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, February 18, 2024

John Nye ca 1645-1722 and His Wife Esther of Sandwich, Mass.

John Nye was baptized 29 June 1650 in Sandwich on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He was the son of Benjamin and Katherine (Tupper) Nye of Sandwich. He was born about 1645, calculated from age at death on his gravestone. He is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

About 1672 John married a woman named Esther, likely at Sandwich. She was born about 1651, based on her age at death. Esther is often identified as the daughter of Daniel Shed of Braintree and Billerica, but I have found no documentary evidence of this.


John's father Benjamin owned land at what is now Spring Hill Road, which RA Lovell believes Benjamin gave to his eldest son John when he moved to the land on Old County Road where he built a new homestead and his mill, which operates as a museum owned by the Nye Family Association. 


Map showing location of Benjamin Nye's, and later John Nye's homestead from Sandwich A Cape Cod Town


Esther and John’s children:

1. Benjamin b. 24 Nov 1673

2. John b. 22 Nov 1675

3. Abigail b. 8 April 1678

4. Experience b. 16 Dec 1682

5. Hannah b 19 Jan 1685 

6. Ebenezer born 23 Sept 1687

7. Peleg born 12 Nov 1689 

8. Nathan born about 1691

9. Joseph born 1694 

10. Cornelius born 1697 


John, Benjamin, Abigail, Hannah, Ebenezer’s births are recorded Sandwich Vital Records p. 110. All ten children are mentioned in their father’s will; my research on them is a work in progress.


I descend from their son Nathan who married Dorothy Bryant and their daughter Experience who married Josiah Swift.  I wrote about Nathan Nye here and Experience and her husband Josiah here.


In a 9 June 1704 deed, Benjamin Nye mentions lands given earlier to "my son John Nye." 


In 1678 John Nye took the oath of fidelity. He served on the Grand jury the same year. On 10 May 1694, John Nye was appointed on a committee by the town to erect two cottages on the plain for the shepherds to dwell in. He was on a committee in September 1695 to provide a suitable person to keep school in the town that year for the sum of 10 pounds. He owned a farm and worked as a wheelwright. 


Land transactions:

In Feb 1689 200 acres at North Falmouth were granted to John and Ebenezer Nye, sons of Benjamin, of Sandwich. (Simeon Deyo) The brother had purchased 100 acres earlier. 


John Nye senior of Sandwich wrote his will on 19 July 1720, which he signs with his mark, and notes he is “grown into years” and “under Decays of Body.” He names his son John Nye Executor and leaves the following bequests: 

  • his loving wife Esther who would have use of the southeast end of his dwelling house and all the household goods and utensils while she continues to be his widow
  • Eldest son Benjamin Nye of Falmouth all the land where Benjamin is currently living and all his Falmouth land and meadow except for the New Purchase; Benjamin is to pay his brothers Nathan and Joseph Nye each 50 pounds within a specific time frame
  • Son John Nye the sheep pasture lot near Spectacle Pond, his best gun and cane 
  • Sons Ebenezer and Peleg Nye his lands near the pasture on the southerly side of the Country Road as well as the lands of the Giffords adjoining to the Springs that was laid out for his twenty acre lot to be divided equally between them
  • Sons John and Peleg Nye his dwelling house and barn after his wife’s decease 
  • Daughter Hannah to live in his dwelling house as long as she is unmarried, one feather bed with bedding and furniture, and 30 pounds
  • Sons John, Ebenezer, and Peleg Nye all the rest of his and, marsh, meadow ground, and real estate of all sorts in Sandwich to be divided between them equally with the understanding they will provided for his wife Esther by keeping her two good cows, a gentle horse for her to ride to meeting, provide firewood for her, and provide bread, corn, and meat as well as 30 shillings a year for her necessaries while she remains his widow 
  • Son Cornelius Nye 40 pounds in addition to what he has already been given 
  • Daughters Abigail Dillingham and Experience Swift 30 pounds each
  • Granddaughter Esther Nye who dwells with his five pounds
  • If his estate doesn’t allow for the cash bequests, he orders his sons John, Ebenezer, and Peleg to pay the remainder out of their own estates within four years of his death 

John Nye signed with his mark. Witnesses: Wm. Bassett, John Chipman, Wm. Bassett, Jnr, Mathias Ellis, Jr. 

(Barnstable Probate vol 4:69) The will was proved Nov. 27, 1722. 


Inventory of John Nye's estate was taken on 27 Nov 1722. It totaled over 2,551 pounds, a substantial estate for the time. It included his wheelwright tools, three guns, farm animals, molasses, tobacco, four spinning wheels, multiple plots of land in Sandwich and Falmouth, and books. (Barnstable Probate, 4:71)


He is shown to be a son of Benjamin by 9 June 1704 deed, mentions lands given earlier to "my son John Nye." 


Esther Nye of Sandwich wrote her will 18 September 1724 being in “tolerable health of body” and mentions her deceased husband John Nye and names son John Nye executor.


She left the following bequests:

  • Daughters Abigail and Experience Nye her two beds with furniture
  • All the rest of her household goods to daughters Experience and Hannah to be equally divided
  • Already had given a bed and furniture to son John

She signed the will with her mark and it was witnessed by Samuel Jennings, Deborah Jennings, Mary Chipman. It was proved 29 September 1726. 


Mr. John Nye died 6 November 1722 (Sandwich Vital Records, 2:1535). He was about 77 years old. 

Mrs. Esther Nye died at Sandwich in June 1726 (Sandwich Vital Records, 2:535). She was about age 75.


John and Esther are buried at the Old Town Cemetery in Sandwich Village:


Here Lyes ye body of 

Mr John Nye

Died Novembr ye 6th 1722 

 in ye 79th year of his age



Here Lyes ye body of 

Mrs. Easter Shed

Deceased June 1726

In the 76th year of her age 





Sources Not Listed Above:


RA Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, third edition published by the Sandwich Archives and Historical Center, 1996, first printing 1984

Simeon L. Deyo editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts,1890

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts 

George Hyatt Nye and Frank E. Best, A Genealogy of the Nye Family, 1907

Ian Hilder, George R Nye, Jonathan A Shaw, NEHGS Register, “Origins of Benjamin Nye: Examining the Sources,” Vol 158:356 (2004) and Vol 159:69 (2005)

JH Beers & Co, Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1912

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