Freaky Friday’s ~ 1630’s Massachusetts

Freaked Out Letters Funny A Little Crazy Word

I have found many, many ancestors who have married their first cousin. I have even found some who married their Aunt or Uncle. Back in the early days of the colonies, there were not a lot of choices as to who they could marry. Some of them even immigrated from a country that practiced intermarrying with relatives so it was commonplace. In today’s society, it is definitely frowned upon and in some places in the country, it is illegal!

My first recorded incident of first cousins marrying begins in 1629. Myscotland_16th 9x Great Grandfather, Christopher Lindsay (1592-1669), immigrated to Lynn County, Massachusetts from Scotland. He came over with his brother Daniel of whom I have very little information. He was wealthy and purchased a lot of land in the County.

Abigail shipHugh Alley (1608-1673) my 9x Great Grandfather, immigrated from England to Boston aboard the Abigail in 1635 along with his younger sister, my 9x Great Aunt, Margaret (1620-1669). By 1640 they too moved to Lynn County. Hugh married Mary Graves (1609-1674) in 1641 and they had 8 children, 4 sons, and 4 daughters. The oldest daughter was named Mary (1641-1681) and their third daughter was named Sarah (1651-1731).

Meanwhile, Christopher Lindsay marries Margaret Alley in 1644 and they have 3 children, 2 sons, and a daughter. The sons were John (1644-1705) and Eleazer (1646-1717).cousin1

In 1667 John Lindsay marries his first cousin Mary Alley. In 1668 Eleazer Lindsay marries his first cousin Sarah Alley!

This also makes Hugh and his sister Margaret Grandparents to the same 2 sets of grandchildren. This makes my head hurt!

It doesn’t matter how long ago this happened or the circumstances that brought it about, I find this Freaky!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Hugh Alley Sr 1608-1673 Essex Co. MA

NahantHugh Alley Sr, my 9th Great Grandfather, was born in Stepney Parish England in 1608. At the age of 27 he was sponsored by Henry Collin to come to America as a non-subsidy (servant) man. He was to work off his passage for 6 years. They came aboard the ship “Abigail” and arrived in Massachusetts in 1635. After working off his debt he moved to Nahant Massachusetts and he was the second homesteader in this area, the first being Thomas Graves, Hugh’s’ future father-in-law. His homestead was a most desirable dwelling place, with the bounty of land and sea at its very doors. He was one of the earliest and most prominent settlers in Nahant. He served in the Pequot war, Pequot_waras by deposition of Benjamin Collins and others, “the land now in controversy, called the Hope Well, was given to Hugh Alley for his services in the Pequot war”. The Pequot War was an armed conflict that took place between 1636 and 1638 in New England between the Pequot tribe and an alliance of the English colonists of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies and their Native American allies (the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes). The war concluded with the decisive defeat of the Pequot

In 1641, he married Mary Graves who came to Salem Massachusetts in 1635 aboard the ship “Hopewell” and settled in Nahant with her father and her sister Joanna. Hugh was a farmer, and lived at the south end of Market Street at Front Street. He grew 2 kinds of corn both Indian and English and he raised pigs, cows, goats and sheep. As for his education level, he made his mark on his will, but this might have been due to infirmity. His estate included books, a rare commodity and expense for someone who did not read. Thus, it is assumed that Hugh could read and write. He and Mary had 8 children.

salem witch trials signThe first born, Solomon, at the age of nineteen, was killed at Bloody Brook in 1675 having been one of the ” Massacre of the Flower of Essex,” under Captain Thomas Lathrop. Another son, Hugh Alley Jr moved to Lynn and married Rebecca Hood whose sister Sarah Hood Bassett was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trails.

On 31 March 1657, Hugh Alley was presented to the court in Lynn for being drunk. James Axey, commissioner of Lynn, and Bray Wilkins, constable of Lynn, testified that Hugh was taken by said Wilkins about a fortnight before and brought before the commissioners for being drunk at John Hawthorn’s and said Alley acknowledged his offence before said Axey On 1 July 1657, he was fined 10s. for being drunk. This is indeed the same offense — he was presented in March and fined in June. The proprietor in question is the same John Hawthorn who was the subject of a petition to the court signed by William Bassett and 12 others for his habit of serving overly-strong liquor. A later relative of this John Hawthorn served as one of the judges at the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Interestingly, the Bassett family and others who ran afoul of this Lynn John Hawthorn found themselves particularly brought before the bar in 1692.

Hugh Sr died 25 January 1673 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.