Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nicholas and Sarah (Cox) Norris of Hampton and Exeter, New Hampshire

The English or otherwise origins of Nicholas Norris of Hampton and Exeter New Hampshire are unknown. One descendant claimed that there was a family tradition that he came from Ireland as a boy, but there is nothing to support this claim.[1] He was probably born around  1640 as he was married on 21 January 1664 to Sarah Cox of Hampton. His wife Sarah was born in Hampton, her parents were Moses and Alice Cox. The 1664 recording of the marriage is the first mention of Nicholas in the New Hampshire records. [2] Torrey says the marriage was in 1663. [3]

Nicholas as a tailor by trade. He most like did other work to make ends meet. His first house was between Abraham Perkins Sr. and Isaac Godfrey. It included 3 acres. He must have bought a second house in Hampton as he recorded the sale of it in 1671 after his removal to Exeter. This house was bought from Thomas Webster.

Prior to leaving Hampton, Sarah Cox Norris became a full member of the Hampton church on 5 April 1668. Although everyone went to church, no everyone was willing to go through the confessional process to become full members. Nicholas did not join his wife in the full membership of their church. [4]

 Nicholas was first recorded in Exeter on 30 August 1671. His property was mentioned in a town meeting in which they banned folks from stacking logs on the meeting house hill and then roll them down the hill to the river below. [5] His home must have  been nearby.

He received a land grant of 50 acres in 1681 and another 50 in 1682. In 1705 he was granted 20 more acres. His son Moses received 50. In 1725 Nicholas Norris Sr. received 30 acres. [6]

The New Hampshire towns were on the frontier. Trouble frequently flared between the town inhabitants and the Native Americans. In 1695 the town was tasked with manning its garrison. Each man had to spend approximately one month in defense of the town. Nicholas was no exception, his 'tour of duty' was from 31 August to 28 September 1696. [7] The last Indian raid occurred in 1723.

Sarah Norris, b. 20, 7, 1664, d. Feb 10, 1667
Sarah Norris, b. 10, 12, 1666, d. young
John Norris, b. 10, 5, 1667; no record; he probably d. when young
Moses Morris, b. Aug 14. 1670; m. Ruth Folsom; res. Exeter
Jonathan Norris, b. March 5, 1673; res. Stratham, N.H.
Abigail Norris, b. Nov 29, 1675; alive in 1714
Sarah Norris, b. April 10, 1678; m. Benjamin Hoag
James Norris, b. Nov 16, 1680, d. fate unknown, received a land grant in 1698 that was given to someone else in 1730, in a 1714 land deed, Moses was to give his brother James a share if "he returned." Was he taken by Indians?

Elizabeth Norris, b. Sept 4, 1683; no record

It is not known when Nicholas or Sarah died. We do know that Sarah died first as Nicholas remarried. His second wife was Mary Jones who outlived him. He seems to have outlived at least 5 of his children.

[1] Dow, Joseph, 1807-1889. History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement In 1638, to the Autumn of 1892 Vol 2. (Salem, Mass.: Printed by the Salem press publishing and printing co., 1893) 881.

[2] Noyes, Sybil. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine And New Hampshire. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1972) 513.

[3] Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.

[4] Noyes, Libbey, Davis, GDMNH, 513.

[5] Bell, Charles Henry, 1823-1893. History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990.

[6] Bell, Charles Henry, 1823-1893. History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990.

[7] Bell, Charles Henry, 1823-1893. History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990.

[8] Nicholas Norris Hampton NH genealogy on RootsWeb

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Moses and Alice Cox of England and Hampton, New Hampshire

Nothing is known of Mose Cox's early life so this post will focus on what is known about his life in New Hampshire. Moses was born about 1594 based on his age at death. His birthplace is unknown as is the year that he immigrated to New England. According to GDMNH he was in Ipswich and possible Watertown, Massachusetts for a brief time prior to arriving in Hampton. [1] His name is found in the notebook of Boston Lawyer Thomas Lechford. A woman named Margaret Stebbins of Waterford said that she bought some suet from Moses in 1639 while he was living in Ipswich. I'm not sure what the context of the case in which this was mentioned. [2] 

Moses, named as a cowkeeper

Moses was granted 7 acres of land for a house lot in 1640, making him one of the early settlers of Hampton.[3] He was not married at the time. His name was recorded by Edward Colcord on  his list of the "First-Comers" to Hampton. He is listed a young unmarried man with a lot. Although, if he were born around 1594 then he was 46, not exactly young. [4] He was given the job of herdsman at a January 1641 town meeting. In 1645 he was granted two shares of the cow common. [5] He was given various other land grants over the years.

civic duty
All New England men had to perform various duties in support of their town. Some did more than others. Moses held the minor post of cow keeper in his early days in Hampton. It was not until 1662, when he was almost seventy years old, did he hold on the position of Prudential Man. One of the men charged with the running of the town for the year. In 1679 he was on a list of men who could vote in the General Assembly. In 1681 he was officially freed from the duties of the train band. This was normally done around the age of 60 or so. Either Moses was an exceptionally fit man for his advanced age or he was not born as early as 1594.[6]

marriage and family
The date and circumstances of Moses' marriage are unknown to us. He probably have a limited pool of potential wives to choose from. Daughters, sisters and widow's of Hampton men were his most likely choice. The date of birth for most of his children are also unknown. We do know that his first wife's name was Alice. In 1649 Alice and Moses sat in the 'third seat' at the meetinghouse, each on their respected sex's side. As seating assignments were a virtual 'pecking order' of the inhabitants, the Cox family was not a top rung family.

The couple had at least five children. John is believed to have been the oldest. He was followed by three sisters and another brother, Moses who is known to have been born on 2 November 1649. [7]

more about alice
By more, I actually less. If you have seen on the web in places like Find A Grave and other genealogy site, that the parents of Alice are Humphrey and Susan Wise (Wythe) don't believe it. These claims are unsourced and there is no basis for them. It is possible that Moses met Alice in Ipswich, but there is no indication of who her parents were. [8]

the wreck of the rivermouth
On the 20th of October 1657 tragedy struck several Hampton Families; the Swains, Philbicks and  Coxes. A small ship left the Hampton harbor bound for Boston. The wreck was recorded in the Hampton records as follows:

The: 20th of the 8 mo 1657
The sad Hand of God upon Eight p[er]sons goeing in a small vessell by Sea from Hampton to boston Who wear all swallowed up i the ocian sone after they ware out of the Harbour the p[er]sons wear by name as Followeth 
Robert Read
Sargent: Will Swaine
Manewell: Hilyard
John: Philbrick
& Ann: Philbrick His wife
Sarah: Philbrick their daught
Alice the wife of moses Cocks:
and John Cocks their sonn:

who ware all Drowned the: 20th of the 8 mo: 1657"[9]

Alice and John drowned in the wreck. John was probably not more than 15 years old. Why they were going to Boston is unknown. On 15 June 1658, less than a year from the death of their spouses, Moses Cox married Prudence Marston Swaine, widow of William Swaine. She was close to forty years old and had eight children. The youngest, Elizabeth, was born after the death of her father. 

Moses and Prudence had one child together, a daughter named Leah, born 21 April 1661. [10]

John d. 1657
Mary b. abt. 1644 m. John Godfrey
Sarah m. Nicholas Norris
Rachael m. Thomas Rollins
Moses b. 2 November 1649, d. before 1682
Leah b. 21 April 1661 m. James Perkins

Moses died on 28 May 1687. If he was born in 1594 then he was ninety three years old at his death, a great age even by today's standards. I have to believe that he was not really this old, but that is just my opinion. At his death his daughters were living. His son Moses, Jr. was not named in the will, written in 1682. His wife Prudence may have been alive, but we do not know her date of death. 


[1] Noyes, Sybil I., Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis,Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1972) 167.

[2] Lechford, Thomas, approximately 1590-1644?. Note-book Kept by Thomas Lechford, Esq., Lawyer, In Boston, Massachusetts Bay, From June 27, 1638 to July 29, 1641. Cambridge: John Wilson and son, 1885.

[3] Hampton Towrn Records, Volume 7 page 10

[4] Noyes, Libby, Davis, GDMNH, 55.

[5]Dow, Joseph, History of the Town of Hampton, N.H. from its First Settlement in 1638 to the Autumn of 1892, (Salem, Mass.: Salem Press Publ. & Print, 1893).

[6]New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, Vol. XXXX

[7] Lane Memorial Library Rootsweb page for Moses Cox

[8] Clifford L. Stott, "The English Ancestry of Humphrey and Susan (Pakeham) Wythe of Ipswich, Massachusetts, The American Genealogist, (Oct. 1993) 116.

[10] Noyes, Libby, Davis, GDMNH, 167.

New Hampshire. Probate Court. Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire ... 1635-[1771]. Concord, N.H.: Rumford Printing Co., 19071941.

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 ...