Wednesday, July 25, 2012

John Foss and Mary Berry Of Rye, New Hampshire

John "I am not from Denmark" Foss and his only wife Mary Berry 

Internet mess
The genealogy of the John Foss Family is an internet mess, and I hesitate to enter the fray but, he is in the family so I will try to sort out what is documented about him and what is not. I know that I haven't been great at documenting my own sources, other than listing them at the bottom of the page, so I will try to do a better job with this one, especially in light of all the errors out there.  

Two John Foss'
The two biggest reasons for all the mix ups are the fact that there were two men, contemporaries, named John Foss who lived within spitting distance of each other, and a genealogy of the Foss family compiled and published by Guy S. Rix.  The two John's are John Foss(t) of Dover and John Foss of Rye.  Both men were married to women named Mary.

In his books on the Foss Family, Guy Rix, a blacksmith in Concord, New Hampshire, pieced together the genealogy through correspondence.  This was done in the early 1900's.  Apparently a Foss family in then Danish Virgin Islands wrote to him and told him of their Danish ancestry. For whatever reason Guy assigned their ancestors to all Foss's in America, which is simply not the case.

Guy Rix then combined the two men, added the fake Danish ancestors gave it all a good stir and left us with a Foss fiasco. Now some people really really want the Danish Ancestry to be true, but from what I have read David L. Foss had twins born in 1638, both girls.  Rix substituted "Johan" for one of the girls names and Voila Danish Royalty added to the family.  As always, if you think that I have any of the following information wrong, please point it out, and please include your documented sources. So here is what I can piece together about John Foss of Rye and John Fost of Dover.

John Fost of Dover
In his will written 17 Dec 1699, John Fost of Dover names the following people: his wife Elizabeth and children; Humphrey, William, Mary, Jeminah, Elizabeth, and Samuel.  He also names a son in law, James Warren.  the inventory of the will was taken on January 8th. In his will he says the two youngest of his children are not yet of age.  Presumably he named the children in their birth order and the youngest two would be Elizabeth and Samuel. [1]

In an earlier probate record, that of James Goss (Goffe), the inventory of his estate was done and was then in the hands of John Foste who married the relict (widow) this was done on May 7 1688. Witnesses were Humphrey Chadbourne and Richard Paine. [2] So we know that the wife named in John Fost's will was Elizabeth Goss, widow of James Goss.  She is not, however, the mother of all of his children.

William Chadborne
In The Collection of the Dover Historical Society, Vol 1, Births and Marriages, are found the following births:  William Fost, son of John and Mary born March 11th 1673.  Mary Fost, the daughter of William and his wife Mary, born June 24 1728 and Chadbourne Fost, son of William and his wife Mary born March 26 1731. [3]  The first wife of John Fost was Mary Chadbourne. She was said to be the daughter of William Chadbourne and his wife Elizabeth. [4]

In his will proved 13 September 1667 Humphrey Chadborne of Kittery, Maine wrote a very lengthy will in which he left 5 pounds to his "cosson Mary Fosse". This confirms the link between Mary Fost and the Chadbourne family. Humphrey was likely her uncle, despite being referred to by his as his cousin. [5]

At a town meeting held March 1, 1666 Thomas Edgerly, James Coffin, John Chirch, John Fost and others were received into the Town of Dover. He is on the tax roll of Cochecho that year. At a training the 21st of June 1669 John Fost and other men took the Oath of Fidelity. He is said to have been a tailor and attorney as he represented others in court. [6]

death of mary
Mary Chadbourne was alive on 11 March 1673 when she gave birth to her son William. He had his birth recorded in the Dover records in the 1700's after the birth of two of his own children.[7] John, her husband was know to have been remarried to Elizabeth Goss by 1688 when her husbands estate was probated.  [8] Most researchers place Mary's death closer to that date. But here's an interesting item in the court records. In June 1674 John Fost and his wife were presented in court in Dover for have a child only 12 weeks after marriage. [9] As there are no other John Fosts in Dover and John Foss of Rye was still married to his wife Mary Berry, who else can this be?

So, our first John Foss/Fost should look like this:

John Fost of Dover, b. Unknown, d. 1699
Married (1) Mary Chadborne, perhaps by June of 1674  (2) Sarah (Crawford) Goss
Mary b. abt. 1666, m. James Warren
William b. 11 March 1673


John Foss of Rye
There is a story, with slight variations, told about the arrival of John Foss of Rye. It is said that he was a Midshipman or caulker, on a British Man-of-War that was anchored in Boston Harbor.  John absconded from the ship and made his way to Rye. I tend to believe that he was a caulker rather than a midshipman. Although no one knows exactly when he arrived, you can pin him down a bit based on information in town records and deeds.

english origins
Paignton Harbour
In a 1990 article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register entitled "Two John Jacksons From Dartmouth" the author surmises that John Fosse, son of Steven Fosse and Mary Jackson, and great nephew of John Jackson immigrant to New Hampshire, was the John Foss of Rye.  The Jackson Foss families lived in Paignton, Devon, England, which is a coastal town, and adds credence to the story of John being a caulker on a ship.  Still, the article does not offer any concrete evidence that John Foss of Devon was in fact John Foss of Rye, but it sounds promising. [10]

for the record
At the June court of 1662 quite a number of men were "presented" at court for various misdeeds involving alcohol including Francis Gray, of Great Island, who was presented for excessive drinking and disturbing the peace.  One of the witnesses was John Foss.  He took the oath of fidelity with others on 2 October 1666 at an election of military officers. [11]

At a Porthsmouth town meeting in 1663 a highway was to be laid out from Nathaniel Drake's to Sander's Point which was where John Foss lived.  Nathaniel Drake was by then married to Mary Berry Foss' mother.
At an Oct 1671 meeting he was paid 100 pounds for something by the town and in 1675 John Foss, Surveyor presented his account for work done on the highway, working with him were John and James Berry. He is said to have received a deed of land in Rye in 1668.[12]

wills, deed, death
John and his wife Mary testified in 1707 about the last wishes of Mary's sister Rachel Marden. [13] On  13 September 1710, John, feeling the weight of time and infirmity, wrote a deed will. His wife Mary was not mentioned, I believe we can safely assume that she was dead. If still alive, John would have addressed her care and dower rights.  John deeded most of his property to his son Joshua. He got the house and land at Sandy Beach, all uplands, orchards, meadow, marsh and pasture, except one half an island in the pond. He was also to receive all stock, buildings and household goods. In return, he would care for his father for his natural life. To his son and namesake John, he left all his land in Greenland. The last son mentioned was Zachariah, we was to get the other one half of fresh meadow on the island. He also was left fifty acres of land between the land of James Fulton and his grandfather's (William Berry) land. Lastly he left 5s. to each son and daughter, to be paid by Joshua. [14]

Two sons named William
To keep things complicated both men had sons, born around the same time, named William. William, son of John Fost, is known to have been born on March 11, 1673.  He married first in 1692 to Margery Lord and second Sarah, widow of Nathaniel Heard of Dover. Around 1727 he married Mary Horne. William Foss, son of John Foss of Rye, married Sarah Buswell in 1700 in Hampton Falls.

John Foss of Rye should look like this:

John Foss, b. 1633 Paignton, Devon, England, d. 1710-1716
Married: Mary Berry, d. between 1707 and 1710
John b. abt. 1660
Elizabeth b. abt. 1666
Samuel b. abt. 1668
Martha b. abt. 1672
William b. 11 March 1672/72
Zachariah b. abt. 1678
Hannah b. abt. 1682

The Hampton Lane Library which is a great genealogy resource for New Hampshire Ancestors lists John Foss as the son of Steven and Mary Jackson Foss.

[1] Albert Stillman Batchellor, Otis Grant Hammond, Ezra Scollay Stearns, Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire, vol. 1 1635-1717, State Papers Series Vol. 31, (Concord, NH: Rumford Printing Co., 1907) 450, digital images, Archive ( : accessed 26 December 2015).

[2] Batchellor, Hammond, Sterns, Probate Vol 1, 320.

[3] Dover Historical Society, The Collection of the Dover Historical Society, Vol 1, Births and Marriages,(Dover, New Hampshire: Scales and Quimby, 1894), 40, digital images, Archive ( : accessed 26 December 2015).

[4] William Richard Cutter and William Fredrick Adams, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts,Vol 4, (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1910) 2461, Archive ( : accessed 26 December 2015).

[5] "Maine Early Wills and Deeds," database with images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 27 December 2015), citing York County, Maine Wills, Registry of Deeds 2, 27, entry for Humphrey Chadborne, 1667.

[6] John Scales, Historical Memoranda Concerning Persons and Places in Old Dover New Hampshire, (Westminster, Maryland : Heritage Books, 2007), 381-2.

[7] Collections of the Dover New Hampshire Historical Society, Vol 1, (Dover, Scales & Quimby, 1894), 40.

[8] Albert Stillman Batchellor, Otis Grant Hammond and Ezra Scollay Sterns, Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire, Vol. 1, 1635-1717, State Papers Series, Vol. 31, (Concord, New Hampshire : The Rumford Press, 1907), 320, digital image, Archive (

[9] Otis G. Hammond, New Hampshire Court Records, 1640-1692, Court Papers, 1652-1668, State Papers Series, Vol. 40), 304, digital images, Archive (

[10] John Plumer"Two John Jacksons from Dartmouth", The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 144 (January 1990); digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 26 December 2015), 33.

[11] Batchellor, Hammond, Sterns, Probate Records, Vol 1, 220

[12] Henry Cole Quinby, New England Family History, A Magazine Devoted to the Families of Maine and Massachusetts, Vol 3, New York City : H. C. Quinby, 1907), digital images, Archive ( : accessed 26 December 2015), 432.

[13] Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Land Records, Vol. 13, p. 94; digital image, Rockingham Country Register of Deeds, (, search > Foss, Jno.

[14] Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Land Records, Vol. 9, p. 419; digital image, Rockingham Country Register of Deeds, (, search > Foss, Jno. > 419> John to Joshua. This deed was written 13 September 1710 and recorded on 28 May 1716.

This blog post updated: 27 December 2015

Saturday, July 21, 2012

John Marden and Elizabeth Berry of New Castle, New Hampshire

John Marden, sometimes spelled Mardin,  appears to have come out of nowhere and landed in New Castle, New Hampshire in the mid 1660's. It is not known when or where he was born, or who his parents were. In a survey of and other family history sites on the internet, his birth year is usually given as 1642. However, this is just an estimate not an exact date.  The date of his marriage to Rachael Berry, daughter of William and Jane Berry, usually given to be 1660, is also an estimated date, based on the estimated birth years of their children.  And not to be left out, the date of Rachael's birth is also unknown, estimated to be 1642.  This would make them both of them at least 18 at the time of their marriage, based on a 1660 marriage. 

Anyway, John's name began appearing in various records in Rockingham County in the mid 1660's.  In 1664   he was on the Isle of Shoals and appraised the estate of one William King. The Isle of Shoals is a group of islands some 6 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, it could be that John Marden was living on one of the Islands in 1664. He took the Oath of Fidelity in 1666 in New Castle.  He also signed a petition by the inhabitants of Great Island (New Castle) to become a separate town.

New Castle, the smallest town in New Hampshire (current pop. less than 1,000) was then part of Portsmouth, it was finally incorporated in 1693. Sandy Beach remained part of New Castle until 1719 when it split off and incorporated under the new name of Rye.  According to Wikipedia the major trades at the time were tavern keeping, fishing, and agriculture. A fort was begun on the Island as early as 1632 and would in John Marden's time be known as Fort William and Mary, it is now call Fort Constitution. 

location of New Castle and Ft. William and Mary

John Mardin was listed as an inhabitant of Sandy Beach in 1688. At a 1697 council meeting in New Castle it was order to pay John Marden for his 3 days of labor at the Fort (William and Mary).The most common error I have found concerning John Marden is his date of death usually given as 11 August 1698.  He did not die on that date, he wrote his will, he died sometime prior to Feb. 12, 1706/7 which is the date his will was proved. This will was witnessed by Judith Webster, John Foss, and John Locke. In it he left his "rite in the woods" to his son James and his wife Rachael the remainder of his estate. Rachael however did not live long after John as her family testified to her verbal will for her goods on the same day that John's will was probated.

Testifying to her wishes were her sister Mary Berry Foss and her husband John Foss.  They swore that Rachel gave to her son William Marden "the house and land where her husband John Marden in his lifetime dwelt".  To her daughter Elizabeth Rand she left her bed and bedding a small iron pot and her riding hood.  To her daughter Mary Jones she left a small table. Also testifying that day was William Wallis, he claimed that Rachel left her estate to her son William, to her son John a sheep, and to her daughter Elizabeth, the bed she lay on. 

John and Elizabeth had the following children: James, John, William, Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth married Nathaniel Rand.

On Sept. 7, 1745 John Marden, carpenter of Ports. & William Marden, yeoman of Rye sell to Joseph Newmarch of New Castle a piece of land on Great Island belonging unto our Honored Father John Marden late of New Castle deceased & on which he once lived it Lyes on the south side of an acre of Land formerly one Morses Land Westward and then along by the highway aforesaid as far as was possessed by our honored Farther. (from a deed of sale)

As always, if you think I have any wrong information please let me know, and if you would be so kind as to provide a source for your correct information. 

Provincial Records of the State of New Hampshire, Vol 2
Provincial Records of the State of New Hampshire, probate records
History of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire, Langdon Parsons

Sunday, July 15, 2012

William and Jane Berry of Sandy Beach (Rye), New Hampshire

A new year is fast approaching and I have made some New Year's resolutions in regards to my genealogy research. The resolution to which I will really really try to keep is to always document and properly cite all my sources. With that idea in the forefront of my mind, I am going back and rewriting some of my old blog articles, including this one, and adding in my sources. (this blog updated December 2015).

This year I have adopted a new motto: Nullis Credite, meaning, Trust No One. And by no one I mean no other genealogy researcher. Why this lack of faith you ask? Because in this internet driven genealogy age, people are putting up all kinds of really bad research. Often times the problem is actually lack of research. Many web posters are just "copy and pasters." They copy stuff from, wikitree, and other web based sites and in doing so, perpetuate incorrect information. 

Genealogy is a science at its best, and at its greatest its an art form. It takes time, skill, money, yes money, and brain power. But genealogist are human and they make mistakes, including some of the great genealogist of the past. It's hard to undo over one hundred or more years of incorrect data, and some people believe that if its in a book it must be right, wrong! I would advise you to apply the same principal to your research, don't copy, do your own leg work and get the correct genealogy.

So, here is what I think I know about William Berry and his wife Jane. 

english origins
Okay friends repeat after me, William Berry's English ancestry is unknown. Yes, I know that you have seen on ancestry that his parents are John and Susanna Philbrick Berry, but this is a giant error which we can thank those copy and pasters for passing on. So here's the deal, William's oldest son was John Berry. He married a woman known only as Susanna. Somehow they have been transformed on ancestry into William's parents. It's always fun to be able to pinpoint where our ancestors originated,  but in this case we do not know where William hailed from, nor who his parents might have been. [1]

who was jane?
I went to a seance last night and the spirit of Jane Berry Drake came through from the other side. She softly whispered in my ear that she had a message for all her descendants. She said, "for God sake quit calling me Jane Locke Hermins." Jane's last name is unknown. Where did the name Locke Hermins come from? William and Jane's son, William, married a woman named Judith Locke on 8 July 1678. Her father was Nathaniel Locke and her mother's maiden name was Hermins. According to one source her mother's name was also Judith. This would make her Judith (Hermins) Locke, but there is no one named Judith or Jane Locke Hermins. [2] Needless to say, Jane's English ancestry is also unknown. 

masons man or not
In 1622 Captain John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges received a patent from Council of New England for a swath of land that included New Hampshire. William Berry's name appears on a list of stewards and servants of Captain John Mason.The men and women listed are commonly believed to have been sent to New Hampshire in or around 1631. John Mason died in 1635, so it would seem that they would all have arrived by then. However, this list was drawn up in 1824 by Nathaniel Adams, almost two hundred years after and it is possible that not all those named arrived by 1631. William Berry's name is not found in any of the very early records, so it makes me wonder if he was in New Hampshire on or before the year 1631. Of course, if he was a servant, then maybe there was no reason for his name to be recorded. [3][9]

new hampshire
William was certainly in New Hampshire in 1640 when he signed "The Glebe Conveyance". He was described as an inhabitant of the lower end of the 'Piscataquack'. A glebe, by the way, is a parcel of land given to the benefice of a clergymen in order to generate income and offset the cost of supporting the minister. The Portsmouth glebe was 50 acres in size. It is interesting to note that the first church in Portsmouth was not a Puritan but rather an Anglican church, unlike those in the Massachusetts Colony. If William had come in 1631 as a servant, he was his own man by then. [4]

The name William Berry is also found in the records of the town of Newbury. Newbury was established in 1635 as a plantation for raising cattle and some family researchers say that he was in Newbury by 1635, however he is not on the original plat map of 1635 and his name is not in Newbury records prior to 1642. So for whatever reason, William left his first home in New England and moved south to Massachusetts.

He took the freemans oath in May of 1642 and became a freeholder of Newbury on December 7th that same year. Williams doesn't seem to have found what he was looking for in Newbury as he very soon returned to New Hampshire. Jane couldn't have been too thrilled with all this 'toing and froing', packing and hauling a bunch of kids around. In 1649 Job Clement of Newbury was granted land formerly owned by William Berry and in 1651 it was recorded that "William Chandler hath William Berries land".[5]

sandy beach
On August 14, 1646 as a signer of a grant, William's home was listed as Strawberry Bank. On June 6, 1648 he gave (sold) his bourn (barn) at Strawberry Bank to Antony Ellis. In 1648/49 William was given a grant of land  on the south side of Little River in Sandy Beach, now called Rye. He was also part of the committee to lay out the land of Sandy Beach along with Anthony Brackett (of the Brackett Lane Massacre), Thomas Peavey and James Johnson.  He was also a grantee of an "out lot" of Portsmouth on January 15, 1652. [6]

All men, who were capable, were required to perform military and civic duties. Court Records in the year 1650 show that William served on a jury at the Courte at Strawberye. At the following court, also held in 1650, William was chosen as constable for Strawbery Bank for one year.  One last mention of him in the court records involves reimbursing him for costs that were incurred in 1645 when he was was acting  on the orders of the court, so he may have been constable then as well. [7]

Location of William Berry's land
children of william and jane
There are no records of the birth of baptism for William's children so their date of birth is just a guess. Their birth order is also not known.
1. John b. 1630-1637 England, m. Susannah unknown 
2. Joseph  
3. Mary m. John Foss
4. Rachael m. John Marden
5.James m. Eleanor Wallis
6.William m. Judith Locke 8 July 1678
7. Elizabeth m. John Locke

Photo by Rusty Clark
On 28 June 1654 the probate court appointed Jane Berry administrator of her deceased husband's goods. William was dead and left no will. Jane was still a relatively young woman, 38. And she had seven children to provide for. What's a woman to do? Remarry, of course. Jane Berry married Nathaniel Drake of Rye. Her death was not recorded. [8]

[1] Langdon B. Parsons, History of the Town of Rye, NH From Its Discovery and Settlement to December 31, 1903, (Concord, NH: Rumford Print. Co., 1905), 296, digital image, Archive ( : accessed 23 December 2015).

[2] Arthur Horton LockeA History and Genealogy of Captain John Locke (1637-1696) of Portsmouth and Rye, N.H., and His Descendants; Also of Nathaniel Lock of Portsmouth, and a Short Account of the History of the Lockes in England, (Concord, NH: The Rumford Press, 1916), 5, 565, digital images, Archive ( accessed 24 December 2015).

Torrey, Charles, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, (Boston: New England Historic and Genealogical Society).

[3] John Ward Dean, Capt. John Mason, the Founder of New Hampshire: Including His Tract on Newfoundland, 1620, Together with a Memoir by Charles Wesley Tuttle, Prince Society: New Hampshire, 1887), 344, digital images, Google Play ( : accessed 26 December 2015).

[4] Langdon B. Parsons, History of Rye.

[5] John J. Currier, History of Newbury, Mass., 1635-1902, (Boston: Damrell & Upham, 1902), 84, 94, 100, 154, digital images, Archive (

[6] Micajah Otis Hall, Rambles about Greenland in Rhyme, (Greenland, New Hampshire: A. Mudge & Sons, 1900), 157, digital images, Google Play (

[7] Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby and Walter Goodwin David, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (Baltimore: Gen. Publ. Co., 1990), 90.

[8] Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire, vol. 1 1635-1717, State Papers Series Vol. 31, Albert Stillman Batchellor, Otis Grant Hammond, Ezra Scollay Stearns, (Concord, NH: Rumford Printing Co., 1907), 800, digital images, Archive ( : accessed 20 December 2015).

[9] William Abbatt, "William Berry (Bury) of New England," The Magazine of History With Notes and Queries, 1907, Vol. 5. 1907, Reprint ( London: Forgotten Books, 2013). 92-3, digital images, Forgotten Books ( : accessed 26 December 2015).

all sources:
Parsons, Langdon B., History of the Town of Rye, NH From Its Discovery and Settlement to December 31, 1903, (Concord, NH: Rumford Print. Co., 1905), 296, digital image, Archive ( : accessed 23 December 2015).

Torrey, Charles, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, (Boston: New England Historic and Genealogical Society).

Noyes, Sybil, Charles Thornton Libby and Walter Goodwin David, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (Baltimore: Gen. Publ. Co., 1990), 90.

McIntire, Robert Harry, Ancestry of Robert Harry McIntire and of Helen Annette McIntire, His Wife, (Norfolk, Va., 1950), 148.

Savage, James A., A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 1860-1862., (Boston: Brown, Little and Co., 1860), 1:171, digital images, Archive (

Stackpole, Everett S., Old Kittery and Her Families, (Lewiston, ME: Lewiston Journal Press, 1903), 293-4, digital images, Archive (

Locke, Arthur Horton, A History and Genealogy of Captain John Locke (1637-1696) of Portsmouth and Rye, N.H., and His Descendants; Also of Nathaniel Lock of Portsmouth, and a Short Account of the History of the Lockes in England, (Concord, NH: The Rumford Press, 1916?), 5, 565, digital images, Archive ( acccessed 24 December 2015).

Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire, vol. 1 1635-1717, State Papers Series Vol. 31, Albert Stillman Batchellor, Otis Grant Hammond, Ezra Scollay Stearns, (Concord, NH: Rumford Printing Co., 1907), 800.

John J. Currier, History of Newbury, Mass., 1635-1902, (Boston: Damrell & Upham, 1902), 84,94, 100, 154,digital images, Archive (

Dow, Joseph, History of the Town of Hampton, N.H. from its First Settlement in 1638 to the Autumn of 1892, (Salem, Mass.: Salem Press Publ. & Print, 1893), 689.

John Ward Dean, Capt. John Mason, the Founder of New Hampshire: Including His Tract on Newfoundland, 1620, Together with a Memoir by Charles Wesley Tuttle, Prince Society: New Hampshire, 1887), 344, digital images, Google Play (

Micajah Otis Hall, Rambles about Greenland in Rhyme, (Greenland, New Hampshire: A. Mudge & Sons, 1900), 157, digital images, Google Play (

Abbatt, William, The Magazine of History With Notes and Queries, 1907, Vol. 5. 1907, Reprint 
( London: Forgotten Books, 2013). 92-3, digital images, Forgotton Books (

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Colonial Calendar, Why Two Years Are Given For A Date

presentation of the new calendar to Pope Gregory

Often times when you are looking at dates for events in colonial times you see something like this:

Mary b. 3 Jan 1655/56  
Robert d. 5 March 1703/04
The meeting was held 26 Nov 1673, the next meeting to be held Feb 1673

Since 527 A.D. the first of the year was marked on March 25. This was a great religious feast day; the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary Virgin.  The year was divided into quarters based on the great feast days: Annunciation, Midsummer Day or The Feast of St. John the Baptist on 24 June, Michaelmas Day or the Feast of the Birth of St. Michael on September 29,  and The Feast of the Circumcision Jesus, now know as the Octave on January 1. 
In the year 1582 the Catholic nations of Europe adopted the Gregorian Calendar which moved the beginning of the year back to Jan 1.  The protestant countries including England and it's colonies did not adopt the new calendar and continued to use the March date.  Because they were then two calendar systems the English double dated all days between January 1 and March 24th. 
In 1752 England and it's colonies finally adopted the Gregorian Calendar and the double dating stopped.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thomas Shannon and Anne Rand of Rye and Chester

A search of available literature reveals very little about Thomas Shannon.  I was able to find the following information:

Thomas Shannon married May 31, 1753, Ann Rand.  [1]
Lived at Chester.  
Children: Bettie b. September 18, 1753 
              William b. August 25, 1755
              John b. August 16, 1757
              Thomas b. 1759
              Samuel b. 1762
              Sarah b. 1766

Thomas Shannon came from the "Shoals", married a sister of Nathaniel Rand...

Thomas Shannon, born near Dublin, in Ireland or as some would say, near the river Shannon.  Emigrated to America about 1722, settled at the Isle of Shoals and later went to Rye where he married Mary Rand and soon after moved to lot 38 in Chester where they resided a short time. [2]

That's about it, all that is written about Thomas Shannon and his wife Anne Rand and some of it obviously cannot be correct.  Firstly and most obvious is that Thomas married Anne Rand and not Mary.  Also if he immigrated in 1722 but did not marry Anne until 1753 he would have been rather old.  Possibly it was his father that emigrated in 1722 and brought Thomas with him as a small child. 

internet errors

A search of and other internet sites gives the same basic information along with some big errors concerning the parentage of Thomas.  His parents are unknown.  His mother and father were not Nathaniel Shannon and Abigail Vaughan. This is a different family with which our Thomas had no association.  

Abigail and Nathaniel Shannon had two children, Nathaniel Jr. and Cutts.[3]  In her 1756 will, proved in October of 1762, Abigail left her estate to her grandchildren from Nathaniel and Cutts and to Cutts himself. There is no mention of a son Thomas in her will. [4] Cutts had a son named Thomas who lived in Dover, it is possible that he was the Thomas Shannon found in the Dover town records.

There is no record of a Thomas Shannon in New Hampshire until 1726 when a "Thomas Shannon" was taxed in New Castle, this would probably have been a year or so before our Thomas' birth. It is possible that the Thomas Shannon who was taxed was the father of Thomas who married Anne Rand. As Shannon is an Irish name, and given time frame, it is highly likely that his father was one of the many new immigrants coming from the north of Ireland.  These immigrants were for the most part staunch Presbyterians and were being persecuted in Ireland for not not following the Anglican faith.

Thomas and Anne were living on the cusp of an exciting and terrifying time, the American Revolution.  We do not know when they died or if they lived long enough to be a witness to history in the making.  I hope they did, although with three sons fighting in the war it must have been a harrowing time.  As is typical of the times, little mention is made of the daughters of the family. 

The date of death for both Thomas and Anne is unknown.  I have seen October 1811 as a date for Anne but am not sure what the source is for that. In the 1790 census of Chester there is listed John, Thomas and William Shannon. Also on the list is Jeremiah Leavitt, the future husband of Sarah Shannon. 


[1]Parsons, Langdon B., History of the Town of Rye, NH From Its Discovery and Settlement to December 31, 1903, (Concord, NH: Rumford Print. Co., 1905), 296, digital image, Archive ( : accessed 23 December 2015).

[2] Harriet Eliza Noyes, A Memorial of the Town of Hampstead, New Hampshire, Vol 2 (Boston: G. B. Reed, 1903) 753.

[3] Stearns, Ezra S., William F. Whitcher, and Edward E. Parker. Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. New York: Lewis Pub., 1908. Print.

[4] Otis G. Hammond, New Hampshire Wills and Probate, Vol. 35, (The State of New Hampshire, 1936) 394.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nathaniel Rand and Elizabeth Marden of Rye, New Hampshire

Nathaniel Rand was the first son of John and Remembrance Ault Rand.  He was born in 1669 in the Oyster Creek Plantation area of New Hampshire, now known as Durham.  His parents were killed in the Oyster Creek Massacre in July of 1694.  He and his brother John are not mentioned in any account of that day.  His brother Samuel was taken captive and as well as his sister Remembrance.  Samuel was returned but Remembrance was never seen again. Nathaniel is often confused with his uncle of the same name, he was killed at the Brackett's Lane Massacre in 1691. His brother John died a young man in 1697, leaving one child, a son also named John.

In 1701 Nathaniel married Elizabeth Marden at Queen Anne's Chapel in Newbury, MA.   She was pregnant at the time of the marriage and they had to appear in court to explain their full term baby born four months after taking their vows. He wrote his will in 1740 but it was not proved until 1759.  Elizabeth survived him. He names six children in his will, sons: John, Joshua, Amos and Nathaniel and two daughters: Sarah Jordan and Elizabeth Philbrick.

a Cordwainer at work
Amos Rand was born in 1703 in Rye. As an adult he worked as a cordwainer (shoemaker).  He married Hester (Ester) Philbrick in 1726, their first child, Anne, was born 13 August 1727. Their last child, Nathaniel was baptized in August of 1740.  A lot of websites and trees give the date of death for Amos as 15 September 1740. This date is almost certainly wrong.  His father, Nathaniel, wrote his will on 15 September 1740, and names Amos in the will.  Now if his son dropped dead on the very day he wrote his will, you would think he might change it, but he didn't, which makes me think that people are just jumbling up their dates.  

Like his father before him, not much is written about Amos, the best source I've found is the book; "The History of Rye, New Hampshire" by Landon Brown Parsons. In a town meeting in 1754 the townsmen discussed building a road from Amos Rand's house to Nehemiah Berry's, which leads me to believe that he was still alive at that time. Amos lived at the intersection of West and Washington Roads. In the 1805 map of Rye by Mr. P. Merrill Thomas Rand was living there. Amos also received some of the Glebe Lands (land that had been set aside to fund the minister) in 1750-1760.

In his book Parsons  describes life in Rye in the early 1800's.  He said there "was but little appearance here of any cultivation of any comfortable subsistence, or of any pleasing prosperity.  The inhabitants, few in number, were low, destitute, and miserable .....Where there was nothing then but a waste and dreary wilderness, there are now well fenced and well cultivated fields.  Where there was abject poverty, there now is smiling abundance and wealth.  Where there was wretchedness and misery, there now is pleasing prosperity and happiness...."  Sounds like life was pretty grim back then, of course some of the authors in the early 1900's were not to objective when they wrote some of these 'histories', it had to have been a tough life.

The Children of Amos and Hester (Ester) Rand:
Anna b. 13 Aug 1727 m. Thomas Shannon
Philbrick b. Dec 11 1729
Ester b. May 13 1732
Joseph b. March 1 1734
Elizabeth b. April 12 1736
Sarah b. Feb 12 1738
Nathaniel b. 21 May 1740

There is no will for Amos Rand, his date of death is unknown. There is no will or death date for Ester. 

for my Dad:
Francis Rand - John Rand- Nathaniel Rand - Amos Rand- (Anne Rand + Thomas Shannon) =
(Sarah Shannon + Jeremiah Leavett) = (Sally Leavitt + William Rowell) = (Viola Rowell + Enoch Rowell) = Jennie Clover

Probate records of New Hampshire
Birth records of New Hampshire
History of Rye, New Hampshire

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