Monday, July 6, 2015

John Brown of Hampton, New Hampshire

english origins
It is not known when John Brown of Hampton arrived in New Hampshire nor from where he came from in England.  He is often confused with the other John Browns of New England. The John Brown of Hampton did not sail on the Elizabeth in 1635. He did not marry Sarah Walker, he is not the son of Angus Brown. Nothing is known of his or his wife's English ancestry. But, you say, I read it in a book. I know you did, but those books were written a long time ago and new research has been done to straighten out all the JB's that came to New England.

John was first granted land in Hampton in the year 1640. Hampton was a new town and the first land allocation was made in January of 1640. John was given his land in June of that same year, so although he wasn't one of the first settlers, he was hard on their heels.

In the first land grants most of the lots given out were "house lots" the largest of which was 10 acres, but most were much smaller. John Brown was one of about 5 men who were given "farm lots". This land was further out from the town. A document from 1645 show John Brown owning 2 lots besides his farm lot. In another document dated 1663 John is on a list of owners of the "cow common", one he was given and one he bought from Thomas Sleeper. He owned lot numbers 11, 17 and 24. Apparently you were only allowed to graze cows on the common if you owned a share.  

One of the boundaries of the common was John Brown's River. Today, the cow common is known as the Great Salt Marsh of Hampton. John Brown's river ran up to his farm.  Brown's river was named for him as was John Brown's Point, his share of the salt marsh on the east side. He was one of the largest land  owners at that time and on a list of tax papers his name was third in rank of amounts paid. 

In 1680 New Hampshire was separated from Massachusetts and became a Royal Provence. It was to be governed by a president and council appointed by the King and an elected house of representatives. A list of men eligible to vote was drawn up including John Brown, Sr. It is estimated that there were about four thousand white people in New Hampshire at that time. 

John was married by 1642, all we know of his wife was that her name was Sarah. Over the course of sixteen years she gave birth to eight children. All of their known children survived to adulthood. Three of their sons lived well into their late eighties. Their youngest son died in a battle during King Philip's War.

1. Sarah b. 1643 m. John Poor of Charlestown, MA, d. 28 Dec 1678 of smallpox, age 35
2. John b. August 29, 1643 died unmarried 29 August 1683 age 40
3. Benjamin b. 1647 Hampton m. Sarah Brown of Salisbury d. 1736, age 89
4. Elizabeth b. abt 1650 m. Isaac Marston, d. 5 Oct 1689, age 39
5. Jacob b. abt 1653, m. Sarah Brookings, d. 13 Feb 1739/40, age 87 
6. Mary b. Sept 13, 1655, m. Nathan Parker
7. Thomas b. 14 July 1657, m. Abial Shaw, d. 19 June 1744 in Hampton, age 87
8. Stephen b. 1659 killed at the Battle at Blackpoint in 1677, age 18

king philip's war
All of John and Sarah's sons are thought to have fought in the King Phillip's War. Only Stephen was killed. The battle at Blackpoint in Maine was fought between the colonist and the Indians.  The colonist were on the losing side, suffering 50-60 causalities.  This was one of the last battles of King Philip's War.  The following was written in an article called "A Doleful Slaughter Near Blackpoint" by Sumner Hunnewell:
 Only one man from Swett’s town of Hampton was recorded to have accompanied him. STEPHEN BROWN was a teenager probably living with his widowed father, a first settler and prosperous landowner in Hampton. It may have been a short lived but merry meeting for Stephen and John Parker of Andover. Stephen’s older sister had married John’s oldest brother. Some (if not all) of Stephen’s brothers were soldiers during the war and now it was his turn to play the man.
John Parker was also killed in the fight that day.


In a history of Rockingham County is written the following about John Brown:

John Brown was one of the first company who settled here. He was here in 1640. He built the first "barque" that was built in Hampton in 1641-42, at the river near Perkins Mill. He was a prominent man, became one of the largest land-owners in the town, was one of the selectmen in 1651 and 1656, and in 1663, was chosen "to see that the boys do not play in the gallery." He died in 1686.

In 1680, when John was very old, he divided what was left of his property between his two sons, Jacob and Thomas. These are the only two deeds I can find with his name on it. His wife Sarah had died in 1672, he would live a further six years. According to the Hampton records John Brown was ninety eight when he died. This seems unlikely but then again three of his sons lived into their eighties, so it just might be true. One clue is the fact that he was not dismissed from military training until 1662. If he was born in 1588 then in 1662 he would have been seventy four years old. Most men would have been dismissed at a much younger age, usually by sixty. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Nathan Longfellow and Mary Green of Hampton, New Hampshire

Nathan Longfellow, the son of Anne Sewall and William Longfellow, was born in February of 1689/90. Anne came from a distinguished family, her brother Samuel Sewall was a Judge during the Salem Witch Trials.  William was the son of William and Elizabeth Longfellow of Horsforth, England. He was not very successful in life and when he died at the relatively young age of forty he left an estate that was worth much less than his debt.  Nathan, his son, was only about a year old when he died.  Nathan was presumably raised by his mother and step father, Henry Short, who she married in 1692. There was no mention of guardianship of the children in William Longfellow's probate. Henry had seven children with his first wife Sarah Whipple. Sarah died between May 1690, birth of last child, and and the May 1692 marriage of Henry and Anne Longfellow. Henry and Anne had a further eight with Anne, who had already had six children from her first marriage.

By his early twenties, Nathan had made his way up to Hampton in New Hampshire. Beginning in 1711 Nathan began buying tracts of land in and around Hampton and Hampton Falls. His name appears on at least 20 deeds, mostly as the buyer. In 1713 he married Mary Green, daughter of Captain Jacob Green of Hampton Falls. Mary's family had been very prominent in Hampton and her father was quite well to do. Given the amount of land that Nathan was able to accrue, he seems like a shrewd businessman himself. At the time of their marriage, Mary was twenty and Nathan twenty three.

Like all pre-birth control mothers, Mary gave birth ever two or so years. Her first child was born, rather predictably, a year or so after her marriage. Her children with Nathan Longfellow were:

1. Jonathan b. May 1714, m. Mercy Clark   d. 4 June 1786 Machias, Maine
2. Samuel b. 8 May 1716, d. 22 May 1717 Hampton, NH
3. Anne b. 2 August 1719, m. Nehemiah Brown, d. 5 Nov 1799
4. Mehitiable b. 18 Dec 1720, d. before her father's will was written
5. Jacob b. 20 July 1722,
6. Sewell b. 6 Oct. 1724, d. between 1733 and 1740, probably
7. Abigail b. 5 Feb 1728
8. Nathan b. 8 June 1729, m. Susanna Healy, d. 15 Dec. 1818 Whitefield, Maine
9. Green b. 3 April 1731, m. 1753 Abigail Prescott, d. 1760 Hampton of smallpox

indian wars
Nathan, like his father in law, was a member of the local militia.  In 1707 he was in Captain Joseph Swett's Company. He may have been one of 31 men who marched to Saco, Maine to relieve the harried occupants of that town, who were under constant threat of Indian attack. Things were so bad that in the nearby town of Kingston, men who had abandoned the town were forced to go back to defend it.

This period of fighting was known as the "War of Spanish Succession" on the continent, and "Queen Anne's War" in New England.  It was the second of the French and Indian Wars.The French and their Indian allies were pushing back against English expansion into Acadia. They considered the border to be the Kennebec River. Many of their attacks were focused on the towns in Southern Maine, then part of the Massachusetts.

border wars
The towns of New England, almost from the onset of their existence, had constant squabbles over their boundaries. Many of my ancestors were chosen to "run the line" between two towns. But these disputes also existed between the province of Massachusetts and the province of New Hampshire. Do you live in the southern most part of Hampton, New Hampshire or do you live in the northern most part of Amesbury, Massachusetts. What difference did it make, you ask, well it made a lot of difference to the tax man.

In 1719-1720 Nathan Longfellow served as  the constable for the town of Hampton. One of the constable's duties was to collect the town rates or taxes and deliver them to the Province. During his tenure there was an ongoing dispute over the exact location of the border. Nathan tried to extract rate payment from several men who claimed that they lived in Massachusetts and had already paid rates to Salisbury.  Nathan confiscated livestock from some as payment and went so far as to arrest men who refused to pay.

The Secretary of Massachusetts, Mr. Willard, wrote to the Lt. Governor of New Hampshire complaining of Nathan's tactics and behavior. The Salisbury men did not take this lying down and Nathan found himself imprisoned in jail in Salisbury. I don't know how long they held him, but I'm sure their system was not as efficient as it is today and I don't know if  you could post bail.He petitioned the New Hampshire Council for loss of money while doing his job as constable. It seems he did not take the position of constable again.

Interestingly this border dispute continued until 1953 when the New Hampshire Supreme Court fixed to border at Bound Rock.

tragic death
In December 1730, Nathan, a man in his prime of life, was dying. He was weak and in a low condition. He wrote his will, dividing his large estate between his remaining children, the last of who had yet to be born. This is how his will breaks down:

1. Jonathan (age 16): 40 Acres in Kingston that he bought from Samuel Dow and 1/2 of a 12 acre lot that he bought from Thomas Loveit.

2. Jacob (age 8): 60 Acres in Kingston that he bought from Samuel Dalton and the other half of the 12 acre lot. The improvement on the 60 acres of land he bought from Jacob Stanyon, until Jacob turns 21 and inherits the land from his Grandfather Jacob Green.

3. Sewall (age 6):  Two lots of land in the Grass Swamp, each twenty acres, one bought from Joseph Swett and one from Elias Chance, 1/2 a twenty acre lot running up the Red Oak Ridge and 50 acres of land in Kingston that he bought from Joseph Cass.

4. Nathan (age 1): A home lot of 16-17 acres he bought from Caleb and John Swain, 40 acres laid out by the Province lot layers, 8 acres he bought from Joseph Stanyon, a 16 acre lot he bought from John French and a 16 acre lot he bought from Jonathan Godfrey.

5. Anne (age 11): A 100 acre lot in Kingston bought from Thomas Ward, 1/2 the common rights he bought from Jethro Tilton and Jacob Moulton.

6. Abigail (age 2) A 100 acre lot in Kingston bought from Edward Shaw and the 1/2 common right he bought from Tilton and Moulton.

7. Unborn Child - Green: if he lives 60 acres he bought from Jacob Stanyon,  (this is the lot he gives to Jacob until he turns 21, then it turns over to Green.

8. Mary his wife: His dwelling house and barn and all the land enjoyned to them that he bought from Captain Joseph Swett for the rest of her life and then they are to be divided between Jonathan and Jacob.

On the 15th of January 1731 Nathan died. His estate was inventoried and was valued at over 2000 pounds. Administration of his estate was given to his widow Mary and his oldest son Jonathan. Mary was made guardian of all her children, including Green who was born in April. At a probate court held on 6 March 1731/2 Mary was officially made the guardian of all her children save Jonathan who was old enough not to require a guardian.  For some reason, Mary gave up guardianship of her oldest daughter Anne, on 6 August 1733.  Joseph Norton of Hampton was appointed her guardian. Why was she put out of her home, was it like an apprenticeship, was this normal, was this unusual? I don't know. What I do know is that about three weeks later her mother remarried.

second husband
On 27 August 1733, Mary Green Longfellow married Joseph Macress. Joseph was born in Salisbury and was a Cooper by trade. He married his first wife Sarah Dole in about 1707 in Hampton Falls. They had two daughters, what became of them was not recorded, nor was the death of Sarah his wife. In an interesting note, one of the men who endorsed Mary as guardian was a Stephen Greenleaf; he was married to Mary Marcress, Joseph's sister. His other sister, Lydia Macress, was married to a Perkins and lived in Hampton. Joseph's mother was Lydia Fifield and she was related to all the Fifields in Hampton.

In December of 1734 Joseph, with Mary's permission, sold some of her land that she had inherited from her father Jacob Green.  They appear to have been living in Salisbury. On 3 September 1736, Mary's oldest son Jonathan, now 22 and having reached his majority, was given guardianship of his fourteen year old brother Jacob. These two brothers would inherit the lion's share of their grandfather's estate as well as getting quite a bit from their father. In fact Mary and her husband executed a deed in April of that year with Jonathan splitting his inheritance off from her and Jacobs share. Jonathan was in possession of his own land, did he want control of Jacob or Jacob's estate. Again, was this a mutual happy decision?

On December 20, 1740 Mary's remaining children, Abigail age about 12, Nathan age about 9 and Green about 7 years of age were given to Joseph Wadleigh of Hampton. Guardianship of a child meant that not only did you have to take care of the child, educate them, and prepare them for adult life, but you also had guardianship over their inheritance. Was Mary, or more likely Joseph Macress, not considered able to aptly administer to her children's inheritance. Was this why they were taken out of the home? Guardians were also reimbursed for their care, and they could use the property of their ward.

Joseph Wadleigh seems to have farmed poor Green Longfellow out to a man named Timothy Hilliard. He was a farmer in Hampton Falls. In 1742, Mary Macress petitioned the court on behalf of Green, saying he was not being well treated and did not have enough to eat. She claimed he was poorly clothed and not receiving any education, and worst of all his inheritance was being squandered. She asked that she being his natural mother be given guardianship of her person and that someone else be given guardianship of his inheritance. This must have been heartbreaking for a mother to see her young child in such a condition. I don't know what the courts decision was but Timothy Hilliard died poor and in debt in 1745 in debt and his young children were taken from their mother and given to his brother.

mary did not die in 1742
Okay people, repeat after me, Mary did not die in 1742. She did not give up guardianship of children because she was too ill to care for them. She was alive and well and living in Salisbury. After the death of Joseph, which was not recorded, she appears to have returned to the Hampton Falls area.

In 1758 Jonathan Gove, in a deed, released to Mary Macres, widow of Joseph, all the land that he held that originally belonged to either Jacob Green or Nathan Longfellow. This Jonathan Gove had been given guardianship of Mary's son Nathan. I wonder if there was a dispute about getting control of Nathan's inheritance back. In any case, Mary was alive and kicking in 1758. Her name appears in several more deeds. In 1763 she sold land to Nehemiah Brown, her son in law, who had married her daughter Anne. This is the last time that I can find her name.  There is no record of her death or where she was buried, but if I had to guess it was in Hampton Falls. Mary would have been about 70 years old in 1763.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Captain Jacob Green of Hampton, New Hampshire

good start
Jacob Green was the son of Henry and Mary (possibly Perkins) Green.  He was born about 1653 in Hampton, New Hampshire.  His father was a successful businessman, who became involved in politics. Henry was a Justice of the Peace, Judge and a member of the King's Council. When he died he was one of the most prominent men in Hampton, if not the Province of New Hampshire.  Henry left his son Jacob his mills, house and farm near Hampton Falls. Jacob, you could safely say, had a rather good start in life.

Jacob waited rather a long time to marry. His first child was born in April of 1693.  This puts him close to forty when he started his family. Of course for all we know, he could have married and lost his wife and none of it was recorded but I'll stick with what we do know and use a married by 1692 date.

scary times
New Hampshire was first settled in the 1620s; Henry Green was there by 1645. By 1700, the colonist had put a small dent in the endless forest and had scratched out quite a few towns, most along the coast or rivers. Quality of life was improving. Inventory list reveal a growing number of luxury items imported from England and other European countries. The one thing that was not improving was the colonial relationship with the American Indians. The colonist existed in a near constant state of anxiety from the threat of Indian attacks.

Garrison houses, protective fortified houses, were built all over New Hampshire.  Families who did not live in a garrison house were assigned one as their refuge in time of attack. The memory of the death and destruction from King Philip's War in 1676 was probably never far from their minds. The Indian Wars that followed and were to occur for almost ninety years, were the direct result of European Wars. After King Philip's War the Native Americans in the New England allied themselves with the French who held Canada. Whenever hostilities flared between England and France, the New England colonist found themselves under attach by the French in Canada and their Indian allies.

In 1689 Indians attack the town of Dover, NH killing many of the inhabitants. In 1690 Casco and Salmon Falls, towns in Maine, were attacked and burned to the ground. These attacks occurred during King William's War, 1688-1697. After a brief five year respite, Queen Anne's War of 1702-1713, brought renewed hostilities between the folks in New Hampshire and their French and Indian enemies. In 1703 Hampton was attacked and five colonist were killed.

captain jacob green
Jacob Green was raised in what seems like an incredibly stressful environment. He saw very few peaceful years in his life.  He lost his cousin Abraham Perkins in 1677, killed in an Indian attack. Every able bodied man was required to train for the militia, including Jacob.  By 1699 he had reached the rank of Captain. On 11 Oct 1703 the Governor ordered the garrison of Hampton to be beefed up and made ready for the women and children to shelter there if need be.  Winter's harshness brought a respite from attack, but on March 27 1704 Captain Henry Dow and Captain Jacob Green were ordered to muster their soldiers and present themselves in one weeks time for deployment. They would be under the command of Major Winthrop Hilton. What action they might have taken was not recorded. Winthrop Hilton was an experienced Indian fighter and he led many expeditions against the French and Indians. He was killed in 1710 in an Indian fight.

life goes on
Despite the constant backdrop of war, life went on, as it does. In about 1692 Jacob, at long last, married a woman known to us only as Sarah. They had four children, two girls and two boys. The sharp division of labor between males and females, unchanged for centuries continued. Jacob ran the mills, farmed and performed his civic duties. He served as selectman for Hampton three times, and appeared on a jury. Of course he had an important role in the militia, serving as Captain from 1699 until 1720. Sarah, whose name only seems to be recorded when joined the church and when she died, took care of the house and children.

Jacob and Sarah were members of the Church at Hampton Falls. In 1724 the church considered suspending Jacob from the church for "not doing his duty to his offend bros. for irregular walk and doings and contempt of church". I'm not really sure what that means, I wonder what irregular walk was???

children of jacob and sarah
1. Mary b. 17 April 1693, m. (1) Nathan Longfellow 28 May 1713, (2) Joseph MacRess 1733
2. Abigail b. 27 September 1700, d. 23 April 1723
3. Jacob b. 12 Sept. 1702 d. before 1726
4. Jonathan b. 23 August 1704 d. before 1726

Jacob Green died on 5 Nov. 1726 he was about 73 years old. His wife Sarah died on 18 April 1723, their daughter Abigail died five days after her mother. In 1733 Mary Green Longfellow MacRess was his only surviving child. Her brothers deaths were not recorded and apparently had no children. Jacob left a deed will giving all his land and mills to his Mary and Nathan Longfellow to use until their son Jonathan reached the age of 21.  At that time he would inherit one half of his grandfathers estates. When Mary's son Jacob reached 21 he would inherit the other half of the estate.  Ann Longfellow, was to be given a bed and bed frame upon her Grandfather's death and when boys, Jonathan and Jacob, reached the age of 21 each would give her forty pounds money. Eighty pounds is a pretty nice inheritance for a girl.

The deed will is really long and wordy, but buried in the verbiage was one small word which I was disappointed to see. As Jacob was listing all his land and mills he added the words, "also my negrow". Did Captain Jacob Green owe a black slave? That's what it sounds like to me.

Henry Green of Hampton
Nathan Longfellow and Mary Green

Have a great day!