Wednesday, September 17, 2014

William Harvey and Martha Copp of Boston, MA

This will be a very short bio as William Harvey left little evidence of his life for us to find. He was born no later than 1628, most likely in England.  His origins are unknown, neither his parents or place of birth have been identified.  He married Martha Copp in 1650, a marriage which lasted 8 years and ended in 1658 with his death. When he died he left Martha a widow with four small children and a very meager estate valued at 38 pounds. The inventory included a house, garden and some pigs. Martha was granted power of administration of the estate. Their children were; William, Thomas, John and Mary.

Martha was the daughter of William Copp and Anne Rogers of Warwickshire, England.  William and his second with Goodith had immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony by 1640, Martha was about 10 years old at the time. The Copps lived in Boston on what would become known as Copp's Hill.

William died on 15 August 1658, his estate was probated the following January.  By November of 1659 Martha had remarried.  The marriage service was performed by then Governor John Endicott.  The Puritans viewed marriage as a contract and not a covenant and so it was not a religious event. In fact the 'ceremony' was most often performed at home by the local magistrate.  The couple were asked to respond to a simple question and if they both answered yes they were married.  There were no vows or wedding rings exchanged and no wedding dress, the whole affair was over in a blink of any eye.  The marriage was usually followed by a nice dinner with family and friends. The next day was business as usual.

henry tewksbury
Martha's second husband was Henry Tewksbury.   Henry is another mystery man, his ancestry is, like William's, unknown. He must have been living in Boston at the time of their marriage, and their first child was born on 22 August 1660 in Boston.  When Martha's father William Copp wrote his will in 1662, Martha and her family appear to have been living in one of his houses. The will, dated 31 Oct says Daughter Tewskbury to live in the house where son David lives.  David Copp was her brother. However, the Tewksbury's second child, Hannah, seems to have been born in Newbury.  Maybe Martha's father was making sure she had a home just in case.

newbury to amesbury
Henry's name is not often found in the old Newbury records.  In May of 1669 he took the oath of fidelity in Newbury but then sold his land there and moved to Amesbury, MA. Henry and Martha would remain in Amesbury for the rest of their lives.  The date of death is not certain for either one. At least five of Martha's children seem to have died before her.

Martha's Children:
  1. William Harvey b. 27 Aug 1651 Boston, named in Grandfather's 1662 will, nothing more.
  2. Thomas Harvey, weaver,  b. 16 Aug 1652 Boston, m. Sarah Rowell, d/o ancestor Valentine Rowell, d.      by Jan 1716 when estate was probated in Amesbury.
  3. John Harvey, weaver and carpenter, b. 1655 Boston, m. Sarah Barnes Rowell, wid/o Thomas    Rowell,  d/o ancestor William Barnes, sister/o ancestor Rachel Barnes Sargent, d. 8 March 1705/6 Amesbury.
  4. Mary Harvey b. 2 June 1657 Boston, named in Grandfather's 1662 will, nothing more.

  5. Elizabeth Tewksbury b. 22 Aug 1660 Boston, nothing further
  6. Hanna Tewksbury b. 1 Sept. 1662 Newbury, m. James Sanders
  7. Henry Tewksbury b. 15 Dec 1664 Newbury, m. Hannah Unknown
  8. Naomi Tewksbury b. 18 Jan 1666/7, m. John Eliot
  9. Ruth Tewksbury b. 10 March 1668/9
10. Mary Tewksbury 23 Jan 1670/1, bp in Boston, m. Phillip Sargent
11. Martha Tewksbury b. 3 March 1662/3, d. 9 March 1663/4
12. John Tewksbury b. 27 July 1674 Amesbury, m. Hannah Colby

my ancestors:
William Copp and Anne Rogers
Martha Copp and William Harvey
John Harvey and Sarah Barnes  next up
Judith Harvey and Jacob Sargent
Tabitha Sargent and John Foss
David Foss and Anne Richardson
Anna Foss and Rueben Moore
Mary Moore and Samuel Duncan Rowell
Enoch Rowell and Viola Rowell
Jennie Clover Rowell and John Clark Thornton
my grandparents
my parents

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

William Copp of Warwickshire, England and Boston, Massachusetts

After vacationing and touring historic Boston last year, I was excited to see that I am related to William Copp, of Copp's Hill, one of our stops on the Freedom Trail. I just wish that I had known that when I was there, I would have paid a bit more attention. But, anyway, I took a lot of photos so I have a good idea of what it looks like today.  Of course it looked nothing like today's Boston landscape back when William first landed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and made his home on the Shawmet peninsula. At that time there were multiple hills in Boston; Beacon Hill, the three hills known collectively as Trimount, and what would become known as Copp's Hill.

Like many of my early American ancestors, there is quite a bit of confusing information floating about the internet pertaining to William. A search of and will give you some, what I believe to be, false information. So, after a bit of digging, here is what I think I know about William Copp.

english origins
In January of 1653, Anthony Coppe of Honiley, Warwickshire, England wrote his will. In this document he made a bequest to his brother, William Coppe, who was in New England. Honiley is a very small village in Warwickshire not too far from the town of Warwick and Kenilworth Castle. There was no church in Honiley until after the mid seventeen hundreds, so there are no Honiley Parish records that pertain to William and his family.  To find any records of the Copp family, you have to look in the nearby village of Hatton and its parish church of Holy Trinity.
Holy Trinity, Hatton by David Howard Creative Commons 

The Hatton Parish register of marriages began in 1538.  Access to the marriage records is easily available online. The first marriage of interest was on 28 Feb 1575, it was the marriage of Thomas Coppe and Isabel Gunn.  Thomas and Isabel are believed to have been the parents of William and Anthony Copp.  Thomas was a yeoman in the hamlet of Beausale, which is in the parish of Hatton. His father may have been the John Coppe who leased a messuage and a close called "Round Table" in Beausale in 1545. (a messuage is land that a house is built on, and a close is a tract of land) In 1624 Thomas Coppe  paid a yearly rent of two fat pigs and a goose for "Round Table" close. The lease on the land being passed down through the family.

Thomas Coppe wrote his will in 1624 and died in 1628..  According to other researchers, he called himself Thomas Coppe the elder of  Bewsall, yeoman in the countie of Warwick.  In his will he named his wife Isabel, sons: Walter, Anthony, Matthew, John, Thomas and William, and daughter Ursula. Anthony Coppe named in his will his brothers William and Walter. This confirms relationship between Thomas and William as father and son.

parish records
There are so many old records now readily available to use today on the internet that sometimes we believe that they are all a mouse click away.  This is not true as I have found in my search for information on William and his family.  The early baptismal and burial records from the Hatton parish are not online, and are available only from the records office which holds the originals.  The baptismal records seem to be the source of the date frequently given for William's baptismal date of 9 November 1589. Getting a look at these original records is expensive and time consuming, so I am putting my trust in other researchers such as Samuel Copp Worthen, who have provided the information and references. Although William was baptized at Holy Trinity in Hatton, his parents lived in Beausale, so I see no reason to say that he was born any place other than Beausale. If you have seen the originals, please let me know.

The first  internet available entry related to William Coop is his marriage to Ann Rogers on 24 November 1615. Two children, whose father was William's Coppe, were baptized at Holy Trinity, Hatton. The first was John Coppe, bp. on 26 May 1622 and the second Johan bp. 15 October 1625. What's interesting about this is that there was an 8 year gap between the marriage of William and Anne and the first baptism of a child. Were there other children who were baptized elsewhere or went unrecorded at Hatton, or are there pages missing, or did it take eight years to concieve their first child?

We know that William was married to an Ann, but when he arrived in Boston he was married to a woman named Goodith. So, what happened to Ann and who was Goodith?  According to the internet, Anne died in 1633, and William married  Goodith Icthener on 24 July 1634, but did he? According to the parish records Goodith Itchener married at Holy Trinity, on that July day, not William Copp but William Cox. That right, not Coppe but Cox.  So what are we to make of this, is it a medieval typo or is it correct.

children of william copp
  1. John bp. 26 May 1622 Hatton, Warwickshire, no other info
  2. Joanna bp. 15 Oct. 1625 Hatton, m. 1647 Samuel Nordon, Boston, d. 29 June 1654, age 29
  3. Martha b. abt. 1630, m. William Harvey, Henry Tewksbury
  4. Ann b. abt. 1632, m. 1646 Herman Attwood, m. 1651 Thomas Saxton, d. before 1662
  5. David b. abt 1635, m. Obediance Toppliff, d. 20 Nov 1713 age 78
  6. Naomi b. abt 1638, bp. Boston 5 July 1640, d. 8 Oct. 1653 age abt 15
  7. Jonathan b. 23 Aug 1640, m. Margaret
  8. Rebecca b. 6 May 1641, d. before her father's will was written in 1662
  9. Ruth b. 24 May 1643
10. Lydia b. 6 July 1646, bp 9 July 1646

highlighted children died before their parents

the blessing
A lot of people believe that William Copp sailed for Massachusetts on the Blessing in 1635 with his brother Richard.  The men were recorded as William Cope age 26 and Richard Cope age 24.  There are several reasons why I do not think this is correct. First, William was 46 years old in 1635.  Also, there is no indication that he had a brother named Richard. But, I think the most compelling reason to believe that it was not him is that he was granted a lease of land in Hatton in 1636, the year after the Blessing sailed for Massachusetts. As Robert Charles Anderson points out in his Great Migration bio of William Cope, William Copp did not make an appearance in the Boston records until July 1640.

boston and copp's hill
By 1640 William and his family had arrived in Boston.  William lived on what became known as Copp's Hill in the North End of Boston.  He owned a house and one half an acre near the mill pond. The hill was previously known as Windmill Hill and Snow Hill, it was not called Copp's Hill until about the time of the American Revolution. Beginning in 1659 part of the hill was used as a burial ground.

William and Goodith became members of the First Church of Boston, he in 1640 and Goodith in 1642. Their children, newborn and older children were baptized in the church. William's family would have listened to the preaching of the famous Rev. John Cotton a highly respected Puritan clergyman.

William became a Freeman in 1641. He was a cordwainer, shoe maker, by occupation and he was chosen to serve as one of the first four "sealers of leather" in Boston. The sealers would monitor leather for its quality, etc.

In an interesting case that came before the General Court in 1641, William was found guilty of concealing a prison break.  The prisoner was Thomas Owen who apparently had an adulterous affair with a woman named Sara Hales.  Thomas was given a strange punishment which involved having a hanging rope placed around his neck.  He was to sit for one hour on a ladder at the gallows with the end of the rope hung over the gallows. Sara was given the same punishment but she was also to be banished from the colony.  Thomas and Sara broke out of prison and their whereabouts were hidden by a group of men and women in Boston. The pair must have been found as both faced new fines and if unable to pay they were to be whipped. William Copp was fined the pair.  This seems to be his only infraction.

last will
William wrote his will in 1662. He named his wife Goodith, leaving her their house in Boston. He says that his daughter Martha Tewskbury can live in the house in which his son David lives and at her death her four children; William, Thomas and John Harvey and their sister Mary were to have 10 pounds apiece. William's son Jonathan would inherit the parental home on his mother's death and then pay his sisters; Ruth and Lidia, 10 pounds each and nieces and nephews John and Sara Atwood,

Sarah Norden and Mary Harvey, five pounds each.  William also owned 100 acres of land near Braintree, Massachusetts.  He divided the land between his children and grandchildren. An inventory of the estate was done on 15 March 1669/70.

William buried at least five of his children, Goodith outlived William, but not by long.  She died 25 March 1670. Goodith is buried on Copp's Hill and her headstone survived to this day. William was, I'm sure also buried in the hilltop graveyard along with some of their children.

my ancestors
William Copp and Anne Rogers
Martha Copp and William Harvey
John Harvey and Sarah Barnes  next up
Judith Harvey and Jacob Sargent
Tabitha Sargent and John Foss
David Foss and Anne Richardson
Anna Foss and Rueben Moore
Mary Moore and Samuel Duncan Rowell
Enoch Rowell and Viola Rowell
Jennie Clover Rowell and John Clark Thornton
my grandparents
my parents

Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony, 1641-1644
Hatton Parish Records
Records of the First Church of Boston
Suffolk County Wills, Abstracts of the Earliest Wills Upon Record

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Benjamin Thurston and Mary Gage of Bradford, Massachusetts

Benjamin Thurston was born on 4 May 1695 in Newbury, Massachusetts.  His parents were Daniel and Mary Dresser Thurston. He was a second generation New Englander, as was his wife, Mary Gage, who was born in the neighboring town of Bradford. Benjamin's father and grandfather had been husbandmen, making their living off the land.  They had both raised cattle, pigs and sheep and harvested salt marsh hay for feed. Benjamin took another track and became a carpenter and joiner.

move to Bradford
Benjamin and Mary published their intention to marry on 17 March 1717. They married on 24 June 1718. Just prior to his marriage Benjamin bought land, 26 acres, in Bradford, from John Watson.  In 1719 he bought the remainder of John Watson's land, about 30 acres, including house, orchard and fences. Presumable this is where he and Mary made their home. When the deeds were filed Benjamin was described as a carpenter. Since his father was not a carpenter, he must have learned his skills from someone else.  He might have been apprenticed to a local carpenter or sent to live with one, in the tradition of "sending out" of children.

more land
Benjamin did not buy additional land until 1733, when he bought a tract of land in Bradbury bordering Little Pond.  Also that year he bought of Abraham Hazeltine land in an area of Bradford known by the wonderful name of "Dismal Hole". He made a few other land purchases, including a thatch island from the heirs of Phillip Attwood before making a large purchase in 1740.  He bought over 40 acres of land from John and Samuel Green as well as buying out a mortgage on land they had sold but whose new owner had defaulted on the sale.  At  his death he still held the land in Lunenburg, Maine, that he inherited from his father.

We know from his land deeds that Benjamin was a carpenter, but he also made furniture.  The inventory of his household goods, done for the probate of his estate, include unfinished tea tables and desk and pulpit. He also had a lot of finished furniture, which he must  have made for himself.  At his death, Benjamin owned one horse, four cows, two oxen, three calves, six pigs and fourteen sheep, so he did some husbandry.

On his headstone, Benjamin is given the military title of Quartermaster. None of the Massachusetts Militia records are online.  If anyone is ever headed to the Mass Archives, maybe they  could look up Benjamin and see exactly what  he did.

marriage and children
Benjamin married Mary Gage of Bradford, daughter of Nathaniel Gage and Mary Weeks, on 24 June 1718. He was 23 and Mary was 21. Benjamin did not marry Sarah Burpee.  Two of his children died in their 20's, both after his own death.  Two of his daughters left Bradford, one to Maine and the other to Connecticut. His son Daniel played an active part in the American Revolution. One other thing that stands out is Benjamin had only six children, he father and grandfather had 12 and 13.

1. Daniel 1 March 1719 Bradford, m. Hannah Parker & Judith Gerrish,  d. 14 July 1805
2. Nathaniel b. 26 Oct 1722,  Bradford, m. 19 Feb 1744 Sarah Kimball, d. 7 Dec 1746 age 24, she         married James Head in 1748
3. Mary b. 4 March 1725 Bradford, m. James Chadwick 
4. Sarah b. 14 July 1731, m. 23 Feb 1759 Asa Tucker, d. 5 May 1816 Suffield, Hartford, Connecticut
5. Hannah b. 20 Oct 1735 Bradford, m. Moses Day, d. Fryeburg, Maine
6. Elizabeth 6 May 1740, m. Moses Gage, Jr., d. 9 June 1769 Bradford, age 29

Benjamin became a full member of the church on 7 June 1719 his wife Mary on 24 Jan 1720.

Benjamin wrote his will in May of 1746, he died four months later, I wonder if he had been ill, as he was not all that old.  He was 51 years old when he died, his youngest child was only six. Sadly, his second son, Nathaniel, died three months after his father, in Dec of 1746. Mary Gage Thurston did not remarry after her husband's death.  She lived to the age of 80, dying in 1778.  Both Benjamin and Mary were buried in the Bradford Burying Grounds.

interesting inventory
When Benjamin's great uncle Daniel died his household inventory was about 1/2 a page.  Benjamin's runs on for over three pages.  His inventory included the usual necessary items for daily living but also included such things as a looking glass. He also owned a clock and an ink well, and I'm sure he could read and write, he also owned some books.

When Benjamin died, his son Nathaniel was married and living on the land that Benjamin had bought from John Green. His son Daniel got his father's house and land. The four girls were all given money for their part of their father's estate.