Saturday, September 20, 2014

John Harvey and Sarah Barnes

John Harvey was born in Boston, MA on 5 Feb 1654.  He was the third child, and son, of William and Martha Copp Harvey, both of whom were born in England and immigrated to Massachusetts.  Sadly, William died when John was four years old. He and his three siblings would be raised by their mother and step-father, Henry Tewksbury, along side the children of Henry and Martha, of which there were eight.  

When John was eight years old the family left Boston to start a new life in Newbury, MA. Newbury was founded in 1635 and was about 38 miles to the north of Boston.  The family stayed in Newbury for about 7 or 8 years before moving once again, this time a much shorter distance, to Amesbury, MA. 

In 1675 John was 21 years old and living in Newbury.  What he was doing there we don't know.  He may have been an apprentice to someone there; later in life he would work as a carpenter, so it is not impossible that he may have done such an apprenticeship.  Anyway, in 1675 the Colonists fought a bloody war against the Indians which almost wiped them, the colonists, from the face of map. 

The militia leaders quickly realized that they did not have enough soldiers to fight the war.  Although some men did volunteer, many were forced to fight when colonial leaders, desperate for soldiers, turned to impressment. Each town was given a quota and the selectmen were tasked with choosing who went.  The constable would knock at your door and hand you a written order to report. Men were required to supply their own weapons and kit. According to  Kyle F. Zelner, author of the book "Rabble in Arms", the most likely candidates for impressment were young, single men whose families were not particularly wealthy or influential. It seems that John Harvey fit the bill perfectly. I would recommend Zelner's book to anyone interested in Colonial warfare and King Philip's War. 

John Harvey served under Maj. Samuel Appleton who was in charge of the Essex Militia.  On 19 Dec 1675 they found themselves in the midst of the Great Swamp Fight aka The Great Swamp Massacre. John was injured, but recovered. The colonist decided to attacked a large Indian fort located in a swamp which was frozen by the December cold, allowing them to ride into the swamp.  The Indians inside the fort were Narragansett, a tribe that had remained mostly neutral in the war. Surrounding the fort, the colonist attacked and killed over three hundred Indians, by some accounts 600, mostly women and children and the elderly. The Narragansett were no longer neutral. 

The war ended in 1676 and life slowly began to return to normal.  In 1677 John Harvey took the oath of allegiance in Amesbury.   His name is on an 1680 roster of the Amesbury Train Band, the local militia unit. He may have returned to the family home to live with Martha and Henry, single men were not allowed to live alone, so he had to live with someone.   Depending on how badly injured he was, he may have needed to be nursed back to health.

John Harvey did not marry until 1685 when he was 31 years old.  This was not all that unusual at a time when a man needed to be able to support a wife and children prior to marriage.  Although he was a carpenter and weaver, he still needed some land to farm to supply food for his family. When he did marry he chose a 34 year old widow with four small children as his wife.  Her name was Sarah Barnes Rowell, she was the daughter of William and Rachel Barnes and the widow of Thomas Rowell, son of Valentine and Joanna Pinder Rowell. It's interesting to note that we are related to both William Barnes and Valentine Rowell through siblings of Sarah and Thomas.

It struck me that John's step-father, Henry Tewksbury,  had also married a widow with small children, and that what both Martha Harvey and Sarah Rowell had in common was land from their husbands and very young children.  If Henry and John were not able to afford land on their own, was this their entree into land ownership.  The land would eventually pass to the father's children, but in the mean time, it came with a house and land to farm, and money earned could be used to purchase additional land for the future.  This is just my opinion.

Sarah Barnes was born in Amesbury on 7 April 1651 to William and Rachel Barnes.  When she was married in 1670, at the age of 19, to 26 year old Thomas Rowell.  They had four children between 1671 and 1682, two girls and two boys, the last one born in 1682.  Thomas died in September of 1684 at the relatively young age of 40. Thomas had quite a few parcels of land and his estate was valued at 275 pounds.
He wrote his will in May, but did not die until September, he must have suffered from some lingering illness. Two of his outstanding debts were to doctors who treated him, unsuccessfully I might add.

sarah's children
1. Mary Rowell b. 5 Feb 1670/01 Amesbury, m. Thomas Colby, d. 1735 Amesbury age 65
2. Valentine Rowell b. 5 Aug 1674 Amesbury, m. Hannah, d. 1 Feb 1726 age 52
3. Joanna Rowell b. abt. 1678, m. Titus Wells, d. 1717 Amesbury abt age 39
4. Philip Rowell b. abt. 1682, m. Sarah Davis
5. Dorothy Harvey b. abt 1686, m. Orlando Bagley, d. 2 Jan 1757 age 71
6. Judith Harvey b. 9 June 1688 Amesbury, m. Jacob Sargent, d. 1749 Chester, NH age 61
7. John Harvey b. 3 Dec 1690, m. Anne Davis, d 1740 Amesbury age 50
8. Joseph Harvey b. 1 Apr 1693, d. 1757 age 64

Sometimes we only find out tidbits about our ancestors by reading what they left behind when they died. The inventory of John Harvey's estate included books, carpenters tools, implements for husbandry and other household stuffs. His land holdings included a house, orchard, meadows in Amesbury, and salt meadow in Salisbury.  He also owned a lot of land at Bugsmore, which was somewhere in Amesbury.  His total estate was only worth 122 pounds. Sarah had inherited a 40 acre lot of land from her father but it was to go to her children.

At age 55, Sarah found herself a widow once again.  She would live a further 14 years, dying on 17 April 1720. Sarah was lucky, she only had to bury one child, a rare thing in her day, but all her children lived to adulthood, married and had families.

my ancestry
William Copp and Anne Rogers
Martha Copp and William Harvey
John Harvey and Sarah Barnes
Judith Harvey and Jacob Sargent
Tabitha Sargent and John Foss
David Foss and Anne Richardson
Anna Foss and Rueben Moore
Mary Moore and Samuel Duncan Rowell
Enoch Rowell and Viola Rowell
Jennie Clover Rowell and John Clark Thornton
my grandparents
my parents

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