Saturday, July 21, 2012

John Marden and Elizabeth Berry of New Castle, New Hampshire


File:New-Castle,-NH-Town-Seal.png

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 ancestry.com 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.
 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).
location of New Castle and Ft. 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. 




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


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