Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Abraham Morrill of Salisbury, Massachusetts


Background 
As with many of the early immigrants to America, the information we have about them is limited, usually to what we know, what we think we know and what we just plain make up.  This is also the case for Abraham Morrill. According to Anderson in Great Migration, the origins of Abraham are unknown.  His brother Issac is listed on the ship "The Lion" and arrived in 1632/33. Many sources have said that it would make sense if Abraham was also on the "Lion", but this cannot be proved.  Anderson believes that based on a land grant of 1635, Abraham had to have been born no later than 1614.  One source said was born in 1586 in Broad Oak, Essex, however there is nothing that would give credence to this claim.

Abraham in Cambridge  The first record of Abraham in this county is in 1635 when he was given land in Cambridge. Cambridge, called Newe Towne in 1635, was one of the first settlements by the members of the Winthrop fleet.  The site was chosen in December of 1630 because it was "safely upriver from Boston", and would be difficult to attack by ship.  It was also at the first stretch of the  Charles River that was crossible.   The first houses were built in 1631 and the original village site was where Harvard Square is today. 
seal of the Mass Bay Co.
The first evidence of Abraham comes from Cambridge records from 1635 showing that he was granted a share in a meadow on 20 August. In February 1635/6 he is on a list of men who have  houses in the town, and in 1639 an inventory of land in Cambridge recorded that he held four parcels of land. he continues to show up on the inventory of land until 1642.  His brother Isaac is not recorded in Cambridge, he seems to have settled in Roxbury immediately. 
For the record
Abraham and his brothers' names are also found on a record from a 1638 list of members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. This Order was started by  Robert Keayne  who was born in Windsor, England, 1595. His father John Keayne, was a butcher, but Robert's interest moved him toward a career in merchant tailoring. He moved to London and served his apprenticeship until admitted to membership of the Merchant Tailor Corporation of 1615. He joined the Honorable Artillery Company of London in 1623. He emigrated to Boston, via the ship "Defense", in 1635 and was elected the first Captain of the newly chartered order.  The order was established to train young gentlemen officers for service in the various militias of the Colony.  This order is still in existence.  Check out their website: Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. The companies headquarters
has been located in Faneuil Hall since 1746. 

Salisbury
In 1638 a group of men headed by Simon Bradstreet and Samuel Dudley petitioned the General Court to begin a new plantation in an area known as Merrimack.  This plantation was first called Colchester, and on a 1639 document listing the original planters is the name Abraham Morrill. In 1640 the first division of  land was made, Abraham and about 50 other men, and one widow, received their town lots. The town name was also changed at that time to Salisbury.  Abraham's house lot was between Richard Currier and Richard North, not to far from the Meeting House.  See Salisbury Plat Map
Isaac Morrill House built in 1680
  
In 1642, he and Henry Saywood were granted 60 acres to build a corn mill. Abraham continued to receive land, and in 1650 he was listed as a commoner and taxed to pay the Minister's salary.  He continued to receive land in the years to come.

Family Finally  
In 1645 Abraham finally married.  His wife was Sarah Clement. Sarah was born in about 1625/26 in England,  She was the daughter of Robert and Lydia Clement. Robert and his family left England for the Colony in 1642.  He landed and stayed in Haverhill where he became an influential and wealthy member of that community, and the owner of the first grist mill. He was one of the five to take the deed of the town from the Passagut and Saggahew Indians in 1642. He eventually came to own an island in the Merrimack River that is still known as Clements Island.

Children of Abraham and Sarah:
Isaac, b. 10 May 1646 d. 17 Oct 1713
Jacob b. 24 Aug 1648 
Sarah b. 24 Oct. 1650 m. Philip Rowell
Abraham b. 14 Nov 1652
Moses b. 28 Dec 1655
Aaron b. 9 Aug 1658
Richard b. 6 Feb 1659/60
Lydia b.  8 Mar 1660/61
Hepzibah b. Jan 1662/63

RIP
Abraham Morrill died in Roxbury on 18 June 1662, possibly while visiting his deceased brother's family. Isaac had died exactly six months prior to Abraham. Abraham left a young wife with 6 children under 18 years of age, the youngest, depending on the year was  either an infant or unborn. Abraham himself was probably less than 50 years of age when he died. The will of Abraham Morrill is signed two days before his death, the signature being not much more than a scribble. He is believed to be buried in Roxbury in the Eustis Street Burying Ground, in the same cemetery as his brother. 
To his "dear and loving wife" Abraham left one half of the entire estate outright. The other half was to be split between his six surviving children which he mentions by name: Isaack, Abraham, Jacob, Sarah, Moses, and Lidda. His wife Sarah was carrying their youngest child, as yet unborn. Being the eldest, Isaack was to receive a double portion once he reaches the age of 21. Abraham's wife Sarah and his son Isaack were appointed executors of the estate. 
Sarah remarried on Oct 8, 1665 to Thomas Mudgett. Together they had two children, Mary and Temperance Mudgett.  Sarah died in Aug 1694, and Thomas died in 1700.  

FYI
The sister of Sarah Clements, Mary (Clements) Osgood, was caught up in the Salem Witch Trials; Mary (Clements) Osgood was accused of witchcraft and spent three months in jail.


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