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


  1. Greetings, We are distant cousins via the Hopkins family. I am needing some research guidance in regards to what I believe is a large error in my family tree. My Thomas Newcomb married Elizabeth Cooke (daughter of Deborah Hopkind Cooke) and they had a son Thomas. Thomas married in Eastham to a Hepsibah Wood in 1720. Many folks believe that Hepsibah was from Ipswich, but that seems far fetched. I believe that it is far more likely that Hepsibah was from one of the Eastham Atwood families. To date all that is available about Hepsibah is a marriage notation. Any direction would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Roy, I feel your pain about identifying early females with certainty. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with this couple. It does seem likely Hepsibah would have been local, but I have some Cape people in my ancestry who married people from far off (for those times) places like what is now Dover, New Hampshire. If I find anything that might be of help, I'll let you know. Chris


I'm now moderating comments on this blog. My apologies for any ensuing delays, but the large number of "spam" comments have made this necessary. ~Chris