Saturday, January 11, 2020

Thomas Carter: Immigrant to New England 1610-1676

photo by Johannes Plenio

Researching Thomas Carter, who settled in Salisbury, can be very confusing. There were three contemporary Thomas Carters, each with a wife named Mary, in Massachusetts and their histories are all mixed up on, so proceed with caution if you are looking for background on Thomas. This Thomas was not married to either Mary Dalton or Mary Parkhurst.

english origins
Thomas was born in England around 1610, his origins and parents are unknown.  In 1635 he was listed on the manifest for the ship The Planter bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He was 25 years old and a servant to a man named George Giddings.  George was a yeoman from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, so it is possible that that is where Thomas was from. George probably paid Thomas' passage in return of a set amount of years' labor.  George and Thomas settled first in Ipswich.  In 1638 Thomas was made a Freeman, which implied church membership, and a release from his indenture. He was granted land in Ipswich that year, but did not stay long.

 By 1641, Thomas was living in Salisbury, Massachusetts.  He was one of the first proprietors of that town. Thomas, unlike some of his neighbors, kept his name out of the courts, so little is known about him. In 1664 he made his mark on the agreement to create the new settlement of Amesbury.  He served on the Essex Grand Jury in 1666. 

wife and children
Thomas was married by the 1641 birth of his and his wife's first child.  All we know of his wife is that her name was Mary. The couple had nine children all told, all who lived to adulthood save one# 1. Mary Carter b. Oct 6, 1641; mar. Joseph Lancaster
2.Thomas Carter b. 1643, d. 14 Aug
3. Martha Carter b. Feb 1645, d. soon
4. Martha Carter b. Mar 1647
5. Elizabeth Carter b. April 1649; mar Unknown and had children (evidenced by brother, Samuel's will) 
6. John Carter b. May 18, 1650; mar Martha Brown my ancestor
7. Abigail Carter b. Feb 1652; mar. Stephen Flanders
8. Samuel Carter b. October 25, 1656; mar Sarah (Unknown) Brown, widow of Ephraim Brown 
9. Sarah Carter b. say 1658; mar. John Davis.

His will was written on 30 Oct 1676 and it was proved by 14 November of that same year. He named his wife in his will, so she outlived him. He gave each of his five living daughters 5 pounds and split the rest of his estate between his two living sons John and Samuel and his wife Mary. 

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration. feature name Thomas Carter

This is the plat map of the original settlers of Salisbury, Massachusetts 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Will of John Merrill of Whestead, Suffolk, England proved 11 Dec 1600

Old wills are fascinating to read. Here is one from the year 1600. It was probated in Suffolk, England. Queen Elizabeth is at the bitter end of her reign, her 40th year. Here she is called Soverign Lady Elizabeth. Children are usually named in order of their birth, but not always. Often the males are listed first, followed by female children. In this will the grandchildren are also given bequeaths as are a couple of male servants.

Note: The will of John Merrill:

In the name of god Amen the second day of December in the thrie and ffourtith yeare of the Raigne of our Sovragne Ladie Elizabeth ... I John Merrill the elder of whersteade in the Countie of Suff: Yeoman being sicke in bodie and yet of pfect memorie ... for the satisfaccon of my mind and the quiet of my wife and children & a remembraunce of some other ... doe hereby make and declare my last will & testement in manner & fforme as hereafter ensueth ... Item I give and bequeath to Prudence my wife in pte of recompence of hir dower my parlor and larther [larder?] howse pcell of my dwelling howses wth the bedding and furniture in the same and the pasture and stover somer and winter for a Cowe upon my lands in little Belsted and whested aforesaid ... to have and to hold to hir the said Prudence for terme of her natural life keeping her sole and unmarried. Itm I give and bequeath to hir the said Prudence in further recompence of her dower one anuitie or yerlie rent of five pounds of lawfull englishe mony to be going out of all my lands and Tennemts in little Belsted wherested and Sprowtownne to have and to hold ... for terme of hir life at two termes in the yeares usuall that is to say at the ffeast of the innocent of the blessed virgin Saint Marie and Saint michaell thearchaungell ... and yf yt shall happen the said yeerlie Rent to be behind unpayed in pte or in all ... then ... yt shalbe lawful to and for the said prudence into the said lands and Tennements or any pcell thereof to enter and Distraine ... until the said Prudence of the said yeerlie rent wth the arrearages thereof shalbe fullie satisfied and paid.

Itm I will geve & bequeath to John my sonne the moytie of my dwelling howses & the moytie of all my launds Tennemts and hereditamts as well free and bond scituate and lying and being in whersted little Belsted and Sprowton aforesaid ...

Itm I will give and bequeath to Michaell my Sonne thother moytie of my said dwelling howses and ... lands ...

Itm I will and bequeath to Nathaniell merrell my Sonne ffourtie pounds of lawful English money to be paid to him in fforme ffollowinge vizt wthin one yeere next after my decease xiiili vis viiid and wthin two yeeres next after my decease other thirteene pounds six shillings and eight pence in full paymt of the said ffourtie pounds.

Itm I will and bequeath to Thomas my Sonn thirty pounds ...

Itm I will and bequeath to the said Thomas my lease and terme of yeres of land in the messuage called Ampsons in wherstede ...

Itm I will and bequeath to Marie Merrill daughter to the said Nathaniell tenne pounds to be paid to hir at hir age of eighteene Yeeres.

Itm I will and bequeath to Martha merrell one other of the daughters of the said Nathaniell other tenne pounds to be paid ... at hir age of eighteene Yeeres.

Itm I will and bequeath to John Merrell Sonne to the said Nathaniell tenne pounds to be paid to him at his age of one and twentie yeeres And yff any of the said children of the said Nathaniell shall Dept this life before such time as he or she is to receive the said porcon ... then I will that the ... porcon of him or hir so Deceasing shalbe Distributed to and among the survivors of them.

Itm I will and bequeath to Thoms merrell Sonne of Thoms my Sonne tenne pounds to be paid to him at his age of one and twentie yeeres.

Itm I will and bequeath to Anne Merrell daughter to the said Thoms my Sonne other tenne pounds ... at ... age of eightene yeeres, And yff eyther of those two children shall depte this life before he or shee shall receive the said porcons ... then I will that the ... porcon of him or hir so deceasing shall remain to the svivour of them.

Itm I will and bequeath to Willm Smyth my svaunt twentie shillings & to Thomas Smyth his brother tenne shillings. 

Itm I will and bequeath to Edward Kettle of ffreston Clerke xxs; Itm I will and bequeath to eytch of my said sonnes Nathaniall and Thoms all such goods of mine as they have in their sevall custodies And I remytte and forgive eyther of them all such Debts as they or eyther of them doth owe unto me All the Residue of my debts goods and Cattals whatsov my Debts paid my legacies pformed and my funrall expences discharged I will and bequeath to my said Sonnes John and Michaell, whome I ordaine name and costitute my Executors of this my last will & Testament, And I appoint my loving friend Christopher Wright supravisor of the same Testament ...

Itm I will & bequeath to the said Thomas my Sonne my brasse pott sometime sharpes and a hundredth of bourd ... I ... have hereunto put my hand and Seale in the psence of Raulffe Scrivner and Christopher Wright michaell Raynold and John Raynold. By me John merrell. Proved 11 Dec 1600.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Benjamin Brown and his wife Sarah Brown? of Hampton and Seabrook, NH 1647-1736

Benjamin Brown of Hampton and Seabrook was the third child and second son of John and Sarah Brown, English immigrants to New Hampshire. He and all of his siblings were born in New Hampshire which makes it likely that his parents met and married in New England. [1] In his genealogy of the family, Joseph Dow suggest that Sarah might have been Elizabeth Brown, same parents, different given name. Noyes, Davis, Libby say that the information on Sarah Brown's ancestry comes from one Asa Brown who first made the claim in 1851 and again in 1868. The tradition of the marriage is undocumented and based solely on family history. [2] There is no way to prove or disprove his claim. Make of that what you want. 

The couple had at least ten children in a 21-year period. This is typical of families in the pre-birth control era where children arrived about every 2 years. They lost only one child at a young age. They were:

William b. 5 June 1680 m. Ann Heath, d. September 1725
Sarah b. 11 Sept. 1681 d. Oct. 1684
Benjamin B. 20 Nov. 1683, m. 7 Jan 1718, Sarah d/o Ebenezer Gove, d. 9 Feb 1766
Elizabeth b. 16 July 1686, m. Benjamin Green, d. 6 Mar 1769
John b. 18 Mar 1688, m. Abigail d/o Edmund Johnson, d. 1746
Jacob b. Mar. 1691, m. Mary Green, (2) Jemima Rowell, d. 23 Apr. 1762
Stephen b. 17 July 1693, m. Martha Heath, d. 1 Dec 1723
Mary b. 1696, m. Thomas Cram, d. 31 Mar 1756
Thomas b. 21 May 1699, m. Mehetable d/o Joseph Towle, d. Nov 1765
Jeremiah b. 20 Nov 1701, m. Mary Weare d/o Nathaniel, d. June 1758

Benjamin lived in Seabrook, south of Taylor's River on land given to him by his father. This land was very close to the line with Massachusets, near Salisbury and was probably originally owned by Timothy Dalton. It was on the Rocks Road. There is still a Rocks Road in Seabrook, not to far south of Brown's River. He executed many deeds, both buying and selling parcels of land, including marsh and thatch land. 

Like his father, John Brown, Benjamin and his brothers were engaged in the raising of cattle. With the rich salt grass of the great Ox Common at their disposal, they were able to feed and raise their herd. [3] 

Like all men at that time, Benjamin performed his civic duty as he was called to do. He served as one of the Selectmen in 1696, 1705, 1710, and 1711, and served as representative in 1697. He was also a signer of the 1683 Weare Petition to the king in opposition of Robert Mason, Esq. [4] Doubtlessly he was called to act as a juror in one of the quarterly courts. 

Benjamin died in 1736, having lived a good long life. His wife Sarah died abt. 1730.

See John Brown of England and Hampton-his father


[1] Dow, Joseph, 1807-1889, and Lucy Ellen Dow. History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement In 1638, to the Autumn of 1892. Salem, Mass.: Printed by the Salem press publishing and printing co., 1893. Volumes 2, p. 47  (available online)

[2] Noyes, Sybil, Walter Goodwin Davis, and Charles Thornton Libby. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine And New Hampshire. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1972. p. 114 (available online)

[3] Brown, Warren, 1836-. History of the Town of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire From the Time of the First Settlement Within Its Borders. Manchester, N.H.: Printed by the John B. Clarke Co., 19001918.

[4]Belknap, Jeremy, 1744-1798. The History of New-Hampshire. Philadelphia [Pa.]: Printed for the author by Robert Aitken, 178492.

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 ...