Saturday, November 29, 2014

Isaac and John Foss of Chester New Hampshire

john foss and tabitha sargent 
On 11 March 1743 Tabitha Sargent, the 17 year old daughter of Jacob and Judith Harvey Sargent married John Foss in Chester, New Hampshire. Less than three years later, she was a widow.  The marriage would produce a single child, a boy, born 12 October 1744, they named David.  I have traced Tabitha's Sargent family back multiple generations, but who was John Foss of Chester.

John was probably a very young man when he died so he left very few clues as to who he was or who his parents might be. Sifting through records and other genealogical writings shows that there was another Foss in Chester at the same time, he was Isaac Foss who moved had there from Greenland, NH.  It would seem possible if not probable that the two men might be related. So who was Isaac?

Well it is probable that he was a grandson of  John Foss and Mary Berry of Rye, NH, subjects of an earlier post.  The genealogy of John Foss of Rye is a tangled mess as he is confused with John Fost of Dover. I can tell already that this is going to take a lot of picking apart of data, head scratching and possible tantrums on my part.  But here we go.  I think I'll start with the children of John Foss and Mary Berry and take it from there.

children of john foss and mary berry of rye
Okay, I already have a headache.  Looking at the internet and books on the Foss Family I have complied several lists of children for John and Mary. Here are a few  based on the best known genealogical books that include the Foss Family. The names in black are included all three lists, blue on two and red on only one.

Cutter                    Sterns                              Noyes Libby Davis_________________________
John                        John                                          John
Samuel                (Humphrey)                             Elizabeth
Joshua                  William                                      Samuel
Elizabeth               Hannah                                    Martha
Mary                     Joshua                                     Thomas
William                  Hinkson                                  William
Walter                      Mary                                       Joshua
Hannah                  Benjamin                                 Zachariah
Thomas                  Thomas                                    Hannah
Hinkson                 (Jemima)                                   Richard
(Humphrey)            Elizabeth                                
(Jemima)                Samuel

The only thing these three list seem to agree on is that John was the first born son.  In his deed/will, John Sr. named only three children: John, Joshua and Zachariah.  It is interesting that Cutter and Sterns do not even include a Zachariah on their lists. In 1699 John Fost of Dover died leaving children named: Humphrey, Jemimiah, William, Mary, Elizabeth and Samuel.  I think we can strike Humphrey and Jemima off our list of John Foss' children as they are undoubtedly the children of John Fost. Hinkson is a very unusual forename name, in fact it was the surname of at least two women who married sons of John Foss, Sr. For this reason, I doubt that he was the son of John Foss, I believe that he was rather his grandson.  I also think Walter, Benjamin and Richard were not sons of John Sr.

potential list of fathers of either isaac or john of chester
So I think we can make a list of potential fathers of either Isaac or John of Chester, NH. I would include John, Joshua, Thomas, Samuel, William and Zachariah.  A a review of genealogy books shows that Joshua did not seem to have had a son named John or Isaac, so I am ruling him out. In his book, Genealogical and Family History of New Hampshire,  Sterns believed that John of Chester was the son of John Jr., grandson of John Sr. On the internet many sites have William and Sarah (Buswell Foss) were his parents, especially on

William and Sarah Buswell did have a son named John, baptized in Greenland in 1717. William lived in Greenland for a while but it looks like he moved to Scarborough, Maine shortly before his death in 1718.  If William was indeed the father of John of Chester, how did John get there and what is his relationship to Isaac?

my beloved son
Okay, I have to tell you that I do know who John's father was.  In a deed registered Oct. 1740 Isaac Foss, of Chester, wrote that  for the "parental love and natural affection I have to bear towards my beloved son, John Foss" and deeded him lot 105 in Chester. Isaac later deeded land to other sons Timothy, Thomas and Isaac Jr. According to the book "The History of Chester", Isaac Foss was originally from Greenland.

So, now the question is, who was Isaac?  If John followed his father to Chester, did Isaac follow his father to Greenland?   The progenitor of this Foss family lived in Rye.   Greenland was a "suburb" of Rye.  In 1711 three Foss males were paying taxes: John, Samuel and William.  These are presumed to be sons of John Foss Sr.  So was one of them the father of Isaac?

two isaacs
Just to keep things interesting, there were two men named Isaac that seem to be descendants of John Foss, Sr.  One is our Isaac of Greenland and Chester and the other was Lt. Isaac Foss of Stratham. Lt. Isaac Foss is known to have died in Stratham in 1761, he is said to be the son of Thomas Foss and Abigail Cole of Greenland.

Our Isaac deeded property in 1757 to his son Timothy.  Noyes, Libby, Davis say he was still alive in
1760, and that was the last time his name was recorded. The probate records from this period have yet to be put online, so I am not sure if he wrote a will, maybe this is what NLD are referencing in their 1760 information.

so who was isaac's father
I don't know.  It was probably either John Foss Jr. or his brother Samuel. I am betting that it was John Jr. My evidence for this is circumstantial and should not be taken as anything other than a guess. That being said, Isaac named his first son John, and did not name a son Samuel. John Jr. witnessed Isaac's deed when he left Greenland.  Flimsy, yes, but that's all I got.

what do we know about isaac foss of chester
If Isaac was the son of either Samuel or John Foss Jr.  then he must have been  born by 1700.  He married Abigail Hinkson on 5 December 1717 in Greenland. The had at least five children.  John and Isaac Jr. were baptised in 1722, Abigail in 1724, Thomas in 1728, all in Greenland.   The also had a son Timothy who I believe must have been born in Chester.

On the 30th day of April 1729 Isaac bought, for 80 pounds, Jonathan Elkin's land in Chester, NH. One day prior he and Abigail sold all their property in Greenland to Thomas Berry. Isaac continued to buy and sell land in Chester.  He deeded each of his sons land.  In his last deed, dated Dec 25, 1760 he and his son Thomas sold land, their wives also had to sign the deed.  Isaac's wife was Judith, so Abigail had died some time prior to 1760 and Isaac had remarried.

Isaac was not mentioned much in the history of Chester.  He was a surveyor in 1730.  I wish there was more to tell, but that's all I have for now.

There are no dates for the death of Isaac, Abigail or Judith Foss.

lessons learned
1. never trust other trees on, do your own research
2. even the great genealogists of the past can be wrong, do your own research
3. New Hampshire registry of deeds is a great source of info

My Foss Ancestry:
John Foss and Mary Berry
John Foss Jr. and Wife or Samuel Foss and Wife
Isaac Foss and Abigail Hinkson
John Foss and Tabatha Sargent
David Foss and Anne Richardson
Anna Foss and Reuben Moore
Mary "Polly" Moore and Samuel Duncan Rowell
Enoch Rowell and Viola Rowell
Jennie Clover Rowell and John Clark Thornton

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.

Cutter, William Richard. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial; a Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation. New York: Lewis Historical Pub., 1913. Print.

Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, Noyes, Libby and Davis,

Chase, John Carroll. History of Chester, New Hampshire, including Auburn a Supplement to the History of Old Chester, Published in 1869. Derry, NH: J.C. Chase, 1926. Print.

Rockingham County Registry of Deeds, book 28 page 44 has the deed where Isaac gives land to his son John

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