Friday, October 26, 2012

John Lovejoy (1622-1690) of Caversham, England and Andover, MA

When I lived in England in the 1990's there was a TV series on called "Lovejoy" starring Ian McShane, it was a pretty good show, and I always loved that name, Lovejoy.  Well, I am happy to find that I have my own Lovejoys in my family tree and an added bonus is that they are well researched.  If you are just beginning your Lovejoy research my first advice to you if you are looking for information on The Lovejoy Family in England is to stay off and ignore most internet genealogies as there is a lot of incorrect information out there. (Don't get me wrong, I love and use it everyday, but there are some mighty big errors to be found on some of the family trees.)

english origins
In 2009 the NEHGS Register published an article by James R. Henderson entitled "The English Origins of John Lovejoy of Andover, Massachusetts" which can be read in its entirety  on the Society website, If you do not have a subscription to the site, never fear, I am going to give you a breakdown of his article. So for now forget everything you think you know about John Lovejoy, especially if you think his father was Rowland Lovejoy of London.

In 1930 Major Clarence Earle Lovejoy published his seminal work on the Lovejoy family. In his search for a John Lovejoy born in England in the year 1622 he found a record for John, son of Rowland Lovejoy of London.  This John fit the right birth date for John Lovejoy of Andover who, based on his swore testimony, was born in 1622. The only problem, which he openly admits to in his book, is that he has absolutely no proof that he is the John Lovejoy who came to America. Despite Major Lovejoy's acknowledgement of the total absence of evidence, genealogy buffs everywhere have declared it to be true and in the age of the internet this has been copied over and over and over.

Thankfully Mr. Henderson's research in England was thorough and he had definitive proof. In 1638, sailing aboard "The Confidence" to the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the family of John Stephens and his two servants: John and Grace Lowgie of Caversham, Oxfordshire, England.  As early as 1965 the passenger John Lowgie was identified as John Lovejoy of Andover but no real research was done his ancestry until Mr. Henderson undertook his search. And, as Henderson points out, no one questioned why John Lovejoy, son of Rowland Lovejoy, Goldsmith of London, would be the servant of a farmer in Oxfordshire.
St. Peter's Caversham

Found in the parish records is our John Lovejoy, son of William Lovejoy, he was baptized in Caversham, Oxfordshire, Eng. on 14 July 1622.  His sister Grace was two years older than him and was baptized in nearby Sonning on 9 April 1620. Henderson also found several variations of the spelling of the name Lovejoy, including Lowgie, as it was spelled on the ship manifest.

There were several William Lovejoys living and having children at the same time in the Caversham area and there is no way to tell which one was father of John and Grace and no mother was identified. The Lovejoy name is found in the Caversham area going back into the 1500's.

At that time Caversham was in Oxfordshire, it is currently part of Berkshire County, and what was once a small village is now a suburb of nearby Reading. The village was recorded in the Doomday Book and at one time had a shrine to the Virgin Mary and became a place of pilgrimage.  Catherine of Aragon visited it in 1532. Caversham was also the site of an Augustinian Abbey, torn down by Catherine's husband Henry XIII.

coming to america
John Stephens and his family and servants, John and Grace Lovejoy set sail on the Confidence from London, probably on 24 April 1638.  Also on board were other ancestors of mine: Thomas Whittier, Roger Eastman, and William Osgood.  A typical crossing took four to eight weeks. John Stephens first settled in Newbury but by 1645 he was in the new town of Andover.

The first permanent settlement in Andover was in 1641 by men from nearby Ipswich and Newbury. Recorded at an unknown date in the town records was a list of the first settlers, this list includes the names of John Stephens and John Lovejoy. There is no way to tell how long John worked for the Stephens family or when he struck out on his own. We do know that John married Mary Osgood, daughter of Christoper Osgood of Ipswich, on 1 January 1651, he was twenty nine years old. Mary was baptized in St. Mary's Marlborough, on 22 April 1632. 

John's name is first found in the 1658 records of the Quarterly Court when the birth of his son William was recorded. Also in that record are the births of Hanna and Lidda Ballard, daughters of William and Grace Ballard. Grace is believed to be Grace Lovejoy. Another 1658 entry is a petition by the men of Andover requesting the Court appoint John Osgood as sergeant and commander in chief in the stead of Sgt. Stevens, his former employer, who wanted to step down. In September of 1662 he served on the Grand Jury at the Court held in Ipswich. At that same court he was called to testify in a case involving  his brother in law William Ballard.  The next mention of the Lovejoy family is in the 1667 recording of the births of Sara and Nathaniel.  In 1669 John and other Andover men gave testimony in a case involving Thomas Chandler.  Later that year the birth of John and Mary's daughter Abigail is recorded.

Colonial Bottles
In 1671 an Andover man named Thomas Johnson was brought before the court and charged with selling two bottles of liquor to Indians. He requested a trial by jury which resulted in some convoluted testimony by other Andover men, including William Ballad, his son Joseph, and John Lovejoy. In the end Johnson was found guilty, but what is interesting about the testimony is that glass bottles are used over and over again, different men testify that they gave the empty bottle to someone or sent them to Ipswich to fill the bottle with liquor, not like today where once it's empty it goes in the trash. John also served his town as fence viewer and as constable.

The children of John and Mary were:
1. Mary b. 11 April 1652, m. Joseph Wilson, d. 1677, age 25
2. Sarah b. 10 April 1654, m. William Johnson, d. 22 Feb 1706, age 52
3. John b. 9 Feb 1656, m. Naomi Hoyt 1678, d. 14 July 1680, age 24
4. William b. 25 April 1657, d. 9 July 1748, age 91
5. Ann b. 1659, m. Jonathan Blanchard
6. Joseph b. 8 Feb 1662, d. 5 June 1737, age 75
7. Christoper b. 1 March 1663, d. 17 March 1736/7, age 74
8. Benjamin b. 4 Dec. 1664, Killed by Indians 1689, age 25
9. Nathaniel b. 29 May 1667, d. 7 March 1752, age 85
10. Abigail b. 1669, m. Nehemiah Abbott d. 2 May 1747, age 78
11. Deborah b. 1670, still alive and unmarried in 1690
12. Ebenezer b. 22 June 1673, d. 15 May 1760, age 87

John arrived in Massachusetts as a servant. In Andover he started down the road to prosperity with a house lot and seven acres of land. At the time of his death his estate was over 200 acres, an unheard of amount for a husbandman in England. His estate was valued at 328 pounds when probated. John deeded his son William but the remaining sons had to wait until his death to acquire the land they lived on. 

It has been pointed out that John allowed four of his sons to marry at a relatively young age, 22-23. Most men had to wait until closer to 30 for marriage. But, John provided them with land to live and work on, even though it remained his land. John Jr. died at the young age of 24. He left a wife and two small children, infants really. John Sr. gave his grandson, the land that would have been his father's. When John Jr's widow, Naomi remarried, John Sr. kept her children to raise in his home. 

Several years after the death of John Jr., his widow, Naomi was in court. She was self confessing to the offense of fornication. Her partner in crime was 22 year old Benjamin Abbott. The reason she was confessing was, of course, she was unmarried and pregnant. She gave birth to girl, who she named BenNaomi Abbott. Benjamin, surprisingly, did not appear in court, but his family did pay a fine on his behalf. Did John Sr., the children's grandfather consider Naomi to be unfit raise her children?

John outlived three of his children: Sarah, John Jr. and Benjamin. Benjamin was killed in
the fight at Pemaquid, now Bristol Maine.  Pemaquid was the easternmost outpost of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  This was during the fighting known as King William's War.  Also killed was John Stevens Jr., the son of his former employer. 

John Lovejoy outlived his wife Mary Osgood Lovejoy who died in 1675 at the young age of 42. She had been pregnant at least twelve times in the twenty one years of their marriage. There was probably not a day after she gave birth for the first time that she was not pregnant, nursing, or changing diapers. Her first two children were girls, they were most likely tasked to help care for their younger siblings while still young girls. 

After her death John remarried in 1676 to Hannah Pritchard. Her husband William Pritchard was killed by Indians in 1675. John Lovejoy lived a further 15 years, he made his mark on his will on 1 Sept. 1690, his will was proved on 31 March 1691. John made provisions in his will for Hannah, writing that he wanted "her life to be comfortable while continuing in this world."  He bequeathed to her in her lifetime half of his dwelling house and half the solar, of which she could choose which half. He made provisions for her food, asking that she be given cider, wheat, rye, cows, etc. for the rest of her life. 

Also in his will he mentioned his son William, saying he had already gotten his portion, which was the land on which he lived. To Christopher he left 30 acres of land, adjoining that of his grandson John, a parcel of meadow and 1/6 of a meadow called the pond meadow provide he give his step mother pork, hay, and Indian corn. Christopher was also to give money to his sister Sarah Lovejoy Johnson. The will is in pretty bad shape, but it looks like Nathaniel was given the land that would have gone to Benjamin had he lived. Nathaniel was tasked to pay his sister Abigail. Next up was Joseph, he got land, also 1/6 of the pond meadow and he had to pay his sister Anne Blanchard.

Ebeneezer, the youngest son and child was given his father's house, orchard, barn and adjoining land. He was given a piece of meadow near a hill called the Boston Hill. He too had to pay his step mother Hannah, and had to pay his sister Deborah. 

In September of 1690 he wrote a codicil to the will. He split all his household goods between Ebeneezer and Deborah. Ebeneezer was also to pay his two single sisters 3 pounds in cattle when they married. He made provisions for his granddaughter Francis Lovejoy, who lived with him. She was to live with Ebeneezer and his wife. Ebeneezer was to make sure she had proper clothing. 

John also named "his brother Thomas Osgood", his son William and Joseph to oversee Ebeneezer. He was to make no deals or enter into no bargains without their approval. They were also tasked to look after Francis until she married.

John's will was extremely detailed and he made provisions for all his children and his grandchild Francis. His care and concern for his family is evident in his wording as well as the substance of his last will. 

James R. Henderson, "The English Origins of John Lovejoy of Andover, Massachsetts," The Register, 163 (2009):27, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 25 January 2016).

Sarah Loring Bailey, Historical Sketches of Andover, (Cambridge: H. O. Houghton and Company, 1880).

Willilam Richard Cutter, Geneaolgical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Vol. II, (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910).

Abiel Abbott, History of Andover: from its settlement to 1829, (Andover: Flag and Gould, 1829).

Abby Chandler, Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750, (Ashgate Publishing, 2015): , digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 27 January 2016).

Philip Grevens, Four Generations: Population, Land and Family in Colonial Andover Massachusetts,(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970).

Vital Records of Andover

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jane Eagle Plume / Princess Nicketti and John Dods

Indian Princess's abound

So, if you have followed my blog, hopefully there are some of you out there, you will know that I like nothing better than a great internet genealogy myth.  I have already written about two "Indian Princesses" Jane Sandusky and Princess Nicketti.  While researching Nicketti, who many of you think married Trader Hughes,  I kept coming across references to her as Jane Eagle Plume.  If you do an internet search for Jane Eagle Plume you can find a host of sites informing you that she was the daughter of "Chief Eagle Plume" aka Opencancanough and that she married, not Trader Hughes, but John Dods. Here is a sample from one of the internet message boards:

Chief Eagle Plume = Chief Opencancanough

Sp.: Princess Cleopatra "Scent Flower"

VA. Iroquois Tribal Leader - Brother of Chief Powhatan

Cause of Death: Gunshot Wound

Jane Eagle Plume = Princess Nicketti

Sp. John Dods

(John Dods Jamestown, VA. Colonial Settler)

from Scotland to VA.

Plucking feathers

Great internet battles have been fought over the validity of the above information, feelings hurt, accusations hurled, great stuff really, makes for a fun read.  Of the above named folks, two are real ( meaning there is documented proof of their lives). Chief Opencancanough and John Dods.  There is not much information about either man and certainly nothing that can substantiate the multiple claims of wives and children made about both of them. The Chief was never, at any time, in any document, called or referred to as Eagle Plume, and there are no documented children by him.  I don't mean to say he didn't have any children, as I am sure he had a great many, but none were recorded.  There is no document to support  the existence of Princess Nicketti or her alias Jane Eagle Plume.  John Dods came to Virginia on the Susan Constant in about 1607. In a muster of settlers he is named along with his wife Jane (Unknown).  No children were ever documented.

In the old documents John's last name is spelled Dods.  Many people argue that the "s" followed by an apostrophe stands for "son". Hence his name, they claim, was really John Dodson.  Others say that it was his sons that changed the name to Dodson. But wait, there are no documented sons for John Dods, so how can that be? Oh, but there is proof you say, I read it in a book:

John DODS was born in England 1588 and came to Jamestown in 1607 at the age of 18 years. John married the Indian maiden Jane, daughter of Chief Eagle PLUME of Colorado, of the Iroquois Indian Nation, and became the parents of William and Jesse DODSON. Jesse and William took brides from the Bride Ships about 1630. This gives some background of the first of the line to enter the American Colonies. ( " Marsh and Related Families", p 55 ) 

Warning bells

Well if this snippet doesn't set off warning bells than I can't help you.  What is with the Chief being "of Colorado"?  Jesse is the one who is supposed to be the progenitor of the Dodson family.  He is said to be the father of Charles Dodson of Virginia. And to my knowledge there was only two bride ships, one in 1620 and 1621.
I found this on a message board:
I am related to John (Dods) Dodson and Jane Dier, who later married Lady Eagle Plum.There child was Jesse Dodson who married Judith Hagger and they had the following child: Charles Dodson who married Anne Elmore.
In this instance another wife is mentioned: Jane Dier, and the Princess is a "Lady". Another writer on this board questions whether John and Lady Eagle were married and one response was as follows (spelling as is):
asuram that they were married at the Jametown Community center since they didnt have different churches in those days and she was cocerited a Heathen being Indian. the next report I have on them is the MUSTERS of the INHABITANTS in Virghina 1623-1624. Pg 9 . It states:John Dods age 36 yeares in the SUSAN CONSTANT April 1607. Jane his wife age 40 years. It goes on to say: Corne,10 barrells;Pease,1/2 bushell,Fish,11/2 hundred. Armes and Munition. Powder 4lb.,Lead and bullets, 30lb,Peeces fixt.2.Coat of Male, 1 and head peece. S ward1Q. Poultrie 30. Home 1. They counted every thing in those days.
Jane Eagle Plume married John Dods in the Jamestown Community Center, I wonder if she had a wedding planner.  The writer commented that they counted everything in those days, notice what is missing from that count....children. There is no Jesse, William or Benjamin mentioned.

Here's another thing to think about.  The men who arrived on the Susan Constant could not feed themselves when they arrived in Virginia.  Many of them starved to death, and John Dods was lucky to survive. Why would an Indian woman, a daughter of a powerful chief, want to marry a man who could not provide food and shelter for himself, not to mention for a wife and subsequent children? Why would a daughter of a powerful chief who waged war on the English newcomers marry one? 

Who's writing those internet genealogies?

Here are some interesting stories that I have gleaned from the internet:

1. I especially like this version, Great Grandpa Eagle Plume, really, you're killing me! You can always spot a genealogy blooper when two or more brothers are involved. The best part; they fled into the forests never to be seen again, if only!
My 15th Great Grandpa, John Dods and 2 Brothers, came to Jamestown Colony on the Susan Constant, with Capt. John Smith (Family Legend says he too was a Cousin, but it is Largely unproven).John Dods should've been put as a Bigger Roll in the Jamestown Story, as he Helped with Relations between the Indians and the White Settlers.  My 16th Great Grandpa is Chief Eagle Plume, and he was either a War Chief or a Sachem (Medicine Man).His Daughter Married my John Dods, and Started the Family now Known as the DODS/DODSON/DOTSON Family.When Relations between the White Settlers and the Indians became more than what could be Dealt with, John Dods and Jane Eagle Plume Fled into the VA. Forests, Never to be seen again, until the Sons of them turned up in AL.I am their Descendant, and there are Thousands of Relations Scattered across the Country that are Related to this Chief or Sachem.

2. Here is another funny story. I am not sure what King of Scotland the writer is speaking of but Kenneth I (843-858) was the first King of Scotland.   Did they have civil engineers then? And what the heck are "first people"? And they got here in 1510, wow. I really like the use of the term "we", I think "we" are a bit confused about history, even if "we" did establish schools on arrival.
My Dodson family story is that we are Old Caledonian from Scotland, that we are by occupation orchardmen (tree dressers), civil engineers and educators.
However, we do not define ourselves in terms of employment.
We are Old Caledonian: we are first people.
As the family story goes, we were asked to give names and did. Later, we were asked to attend the installation of the first king of Scotland and did, insisting no man should have a king and we would attend on the condition all of us leave at the first opportunity which was presented when a cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh promoted the immigration idea to Sir Walter Raleigh that brought suitable people to North America to live there (as opposed to looking for quick profit, like gold or other precious commodities). However, there are other precious commodities returned to England. The tomato and the potato, from North America, were important, as were other items. The family story doesn't mention crops. It mentioned that this idea was supported and we arrived in 1510's. And so, we arrived on these shores and established substantial estate farms and orchards, roads, and schools. 
3. edited on 7 January 2013 I had to remove number three, the person who wrote it objected to being included on this page, she included a lot of ranting and foul mouth language and various threats, obviously she is not well. 

Me, on my soapbox

Okay, Okay, enough of the funny stuff. But seriously folks, these are the people who are posting to and other web based genealogy sites, they are the driving force behind all the information that you are blindly copying from the internet.  

If you want to claim John Dods and Jane his wife as your ancestor then you will have to prove that they had a son who was the father of Charles Dodson of Farnham, Virginia. The proof required is a document written in their lifetime which shows a family relationship. This could be baptismal records, marriage records, land grants or deeds or a will.  If you can do that you will be a hero to hundreds of people who so desperately want to be descended from John Dods. 

Good Luck with your research and if you find any of these documents be sure to let me know. 

P.S. You'll never find proof that Jane Eagle Plume married John Dods, because everyone knows that she married Trader Hughes! 

You might also want to read this blogpost on Cleopatra the supposed mother of Nicketti and Jane Eagle Plume.

comments, queries, confrontations welcome
please cite your sources

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jonathan Blanchard and Ann Lovejoy of Andover, MA

Jonathan Blanchard's birth was recorded by his father Samuel Blanchard in the family bible along with the births of his brothers and sisters, his father's marriages and his date of arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  This bible is said to be in the possession of The Bible Society in New York City. Jonathan was born on 25 May 1664 in Charlestown but moved with the family to Andover.  Twenty one years and one day later, on May 26 1685 Jonathan married Ann Lovejoy in Andover. 

Children of Jonathan and Anne Lovejoy, all born at Andover :

Johnathan b. Feb. 28, 1685-6; yeoman, bricklayer and housewright; lived in Andover, except in 1732, when he is called of Woburn; m. Sarah Paine Nov. 11, 1708; he d. Feb. 21, 1748-9; his wife Sarah survived him, and probably m., secondly, Capt. William Lovejoy Nov. 28, 1749. She d. Oct. 9, 1772, aged eighty-four. Mr. Blanchard probably had no children.

 DAVID b. June 8, 1687; weaver; lived in Andover; m. Rebecca Frost Aug. 10, 1725; he d. in Andover Oct. 13, 1732, aged forty-five
JACOB b. Feb. 19, 1689; mason; lived in Boston; m. Abigail; and d. in or before 1732, leaving a daughter. 
ANNE b. April 6, 1691; m. Timothy Mooar May 12, 1712; and d. Dec. 25, 1729.
BENJAMIN b. Feb. 14, 1693.  ancestor married Mary Abbott
Mary b. Dec. 2, 1696; probably m. Thomas Phelps July 4, 1722

witnesses to the witch trials?
Not much is know about the life of Jonathan and Anne.  They did live through the turmoil and terror of the Salem witch trials. About 40 people, mostly women, from Andover were accused of witchcraft, most notable Martha Carrier, who the Rev. Cotton Mather called "The Queen of Hell". She was hanged on Aug 19, 1692. No doubt  the Blanchard's were well acquainted with those charged, but what they made of it all is and will always be unknown. 

In 1709 the town of Andover was divided into two parishes, North and South.  This was to accommodate the growth of the town to the South.  Jonathan signed the petition in favor of the division, which was granted by the General Court. 

Ann died on Feb 29 1723/4 at age 65 and Jonathan remarried. His second wife was a widow, Hannah Wyman of Woburn, they married in Feb of 1725. Jonathan died at the great age of 78 in 1742.

Jonathan Blanchard
Ann Lovejoy

James Otis Lyford, History of the Town of Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1727-1912
George Mooar, Mooar (Moors) genealogy: Abraham Mooar of Andover, and his descendants

Vital Records of Andover, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 

Sidney Perley, The Essex antiquarian, Volume 9

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Samuel Blanchard of Charlestown and Andover, Massachusetts

english origins
Samuel Blanchard was born in Goodworth Clatford, England, he was baptized on August 6, 1629.  He was the fifth child of seven, and one of four that lived to adulthood.  His mother died in 1636, when he was only seven, and it is very probable that he had seen one or more of his siblings die at a very early age. In other words, he was at a young age, as most people of that time, no stranger to sickness and death.

coming to america
When Samuel was ten years old his father Thomas Blanchard of Goodworth Clatford and his second wife Agnes Bent uprooted the family from their home in England to travel to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The Blanchard family, as well as the family of Samuel's stepmother, Agnes Bent Barnes Blanchard,  made their way from Andover down to London, where they spent about a month preparing for the trip. The crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny wooden ship must have been a terrifying  and miserable experience.  Samuel's new step mother died, supposedly only 15 days after setting sail, his half sibling, possibly baby Agnes born in 1638, died and his step grandmother, Agnes Bent, was ill the entire journey. Thomas Blanchard cared for Agnes the entire trip but she died the day they sailed into Boston Harbor. This was not an auspicious beginning to their new life.

After arriving in the Colony Samuel's father moved several times before eventually settling down in what was then Charlestown but today is part of Malden. The family unit consisted of his father, his fathers third wife and brothers George, Nathaniel, Thomas Jr. and Samuel. Because the colonial government frowned on single men living alone, Samuel more than likely lived in the family home until after his marriage on Jan 3 1655 to Mary Sweetser. Mary was the daughter of Seth and Bethia Cooke Sweetser of Tring, England. She came to Charlestown as a small child as well.

Almost mirroring his parents, Mary and Samuel had six children before her early death, at the age of 33, on 20 Feb 1668.  Their children, four of whom lived to adulthood, were all born at Charlestown were:
1. Samuel Jr. b. 29 Sept 1656 died 1678 in Charlestown of smallpox
2. Sarah b. 15 Feb 1657 died young
3. Mary b. 18 April 1659 m. John Stover d. 1704
4. Joshua b. 6 Aug 1661 d. 1716
5. Jonathan b. 25 May 1664 d. 1742 ancestor
6.  Abigail b. 5 Mar 1667 d. 1732

remarriage and more children
Samuel remarried on 23 June 1673. His second wife was Hannah Daggett, she was born in Weymouth, MA in 1647.  They had the following children:
Thomas b. 1674 b. Charlestown
John b. 1677 b. Charlestown
Samuel b. 1680 in Andover
Hannah b. 1681 in Andover

death of Thomas
Samuel's father, Thomas, died about six months before the marriage of Samuel to Mary Sweetser.  In his will his father left Samuel  L80 & all previous gifts, L30 to be paid in cattle & L10 in corn & L10 a year in cattle or corn for 4 years. The family farm was divided between his brothers. In 1657 Samuel bought several plots of land and bought about 40 acres of land from his brother Nathaniel.  This was Nathaniel's half the land on Wilson's point left to him by their father. Samuel built a house on this land and farmed there for many years. When he finally left Charlestown he retained ownership of his land and his son Joshua remained on the property. 

move to Andover
Samuel  moved to Andover in 1679 when he bought the original land rights from Henry Jaquith and Mark Graves. Andover is about 20 miles to the northwest of Boston. Samuel's land was next to a pond that was known as Blanchard's pond for a long time, it is now called Haggett's pond. As with most of the early towns, men were originally given a house lot of about 10 or less acres and a planting lot for farming, as well as shares in cow commons and other lands.  In Andover you had to live on your house lot, it was forbidden to build a house on your planting lot.  This was especially important when King Phillip's war started in 1675. 

indian attack on Andover
Andover suffered it's first attack in 1676 and although only one person was killed and one kidnapped, many animals, horses and cows were killed and buildings burned.  In 1677 even more people were killed and for many years thereafter the Indians were a constant threat to the settlers.  Having the townspeople  live close together ensured safety in numbers and a faster response to any Indian threat.  At one point Samuel's house was used as a fortified garrison house where neighbors would shelter at times of unrest or actual attacks. 

puritan life
Howe Inn formerly the Wayside Inn  (Ordinary)
The other benefit to everyone residing in close proximity to each other was to see what they were up to.  The Puritans had a strict code of conduct that all were expected to follow.  Some of the ordinances passed by the Andover town leaders included the banning of dancing at weddings, and dogs from the meeting house. The also forbade  entertaining after 9 pm unless it was for business and young people were not to be about on Saturdays and Sundays. You could be fined if you sat in any seat other than your assigned one at the meetinghouse. Two people were assigned to sit in the gallery of the meetinghouse to keep an eye on the young people and report any disorder to the minister.

In 1690 William Chandler opened an "Ordinary" in his house. An Ordinary was a type of Inn which sells liquor, wine and food.  Some of the towns people supported William and some, Samuel Blanchard included, opposed the opening of the Ordinary.  The opposing group wrote a petition to the General Court stating:
"that if he be not restrained from the selling of drink our town will be for the greatest part for our young generation will be so corrupted that we can expect little else but a course of drunkenness from them and what comfort will that be to parents to see such a posterity coming on upon the stage after them".
Samuel died at the age of 78, in April of 1707.  He lived a great deal longer than his father, and outlived several of his own children. Hannah died July 10 1725.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Seth Sweetser of Tring and Charlestown, MA *

english origins
Seth Sweetser was born in Tring, Hertfordshire, England to James and Joanne Sweetser. He was baptized, not born, on 18 May 1606 at the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. His parents had been married in the same church on 15 August 1598. This is what seems to be the standard information written about him. But the parish records  show a marriage on 2 November 1596 between James and a Elizabeth Soweth, and I cannot find in the IGI the marriage to Joanne. There is also a child born to a James Sweetser prior to the marriage date with Joanne.

St. Peter and St. Paul Tring
Other children found in the IGI are the following (note these are the dates of baptism and not births)
Elizabeth 26 June 1597
James 25 March 1599
Benjamin 6 April 1600
Elizabeth 5 April 1602
Seth 18 May 1606

I cannot find a death in the IGI for James, Joanne or Elizabeth, despite these dates being seen frequently on the internet, I am not sure of the source for those dates.

marriage and children
On 20 Jan 1630 Seth Sweetser married Bethia Cooke in Tring, their daughter Anna  was baptized there on 27 Nov 1631 and buried on 28 July 1636. (These dates are found in the IGI) Bethia may have been from nearby Flamstead where there were quite a few Cooke families. Other children of Bethia and Seth were:
Benjamin  bapt.8 Dec 1633 Tring, England
Mary bapt. 20 Feb 1635 Tring, England
Sarah b. 1637 Charlestown, Mass
Hannah bapt. 12 Nov 1638 (from 1st Church of Charlestown records)
Elizabeth bapt. 27 Nov 1642 (from 1st Church of Charlestown records)

Seth, Bethia and their surviving children, Benjamin and Mary left Tring in 1637 for a new life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They may have left for religious reasons or because Seth was the youngest son, for economic ones, as the family land would probably go to an older brother. In any case they left family and friends forever.  Once there they got down to business. Seth took the Freedman's Oath on March 14, 1638/9, he joined the First Church of Charlestown on November 8,1638 and Bethia on July 9, 1639.  Being a full fledged church member was not always easy, but it was necessary if you wanted to vote and play a bigger role in the new colony.

see the Charlestown neck in this 1775 map
In 1637 Seth had a 10 acre lot on the Mystic river side of Charlestown. (this is not part of modern day Charlestown) From John Baker he bought a house and 4 acres in the neck, 5 acres on the Mystic side and 3 acres in the Cow Common, all for 35 pounds. The "neck" was the small strip of land that joined the Charlestown peninsula to the mainland. He eventually owned a house and 40 acres of land in various parcels. Other writers have interpreted "in the neck" to mean in Charlestown proper.

As well as farming, Seth was a shoemaker.  In 1660 he deeded land to his son Benjamin and called himself a shoemaker and Benjamin a "heelmaker".  In a letter written to him from his cousin Daniel Field in Tring, dated 10 May 1642, he is told he will receive a butt of leather, presumably sent from England, the leather was most likely for the making of shoes and boots. The letter mentions various family in Tring. Daniel also sends his greetings to William Phillips, who was an inn keeper in Charlestown. The letter mentions his brothers and his sister Elizabeth.

Bethia died in January of 1660 and Seth remarried  in April of the next year to the widow Elizabeth Oakes. He died on 21 May 1662 aged 56, he was buried in the "Old Phipps Street Burying Ground".
Here is his will:
The last will and testament of Seth Sweetser of Charlestown this four and twenty day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and sixty two.I, Seth Sweatser, being in my right memory and composure of mind and senses, though weak and sick of body do make and consititute this my last will and testament, wherein I commit my body to ducst and my soul to God that gave it and my estate as followeth.Item: To my son Benjemene his full portion on Charlestown Side in his possession already.Item: that my wife Elizabeth Sweetser which now is, that she shall have all her own estate which I had with her, paying all her own debts out of it which she owed before I had her-moreover my will is that she shall have the third of my estate that I have now in present possession after my debts are paid, during the time of her life, and if it should prove she should be with child, my will is that the child should have twenty pounds out of her third, after her death, and I will also in case she be in want in time of her widowhood that she may expend of the principal according to the discretion of the executors and overseers.Item: my will is that my daughter Sara shall have a third part of my estate now and in possession , after my death-moreover I give onto my daughter Sara that third part remaining after my wif's decease in case I have no child by her then she to have whole third that was my wife' will is that my other third may be thus divided-to my son Samuel Blanchard I give unto his tem shillings beside what he had before-to my daughter Mary Blanchard Twenty pounds to be at her own proper use and disposing I give her but which I desire may be left in the hands of the executors and overseers to be disposed of to her need as they see good and see to return to her nex remainng child.I give onto my daughter Hana Fitch twenty pounds over and above what she hath had already.I give unto my wife's three children Forty shillings that is to say twenty shillings to the son and ten shillings to the daughters apiece and the rest of the third of my estate after the discharge of my sickness and burial the remainder of this third of ny estate be returned to my daughter Sara.Also I constitute and ordan these my loving friends my executors of this my last will and testament that is to say Edward Drinker and my son Benjemen Sweetsur. Also my honoured friend Mr. Richard Russel and my brother Thomas Gold to be my overseers of this my will.(Signed) Seth Sweetser
Witnesses:Thomas EmonsThomas Osburne"Seth Sweetser's estate was probated on 17 Jun 1662, and the inventory judged to be worth 270 pounds 2 shillings 1 pence. However, on 13 Dec 1662, this inventory was reduced by 20 pounds 7 shillings 5 pence due to a loss on certain items, several small debts not originally included in this inventory and a mistake of 9 pounds in adding the values.

His daughter Mary Sweetser married Samuel Blanchard, son of Thomas Blanchard of Charlestown.
Benjamin, his only son, was a founding member of a Baptist church in Charlestown.


"England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch( : accessed 15 October 2015), James Swetzer and Eliz. Sowth, 02 Nov 1596; citing Tring,Hertford,England, reference ; FHL microfilm 991,338.

NEGHR vol. 3 p. 96
NEGHR vol 18 p. 290
Wyman, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thomas Blanchard of Goodworth Clatford and The Massachusetts Bay Colony

[edited 19 March 2017]
Who was Thomas Blanchard, immigrant to Massachusetts?  Was he the son of a Huguenot refugee Pierre Jean who fled France and changed the course of English  history or was he of good old English stock?  It is doubtful that his father was the heroic Pierre.  This seems to be a fanciful story  and I can find no documentation to back up this supposed genealogy. Other serious Blanchard researchers have the same thing to say about old Pierre, so I think it's safe to put him in the junky genealogy pile. So I will start with what little is known about Thomas Blanchard and his English origins.

english origins
A search for Blanchards in Hampshire County, England shows records for people of this surname prior to the 1550s. This does not mean that there weren't Blanchards there before this, just one of the first records I can find using Find My Past. In 1549 a John Blanchard was buried in Goodworth Clatford. A Robert Blanchard was having children in Goodworth in 1550. Multiple other Blanchard marriages and deaths were recorded in Goodworth Clatford. [1] One Thomas Blanchard married Edith Smith on 4 Feb 1551 in Micheldever, Hampshire, some 13 miles from Goodworth Clatford.[2] Another Thomas Blanchard married an Alice Altane on 26 June 1578 in Ringwood, Hampshire.[3] Ringwood is only 30 miles from Goodworth. Clearly there were Blanchard families all over Hampshire, there is no need to look to France his ancestry when clearly his ancestors were English. 

Thomas was almost certainly born in England c. 1590, probably very near the village he lived in as an adult, Goodworth Clatford, which  is a small village about 2 miles south of the town of Andover in Hampshire County in the South of England. During his life Thomas would marry three times. There is no known record of his first marriage but we know her first name was Elizabeth, this is found in the baptismal records of some of their children. [4] Thomas and Elizabeth were married by 1620, based on the age of their first child whose baptism was recorded in the Goodworth Clatford parish register.  They would have seven children before her death and burial on 23 July 1636.[5] 

With small children all under the age of 16, the youngest child only two years of age, Thomas did as most widowers of that time and remarried ASAP.  On May 15, 1637 he posted the bonds of marriage to the widow Ann (Agnes) Barnes in St. Edmund's Salisbury, Wiltshire. Their marriage was recorded as:

Thomas Blanchard of Clatford, Co. South, yeoman, widower and Ann Barnes of St. Edmund's, Sarum, wid. Witnessed by Henry Byley of Sarum, tanner. [6]

St. Peter's Goodworth Clatford
Together they had one child a daughter, Agnes, baptized on 8 April 1638. [7] Thomas would have been around 52 years of age and Agnes his wife about 35.  So what or who would convince a man, who realistically was on the back half of his life, to leave everything he knew to start from scratch in a new country. That who was most likely Peter Noyes.

coming to america
Peter Noyes was a well to do farmer from the village of Weyhill, just to the northwest of Andover. Thomas' wife Agnes was originally from Penton Grafton, near Weyhill.  She was the daughter of Robert and Agnes (Gosling) Bent, and was baptized on 16 July 1602. Agnes had married Richard Barnes in Penton Grafton on 11 April 1630 and the couple had had two children, Richard and Elizabeth, before Richard, Sr. death.[8]  Agnes was living in the parish of St. Edmund's in Salisbury when she married Thomas in 1637.

Peter Noyes had decided by 1638 to check out the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He wasn't leaving for economic reasons and it doesn't seem as if he was leaving for religious reasons either, but in any case he sailed for America on the "Confidence" with his children Thomas and Robert and Margaret Davis, servants, John Rutter, servant, John Bent (Agnes Bent Barnes Blanchard's brother) and 80 pounds of their mother's money.  Apparently he liked what he found because a year later he was back in England and organizing the exodus of the Bent/Blanchardfamilies. [9]

The group traveled together to London and sailed on the "Jonathan" arriving on 23 June 1639. On board was: Agnes Bent, Thomas and Agnes Blanchard and their children including Richard Bent and Samuel Blanchard, Agnes' niece Jane Plimpton, and unnamed children and possibly servants.
Penton Grafton and Weyhill

To say that it is was not a good journey is a gross understatement. Fifteen days into the crossing Agnes Blanchard died, sometime later her "infant" died.  This could possibly have been little Agnes born in 1638. Thomas nursed his ailing mother in law the entire journey only to see her died as they pulled into the harbor at Boston. He carried her body onto land for burial. [10]

where is thomas
Peter Noyes, John Bent and John's nephew, the now orphaned Richard Barnes, returned to Sudbury. Peter would have a very successful life, playing a prominent role in the development and running of the town. For whatever reason Thomas did not follow them and struck out on his own.  He is rather hard to pin down and does not appear in very many of the colonial records. In 1642 his name is in the probate record of one George Brown, he helped to inventory his estate. Would it be safe to assume that he lived in Newbury at that time?  Other suggest he was in Braintree from 1540 until 1650, but it is a long way to travel, over 49 miles, from Braintree to Newbury to inventory an estate. And I do not think they would ask a stranger to come inventory an estate. [11]

Thomas remarried at some point, his third wife's name was Mary and very little is known about her. [12] Based on an item in the will of Henry Shrimpton of Boston, proved in 1666, who left his sister the "widow Blanchette" some money, and that in the probate of his will Thomas owed a debt to "Mr. Shrimpton", it is speculated that his third wife was Mary Shrimpton, sister of Henry. [13] Others say she was Mary Maverick. The first settler on Noodle Island was a man named Samuel Maverick. He was an Episcopalian and a royalist, but  he was there prior to the 1630 arrival of the Winthrop fleet, so the new colony tolerated his presence for a while.  He eventually left around 1645 and eventually died in New Amsterdam.  Thomas Blanchard's wife is said to have been of "Noodle's Island".  So this is probably where the connection was made. In the end we don't know what her surname was. [14]

Thomas is known to have been in Braintree which was first incorporated on May 14, 1640. In the book of Braintree town records, Thomas witnessed the sale of a house by Henry Flint and Dr. John Morley in 1648. This is the only entry for Thomas Blanchard in the Braintree records, if he bought, owned or sold land there it was not recorded. [15] 

click on map and find Wellington Point
On Feb. 12, 1650-51 the Reverend John Wilson sold to Thomas a 200 acre farm that at that time was in Charlestown, but is now in an the town of Medford in an area once known as Wellington Point. The land was along the Mystic River. Thomas and Mary lived on this farm until his death in 1654. Thomas was about 65 at his death, it is not known what became of Mary. [16]

going to court
Much of what is known about Thomas and especially the events that occurred on the "Jonathan" is the result of court cases concerning the inheritance of Richard Barnes, the son of Agnes Bent Barnes, Thomas' second wife. On April 4, 1646 Thomas Blancher(d) petitioned the Governor and his Assistants in Boston concerning his stepson Richard. The petition stated that Ann Barnes of Way-hill in Hampshire gave to her son Richard Barnes 20 pounds sterling and that his grandmother Agnes Bent gave him 16 pounds sterling. The said sums were committed to John Bent (his uncle) with whom said Richard hath been maintained hitherto since his coming into New England which is about seven years. Thomas Blancher(d) having received said Richard Barnes as his apprentice withall undertaking, the Guardianship of said Richard during his nonage desires said John Bent to give his security to said Barnes for the delivery to him of the said sums of money at his age of 21.  Signed by Thomas Blanchard and John Bent. [17]

Thomas testified in court on 7-9-1648 concerning the will of his second wife, Agnes Bent Barnes.  Agnes gave her estate to her son Richard Barnes and her niece Elizabeth Plimpton.  Richard was to get 20 pounds, Elizabeth 5, and her brother John Bent was to receive 10 pound and Thomas Plimpton five. Whatever was left was to be divided between Richard and Elizabeth. This was sworn in front of Increase Nowell and witnessed by Peter Noyes.

On 6 Feb 1652 Richard, now aged 21, took Thomas to court to recover his 20 pounds. Many folks testified about the death of Agnes' first husband, how she came by the 20 pounds, about the voyage, etc. these included fellow passengers, John Bent, Peter Noyes, and Elizabeth Plimpton. This court case reveals most of the details known about the death of Agnes and her mother and the events that took place on board the Jonathan. The jury found for Richard.

Thomas' children were:
George b. 1620 d. 18 March 1700 in Malden
Thomas Jr. bp. 12 Oct. 1623 d. Feb 1651 in Charlestown [18]
Mary bap. 15 Jan 1626 at Goodworth Clatford no further mention
Steven bap. 22 June 1628 no further mention
Samuel b. 30 August 1629 d. 1707 Malden (ancestor) [19]
Nathaniel b. 1632 d. 1676 lived in Braintree and Weymouth [20]
David bap. 2 Feb 1633/4 no further mention [21]

Thomas only lived on his Charlestown farm for a short three years. He was by then in his sixties. He wrote his will in 1654. Both his widow Mary and his son Nathaniel would live in the house. Mary was to have eight cows and that were to be fed and cared for. He made provisions for her food, stating that she was to recieve 50 bushels of corn per annum. He made bequeaths to his sons George and Samuel and his grandson Joseph. He died the 21st of June 1654. Mary's fate is unknown. 

My Blanchard line with links:
Thomas Blanchard of Goodwith Clatford
Samuel Blanchard and Mary Sweetser
Jonathan Blanchard and Anne Lovejoy
Benjamin Blanchard and Mary Abbott
Benjamin Blanchard and Keziah Hastings
Jonathan Blanchard and Hannah Chadwick
James Blanchard and Phebe Carter
Chloe Blanchard and Samuel Thornton

[1] "Hampshire Burials," index, Find My Past ( : accessed 19 March 2017) general search for Blanchard.

[2]"England Marriages 1538-1973," index, Find My Past ( : accessed 19 March 2017) seach for Thomas Blanchard. (marriage of Thomas Blanchard and Edith Smith)

[3] "England Marriages 1538-1973," index, Find My Past ( : accessed 19 March 2017) seach for Thomas Blanchard. (marriage of Thomas Blanchard and Alice Altane)

[4] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), Thomas Blanchard in entry for Nathaniell Blanchard, 22 Jul 1631; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[5] "Hampshire Burials," index, Find My Past ( accessed 19 March 2017) search for Elizabeth Blanchard.

[6] "Sarum Marriage License Bonds," index, Find My Past ( : accessed 19 March 2017) search for Thomas Blanchard.

[7] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Agnes Blanchard, 08 Apr 1638; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[8]"Parish Records St. Michaels Weyhill," index, Freereg ( : accessed 19 March 2017) search for Agnes Bent.

[9] Sumner Chilton Powell, Puritan Village, The Formation of a New England Town, (Middleton, Connecticut : Wesleyn University Press, 1963) 3-20.

[10] "Passengers and Vessels  to America," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 32 (October 1878) 407-411, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 20 March 2017).

[11] Probate Records of Essex, Mass Vol. 1, 1635-1681, (Salem : The Essex Institute, 1916) 23.

[12] "Abstracts of Early Wills," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 17 (April 1863) 156-157, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 21 March 2017). Thomas Blanchard of Charlestown named his wife Mary in his will.

[13] "Abstracts of Early Wills," The Register, 157.

[14] Judy Jacobsen, Massachusetts Bay Connections, (Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992) 83.

[15] Samuel Austin Bates, Records of the Town of Braintree, Massachusetts 1640-1793, (Randolph, Massachusetts : Daniel H. Huxford, Printer, 1886) 3.

[16] Thomas Bellows Wyman, The genealogies and estates of Charlestown : in the county of Middlesex and commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1629-1818, vol. 1, (Boston : D. Clapp, 1879) 88.

[17] "Our Retrospective Review," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 9 (October 1855) 371, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 20 March 2017). brief article on Barnes.
"Passengers and Vessels  to America," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 32 (October 1878) 407-411, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 20 March 2017).

[18] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), Thomas Blanchard in entry for Nathaniell Blanchard, 22 Jul 1631; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.note: surname was spelled Blanchet.

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Mary Blanchet, 15 Jan 1625; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[19] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), Samuell Blanchard, 30 Aug 1629; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[20] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), Nathaniell Blanchard, 22 Jul 1631; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

[21] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), David Blanchard, 02 Feb 1633; citing GOODWORTH CLATFORD,HAMPSHIRE,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,041,258, 918,606.

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