, September 1692, John Gray of Plymouth was fined 20 shillings and court costs for cursing, swearing and Breaking the peace and rayling against Mr. Cotton.” Cotton was the minister. 
  • Plymouth Court December 1699, John Gray was presented for “reviling and rayling speeches against Major William Bradford and Mr. Ephraim Little, minister of Plimoth,” bound by recognizance to appear next term. 
  • Plymouth Court June 1703, John Gray of Plymouth presented for profane swearing. Found guilty by jury and was bound, ordered to pay court fees and costs, and stand committed. 
  • Plymouth Court June 1717, Samuel Fuller v. John Gray for defamation. Defendant pleaded in abatement. 

John Gray wrote his will on 23 September 1728 at Kingston. He mentions his wife Johannah, son Samuel Gray, son-in-law John Tincom, daughter Johanah Fuller, daughter Mercy Gray, daughter Ann Tincom. His will was probated 27 July 1732.

He left his wife Johannah the use, improvement and income of all his lands which he did not dispose of by gift and his best bed and furniture for it. Also 1/4 of the hay that son Samuel will cut.


He had already gifted son Samuel land by deed, but requested him all his lands, meadows, buildings and real estate not already gifted, after the decease of Johannah. Also all his wearing clothes and his gun and sword, a silver spoon, a bed and furniture (the bed he already has in his possession).

Samuel was to make sure John's daughter Marcy was paid what is due to the estate (30 pounds) by bond from his son-in-law John Tincom. He was also to allow daughters Marcy Gray and Johanah Fuller to pass over the land left to him. 

Also to Marcy above what he had already deeded her as a gift: a bed, bolster bedstead, suit of curtains, two pairs of sheets, a pair of blankets, two curtains, two pillows and curtain rods, two cows, chest of drawers, two black chairs, six common chairs, a pair of tongs and fire slice, a spit, trammel, small iron kettle, iron skillet, and a silver spoon. 

The rest of his personal estate: one third to wife, one third to be equally divided by three daughters Anne Tincom, Johanah Fuller, Marcy Gray, and all the remainder to son Samuel Gray, together with his pew at the meeting house in Kingston. Samuel was appointed executor. Witnesses: Thomas Croade, David Sturtevant, Jonathan Sturtevant. 

The inventory was taken at Kingston 7 Aug 1732 and included house and land worth 350 pounds; personal estate worth 211 pounds, 1 shilling, 4 pence. 

On 28 Sept 1689, John Gray of Plymouth two shares of land in the Puncateast Outlet in Little Compton in Bristol Co., deeded to Edward Gray. Nathaniel Southworth was a witness. (Note: Edward is John's half-brother.) (Mayflower Descendant, vol 34, 1937)

Mr. John Gray died Kingston 29 May 1732 at age 70. (Copy of Kingston’s First Book of Records, p. 36) He is buried at Kington's Old Burying Ground. 

Joanna died three months after her husband on 23 Aug 1732 at Kingston. She was about 65 years of age. 

Sources Not Included Above: 

Mayflower Descendant, Vol 21, page 62-64 (1919), transcription of John Gray’s will 

Torrey’s New England Marriages to 1700

Mayflower Deeds and Probates 1600-1850, p. 145, available on ancestry.com, Edward Gray’s probate

Richard Sherman, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: James Chilton and Richard More, Volume 15, 1997