Thursday, August 22, 2019

Abraham Fitts (c.1630-1692) of Salisbury and Ipswich, Massachusetts

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Abraham Fitts was born about 1630 in England in the years just prior to his father's immigration to New England. Although many claim the family originated in Fitts-Ford, Devon, there is nothing that would substantiate this claim.

Abraham's father and uncle arrived in Massachusetts by about 1639. His father, Robert Fitts settled in Salisbury and uncle, Richard Fitts in Ipswich. The two towns were about 13 miles apart. Abraham was his father's only surviving child. On the 1st of May 1655, Abraham married Sarah, the daughter of Simon Thompson of Ipswich. The pair initially settled in Salisbury. According to court testimony, Simon convinced Abraham and Sarah to resettle in Ipswich. He said he would pay Abraham the sum of  £40 if they did so.

In the 1664 court case, Abraham testifies to the promise which Simon denied. His attorney is the case was his uncle Robert Lord, brother of his mother Grace Lord Fitts. Simon claimed to have given Abraham cattle, sheep and the rent free use of some land in place of the money. Simon produced an agreement in which Abraham promised to pay for half the cost of the house, which Simon had purchased from Humphrey Griffin. Abraham agreed to pay Simon £5 per year in rent for the rest of Simon's life and then £4 per year to Rachel, Sarah's mother if she still lived. Later that year, Simon was released from militia training, which usually occurred when a man was about 60 years of age. Simon was clearly using Abraham as his retirement plan. Abraham lost his case.

Abraham and Sarah had three children:

1. Sarah b. 21 Feb 1657 d. 14 June 1660
2. Abraham d. 1714
3. Robert b. 30 March 1660 d. 15 June 1661

Sarah died 5 June 1664. Abraham married  7 Jan 1668 to the widow Rebecca Birdley. He had three more children with her.

4. Robert b. 28 May 1670 d. young
5. Richard b. 26 Feb 1672
6. Isaac 3 July 1675

Abraham took the Freedmans oath in 1674. The following year he was impressed for the Narragansett Expedition. This was part of King Philip's War which nearly wiped the English from the face of the North American continent.

Abraham appeared in the courts;
1660: deposed in a case involving John Lee and his abuse of other men's cattle. Simon Thompson also testified against John Lee saying Lee threatened him with a hoe. Lee sound's like a nasty fellow as most the town seems to have testified against him.
1664: his case against his father-in-law
1667: His mother Grace to Edward Gove, a tenant to court for payment. Abraham testified. This is interesting to see a female as the plaintiff.

Abraham died on 27 March 1692 leaving behind his widow Rebecca and two living children, Abraham and Sarah. Abraham made provisions for Rebecca in his will, including her widow's thirds. His estate was divided between his son and Sarah's husband, William Baker. His estate was inventoried and valued at £267.

I am descended from Sarah Fitts Baker.

See this post on Abraham's father Robert Fitts
See this post on William Baker, husband of Sarah Fitts
See this post on Simon Thompson, his father-in-law


Hoyt, David Webster, 1833-1921. The Old Families of Salisbury And Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich And Hampton. Providence, R.I.: [Snow & Farnham, printers], 1897-1917.

Massachusetts. County Court (Essex Co.), and George Francis Dow. Records And Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, Mass.: Essex institute, 1911-1975.

Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

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