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.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Daniel Thurston and Mary Dresser of Newbury, Massachusetts

Here, finally, is a Daniel Thurston with some background.  Unlike his father and his great uncle, we know when and where this Daniel was born.  Daniel was a second generation colonist, so although life was not as difficult for him as it was for his father and  uncle, it was still pretty rough. The Commonwealth experiment in England had recently ended and Charles II returned from exile; England once again had a king. New Englanders thought of themselves as Englishmen, and they went to great lengths to show their loyalty to the Crown. Daniel's father had taken a oath swearing his allegiance to Charles. The early colonist felt a longing for "home" so Daniel likely knew his father's origins and heard stories of his home in England. Unfortunately the stories were forgotten and we do not know where the Thurstons hailed from in England.

Daniel was born in Newbury, Massachusetts on 18 December 1661, his parents were Daniel and Ann Pell Thurston.  He was their fourth child, but two of his older siblings had died before he was born, in fact he was the second son to be named Daniel. It was very common, at that time, to reused the name of a deceased child for the next one born of the same sex.  Daniel had three younger brothers, each named Stephen, two passing away and the name recycled a third time.

The town of Newbury had only been in existence for 26 years but had undergone significant changes since it's beginnings. The first settlement was on the north side of the Parker River.  Daniel's family lived on the Newbury Neck on the south side of the Parker River.  The town center eventually moved farther north to the south bank of the Merrimac River. This second site would eventually become Newburyport. The Thurston's had to cross the river  and travel some distance to attend church services or do any business in the town.  A bridge would eventually be built but Daniel and his family had to cross the river by ferry.

The Puritans of  New England took the education of children seriously.  They believed that the a lack of education and the inability to read the bible went hand in hand with "the old deluder", aka the devil. In 1642 they passed a law that all children, boys and girls must be educated. For most this was limited to reading and writing, in fact their ultimate goal was not so much that they were great scholars but that they could read the bible.   In 1647 Massachusetts passed a second education law mandating every town with 50 or more families  hire a school teacher and towns with greater than 100 families must have a "grammar school" that taught lessons in Latin and Greek for boys going on to higher education. The cost of education was paid by the town and by parents. For 3 pence a day your kid learned English, instruction in Latin cost more. The town was also responsible for providing a school house. Unlike the southern colonies, girls were also given an education, albeit not the same as boys, but they did learn to read and write.

In 1652 the town of Newbury voted to build a school building, but there must have been some foot dragging as the children were being taught in the town jail in 1676. In 1691 the town voted that the schoolmaster would divide his time between three sections of the town so that all children could have access to education, despite living in a remote area of Newbury. Parents who did not comply with the law were fined, and the could potentially lose their children.

Children were not the pampered spoiled kids of today.  The puritans believed that children came into this world willful and corrupt. It was the fathers job to squash the will of his children and make them conform to the accepted values of the day. This doesn't mean that parents didn't love their children, but kids weren't indulged, if they stepped out of line they were put back in their place pronto. Parents were encouraged by the court to bring in their unruly children for punishment. One puritan custom that was very common was the "sending out" of  children.  Boys and girls were sent to live with other families, sometimes to learn a trade or skill practiced by the new household or sometimes to be closer to the schoolhouse. It was also believed that children learned better manners by living with others.

It is probable that Daniel attended school or he could have been taught at home.  He was able to sign his name on his will, so he could write, at least a little.  Was he "sent out"?  There is no way to know if he was. His adult occupation would be a husbandman/yeoman so if he did learn a trade, he did not seem to practice it. The idea of adolescence is fairly new, it was unheard of in the 1600's. Children began "working" at a very young age, helping with chores in the home by four or five years of age. By their early teens, children were transitioning into adults. Despite their maturity  young adults could not live on their own, they lived either at the home of their parents or some other family until the day they married and established their own home.

marriage and children
Daniel married at about age 30, his wife was Mary Dresser of Rowley, their marriage was not recorded but based on the  birth of their first child in June of 1690, they must have been married by late 1689. He and his wife had at least 13 children but not all survived infancy and childhood. Like his mother and father, he and his wife had to endure the pain of burying a child, multiple times. Their children were:

  1. Daniel b. 26 June 1690, m. 14 Nov 1715 Lydia Leaver of Rowley, died 10 March 1720, age 30.
  2. Unnamed daughter b. 7 May 1691, d. two weeks later on 21 May 1691
  3. Unnamed son b. 7 May 1691, d. two weeks later on 21 May 1691
  4. John b. 12 June 1692, m. 17 May 1732 Dorothy Woodman, d. 27 May 1751, age almost 60
  5. Mary b. 7 Jan 1693/4, m. 26 Jan 1715/16 Rev. James Chute, d. 12 Aug 1760 age 66
  6. Benjamin b. 4 May 1695, m. 24 June 1718 Mary Gage of Bradford, d. 6 Sep 1746 age 52
  7. Hannah b. 20 Jan 1697/98, m. 9 Jan 1718/19 Greshom Frazier, d. 18 Aug 1770 age 73
  8. Lydia b. 20 Jan 1697/98, d. 2 Sep 1727 age 30
  9. Martha b. 27 Nov 1699, m. 9 Jan 1718/19 Ezekiel Jewett, d. 7 Sep 1780 Boxford age 81
10. Jonathan b. 3 or 13 Mar 1700/01, m. unknown Lydia Spofford, d.  28 Sep 1738 age 37
11. Stephen b 22 Aug 1704, d. 18 Sep 1727 age 24 years
12. Sarah b. 30 Dec 1706 unknown but not mentioned in her fathers will so presumed dead by 1738
13. Richard b. 16 Oct 1710, m. 5 May 1731 Mehitable Jewett, d. 12 Jul 1782 age 72

2 children died as newborns
1 died in their 20's
3 died in their 30's
1 died in their 50's
2 died in their 60's
2 died in their 70's
1 died in their 80's
1 unknown 

work and land
Daniel was given the occupational title of husbandman and sometimes yeoman in multiple land deeds. It is clear he worked his land for a living. Beginning in 1698 and continuing into the 1730's, Daniel made multiple land purchases.  Some of these deeds give us a clue as to the  purpose of the land.  His first purchase in 1698 was for 12 acres of salt marsh in the Newbury Neck area where he lived on land inherited from his father. In 1713 he bought more marsh land on the Parker River, adding to his thatch land. Salt marsh hay was used by the colonial settlers as feed for their cattle and as thatch for their roofs. From June to September men would go out into the marsh and cut the hay which was piled onto wooden stakes driven into the ground called staddles. The platforms keep the hay dry during high tides. When the marsh froze in the winter, wagons were used to remove the hay, which could now be transported over the frozen ground. In 1716 he bought 3 acres of upland "commonly called Ye Farm" near the Newbury Neck. Two of his last purchases were for parcels of saltmarsh on Nelson Island in Rowley.

In 1714 he bought a 36 acre parcel of woodlots in Newbury, near Cheney's Mill. This mill was on the Parker River at the falls near what is now Byfield Village, some 12 miles from Newbury. In 1715 his eldest son married and bought a house lot and barn in Rowley. Daniel also bought several small parcels of land on the Merrimac River with rights of commonage in Newbury.  Daniel bought multiple lots of land in Rowley as well as rights to the cow common. These lots were in a tract of land known in the deeds as the 3,000.  I assume that meant that it was 3,000 acres.  The lots were laid out in ranges, identified by letters of the alphabet, which were divided into lots identified by numbers. Daniel left his son Richard seventeen of these lots. I have been trying to pinpoint the location of these lots some of which were described as being along the Penn Brook. The Penn Brook runs north and south and is near today's Georgetown.  Hey if you know more about these lots let me know.

In 1675 Daniel's father served as a mounted trooper in King Philip's War. All the men who served were promised land in exchange for their service.  Unfortunately, this land was given long after most of them were dead. Daniel Sr's land was given to his son Daniel.  Lunenburgh is in Maine, and there is no reason to believe that Daniel ever set foot on this land, but he did leave it to his sons.

Daniel Jr. died in 1720 and his father became the guardian of his son Thomas. Daniel Sr. buried his wife and five or six of his children before dying himself on 18 Feb 1737, age 76.  His son Jonathan died the next September of 1738. Mary Dresser Thurston died on 7 December 1735.  Most of the Thurstons were buried in Newbury.

will and inventory 
Unfortunately there is no inventory of Daniel's estate, but he did have a will. It is clear by the will that he had already given some of his sons land.  His oldest living son John was his executor and he was named last in the will. His Lunenburgh last was split three ways between Benjamin, Jonathan and Richard. The daughters were to be paid in cash.

Benjamin: Lunenburgh land, 2 thatch islands in Great Creek between Newbury and Rowley, 1/2 acre of thatch bank in the corner of my meadow known as Bishops Meadow, and what he has already received

Jonathan: Lunenburgh land, the land he had already deeded to him, which was 10 1/2 lots of land near Hazeltine's Brook, 1/2 of my lot of marsh called the lower lot, 1/2 of my lot of meadow in Rowley on the N. side of Nelsons Island which I bought from Nathaniel Dresser , 1 lot in Rowley near Penn Brook, lot 5, range G, plus a driftway through his lot in the F range.

Richard: Lunenburgh land, 17 lots of land in the 3,000, the other 1/2 marsh called the lower lot and the 1/2 of the meadow bought from Nathaniel Dresser.

Mary Chute: 26 pounds and 1/3 of his household goods

Hannah Frazer: 26 pounds and 12 shillings, plus 1/3 household goods

Martha Jewett:  29 pounds, 1/3 of the household goods

Granddaughter Sarah Thurston: 20 pounds

John:  all lands, goods, housing, chattell that have not already been disposed of, all his debt and his legacies to his daughters were to be paid from this estate.

So, Daniel seems to have left his children, especially his sons, with a pretty decent inheritance. I wish there was an inventory, but it must have gotten lost over the years.  But it seems clear that he was able to build on his own inheritance from his father and not only increase his personal wealth but pass it on to his children.

my thurston ancestry
Daniel Thurston and Ann Pell
Daniel Thurston  -  Mary Dresser
Benjamin Thurston  - Mary Gage
Mary Thurston  -  James Chadwick
Hannah Chadwick  -  Jonathan Blanchard
James Blanchard   -  Phebe Carter
Chloe Banchard  -  Samuel Thornton
John Clark Thornton  - Jennie Clover Rowell
my grandparents
my parents

Newbury Estuarine Management Plan - 2005
Stories From Ipswich
Thurston, Brown. ... Thurston Genealogies. Portland, Me.: B. Thurston, and Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, 1880. Print.
Dow, George Francis, and Mary G. Thresher. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1911. Print.
Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York, NY: Knopf, 1982. Print.
Currier, John J. History of Newbury, Mass., 1635-1902. Boston: Damrell & Upham, 1902. Print.
Coffin, Joshua, and Joseph Bartlett. A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845. Boston: S.G. Drake, 1845. Print.
Herringshaw, Thomas William. Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States; Illustrated with Three Thousand Vignette Portraits ... Chicago, IL: American' Association, 1909. Print.
Probate records for Daniel Thurston on 
Hackett, David Fisher, "Albion's Seed", Oxford Press, New York, 1989

Friday, August 1, 2014

Daniel Thurston and Ann Pell of Newbury, MA

mysterious beginnings
Daniel's story begins in a void. We don't know where or when he was born or who his parents were.  We don't know how or when he arrived in Massachusetts. He lived in Newbury with his childless relative Daniel Thurston who left the younger man all his worldly goods. In 1678 Daniel gave his age as 40, which would give him a year of birth of 1638.  This is the same year that his "Uncle" was first recorded as receiving land in Newbury. I have a few theories that I have been kicking around on what might have happened: 
1. Uncle Daniel traveled to Massachusetts with his brother and his brother's wife, both died leaving him with an orphan infant to raise. 
2. Young Daniel was born in England and for whatever reason he was sent to Massachusetts to live with his Uncle Daniel.
3. Young Daniel rounded off his age in his deposition, and he was older than 40 at the time, this would make him a young child rather than infant when his uncle left for Massachusetts.
The only scenario I cannot picture is Uncle Daniel sailing to Massachusetts in 1638 with a baby that was not his.

In his book, Thurston Genealogies, author Brown Thurston says that in an ancient document related to the militia, young Daniel's name is listed as a petitioner.  Apparently someone objected to his name on the petition.  The reason for the objection was that he was too young to sign a petition, he was "under his Uncle". I wish I knew what and where this document is.  Brown Thurston does not say whether there was a date on the document, it would be nice to know if there was. Brown Thurston also suggested that the Thurstons might have been from either County Gloucestershire or County Kent in England.  Emphasis is on the word suggested.  He never said there was any proof pointed to either location.

A search of the internet and gives varied results for his birth and ancestry.  Some say he was the Daniel Thurston born 26 Oct 1628 in Faversham, Kent to Thomas and Martha Thurston. However, there is no proof that this is our Daniel.  Just because you found a name and date that fits, doesn't mean it's the right one. Anyway, suffice it to say, when don't know when he was born or where.

for the record
In May 1653 the General Court of Massachusetts ruled that the average Joe could not preach in public without first getting the permission of the elders from four neighboring churches or permission granted by the court. This did not sit well with Lt. Robert Pike of Newbury, who felt it was a violation of his rights as a freeman of the colony. Lt. Pike made his feelings quite clear on the matter and he was promptly brought before the court where he got a great telling off, stripped of his freeman's status and hit with a big fine. So, what does this have to do with Daniel you ask.  Well, apparently Lt. Pike was a well liked and respected man, not just in Newbury but in many of the nearby towns.  Petitions were written up and signed by many men asking that Pike be reinstated as a freeman and his sentence revoked. Both Daniel Thurstons signed this petition, which was presented to the court in May of 1654.

If Daniel was too young to sign the militia petition, was he, in 1654 now old enough to make his opinion known and put his name to paper?  And, what age was a person considered "old enough?  In England and in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the age of majority was 21. If Daniel were at least 21 in 1654 then his birth year must have been earlier than 1638, perhaps as early as 1633. I looked up a few of the names on the list of petitions, especially the "juniors" and all of them were well over 21 years of age. Hum.

The court did not like having its authority questioned and interview each signer of the petition. Young Daniel Thurston was ordered to appear before the court in Nov 1654 to explain his why he signed the petition. Robert Pike's sentence was eventually dropped and he was reinstated by 1657. The court reversed its decision on public preaching by laymen in August of 1653 but went ahead with prosecution of the petitioners.

The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony believed that everyone should live as a family unit. A great book on this topic is called "Under Household Government", by M. Michelle Jarrett Morris. The idea was that you lived with your family until the day you started your own, in other words, ya got hitched. Daniel married a woman named Anna Pell on 20 Oct 1655 in Newbury.  This again raises the issue of his age as most men at that time did not marry until their mid-twenties.  Did Daniel marry at age seventeen?

Anyway, his wife is said to be from the town of Lynn.  It seems that his Uncle Daniel's second wife was Mrs. Francis Lightfoot,  from Lynn.  Francis Lightfoot made a bequeath in his 1646 will to his brother Pell and to Hannah Pell. Was Hannah Pell the Anna Pell who Daniel married? Maybe.  Ann's death is unknown, but there was a Hannah Thirston who died in Newbury on 8 Nov 1701, this could be her and Hannah/Anna were used interchangeably at that time.

good subjects of charles II
The English experiment with parliamentarian government came to an end in 1660 with Charles II restored to his throne.  The Massachusetts colonists had supported the Puritan government and found themselves under royal scrutiny when Charles turned his attention to the American Colonies.  The King sent commissioners to investigate the colony and apparently did not like what they found.

Several of the towns, including Newbury, took it upon themselves to address a letter to the King.  The letter written by the men of Newbury was a declaration of their loyalty to their "lawful prince and sovereign". Daniel Thurston signed the letter. Uncle Daniel died in Feb of 1666 and the Newbury letter seems to have been written towards the end of 1666, so it would seem that this signer was the younger Daniel. One of the commissioners complaints was that the colonist were not making the required oath of allegiance to the king. The oath was administered at various times in Newbury and Daniel and his eldest son, also Daniel, took it in 1678.

Daniel and Anna had twelve children.  Five died as infants or very young children. The names of the dead children were reused, in one case the name Stephen was used for three sons. All of the children were recorded in the Newbury records except Hannah, she was recorded in the Rowley town records. The seven children who survived childhood were each named in Daniel's will.

  1. Daniel b. 2 July 1656 in Newbury, d. 3 Nov 1657
  2. Hannah b. 20 Jan 1658 in Rowley, m. Benjamin Pearson in Rowley, d. 26 June 1731
  3. Unnamed daughter b. 22 Nov 1660, d. 16 Dec 1660
  4. Daniel b. 18 Dec 1661, m. Mary Dresser, d. 16 Feb 1737 in Newbury
  5. Sarah b. 8 Jan 1663, m. Samuel Morse
  6. Stephen b. 25 Oct 1665, d. before 25 Oct 1672
  7. Joseph b. 14 Sep 1667, m. Mehetible Kimball and Elizabeth Woodbury
  8. Anne b. 6 Sep 1669, d. 27 Sep 1669
  9. James b. 24 Sep 1670, m. Mary Pearson
10. Stephen b. 25 Oct 1672, d. before 5 Feb 1673/4
11. Stephen b. 5 Feb 1673/4, m. Mary Knight and Sarah  Unknown
12. Abigail b. 17 Mar 1677/8, m. Joseph Chase

contentious puritans
In the late 1660's and early 1670's the church of Newbury was in a constant state of turmoil.  The church membership was divided into two factions, one stood with the minster Rev. Parker and the other was against him.  This issues which divided them are difficult to understand today, but at the time the minute nuances in doctrine and theology could erupt into a major battle. The Newbury problem was dragged through the courts, including the General Court.  There were meetings with neighboring ministers to try to resolve the issues but the problem only seems to have really resolved itself with the death of Rev. Parker in 1677. The "covenanted" male members were named in the court records. Daniel Thurston's name was not among them so we know he was not a full member of his church and therefore we do not know on what side of this issue he stood.

Daniel and his family would have been expected to attend the worship service.  The service was long and sounds horribly boring but that's how they liked it. The early meeting houses were furnished with backless benches.  Seating in the meeting was not a free for all, everyone had their assigned seat. This assignment was based on several factors including  wealth, standing in the community, church membership, age and gender. Men and women sat on different sides, but the women were seated according to their husband's rank.  This of course led to outrage and hurt feelings if they felt they were not given the rank they felt they deserved.

In 1669 two Newbury men rebelled against their seat assignments and sat in other men's spots.  They were taken to court and fined a whopping 27 pounds for this transgression.  This may seem silly to us today, but our puritan ancestors took this business very seriously.  In fact, when it was time to review the seat assignments, many men would refuse to be in charge of making the changes because they didn't want to deal with the fall out from church members unhappy with their new assignments.

The other problem with the meeting houses was that they could be very uncomfortable.  The members sat on wooden benches with no back or cushions.  In the winter it would be bitterly cold inside. Gradually men were allowed to build pews for themselves and their wives, if they paid for them and built the pews themselves.  I'm sure that Ann and her daughters appreciated the extra bit of comfort that a back support would provide.

king philip's war
In 1675-1676 the Native Americans pushed back against the English Colonist who were squeezing them out of their traditional hunting land.  Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Pocumtuck and Narragansett tribes under the leadership of Metacom, aka King Philip, attacked English settlements across New England and all but extinguished the colonies. Although there were some volunteers, many men were pressed into service.  In June of 1676, Daniel Thurston was called up and he served as a mounted Trooper in Captain John Appleton's troop, under the command of Captain Thomas Prentice.  

The town of Newbury was not attacked during the war, but it must have been a terrifying time for them. In the nearby town of Bradford, Thomas Kimball was killed by local Indians and his family taken into captivity. At least one Newbury man was killed in the fighting and more than a dozen were injured. The economic impact from the war was huge, not only did it cost a lot of money but the damage done to towns, farms, mills, bridges etc. was significant.

Just before the battle that became known as "The Great Swamp Fight"  the Massachusetts government promised land grants to any man who fought in the war.  After the war there was some serious foot dragging on their part and in 1683 a group of veterans sent a petition to the court requesting their land.  Nothing was done.  In 1727 the government finally got around to addressing the land grants and in 1733 men were finally assigned their tracts of land.  Of course many of the veterans were dead by them, so the land went to the sons and grandsons of the soldiers.  Daniel was assigned land in what was then Lunenburg, Maine and is not the town of Buxton.  The rights to the land went to his son Daniel and his grandson John. 


The early American colonist worked from the instant they woke up until the went to bed. If they wanted food, they grew it. If they needed furniture they built it, if they desired new clothing, they raised the sheep, spun the wool, make the cloth and then the clothes. The nearby town of Rowley, settled by colonist from Rowley, Yorkshire who brought their skills of spinning and weaving with them.  Clothing was made from cotton, flax and wool. Daniel owned two pair of looms and a spinning wheel. Looms came in different sizes depending on what material you were working with.  Wool looms were the largest, linen looms were smaller and there were portable looms for making ribbons. We have no idea what type of looms Daniel owned, but he did have 24 sheep the source for wool. 

In 1679 Daniel acted as attorney for James Davis, Sr. of Haverhill. James died shortly after the trial, but he was suing to recover some land in Haverhill.  What is interesting about this is that Jame's wife Cicely Thayer, married James Davis in Thornbury, Gloucester, one of the locations thought to be the hometown of Daniel Thurston. Was Daniel helping out a pal from the old country? It seems so, he does not act as an attorney for anyone else. 


Daniel's will was written on 17 Jan 1692/3 he died two days later. He mentions his wife in the will, so it's safe to assume that Ann is still alive. They are both buried in the Newbury burying ground, and each had a relatively new headstone marking their grave. 

Daniel left the majority of his property to his eldest son and namesake Daniel. But he did leave money and household goods to his daughters and other sons. His inventory is much more extensive than his Uncle Daniel. The inventory includes:

housing, orchard, plowlands, pasture and meadows

wearing clothes, book, arms and ammunition
the high bed in the parlor and furniture
the buckle bed with 2 cover bids, a blanket and a pair of sheets
bed and furniture in the chamber and a pair of sheets
one pair of sheets and a pillow ???
9 napkins, 2 pillow ???, 5 towels, 5 sacks

brass kettles and skillet and warming pan, 3 irons, pots, 2 trammells?
2 pair of pot hooks, a spit, tonges, fire shovel, 2 smoothing irons
frying pan, iron barr, betle and wedge, old iron 
a chaine spade and shovell, two axes sythe tackling horse fetters
pewter glass bottles iron kettle woolen yarn a plow and iron yolks
stock bands half a tumbrell cart ropes staple rings sieves
Cubbard wooden ware cask linnen wheel and recle?
1 barrell of pork 3 chest hoppes 2 meal troughs
half a crosew saw, 6th part in a ferry boat a box bean and 3 chest
saddle and bridle pillion and pillion cloth and a brass pan

6 cows 2 steers and a bull 24 sheep a horse and mare 3 cows and 4 piggs

a rate lot looms and tackling 
20 bushills of Indian Corne 24 bush of barley 

Most of the items in the inventory are easily recognizable, but some are a mystery, either I don't know what they are or I don't understand the spelling. In any case it is a much more significant inventory than that of his Uncle.  Beds and furniture are very valuable as are sheets and linens. Daniel does not have a lot of land at his death, but he had given some away to his sons. 

my thurston ancestry

Daniel Thurston  -  Ann Pell
Daniel Thurston and Mary Dresser
Benjamin Thurston  -  Mary Gage
Mary Thurston  -  James Chadwick
Hannah Chadwick  -  Jonathan Blanchard
James Blanchard   -  Phebe Carter
Chloe Blanchard  -  Samuel Thornton
John Clark Thornton  - Jennie Clover Rowell
my grandparents
my parents


Thurston, Brown. ... Thurston Genealogies. Portland, Me.: B. Thurston, and Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, 1880. Print.

Dow, George Francis, and Mary G. Thresher. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1911. Print.
Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York, NY: Knopf, 1982. Print.
Currier, John J. History of Newbury, Mass., 1635-1902. Boston: Damrell & Upham, 1902. Print.
Coffin, Joshua, and Joseph Bartlett. A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845. Boston: S.G. Drake, 1845. Print.
Herringshaw, Thomas William. Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States; Illustrated with Three Thousand Vignette Portraits ... Chicago, IL: American' Association, 1909. Print.
Probate records for Daniel Thurston on 

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17 th century pur itan Massachusetts , the roles of men , women and children were very clearly defined . Men were the ...