Maj. John Freeman

Maj. John FREEMAN (1627 – 1719) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather; one of 1,024 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Maj. John Freeman was baptized on 28 Jan 1626/27 at Billingshurst, Sussex, England.  His parents were Edmund FREEMAN and Bennet HODSOLL.  John along with his father, stepmother Elizabeth and brothers and sisters set sail from Plymouth, England on 4 June 1635 aboard The Abigail, Captain Hackwell,.  John was  listed as eight years old on the Customs House rolls.  During the crossing an epidemic of smallpox broke out on shipboard. They arrived in Boston on 8 Oct 1635 and then settled in Saugus.  He married Mercy PRENCE,  on 13 Feb 1649/50 at Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts; or Feb 14 1649/50.     John died on 28 Oct 1719 at Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, at the age of 92.

Maj John Freeman Gravestone – Cove Burying Ground Eastham MA

Mercy Prence was born about 1631 in Plymouth.   Her parents were  Gov. Thomas PRENCE and  Patience BREWSTER. Mercy died 28 Sep 1711 in Eastham, Mass.

Mercy Prence Freeman – Headstone – Here lies buried the body of Marcy Freeman wife to Major John Freeman aged 80 years Dec Sep 28 1711 – Cove Buring Ground, Plot # 38

Children of John and Mercy:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John Freeman 2 Dec 1651 Eastham Sarah Merrick
18 Dec 1673 Eastham
Mercy Hedge
(Daughter of William HEDGE)
21 Apr 1696
Harwich, Mass.
21 Jul 1721 Harwich
2. Dec. Thomas FREEMAN 16 Sep 1653 Eastham, Mass. Rebbeca SPARROW
(Daughter of Jonathan SPARROW)
31 Dec 1673 Harwich, Mass
9 Feb 1715/16 Harwich MA
3. Hannah Freeman ca. 1656 Eastham John Mayo
14 Apr 1681 Hingham, Mass.
15 Feb 1743/44 Harwich Mass
4. Lt. Edmund Freeman Jun 1657 Eastham Ruth Merrick
Jan 1677/78
Sarah Mayo
c 1680 at Eastham
10 Dec 1717
5. Mercy Freeman 23 Jun 1659 Eastham Samuel Knowles
15 Dec 1679
19 Jun 1737 Eastham
6. Patience Freeman ca.  1660 Eastham Samuel Paine
31 Jan 1681/82 Eastham
15 Feb 1745/46 Eastham
7 William Freeman Oct 1662 Eastham Lydia Sparrow
(daughter of Jonathan SPARROW)
1685 Eastham, Mas
31 May 1687 Eastham
8. Prince Freeman 3 Feb 1664/65 Eastham ~1665/1666 – Eastham, Barnstable, Mass
or bef. 1676
1747 Eastham
9. Nathaniel Freeman 20 Mar 1668/69 Eastham Mary Howland
9 Jan 1760 Eastham
10. Bennett Freeman 7 Mar 1670/71 Eastham John Paine
14 May 1689 Eastham,
30 May 1716 Eastham

Major John Freeman was one of the early settlers of Eastham.  Today, Eastham is mostly known as the “Gate” to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to protect Cape Cod’s coast from erosion and overpopulation.

First as a Lieutenant, then as Captain, and later as Major, John took an active part in the Indian Wars including King Philip’s War.  For many years he was a Deacon of the Eastham Congregational Church.

Eastham, Barnstable, Mass

“The militia companies at Barnstable, Eastham, Sandwich, and Yarmouth, were organized into a regiment called “The Third Regiment” of which John Freeman, of Eastham, was commissioned Major Commandant. The company at Falmouth was added in 1689, and company of Rochester, 1690. A company at Harwich was added in 1694 and one at Chatham in 1712. The colonial regiment continued until June 2, 1685, when the colony was divided into 3 counties, and the militia of each county was made to constitute a regiment of itself, from that time. See Great Swamp Fight – Regiments.

1650 – He removed from Sandwich to that part of Nausett called Namskeeket, now within the limits of Orleans”

5 Jun 1651 –  Eastham freeman

1653 to  1666 – Deputy to Colony Court

1653 – Surveyor of highways at Eastham

Aug 1653 – A member of the military company of Sandwich

6 Mar 1654/55 – Made ensign bearer of the Eastham Company

Oct 1658 – As ensign bearer became, by order of the Council of War, a member of the Council or Staff of Maj. Josias Winslow.  Winslow served as governor of Plymouth Colony from 1673 to 1680.

6 Oct 1659 – Having apparently become a lieutenant before,  he was then made an officer of that grade in the Cavalry Company raised at large in the Colony. (Troop of Horse) under Captain William Bradford.

1662, 1664, 1673 –  John was called upon to assist in auditing the books of the Treasurer of the Colony. In 1663, he and two others were appointed for a year to hold certain wampum belonging to the colony and to pay from it fifteen shillings bounty to each Indian who would bring in a wolf’s head.

Cape Code Library of Local History and Genealogy, Vol I

Chatham, Barnstable, Mass

Chatham, Barnstable, Mass

In 1665, to settle the difficulty at Monomoy, now Chatham between William Nickerson and the Colonial government respecting the illegal purchase of land of the Indian sachem there, Nickerson was allowed one hundred acres of the purchased land, and Major John FREEMAN, with Thomas Hinckley, William Sargeant, Anthony Thacher, Nathaniel Bacon, Edmund HAWES,  Thomas HOWES, Sr,  Thomas FOLLAND, Sr and Lt. Joseph Rogers was allowed a grantee of the remaining portion with the privilege with the above named to purchase adjacent land.

In 1672,  Major Freeman disposed of his right to William Nickerson; and in 1674 Major Freeman and  Capt. Jonathan SPARROW were appointed to lay out Nickerson’s land with instructions, but for some cause the work was not accomplished by the committee until 1692.

Native American tribes who lived in the Chatham before European colonization include the Nauset, specifically the Manomoy or Monomoy people. “Manamoyik” was a Nauset village located near present-day Chatham. Explorer Samuel de Champlain landed here in 1606, contacting (and skirmishing with) the Nauset. English settlers first settled in Chatham in 1665, and the town was incorporated in 1712, naming it after Chatham, Kent, England. Located at the “elbow” of Cape Cod, the community became a shipping, fishing, and whaling center. Chatham’s early prosperity would leave it with a considerable number of 18th century buildings, whose charm helped it develop into a popular summer resort.

1667 – Of nine Indians who had stolen a cask of liquor, three were sentenced to be whipped and the other six were ordered to pay £10 to John as agent for the colony, in ‘Indian corne, or porke, or feathers.’

1663 to 1672 – Served as a selectman

1666 to 1686 and 1689 to 1691. An assistant to the Governor. The break in his term of service from 1686 to 1689 was caused by the usurpation of Gov. Andros and the cessation of all colonial offices for that period. [Thomas CLARK’s son Nathaniel was Andros’ primary deputy, see CLARK’s page for details.]  His duties in the latter capacity were quite incessant and much more varied than those of a Judge of our present-day courts.

1667 -76 Served as a member Council of War

Apr 1667 – As a result of a menace to the colonies by the French and the ‘Duch,’ there was appointed a council in each town to assist the regular officers and Lt. John was so named for Eastham.

1670 – William Clarke and Edward Gray of Plymouth; Richard Bourne and William Swift of Sandwich; Thomas Hinkley and Thomas HUCKINS of Barnstable; Samuel Sturgis, of Yarmouth and John FREEMAN of Eastham, formed a company to engage and regulate the making and disposing of all the tar made in the colony, at the price of 8 shillings for every small barrel, and 12 shillings for every great barrel, during the full term of 2 years.”**

Jun 1670 –  He and Jonathan SPARROW were a Committee for Eastham to ‘looke after the Minnesters Rate.’

1670 – The Court had ordered that no tar which was made within the colony should be sold outside of it, and that its price for a two-year term should be eight shillings in money for a small barrel containing not less than sixteen gallons, beer measure, or twelve shillings for a ‘great barrell’ and that John should handle all that was made in Eastham. ‘

8 Jul 1671 – At a meeting of the Council of War held at Plymouth, relative to the menace to the colony of King Philip and his followers it was decided to impress a body of one hundred men and ‘forty of our trustiest Indians’ for a campaign against them during the following month and Lt. John was to be second in command under Maj. Josias Winslow. This action was followed on August 23rd by a decision to send letters to the neighboring colonies asking their advice and cooperation and the letter to Massachusetts Bay was sent by the hand of Lt. John.

15 Sep 1673 the Court, with him present as an Assistant, ‘haveing considered the information given concerning the Duch theire actings att New York and places adjacent’ ordered that the ‘troop of horse allowed by the Court shal be sixty, whoe shall have horse pistols, and each of them a carbine, with other acculterments fitt for service’; that volunteers should be encouraged to bring the membership to that number and that in case of attack at any given town, the portion of the personnel of this troop which was resident in a near-by town might, by direction of their local council, hasten to their relief and might even ‘presse horses for their better expedition if they shall see cause.

Jul 1674 – A certain Indian called Hoken was a ‘notoriouse theife’ and was finally put in prison, but broke out and stole a horse on which to escape. The Court, stating the belief , that he ‘will not be reclaimed, but lyeth sherking and lurking about, whereby many persons are greatly in feare and danger of him’ ordered that ‘Leiftenant Freeman or any other magistrate that can light off the said Hoken, that they cause him to be apprehended and sold or sent to Barbadoes, for to satisfy his debts and to free the collonie from so ill a member.’

1675 – Served as captain in the fight against Indians at Taunton.

]In June 1675 Taunton suffered an attack by Indians, in which the houses of James Walker and John Tisdell were burned and the latter was killed. At the same time two soldiers from Eastham, who were on duty there, were killed including Edward BANGS son-in-law John Knowles.  Capt. Freeman whose daughter Mercy  John Knowles brother Samuel  Knowles afterwards married, was in command of the Barnstable County company, and in his report to Governor Winslow, under date of Taunton, 3 Jun 1675, said:

“This morning three of our men are slain close by one of our courts of guard, (two of them, Samuel Atkins and John Knowles, of Eastham); houses are burned in our sight; our men are picked off at every bush.”

Three Indians were tried, 6 Mar. 1676/77, for the murder of John Knowles, John Tisdell, Sr., and Samuel Atkins. The jury found grounds of suspicion against two and acquitted one, but all three were sold into slavery as ‘prisoners of war.’ The sum of £10 was presented by the Colony to ‘Apthya widow of John Knowles lately slain in the service.’ In 1676 Lieut. Jonathan SPARROW and Jonathan Bangs were delegated by the Court to asssist the yound widow in settleing her husband’s affairs. “ The inventory of his estate, taken 8 Mar 1676, included ‘one dwellinghouse and three or four acres of land, and a small parcel of broked sedge and meadow.’

4 Oct 1675 –  As a Captain, was one of a committee to take an account of the charges ‘arising by this psent warr’, meaning King Philip’s War. He also served actively in that campaign and as a result his estate received a grant of land in Narragansett Township No. 7, at what is now Gorham, Maine. This section was not assigned to the heirs of the participants until 1733, or fifty-eight years after the battle occurred, but it finally assured lot No. 34 to the estate of John.  (Gorham Maine is named after our ancestor John Gorham)

1675-6 – While John Freeman and Jonathan SPARROW were members of the council of Eastham their duties included the assignment of men to both watch and ward, to keep garrison and to do scout duty; included also arrangement for the supply, conservation and apportionment of the town’s stock of ammunition and for laying a tax to cover the purchase of the same. ‘Watch’ implied service from sunset to sunrise and ‘ward’ from sunrise to sunset. If anyone who was called for such service failed to appear, he was to be fined five shillings for each failure and a distress warrant therefor levied on his estate; or if he had no property he was ‘to be sett necke and heeles (a punishment described as tying the neck and heels together so as to force the body into a round ball) not exceeding halfe an houre.’ Fines were also specified for those who were tardy in arrival as watchmen or who came without ‘fixed armes and suitable ammunition.’

Jun 1676 –  The Treasurer’s account showed that ‘Capt. Freeman’ owed the Colony £1 for a gun. ‘The suffering and loss occasioned to the colonies by King Philip’s War stirred the sympathies of many people across the water and contributions were made which were apportioned between the colonies, Plymouth receiving a share of over £120.

March 1677 – The Court ordered the ‘destribution of this collonies pte of the contribution made by divers Christians in Ireland for the releiffe of such as are impoverished, destressed, and in nessesitie,’ and named ‘Captain Freeman’ to handle Eastham’s share. Innumerable instances are found where John was called upon to make surveys, to divide land, set bounds, etc.

1677 – A major in the expedition against Indians at Saconet.

June, 1678 –  Taunton still owed the colony certain sums ‘for billetting Captaine Freeman and his men and theire horses’ ‘in the late warr with the Indians,’ ‘likewise to pay for beef which was disposed off when Capt. Freeman was att youer towne, either by Capt. Freeman or any of youer celect men for the releiffe of some of youer poor, whoe were in extreamyty.’

Nov 1679 – Thomas Clark asked £50 damage from him, claiming that John had pulled up a boundary stake by Clark’s land and the jury gave the plaintiff ten shillings and costs to the amount of £3.

Feb 1682-3 – For unseen reason, the Deputy Governor, John Freeman, Jonathan SPARROW, John Doane, and John Miller departed this Court before it was finished, all being members thereof,’ therefore, ‘this Court orders that if att June Court they render not a suffient excusse they shalbe fined according to law.’

2 Jun 1685 – The military companies of Barnstable, Sandwich, Yarmouth, and Eastham were made the 3rd Regiment and John Freeman was commissioned Major Commandant thereof, with other companies added later.

1685 –  Appointed Deputy at Eastham for eight years.

1691 – the town of Eastham mortgaged to him two islands, as security for the payment of L76 which he had advanced as the town’s proportion of the expense of obtaining the new charter from England.

4 Nov 1690 – In order to prevent all possible lawsuits and controversies between those who went whaling, the General Court appointed a ‘viewer’ in each coast town, whose word and record should report all whales killed, or wounded and left at sea, describing the wounds so given with time and place where they occurred. The further requirement was made that when any whale was brought or cast on shore that it should be ‘viewed’ and record made of its injury and the time and place of its landing before any mutilation took place, so that its rightful ownership might be established. If anyone ignored the last ruling, he lost all right to the fish and was fined £10 beside. The viewer received a fee of six shillings for each whale viewed and recorded and had permission to appoint a Deputy if he chose. One who found a drift whale a mile from shore ‘not appearing to be killed by any man’ might claim such by paying ‘an hogshead of oyle to ye county for every such whale.’ Major John held this office of viewer for Eastham in 1690. ‘

7 Dec 1692,- Appointed to the Bench of the Court of Common Pleas after the Union of the Colonies.

An interesting original deed contains, among others, the signatures of Thomas PRENCE, Jonathan SPARROW, and John Freeman. It covered an exchange between Hannah (Prence) Mayo and John Freeman of two pieces of land given them by Thomas Prence who was respectively father and father-in-law of the principals.

The inventory of the estate of Thomas PRENCE taken in Apr 1673 shows a debt of £17 owing to John Freeman and in a codicil dated on 28 Mar 1673, to his will of a year earlier, the former gave to the latter ‘Speeds Cronicle and Wilson’s Dictionary and the abridgement; and Simpsons History of the Church and Newmans Concordance.’ Through a long term of years John was a Deacon of the Eastham Church. He was a large landholder and possessed considerable means.

His will was dated 1 Jun 1716, and a codicil was added on 16 Jun 1718. The document was probated on 10 Nov 1719 and the controversy which had arisen between the heirs was settled by an agreement signed by them on 27 Jan 1719/20. The will gave to Edmond a number of tracts of land and a share of the personal estate. It gave £10 in money to each of the testator’s two grandchildren, Lydia (Freeman) Godfrey and William Freeman, children of his deceased son William, and gave their freedom to his negroes ‘Tobye’ and Bess, with the added gifts of four acres of land, a horse and a cow. The inventory shows a bountiful estate including such items as one hundred sixty-one pounds weight ‘In silver money and Plate.’ The agreement of the heirs includes the name of Israel Doane who had married and who signed in behalf of his wife Ruth Freeman, daughter of Edmond.’

His grave-stone, at Eastham, bears the inscription: ‘Here lies the body of Major John Freeman. Died October ye 28th 1717 in ye 98th year of his age.’ His wife, Mercy, died Sept. 28, 1711, age eighty. There were few men in the colony of his day that bore a better reputation than Major Freeman. He was upright and impartial in all his acts while a public servant, and correct in his religious walks through life.


1. John Freeman

John’s first wife Sarah Merrick was born 1 Aug 1654 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass. Her parents were William Merrick (1602 – 1688) and  Rebecca Tracy (1625 – 1686). Sarah died 21 Apr 1696 in Harwich, Barnstable, Mass of consumption after a long sickness.

John’s second wife Mercy Hedge was born about 1658 in Yarmouth, Mass.  Her father was our ancestor Capt. William HEDGE.   On 4 July 1673 the court at Plymouth Colony; authorized Lt. Thomas Howes of Yarmouth, son of our ancestor Thomas HOWES as Guardian of “Marcye Hedge” [Mercy Hedges].  Mercy first married Elkanah Watson of Plymouth. Elkanah died in a shipwreck off the shore of Boston on Feb 8, 1690. According to Savage, he was drowned in company with the second Edward Doty and his son John, by shipwreck. on the Gurnet’s Nose, in a passage from his Boston home, 8 Feb. 1690.  Mercy died 27 Sep 1721 in Harwich, Barnstable, Mass..

Mercy Hedge Watson Freeman Headstone Old Burying Ground Brewster, Barnstable, Mass

John was settled in the north part of Harwich before 1680. He settled upon his father’s land near the meadow eastward of Stoney Brook. He received from his father in 1695 a deed of the land, and buildings standing thereon, together with a large tract adjoining. He was one of the founders of the church in that part of the town October 16, 1700. He was a man of standing and means. He held the office of selectman in 1716 and 1717. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and died Jul 27 1721 aged 69 years.

John Freeman Jr Headstone Old Burying Ground Brewster, Barnstable, Mass.

Children of John and Sarah:

i. John Freeman b: 3 Sep 1674 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony; d. xxx

ii. Sarah Freeman b: Sep 1676 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.; d. 23 Aug 1739 in Harwich, Barnstable, Mass.; m. 1695 to Edward Snow (b. 26 Mar 1672 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass – Will proven 20 Sep 1758 Harwich, Mass.) Edward parents were our ancestors Jabez SNOW and Elizabeth SMITH.

iii. John Freeman b: Jul 1678 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony; d. 1767 in Rochester, Plymouth, Mass.; m. Mercy Hodge Watson ( b ~ 1680 in Plymouth , Plymouth , Mass. – d. 27 Sep 1721 in Harwich)

John’s daughter Mercy (bapt. 24 Apr 1706 in Harwich) was reprimanded by the Harwich Church

Mercy, Daughter of Mr. John FREEMAN …. made her publick confession …. with expressions of sorrow … asking forgiveness &c. 15 May 1726. Wherupon the chh voted to forgive her, and accept her again into their favor, on condition of future gospell-becoming conversation.

iv. Rebecca Freeman b: 28 Jan 1680 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony

v. Nathaniel Freeman b: 17 Mar 1683 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony

vi. Benjamin Freeman b: Jul 1685 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony

vii. Mercy Freeman b: 3 Aug 1687 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony; d. 7 Jul 1720) – Harwich, Barnstable, Mass.; m.  Chillingworth Foster

viii. Patience Freeman b: 1689 in Eastham, Plymouth Colony

ix. Susanna Freeman b: 1691 in Eastham, Massachusetts

x. Mary Freeman b: Abt 1693 in Harwich, Massachusetts

2. Dec. Thomas FREEMAN (See his page)

3. Hannah Freeman

Hannah’s husband John Mayo was born 15 Dec 1652 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass or a little later in Oyster Bay, Nassua, New York..  His parents were   Capt Samuel Mayo (1620 – 1664) and   Tamsen Lumpkin  (1625 – 1709)  John was the first representative to the General Court from Harwich.  John died 1 Feb 1725 in Harwich. Barnstable, Mass.

John Mayo Gravemarker Old Burying Ground Brewster, Barnstable, Mass

John’s grandfather John Mayo (died 1676) was the first minister of Old North Church in Boston also known as Second Church or Paul Revere’s Church. Increase and Cotton Mather took over this church upon his retirement.  This is the Old North Church that was in North Square (across the street from what became Paul Revere’s house) until the church was dismantled and used by the British for firewood during the occupation of Boston during the Revolutionary War.

John Mayo of Northamptonshire, a commoner’s son, was one of 504 students who matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford University in 1615. He came to New England in 1638. In order to travel, the harassed clergy had to disguise themselves and use assumed names. His wife was named Tamsen but we don’t know where or when they were married. John Mayo was in Barnstable by 1639, where he was ordained a minister on April 15, 1640. Governor William Bradford, Thomas Prence, and Captain Myles Standish were in attendance when Mr. John Mayo of Barnstable was admitted as a Freeman by the court of Plymouth on March 3rd in the 13th year of his Majesty’s Reign, 1640. In 1646 he moved to the newly settled town of Nausett (Eastham), where he served as the minister until 1654. While in Boston, he served as an overseer of Harvard College and the Boston Latin School.

In April 1653, John’s father Samuel Mayo together with Peter Wright and William Leveridge bought of Assiapum alias Moheness, an Indian sachem, the land now the village of Oyster Bay on Lond Island. The grantees by endorsement on the deeds gave to seven other persons equal rights with themselves in the land purchased. William Leveridge had been the first pastor of the church in Sandwich, MA and employed Samuel Mayo, who owned the vessel named Desire, to transport his goods to Oyster Bay. This vessel was captured by one Thomas Baxter in Hempstead Harbor under pretense of authority from Rhode Island for intercourse with the Dutch,, but Mayo recovered a judgement 0f £150 against Baxter because of the capture. Mayo was at Oyster Bay for some time. He did not settle, but John was born there.

Hannah Freeman Mayo Headstone

4. Lt. Edmund Freeman

Edmund’s first wife Sarah Merrick was born in15 May 1652 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.  Her parents were William Merrick and Rebecca Tracy.  Sarah died in 1679 or 1680

Edmund’s second wife Sarah Mayo was born 19 Dec 1660 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass.  Her parents were Samuel Mayo and Tamesin Lumpkin.  See her brother John above for the story of her father and grandfather.  Sarah died 5 Mar 1745 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass

” [ Edmund] was a man of distinction, and many years selectman of E[astham].” He is referred to as Lieutenant on his tombstone inscription.

Edmund Freeman Headstone Cove Burying Ground Eastham, BarnstableHERE LYES YE BODYOF LIEUT EDMONDFREEMAN DECD FEBRY11TH 1718 IN YE6_RD YEAR OF HIS AGE.

5. Mercy Freeman

Mercy’s husband Samuel Knowles was born 17 Sep 1651 in Plymouth, Mass. His parents were Richard Knowles and Ruth Bowers.  Samuel died 19 Jun 1737 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.

Samuel’s brother John married Apphia Bangs, daughter of our ancestor Edward BANGS.  John was killed in King Philip’s War and Samuel inherited his property.  Ironically, John was under the command of Samuel’s future father-in-law Capt. John Freeman.

John Knowles was one of nineteen men Eastham furnished for the King Philip war, and was one of the slain, as appears in the action of the colony government in providing for his widow. Freeman (vol. I, p. 280) says, “and provision was especially made for Apphiaj widow of John Knowles, of Eastham, lately slain in the service.” From a note at the foot of p. 366, vol. II, the conclusion is drawn that he was killed near Taunton, June 3d, 1675 (i. e. 3d day, 4th month, O. S.).

“ In June 1675 Taunton suffered an attack by Indians, in which the houses of James Walker and John Tisdell were burned and the latter was killed. At the same time two soldiers from Eastham, who were on duty there, were killed. Capt. John FREEMAN whose daughter Mercy Samuel Knowles afterwards married, was in command of the Barnstable County company, and in his report to Governor Winslow, under date of Taunton, 3 Jun 1675, said:

“This morning three of our men are slain close by one of our courts of guard, (two of them, Samuel Atkins and John Knowles, of Eastham); houses are burned in our sight; our men are picked off at every bush.”

Three Indians were tried, 6 Mar. 1676/77, for the murder of John Knowles, John Tisdell, Sr., and Samuel Atkins. The jury found grounds of suspicion against two and acquitted one, but all three were sold into slavery as ‘prisoners of war.’ The sum of £10 was presented by the Colony to ‘Apthya widow of John Knowles lately slain in the service.’ In 1676 Lieut. Jonathan SPARROW and Jonathan Bangs were delegated by the Court to asssist the yound widow in settleing her husband’s affairs. “ The inventory of his estate, taken 8 Mar 1676, included ‘one dwelling house and three or four acres of land, and a small parcel of broked sedge and meadow.’

His house must have stood on the southern slop of the high land north of the road recently built form the State Road to the Town Landing. At a town meeting held 15 Mar. 1724/25 it was “‘ Voted, to allow Samuel Knowles to fence in the land on the northwest side of his field or land which was formerly his brother John Knowles so far as the fence & ditch which did formerly enclose the said land did formerly stand and no further.’ “ Samuel afterwards had his land, and two town records refer to the road dividing Samuel Knowles’s ‘original land,’ on the east of the road, from the land that was of John Knowles, deceased, on the west of the road.”


6. Patience Freeman

Patience’s husband

Samuel Paine was born in 1652 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass. His parents were Thomas Paine (1611 – 1706) and  Mary Snow (1630 – 1704).  Samuel died 12 Oct 1712 in Eastham Mass.

 7. William Freeman

William’s wife Lydia Sparrow was born 19 Nov 1660 Eastham, MA.  Her parents were our ancestors Capt. Jonathan SPARROW and  Rebecca BANGS. After William died she married Jonathan Higgins after  31 May 1687 Eastham, Mass.  Lydia died 16 Mar 1707/08
Eastham, MA.

William died after only a couple years of marriage before May 31, 1687 when Lydia took out letters of administration of his estate.

KC Higgins questioned Lydia’s identification as Sparrow, by Stanley Smith, as unproven.
Presumably Hannah and Samuel were children by a prior marriage of Jonathan.

“Deacon” Jonathan Higgins left no will and there is nothing on the Probate Records at Barnstable at present to show who his children were, neither are they recorded on the town records. Hence the list of his children has to be conjectural. (from KC Higgins, 1919)

9. Nathaniel Freeman

Nathaniel’s wife Mary Howland was born 23 Dec 1665 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass. Her parents were  Zoeth Howland and Abigail[__?__] Howland of Newport,RI. . Mary died 29 Jan 1743 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.

22 Dec 1657 – Mary’s father Zoeth, her grandfather Henry Howland and her great uncle [our ancestor] Arthur HOWLAND, were called before the Plymouth court to answer for entertaining a Quaker, and suffering and inviting sundry to hear said Quaker.  They were fined for using thier homes for Quaker meetings.’   The families of Arthur Howland and his brother  Henry, were two Plymouth families most identified as practicing Quakers. The families ceased attending Plymouth religious services and allowed their homes for the conduct of Quaker meetings.

No marriage record has been found for Nathaniel Freeman. The given name of the mother of his children was Mary, as was the name of his wife of his old age, allowing for the possibility for her to be one and the same individual. [MD 8:91; NEHGR 20:61], [Barnstable Co. PR 8:91], [MFIP Wm Brewseter p.96] “A circumstantial case for the identity of Nathaniel’s wife as Mary Howland, has been proposed for the naming of the grandchildren of Nathaniel and Mary Freeman. Their daughter, Abigail Freeman married Samuel Smith and had a son named Zoeth Smith. Zoeth was an unusual name and was found in relatively few families. A search of the family of Zoeth Howland revealed a daughter Mary, born 1665/66. The age at death of widow Mary Freeman makes it possible for her to be one and the same as Mary Howland.”

Nathaniel served Eastham as a Justice of the Peace in 1707, and town clerk and selectman.  He inherited all his father’s land and housing marsh & meadow in the town of Eastham at a place called Menaskeakett, obtaining it in the estate settlement of 27 Jan 1720.

Nathaniel Freeman Headstone Orleans Cemetery East Orleans,  Barnstable MassHere lies the Body ofNATHANIEL FREEMAN ESQ’Rwho Died in the month ofJanuary 4th 1760in the 91st Yearof his Age

10. Bennett Freeman

Bennett’s husband Deacon John Paine was born 14 Mar 1661 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass. His parents were Thomas Paine (1611 – 1706) and  Mary Snow (1630 – 1704).  

After Bennett died, he married  3 Mar 1718/19 in Eastham to Alice Mayo. John and Alice had four children born between 1721 and 1728.  John died 26 Oct 1731 in Eastham, Mass.

Alice Mayo was born 1685. Her parents were Nathaniel Mayo,(b. 1652) and [__?__] Alice died 12 Oct 1748 Al

Bennett Freeman Paine Headstone Cove Burying Ground Eastham, Barnstable, Mass


John Paine Headstone Orleans Cemetery East Orleans, Barnstable MassInscription:70y 7m 12d

Children of Bennett and John:

i. John Paine b. 18 Sep 1690 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

ii. Mary Paine b. 28 Jan 1693 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.; d. 5 Mar 1770
Eastham; m. 9 Oct 1712 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass. to Samuel Freeman (b. 1 Sep 1688 in Eastham – d. 30 May 1751 in Eastham)

iii. William Paine b. 6 Jun 1695 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

iv. Sarah Paine b. 14 Apr 1699 in Eastham, Plymouth, Mass.;

v. Elizabeth Paine b. 2 Jun 1702 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass; d. 6 Jul 1772 in Eastham; Burial: Cove Burying Ground, Eastham. m. 27 Oct 1720 in Eastham to Deacon Jabez Snow (b. 22 Jul 1696 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.; d. 6 Sep 1760 Eastham)  Jabez’ parents were Jabez Snow and Elizabeth Treat.  His grandparents were our ancestors Jabez SNOW and Elizabeth SMITH.  Elizabeth and Jabez had six children between 1722 and 1740.

v. Theophilus Paine b. 7 Feb 1704 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

vi. Josiah Paine b. 8 Mar 1706 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

vii. Nathaniel Paine b. 18 Nov 1707 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

viii. Rebecca Paine b. 30 Oct 1709 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

ix. Mercy Paine b. 3 Apr 1712 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.;

x. Benjamin Paine b. 18 May 1714 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.


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22 Responses to Maj. John Freeman

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  22. Carole J. Wilkins says:

    I am looking for info on Mattthew Woodruff born around 1621, I think.. Lived in Hartford, Conn. and Farmington in 1672. Notes from my great aunt say he as admitted as a Freeman in 1657. Is that connected to your family. Is Freeman an organization or WHAT? I enjoyed your bio.

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