Saturday, March 23, 2013

Benjamin Baker Jr. of Epping and Campton, NH

Benjamin Baker Jr. was the son of Benjamin Baker and Ruth True.  His parents were originally from Salisbury, MA but some time prior to his birth in 1753 they moved to Epping, NH.   Benjamin married Sarah Norris, daughter of Jonathan Norris and Sarah Cram of Epping in 1775 in Epping. 

1775 was of course an auspicious year, the American Colonies, including New Hampshire, began their march towards freedom from Great Britain.  Benjamin and his brothers William and Moses. According to old town histories Benjamin enlisted in 1775 and was with Col. John Stark's Regiment and fought at Bunker Hill.  A search of shows multiple men named Benjamin Baker who enlisted in the same regiment. I am not sure which one was him.  In any case he is said to have suffered during his enlistment which would eventually lead to his early death. 

Moses Baker commanded a Company and was at Winter Hill in 1775 during the battle of Bunker Hill. He was at Saratoga in 1777, he held the rank of Captain. William, his brother, served as Orderly Sergeant in the same company. 

Back to the business of living 
Benjamin's two brothers had left Epping for Candia prior to the war, but all three moved to Campton starting in the year 1777.  Benjamin, his wife and three children arrived in 1780. His brother William sold him a 100 acre lot on the west side of the Pemigewasset River. This property was eventually the site of the Blair School, one of the first schools in Campton. The property also included a residence built originally by Col. Spenser, today the house is an Inn, The Col. Spenser Inn. (I have got to go there and spend a night!)

William and Moses Baker were both very active in town affairs. Their names appear frequently in the town records, in fact Moses was the town clerk for many years. For the first two years that Benjamin was in Campton, the town voted to not charge him his yearly tax.  I wonder if it was because  he was still recovering from his time in service.  

Benjamin and Sarah Norris Baker had three children: 
Daniel b. 11 November 1775 Epping d. 1815 Campton, NH
Sarah b. 1778 Campton, NH 
Katherine b. 13 May 1779 Campton, NH d. 1860 Wheelock, VT.

Early death
Benjamin Baker died at the relatively early age of thirty seven, it has been said that his war service contributed to his demise.  He left three children.  His wife Sarah remarried in 1793 to Joshua Rogers and has three more children. I do not know when Sarah died.
In 1805 Sarah and Katherine sold their share of their father's property to their brother Daniel.  He lived there with his family until he sold it to Peter Blair.  Daniel also died at a very young age, 39. His grave maker has his name along with six of his children who predeceased him. 

My Baker Family with links:

Gazetteer of Grafton County New Hampshire, 1709-1886, Harold Child
Town Records of Campton, NH

Friday, March 15, 2013

Benjamin Baker and Ruth True

Benjamin was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts on January 17, 1714.  He married Ruth True on January 22, 1735.  Ruth was the daughter of John and Martha Merrill True. Like Benjamin, Ruth was born and raised in Salisbury and that was where they married and started their family. By the time of their marriage in 1735, Salisbury was nearing its 100 year mark. It's boundaries had shrunk from it's initial size and new towns spun off.  There was no new land to be had.  Men, like Benjamin, began to look to the elsewhere for new opportunities and  open land. 

Move to New Hampshire
That land was was to be found in New Hampshire. The Baker's first seem to have moved only slightly north into South Hampton, NH. At least that is what I thought, but then on further research I found that instead of moving to New Hampshire, New Hampshire moved to them. South Hampton New Hampshire was incorporated in 1742 from land that was originally part of Salisbury and Amesbury, MA. This was the result of a long term border dispute between the two colonies that was finally settled in 1741 and the border dipped south into what had been Massachusetts. 

The family seems to have left South Hampton sometime after the death of their son Benjamin in 1746.  Their next child, another Benjamin, was born in Epping, Rockingham, NH in 1753. In 1750 Benjamin Baker, yeoman of Epping, conveyed land to Samuel Baker of Salisbury.

Epping was formed in 1741 from land that was originally part of Exeter. It was named for Epping Forest in England, and at one time the area was heavily forested with lumber being a major industry. 

Children of Benjamin and Ruth:
William b. 8 Nov. 1736 in Salisbury d. 14 Nov 1814 Campton, NH
Mary b. 1737
Moses 8 April 1738
Daniel b. 10 November 1740
Martha b. 22 Feb. 1743/4
Martha b. 31 July 1746 in South Hampton, NH
Benjamin b. 5 March 1745 d. 18 August 1746 in South Hampton, NH
Benjamin Jr.  b. 17 March 1753 in Epping, NH d. 1790 Campton, NH

From the Records of the Second Church of Salisbury West Parish
April 10 1737 Benjamin and Ruth are confirmed in the church, Mary baptized
May 7 1738 Moses Baker Baptized
November 23 1740 Daniel Baptized 
April 1 1744 Martha Baptized
May 18 1746 Benjamin Baptized

There is no date of death recorded for Ruth or Benjamin.  In the Rockingham probate records for the year 1788 there is this entry.

I believe this is the source of the date of death attributed to Benjamin.  

*************NEW INFORMATION*****************
I found a probate record for Benjamin Baker of Epping.  It was first filed in April of 1776.   Benjamin probably died in March or April.  At the time of his death his wife's name was Hannah, not Ruth.  Below is one of the entries in the probate records.  The date is 24 April 1776.

My Baker Family with links:

"Did Your Ancestors Really Remove to New Hampshire in the 1700's", Sherry L. Gould,
Rockingham County, NH Probate Records 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

William Baker Jr. and Elizabeth Heard of Ipswich and Salisbury, MA

William Baker Jr. was the second child of William Baker and his wife Sarah Fitts in Ipswich.  It seems his parents had a first child, also named William, who was born 14 November 1687, this child died the same day.  William Jr. yeoman, married Elizabeth Heard, daughter of Benjamin Heard and Ruth Eastman in Salisbury on 24 Sept. 1713. She was born in Salisbury on 26 May 1691. Elizabeth joined the church of Salisbury on 26 July 1713. 

There is not much in the literature about this couple.  They seemed to have lived a quiet life. William remarried in 1757 to a widow named Mary Bixby.  He died 27 Feb. 1766.  

Children of William and Elizabeth
Benjamin Baker b: 27 Jan 1714 in Salisbury m. Ruth True   my ancestors
Nathaniel Baker b: 16 Jan 1716 in Salisbury 
Abraham Baker b: 13 Mar 1718/1719  d. 30 May 1719
Sarah Baker b: 25 Jan 1720/1721 in Salisbury m. Daniel Clough, Stephen Webster
Ruth Baker b: 16 Jul 1722 in Salisbury m. Phillip Griffin
Abigail Baker b: 17 Nov 1723 in Salisbury m. Phillip Brown
Samuel Baker b: 21 Jan 1724/1725 in Salisbury m. three times: Jerusha Eastman, Mary       Allen, and Abigail Crocker d. 9 April 1801
Elizabeth Baker b: 12 Mar 1725/1726 in Salisbury m. Joseph Eastman

My Baker Line with links:

Related stories:
Benjamin Heard and Ruth Eastman
John Heard and Elizabeth Hull

 "Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts," by David W. Hoyt 
 "Vital Records of Salisbury, MA to 1849," 
 "The Essex Antiquarian," Vol. V (1901) p.166,167. "Descendants of William Baker of   Ipswich."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

William Baker and Sarah Fitts of Ipswich, MA

A Bakers dozen
William Baker is one of those ancestors whose genealogy is an internet mess. Apparently the name was fairly common, and at one time in the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony there were no less than five William Bakers living in various towns.  According to the research of Robert Charles Anderson of the Great Migration series there was one in Watertown, one in Charlestown, one in Portsmouth, one in Boston, and one running amok among the Indians, which was very offensive to the sensibilities of the Puritan colonists. 

Possible Fathers
My Ancestor William was born around 1655, so it would seem likely that his father was one of these Bakers.Some of them can be ruled out right away. The William Baker of Charlestown and later Billerica did not have a son named William.  He died in 1658 and he and his wife were probably to old to be his parents anyway. William Baker of Boston seems to be the most popular choice on for William's father but this too is incorrect. William Baker of Boston and his wife Mary Eddington, did have a son William b. 1655 but he married Elizabeth Dutton.  They lived in Concord where he died in 1702. The other three Bakers left no trail, so it it possible but not provable that one of them was his father. 

Of course his father may have been any one of the other men named Baker living in the colony as well. There is no reason to believe that his father's forename had to be William. Some have suggested that his father was John Baker.

What I know
William Baker was born around 1654.  He married Sarah Fitts of Ipswich on December 30th, 1686.  She was the daughter of Abraham Fitts and Sarah Thompson, born March 15, 1661.  His name is found here and there in the records of Ipswich. 

On November 18, 1687 William bought a house for 65 pounds from Andrew Peters.  The purchase included the house, orchards and about one acre of land.  The property was on Hill Street.  In the the deed William was identified as a Glover. William also inherited land through his wife Sarah that was originally owned by her grandfather Simon Tompson.  He also bought land in 1697 from Jonathan Wade which he sold in 1714 to Robert Fitts. In 1723 he sold half of his homestead to his son John. He seems to have accrued a fair amount of land and so would seem to be fairly prosperous.  

The Runaway Apprentice
William was a glove maker by trade. He had at least one apprentice named Charles Atwood. The apprenticeship was for thirteen years beginning on March 11, 1687 and last until 1699.  William was to teach Charles the art of making gloves and something called white leather dresser. He was also to teach him to read and write English and the rule of the three also called the rule of proportion, aka basic math. On completion of his apprenticeship William was to provide him with two sets of clothing. 

Charles did not complete his apprenticeship however.  In the original writing of the indenture the writer did not put a nine behind the 169 in the date on which it was to end. In 1696, after the death of his father, Charles was shown the letter by his mother.  He apparently had had enough of the apprenticeship and high tailed it off to Rhode Island. William pursued him and hauled him into court.  The court agreed with Charles and the unspecified date of ending. 

Of course life was not all work, work, work.  There was also church.  William and his wife and children would have attended worship services at the meeting house on Sundays. William must have been a full member as he served as a tythingman in 1695. The tythingman's job was to ensure that everyone was awake and paying attention to the minister, no sleeping, gossiping or other carrying on in church. In a seating chart for the meetinghouse in 1719-1720 William is seated up front in a row for the elderly and ancient. He presumably held that seat until his death some years later.  Likewise his wife was seated in the front with the older women.

Children of William and Sarah
William b. 1687 d. 1687
William b. Ipswich m. Elizabeth Heard
Sarah b. Sept 9, 1691 d. Sept 29, 1691
Sarah b. Oct 22, 1692 m. John Waite, Jr. of Ipswich April 16, 1715
Mary b. 26 April 1695 m. Daniel Heard Cordwainer of Ipswich
John b. 18 March 1696/7 
Thomasin b. 7 May 1699 m. Joseph Abbe, Blacksmith of Ipswich
Margaret May 19, 1701 m. Samuel Stacey, Fuller of Ipswich 

death and remarriage
Sarah Fitts Baker died July 1, 1722 at the age of 6o.  William remarried less than a year later. He married widow Anne Ordway Buswell, widow on Feb. 21, 1722/3. He was then about 66 years old. He felt the need to write his will on 14 June 1731, but did not die until sometime in 1743.  His will was proved on 19 Sept. of that year.  In his will he named his widow Anne, Children William, John, Sarah, Mary, Thomasin, and Margaret. 

My Baker Family line with links:
William Baker and Sarah Fitts
William Baker and Elizabeth Heard
Benjamin Baker and Ruth True
Benjamin Baker and Sarah Norris
Katherine Baker and Samuel Thornton

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins 1620-1633
Hoyt, Old Familes of Salisbury and Amesbury
Peters, Peters of New England
Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society, Vol. 8-12, p. 11
Waters, Goodhue and Wise, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Lawrence Towner, A Good Master Well Served, Masters and Servants in Colonial Massachusetts. p. 217
Abraham Hammatt, Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, 1633-1700. 1880

Saturday, March 2, 2013

To DAR or not to DAR that is my question

American Revolution soldiers grave stone
American Revolution soldiers grave stone (Photo credit: freefotouk)
A few months ago, I decided that if I was going to go to all the trouble of documenting my ancestors, I should join the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. I am not familiar with what they do as an organization, just felt the need to be able to say, hey my ancestor was a soldier in the revolution.
I contacted my local DAR chapter and got the ball rolling.  The chapter genealogist went through my tree and identified quite a few Patriots already proven.  She thought that my Thornton ancestor would be the easiest to prove.  I debated that the Samuel Thornton in the DAR records was really my ancestor, because so  very little is known about the man.  She assured me that the DAR is almost always right. 
I finally agreed to get the required documents to prove my relationship to Samuel Thornton.  I have just about everything, I just need my grandfather's death certificate and I will be ready to submit my application.  On a whim I ordered all the supporting documents for the other members who have claimed Samuel as their patriot, thinking that they might have some information on him.  What a disappointment.
The first application was made in 1962.  There application list Samuel as the patriot.  No date of birth, not date of death, no wife, no nothing.  There were two records for land deeds but that was it.  The information on the next generation was a handwritten paper with names and dates but not a single piece of documentation. There is absolutely nothing which links the patriot to the next generation.  
So here I am spending a lot of money on birth and death certificates to try to prove that I am related to a man that I am not really sure I am related to.  I have already invested a lot of time in this project and part of me wants to just go ahead and do it, but on the other hand I feel ambivalent about making a claim I am not sure of.  What would you do?

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