Francis Brown II

Francis BROWN II (1716 – ) was Alex’s 7th Great Grandfather; one of 256 in this generation of the Miller line.

Lt. Francis Brown was born 14 Nov 1710.  His parents were Thomas BROWN and Ann CHUTE.   He married Mercy LOWELL on 5 May 1741 in Newbury, Mass.

Alternatively, Francis was born in 1716.

Mercy Lowell was born 20 Dec 1718 in Newbury, Mass.  Her parents were Joseph LOWELL and Mary HARDY.

Children of Francis and Mercy:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Anne Brown c. 1741
2. Mary (Molly) BROWN 14 Feb 1743 in Newbury, Mass. Zebulon ESTEY
8 Aug 1765 Newburyport, MA
9 Aug 1835 in Upper Gagetown, NB aged 93
3. Capt. Thomas Brown 10 Mar 1745 Turkey Hill, Newbury, Mass Hannah Merrill
8 Jun 1769 Newbury, Essex, Mass.
26 Jun 1803 Essex, Massachusetts
4. Ruth Brown 17 Jun 1745 Newbury Joseph Coffin
14 Apr 1767 Newbury
1 Apr 1831 Newburyport, Mass
5. Mercy Brown 24 Mar 1750 Newbury Jacob Hale
16 Nov 1769 Newbury, Mass
23 Aug 1840 Newburyport
6. Benjamin Brown 14 Oct 1754 Newbury Prudence Kelly
2 Feb 1776 Newbury
Mary Lunt
Aft 1798
13 Apr 1818 Chester, NH
7. Francis Brown 1758

Francis lived on Turkey Hill, just west of Newburyport. Today, Turkey Hill Road is a couple blocks west of Interstate 95,


2. Mary (Molly) BROWN (See Zebulon ESTEY‘s page)

3. Capt. Thomas Brown

Thomas Brown was a prosperous sea captain.

Thomas’ wife Hannah Merrill was born 16 Nov 1745 in Essex, Mass. Her parents were Deacon John Merrill and Ruth Hale. Hannah died 29 Apr 1825 – Newburyport, Essex, Mass.

Thomas was an officer in the revolution. Thomas was first a private in Capt. Moses Little’s company of minute-men who marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 to Cambridge – Service 5 days. [ Moses Little was later  colonel of the newly formed 12th Continental Regiment and and led that regiment at the Battle of Bunker Hill, the New York Campaign and the battles of Trenton and Princeton.]

Next Thomas was an ensign in Capt. Jacob Gerrish’s Company, Col. Moses Little’s Essex County Regiment. This regiment reach Cambridge the morning of battle of Bunker Hill 17 Jun 1775 and although not yet mustered into service, it volunteered to go into action.  Most of the Regiment including Gerrish’s Company crossed the Charlestown Neck under the fire of British ships and marched into the entrenchments on Bunker Hill.  Gerrish’s Company was with their townsman Little in the redoubt.

Thomas was an ensign (today’s 2nd Lt) when his company crossed the Charlestown Neck under the fire of British ships and marched into the entrenchments on Bunker Hill.

Mrs. Brown with her slave Titus followed the regiment to Cambridge.  The night after the battle, she filled a pillow case with provisions (mostly doughnuts she made herself) and placed it on Titus’ back and went with him to Winter Hill to which point most of the continental troops had retreated.  After his freedom had been given him, Titus remained a faithful servant of the family until his death.

Thomas later became First Lieutenant  under Capt. Barnard of the same regiment and then Captain of the Newbury Company under Col Aaron Willard’s Regimennt.  As Captain, he marched to Fort Ticonderoga and thence to Fort Edwards to join forces against Burgoyne

Thomas Brown Sons of The American Revolution Membership Application of his great grandson Frederick William Todd (b. 1842 )

Thomas Brown Sons of The American Revolution Membership Application 2

Children of Thomas and Hannah

i. Sarah Brown (b. ~1775)  m1. [__?__] Webster; m2. 19 Jul 1806 Newburyport, Mass to Josiah Hooke. (b. 21 Oct 1774 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass.  – d. 18 Mar 1827 Castine Cemetery, Castine, Maine) Josiah’s parents were Josiah Stacey Hook (b: 29 May 1744 in Salisbury – d.  20 Sep 1829 Castine, aged 85.) and Sarah Pike (1747  – died Oct. 19, 1811, aged 64.).  Sarah and Josiah had eight children born between 1801 and 1817 in Castine, Maine.

Newburyport Vital Records for Webster: Sarah [Mrs. int.], and Josiah Hook, Esq. of Castine, July 19, 1806.

Josiah served for 35 years as collector of the port of Castine, Maine on the mouth of the Penobscot Riber and was in charge of procurements for the fort there. In those days, the position was appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

Castine Maine

During the War of 1812, from his base in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in August and September 1814, Sir John Coape Sherbrooke sent a naval force and 500 British troops in another “Penobscot Expedition”. In 26 days, they succeeded in taking possession of HampdenBangor, and Machias, destroying or capturing 17 American ships. They won the Battle of Hampden (losing two killed while the Americans lost one killed) and occupied the village of Castine for the rest of the war. The Treaty of Ghent returned this territory to the United States. The British left in April 1815, at which time they took 10,750 pounds obtained from tariff duties at Castine. This money, called the “Castine Fund”, was used  to create a military library in Halifax and  establish  Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Dalhousie is a coeducational university, with more than 18,000 students. Their varsity teams, known as the Tigers, compete in the Atlantic University Sport conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

With the growth of the postwar economy, the town became a prosperous place: the seat of Hancock County and a center for shipbuilding and coastal trading. By the 1820s, it had become a major entrepot for American fishing fleets on their way to the Grand Banks. It also prospered from the lumber industry, in which eastern Maine dominated the rest of the country before the Civil War. During this period of growth and prosperity, many of the handsome Federal and Greek Revival style mansions that still grace the village’s streets were constructed.

Castine from Fort George, 1856, by Fitz Henry Lane

But Castine declined after the Civil War. Its fleet, which once sailed the globe, now carried coal, firewood, and lime to coastal ports, competing with railroads and steamships. Ambitious young people sought their fortunes elsewhere. The Hancock County seat moved to Ellsworth in 1838

For more on this fun story, see my post Battle of Hampden and the Castine Fund

Josiah Hooke Customs Officer – Source: Annals of the United States 1824 Vol. 5

Josiah Hook Customs Collector, Catine, Maine. Josiah’s brother Benjamin Hook (1783 – 1862 ) was Deputy Collector and Clerk.  The figures were dollars and cents.

ii. Hannah Brown b. 9 Feb 1772 in Newbury, Essex, Mass; d. 1 Aug 1828; m. 10 Jan 1799 Newbury to Edward Little (wiki) (b. 12 Mar 1773 in Newbury – d. 21 Sep 1849 in Auburn, Androscoggin, Maine) His parents were Col. Josiah Little (1746 – 1830) and Sarah Toppan (1748 – 1823). Hannah and Edward had eleven children born between 1799 and 1813.

iiu. Abigail Brown b. 31 Jul 1782 in Rowley, Mass.;d. Aft. 1860 census Newburyport m. Francis Todd (b. 6 Feb 1779 Newburyport, Essex. Mass. – d. Aft 1860 Census Newburyport) Francis’ parents were Jeremy Todd and Mary [__?__]

Francis was a merchant and ship owner in Newburyport.

In the 1860 census, Francis and Abigail were retired in Newburyport Ward 3.

Edward Little (1773-1849) was an attorney, founder of Lewiston Mills in Lewiston Maine and philanthropist who founded Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine.

Little’s father, Josiah, was a descendant of one of the first settlers of what is now Auburn, Maine.  His grandfather, Col. Moses Little,  was his father-in-law Thomas Brown’s first commanding officer in the company of minute-men who marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 to Cambridge.

Col Josiah Little (1746-1830)

Edward  attended Phillips Exeter before graduating from Dartmouth College in 1798. Little eventually became a successful attorney and entrepreneur in the city of Newburyport, but after a devastating fire in 1811 he moved to Portland, Maine several years later, and then in 1826 he moved to what is now Auburn. After his father’s death in 1830, Little inherited land in the Auburn area. Little was known as “a quiet, scholarly person who was known for his devotion to the community.”  Little made many prominent donations, including the donation of a Congregational church building to Bowdoin College, and in 1834 he founded the Lewiston Falls Academy, donating 9 acres   and considerable funds to the academy, which was later named the Little Institute and then Edward Little High School.  Edward Little died in 1849.

Squire Edward Little (1773 – 1849)

The school was first commissioned by the Maine State Legislature as Lewiston Falls Academy. Little contributed numerous resources to the school, including land and money. It was renamed to the Edward Little Institute in September 1849.  When the City of Auburn was given control over the school in April 1874, it came with the condition that the school always be named in honor of Edward Little. At the beginning of the 1930s, a second building was erected. The school suffered a fire that destroyed the entire third floor in 1943.

In 1961, the building currently used as Edward Little High School was completed. It cost US$1.9 million to build.  In June 2009, the school was placed on probation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Reasons cited for this probation included “the poor and inadequate condition of the school’s kitchen facility…the insufficient heating system,” and low funding for educational resources and technology.

Edward Little’s Hussein Mohamed makes the final turn ahead of the field in the 4 by 800 meter relay

The school’s sports teams are known as the Red Eddies, with the ghost of Edward Little as their mascot. The school is a member of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.  The high school newspaper is “Eddie’s Echo”  The school’s most successful teams in recent years include basketball and track and field.

Edward Little High School, Auburn, Maine 1906 Postcard with Edward’s statue in the foreground

When the City of Auburn was given control over the school in April 1874, it came with the condition that the school always be named in honor of Edward Little.  This dedication was probably written at that time.

It now seems probably that the first public statue erected in this State in honor of one of its citizens will be the one which the city of Auburn has voted to place in the park of Edward Little Institute, hereafter to be known as the Edward Little High School. It is creditable to the city of Auburn and to the State that this distinction should be first conferred upon one whose sole claim to it rests upon philanthropic grounds. It will be a statue not to a warrior or a statesman, but to an ardent and steady friend of the cause of education and of temperance. To a public spirited man, whose wise planning and unselfish enterprise, laid broad and deep the foundations of education, morality and religion in the two cities of Auburn and Lewiston, where he spent the last and most active years of his useful life.Edward Little was born in Newburyport, in 1773, and was the second son of Col. Josiah Little, of that city. He graduated at Dartmouth in 1797, and prepared himself for the bar. His early and middle life were spent in Newburyport and Portland. At one time he was a bookseller and publisher in this city, his stand being in Muzzy’s Row, Middle Street. We occassionally find old volumes containing his imprint.

At the death of his father, who had large landed estates in Maine, he removed to Danville, now Auburn, and built a mansion in a sightly position, overlooking the grand waterpower, the value and use of which he appreciated. While laboring to develope the industries of the villages clustered on either side of Lewiston Falls, forseeing as he did from the first the grand possibilities of the situation, he did not forget to plant and to foster the church and the school. One of his first acts, after the building of a church, was to give a large and valuable tract of land to the Lewiston Falls Academy, which he also endowed with gifts of money. It is characteristic of the man that he selected the fairest spot in all his broad domain for the school, and had it planted in an ample park near the confluence of the Little Androscoggin and the Androscoggin rivers. He was an early laborer in the temperance cause, and the writer of this article well remembers the series of temperance meetings held nearly forty years ago in his drawing room; for there was no hall or vestry then on the territory now occupied by two thriving cities.

Mr. Little died in 1849. His sons, Thomas, Josiah, and Edward survived him, but have now passed away, leaving many descendants. To of his daughters are now living, Mrs. Samuel Pickard, of Auburn, and Mrs. Charles Clark, of Lewiston. His younger brother, Josiah, of Newburyport, founded the free public library of that city, and many educational and benevolent associations were benefitted by his munificence. He endowed a prfessorship at Bowdoin, which has taken his name, and now another professorship in the same college is to be endowed with funds transferred for the purpose by the trustees of the Institute founded by Edward Little.

Edward Little Statue from High School Web Site

The sculptor who is to model the proposed statue has a noble form and a benignant countenance to represent in bronze. Fortunately many excellent likenesses of the good man are in existence. Doubtless a Maine sculptor will recieve the commission, and it is to be hoped that our first portrait statue may be in every sense a credit to the State.

Edward Little House

The Edward Little House is an historic house at 217 Main Street in Auburn, Maine within the Main Street Historic District. The house was built in 1827 and was home to Edward Little. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

4. Ruth Brown

Ruth’s husband Joseph Coffin was born 26 Aug 1743 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. His parents were Richard Coffin and Abigail Hale. Joseph died 9 Mar 1769 in Newbury, Essex, Mass, just a couple of years after he and Ruth married  14 Apr 1767 Newbury.

Joseph had a twin Mary Coffin (1743 – 1829) In 1786 she married in Newbury to Edmund Knight (1744 – 1813)

Child of Ruth and Joseph

i. Moses Coffin b. 09 Sep 1768 in Newbury, Essex, Mass; d. 03 Feb 1843 in Boscawen, Merrimack, New Hampshire; m1.20 Dec 1792 Boscawen to Hannah Little (b. 10 Apr 1775 in Boscawen, Merrimack, NH – d. 04 Nov 1811 in Boscawen) Hannah’s parents were Enoch Little (1728 – 1816) and
Hannah Hovey (1733 – 1801). Moses and Hannah had three children between 1794 and 1811.

m2. Ann Webster (b. 1770 in Salisbury, Merrimack, New Hampshire) Moses and Ann had three more children between 1815 and 1818.

5. Mercy Brown

Mercy’s husband Jacob Hale was born 13 Sep 1746 – Essex, Mass. His parents were Jacob Hale and Mary March. Jacob died 16 Oct 1805 – Newburyport, Essex, Mass.

Children of Mercy and Jacob:

i. Jacob Hale b. 3 Aug 1772 in Newburyport, Essex, Mass.; d. 18 Mar 1836 in Newburyport m.28 Aug 1794 Newburyport to Mary “Polly” Hoyt (b. 776 in of Newburyport = d. 12 Oct 1836 Newburyport) Jacob and Mary had seven children born between 1795 and 1815

ii. Joseph Hale b. 19 May 1775 in Newburyport, Essex, Mass; d. 1788

iii. Benjamin Hale b. 7 Jul 1778 in Newburyport, Essex, Mass; d. 1858; m1. 12 Dec 1802 to Abigail Peverly Greenleaf (b. 18 Feb 1782 – d. 18 Feb 1804); m2. 12 Sep 1805 Essex, Mass to Anna Tilton Goodhue (b. ~1782 in Bradford, Essex, Mass.) Benjamin and Anna had five children born between 1806 and 1818.

Benjamin’s great grandson was the famous astronomer George Emery Hale

Son – Benjamin Ellery Hale (b. 06 Dec 1809 Bradford, MA- d. 4 Dec 1877 in CT)
Grandson – William Ellery Hale (b. 08 Apr 1836 Bradford – d. Nov 1898 in Chicago)
Great Grandson – George Ellery Hale (b. 29 Jun 1868 in Chicago – d. 21 Feb 1938 in Pasadena)

George Ellery Hale 1905

Hale discovered that sunspots were magnetic and demonstrated a strong tendency for east-west alignment of magnetic polarities in sunspots, with mirror symmetry across the solar equator; and that the polarity in each hemisphere switched orientation from one sunspot cycle to the next. This systematic property of sunspot magnetic fields is now commonly referred to as “Hale’s law.”

Palomar Observatory and Hale Telescope Dome

Hale  founded a number of significant astronomical observatories, including Yerkes ObservatoryMount Wilson ObservatoryPalomar Observatory, and the Hale Solar Laboratory.

iv. Polly Hale b. 1 Sep 1780 in Newburyport, Essex, Mass.

6. Benjamin Brown

Benjamin’s first wife Prudence Kelly was born 17 Apr 1753 in Chester, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Her parents were John Kelly and Hannah Hale. Prudence died in 9 Sep 1798 in Chester, Rockingham, New Hampshire.

Benjamin’s second wife to be Mary Lunt was born 27 Jul 1753. Mary died 13 Mar 1838. I found a marriage record between a Benjamin Brown and a Mary Lunt dated 27 Jan 1790 which conflicts with Prudence’s commonly reported date of death.

Mr. Brown was a merchant of high standing in Chester, NH.

Children of Benjamin and Prudence

i. Nancy Brown b. 20 Oct 1776; d. 27 Apr 1799; m. Henry Sweetser (b. 4 Aug 1768 in Charlestown, Mass – d. 28 Jan 1847 in Concord, NH) After Nancy died, Henry married 3 Aug 1809 in Concord, NH to Susannah West (b. 22 Mar 1786 in Concord, NH – d. 2 Aug 1861 in Concord, NH) and had seven children born between 1810 and 1828 including Nancy Brown Sweetser b: 1 Jan 1813 in Chester, NH.

ii. Mercy Brown b. 18 Apr 1778 Newbury, Essex, Mass.; d. 8 Mar 1802; m. Daniel Whittier French (b. 22 Feb 1769 in Epping, Rockingham, New Hampshire – d. 15 Oct 1840 in Chester, Rockingham, New Hampshire) Daniel’s parents were Gould French (1741 – 1823) and Dorothy Whittier (1745 – 1804). After Mercy died, Daniel married 30 Jun 1805 to Betsey Van Mater Flagg (12 Feb 1778 in Chester, Rockingham, New Hampshire – d. 23 Apr 1812 ) and had four children between 1806 and 1811. Finally, on 6 Nov 1812 Daniel married Sarah Wingate Flagg (b. 31 May 1782 in Chester, Rockingham, New Hampshire – d. 18 Dec 1878) and had five more children between 1813 and 1821.

Mercy and Daniel had one child Benjamin Brown French, b. Sept. 4, 1800, a man of considerable prominence and influence in Washington, D. C . for many years, till his death, 1870;

Commissioner of Public Buildings, Benjamin Brown French, succeeded William S. Wood in the fall of 1861. After his appointment French wrote in his diary on September 8: “I was at the President’s and saw Mrs. Lincoln and the President. Mrs. L. expressed her satisfaction at my appointment, and I hope and trust she and I shall get along quietly. I certainly shall do all in my power to oblige her and make her comfortable. She is evidently a smart, intelligent woman, and likes to have her own way pretty much. I was delighted with her independence and her lady-like reception of me. Afterwards I saw the President and he received me very cordially.”

Benjamin Brown French (1800-1870) Photographed by Matthew B. Brady

It was a challenge for Mary Todd Lincoln, a “westerner”, to serve as her husband’s First Lady in Washington, D.C., a political center dominated by eastern and southern culture. Lincoln was regarded as the first “western” president, and Mary’s manners were often criticized as coarse and pretentious.   It was difficult for her to negotiate White House social responsibilities and rivalries, spoils-seeking solicitors, and baiting newspapers  in a climate of high national intrigue in Civil War Washington.

Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882).  Benjamin Brown French helped with her unpopular White House decorations

Mary Lincoln suffered from severe headaches, described as migraines, throughout her adult life as well as protracted depression  During her White House years, she also suffered a head injury in a carriage accident, after which her headaches seemed to become more frequent.  A history of mood swings, fierce temper, public outbursts throughout Lincoln’s presidency, as well as excessive spending, has led some historians and psychologists to speculate that Mary suffered from bipolar disorder.

Responsible for hosting many social functions, she has often been blamed by historians for spending too much on the White House. She reportedly felt that it was important to the maintenance of prestige of the Presidency and the Union during the Civil War.

Once a Democrat, Benjamin Brown French was clerk of the House when Congressman Lincoln arrived in Washington in 1847; Lincoln’s vote helped defeat him for reelection.

Benjamin B. French, Grand Master of the Masons, laying cornerstone of Washington Monument, July 4, 1848 Color Lithograph c1893

A prominent Washington Republican, he served as marshal of the first Lincoln Inaugural and as general factotum to the President’s aides in the early days of the Lincoln Administration. He worked hard to ingratiate himself with the Lincoln in order to get the public buildings post – even writing a long poem for Mrs. Lincoln. He was the deputy to Marshal Ward Hill Lamon at the dedication of the Gettysburg Battlefield for which he composed a funeral dirge that was sung at the ceremony. He also served the factotum who introduced Mrs. Lincoln at receptions in the Blue Room. “Every Saturday from 1 to 3 M. & every Tuesday from 1/2 past 8 to 1/2 past 10, I am required, as an official duty, to be at the President’s to introduce visitors to Mrs. Lincoln. It is a terrible bore, but, as a duty I must do it…”2 In 1865, he oversaw the White House preparations for President Lincoln’s funeral—including the design of the catafalque.

Perhaps French’s most important function was to oversee the expenditures for the White House redecorating. He had to find a way to pay the excess bills that had been accumulated under his predecessor, William S. Wood. On December 16, 1861, French recorded in his diary the events of the previous weekend: “Mrs. Lincoln sent down for me to go up and see her on urgent business. I could not go, of course, but sent word I would be up by 9 A.M. Saturday. Although suffering with a severe headache I went & had an interview with her, and with the President, in relation to the overrunning of the appropriation for furnishing the house, which was done, by the law, ‘under the President.’ The money was actually expended by Mrs. Lincoln, & she was in much tribulation, the President declaring he would not approve the bills overrunning the $20,000 appropriated. Mrs. L. wanted me to see him & endeavor to persuade him to give his approval to the bills, but not to let him know that I had seen her!”

Although the President was infuriated by the overspending, French arranged a deficiency appropriation from Congress of $4500 and to shift funds from other Washington projects to cover Mrs. Lincoln’s spending spree.

French’s whole family was involved in preparing for Lincoln’s funeral. Anthony Pitch wrote: “Benjamin Brown French’s son, Ben, an engineer, had personally built the pine catafalque to hold the coffin. French’s wife, Mary, had sewn and trimmed the black cloth cover.

iii. Hannah Brown b. 5 Feb 1780; d. 13 May 1863 Springfield, Illinois; m. as his second wife Deacon Jacob Mitchell (b. 3 Dec 1763 – d. 14 Feb 1848 in North Yarmouth, Cumberland, Maine). Jacob’s parents were David Mitchell (1728 – 1796) and Lucretia Loring (1742 – 1809). Jacob was a farmer of Yarmouth, Maine. Jacob first married 23 Sep 1786 in North Yarmouth to Phebe Buxton (b. 22 Aug 1764 – d. 9 Apr 1812 in North Yarmouth) Jacob and Phebe had seven children born between 1787 and 1802.

Hannah and Jacob had the following children: Phebe Buxton (Mitchell), d. young; Benjamin Francis (Mitchell), d. in Memphis, Tenn., during the war; his wife and children are living in Missouri; two of the sons are preachers; Samuel Woodbury (Mitchell), ni., but has no children; has been pastor, 1890, of a Congregational church in Columbia, Tenn., for 24 years. He first learned the printer’s art in the Christian Mirror office in Portland, Me., obtained a liberal education, and became prof, of languages in Jackson college, Columbia, Tenn., which office he tilled some twelve years before he entered the ministry; Asa Cuminings (Mitchell), was civil engineer on the Portland & Ogdensbnrg railroad, after which he kept a drugstore in Bellows Falls. VT, where he died 1885. His eldest son Frank continued the business; Mary Elizabeth (Mitchell), d. in Columbia, Tenn., about 1863.

iv. Lydia Brown b. 6 Feb 1782 in Chester, Rockingham, New Hampshire; d. 23 Feb 1811 in Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; m. Hon., Toppan Robie (b. 27 Jan 1782 in Candia, Rockingham, New Hampshire – d. 14 Jan 1871 in Gorham, Maine) Toppan’s parents were Edward Robie (1746 – 1837) and Sarah Smith (1754 – 1843) Lydia and Toppan had two children, Harriet (b. 1805) and Francis (b. 1809)

After Lydia died, Toppan married 17 Sep 1811 to Sarah Thaxter Lincoln (b. 12 May 1793 in Hingham, Mass – d. 23 Apr 1828 in Gorham, Cumberland, Maine) and had three more children between 1812 and 1822. Finally, Toppan married 25 Oct 1828 to Eliza Stevens (b. ~ 1783 in Maine – d. 2 Nov 1865) Eliza had first married Capt. William Cross.

Toppan was a gentleman of property and standing in Gorham, Maine. In the 1850 census, his real estate was valued at $10,000, but he had already given most of his fortune away.

Toppan’s son Frederick Robie (wiki) (1822 – 1912) served 1882 -1885 as the 39th Governor of Maine. During the American Civil War, Robie accepted an appointment from President Lincoln as Paymaster of United States Volunteers. He served with the Potomac army from 1861 to 1863. He then was transferred to Boston as Chief Paymaster of the Department of New England. He later served in Maine administering the final payments of discharged soldiers.

Here is the full text of “Memorial of Hon. Toppan Robie” from

Some extended excerpts: Toppan’s grandfather was Samuel, son of Ichabod, son of John Robie, who came to this country from England and settled in the town of Atkinson, NH about 1660. Mr. Robie’s mother was the daughter of John Smith and Sarah Toppan, of Hampton, NH. Hence, through his maternal grandmother came his somewhat peculiar christian name.

His parents removed from Chester, NH, to Candia in 1780, and when he was about four years old they returned to Chester, where they lived the remainder of their days. His father died at the age of 92, his mother at 89.

His early opportunities for acquiring even a common school education were limited. When eight or nine years old he went to live with his grandmother Smith — then Webster, by her second marriage ; being a great favorite with her, partly no doubt on account of his christian name. He remained the greater part of the time until he was fourteen with her and her son Edmund Webster, who was perhaps the most active and influential merchant in the town. He attended the town school when there was one, and was occasionally sent by his uncle to a private school, where he was taught only reading, writing and arithmetic.

But it was during these years that his future course was shaped. Being a favorite in the family and familiar with his uncle he spent a great deal of time in his store, where his natural inclination to mercantile pursuits was developed and fostered. At the age of fourteen he went to Haverhill, Mass., and was there employed in a store by Capt. Cotton B. Brooks, afterwards a successful merchant of Portland, where he died in 1834.

In March, 1799, when 17 years of age he came to Gorham, a friend in Haverhill having procured a situation for him as clerk in the store of the late John Horton. He remained with Mr. Horton but a few months, and then went into the employ of the late Dan’l Cressey, who was at that time the principal trader in Gorham, and with whom he continued until September, 1802, when, before he was twenty-one years of age, in company with the late Sewall Lancaster, he commenced business for himself. During these years of clerkship his compensation was from $50 to $216 per year and board. Yet from this, by strict economy and careful husbanding of his earnings, he had laid by a very respectable amount, which he had as his own to use in commencing business.

[Gorham is named for our ancestor Capt. John GORHAM (1620 – 1676) Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather three times over, through his daughters Desire and Temperance and his son James.  John died  5 Feb 1675/76 after being wounded 15 Nov 1675 in the Great Swamp Fight (see my post) in King Phillip’s War.  He was wounded by having his powder horn shot which split against his side, and he was severely weakened further from exposure. He died of the resulting fever.

Gorham, 11 miles west of Portland, was first called Narragansett Number 7, it was one of seven townships granted by the Massachusetts General Court to soldiers (or their heirs) who had fought in the Narragansett War of 1675.  The population was 14,141 at the 2000 census. Gorham is home to the University of Southern Maine, with roots to Toppan Robie as you'll see later.]

Mr. Cressey had confidence in him, trusted his business with him,, and often sent him, young as he was, to Boston to make his stated purchases for him. This, at a time when the purchase money of thousands of dollars was carried on the person, and the journey was made on horseback, the goods to be purchased a general assortment, for a variety of customers, requiring no ordinary skill and judgment in selection, and shrewdness in buying, was a delicate and responsible commission ; yet it was executed by young Robie in a manner which not only gave satisfaction to his employer, but established an acquaintance and standing among merchants in Boston, Avhich were of great advantage to him when he commenced business in his own name.

In 1804 Toppan took his brother, Thomas S. Robie, then a lad of thirteen, into his store, where he was employed in various capacities, from that of shop boy to the position of chief clerk until 1815, when the two brothers went into partnership as retail merchants, and for more than twenty years carried on business under the name of T. & T. S. Robie, in the store occupied at Toppan’s death by their successors, Messrs. Ridlon & Card. Never were two persons better fitted to conduct business together than these two brothers. Capt. Robie frequently declared, ” never did two brothers get along more cordially and pleasantly than we did from beginning to end.”

He competed largely and successfully with the merchants of Portland for the extension trade, not only of neighboring towns in this State, but also for that of all Northern NH and North Eastern VT., a region then known as the “Coos Country,” [today Coos County NH (two syllables) covers the the state's northern panhandle] whose natural market before the building of rail roads, was Portland. For those distant and desirable customers, his business became largely wholesale business, both in the purchase of their produce, and in the sale of goods with which they reloaded their teams. Coming as they often did, especially in Winter, in companies of from twenty to sLxty or more teams, the traffic with them became most important, lucrative and demanding.

During the war of 1812 he was Captain of a company of militia, and when, in 1814, it was supposed that Portland was in danger of invasion, and among other troops Gen. Irish’s brigade was ordered there, Capt. Robie marched “to the front,” at the head of his company.

After the death of his brother in 1838, Mr. Robie continued in trade a few years, and then withdrew from active participation in his mercantile business to focus on his property and philanthropic pursuits.

He was six years a representative of the town at the General Court of Massachusetts. In 1820-21 he was representative in the Legislature of Maine, and in 1837 a member of Gov. Kent’s Executive Council. In politics, commencing as a Federalist, lie was afterwards an ardent Whig, and in latter years an equally earnest Republican. For many years he was treasurer both of the parish and of their ministerial fund. He was also one of the Trustees of Gorham Academy for more than fifty years — for many
years their treasurer — and contributed often to aid the institution. Today, it is the University of Southern Maine.

Toppan was trustee of the Gorham Academy for 50 years

Though not by nature a generous man, certainly not impulsively so, he dispensed very liberal sums in public and private benefactions, as in the instance already alluded to of his contribution to the Ministerial Fund and in aid of the Academy, in his gifts to the town of the soldier’s monument and a town clock, and a donation made by him on his 80th birth-day of $85,000 to the Congregational Church and Parish of Chester.

Since he was eighty years old he has cleared and prepared for tillage some ten acres of wood and pasture land. In the summer months when the early — six o’clock — morning train from Gorham to Portland passed his newly purchased land we have often seen the venerable old man at work there, hatchet in hand, endeavoring, by cutting and burning, to exterminate the juniper bushes growing there, intruders to which he seemed to have special dislike, as symbolical of uselessness, waste and neglect.

v. Francis Brown b. 11 Jan 1784 Chester, NH – 27 Jul 1820); m. 11 Feb 1811 to Elizabeth Gilman daughter of Rev. Tristram Gilman of Yarmouth, Me., a lady of fine intellectual powers and devoted Christian character.

(wiki) served as the president of Dartmouth College from September, 1815 to July, 1820.

vi. Prudence Brown b. 3 Apr 1786 Chester, NH.; d. 28 May 1871 West Springfield, Hampden, Mass.; m. 31 Oct 1811 Chester, NH. to David Thurston (b. 6 Feb 1779 Rowley, Essex, Mass. – d. 7 May 1865 Litchfield, Lincoln, Maine) David’s parents were David Thurston and Mary Bacon.

Francis Brown (1784 – 1820)

Francis graduated from the College in 1805 and from 1806–1809 held a tutorship there. He also served a pastor in a Congregational church in North Yarmouth, Maine.. Brown was removed from his presidency at the College as part of the actions that resulted in the Dartmouth College case, but was reinstated following the 1819 decision in favor of the College.

A pastor from North Yarmouth, Maine, he presided over Dartmouth College during the famous Supreme Court hearing of Trustees of Dartmouth College v. William H. Woodward or, as it is more commonly called, the Dartmouth College Case.

Dartmouth College Shield

Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518 (1819), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case dealing with the application of the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution to private corporations. The case arose when the president of Dartmouth College was deposed by its trustees, leading to the New Hampshire legislature attempting to force the college to become a public institution and thereby place the ability to appoint trustees in the hands of the governor. The Supreme Court upheld the sanctity of the original charter of the college, which pre-dated the creation of the State. The decision settled the nature of public versus private charters and resulted in the rise of the American business corporation.

The contest was a pivotal one for Dartmouth and for the newly independent nation. It tested the contract clause of the Constitution and arose from an 1816 controversy involving the legislature of the state of New Hampshire, which amended the 1769 charter granted to Eleazar Wheelock, making Dartmouth a public institution and changing its name to Dartmouth University. Under the leadership of President Brown, the Trustees resisted the effort and the case for Dartmouth was argued by Dartmouth alumnus  Daniel Webster, before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818.

Daniel Webster Pleads Dartmouth Case –  Displayed in Thayer Dining Hall   Robert Burns painted it in 1962 in acccordance with the will of Col. Henry Nelson Teague 1900

Webster argued the college’s case against William H. Woodward, the state-approved secretary of the new board of trustees. Webster’s speech in support of Dartmouth was so moving that it apparently helped convince Chief Justice John Marshall, also reportedly bringing tears to Webster’s eyes.

Dartmouth College Case Stamp Issued 1969

Webster’s legendary claim, “This, sir, is my case! It is the case not merely of that humble institution; it is the case of every college in our land! … [I]t is, sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it,” earned him a national reputation and Dartmouth a clear victory.

The Dartmouth case helped establish Daniel Webster’s reputation for eloquence and persuasiveness.   A scene from the classic movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), based upon the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, in which Daniel Webster bests Satan in a jury trial to save the soul of New Hampshireman Jabez Stone.   In this scene Daniel Webster addresses a jury of the damned, all villains of American history.  Tellingly, Jabez was also accused of breach of contract, though of the Faustian kind.  I have always thought this speech one of the most eloquent statements of what it means to be an American.  Go here to read the passage in the Stephen Vincet Benet’s short story.

The jury of the damned in the film is slightly altered from the original, as revealed in the following dialogue:

Scratch: Captain Kidd, he killed men for gold. Simon Girty, the renegade; he burned men for gold. Governor Dale, he broke men on the wheel. Asa, the Black Monk, he choked them to death. Floyd Ireson and Stede Bonnet, the fiendish butchers. Walter Butler, the king of the massacre. Big and Little Harp, robbers and murderers. Teach, the cutthroat. Morton, the vicious lawyer. And General Benedict Arnold, you remember him, no doubt.
Webster: A jury of the damned.
Scratch: Dastards, liars, traitors, knaves.
Webster: This is monstrous.
Scratch: You asked for a jury trial, Mr Webster. Your suggestion – the quick or the dead.
Webster: I asked for a fair trial.
Scratch: Americans all.

In the original story, Webster regrets Benedict Arnold’s absence, but in the film, he is present and Webster objects, citing him as a traitor and therefore not a true American. His objection is dismissed by the judge.

Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the historic decision in favor of Dartmouth College, thereby paving the way for all American private institutions to conduct their affairs in accordance with their charters and without interference from the state. In a letter following the proceedings, Justice Joseph Story explained “the vital importance to the well-being of society and the security of private rights of the principles on which the decision rested. Unless I am very much mistaken, these principles will be found to apply with an extensive reach to all the great concerns of the people and will check any undue encroachments on civil rights which the passions or the popular doctrines of the day may stimulate our State Legislatures to adopt.”

It was not a popular decision at the time, and a public outcry ensued. Thomas Jefferson’s earlier commiseration with New Hampshire Governor William Plumer stated essentially that the earth belongs to the living. Popular opinion influenced some state courts and legislatures to declare that state governments had an absolute right to amend or repeal a corporate charter. The courts, however, have imposed limitations to this.

After the Dartmouth decision, many states wanted more control so they passed laws or constitutional amendments giving themselves the general right to alter or revoke at will, which the courts found to be a valid reservation. The courts have established, however, that the alteration or revocation of private charters or laws authorizing private charters must be reasonable and cannot cause harm to the members (founders, stockholders, and the like).

The traditional view holds that this case is one of the most important Supreme Court rulings, strengthening the Contract Clause  and limiting the power of the States to interfere with private charters, including those of commercial enterprises.

While the outcome was a tremendous victory for Dartmouth, the turmoil of the four-year legal battle left the College in perilous financial condition and took its toll on the health of President Brown. His condition steadily deteriorating, the Trustees made provisions, in 1819, for “the senior professors…to perform all the public duties pertaining to the Office of President of the College” in the event of his disability. Francis Brown died in July 1820 at the age of 36.

Francis Brown Monument – Burial: Dartmouth College Cemetery, Hanover, New Hampshire,

Francis’ Curriculum Vitae

Installed as pastor of the Congregational Church, North Yarmouth, ME, Jan 11, 1810; elected Professor of Languages in Dartmouth College the same year, but declined; married Feb 4, 1811; elected President of Dartmouth College in August, 1815, and inaugurated Sep 27, 1815; he died at Hanover, NH, Jul 27, 1820. The Presidency of Hamilton College was offered him under date of Mar 17, 1817, but declined, May 28th. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from both Hamilton and Williams Colleges in 1819. For contributions to the literature of his profession he had little time or strength. Several of his addresses and sermons were published, viz.: Address on Music, delivered before the Handel Society of Dartmouth College, 1809; The Faithful Steward; Sermon at the Ordination of Allen Greeley, 1810; Sermon on the Occasion of the State Fast, 1812; Sermon before the Maine Missionary Society, 1814; Sermon at the Ordination of Jonathan Greenleaf, at Wells, Me., 1815; Calvin and Calvinism, 1815; Reply to the Rev. Martin Ruter’s Letter Relating to Calvin and Calvinism, 1815; Sermon before the Convention of Congregational and Presbyterian Ministers of New Hampshire, Concord, N. H., 1818.


The New York genealogical and biographical record, Volume 49

Thurston genealogies pg 425 By Brown Thurston

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William Reade

William READE (1601 – 1656)  was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.

William Reade – Coat of Arms

William Reade was born on 18 Apr 1601  in Brocket Hall, a country house in Hertfordshire,  England, the first of which was built in 1239.   (A fortnight before she became Queen in 1558, Elizabeth I was staying at Broket Hall, as shown by a letter signed by herself.) The present hall dates from the mid 18th century.

Brocket Hall, not the 16th C version, but you get the idea

His parents were Sir Thomas READE IV  and Mary CORNWALL. He married Mabel KENDALL in 1625 in Brocket Hall.  In July, 1635, he, his wife Mabel, 30; and children George, 6; Ralph, 5; and Justus (later Abigail), 18 months set sail for America on the ship, ‘Defence‘. They arrived on 6 Oct 1635 and settled in Dorchester, Mass.  William returned to England and was buried on 31 Oct 1656 in Newcastle, Northumberland, England.

The Defence left London, England late July 1635 with her master, Edward Bostocke, arriving in Massachusetts Bay October 8th. The Reades were included on the roll from her departure point.  If his age on the manifest is correct, William would have been born in 1587 and was 18 years older than Mabell.  Could she have been his second wife?  Since I can’t find any supporting evidence, I’ll choose to ignore the manifest date.

Read William 48, #78
Read Mabell 30, #79
Read George 6, #80
Read Ralph 5, #81
Read Justice 18mos, #82

Mabel Kendall was born around 1606 in Cambridge, Middlesex, England.   Her parents were John KENDALL and Elizabeth SACHERELL.  After William died in England without having appointed executors in his will. Letters of administration were granted by Oliver Cromwell, the Portector, 31 Oct. 1656, to his widow, Mabel, who speedily returned with her four youngest children to New England.  Mabel married Henry Summers, in Woburn, 21 Nov. 1660; and, outliving him, died at the house in Woburn of her son George, 5 Jun 1690, aged 85 years.

Children of William and Mabel:

Name Born Married Departed
1. George Reed ca. 1627
Hertfordshire, England
Elizabeth Jennison
4 Oct 1652
Hannah Rockwell
9 Nov 1665
Charlestown, Mass
21 Feb 1706
Woburn, Mass
2. Ralph Reed ca. 1630 Hertfordshire, England Mary Peirce
ca 1657
4 Jan 1712
3. Abigail (Justice) REED ca. 1634
Hertfordshire, EnglandBaptized
30 Dec 1638
Dorchester, Mass
Francis WYMAN
2 Oct 1650
Woburn, Mass
After 1677
Woburn, Mass.
4. Michael Reed 1636
Woburn, Mass
5. Bethiah Reed 31 May 1640
John Johnson
28 Apr 1657 (at 16)
ca. 1717
Canterbury, CT
6. Isreal Reed ca. 1642
Mary Kendall
(first cousin)
ca 1669
29 Jun 1711
7. Sarah Reed ca. 1643
Dec. Samuel Walker
23 Sep 1662
1 Nov 1681
8. Rebecca Reed 26 Dec 1647
Joseph Winn
ca 1664
29 Jan 1733/34

The first Reed was Thomas Reed, Esq. of Barton Court who was married to Ann Hoo. Their son, Thomas Reed II, the ‘Clerk of the Green Cloth’ was married to Mary Stonehouse of Little Peckham.

The next Reed was Sir Thomas Reed III. He was married to Mary Brocket, daughter of Sir John Brocket of Brocket Hall.

William Reed was born in 1587 at Brockett Hall, England. His parents were Sir Thomas Reed IV and Mary Cornwall. Mary’s father was Thomas Cornwall, the Lord of Stropshire. He married Mabel Kendall, the daughter of Henry Kendal of Smithesby. She had a brother Thomas and a sister, Frances.

William was freeman 14 Mar 1639. He resided in Dorchester, removed probably first to Rehoboth, or perhaps lived at Woburn.

In August, 1639 William sold his land in Dorchester to Thomas Clark. He then moved to Scituate.

In 1644 Willliam was made Constable of Scituate. William then bought land from his brother Esdras. This land was at Muddy River, Boston (now Brookline). William and family lived there until 1648 when he purchased a Woburn farm from Nicholas Davis.

About 1652, William and his wife returned to England where William died at Newcastle-upon Tyne in 1656. Mabel later returned to Mass.

From Sewall’s History of Woburn:

“They took up their abode in Woburn, upon land sold Mr. Reed by Nicholas Davis. Their dwelling-house stood in a pasture, called the Baldwin Pasture, on the road from Kendall’s mill to the Messrs. Duren. The pasture is now [1868] owned by them; and remains of Mr. Reed’s cellar and well are still to be seen there. But, ere many years, William Reed and his wife Mabel returned to England. He died at Newcastle, upon Tyne, æt. 69; and not haveing appointed executors in his will, letters of administration were granted by Oliver Cromwell, the Portector, 31 Oct. 1656, to his widow, Mabel, who speedily returned with her four youngest children to New England; married Henry Summers, sen., of Woburn, 21 Nov. 1660; and, outliving him, died at the house of her son George, 5 [15?] Jun 1690, aged 85 years.”34

William Reed’s will was as follows;

The 9th daie of April 1656. My will is that my wife have three score pound for herself. Item, thirty pounds apiece to each of my four youngest children. More, that my wife have the household stuff and to dispose of it: that the three score pounds which is owing to me by Mr. William Breuton in New England be disposed of as followeth, if it can be got, viz., to my wife twenty pounds, to my four youngest children twenty pounds (that is five pounds apiece), to my three children that are married in New England, that is George, Ralph and Abigail, twenty pounds to be equally divided amongst them: that when any of the four youngest children die their portion be divided among the other three, that is if they die in their minority: forty pounds due from Mr. Killingworth, twenty
pounds Mark Theaton of Black Callerton, thirty pounds from Mrs. Flora Hall, twenty pounds from Anthony Walker, twelve pounds, three pound in my wife’s hand and five pound in Mr. Ogle’s hand, forty pound more in the house; George Erington of Loughhouse and his son in law forth shillings, Gawan Anderson forty shillings; Mary Chicken als Watson four pound ten
shillings and ten shillings in my wife’s hand, is nine pound: more in the house twenty shillings in Commodotoes; in all makes nine score pounds.
The mark of William Read
Wit: William Cutter, the mark of Thomas Gibson.

Commission issued 31 October 1656 unto Mabel Read, widow, the relict and principal legatary of the deceased, to administer &c. according to the tenor and effect of the said will &c.

6 Apr 1658 – ‘The Twonsmen ordered that the Widow Read shall have liberty to take in a garden plott before her House.’

6 Feb 1659/60 – ‘It was further granted that that Widow Avis Read should have a swamp lott by virtue that her Husband was then an Inhabitant when the sayd swamp lotts were granted.’

14 Dec. 1663 – Widow Read was granted ten acres in the First Division and thirty acres in the Second Division.


1. George Reed

George’s first wife Elizabeth Jennison was born 12 Apr 1637 in in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Robert Jennison and Elizabeth [__?__]. Elizabeth died 26 Feb 1664.

George’s second wife Hannah Rockwell was born 1629 in Charleston, Suffolk, Mass. Her parents were Ebenezer Rockwell and Rebecca Kent. Hannah died 16 Apr 1724 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

2. Ralph Reed

Ralph’s wife Mary Peirce was born about 1636 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Anthony Peirce and Ann [__?_]. Her grandparents were John PEARCE and Ann TRULL. Mary died 18 Feb 1701 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass

3. Abigail (Justice) REED (See Francis WYMAN‘s page)

5. Bethiah Reed

Bethiah’s husband John Johnson was born 10 May 1635 in Canterbury, Kent, England. His parents were Edward Johnson and Susan Munnter. His grandparents were William JOHNSON and Susan PORREDGE. John died 1720 in Canterbury, Windham, CT

6. Israel Reed

Israel’s wife Mary Kendall was born 20 Jan 1651 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.  She was Israel’s cousin.  Her parents were Francis Kendall and Mary Tidd.  Her grandparents were John KENDALL and Elizabeth SACHERELL. Mary died 17 Jan 1721 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

7. Sarah Reed

Sarah’s husband Samuel Walker was born 1615 in England. His parents were Richard Walker and Jane Talmage. Samuel died 6 Nov 1684 in Reading, Middlesex, Mass

8. Rebecca Reed

Rebecca’s husband Joseph Winn was born 1630 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Edward WINN and Joanna SARGENT. Joseph died 22 Feb 1714 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass

Joseph Winn “was a soldier in King Phillip’s war, 1676, and an ensign in Phipps’ Canada expedition to Quebec, 1690. His company was commanded by Captain Ebenezer Prout, of Concord (in the Middlesex county regiment, commanded by Major Nathaniel Wade, of Medford), the lieutenant of his company being Nathaniel Barsham, of Watertown, and the ensign Joseph Winn, of Woburn.”

Children of Joseph and Rebecca:

i. Rebecca Winn b. 25 May 1665; d. 6 Apr 1679

ii. Sarah Winn b. 9 Nov. 1666; d. 23 Oct 1733; m. on 13 Apr 1691 when Sarah was 24, she married Ebenezer Johnson

iii. Abigail Winn b. 18 June 1670, d. next wk.

iv. Joseph Winn b. 15 May 1671; d. 18 Jan 1718;  m1. 7 Apr 1696 in Woburn, Mass to  Martha Blodgett; m2. 17 Aug 1733 to Mary Richardson Mary’s first husband, Thomas Wyman, was the son of our ancestors Francis WYMAN Jr and Abigail Justice REED

v. Josiah Winn b. 15 Mar. 1674  He married as his first wife Lydia Littlefield, daughter of  our ancestors John LITTLEFIELD  and Patience WAKEFIELD before October 1701. Josiah Winn married Mary Wyman as his second wife on 17 Aug 1733 in Woburn, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  He died before 10 Feb 1734/35 in Wells, Province of Massachusetts Bay, now Maine.

vi. Timothy Winn. d. 22 Mar. 1678

vii and viii.. Rebecca and Hannah Winn, tw. 14 Feb. 1679, of wh. Rebecca d. soon On 5 Mar 1699/1700 when Rebecca was 21, she married Timothy Spaulding

ix. Ann Winn b. 1 Nov. 1684, d. young

x. Timothy Winn b. again, 27 Feb. 1687;  d. 5 Jan. 1753. m1. Elizabeth Brooks; m2. Jane Belknap


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Francis Wyman

Francis WYMAN (1619 – 1699)  was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Francis Wyman’s name survives in a portion of Route 62 in Burlington west of Cambridge Street known as the Francis Wyman Road and Francis Wyman School , Burlington, MA. It also lives on in the ancient Francis Wyman House, a colonial landmark on Francis Wyman Road. Furthermore, it survives in the name of the Francis Wyman Association, created about 1900 to restore the house and preserve the early family history of all American Wymans.

Francis Wyman – Coat of Arms

Francis Wyman was baptized 24 Feb 1618/19 in Westmill, Hertfordshire, England.  His parents were Francis WYMAN(T)  and Elizabeth RICHARDSON.

Francis was baptized at St. Mary The Virgin Parish Church – Westmill, Hampshire, England

The two Wyman brothers Francis and John were seventeen and fourteen in 1636 when they immigrated and so probably came with their older uncles,  Samuel RICHARDSON (1602 – 1658) and Thomas Richardson.  [Abigail WYMAN married her second cousin Samuel's son Stephen RICHARDSONThe first definite record that we find of the Wyman brothers in New England is when the town order founding Charlestown Village (Woburn ) were signed in 1640; which the Richardsons and Wymans all signed. By that date the Wymans were 21 and 18.    Francis first married Judith Pierce 30 Jan 1644/45 in Watertown or Woburn, Mass.  After Judith died, he married Abigail Justice REED on 2 Oct 1650 in Woburn, Mass.  He owned a tannery  at the present Main and Wyman Streets near Central Square. Francis’ house has not been recorded, but John’s house was a two story frame house 34 by 26 feet with 13 windows having 40 rods of land adjoining.   By 1666 they had also built country farms in what is now Burlington, a few miles north, on what became the Billerica boundry.  He lived to testify at the Salem Witch trials.   Francis died 30 Nov 1699 in Woburn, Mass. and was buried in the Old Burial Ground.

Francis Wyman Gravestone — Here lyes ye body of Francis Wyman, aged about 82 years, died November 28th, 1699.  — First Burial Ground, Woburn, Middlesex, Mass

Judith Pierce was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England and died prior to 1650 in Woburn (now Burlington), Mass. Her parents were John Pierce (c. 1588 in England – 02 Sep 1661 in Watertown, Mass.) and Elizabeth Hart (18 Jun 1584 in England – 12 Mar 1667/68 in Watertown, Mass) John Peirce was a weaver in Norwich, Norfolk, England before his emigration. He was among the passengers on either the John & Dorothy of Ipswich with William Andrews the Master or the Rose of Yarmouth with William Andrews, Jr. the Master. These two vessels sailed from Ipswich, England and arrived in Boston 8 June 1637. Listed as passengers were “John Pers”, aged 49, weaver of Norwich, wife Elizabeth, aged 36, children John, Barbre, Elizabeth, and Judith, and a servant, John Gednay, aged 19.  Francis and Judith had no children.

Abigail Justice Reed was born around 1634 in Hertfordshire, England and emigrated with her parents as an infant on the ship, ‘Defence’ arriving on 6 Oct 1635.  She was baptized 30 Dec 1638 in Dorchester, Mass   Her parents were William REEDE and Mabel KENDALL. Abigail died after 1677  in Woburn, Mass.

Children of Francis and Abigail:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Judith Wyman 29 Sep 1652 Woburn, Mass. 22 Dec 1652
Woburn, Mass
2. Francis Wyman 1654 Woburn 26 Apr 1676 Woburn
3. William Wyman c. 1656 Woburn Prudence Putnam
25 Feb 1681/82
Salem, Mass
3 Dec 1705
4. Abigail WYMAN c. 1659 Woburn Stephen RICHARDSON
31 Dec 1674 Billerica MA
17 Sep 1720 Woburn
5. Timothy Wyman 15 Sep 1661 Woburn Hannah Wiswall
9 Jan 1709 Woburn
6. Joseph Wyman 9 Nov 1663 Woburn Unmarried
(Occupation: tailor)
24 Jan 1713/4
7. Nathaniel Wyman 25 Nov 1665 Woburn Mary Winn
28 Jun 1691 Woburn
8 Dec 1717 Woburn,
8. Samuel Wyman 29 Nov 1667 Woburn Rebecca Johnson
17 Mar 1691/92 Woodbury, CT
17 May 1725 Woburn
9. Thomas Wyman 1 Apr 1671 Woburn Mary Richardson
5 MAY 1696 Woburn
4 Sep 1731 Woburn
10. Benjamin Wyman 25 Aug 1674 Woburn Elizabeth Hancock
20 Jan 1701/02 Woburn
19 Dec 1737 Woburn
11. Stephen Wyman 2 Jun 1676 Woburn 19 Aug 1676
12. Judith Wyman 15 Jan 1678/79 Woburn Nathaniel Bacon
Before 1700
Nov 1744

The Wyman surname is very old and comes from the Anglo-Saxon, Wigund, meaning “Man of War”

Francis and John were pioneers of Woburn, Middlesex, Mass

Francis Wyman and his brother Lieutenant John Wyman were among the first settlers of Woburn in 1641. They were tanners by trade, church members and persons of much respectability and worth.  Francis and John became tanners in Woburn, perhaps having learned the craft in England (Buntingford, two miles north of Westmill, was a tanning center in Hertfordshire)  Their tanning business carried on until 1768 when it was sold to David Cummings. The water needed for tanning was diverted from a brook which was done away with when the nearby Middlesex Canal was built about 1800. Woburn became the tanning center of the country.  Francis Wyman was admitted freeman May 6, 1657. They owned together five hundred acres of land in Billerica.

Francis and his brother John both worked as tanners in Woburn, Mass.  A variety of tooled leather scabbards

Francis  and John  had an older brother, Thomas, who stayed in England and inherited the family farm there.  In 1658, their father back in England wrote out a Will giving small amounts of land to his sons John and Francis if they wished to return to England to claim it.

1640 – 500 acres of land in Woburn (now Burlington) was granted to Mr. Thomas Coytmore and was subsequently sold by Joseph Rock to Francis and John for £50 in Oct. 1667.

6 May 1657 – Francis admitted freeman in Woburn, Mass.  Francis and his brother John owned together 500 acres in Billerica Mass

1655 – Rev. Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard College,  sold 500 acres in what became the town of Billerica, Massachusetts to Francis and John Wyman for 100 pounds sterling.  Dunster had been granted the land in 1648.  Because of Dunster’s Baptist leanings, he was removed as the president of Harvard and apparently needed some cash. After some political maneuvering the pending town of Billerica was persuaded to lay out the grant which was entirely within the new town. The grant was on the border of Woburn, adjacent to where the Wymans already had land.

Between the 1640s and 1660s, Rev. John Eliot (“Apostle to the Indians”) and Daniel Gookin both worked with Harvard College and others to Christianize local Indians — who likely came mostly from the Massachusett (Massachuseok), Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Penacook and Pawtucket tribes.

By about 1666 the Indian Christianizing efforts resulted in a new “Praying Indian Town” named Shawshinock established near the headwaters of the Ipswich River in Billerica, northeast of the Francis Wyman House. Gookin retained land near the Wyman House,

1657 – The Woburn selectmen agreed to exchange 94 acres of land the Wymans already possessed in the town for an equal amount “adjoining to their land at Billerica….” Again, in 1661, Francis exchanged with “the town of Woburn..a parcel of land lying in the treasury…(for land at)…his farm next Billerica.”  That same year Billerica granted 70 acres in the same general area to the Wyman brothers, which was laid out- the return was made in 1663.

1658 – Francis Wyman Sr. in his will said ‘.. do give and bequeth unto my two sons Francis Wyman and John Wyman which are beyound sea ten pounds a piece of Lawful English money to be paid unto them by mine executor if they be in want and come over to demand the same.’

1665 – The Wymans purchased for the sum of 50 pounds, the Coytmore grant of 500 acres which was to be laid out in Woburn. The Woburn Selectmen attempted to have the grant laid out elsewhere, but the General Court in 1666 had it laid out at this time when the Woburn-Billerica boundary was being settled. It was stated that the grant was to be laid out “…in Woobourne bounds next adjoining to the land and houses of the said Waymens, apprehending it to be most convenient and profitable for them so to lye.” Interestingly, the deed of sale is witnessed by Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck – a Martha’s Vineyard Indian who was the solitary Indian to have graduated from Harvard College at this time.

1671 – Francis, John, and eleven other citizens of Woburn were hauled before the County Court for publicly manifesting contempt for the ordinance of baptism and for attending illegal assemblies of the Anabaptists. Nothing much happened and both were later active in the local (Congregational) church. John Wyman seemed to have been convinced of the ‘error’ of his ways and was admitted back to the church in Woburn and took an active part in the settlement of Rev. Jabez Fox as a colleague of Rev. Thomas Carter in 1697. In his will 10 March 1683/4 he gave them 40/ each calling them his ‘Reverend Pastors’.

Francis however always retained his partiality for the Baptists for in his will 5 Sept. 1698 he gave to two elders of the Baptist Church in Boston, Mr. Isaac Hull and Mr. John Emblen £20 each.

Whereas John Wright, Isaac Cole, ffrancis Wiman, John Wiman, ffrancis Kendall, Robert Peirce, Matthew Smith & Joseph Wright, members in full communion with the Church of Christ at Woburne, were presented by the Grand Jury of the County of Middlesex in New England at the Court in October last (1671) for refuseing communion with the Church of Woburne in the Lord’s Supper, and rejecting the counsell of neighboring churches, and all other measures for healing the disorder and scandall thereby occasioned: This Court having heard their severall answers, wherein they pretend and alledge that the grounds of their withdrawing are sundry scruples in poynt of conscience, not daring to partake with the church for fear of defilement by sin, giving some reasons of their dissatisfaction, which not being satisfactory to the Court, who are sensible of the scandall thereby redounding to our profession, and considering the directions given by the word of God and laws of this Colony, requiring the attendance of all due meanes for preserving the peace and order of the churches in the wayes of godliness and honesty, that so all God’s ordinances may have passage unto edification, according to the rules of Christ. This Court do therfore, upon serious consideration of the whole case, order that the respective churches of Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Redding & Billerica be moved and requested from the Court, according to God’s ordinance of communion of churches, to send their elders and messengers unto the church of Woburn the ( ) day of March next, where the brethren that were presented as above said are ordered and required to give a meeting together with the church there, and shall have liberty humbly and inoffensively to declare their
grievances, and the church also to declare the whole case for the hearing of their proceedings: And after the case is fully heard by the said councill, they are to endeavor the healing of their spirits, and making of peace among them, for the issuing of matters according to the word of God, and to make returne of what they shall do herein to the next county Court to be held at Cambridge: And the Recorder of this Court is ordered seasonably to signify the Court’s mind herein to the several churches above named. It is ordered that the Court’s final determination in the above named case be respited, untill they receive the councill’s return, and the above named persons that were presented by the Grand Jury are ordered to attend at the next court at Cambridge.'(3) These people of Woburn were prosecuted before the Middlesex County Court Dec. 1671 for contempt for the ordinance of Infant Baptism as administered in the church of Woburn and for withdrawing from that church and attending the assemblies of the Anabaptists which was not allowed by law.

An early map of the Daniel’s farm in Billerica dated 1668 shows two Wyman houses on land in Woburn at the present site, although it must be admitted that the map leaves much to be desired in the way of scale; nonetheless, the houses of Francis Wyman and John Wyman appear approximately the correct location in Woburn (now Burlington). By 1669 the Wyman farm had developed to the point that Billerica says a boundary dispute that what they were really after was the tax on the “great farme which the Wymans bought & (amounting to) 8 or 9 pounds p. annum.” The same year reference is made to Francis Wyman’s present habitation ” & neere the line &” and to the fact that Wyman paid tax to both Billerica and Woburn.

As early as 1672 reference is made to Francis’ “old” house in Woburn center, and in the rates for 1674 and 1675 Woburn lists separately his farm, as well as his house and estate near the center of town.

1674-75  – Francis was Selectman in Woburn

1675 – During the King Philip’s War, Francis removed to his house near the center of Woburn. At this time, he leased the farm to Edward Farmer. The three year lease is extant and mentions a sizable estate consisting of a dwelling house, barn, outhouse, cornfields, orchards, gardens, pastures, yards, and fences together with 3 cows, 2 oxen, 35 sheep, a mare, one servant and a “hair cloth for the kell.” By this time the orchard apparently bore fruit for arrangements were made for the disposition of the fruit. At the expiration of the lease in 1679, lawsuirs arose over the condition of the property and mention is made of the crops of corn, barley, hops, and 6 or 7 acres of rye, as well as 700 poles of fences in a “ruinous condition” which three years earlier had been “sufficient.”

1692 – Many sites and even some books state that Francis Wyman testified in the Salem Witch Trials that Margaret Scott of Rowley, “came to him and did most grievously torment him by choking, and almost pressing him to death, and he believed in his heart that Margaret Scott was a witch.”  The accuser was actualy Frances Wicom.

Beginning in 1892, Francis Wyman was erroneously thought by Salem historian Winfield Scott Nevins to have sent Salem accused witch victim Margaret Scott to her tragic Salem Gallows Hill death. Nevins was thrown off by the peculiarities of Puritan penmanship to believe that Frances Wycomb of Rowley was one and the same person as Francis Wyman — which she was not.

Benjamin Scott, and Margaret his wife, came from England, time unknown. They first appear in Braintree, soon remove to Cambridge, and in 1651 were in Rowley. He died in 1671, as his will was proved September 26 of that year. They had a daughter Hannah, probably born in England, who married Christopher Webb.   The widow Margaret was hung at Salem, September 22, 1692, “guilty of certain arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries.” She was arrested August 4, 1692, had a preliminary examination August 5, was sentenced September 19, and executed September 22.

Margaret Scott fits the stereotype of the classic witch identified and feared for years by her neighbors in Rowley, Massachusetts (a small town to the north of Salem). Margaret had difficulty raising children, something widely believed to be common for witches. Her husband died in 1671, leaving only a small estate that had to support Margaret for years. Margaret, who was thus forced to beg, exposed herself to witchcraft suspicions because of what the historian Robin Briggs has termed the “refusal guilt syndrome.” This phenomenon occurred when a beggar’s requests were refused, causing feelings of guilt and aggression on the refuser’s part. The refuser projected this aggression on the beggar and grew suspicious of her.

It also appears that when Margaret Scott was formally accused, it occurred at the hands of Rowley’s most distinguished citizens. Formal charges were filed only after the daughter of Captain Daniel Wicom became afflicted. The Wicoms also worked with another prominent Rowley family, the Nelsons, to act against Margaret Scott. The Wicoms and Nelsons helped produce witnesses, and one of the Nelsons sat on the grand jury that indicted her.

Frances Wicom testified that Margaret Scott’s specter tormented her on many occasions. Several factors may have led Frances to testify to such a terrible experience, including her home environment and its relationship with Indian conflicts. She undoubtedly would have heard first-hand accounts of bloody conflicts with Indians from her father, a captain in the militia. New evidence shows that a direct correlation can be found between anxiety over Indian wars being fought in Maine and witchcraft accusations.

Another girl tormented by Margaret Scott’s specter was Mary Daniel. Records show that Mary Daniel probably was a servant in the household of the minister of Rowley, Edward Payson. If Mary Daniel, who received baptism in 1691, worked for Mr. Payson, her religious surroundings could well have had an effect on her actions. Recent converts to Puritanism felt inadequate and unworthy and at times displaced their worries through possession and other violent experiences.

The third girl to be tormented spectrally was Sarah Coleman. Sarah was born in Rowley but lived most of her life in the neighboring town of Newbury. Her testimony shows the widespread belief surrounding Margaret Scott’s reputation.

Both the Nelsons and Wicoms also provided maleficium evidence—a witch’s harming of one’s property, health, or family—against Margaret Scott. Both testimonies show evidence of the refusal guilt syndrome.

However, what sealed Margaret Scott’s fate was the timing of her trial and its relation to the witchcraft crisis. Evidence from the girls in Rowley coincided chronologically with important events in the Salem trials. Frances Wicom initially experienced spectral torment in 1692, “quickly after the first Court at Salem.” Frances also testified that Scott’s afflictions of her stopped on the day of Scott’s examination, August 5. Mary Daniel deposed on August 4 that Margaret Scott afflicted her on the day of Scott’s arrest. The third afflicted girl, Sarah Coleman, testified that the specter of Margaret Scott started to afflict her on August 15, which fell ten days after the trial of George Burroughs and Scott’s own examination. Additionally, the fifteenth was only four days before the executions of Burroughs and other accused witches who were not “usual suspects” and thus brought considerable attention to the Salem proceedings.

By the time that Margaret Scott appeared in front of the court, critics of the proceedings had become more vocal, expressing concern over the wide use of spectral evidence in the Salem trials. The court probably took the opportunity to prosecute Margaret Scott to help its own reputation. Margaret Scott’s case involved not only spectral evidence but also a fair amount of testimony about maleficium. Scott exhibited many characteristics that were believed common among witches in New England. The spectral testimony given by the afflicted girls further bolstered the accusers’ case. To the judges at Salem, Margaret Scott was a perfect candidate to highlight the court’s effectiveness. By executing Scott, the magistrates at Salem could silence critics of the trials by executing a “real witch” suspected of being associated with the devil for many years.

1699  -Epitaph: “Here lyes ye body of Francis Wyman, aged about 82 years, died November 28th, 1699″ “Memento Mori-Fugit Hora.” “ye memory of ye just is blessed”

1699 – After Francis died, his son William occupied the country house with his wife Prudence Putnam of Salem. She was the daughter of Lt. Thomas Putnam and Ann (Holyoke)- two other very interesting lines.

He settled with each son at majority and in his will left his remaining estate to his youngest son Benjamin. (William had already inherited land and the homestead). Abigail is also mentioned in his will.  A copy of the 1699, handwritten, and later typed, ‘Last Will & Testament’ of Francis Wyman – with the settlement of his vast lands and estate, may be viewed here

1699 – Francis Wyman left “a Negro girl named Jebyna” to his wife in his will. Nearly a century later, four Wyman households in Woburn had one “servant for life” each. SLAVERY WAS PART OF WINCHESTER HISTORY By ELLEN KNIGHT © This article was first written for Black History Month, 2000, and published in the Daily Times Chronicle, Winchester Edition, on Feb. 24, 2000.]


In brief, the evidence indicates that the Wymans had many acres of land to farm as early as 1655. This, together with the several significant town grants as well as the 500 additional acres of the 1665 Coytmore grant indicate considerable activity in developing the land, enough to account for each brother to build a house. These houses are referred to in 1666. Prior to 1675 Woburn had no significant Indian trouble which would cause settlers to fear to live on the outskirts of the town.

The country house of Francis, built sometime before 1666, stood on the site now owned by the FWA. The present structure is an eight room, two story, center-chimney house with attic and half-cellar, that is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. While some believe the house to date to 1666, few vestiges of that era remain, and the replacement house dates more nearly to 1710-1730.

Francis and his brother John were among the largest landholders in Woburn, Massachusetts. A genealogy book about the history of the Wyman and Trask families indicates that John and Francis Wyman “were with one exception the largest landholders in Woburn.”  Here’s link to Google Maps Street View of Francis Wyman Road in Burlington, Mass.

56 Francis Wyman Rd, Burlington, Mass

He built his house about 1666 on the outskirts of Woburn, now part of Burlington. It was still standing in the 20th century.

Every fall for over 100 years, the Wyman Family Association hosts a gathering of the clan at the Francis Wyman house in Burlington, Massachusetts. The homestead still stands at 56 Francis Wyman Road, built in 1666, and is one of the three oldest houses in Massachusetts. Unlike most old, historical homes, the Wyman house is owned by the family association, not a museum or historical society. The house was originally built as a garrison, where families could flee in case of war or Indian attacks. It was used as a prison for captured British soldiers in 1775, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house has suffered through fire and damage over the years, but the family association has taken on the burden of insuring, restoring and displaying the house to the public. A fire in 1996 caused major damage to the interior of the house. They are reconstructing an old Burlington barn on the property for rental purposes, to help fund the completion of the restoration.

Exterior of Francis Wyman house with Mr. [Joshua

Originally thought to have been built ca. 1665-1666, new evidence puts the build date ca. 1730. The ownership chronology developed as follows:

ca. 1666: Francis Wyman built earlier house nearby. FW was a tanner from Westmill, Hertfordshire, England)

ca. 1730: William Wyman credited with building surviving house

April 1775: House sees some action, outbreak of the Revolutionary War.  Massachusetts Colony was a hotbed of sedition in the spring of 1775.  Preparations for conflict with the Royal authority had been underway throughout the winter with the production of arms and munitions, the training of militia (including the minutemen), and the organization of defenses.In April, General Thomas Gage, military governor of Massachusetts decided to counter these moves by sending a force out of Boston to confiscate weapons stored in the village of Concord and capture patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock reported to be staying in the village of Lexington.

17 April 1775  – Nearby in Billerica, just beyond the property line of the Francis Wyman house, is the cellar hole of the Amos Wyman house, originally John’s farm.   Samuel Adams and John Hancock, two of America’s forefathers, fled to this home from Lexington, ahead of the British troops. Elizabeth (Pierce) Wyman, wife of Amos, is said to have fed her visitors  boiled potatoes, pork and bread instead of the salmon which her guests had planned to eat at the Lexington parsonage. , and Hancock is reported to have sent a cow to his hostess at a later date in appreciation of her hospitality.

18 Apr 1775 – The lantern’s alarm sent Revere, William Dawes and other riders on the road to spread the news. The messengers cried out the alarm, awakening every house, warning of the British column making its way towards Lexington.

ca. 1823-1899: Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Reed occupy the house

ca. 1944: Harold Bennett and family are caretakers

Nov. 1996: Last Wymans live in house (Peter Wyman et al)

Interior of Francis Wyman house 1936

The house was restored by the Francis Wyman Association, a private association of Wyman family descendents, between 1899 and 1916. In 1916–the 250th anniversary of the house built in the wilderness–the Association opened the house as a tourist attration. It was again shown publicly ruding the 1930 Massachusetts Tercentenary clebration and in 1966, upon the 300th anniversary of 1666.

In November 1996, a fire tore through the house, triggered by a curtain being ignited by an electric space heater. The Francis Wyman Association and the town of Burlington organized new efforts to better study and to restore the house.

By 1997, Historic Preservation & Design’s team was selected to lead the new restoration. This was mostly a Salem-based undertaking with architects John Goff and Staley McDermet both hailing from our Witch City, supported by structural engineer John Wathne of Structures North, Inc.

The SPNEA (Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities) was engaged and it dispatched a team to help identify historically sensitive areas in the house. Warwick Carpenters of Gill, MA proceeded with a Restoration Phase I (structural work and exterior restoration) that was completed in 1999. Historic Preservation Associates of Wales, Mass., later advanced a Restoration Phase II (which focused mostly on the house interior) that was just completed in June 2011.

Following a fire in November 1996, the property was extensively researched and the house was more accurately restored to show its ca. 1730 appearance (John Goff’s Historic Resources Survey form for 56 Wyman Rd.)  Portions of the surviving Francis Wyman House (including basement walls and chimney base) may survive from ca. 1666, although most visible parts of the house are from a later ca. 1730 Georgian Period.

The Massachusetts Historical Association has approved a matching grant request for $50,000 for the restoration of the 1666 Francis Wyman House in Burlington, Massachusetts. The Wyman Family Association is raising the matching funds. According to their website at

“Please, open your genealogical hearts and generous pockets, and send your tax-deductible contributions so we can take advantage of every dollar that can be matched. Large, or small, we welcome any and all amounts, as they will be available for the matching grant.”

This Phase II Interior Restoration Plan will restore the fire damage done to the 1666 home and create a first floor Francis Wyman House Historic Museum. It will complete the work for the first floor rooms and stairway, and make the building handicap accessible.

The family association was established in 1899 for descendants of Francis Wyman to maintain the homestead as an educational resource and historic landmark. The Francis Wyman House is the oldest landmark in Burlington (originally part of Woburn, Massachusetts) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


3. William Wyman

William’s wife Prudence Putnam was born 28 Dec 1661 in Salem, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Thomas Putnam and Ann Holyoke. After William died, she married 11 Jun 1717 in Salem, Essex, Mass to Peter Tufts (b. 5 May 1648 in Malden, Mass. – d. 20 Sep 1721 in Medford, Mass.) Prudence died 1745 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

4. Abigail WYMAN (See Stephen RICHARDSON‘s page)

5. Timothy Wyman

Timothy’s wife Hannah Wiswall was born 06 Feb 1662 in Dorchester, Mass. Her parents were Enoch Wiswall and Elizabeth Oliver. Hannah died 17 Aug 1743 in Woburn, Mass

6. Joseph Wyman

Unmarried(Occupation: tailor)

7. Nathaniel Wyman

Nathaniel’s wife Mary Winn was born 1 May 1670 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Increase Winn and Hannah Sawtell. Her grandparents were Edward WINN and Joanna SARGENT. Mary died 7 Jun 1743 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

8. Samuel Wyman

Samuel’s wife Rebecca Johnson was born 1 Mar 1665 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Matthew Johnson and Rebecca Wiswall. Rebecca died 13 Sep 1734 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

Samuel Wyman Gravestone — First Burying Ground Woburn, Middlesex, Mass

9. Thomas Wyman

Thomas’ wife Mary Richardson was born 10 Mar 1679 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Nathaniel Richardson and Mary Peacock. She was Thomas’ second cousin, they shared great grandparents Thomas RICHARDSON  and Katherine DUXFORD.  Mary died 7 Jun 1743 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

10. Benjamin Wyman

Benjamin’s wife Elizabeth Hancock was born 26 Aug 1677 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Nathaniel Hancock and Mary Prentice. After Benjamin died, she married 22 Sep 1739 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass to Jonathan Bacon (b. 14 Jul 1672 in Billerica, Mass – d. 12 Jan 1754 in Bedford, Mass.) Elizabeth died 2 Mar 1749 in Medford, Middlesex, Mass.

12.  Judith Wyman

Judith’s husband Nathaniel Bacon was born 18 Sep 1675 in Billerica, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Michael Bacon and Sarah Richardson. He was Thomas’ second cousin, they shared great grandparents Thomas RICHARDSON  and Katherine DUXFORD. Nathaniel died 24 Jul 1750 in Lexington, Middlesex, Mass.

Sources: [Artistic Representation]

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal …, Volume 2 By Ellery Bicknell Crane

Posted in 12th Generation, Dissenter, Historical Church, Historical Monument, Historical Site, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Pioneer, Place Names, Public Office, Storied, Witch Trials | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Edward Shepard

Capt. Edward SHEPARD (1596 – 1680) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Edward Shepard was baptized in 27 Jun 1596, Elmstead, Essex, England.  His parents were John SHEPARD. and Rebecca WALLER. He married Violet CHARNOULD on 6 Dec 1620, in Erwarton, Suffolk, England.  Edward came with his family from England in 1639, he being the captain of his own ship, and settled in Cambridge, Suffolk, Mass. After Violet died, he married second Mrs. Mary POND, about 1650. Mary was the widow of Robert POND of Dedham, who died in 1637. One of her sons, Daniel POND, married her daughter Abigail. Edward died before 20 Aug 1680, (will proved) in Cambridge, Mass.

Edward Shepard – Coat of Arms

Violet Charnould was baptized 26 Sep 1596, Mistley, Essex, England.  Her parents were John CHARNOULD and Joan [__?__].  Violet died 9 Jan 1648/49 in Cambridge,  Mass.

There has been a lot of controversy over Violet’s last name.  Early speculation for Violet’s last name included Stanley and Wolverton. Wolverton because her children John and Elizabeth are deeded land by G.W. Wolverton.  John refers to Geoffrey as “uncle.” Stanley was another interpretation of “uncle.” Shepard’s research did not reveal a definite connection. However, John Charnold was a tanner, as was Geoffrey Wolverton. The other men involved in the wills were all from the same area in Essex. It’s possible that Wolverton was an apprentice to Charnold, which would explain a close family connection, whether or not it lead him to marry a Charnold daughter and become a literal “uncle.”

Children of Edward and Violet:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John Seargent Shepard 5 Nov 1623, Lawford, Essex, Englan Rebecca Greenhill
1 Oct 1649 Cambridge, Mass
Susannah Fruen
3 Aug 1691 Hartford, CT
Martha Henbury
8 Sep 1698
12 Jun 1707 Hartford, CT
2. Elizabeth Shepard 4 Nov 1621, Mistley, Essex, England Thwaite Strickland
abt 1646, Dedham, Mass
Nicholas Disborough
aft 1669
30 Mar 1694, Hartford, Hartford, CT
3. Abigail SHEPARD 12 Oct 1627, Lawford, England Daniel POND
30 Mar 1652 in Dedham, Mass.
5 Jul 1661 Dedham, Mass.
4. Deborah Shepard 5 Nov 1631, Lawford, England Jonathan Fairbanks (son of our  ancestor  Jonathan FAIRBANKS )
4 OCT 1649 Dedham,
7 Sep 1705 Dedham, Mass
5. William Shepard c. 1634 England Boston Harbor
6. Sarah Shepard c. 1636 England Samuel Thompson (Tomson)
27 Apr 1656, Braintree
15 Jan 1679/80
15 Jan 1679, Braintree, Mass.

Edward’s siblings  Children of his parents Edward SHEPARD and Katherine BECHAM are:

i. Edward
ii. Anthony Shepard, b. 14 Jun 1601 in Elmstead, Essex, England; d. 13 Jun 1603  bur. Elmstead, Essex, England.
iv. Edmund Shepard, bap. 20 Jan 1604/05 in Elmstead, Essex, England.
v. William Shepard, bap. 16 Mar 1607/08 in Elmstead, Essex, England.

Edward continued to be a mariner his entire life. Twice he asserts to being a mariner in deeds – to Richard Champney, Mar. 19, 1652/53, and to W. Fessenden, Feb. 18, 1679/80, as well as in his own will dated Oct. 1, 1674. Also, mention is made in the record of the steward of Harvard College 1654, of two importations of wheat “from aboard Edward Shephard’s vessel.” He reportedly carried on trade between Boston and Hartford, and probably other parts.

Colonial Cargo Ship

The baptisms for Violet and Elizabeth and the marriage to Edward are the only events found with the name Violet connected to a Shepherd.

Mistley and Erwarton are just across the River Stour from each other, not too far from the modern port of Felixstowe,  England.  The River Stour leads to several major ports. Here is are Google Map Directions of the English places of Edward’s origins.

An Edward Shepherd was master of the Samuell of Manningtree ~1624-1633, a small vessel used in coastal trade.

1636 – Edward was assessed on the tax roles of Lawford, Essex England  Lawford is only a couple miles from Mistley.  Parish records for Lawford list Edward’s children with father William and mother Violet, but there is no William that this could be

10 May 1643 – Admitted a freeman at Cambridge, MA

1648 – Edward was a master mariner

The following describes his property in Cambridge:

“Edward Shepard bought of James Herringe one dwelling-house, with a garden, abutting John Betts northeast, Edward Mickerson on the north, Mr. Andrews west, The highway (now South Street, between Holyoke and Dunster [Google Maps] ) south. And a small garden, on the other side of the highway, abutting John Thrumbull east and south, Mr. Paine’s yard west, and the highway north. And on the south side of the Charles River, planting land, 5 acres more or less, abutting Boston field east, John Thrumbull and Mr. Andrew’s lands west and south, the highway and creek north”.

Edward’s will names wife Mary, children John, Elizabeth, Deborah, Daniel POND in lieu of deceased daughter Abigail and Sarah.

Edward’s name appears in the town records of Cambridge in various relations until 1680. His will was proven Aug 20, 1680. His son, John, sold the homestead Sep. 18, 1681, to Owen Warland. Edward’s will is on file at the Middlesex Probate Office in East Cambridge, MA.

Edward’s son-in-law, Thwait(s) Strickland was a signer of the 1635 Covenant that established Dedham and was an original settler there. Dedham is on the Charles river, near present day Boston.


1. John Seargent Shepard

John’s first wife Rebecca Greenhill was born 24 Feb 1630 in Staplehurst, Kent, England. Her parents were Samuel Greenhill and Rebecca Baseden. Rebecca died 22 Dec 1689 in Hartford, Hartford, CT.

John’s second wife Susanna Fruen was born 1635 in Hartford, Hartford, CT. She first married 1654 in Hartford, Hartford, CT. to William Goodwin (b. 1629 in Hartford, CT – d. 15 Oct 1689 in Hartford) Susanna died 1698 in Hartford, Hartford, CT.

John’s third wife Martha Henbury died Sep 1710.

2. Elizabeth Shepard

Elizabeth’s first husband Thwaite Strickland was born 1625 in England. His parents were John William Strickland and Jane Fenwick. Thwaite died 1670 in Glastonbury, Hartford, CT.

Elizabeth’s second Nicholas Disborough was born 16 Jun 1612 in Hartford, Hartford, CT. His parents were Nicholas Disbrowe and Mary Gylbye. Nicholas died 31 Aug 1683 in Hartford, Hartford, CT.

The origins of Thwaite Strickland are not clearly established. Many have reported him as a possible son of John Strickland, a 1630 Puritan landholder in Charleston, but documentaion of such is lacking. He has benn variously called Thwaite, Thwait, Thait, Thwaits, Thwaites, and I suppose other variations, but I have never seen a prefix as in xxxthwaite. This name was not continued in his subsequent descendents, with the primary name of the male descendents being John or a variation thereof (Jonathan, Joseph)

Just a belated further comment on the discussion about the namen’Thwaite’ in general, thrown up recently by some study of local maps.

I don’t think anyone would ever have been baptised with the Christian name ‘Thwaite’ unless this was an associated family surname, eg, the maiden name of the mother. But Thwaite without a prefix was quite rare, I think, as a surname and the use of surnames as first (as opposed to middle) christian names was not very common, certainly in 17th. century Westmorland.

The other explanation is that he was baptised John Strickland or whatever and his family lived in xxxxthwaite. If there were loads of John Stricklands in the same area, people would start calling him
xxxxthwaite Strickland to differentiate him from the rest. This could have become shortened to ‘Thwaite’ subsequently – a full place name just called ‘Thwaite’ without a prefix being about as uncommon as
xxxxxthwaites are prolific in Cumberland and Westmorland. (And a variation on this theme would be that he was baptised John xxxxthwaite Strickland but subsequently became known by the middle, family, name for
differentiation purposes.)

However, the plot thickens, because just north of Rusland in what was the Furness District of Lancashire, about exactly half way between the southern end of Coniston and Windermere Lakes is a hamlet actually
called Thwaite Head, (at the head of the little valley which would have been cleared of forest for cultivation by the original Norse settlers and so called by them Thwaite) and the associated geographical features Thwaite Moss (a wet or boggy area) and Thwaite Head Fell, the small
mountain at the head of the valley.

And the plot thickens yet more when it can be seen from Parish Registers and maps that there was quite a concentration of Strickland families in this precise area around the 17th century.

So, although pure conjecture, I suppose this is at least a plausible explanation of the origins of the quite unusual name of Thwaite Strickland. And, in any event, as has been said before, the very name
‘thwaite’ would almost certainly have been derived from Cumbria, somewhere, sometime.

3. Abigail SHEPARD (See Daniel POND‘s page)

4. Deborah Shepard

Deborah’s husband Jonathan Fairbanks was born about  1628 Sowerby, York, England. His parents were Jonathan FAIRBANKS and Grace SMITH. Jonathan died 28 JAN 1711/12 Dedham, Mass.

6. Sarah Shepard

Sarah’s husband Samuel Thompson (Tomson) was born 16 Feb 1630 in England. His parents were William Thompson and Abigail Collins. Samuel died 18 Jun 1695 in Braintree, Norfolk, Mass,


Shepherd, Lawrence, “Search for the origins of Edward Shepherd,” Heritage Quest, 1989 Vol. 22-25, continuing.

Shepard, James, “Descendents of Edward Shepard, Mariner, of Cambridge, Mass. 1639,” NEHGR, Vol. 32: 322-8, July 1878.

Posted in 13th Generation, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Sea Captain | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Robert Pond

Robert POND (1592 – 1637) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048  in this generation of the Shaw line.

Pond – Coat of Arms

Robert Pond was born in  1592 in Groton, Suffolk, England. His parents were  William POND and Judith GORDON.  He married Mary Margaret HAWKINS in  1616 in Groton, Suffolk, England.  He came with brother John, his wife and children to Dorchester, Mass, in the Winthrop Fleet in 1630.  Robert died 20 Dec 1637 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

John was sent back to England by Winthrop for more provisions. Winthrop afterward sent his love to William Pond, who had been one of his neighbors in England. In a letter from Governor John Winthrop in Massachusetts to his oldest son back in Groton, England, soon after their arrival in America, he directs his son to tell “old Pond” that both his sons are well and remember their duty.

It appears that Robert and Mary Pond had at least a couple of children (William & Robert) that they left in England, and who came to America before 1641, maybe with Rev. Richard Mather.

Mary Margaret Hawkins was born 1596 in Groton, Suffolk, England.  After Robert died she married Edward SHEPARD on 1649 in Cambridge, Mass.   Edward was also her son Daniel’s father-in-law.

It appears that Robert and Mary Pond had at least a couple of children (William & Robert) that they left in England, and who came to America before 1641, maybe with Rev. Mather.

Children of Robert and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Samuel Pond 1617
Groton, Suffolk, England
Sarah Ware
18 Nov 1642 Windsor, CT
14 Mar 1654
Windsor, Hartford, CT
2. Sgt. William Pond 1620
Groton, England
Mary Dyer
4 Apr 1690
Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass.
3. Jonathan Pond 1622 Groton, England
4. Mary Pond 1624
Groton, England
John Blackman
Dorchester, Mass
Aug 1656
Dorchester, Mass.
5. Robert Pond 1626
Groton, England
Mary Bull
1656 Dorchester, Mass
Dorchester, Mass.
6. Daniel POND 1630
Dorchester, Mass
30 Mar 1652 Dedham, Mass.
4 Feb 1696/97 in Dedham, Mass

Robert was a carpenter.

It is known that Robert and Mary Pond had a daughter Mary, who was eleven years old at the time that her mother joined the church at Cambridge, and who afterwards married John Blackman. There is evidence, too, that the widow carried with her to Cambridge two other children, Jonathan and Sarah, though it seems difficult to reconcile dates and facts with this hypothesis, unless the transcript of the court paper relating to Jonathan’s estate, on page 3:38 of the N. E. Genealogical Register for 1853, errs in the age of Sarah.

Robert Pond’s House Built Before 1637

Robert Pond’s house stood on Cottage Street at the junction of Humphreys and Franklin, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, until 1873 when it was removed to widen the street. Jonathan Bridgham lived in the house all of his 99 years and therefore it was also called the Bridgham House. [Drawing from - The Memorial History of Boston, 1630-1880, edited by Justin Winsor; Boston: Ticknor and Company, 1880. Vol. 1]  Here’s what the street corner looks like today.

Back of house in 1870’s known in Dorchester as the Bridgham house. First owned by Robert Pond who died in 1637.


1. Samuel Pond

Samuel’s wife Sarah Ware was born Jan 1617 in Buckinghamshire, England. Her parents were William Ware (1591 – Cork, Ireland –  ) and  Elizabeth [__?__]. Her paternal grandparents were Sir John Ware (1565 Yorkshire, England – 1625 Cork, Ireland) and Mary Owen (1570 in Pembrokeshire, Wales –  Cork, Cork, Ireland)  After Samuel died, Sarah married 6 Jun 1655 in Branford, New Haven, CT to John Linsley.  Sarah died 6 Jul 1665 in Guilford, New Haven, CT.

“The English have been in Ireland, both as peaceful settlers and conquerors, since the 12th century, but it wasn’t until the rule of King Henry VIII that English interference took a major role.”  The King decided to send Protestants to “plant” or colonize Ireland in order to subdue and rule the country. Additionally, non-conforming Protestants often went to Ireland in order to worship as they chose with minimal interference from the Anglican Church of England. “According to the History of Bandon, in 1585 a group of well-to-do men from Somersetshire County, England were granted acreage on the condition they bring over settlers to work the land.

The name “Ware” was among the first group, as they had been early converts to Protestantism. This is most likely the date John Ware arrived in Ireland, followed later by his younger brother James.” From a handwritten pedigree chart among the Crookshank papers in the British Genealogical Library in London, it shows Christopher Ware had two sons. The eldest son, John, settled in County Cork, Ireland and married Mary Owen. Their descendants were known as the Wares of Woodfort; Woodford Manor being located in the Parish of Kilshanick, Barony of Duhallow and County of Cork.” John’s wife, Mary Owen, was from one of the most powerful and ancient families of South Pembrokeshire, Wales – known as the Owen family of Orielton. Her mother (Isabella Griffith) was the daughter of Sir William Griffith of Penrhyn; a branch of the Tudor family.

2. Sgt. William Pond

William’s wife Mary Dyer was born 1636 in England. Her parents were George Dyer and Abigail [__?__]. Mary died 16 Feb 1711 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass.

William and his wife were admitted to the church in Dorchester 28 Feb 1641/42.  William contracted to lay the ground-sills of the meeting house in 1655, had a grant of land in 1656, and was a rater (tax assessor) in 1662, 1667, and 1675. He was a constable in 1659 and was called Sergeant Pond in some records, so may have been an officer in the militia.

4. Mary Pond

Mary’s husband John Blackman was born 1625 in Dorchester, Norfolk, England. His parents were William Blackman and Sarah Carver. John died 28 Apr 1675 in Dorchester, Mass

5. Robert Pond

Robert’s wife Mary Bull was born 1630 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England. Her parents were William Bull and Blythe [__?__]. Mary died 1719 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass

6. Daniel POND (See his page)


C. E. Banks, “The Planters of the Commonwealth; Passengers and Ships,” p. 80.

Posted in 13th Generation, Historical Site, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw | Tagged | 9 Comments

Daniel Pond

Lt. Daniel POND (1630 – 1797) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather, one of 1,024 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Daniel Pond was born in in 1630 in Dorchester, Mass.   His parents were Robert POND and Mary Margaret HAWKINS. His parents had come to Massachusetts with the Wintrop fleet in 1630, and since Daniel wasn’t listed on the ship’s passenger list, he must have been born after their arrival. He married Abigail SHEPARD,  the daughter of his step-father, on 30 Mar 1652 in Dedham, Mass.  After Abigail died, he married Anne Deborah Edwards on 18 Sep 1661.  Daniel died on 4 Feb 1696/97 in Dedham, Mass.

Abigail Shepard was born 1631 in Lawford, Essex, England. Her parents were Capt. Edward SHEPARD and Violet WOLVERTON. (Charnold) Abigail died 5 Jul 1661 in Dedham, Mass.

Anne Deborah Edwards was born about 1640. Anne died 6 Jun 1732 in Dedham, Mass.

Children of Daniel and Abigail:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Abigail POND 5 Sep 1652 Dedham John DAY
22 May 1678
Wrentham, Mass
23 May 1698 Wrentham, Mass.
2. John Pond 6 JUL 1656 Dedham Hannah Hill
30 SEP 1686 Dedham
Rachel Stow
1692 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass.
Judith [__?__]
After 1734
3. Ephraim Pond 21 OCT 1656 Dedham Deborah Hawes
6 JAN 1685/86 Dedham
22 DEC 1704 Wrentham
4. Rachel Pond 5 SEP 1658 Dedham Matthew Stone
16 JUL 1681 Dedham
1696 Dedham
5. Hannah Pond 27 JUL 1660 Dedham John Devotion
Roxbury, Suffolk, Mass
1698 Dedham

Children of Daniel and Anne Edwards:

Name Born Married Departed
6. Daniel Pond
 17 FEB 1662/63 Dedham Tabitha Edwards (Daughter of Matthew EDWARDS)
Dedham, Norfolk, Mass
Before 1698 Will  which gives “my son Dan’ Pond deceased twentie shillings”
7. Robert Pond  5 AUG 1667 Dedham Joanna Lawrence
1688 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.
Abigail Fisher
16 Jan 1728/29
Mrs. Sarah Shuttleworth
17 Nov 1747 Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass
 3 JUL 1750 Wrentham
8. William Pond  20 SEP 1669 Dedham  Aft 1698 will
9. Caleb Pond  13 DEC 1672 Dedham Priscilla Colburn
1694 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass
 23 FEB 1705/06 Dedham
10. Joshua Pond  3 NOV 1674 Dedham  not mentioned in 1698 will
11. Jabez Pond 1 JUN 1677 Dedham  Mary Gay
11 Jan 1699 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass
Mary Plympton
22 Nov 1732 in Medfield, Norfolk, Mass
6 NOV 1749 Dedham
12.  Sarah Pond 10 MAY 1679 Dedham  Eleazer Holbrook  24 DEC 1725 Sherborn, Mass.

Daniel’s brothers , William and Robert were left in England, and who came to America after their parents but before 1641, maybe with Rev. Mather.

30 Mar 1652 – Daniel purchased of Nathaniel Fisher two acres of upland, described as being bounded by “the Highway” on the N., and by “the swamp” on the S. With this were two acres of swampland.

8 Nov 1653 Received in full communion in the Dedham Church

1654 – Appointed Freeman

1660 – Selectman in Dedham

12 Feb 1662/63 – Daniel bought of Ralph Wheelock, his estate, onwhich was a dwelling house and barns, with a piece of swamp land “called the dead swamp amongst the rocks.”

1661 –  The southern portion of Dedham was set off into a separate township called Wrentham, though the act was not confirmed by court until 1673. Daniel Pond immediately became an owner of real estate there, obtaining a grant of Lot No. 15, as early as March 22nd, 1662/63. He probably never lived in Wrentham, but his older sons took up the land and settled there.

Wrentham Town Seal

1672 – Daniel was a Lieutenant of the militia

Cressy Memorial Pondville Chapel – 29 Valley Street, Norfolk, Mass

The chapel is built on one of the oldest settled spots in Norfolk. Daniel POND from Dedham took a portion of the grant to Dedham to found a colony near the lakes in Wrentham. His son Ephraim, and a friend of John Fales – their wives were sisters, made their homes here. The chapel was built in 1909 by Dr. Oliver Cressy of Hamilton in memory of his son, Oliver Sawyer Cressy Jr. Dr. Cressy’s wife, Harriet L. Pond, was a daughter of General Lucas Pond, who built the Pond Home in 1832. It is a very unique building constructed of natural field rock in the Gothic Revival style with blue stone copings, stone buttresses and a roof of slate and metal. The interior was finished in hardwood with polished surfaces, windows of stained glass and an old English style fireplace. The building was built for use of the Pond Home for the Aged (now in Wrentham) and for the village of Pondville for Sunday services, social work and for use in conjunction with the Pondville Cemetery for funeral services and memorials. This quaint wayside chapel remained vacant for many years and most of the beautiful stained glass windows were destroyed by vandals during this time but it was renovated and converted into a private residence in the last quarter of the 20th century.

Daniel died Feb. 4th, 1697/98, at Dedham. His will was proved March 8d, 1697/98, and was as follows :

” In the yeare of our Lord one thousand Six hundred Nintye Seven Eight the Second Day of y” twelveth Month I Dan” Pond of Dedham in y^ Countie of Suffolke in y’^ province of y*” Masathusetts Bay in Neweingland, though Infirm in boddy yet whole and sound in my mind and memory and understanding and of a disposeing mind I doe ordaine and make this my Last Will and Testament in maner and forme as followeth :

first I comit and comend my soule into the hands of y*” Lord Jesus Christ : and my body to y” earth from whence it was taken : after my death to be decently beuryed by y* care and descresion of my Executors hereafter named.

” My mind and will is : that after my just debts be paid and my funerall charges defrayed : that my Well beloved Wife Anne Pond shall enjoy and possess all my Whole estate both of housing lands tenements orchards gardens chatties or movable estate whatsoever during the whole time and terme of hir naturall Life for her uce benefit and comfort after my decease.

” I give and bequath to my well beloved Wife aforesaid and to hir Heyres forever : the one halfe of that my three Acres of meadowe as it lyeth in foule meadowe.

” I give and bequath to my loveing Son John Pond twentie shillings and that with what he have received allredy to be his whole portion in my Estate.

” I give and bequath to my loveing Son Ephraim Pond twentie shillings and that with what he have allredy received of me to be his whole portion in my Estate.

” I give and bequath to my loveing son Robert Pond twentie shillings and that with what he have allredie received of me to be his whole portion in my Estate.

” I give and bequath to my loveing Daughter Abigaill Day twentye shillings and that with what she have allredie received of me to be hir whole portion in my Estate.

” I give and bequath to y* Children of my Daughter Rachel Stone Deceased five shillings each of them and this to be their whole portion in my Estate.

” I give and bequath to my loveing Daughter Hannah Devotion five pounds and that with what she have received of me all redy to be hir whole portion in my Estate.

” I give and bequath to my son William Pond the other half of that my three Acres of meadowe att foule meadowe above mentioned to him the said William and his Heyres forever.

” I give and bequath to my loveing Son Williame before mentioned and my loveing son Jabez Pond all that my six Acres of meadowe ass it lyeth in y^ broad meadowes to them and” their Heyres for ever to be equally devided betwen them.

” I give and bequath to y^ Daughter of my son Dan” Pond deceased twentie shillings to be hir whole portion in my estate.

” I give and bequath to my loveing Sons William Calab and Jabez Pond and to their Pleyres forever all y*” Remainder of all my housing buildings lands tenements orchards gardens meadowes swamps and cow-comons that is not allredy disposed of by me in this my will to be equaly devided betwen them three, and this with what they have allredy received or is in this will expressed to them to be their whole.

” I give and bequath to my Daughter Sarah Pond all y” remainder of my Chatties or movable Estate to hir and to hir heyres forever.

“And I doe hereby nomenate ordain and appoynt my well beloved wife Anne Pond before said and my loveing friends Joseph Wight and John ffisher of Dedham to be my Executors to whom I comitt all poure neesesary for y*” full accomplishment and performance of this my last will and testament in all respects as is herein above ex-

” In witness thereof I the said Dan” Pond have here unto set my hand and afixed my seal the yeare and day above written.

“In presents of|
James Mosman
John ffullbr
John dean “

Pond – Peck by Edwin Pond Parker, 1892, Page 47

In the year 1630, JOHN POND, and a brother whose name, as is supposed, was ROBERT, came to New England with John Winthrop. Governor Winthrop wrote back to his son in Groton, England, bidding him tell “old Pond that both his sons are well and remember their duty.” John Pond left no trace behind him here. ROBERT settled at Dorchester, Mass., and died there in 1637. There is uncertainty as to the number and names of his children, but there is little doubt that one of his sons was DANIEL of Dedham. (Vide Savage’s Geneal.Dict., and the “Pond Genealogy,” page 6.) DANIEL POND (son of Robert of Dorchester who came from Groton, England, in 1630) appeared in Dedham, Mass., about 1652. He was an husbandman. He was a landholder in Dedham and Wrentham, a lieutenant in the militia, and the progenitor of a numerous race, most of whom, for a century, lived and died in close proximity to the place of his settlement. His death occurred Feb. 4, 1697-8. He was the father of 13 children.

Daniel Pond and His Descendants by Edward Doubleday Harris, 1873

1. Daniel POND, husbandman, the forefather of a long line of descendants, appeared in the town of Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, about the year 1652. The names of his parents and that of his birth-place, no vigilance has discovered. In the volume of town records containing the conveyances of real estate and grants of land, it is written that on the 30th day, 1st mo. (March 30) 1652, he purchased of Nathaniel Fisher two acres of upland, described as being bounded by ” the highway ” on the N., and by ” the swamp ” on the S. With this were two acres of swamp land. On the 25th day, 12th month, 1662, (Feb. 12, 1662-3) he bought of Ralph Wheelock, his estate, on which was a dwelling-house and barns, with a piece of swamp land “called the dead swamp amongst the rocks.”

His marriage to Abigail, daughter of Edward Shepard, of Cambridge, occurred probably about the time of his first purchase, but it is not recorded either in Dorchester, or Cambridge where it would have taken place. The birth of his first child, Abigail, is recorded at Dedham, but not her baptism, although her mother was doubtless a member of the church at Cambridge. He was himself received into full communion in the Dedham church, 8, 11, 1653, and a son whose name is not given was baptized there on the 22d of same month. In 1659 his “county and town rate ” or tax was 7s. 6d. His special town-rate levied in the last month of the same year was 3s, 4d, He was one of the Selectmen of the town in 1660, The next year his “school-rate” was lis, 7d,

In 1661 the southern portion of Dedham was set off into a separate township called Wrentham, though the act was not confirmed by court until 1673, Daniel Pond immediately became an owner of real estate there, obtaining a grant of Lot No, 15, as early as March 22d, 1662-3, In 1664 he had a further grant ot twelve acres ” on the mill-creek.” At a meeting of the proprietors of the new town, held on January 15th, 1671, he was present and took part in the proceedings. In 1676-7 he had a further grant, lot No. 25. In 1685 he was granted meadow lot No, 37 ”in Wigwam meadow,” and also lot No. 17, containing eight acres. After his death his heirs had a grant of seven acres at “cold hearth plain.” He probably never lived at Wrentham, but his older sons took up the land and settled there. His wife Abigail died at Dedham, July 5th, 1661, and, if the records are correct in the date, he waited only until Sept. 18th of the same year to wed another, Ann Edwards, who survived him, and died June 6th, 1732, aged 92 yrs. He was a lieutenant of the militia, and took the freeman’s oath’in 1690. He died Feb. 4th, 1697-8, at Dedham.


1. Abigail Pond (See John DAY‘s page)

2. John Pond

John’s first wife Hannah Hill was born in 1668 in Sherborn, Midd, Mass. Her parents were John Hill and Hannah Johnson. Hannah died 2 Jun 1691 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.

John’s second wife Rachel Stow was born in 1660 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Rachel died in 1696 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.

John’s third wife Judith [__?__] was born in 1657 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass. Judith died 26 Apr 1708 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass

John settled in the Wrentham parish, probably in that portion subsequently set off to form the township of Medway. He was a husbandman, and March 28th, 1698, was allotted a grant of eleven acres of timber land, and seven acres on the brook at “long walk.” The records of his marriages, by the destruction of the church books at Wrentham, are lost. The dates of his own and two wives’ deaths have not been preserved, neither is there any record of the administration of his estate. He was living in 1734, and Aug. 29, 1727, gave one half of all his Wrentham lands to his son John.

John Pond was thrice married. His first wife, Hannah, died June 2d, 1691. His second wife, Rachel, bore him only two children, Hannah and Rachel. His last wife, Judith, died April 26, 1708.

3. Ephraim Pond

Ephraim’s wife Deborah Hawes was born 1 Sep 1666 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Her parents were Edward Hawes and Eliony Lombard. Her grandparents were Capt. John HAWES and Desire GORHAM. After his death she married a Bacon. Deborah died 27 Apr 1760 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.

Ephraim is styled “carpenter,” and his name appears early on the Wrentham records, where he resided, an owner of real estate, in 1689. He served on Town Committees in 1694.

Ephraim died Dec. 22, 1704, intestate, and his widow was appointed in 1710 to administer. The inventory of the estate showed a valuation of £318. In 1714 it was divided between the widow, and children Ephraim, Daniel, Eleony, Samuel, Deborah and Jacob. Nov. 13th, 1737 the widow’s portion was divided between Ephraim, Samuel, Jacob, Daniel Thurston, and Eleony the daughter ol Eleony Shepard.

4. Rachel Pond

Rachel’s husband Matthew Stone was born 16 Feb 1660 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Simon Stone and Mary Whipple. After Rachel died, he married 1696 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Mass. to Mary Plympton (b. 25 Nov 1656 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Mass. – d. 29 Nov 1721 in Sudbury) Matthew died 12 Aug 1743 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Mass.

5. Hannah Pond

Hannah’s husband John Devotion was born 26 Jun 1659 in Brookline, Norfolk, Mass. His parents were Edward Devotion and Mary Curtis. John died 25 Oct 1732 in Suffield, Hartford, CT.

6. Daniel Pond

Daniel was baptized May 26th, 1663. Nothing is known of him save that by wife Tabitha, he had one daughter, and died before the making of his father’s will in 1698, by which his daughter was named an heir.

Daniel’s wife Tabitha Edwards was born 23 Jul 1670.  Her parents were Matthew EDWARDS and Mary POOLE.

7. Robert Pond

Robert’s first wife Joanna Lawrence was born 1668 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Her parents were Nathaniel Lawrence and Sarah Morse. Her grandparents were John LAWRENCE and Elizabeth COOKE. Joanna died 1727 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.

Robert’s second wife Abigail Fisher

Robert’s third wife Sarah Shuttleworth was born 5 Jul 1669 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Sarah died 3 Jul 1750 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.

The first mention of the Shuttleworth family in Dedham was the marriage of Vincent Shuttleworth and Elizabeth Leonard 18 Feb 1677/78.

Robert was baptized Aug. 11. He was a house carpenter, and in deeds is called ” captain.” He became possessed of lands in Wrentham either by division or purchase previous to Jan. 10th, 1692/93 when he petitioned that his land might be surveyed and measured. 6 Jul 1696, he was granted lot 5 on ” mine brook,” a stream which after a lapse of nearly two hundred years is known by the same name. By subsequent grants he became the possessor of a very considerable estate in that locality and lived to the ripe age of eighty-three years to enjoy it.

Robert Pond was married three times. His first marriage to Joanna (Lawrence ?) is not recorded ; she was the mother of all his children. He was not the Robert who married, Dec. 13, 1717, Hannah Bacon, for his wife Joanna acknowledged a deed April 19, 1726. He married, Jan. 16, 1728/29, Abigail Fisher, and Nov. 17, 1747, his last wife, the widow Sarah Shuttleworth. He died July 3, 1750. The inventory of his estate exhibits a valuation of £184.

9. Caleb Pond

Caleb’s wife Priscilla Colburn was born in 1675 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Her parents were Nathaniel Colburn and Mary Brooks. Priscilla died 1731 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass

As Caleb’s baptism is not recorded at Dedham, it is possible that it took place at Wrentham, although he passed the brief period of his maturity in Dedham. He was granted four acres of land at a place called ” spring-field.”

He married Priscilla, daughter of Nathaniel Colburn, who survived him and was living a widow in 1731, having, in the words of the church record ” laid hold on y” covenant ” and been baptized Aug. 28, 1725. He died Feb. 23, 1705-6, and March following the widow was appointed to administer ; thirteen years afterwards she rendered her account of the estate, charging for the keep of her son Joshua for a term of nine months, and of Daniel for a term of five years.

11. Jabez Pond

Jabez’ first wife Mary Gay was born 30 Mar 1677 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Her parents were Nathaniel Gay and Lydia Starr. Mary died 11 Jun 1731 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass.

Jabez’ second wife Mary Plympton was born in 1681 in Marlboro, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were Peter Plympton and Mary Mundan. She first married 25 Feb 1707 in Marlboro, Middlesex, Mass to John Johnson (b. 24 Mar 1679 in Marlboro – d. 15 Feb 1758 in Marlboro), Mary died 19 Jul 1720 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass

Jabez was a husbandman, and after the year 1730 was styled ” lieutenant.” He had an early grant of four and one-half acres of land at ” Strawberry hill ” on the highway to Natick, and he became ultimately the possessor of several parcels of land in Dedham and Stoughton, most of which he conveyed in the latter years of his life to his son Eliphalet. He lived at Dedham.

He married at Dedham, Jan. 11, 1698-9, Maey Gay. She died June 11, 1731. He married at Medfield, Nov. 22, 1732, Mary Plympton, who was living in 1750, and was perhaps the widow Mary Pond who, April 24, 1750, married Deacon Joseph Wight. She was received into the Dedham church, April 18, 1742, from the church at Medfield.

Jabez Pond died at Dedham Nov. 6, 1749. The estate was settled by the son, the personal property being valued at £828.


Family Records Parker – Pond – Peck by Edwin Pond Parker, 1892, Page 47

Daniel Pond and His Descendants by Edward Doubleday Harris, 1873, Pg 9

Posted in 12th Generation, Be Fruitful and Multiply, Historical Church, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Pioneer, Place Names, Public Office, Veteran | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Jonathan Fairbanks

Jonathan FAIRBANKS  (1594 – 1668)  (wikipedia) was an American colonist who in 1637 built the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts which is today the oldest surviving wood framed house in North America. Through Mary and Susan, he was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather twice, two of 1,024 in this generation of the Shaw line.

The Jonathan Fairbanks House, ca. 1637, is considered the oldest wood frame house in America

Jonathan Fairbanks was born about 1594  in  Heptonstall, Halifax, Yorkshire, England. His parents were John FAIRBANKS and Isabel STANCLIFFE. He married Grace SMITH Lee 20 May 1617 in Yorkshire, England   He came from Sowerby, in West Riding  Yorkshire, England, with his family to Boston in 1633.  Jonathan died 5 Dec 1668 in Dedham, Mass.

In their signatures to the Dedham Covenant, Jonathan, senior, John and George wrote their surname Fayerbanke, and Jonathan, junior, wrote it Fayerbank. Jonothan, senior, signed a petition to the selectmen of Dedham, Aug 30, 1658

Grace Smith was born about 1600 in Yorkshire, England.  Her parents were Daughter of Samuel SMITH and Grace GAWKROGER.  Nothing is known of Grace’s prior marriage, but she was  known as Grace Lee Smith at the time of her marriage. Grace died 28 Oct 1673 in Dedham, Mass.

Children of Jonathan and Grace:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John Fairbanks ca. 1618
Sowerby W Riding, Yorkshire, England
Sarah Fiske
16 JAN 1640/41
Dedham, Mass
13 NOV 1684 Dedham, Mass.
2. Capt. George Fairbanks 26 Nov 1619
York, England;
Mary Adams
26 Aug 1646
10 JAN 1682/83 Sherborn, Middlesex, Mass.
3. Mary FAIRBANKS 18 APR 1622 Sowerby, Yorkshire, England Michael METCALF Jr.
2 FEB 1643/44
Dedham, Mass
Christopher Smith
2 Aug 1654
10 MAR 1675/76 Dedham
4. Susan FAIRBANKS baptized
23 Dec  1627
Thornton-in-Craven, North Yorkshire, England
Ralph DAY
12 Aug 1647
8 Jul 1859 Dedham, Mass.
5. Jonas Fairbanks ca. 1626 England Lydia Prescott
28 May 1658 in Lancaster, Middlesex, Mass
10 FEB 1675/76 Lancaster, Mass.Killed with his son Joshua during a raid in King Philip’s war
6. Jonathan Fairbanks ca. 1628 Sowerby, York, England Deborah Shepard (daughter of Edward SHEPARD)
4 Oct 1649 Dedham
28 JAN 1711/12 Dedham
7. Martha Pidge (Fairbanks) Adopted from the Michael METCALF combined family of 19) 1642 Benjamin Bullard (son of our ancestor Robert BULLARD)

Fairbanks  spelled his name  Fairbanke, Fairbank, Fayerbanke and on his will, Fairbanck. His sons and grandsons began spelling the name Fairbank or Fairbanks.

23 Mar 1637 – Jonathan Fairbanks was admitted Freeman.

The Fairbanks family remained in Boston about three years, before settling in Dedham, as one of the earliest settler families. Jonathan Fairbanks signed the Covenant when the town was founded and named.

Fairbanks House Floor plan, first floor

Fairbanks House
The house was built in several stages; the center portion of the present house is oldest, with a gable-roofed portion at the center. It was once a lobby-entry, hall-parlor house of two stories with a center chimney bay. The lean-to was added later, contrary to the note on the first floor plan (see image). The oak lintel over its parlor fireplace has been dated by dendrochronology to 1637. Since timber was not seasoned before use in the 17th century, this provides a plausible date for the house’s initial construction.

In 2001, the Fairbanks House, which has the year 1636 painted on its chimney, sent some of its timbers to be tested by the Oxford Dendochronology Laboratory  as part of a broader effort to establish accurate dates for New England buildings. The results showed the oldest timbers from the Fairbanks House dated to 1641. Other houses claiming to be older have yet to be scientifically dated.

Fairbanks Archeology

(See Boston Globe Story)

Abbott Lowell Cummings, the former Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University and author of The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1626-1725, is unequivocal: “It may be said quite simply that no other house of the mid-seventeenth century in New England has survived in such unbelievably unspoiled condition. It is extraordinary that so early a structure should preserve such a high percentage of original features.”

The earliest section of the house is a great hall and parlor with a central chimney. A full second floor was built above with attic and storage space beyond. This was a pretty impressive structure for this period, indicating that Jonathan Fairbanks was what we might call comfortable – neither rich nor poor. The staircase in this section curves up to a pair of bedchambers. This is believed to be a replacement stairway, because visible evidence of an earlier one survives.

Three fireplaces were constructed in the original house. There was one in the hall, one in the parlor, and another in the second floor chamber. According to Curator/Director Jan Eakins, the technology of installing one on the second floor wasn’t easy, but the Fairbanks family clearly cared about comfort, and this chamber very well could have held the best bed, though no inventory supports this theory. It is fortunate that Jonathan Fairbanks’ 1668 inventory, as well as his eldest son John’s 1684 inventory, both survive. The next important inventory is that of Ebenezer Fairbanks in 1833. He and his father, also called Ebenezer, probably made most of the later additions to the house..

Jonathan Fairbanks  finished the first section of this home in 1636. It is located at the intersection of East Street and Eastern Avenue in Dedham, Massachuestts and is open to the public.

Exterior walls were covered with wide oak clapboards at the front, narrower oak on the west gable end, and narrow cedar on the rear. Its front door was originally located to the west side of the chimney-bay, while the rear door is still located at the west end of the north wall. Original front windows included wide banks on each floor and small windows lighting the chimney bay. A well-preserved four-light window survives in the east gable end, but the north and east ends of the house apparently had no windows.

Jonathan Fairbanks House Framing Detail

A lean-to was later added at the back of the house and, perhaps in 1641, a wing on the east side. The west wing was added around 1654. The east wing was probably added circa late 1700s, assembled from two earlier buildings elsewhere. A chimney was then built for it; later its roof rafters were raised and reused in a new gambrel roof. The next major change was the expansion of the parlor to the east, under a hip roof, and the addition of the small entry to this expanded space, probably around 1800. A new wing was added to the west side of the house, including two rooms. The last addition to the house, completed by 1881, was a privy added behind the west wing.

Fairbanks House Kitchen

It has been claimed that this house was built in 1636. This claim has been the subject of considerable discussion among historians, and is disputed on historical grounds. One, at least, expresses the belief that it was not built until about the year 1640. The chief reason assigned for his belief is that the old house is a framed building of massive oak timber, and that there is no historical evidence that any framed dwelling houses were erected in the town as early as 1636. Against this alleged fact is the tradition that the frame of the main part of the house, together with the bricks and tiles and windows, was imported from England, and remained in Boston for several months before it was carried to Dedham.

The house was not built as it stands at one time, or in one year; and it is certain that Jonathan owned a house situated probably on the same lot in 1648. Subsequently, perhaps as late as 1654, a large addition was made to the original building, which was called the new house, which is said to have been built for the occupation of his son John after his marriage.

The house was occupied by Fairbanks descendant and passed down to succeeding generations of the family until the early twentieth century. In all, eight generations of the Fairbanks Family lived in the house and the Fairbanks family still owns the property. Over the years, the original portion was extended with additions as the family’s needs and as the fashions of the times dictated including the east and west wings added in the early nineteenth century.

The earliest section of the house is a great hall and parlor with a central chimney. A full second floor was built above with attic and storage space beyond. This was a pretty impressive structure for this period, indicating that Jonathan Fairbanks was what we might call comfortable – neither rich nor poor. The staircase in this section curves up to a pair of bedchambers. This is believed to be a replacement stairway, because visible evidence of an earlier one survives.

Three fireplaces were constructed in the original house. There was one in the hall, one in the parlor, and another in the second floor chamber. According to Curator/Director Jan Eakins, the technology of installing one on the second floor wasn’t easy, but the Fairbanks family clearly cared about comfort, and this chamber very well could have held the best bed, though no inventory supports this theory. It is fortunate that Jonathan Fairbanks’ 1668 inventory, as well as his eldest son John’s 1684 inventory, both survive. The next important inventory is that of Ebenezer Fairbanks in 1833. He and his father, also called Ebenezer, probably made most of the later additions to the house.

Fairbanks House 1870’s — Seen here are two of the three sisters who owned the Fairbanks House from 1843 to 1879. The eldest sister, Prudence, died first, at age 89 in 1871. These are probably the two younger sisters, Sally (1790 – 1877) and Nancy (1794 – 1879). For this photograph the sisters posed outside the Fairbanks House with some of their prized family heirlooms, along with their cat.

Early and Late Additions 
It is clear that by 1668, there was already an addition to the Fairbanks House, probably to the west end of the original dwelling. And by 1700 a lean-to was added at the back of the house. Unlike later homes, this section was not integral to the structure.   It was common to move the kitchen out to the lean-to.  The home doesn’t have a separate kitchen because the hall is incredibly intact and was used for cooking the whole time.” The last descendent lived in the house until 1904 and used a Monarch wood-burning range in the same space.

Just after the Revolution, the two Ebenezer Fairbanks came along and decided that the house should be renovated. They moved the parlor to a new wing and installed a visitor’s entrance there. They also tore down the west wing that had been added in 1668, and rebuilt it.

Distinctive Features Preserved

One of the extraordinary things about Fairbanks House is that, despite the additions, so many features of the original house have survived.

The Hearth
First of all, the family never moved its cooking facilities from the hall, so the hearth is astonishingly intact and the chimney is quite original. Seventeenth-century paneling in this room survives as well as a seventeenth century dresser. The latter is a series of shelves similar to the upper portion of a Welsh Dresser.  The dresser was used for storage, and thus survived.  It’s interesting that through the hall, we can trace many of the changes in the technology of cooking over the years.   Scholars marvel at the survival of the lintel over the cooking hearth. A sign featuring two overlapping ‘V’ shapes remains on the lintel, which was intended to protect against witchcraft. It’s the only known example to survive in New England.

Some of the earliest surviving paint in New England remains in the parlor: It dates from about 1690-1700. The paneling was covered with whitewash and huge donut-shaped decorations were painted over it. Paint was not something that was homemade in this period, but was a commercial product. There is evidence that this decoration was on the ceiling and at least two walls. One could assume that all four walls were decorated this way.

A door leading out to the lean-to from the parlor is painted as well. The paint on this particular door is a challenge. The decoration is flaking off because the whitewash beneath is unstable.

Wattle and Daub
On one end of the second floor of the first period house is a wattle and daub wall between the posts. Gravity unfortunately is pulling it down and it is cracking. Many architectural scholars are stunned that it still remains untouched. It is such a rare survivor that it’s difficult to find conservationists who know how to conserve it.   Most of the wattle and daub is still behind the paneling.

Abbott Lowell Cummings has been examining the house since at least the 1960s. His study revealed the original siding on the house, some of it quite visible, especially on the second floor of the lean-to. There is beaded siding on the south-facing exterior; and lapped cedar clapboard appears on the north side and the east side. Each surface has slightly different materials and on the west side the builders used red oak. This surface was slightly less expensive and was used on the least visible side. All of the siding is fixed by hand-forged nails.

Challenges in Preservation

One of the serious challenges in preservation of this structure is the increasingly heavy traffic close to the house. Vibrations from truck traffic are a particular problem.  The last descendent in 1904 was living with things from the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s.”

The house has the flavor of a dwelling lived in until 1904, and isn’t arranged with period rooms. It’s fun; it’s dynamic; and you learn a lot from the house just by seeing it.

Fairbanks Reunon — A longstanding tradition at Fairbanks Family reunions has been for cousins to dress in Puritan costume in honor of their immigrant ancestors. Included in this 1910s reunion photo are first Fairbanks House Curator Henry Irving Fairbanks (standing fourth from left) and his wife, Ida (standing far left).

Houghton Chest

Robert Trent and Robert St. George, to records that identified the makers of the pulpit as John HOUGHTON (1624-84) and his master, John Thurston (1607-85), who had come to the new world from County Suffolk, in Old England. Thurston brought with him knowledge of woodworking skills known as joinery, framing, and carving – all of which he passed on to his apprentice, John Houghton, of Dedham, MA, who had come to New England at age eleven and not having trained as a woodworker abroad. The works of these two joiners were subsequently identified with a group of furniture made in Dedham and Medfield by both men (see St. George, Winterthur Portfolio 13 (1979), pp. 1-46). While the identification of carvings by these men was taking place, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston was able to acquire chests made by each man. Works by Thurston, not surprisingly, produced crisply carved ornament with much assurance based on his experiences abroad as a master woodworker. By contrast, the chest made by his apprentice, Houghton, was more tentatively carved. Comparing these two pieces side by side and under good light gives the viewer a sense of the subtle drift that took place between generations of craftsmen. This is not to say that Houghton’s work was not as good as his master’s. Houghton’s work was simply different. .

Thoughts on the Eve of the Homecoming of a Carved Oak and Pine Chest, Original to the Old Fairbanks Homestead. By Jonathan L. Fairbanks, an eleventh generation descendant of the original Jonathan FAIRBANKS of Dedham

On Wednesday, June 18, 2003, Lynn Fairbank, the President of our Association and I, together with the famous dealer, Leigh Keno, were seated in the auction room of Christie’s, at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York. We wer e awaiting the bidding that was to take place for a chest made in Dedham, Massachusetts, by John Houghton (1624-84).

Fairbanks Chest

This chest was once a part of the original furnishings of the Old Fairbanks Homestead. The catalogue for this auction listed the chest with its venerable history on page 69, fig. 133 — illustrated in full color, with an estimate for its purchase price to range from $6,000 to $9,000. Knowing that this was a low estimate, I had discussed matters with the members of the board of the family Association, and was given permission by Lynn to seek donors who would help achieve the funding necessary to return the chest to the family Homestead.

The chest was probably sold by the last family resident, Rebecca, at or around the time of the sale of the house and land– and its subsequent purchase by the Family Association from Mrs. J. Amory Codman and her daughter, Martha C. Codman.

This month of June, a hundred years later, the chest, once lost, was about to be redeemed and returned. Lynn and I were confident that we would be able to meet the challenge of the auction. By numerous phone calls and letter-writing, I’d managed to obtain funds beyond the high estimate listed in the catalogue. I’d also obtained a list of pledges from both family members and friends that would sustain a potential bid to $50,000.. Also, just in case of a runaway auction, I had in my pocket names of persons who had promised to help in such an emergency. Yet little did we realize that two eager buyers lurked anonymously on phone lines. The first one dropped out when the bidding passed the mid $50K mark. The second bidder held on firmly until the final count that brought the gavel down (with buyer’s premium) to $71,700.

Thurston/Houghton Chest Detail

The family relic that had vanished into the antiques world a hundred years ago was redeemed at a dear ransom. For the two weeks after the auction, it has been an honor and joy for me to experience the positive response of those who care about history and who, with open-handed generosity, have mailed in donations to make this acquisition possible –not just for the Homestead and its history, but also for Dedham, the Historical Society of this Town, and all who seek to learn about America’s ear ly past. This week, the Fairbanks Family Association in America will send to Christie’s a check for the purchase and delivery of the chest to the Homestead. This is made possible by more than fifty generous donors, many of whom wish to remain anonymous. Every board member made either a pledge or donation. Later this summer, those donors who wish to be honored and listed as special friends will be made public.What makes this acquisition so expensive?

What makes this acquisition so expensive? Also, how do we know that this chest was actually owned by the family homestead? Firstly, all surviving examples of American furniture made in seventeenth century New England are r are and precious. That reason alone justifies a high auction price. But this work is extra special because it was pictured as part of the furnishings of the Fairbanks House in a precise drawing illustrated in plate 26 and published by the American Architect & Building News Company of 1898, part I.

This publication, entitled “The Georgian Period” being Measured Drawings of Colonial Work [the book itself is on sale for $5,000], was the first significant architectural publication to record measured dr awings of early historic homes in America. That the Old Fairbanks House of Dedham was selected for this publication is no accident, for this old house had been the focus of antiquarian attention since the mid nineteenth century. But we are especially fortunate that the artist also decided to illustrate the “Oak Chest In Store Room 2d Story” as part of his measured drawings. That drawing is what identifies this chest specifically to the family homestead. The image and the chest itself are unmistakably one and the same. By the 1890’s the chest was no longer a useful, functioning part of the home’s furnishings. But still appreciated for whatever reasons, it was tucked away in storage.

How the chest is attributed to having been made by John Houghton of Dedham is a much more complex piece of detective work. That story leads back in time to 1980 when, at the Museum of Fine Arts, I was curator of a developing exhibition: New England Begins, The Seventeenth Century. It was my great good fortune to be working with a team of brilliant scholars, including Dr. Abbott Lowell Cummings, who had already published much of his extensive research on the architecture of the Fairbanks House. In the Medfield Historical Society I discovered two foliate carvings made of oak that were identified as fragments of the pulpit of the First Church of Medfield of 1655. These fragments led scholars Robert Trent and Robert St. George to records that identified the pulpit with both John Houghton and his master, John Thurston (1607-1685) who had come to the New World from County Suffolk, in Old England. He brought with him knowledge of woodworking skills known as joinery, framing and carving — all of which he passed on to his apprentice John Houghton who had come to New England at age eleven– not having trained as a woodworker abroad. The pulpit carvings are clearly related to furniture owned by the Dedham Historical Society. The workmanship is so distinctive that an attribution to Houghton is without question.

Several other works are related. A chest remarkably similar to the Fairbanks house example was acquir ed by the Museum of Fine Arts in preparation for the exhibition, and illustrated in its catalogue: New England Begins: The Seventeenth Century (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1982), 3 vols, Vol. 3, pp. 534-536. Subsequent research by Dr. St. George led to his publication “Style and Structure in the Joinery of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts, 1635-1685,” in Winterthur Porfolio 13 (1979), pp. 1-46. The Fairbanks chest was spotted by Robert St. George while touring the collections of the executive offices of the Seagram & Sons Corporate headquarters in downtown Manhattan, New York. It is from this remarkable building famous for its design by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the 1950’s that the chest migrated to auction at Christie’s, despite my previous attempts to obtain the chest as a gift to the House. A paper label within the chest records the famous firm of Ginsburg & Levy, Inc./Antiques/ 815 Madison Ave./ New York as the source from which the chest was probably acquired by the firm of Seagram. Further research is needed to track the ownership of the chest backward in time to the early years of the last century.

Much has yet to be learned about our remarkable survivor, the Fairbanks chest, which comes to us containing potential stories yet untold. This brief report is but the beginning. Yet this moment highlights the fact that what was lost is now redeemed and returned. As Lynn and I left the auction one perceptive and admir ing writer observed, that “such a return of a seventeenth century object back to its original site could only happen in New England.” It should be added that this could not have happened without the many donors who generously gave to this need and opportunity to bring the chest back home.

Religious Dissension
Jonathan Fairbanks had “long stood off from the church upon some scruples about public profession of faith and the covenant, yet after divers loving conferences.”  In 1646 he made such a declaration of his faith and conversion to God and profession of subjection to the ordinances of Christ in the church that he was readily and gladly received by the whole church.” Fairbanks became a member of the First Church in Dedham, which espoused a Reformed theology (Calvinist) in the seventeenth century.

Of the immediate English ancestors of Jonathan Fairbanks little is known. He was evidently not of the ignorant lower classes, but had a fair education and was, as tradition says, a man of strong commonsense, sound judgment and good executive ability. His name appears frequently in the town records, though he held only minor town offices. There are good grounds for the inference that he had more ample means than the average pioneer. He built a better house and seems to have lived in better style than most of his neighbors. And he left considerable property.

1 Jun 1668 – Will of Jonathan Fairbanke

In the yeare of our Lord one thousand sixe hundred sixty and eight, the first day of the fourth month, com’only called June; I Jonathan ffarbanke of dedham in the Countie of Suffolke Senioe, Being sicke and weake, And expecting that the day of my desolution is drawing neere doe in the name and feare of God ordaine and make this my Last will & Testam’ for the disposeing and settling of the things of this life, with which the Lord hath at p’sent Intrusted me in manner & forme as followeth ; viz first I commit my soule to God that gaue it, Trusting in the alone Righteousnes & mediation of Jesus Christ my Redemer & aduocate, & my body to the earth whence it was taken, to be after my decease Desently buried therein in christian buriall at the discretion of my Executor.

In prims I giue & bequeath vnto grace my Deere & well beloved wife, All and Every prt & prcell of my whole moueable Estate whatsoeuer as well within dores as without, namely all my household stuffe, of all & Euery sort & kinde as allso all my cattell of all kinds all my come cartes ploughs workeing tooles &° vtensils of husbandrye all debts due to me & whatsoeuer Ells come within the denomination of moueable Estate & all this I giue and Bequeath to my said wife, to despose of when And to whom shee shall at any time see meete. And more I giue to grace my said wife an Annuitie of Eight pounds pr Annam to be paid to her or her assignee to her vse yearely & euery yeare, in two equall prts. » »

Ite I giue & bequeath to George (ffarbanke my second sonne & to his heyers for euer, sixteene pounds the one halfe whereof shall be payed to him within the space of one yeare next ensueing after the decease of my said wife; And whereas I haue allready giuen and doe herby confirme to my said sonne George all that my prt in the generall deuident [dividend?] already laid out thro Meadfield & some workinge tooles & such like small things, my will & my mind is, That the said percell of lande and those tooles and other small thing soe giuen shall be all indifferently & Equally aprized and if they shall together amount to the value of eight pounds then it shall be accounted for his first payment.

And I giue & bequeath to my daughter Mary the wife of Christopher Smith the sume of sixteene pounds, which sixteene pounds I giue to my said daughter in prticuler, And distinct from her husbans Estate & to be allwayes at her dispose, this sixteen pounds to be payed in two equall (sum’es ?) of Eight pounds.

Item More I giue to my said daughter Mary Three pounds to purchase her a suite of aparrell to be paid within the space of three months next after my decease. Ite,n. I giue and bequeath to Jonas ffarbanke my third sonne & his heyers for euer the like sume of sixtene pounds to be allso payed in two equal sumes.

Item I giue & bequeath to Jonathan ffarebanke my yongest sonne & to his heighers the like sume of sixteene pounds, to be paid allso in two Equal Sum’es.

Item I giue and bequeath to Sarah the Eldest daughter of my sonne John ffarebanks one young beast betwixt one and two yeares of age, & more three pounds to be payed by my Executor when she shall attaine lawfull age, the young beast before mentioned I Reserue out of the cattell bequeathed to Grace my wife;

Item I giue & bequeath to my sonne in lawe Ralph Daye ffoarty shillings to be payed within six monthes after my wives decease;

Item. I giue & bequeath to each of the foure Children of the said Ralph which he had by my daughter Susan his late wife the sum’e of ffourtie shillings to be payd them seuerally as they shall attaine lawfull age pruided all my other Legacies to my three sonnes & my daughter be first payed in manner as is aboue Expressed ;

Item my mind & my will is that all these my legacies aboue bequeathed, the specie or kind of payment whereof is not named shall be all payed in current Contrey payment at price then Currant In ded (ham I giue & bequeath) To John ffarebanke my Eldest sonne all my houses & lands whatsouer, not being foremerly aboue (mentioned ? togeth)er with all my common Rightes 6° towne priviliges whatsoeuer, to haue posses & injoy the same ( ) & his heyers ( to) enter vpon all my lands forthwith after my decease; and all my houses and yardes at the end of foure mo’nthes n(ext followin)g the same;

Item I doe nominate apoint and ordayne John Fairebancke my afforesaid Eldest Sonne To be my sole Executor to whom I committ all nessary trust & power Requisite for the due and full performeance & Execution of this my last will as it belongs or is necessary for an Executor to doe in all & euery prt as is aboue expressed ;

Item, I allso name & intreate my very loueing friends Eleazer Lusher & Petter Woodward Sene to be ouerseers to the performance of this my present will & to be assisting to my aboue named Executor therin as themselues shall see cause, & I doe hereby reueoke & make null & voide all other or former wills whatsouer by me formerly made; & doe auouch & decleare this prsent wrighting, as is aboue herein entered, to be & contayne my true onely & last will & testemant.

In wittnss whereof I the said Jonathan ffarebanke Senc haue herevnto subscribed my hand & affixed my seale the day & yeare first aboue written.

This a true copy of the will of Jonathan Fayerbank senyore.
as attest Daniell ffisher.
Wiliam Avery.



1. John Fairbanks

John’s wife Sarah Fiske was born 9 Jan 1625 in St James South Elmham, Suffolk, England. Her parents were Nathaniel Fiske and Alice Henel Leman. Sarah died 26 Sep 1683 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass

John  held offices and various commissions to explore the Charles river, Deerfield, etc;  and inherited the homestead.

2. Captain George Fairbanks

George’s wife Mary Adams was born 1625 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass. Her parents were Henry Adams and Edith Squire, the 2nd Great Grandparents of President John Adams. Mary died 11 Aug 1711 in Mendon, Worcester, Mass.

Captain George resided in Dedham until about 1657, when he removed to the southern part of Sherborn, afterwards East Medway, now the town of Millis. He was one of the first settlers there and was an esteemed citizen. The stone house originally occupied by him was the garrison house built by the settlers on the Bogistow Farms, on the borders of Bogistow Pond, as a place of refuge and defence in time of Indian troubles. It was sixty-five or seventy feet long and two stories high. The walls were built of flat stones laid in mortar. It had a double row of port holes on all sides and was lined with heavy planks of oak.  In 1662 he signed the first petition for the town of Sherborn, and again in 1674 he signed the successful petition, becoming one of the proprietors of Sherborn, including the present towns of Sherborn. Holliston and parts of Framingham and Ashland. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston,  four years selectman of Sherborn, and was on the committee to engage and settle a minister. His sudden death by drowning in 1682 was a severe loss to the new settlement.

3. Mary FAIRBANKS (See Michael METCALF Jr.‘s page)

4. Susan FAIRBANKS (See Ralph DAY‘s page)

5. Jonas Fairbanks

Jonas’ wife Lydia Prescott was born 1657 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were John Prescott and Mary Gawkroger Platts. After Jonas was killed by Indians. she married in 1678 in Lancaster Mass. to Ellis Barron (b. 22 Apr 1633 in Watertown – d. 7 Oct 1712 in Lancaster) Lydia died 31 Dec 1723 in Sowerby, Yorkshire, England.

Lancaster, Mass. Lots Jonas Fairbank’s lot is in the southwestern portion of this map.

Jonas, removed to Lancaster, Massachusetts, in 1657; signed the Covenant Mar 7 1659, and was called one of the “fathers of the town:” he was a farmer and believed to be also a carpenter: in 1652 he was fined for wearing great boots before he was worth two hundred pounds, which was contrary to a statute of 1651; he and his son Joshua were killed by the Indians February 10, 1676. during a raid in King Philip’s war;

On February 10, 1676, several hundred Indians attacked ,Lancaster, setting many homes on fire. More than 50 English were killed, and twenty four taken captive with the Indians, who roamed about with their prisoners for the next few months.  Our ancestors John HOUGHTON and Jonas HOUGHTON were made homeless  in this same attack and they fled  to Charlestown under escort. (See John Houghton’s page for the story of Indian captive Mary Rowlandson.)

6. Jonathan Fairbanks

Jonathan’s wife Deborah Shepard was born in 1633 in England. Her parents were Edward SHEPARD and Violet CHARNOULD . Deborah died 7 Sep 1705 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass

Jonathan Jr. was  admitted townsman in Dedham, Jan 1, 1654/55, and signed the Covenant; resided at Dedham; died Jan 28, 1711/12; was a soldier in King Philip’s war, serving in the first or Mount Hope campaign in 1675, and in several subsequent campaigns.

19 Apr 1676 – Petition of Jonathan Fairbanks

To the Honed Govr & Council conveened in Boston — Aprill 19th 1676

The Petition of Jonathan ffairebankes humbly Sheweth That yor petition’ hath been a considerable time abroad in the Country’s Service, & of late a Voluntier under the command of Capt Benjamin Gibbs, & in or march. wth the army towards Quabaug, [now Brookfield, Mass.] upon the information of Job the Indian, that there was a wigwam about ten miles from the Rhode, where were some of his Children — with other Indians, the sd Cap’ Gibbs with 9 or 10 more of which yor petition’ was one by permission of Major Savage, went thither., where wee found some of the sd Jobs Children — with some others amongst which a young girle of about ten or twelve yeares of age, whome yor petition’, upon m’ Gibbs his promiss that Shee should bee his own, tooke her up upon his horse & brought her to Quabaug, which was about 30 miles & the Army proceeding further Shee was there left wth some others, who yo’ petition’ understands are since brought down — & carried to Deere Island.

Wherefore the premisses considered, yo’ petition’, doth request yo’ Hono’s would bee pleased to grant him the sd girle & hee shall willingly Satisfy the necessary charges the Country have been out upon her & bee obliged to pray for yo’ Hono’s peace & prosperityes.

(on reverse)
Jn° fairebanks peticon
to ye Council 20 Aprill 76.

7. Martha Pidge Fairbanks

Martha’s husband Benjamin Bullard was born 1630 Sherborn, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were  Robert BULLARD and Anne MARTYN. Benjamin died 27 Sep 1689 Sherborn, Mass.

Martha’s parents were Thomas Pidge and Mary Sothy.  Martha’s mother Mary Sothy Pigge (Pidge) was born about 1599 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England. She was the widow of Thomas Pigge of Roxbury, Mass. Thomas died of Dec 30, 1643 in Roxbury of dropsy, a godly Christian man. He had a fall & a bruise on his back, which hurt his kidneys & not carefully cured they utterly wasted away & many other of his entrails. Mary Pigge the wife of Thomas Pigge was admitted to Roxbury church as member #85.” She married as his second wife [our ancestor thru his 1st wife] Michael METCALF on 13 Aug 1645 in Dedham, Mass. Because the combined Metcalf/Pidge family now had 19 children, Martha was adopted by Jonathan FAIRBANKS. Jonathan’s daugther Mary had married Michael Metcalf’s son Michael METCALF Jr. a couple of years earlier.


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