Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Hometown Tuesday ~ Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts

hometown tuesdayThe year 1630 was distinguished by the arrival of “Winthrop’s fleet” which was owned by the Governor of Massachusetts Edward Winthrop, bringing a colony, well qualified by their spirit of self-denial and perseverance, to form new settlements in the wilderness. The first winter after their arrival, the food was scarce. All they had was shellfish, groundnuts and acorns to eat.

Watertown, first known to settlers as Saltonstall Plantation, was one of Watertown#3the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in the early part of 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and Reverend George Phillips, it was officially incorporated as the settlement of Watertown in September 1630. Watertown initially encompassed the present communities of Weston, Waltham, and large sections of Lincoln, Belmont, and Cambridge which was one of the largest American settlements of its time. It soon grew to be an important center for trade, commerce, and industry.

watertown sealAs early as the close of the 17th century, Watertown was the chief horse and cattle market in New England and was known for its fertile gardens and fine estates. Here about 1632 was erected the first gristmill in the colony, and in 1662 one of the first woolen mills in America was built here. The first burying ground, on Arlington Street, was established in the 1660s.

My 10th great-grandfather, Thomas Broughton arrived in Watertown in July 1635. He was born in 1616 in Gravesend, Kent, England, and traveled alone at the age of 19 to this new colony. Here he married Mary Ann Briscoe in 1637. He was able to purchase land on which he built a corn mill. The couple had 2 children that died at birth. In 1639, Thomas sold his land and mill and moved the pregnant Mary to Boston. Soon after their arrival their daughter Mary was born. They went on to have 7 more children, 4 sons, and 3 daughters. He once again purchased land and the following is an account of how he obtained mills in the area.

“While a merchant in Boston, Thomas Broughton, bought of Rev. Henry Dunster, the mills (corn and fulling) on Mistick River, on Menotomy land, which mills said Thomas Broughton built. Also bought of Parnell and Samuel Nowell, of Charlestown, for 85 pounds that farm of upland and meadow containing 300 acres, which the town had granted to their father, Mr. Increase Nowell, bounded SW by Cambridge line, NW by the line between Woburn and Charlestown, NE by Mr. Zechariah Sims, NW line between Mr. Winthrop, Major Gibbons & Mr. John Wilson.”

Thomas died on November 17, 1700, at the age of 84. Mary had died in 1665, at the age of 45.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Home Town Tuesday, Hometown Tuesday, Massachuettes, Thomas Broughton, Uncategorized, Watertown, Massachusetts

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 Amazon.com: 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.

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Here’s Your Sign #1 ~ Stockbridge Grist Mill

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Stockbridge Grist Mill sign

 

 

John Stockbridge Jr my 9x Great Grandfather, was born in 1608 in Rayleigh, Essexshire, England.  He, his wife Anne and son Charles immigrated to New England in July 1635 aboard the ship “Blessing”. In 1636 he purchased part of a Grist Mill in Scituate Massachusetts and it was the first water-driven Mill in the area. The Stockbridge family along with the co-owners the Clapp family, owned and operated the mill up until 1922. The Mill was made famous in 1817 by a poem written by Samuel Woodworth called “The Old Oaken Bucket”. John died on August 13, 1657, in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

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Where There’s A Will ~ Jonathan Singletary ~ 52 Ancestors #18

Map-of-Salisbury-Massachusetts-circa-1639When I think of “Where There’s A Will” I think of the rest of the statement that goes “There’s A Way”. This is so true in all of our lives. When you have the will to do something you can almost always find a way to accomplish it. This is evident in the life of my 9x Great Uncle, Jonathan Singletary. He was born on January 17, 1639, in Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was the only child born to Richard Singletary and his first wife Humility Dunham. Humility died shortly after this and Richard married Susannah Cooke.

Growing up Jonathan was always in trouble, both at home and with the authorities of whatever town he was living in. He appears to have had a dual personality having led a stormy life in Haverhill, Massachusetts…perhaps a scoundrel, a notorious vagabond, an antagonizer of the Puritan leaders, etc…, or perhaps the victim of religious and political unrest among the Quakers, Puritans, and other religious groups of that time period. At about age 23, Jonathan got into court trouble with John Godfrey, accusing John of witchcraft. In return, John sued Jonathan for defamation and slander. This was followed by Jonathan being found guilty and having to pay a fine or having to make a public apology. He refused to apologize, so he paid the fine. He was also placed in prison for his erring ways. He evidently had disputes with the Plymouth government for some sort of rebellion. In government records, he was described as being a “ranter” and “disseminating corrupt religious principles among his neighbors.”

Jonathan married Mary Bloomfield (1643-175) in 1661. They had 10 children over the Jonathan Singletary house in woodbridge NJnext 15 years. After getting married Jonathan seemed to settle down. In 1662, his father Richard conveyed the newlyweds 150 acres of land in Haverhill, but he put it in Jonathan’s wife’s name. Perhaps this reflected the fact that Jonathan was not yet settled due to his erring ways, and his parents felt it best to place the land in the hands of his wife, Mary. At this point, he decided to change his last name to that of his mother. In most records after about 1663, he is referred to as Jonathan Dunham alias Singletary.

In about 1665 Jonathan and Mary moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey. Here he erected ameetinghouse 2 grain mill and it appears he led a respectable life. Jonathan was not just an “ordinary miller,” but one of the founders of Woodbridge, a New Jersey legislature representative, and a community and church leader. In the history of Woodbridge, it is written: “This respected and energetic man provided leadership in founding a new community and shaping its growth into a prosperous town.”  In 1671 Jonathan was listed as acting as the foreman of a jury, and also as the overseer of the highways. In 1673 he was elected as a member of the New Jersey Assembly. In 1675 he served as the Clerk of the Township Court. Apparently, he had the will to make this change in his life.

Unfortunately, his will to change did not last. In 1677 he was called a “mad man” by the Council of War for the Achter Colony and apparently punished in some manner. Later that same year he was arrested for removing goods from Governor Phillip Carteret’s house and he was condemned for the act. At some time after this, he deserted his wife and 10 children and moved to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Here he became involved with a couple of Quaker women, including a Mary Ross. They reportedly engaged in some bizarre behavior, including the killing of a dog. There is a Court record from Plymouth from 1683, which apparently concerns this later incident. Jonathan was condemned by the Court for his actions and ordered to be publicly whipped and to leave town. He later became involved with Mary Ross in some very inappropriate way.

Jonathan traveled between New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts for the next 10800px-Jonathan_Dunham_WoodbridgeNJ_Memorial years. In 1702 he was given the power of attorney to dispose of the lands given his wife by his parents in Massachusetts. This seems to indicate that despite the problems he had there, he still maintained ties. Jonathan’s wife Mary reportedly died in Woodbridge in 1705. Jonathan is reported to have lived there another 18 years. After her death, he once again became a model citizen. Jonathan died on April 24, 1724, and was buried near his house in Woodbridge.

Although Jonathan used his “will” to make changes in his life it seems that he was not strong enough to maintain it.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hometown Tuesday ~ Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts

hometown tuesdayThe town of Newbury began as a Plantation. In 1635 it was settled and incorporated after a group of over 100 pioneers who had arrived from Wiltshire, England landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts. They were led here by Rev. Thomas Parker and his cousin Rev. James Noyes as well as James brother Nicholas, wanting to obtain religious freedom. They had set sail from England aboard the ship “Mary and John” on March 26, 1634. After staying in Ipswich for about a year Rev. Parker obtained leave from the general court to remove themselves to the Plantation. In the colonial records, it is noted:

May 6th, 1635.

Quascacunquen is allowed by the court to be a plantation…

and the name of the said plantation shall be changed,

and shall hereafter be called Newbury.

The immigrants left Ipswich and rowed small boats known as shallops to the mouthi-mon-1st-landing-stone-o3new Newbury of the Quascacunquen River. They came ashore at a spot on the north shore, east of the present Parker River Bridge. A commemorative boulder at the end of Cottage Road now marks the spot. When they arrived they found that the land was fertile and there was an abundance of game and fish. All was wilderness around them, and they spent the first summer clearing land, building shelters, raising crops, and gathering fish and berries for the winter. Each man was allotted land for a house, with a planting lot and salt meadow, the size depending on the amount of money each had invested in the venture.

i-chu-firstparish1699 NewburyQuascacunquen means “waterfall” in the language of the Pawtucket Indians who originally occupied this part of Massachusetts. There were many waterfalls along the river and the settlers built the first water-powered mill in 1636. They also constructed Gristmills and sawmills and the little town began to flourish. In the beginning, the town was one parish called the First Parish of Newbury. In 1702, the residents of the “Falls” area built a meeting house because they were so far from the First Parish meetinghouse. Thus began the parish of Byfield (for a short time called “Rowlbury”), extending for two miles in all directions from the Falls. This portion of Newbury was officially set off in 1706 as a separate parish for “so long as they maintain an Orthodox minister among them.” It was, and still is, a part of the town of Newbury.

The town continued to grow and sometime before 1709, Margaret Bartletts’ family moved to Newbury. Margaret was born on February 3, 1709, to Thomas Bartlett and his wife (currently unknown). Margaret is my 6x Great Grandmother. Nothing is known of her early years but I do know she married my 6x Great Grandfather Joseph Francis Register (1700-1783) on October 2, 1731, at the New Haven Quakers Meeting in Talbot County, Maryland.

I only have a record of one child being born to Margaret and Joseph and that is my 5x Great Grandfather Joseph Francis Jr who was born in July of 1732. Sometime before the death of Margaret, their small family moved south to Duplin County, North Carolina. She died in 1777.

One of the wonderful things about writing a weekly “Hometown Tuesday” blog is it forces you to really look at an ancestors’ life from the perspective of where they were born or where they made their home. With Margaret, I don’t have a lot of information about her life or her family. However, I can imagine the type of life that she led by the towns that she lived in. It also gives me more incentive to research her “forgotten” line and discover who she was.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

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Thursday at the Cemetery ~ Stockbridge Cemetery, Newell, Plymouth Co., MA

John Stockbridge hspic TATCThe Stockbridge Cemetery is named for John Stockbridge a renowned member of the city of Scituate, Massachusetts. There are 49 graves in this cemetery with 27 of them being from the Stockbridge family. John, my 9x Great Grandfather, was the first person buried here in 1657. His 3rd and final wife Mary Broughton Stockbridge was buried next to him in 1685. In 1849 South Scituate changed its name to Newell. This town, no matter what the name, has always been a small one. As you can see in the photo of the cemetery the grounds are lined with a low stone wall and you are able to tell the size of it.

Stockbridge Cemetery Norwell Plymouth Co. MA 2

John was born in England in1608. He sailed to New England along with his first wife Ann and one-year-old son Charles on “The Blessing”, arriving in 1635. They settled in the town of Scituate and he is listed as being a Wheelwright. He had a very interesting life here that I plan on writing about at a later time.

 

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I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

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Prosperity ~ Susanna Jackson, From Exile to Governors Wife ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #8

england_wales_1644Susanna Jackson was born in 1585 in Scooby, Nottinghamshire, England. Not much is known about her early years. We find Susanna living in Leiden, Holland in 1608, along with her father Richard Jackson and a group of people who had fled there trying to escape the wrath of King. They had been labeled heretics because they rejected the official Church of England.

Here she met William White who had also fled the persecution. They married in 1612 Edward Winslow Founder of Marshfield critical inforand had their first son Resolved in 1616.  William and Susanna were part of a congregation along with William Brewster and Edward Winslow who ran a printing press putting out anti Church of England booklets. This activity caused tensions between England and Holland, so the entire group was asked to leave. They had no choice but to returned to England. On September 16, 1620, William, Susanna and Resolved boarded the Mayflower headed for the New World. They arrived in the Bay of Massachusetts on November 11, 1620. While docked in the Bay waiting for the scouting party to find a suitable place to begin building their homes Susanna gave birth to their second son, Peregrine, aboard the ship. He was the first English born child in the colony. On December 20th they finally left the Mayflower and started to build their homes. On February 21, 1621, William White passed away along with several other inhabitants.

HS MayflowerA few months later, Susanna married Edward Winslow who had been widowed soon after arriving in Plymouth. Their marriage was the first one in Plymouth. They had 2 children, Josiah 1628 and Elizabeth 1630. Edward was a very prominent man and he soon became Governor of Plymouth Colony in 1644. He was also appointed one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England and he made many trips to England representing the Colonies. In October 1646 he left on his last mission as the agent of Massachusetts Bay and did not return for the remaining nine years of his life. Susanna died on October 1, 1680, at the age of about 85!

I can’t imagine how it would be to live under a King who would persecute or kill you for your religious beliefs. I have no idea how it would feel to have to flee your home and move to another country. Then having to make a 2-month trip across the ocean while you are pregnant and giving birth on the ship. The pain of losing her husband so quickly after arriving at your destination must have been devastating. But then her life turned around by a new marriage, more children and an easier life. I consider her to have been blessed with prosperity.

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I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

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The Good Side of Bad

close up of teenage girl

A couple of years ago I was sharing some of my exciting Genealogy findings with my then 10-year-old Grandson. He was excited to discover that President Zachary Taylor was a distant cousin. He listened intently to the stores of our Ancestors who helped to establish Jamestown. Then I told him that we were cousins with the infamous outlaw, John Wesley Hardin. That is when he got a stern look on his face and said, “What’s so good about that?”

I started thinking about his statement this morning and realized that there really is a good side of the “bad” characters we find in our lineage. Let’s be honest, our family trees would be boring if we didn’t have a few bad seeds in it. They bring colorful tales to our stories and even some lessons.

One such story is about my 9th Grand Aunt Sarah (Hood) Bassett. She was born in 1657 insalem witch trials sign Lynn Massachusetts.  She married William Basset in 1675. In May of 1692, Sarah along with her sister Elizabeth and Sister-in-law Elizabeth were arrested on the charge of practicing witchcraft. All three were transported to Salem which was about 5 miles away. They were carried there by a wagon that had bars on it to prevent escape. All three women were tried and convicted and were sent to prison in Boston.  Sarah was accompanied by her 22-month-old son Joseph and she was allowed to keep him with her. She was released in December 1692. Not long after the ordeal was over, Sarah gave birth to a daughter whom she named Deliverance as an ode to her freedom.

PilloryAnother story is from my 9th Great Grandfather Thomas Garnett. He was born in Kirby Lonsdale, Lancashire, England, December 15, 1595. He was brought to Virginia in 1609 as an Indentured Servant by Captain William Powell. Indentured Servants were basically slaves and had to serve for at least 10 years to earn their freedom. William Powell was a mean master and he abused all of his “servants”. It is said that he was also a drunk. In 1619 Thomas complained to the Governor of Virginia about his master’s behavior to which William brought charges against him for disloyalty. This Petition by William Powell to the General Assembly caused the Governor himself to give this sentence upon Thomas Garnett “that the said defendant should stand four days with his ears nailed to the Pillory” that is to say from Wednesday, August 4th and for likewise Thursday, Friday and Saturday next following…and every of those four days should be publicly whipped.” [Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619, page 12].

To me, regardless of the circumstances that each of these ancestors found themselves in, feel that these accounts bring some “Flavor” to my Family History. I actually find myself spending more time in research and writing about the ancestors that were “unique”!

What type of stories do you have in your Family Tree?

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com:   http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

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William Vassall, England to Massachusetts

map_england_1660-1892 (1)William Vassall was born on August 27, 1592, in Stepney, Middlesex, England. He was the son of John Vassal (the builder and owner of the Mayflower) and Anne Russell. The Vassall’s were of French descent. John Vassal who was born in Caen, Normandie, France about 1524 converted from Catholicism to Protestantism and had to flee France due to persecution.

William married Anna King in London, England in 1613. He was a merchant working for the Massachusetts Bay Company. He first came to America in 1630 on the Arabella and he returned to England in the fall of that year.

In July 1635 he brought his wife and 7 children to Massachusetts on the ship “Blessing”. ma bay colonyThey settled in Roxbury, but they moved to Scituate around November 1636. He was the first to build a home here. By 1637 they joined the local Church. He and Anna took the oath of allegiance to the Plymouth colony on February 1, 1638, and they received 150 acres of land for doing so. While living here he was on the committee to consider the division of lands, the committee to resolve orders, he was an arbiter, a deputy, he served on the Council of War and he was listed as one of the men who were able to own and bear arms. They moved to Marshfield in 1643 and William became a town officer.

William did not agree with the attitude of Mass. Bay and Plymouth governments towards persons whose opinions in politics and religion differed from the Puritan line. He used his influences for greater charity toward the Quakers, etc. The elders expressed their disapproval towards his outspokenness. The church of Plymouth sent him a message by way of John Cook, which is recorded in the book of the Second Church, Scituate, dated April 14, 1645; hoping he would desist from proceedings intended, and questioned if they would commune with him if he continued. He went to England in 1646 with a petition to Parliament for the liberty of English subjects.” (NEH&GR, Jan 1863, page 58)

barbadosmapHe returned to Scituate in 1647 however, being provoked by the persecution to which the Quakers were subjected, he returned to England with most of his family. Later he and Anna went to Barbados and he died there in 1657. William’s son, Captain John Vassall, sold the Situate estate in 1661, but the daughters married and remained in this country.

One of William’s daughters, Judith, married Resolved White who came to America aboard the Mayflower with his parents William and Susannah (Jackson) White.

William Vassall is my 10th Great Grandfather.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com:   http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

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