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Holm, is both a Scandinavian and English name. It means a householder living at, or near a holly tree, or, on or near a hill. It is also the name of many English villages.The name may also mean a dweller on the small island or marshy place. Holmes is the most popular form of the name used in England.
George Holmes was born in Nazing, England in 1594. Nazing is a small parish in the town of Waltham, Essex County, sixteen miles north of London. It is situated on an elevation. The old town church is on a hill and is seen for miles a round; it is built of brick, stone and flint; it has an entrance on the side. It is still in use. At the west end, there is a square tower, embattled, containing five bells. It was built in 1535, and the records were begun in 1559 and are well kept.
On record at the church are the names of many Holmes family members. A William Holmes served as Vicar in 1513. In the year 1637, just before the arrival of George, several jurymen are mentioned in the court records of Nazing, George included, and many of those named became early settlers of Roxbury.
George came to the colonies in 1637 with his wife and two year old daughter Lydia. Deborah delivered a son Jospeh on the voyage. Six years before, the apostle Eliot left the same town and arrived in Roxbury on the Hopewell, his brother Philip followed in 1635. John Eliot was known as the "Apostle to the Indians" and wa s one of the few settlers to study the Massachusett languag e, or to take seriously the mission of converting the India ns. He translated the Bible into Massachusett, and spen t a great deal of effort trying to convert Philip, sachem o f the Massasoits, until the outbreak of King Philip's war i n 1675.
George was made freeman on May 22, 1639. He and his wife Deborah are mentioned in the Roxbury church as being members of Eliot's congregation.
Roxbury Land Records describe the holdings of George Holmes,as two hundred and fifty-two acres in eight different parcels including his dwelling house and barn. In 1640 the List of Inhabitants of Rocksberry stated that George was assessed £10 and was one of the ten wealthiest men of the community.
His homestead of five acres was North of the way to Dorchester Brook, next to the home of Thomas Pigg"s.
There is no record of his marriage to Deborah which took place in England about 1634. His daughter Lydia was born in Nazing, England. She was baptized on July 26,1635. Their first son Joseph was born in 1637 on the passage to America. Their second son Nathaniel was born in 1639. A child was born to them in 1642 and died soon after. John was born about 1643, Sarah in 1644 and another Deborah in 1645. Of his seven children only Lydia, Sarah and the three sons lived to adulthood.
George died in Roxbury on December 18,1645, eight years after his arrival in New England, leaving a wife with six small children to care for. John Elliot, his friend and advisor tells us in the church records that "George Holmes, a godly brother dyed of a feavr." He is buried in the Eliot Burying Ground, near his friend the Apostle Eliot.
His will was written in the original handwriting of Eliot, and he named his wife as "My loving wife, sole executress. I give to her my whole estate, to be improved for the education of my children, but none of my lands to be sould unless in case of necessity and by the advice of my overseers ."
He stipuated that when his wife died the land be divided equally between their children. It appears that his son Joseph was not a member of Eliot's church, and this trouble d George enough to mention in his will that "Yet if it please the Lord to convert my sonne Joseph in the meantime, so as he is in charity accepted among the saints, my will is that he shall have two parts and the rest but each of them one." He appointed his dearly beloved bretheren, Elder Heath, Brother Eliot, Brother Parks, Brother Ruggles and Brother Riggs as overseers and advisors to his wife. He also took care to mention that "there shall not be strip of waste made of timber and fire wood from my ground, only so much as may be for the necessary use of my family." George made his mark, and it was witnessed by John Eliot and John Scarebrow
His wife outlived him by seventeen years. Eliot's diary states that "Moneth 11 day 6th, 1662, Widdow Homes was buryed."
"Will of George Holmes. (Rocksbury.)
My loving wife sole executresse. I giue vnto her my whole e state, to be improved for the education my children, but no ne of my lands to be sould vnlesse in case of necessity & b y the advice of my overseers. After my wives decease, my ho uses & lands shall be equally divided amongst all my childr en; yet if it shall please the Lord to convert my sonne Jos eph in the meane time, so as yt he is in charity accepted a mong the saints, my will is yt he shall haue two parts, & t he rest but each of them one. And my request is to my Dearl y beloved brethren Elder Heath, brothr Eliot & brothr Park s our Deakens & my brothr Ruggles and Brother Riggs to be m y overseers to counsell & guide my wife in all her affaires . I gine full power to them to make the fore named divisio n of my lands in the most equal & peacable manner they can , & if any of my children will not rest in what they doe, m y will is yt child shall lose his part, & it shall be give n to such as my overseers see most fitt, & I intreate my de are wife to doe nothing of moment wthout the advice of thes e my overseers. Also my will is yt there shall not be stri p & wast made of timber and fire wood from my ground, onl y so much as may be for the necessary vse of my family.
witnesse John Eliot. mark of George + Holmes.
John Scarebrow. "
Mr. John Eliot deposed before the court, November 30, 1651 , that George Holmes was of a disposing mind the yeare 1646 or thereabouts.
Children of George and Deborah:
Lydia, born July 26, 1635, Nazing, England, married Daniel Elder, a Scotsman, died September 5, 1689, Dorchester, MA.
Joseph, born about 1637, married Elizabeth Clap, died 27 Oc t 1713, Boston, MA.Born on the voyage to New England
Nathaniel, born February 1, 1639, Roxbury, MA, married first Sarah Wiswall, second Patience Topliffe, died 1712, Roxbury.
Deborah, born January 31, 1641, Roxbury, died March 3, 1641.
Infant, died October 28, 1642.
John, born about 1643, Roxbury, married Sarah, died May 17, 1676.
Sarah, born about 1644, Roxbury.
Deborah, born about 1645, Roxbury, died September 29, 1646.
Deborah, wife of George faced many hardships in her life. She undertook the long voyage to New England while pregnant with her second child. He was born onboard ship. The colonists faced many dangers and hardships during their first years in New England. Her little daughter Deborah died at the age of three months. Eight years later, her husband died, leaving her with seven young children, the oldest 10, and the youngest under one year of age. The following year her infant daughter Deborah, the second of that name also died.
Deborah lived to the age of 67.
Nazing, a rural village in Essex County, England, the home of many of the fathers of Roxbury, around which clustered the affections and remembrances of their youth, comprises the northwest corner of Waltham Half-hundred. It is on the river Lee, and is twenty miles east from London. Its gable-fronted cottages, with low, thatched roofs and overhanging eaves, show that this quiet little village has undergone slight changes during the past three hundred years. The manor was given by Harold II to Waltham Abbey.
Its old parish church may be regarded as the parent of the First Church of Roxbury. It is situated on the side
of a hill overlooking parts of Hertfordshire and Middlesex , bounded on the west by the river Lee, and on the east and south by Waltham Abbey and Epping. Its parish records contain the familiar names of Eliot, Ruggles, Curtis, Heath, Payson, Peacock, Graves, and others, who, between the year s 1631 and 1640, left their beloved homes and, for conscience' sake, braved the dangers of a long ocean voyage in the frail vessels of that period that they might aid in establishing a Christian commonwealth in the wilderness.
Under the lead of Pynchon, the first-comers to Roxbury settled chiefly in the easterly part of the town, next to Boston. From the town street, now called Roxbury Street, they gradually extended themslves in various directions towards the neighboring towns, notwithstanding the enactment of 1635 , designed as a protection against the Indians, that no person should live beyond half a mile from the meeting-house . Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury were settled later. The first mention of the town occurs in the records of the third Court of Assistants, held Sept. 28, 1630, as one of the plantations on which a part of the general tax of £50 was levied, and that day has therefore been fixed upon as the official date of its settlement. Roxbury was the sixth town in corporated in Massachusetts.
In the year 1631 the ship "Lyon," William Pierce, master, left the shores of England with the first batch of Nazing pilgrims on board. Eliot, the apostle, was there, with William Curtis and Sarah, his wife, Eliot's sister and their children, in company with the wife of Governor Winthrop. They were ten weeks on the water. In the summer of 1632 she once more left the Thames for Boston, having among her passengers William Heath, with his wife and children, and several other Nazing worthies. Isaac, his elder brother, did not quit Nazing until 1635. Early in 1633, John Graves, wit h his wife and five children, left their home for the shores of New England, and in 1635 they were followed by a large number of Nazing Christians who came over in the "Hopewell." Others came later, but emigration from Old to New England ceased about 1640, when the popular cause there began to look hopeful.
The first year was one of great toil and privation. Fuel was scarce, and the cold intense. Few settlers arrived in the following year, the undertaking was so hazardous, and the accounts brought by the large number of returning emigrants were so discouraging. In 1632 many came, and early in 1635 a great movement in England among the friends of religious liberty sent three thousand persons to New England. After 1633, a season of abundance ensued, and emigrants steadily poured in. One of the earlier colonists wrote that "bread was so very scarce that sometimes I thought the very crumbs of my father's table would be sweet unto me, and when I could have meal and water and salt boiled together, it was so good who could wish better?" "It would have been a strange thing," said another, "to see a piece of roast beef or mutton or veal."
William Pynchon, "a gentlemen of learning and religion," and one of the assistants or magistrates who came over with Winthrop, was, says Prince, the annalist, "the principal founder of the town of Rocksbury, and the first member who joins in forming the Congregational church there." In 1636 he led a party from Roxbury, among whom were Henry Smith, his son-in-law, and Jehu Burr, to the Connecticut,
1640. Great scarcity of money. The General Court order that corn pass in payment for new debts.
1643. The five New England colonies confederate for mutual defence.
1645, Dec. "The first week in the 10th month. This was the most mortal week that ever Roxbury saw, to have five dy in one week and many more lay sick about the town."
1646. "This year, about the end of the 5th month, upon a suddaine, unnumerable armys of caterpillars filled the country, devouring the grasse, oats, corn, wheat and barley. They would crosse highways by thousands. Much prayer was made to God about it and fasting in divers places, and the Lord heart and on a suddaine took them all away in all parts of the country, to the wonderment of all men. It was the Lord for it was done suddainely." Danforth says, "they marched thorow our fields like armed men, and spoyled much corn."
1646-7. "The winter was one of the mildest that ever we had , no snow all winter long, nor sharp weather, but they had long floods at Connecticut which was much spoyle to ye corne in the meadows. We never had a bad day to goe preach to the Indians all this winter praised be the Lord."
1647. "A great sicknesse epidemical did the Lord lay upon us, that the greatest part of the town was sick at once. Fe w died, but of these were the choycest flowers and most gra cious saints." The epidemic prevailed throughout New England, probably from the absence of frost in the previous winter.
1657. A synod held to ascertain who were proper subjects of baptism.
1660, Feb. 1. "About 7 o clock there was an earthquake. At Roxbury the shaking was most discernible."
1661, May 28. "Judah Browne, and Peter Pierson Quakers, tied to a carts tail and whipt through the town with 10 stripes after receiving 20 at Boston, and again 10 stripes at Dedham."
1662, June 10. A synod at Boston. "It pleased Got this spring to exercise the country with a severe drought, but some were so rash as to impute it to the sitting of the Synod."
1663, Jan. 26. An earthquake occurred.
1664. "A great and dreadful comet seen in New England."
1667, March 25. "Samuel Ruggles, going up the meeting hill , was struck by lightning, his two oxen and horse killed , a chest in the cart, with goods in it, burnt in sundry places, himself coming off the cart, carried twenty feet from it, yet no abiding hurt."
1667, 11mo. 4th day. "There were strange noises in the air like guns, drums, vollies of great shotte &c."
1667, 12 mo. 29th. "Appeared a comet or blazing stream which extended to a small star in the river Eridamus, but the star was hid by reason of its proximity to the sun."
1668, 3rd mo. 16th. The shock of an earthquake felt. Prodigies were seen in the heavens the night before the Lord's day.
1670, Oct. "An Indian was hanged for killing his wife lodging at an Englishman's house in Roxbury. He threw her out of a chamber window and brake her neck."
1675. "This winter past," says Eliot, "John Sassamon was murdered by wicked Indians. He was a man of eminent parts and wit. He was of late years converted, joined to the church at Natick, baptised, and sent by the church to Assawamsic in Plymouth Patent to preach the gospel. Soon after the war with the Indians brake forth the history whereof I cannot, I may not, relate. The profane Indians prove a sharp rod to the English, and the English prove a sharp rod to the Praying Indians."
1685. Contributions taken up in the church for George Bowen, of Roxbury, "a captive with the Turks."
Joseph Holmes and Elizabeth Clapp
Joseph Holmes was born on the voyage from England to New England. His parents were George and Deborah Holmes from Nazing, England.
Joseph grew up in the new village of Roxbury. His father was one of the founders of the town and a follower of the Apostle Eliot.
It is not clear if Joseph was a member of the Puritan church under Eliot. His father mentions in his will of 1651 that if Joseph should join the church, he would inherit a double portion. It seems the elder Holmes very much
desired the conversion of his son.
In 1660, Joseph married Elizabeth Clapp, daughter of Captain Roger Clapp and Joanna (Ford) Clapp. It was said at her funeral that she was a "virtuous and prudent woman. " They settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts. All of their eight children were born there.
The whole of page 195, Dorchester Town Records concerns the settlement between the town and Joseph Homes of £ 8.0.2 shillings.
In 1674, £27 were paid to the Castle Soldiers engaged in 1671 and 1673 establishing town boundaries of Dorchester, "Melton, "Braintry," and Dedham, etc.. Each received 6 shilling for each boundary. Joseph Holmes served in the KPW from Dorchester, MA
The children of Nathaniel Glover of Dorchester retained the services of Joseph Homes when they became of age. The estate of their father was then settled on April 28, 1674 . Joseph and two others were "empowered to divide the said Glovers estate. Some of this was "Salt Marsh over against or between the Glovers Newbury Farm and Squantum Neck to be equally divided between them.
"This property is located in the confines of what is now Atlantic Ward 6 of Quincy-and part of it has remained in the hands of the Glover family ever since.
Joseph subscribed to the purchase of a bell for the First Church in Dorchester on December 15,1675.
It was about this time that he began his service in the war with King Philip.
Joseph served in King Philip's War. He was in camp at Punkapoag on April 24, 1676. He was in Springfield, on June 24, 1676. In Springfield he was paid £10. 7 shilling 4d .
He removed to Boston about 1679, perhaps earlier. There is no record of his vocation or trade. He served as constable for many years, and his name appears on many documents as a witness and on some as "attorney". He seemed to be occupied running boundaries, settling estates, making deeds , etc.
In 1679, Jane Bates mentions Samuel Clapp and Joseph Homes as her "loveing and trusty friends." Several houses in Hingham belonging to the Bates estate were bought by Captain John Thaxter, the father of Sarah Thaxter, who later became the wife of Nathaniel Holmes.
William Pickering, near "fort hill", Boston, MA. [Suffolk Deeds]
Joseph was involved in many lawsuits, mostly regarding boundaries of land and the ownership of real estate, whether for himself or others cannot be said. The suits were filed in his name. He lost a case against Ann Sheffield, where he was deeded a house and land by one Perry without the consent or signature of Perry's wife. Several other lawsuits were entered in his name. [See Records of the Court o f Assistants, Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and Province Laws]
In 1682, on May 4, [Boston Town Records] " at a meeting of ye Selectmen of this town it was ordered to grant a warrant to one of the constables of this town to leavie upon the estate of Joseph Homes ye sume of 20 shillings for letinge a house to and thereby entertaining of Philip Gosse in this towne who is an inhabitant of Roxbury".
It is interesting to note that about this time there was a law in force that inhabitants from other towns could not move into Boston without first being voted upon by the town selectmen, as well as being vouched for by some one stating that they would not become public charges. Some very peculiar cases are on record regarding this ordinance, seeming at times almost inhumane. For thirty years or more this decree was in effect and strictly enforced. In adjoining smaller towns these "warnings" were only given to prevent the person warned from gaining residence, and they were rarely forced to depart. As stated above, the rules were rigidly enforced in Boston.
On July 17, 1688, Joseph joined the Old South Church . Elizabeth was made a member on March 8, 1690.
Joseph took the oath of freeman on May 15, 1690. He and his son Joseph are listed as inhabitants of Boston 1695.
In 1696, a petition concerning the repeal of a law having to do with brick building was circulated and Joseph and his brother Nathaniel, a bricklayer, were signers.
Sometime between 1695 and 1698 a New Grant of Land was laid out. It came to be known as the Dorchester South Precinct, and subsequently, Stoughton. Joseph was assigned forty four acres and his lot was # 59. He later sold this land to Thomas Vose of Milton.
On December 25, 1711, Elizabeth died in Boston at age 73. She was buried in the King's Chapel Burying Ground in the northeast corner next to her parents, Captain Roger Clap and his wife Joanna. (When the present City Hall was built, the graves were moved to their present position.)
Joseph died in Boston on October 27,1713. Judge Sewall wrote in his diary under that date, "This day Joseph Homes, father of Capt. Nathaniel Homes, is buried with a very thin funeral."
Despite the fact that Joseph witnessed many wills in his career, he died intestate. For some reason, administrati on of his estate was not granted until August 11,1716. His son Jonathan was named administrator. On October 27, 1716 , three years after the death of Joseph, his son reported that "one acre of Salt Marsh" comprised the whole estate "left by his Said Father." "He can find nothing more to make an Inventory of." [Suffolk Co. Probate]
Elizabeth was the daughter of Captain Roger Clapp and Joanna Ford Clapp. Elizabeth married Joseph Holmes about 1660. She was the mother of eight children.
It was said " She was a virtuous and prudent woman." Elizabeth became a member of the Old South Church On March 8, 1690 after being dismissed from the Dorchester Church. Her husband Joseph joined the Old South Church on July 17, 1688 , two years before his wife.
Life was not easy for Elizabeth. Her husband began service during the Indian Wars of 1675, and was so engaged for one year and a half. She was left to care for her five living children, while awaiting the birth of her last child in 1676
Elizabeth died in Boston at the age of 73 and was buried near her parents in King's Chapel Burying Ground
in the north east corner of the churchyard.
Captain Richard Wright
Richard Wright traces his ancestry back to John Wright of Kelvedon Hall, Kelvedon, Essex County, England. He was born there about the year 1596. He was the son of the Rev. Richard Wright, a fellow of Eton College, and the Rector of Everdon, North Hampton, England, 1613-1638. In his will dated April 1,1633, Rev. Richard left a house and land in Wargrave (near the Thames River, 45 miles south of Everdon, Berks County) to his wife Frances for life and after her death, to his son Richard, "if he be in England". His other children were Frances, Theodore, John, Samuel, Nathaniel and Anthony. Rev. Richard Wright was buried in Everdon on June 16, 1638. Everdon, in North Hampton County is twenty miles fro m Warwick County and near Lemington Priors, the place Rich ard Wright of Rehoboth visited on his return trip to Englan d in 1646/47.
It is also near the town where his friend Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth was born.
Richard Wright was in the employ of Col. Humphrey in 1629 when the Colonel was chosen Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, but as he decided to remain in England, Thomas Dudley was elected to fill his place. Richard was a gentleman farmer and estate steward.
Richard sailed to America from Ratcliff, Stepney, England on the first ship to Boston, the Arabella in 1630. Stepney is near London. He came to the colony with Margaret, his wife and his four daughters. He proceeded to take up the lands at Saugus (Lynn) which were given to Col. Humphrey, and he developed them into a "plaine farme", erecting houses and buildings, and in general, preparing them for the arrival of the Colonel.
In 1630, he was appointed Captain of the Saugus Militia. He was admitted to the Boston Church as member No. 89 in late 1630.
By 1632, he held the office of Deputy from Lynn to the General Court.
On May 3, 1631, at the Court of Assistants in Boston, "it is ordered that John Legge, servant to Mr. Humphrey , shall be severely whipped this day at Boston, and afterwards soe soone as conveniently may be, att. Salem, for striking Richard Wright, when hee came to gieve him correccon for idleness in his maistrs worke". [Massachusetts Bay Colony Records, May 9, 1631]
Richard Wright was appointed to a committee consisting of two men from each of the eight towns, to erect a public stock.
There is an interesting story told in the town records on June 14, 1632:
"one Abraham Shurd of Pemaquid, and one Capt. Wright and others comming to Pascataquack, being bound for this ba in a shallop with 200 pounds worth of commodities, one o f the seaman, going to light a pipe of tobacco, set fire on a barrel of powder, which tare the boat to pieces. That man was never seen; the
rest were all saved, but the goods lost. The man that was blown away with the powder in the boat at Piscataquack, was afterwards found with his hands and feet tore off. This fellow, being wished by another to fo rebear to take any tobacco till they came to the shore, which was hard by, answered, that if the devil would carry him away quick, he would take one pipe. Some in the boat were so drunk and fast asleep as they did not wake with the noise."[Winthrop's History of New England]
Richard was made a freeman in Boston on May 14, 1634 . Colonel Humphrey arrived and established himself at Saugus. For a short time, Richard and his family remained on the farm there. By 1636 he was in Boston, then in 1639 he was in Braintree, and by 1643 he was one of the founding fathers of Rehoboth and one of the first selectmen.
In 1639, he purchased 600 acres of land at Mount Wollaston and operated a water mill there, for which he was granted a monopoly. Richard was the richest man in town at that time with an estate valued at £ 834. He also built and operated a mill there which was eventually taken over by his son-in-law William Sabin. After the United Colonies eventually decided that the town of Rehoboth was to come under the jurisdiction of Plymouth Colony, Richard moved from the town around early 1646 because of his disagreements with the Plymouth people. Later that year, he returned to England for a short time and settled after that in Boston.
Although much credit is given to the Rev. Samuel Newman, it appears that Richard Wright was the most important man and leader in the new settlement at Seacunke.
Rev. Newman, at that time was revising a book he had written a few years earlier. He was a very serious scholar , and very much involved in this huge project. His new edition was titled Concordance of the Bible, and he finished the revision after moving into the wilderness of Seacunke. He would have had very little time for town affairs while working on his book. In fact, in 1648, Richard returned to England for a short visit. He may have carried the manuscript with him, as there is no record of any one else from the settlement who made the return trip to England.
Credit for the settlement should be given to four men in particular. Richard Wright of Braintree, William Cheeseborough, Walter Palmer and Alexander Winchester. Of these, Richard was the dominant man.
While Richard was in England, the operation of his cornmill was put in the hands of his son-in-law, William Sabin . In later years, William purchased the mill.
In 1643, Richard and his three sons-in-law and their families were settled in at the new plantation at Seacunke. He had a twelve acre home lot in the northwest end of the "ring of the town." It was located on the north side of the present Hoyt Ave. near the Wannamoisett Golf Clubhouse in Rumford, RI. His three sons-in-law had eight acre home lots. Richard's adjoined that of Robert Sharpe's on the east; William Sabin's on the west; and James Clark's adjoined the Sabin's lot.
Richard and his first wife had at least four children.
Their first daughter's name is not known. It is thought to have been Mary. She was born about 1620 in England. This daughter was our ancestor, and she became the wife of William Sabin. They married in 1639 and had twelve children . She died about 1661.
Their second daughter, Elizabeth Wright married Robert Millard in 1647. Her second husband was Samuel Hayward.
Elinor, the third daughter was born about 1621 in Englnd. She came with her parents in 1630, and married James Clark. She died after 1701.
Abigail was born in England about 1623. She married Robert Sharpe. She was his second wife. He died in 1653 and she then married Thomas Clapp about 1657. They had two children. When Thomas died, she married Capt. William Holbrook and they had five children.
Richard moved to Twelve Mile Island on the Connecticut River and later to Podunk (now East Hartford, Connecticut) where he died in 1644.
Margaret ( ) Wright
Margaret Wright was born in England about 1596. She emigrated to Boston with her husband Richard and her four step-daughters on the ship "Arabella", the first ship in the Winthrop Fleet.
She was admitted to the Boston Church as member 99 by the end of 1630.
Margaret died in Boston about 1643.
John was born about 1588, England; d. Sep. 30, 1659, Roxbury, MA. The Johnson ancestry is not known. John's will, dated Sep. 30, 1659 (the day he died) and proved Oct. 15, 1659 names son Isaac as co-executor. Arrived in New England with the Winthrop fleet at Salem, Jun. 22, 1630. He settled at Roxbury, MA and was made Freeman on May 18, 1631. Subsequently served town and colony in many capacities, including Constable (first on Oct. 19, 1630), Surveyor General, Town Clerk, Deputy to the House of Deputies, and Clerk of the Military Company of Massachusetts. The position as Surveyor General of Arms and Ammunitions of the Colonies made Capt. Johnson responsible for the acquisition, maintenance and distribution of the primary means of protection. Gov. John Winthrop wrote in his Journal under the date of Feb. 6, 1645:
John Johnson, the Surveyor General of Arms and Ammunition, a very industrious and faithful man in his place, having built a fair house in the midst of the town, with divers barns and outhouses, it fell on fire in the day time, no man knowing by what occasion, and there being in it seventeen barrels of the country's powder, and many arms, all was suddenly burnt and blown up, to the value of four or five hundred pounds, wherein a special providence of God appeared, for, he, being from home, the people came together to help and many were in the house, no man thinking of the powder till one of the company put them in mind of it, whereupon they all withdrew, and soon after the powder took fire and blew up all about it, and shook the houses in Boston and Cambridge, so that men thought it had been an earthquake, and carried great pieces of timber a great way off, and some rags and such light things beyond Boston meeting house, there being then a stiff gale south, it drove the fire from the other houses in the town (for this was the most northerly) otherwise it had endangered the greatest part of the town.
John was one of the founders of the town and church at Roxbury, MA and, together with his sons Isaac and Humphrey, was an original donor to the Free School in Roxbury. Married first 21 Sep 1613, Ware, Hertfordshire, England, second by 1633 Margery (b. England; bur. 9 Jun 1655, Roxbury, MA), and third 1655 or later Grace Negus (d. Dec. 19, 1671), widow of Barnabas Fawer, and sister of Jonathan and Benjamin Negus
Will of John Johnson - September 30, 1659
The last will and Testament of John Johnson of Roxbury, this 30th of the 7th, '59, having my perfect memory and understanding by the blessing of my mercyfull Father, whose reconciled face in Jesus Christ my soule waitesth to behold. I dispose of my worldly goods and estate as followeth. My dwelling house and certaine lands I have allready given to my beloved wife during the term of her natural live, according to a deed wh is extant wh deede my will is shall be fulfilled, wherein also I have given her 60 pounds for her household furniture, wh house and lands after my wifes decease I give unto my 5 children to be equally divided, my eldest sonne having a double portion therein, according to the word of God. I give unto my two grandchildren who have lived with me Elizabeth Johnson and Mehitable Johnson, each of them 5 Lbs this to be paide within one yeare after my decease. I have formerly given to my sonnes Isaac Johnson and Robert Pepper a parcel of lands of 55 acres in the third division of the towns which I do hereby confirme. All the rest of my lands debts and moveable goods, my debts and funeral charges being first discharged I doe give unto my five children to be equally divided, my eldest sonne haveing a double portion. Also I make my sonns Isaak Johnson and Robert Pepper my executors of this my last will and Testament, and I request my deare brethren Elder Heath, and Deakon Parke, to be overseers of this my will and Testament, and in token of my love I give you each 10 pounds. If my children should disagree in any thing, I dow order them to choose one man more, to these my overseers, and stand to theire determination. the mark of J. J. John Johnson Witness John Eliot
Mary Heath was christened on March 24, 1593/94 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England. She was the daughter of William Heath and Agnes Cheney and the sister of William Heath and Isaac Heath of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Mary married John Johnson on September 21, 1613 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England. She and John had ten children, five girls and five boys, all born between 1614 and 1628. Mary died in Ware on May 15, 1629, one year before her husband and some of her children emigrated to New England.
William Ward was an early settler of Sudbury, MA. He was born in 1603 in the area of England known as East Anglia. William married Elizabeth Phillipus, daughter of Richard Phillipus on March 4, 1626 in St. James Church, Clerkenwell, England. She was the mother of his first three children, John, Joanna and Obidiah. Elizabeth died in London on May 11, 1632 at an early age. William soon remarried. The name of his second wife is not known, although it is thought to be Elizabeth Storey.
William was a leather seller. William emigrated to Sudbury between 12 July 1638 and 22 Jan 1640. Shipping records have not been found. The family, now with six young children, sailed for New England with the Winthrop Fleet where they first came to Watertown, MA. In 1640, he was granted land in an undeveloped frontier area of Plymouth Colony. Several Watertown families formed a group ready to begin a new settlement. They called the new town Sudbury.
These people were from diverse areas of England. In the seventeenth century, many methods of farming were practiced. Some villages were farmed by small landholders, while in other areas, rich and powerful landlords, such as Barons and Earls hired men to plant their crops and tend their livestock. The rich ruled, and the average farmer had no chance to ever rise above his lower class position. He had no power to change his situation. The men who gathered together to form Sudbury had a different idea. There would be no more controlling hierarchy. Bold leaders, men like Peter Noyes, Edmund Rice, Walter Haines and William Ward organized a town where “we shall be judged by men of our choosing.”
Lands were divided fairly, town leaders were voted into office. This was to be a town of freemen, equal men. The newly elected town selectmen, including William Ward, did not bolster themselves with citations or Elizabethan laws and English customs. Once the General Court of Plymouth Colony made the initial town grant, the selectmen became the source of power in their area, subject only to the approval of the townsmen.
The land of the new town of Sudbury was divided in the winter of 1639/40. A committee assigned economic status to each one of the male inhabitants. Fifty candidates were examined for citizenship, each ranked, and the decision was to be fixed and final. Their minister, Rev. Edmund Brown ,was to be first. Tenth on the list was William Ward. His homelot was on what is now called Moore Rd. Some land was set aside for new inhabitants who in the future would render service to the town. William became a freeman on May 10, 1643.
In 1644, William Ward was one of seven “to dispense of town affairs for one year.” These selectmen had the obligation to grant plots of land, thus the government was in the hands of it's own townsmen. William Ward held the office of Judge from 1641-1648.
In Sudbury, each freeman knew he could dissent and would be heard. This was indeed New England, and an exercise in strong idealism. The experiment had it's ups and downs. These selectmen with deep faith in God and concern for each town inhabitant would continue to serve through the first generation.
The initial land grants were for the original settlers. As the years passed, young sons grew to manhood, and yearned for lands of their own. The townsfolk could not agree on how this division would take place. A great deal of dissension arose. William Ward had grown sons. He and several other leading town citizens applied to the General Court for rights to a new township.
“God hath been pleased to increase our children, which are grown to man's estate”, and the “fathers should be glad to see them settled before the Lord take us away from here.”
The implication here was that it was impossible to settle them in Sudbury.
“God having given us some considerable cattle so that we are so straightened that we cannot so comfortably subsist as could be desired.”
Their request was granted and thirty eight Sudbury inhabitants, half of which were sons of the town , were granted lands in the new town of Marlborough MA. They drew lots for their acreage. The young men were ready to farm on their own, to carve their own space in the “west”, and thus, even Sudbury had to change. This was in 1657. The five men elected as Marlborough selectmen were John Ruddock, Edmund Rice, Thomas King, John How, Sr. and William Ward. Many of those granted lands did not build new homes. They remained in Sudbury, but farmed their new grants, and grazed their livestock in Marlborough. Some did decide to move and build there.
William Ward served Sudbury as a selectman for eleven years. He was Deputy to the General Court for one year, fence viewer for three years, Justice of Small Claims for two years, invoice taker for two years, timber keeper, one year, and swine warden for one year. In all, he held twenty one posts in Sudbury. He owned twenty five acres in Sudbury meadow, twenty in Sudbury upland, and in 1655, he was granted additional land in Marlborough. His original two mile grant was between the property of Joseph Harris and R. Davis.
The John E. Hayes house off of Hayden Street in Marlborough was erected by him in 1660.
William and his second wife had ten children. In all, William was the patriarch of a family of thirteen children, who all reached adulthood and married.
He was in the garrison at Marlborough during the war with the Indians in 1675.
He died there on August 16, 1687 at the age of eighty four. Elizabeth died on December 9, 1700 at the age of eighty seven. They are buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Sudbury, MA
William Sabin was born 11 Oct 1609 in Tichfield, Hampshire, England when his mother was about 18 years old and died February 9,1687 in Rehoboth, MA at age 77 years 10 months and 5 days. He was the son of Richard Sabin and Mary Bushe.
His first wife was Mary Wright, the daughter of Richard Wright and Margaret. They married about 1639 in England.
William Sabin came to New England sometime before 1642 when he was recorded as being present at the organization of the town of Rehoboth. It has been suggested that he may have come on the ship Brevis in 1638 when a group of Titchfield people sailed from England. He was in Rehoboth by 1643 when his estate was valued for taxes at a modest amount of 53¼ (Bliss p. 26). At town meeting in 1646, he was given permission by the town to set up fish weirs in the Pawtucket River to catch alewives under the condition that they do not prevent fishing by either the English or the Indians, that they sell their alewives at 2s per thousand, other fish at reasonable rates and that they do not hinder boat traffic on the river (Bliss p. 39). William served as a deputy to the General Court in Boston.
By 1648, he was the operator of a mill that was built by his father-in-law Richard Wright. Later in life he was reputed to be a man of some wealth and culture who donated freely to the victims of the Indian wars. He was the constable in Rehoboth in 1656 and he was chosen to be a deputy a Deputy to the Court at Plymouth in the years 1657, 1659- 61 and 1670-1. He was the foreman of a jury that brought in a verdict of guilty against three Indians for the killing of John Sassamon in 1675. The subsequent hangings of the Indians was the event that precipitated the commencement of King Phillip's War and the massacre of the English at Swansea in June of 1675.
His mill at Rehoboth was burned in the hostilities of the war on March 28, 1676 and his son Nehemiah Sabin was killed by Indians in June of 1676 (Bliss p. 103). Son Samuel is also listed among the soldiers who fought in this war (Bliss p. 107). He advanced the town the sum of 15¼ 5s 8d to help prosecute the war. (Bliss p. 117).
He fathered a total of twenty children by two wives and lived to be 78 years of age.
Interestingly, William and Mary Sabin were ancestors of two U.S. presidents, Millard Fillmore and George Bush through their daughter Elizabeth Sabin Millard.
They had the following children:
i. Samuel (1640-1699)
ii. Elizabeth (m. Robert Millard) (1642-1718)
iii. Joseph (1645-1690)
iv. Benjamin (1646-1725)
v. Nehemiah (1647-1676)
vi. Experience (1648-1728)
vii. Mary (Mercy) (1652-1675)
viii. Abigail (1653-1721)
ix. Hannah (1654-1730)
x. Patience (1656-1711)
xi. Jeremiah (1658- )
xii. Sarah (1660- )
His second wife was Martha Allen, the daughter of James and Alma (Anna) ______.They married on December 22, 1663 in Medfield, MA.
Notes: The articles presented in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR), Vol 36 page 52 and page 324, Vol 37 pages 37 and 311, Vol 99 page 238, Vol 101 page 264, provide an excellent discussion of the possible origins of the Sabin surname and the probable origins of the Sabin family in England. The later articles provide evidence that the surname Sabin is not of Huguenot origin as proposed by the earlier articles.
Martha Allen has a twin sister, Mary, and they were born 11 Dec 1641 in Medfield, the dau. of James and Anna Allen. William Sabin made his will 4 Jun 1685 and it was probated in Boston, 17 Jul 1687, where the original will is on file. In it are mentioned 16 of his 20 children. "Sabin Family In America," by Rev. Anson Titus Jr. (1882), NEHGR, Vol 36, p. 52. In the original Rehoboth Records the months for the births of William Sabin's children are all given in figures. In converting these to months, Mr. Titus unfortunately counted from January, instead of March, with the result that the months given in his genealogy are three months early. For correct dates see NEHGR, Vol 99, p. 241. The correct months are recorded in this family history.
The Wiswall Family descends from Saxon stock in the area of Lancashire, England.Twin brothers, John and Thomas were the only Wiswall heads of family to come to America. John and Thomas were christened on September 20, 1601 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. . John came first on July 24, 1633, early in the second wave of emigration from England. He settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts.Thomas, our ancestor, remained behind with his young wife Elizabeth who was pregnant. After the birth of their first child Enoch, Thomas and his young family sailed with the Rev. Richard Mather and Co. to New England on the "James". The ship embarked at Dorchester on August 26,1635. For a short time, Thomas and his wife Elizabeth,the former Elizabeth Berbage, who was born in England in 1604, lived with John. The brothers worked together to establish homesteads. John returned to England where he married Margaret, and soon he brought his new bride to Dorchester.John and Margaret had eleven children, including three sons. Benjamin died shortly after he was married, leaving no children. Son John had two sons, but there is no record of either having married. Son Henry died as an infant. No son left children to carry on the name. All Wiswalls in America descend from Thomas and Elizabeth.
On January 12,1637, Thomas was granted two acres near Fox Point, on which they built a home. By March 28, 1637 he owned five acres of land. Thomas subscribed to the School Fund in 1641. He served as a fenceviewer, and was chosen as a Selectman on September 24,1644 along with six other citizens until November 1, 1645.Thomas also served in the capacity of surveyor and tax rater. He purchased more land in Dorchester on March 17,1645, October 20,1646 and on October 7,1650. On February 25,1652, Thomas was made a freeman. Sometime in 1653, he moved to Cambridge, MA, but retained his membership in the Dorchester Church until June 5,1664. Thomas and Elizabeth were released (dismissed) from the Dorchester Church on that date to help form a new church under Pastor John Elliot, the "Apostle to the Indians, " at "Nonametown", now know or East Cambridge Village. He was appointed Ruling Elder of the new church. On February 8 ,1668, Thomas and John Jackson were appointed by the
Selectmen to catechize the youth at the new church. He was ordained the first ruling Elder of the Church of Newton on July 20,1664.Thomas was fined five shillings for failure to appear for jury duty. He appealed the fine, and on April 1, 1656, the Court at Cambridge reversed it's decision . He served on the Grand Jury in Cambridge in 1656 and in 1663.
On November 10, 1656, Thomas was appointed Surveyor of Highways at Cambridge. This area later became the City of Newton, of which he was one of the founders. Up until then, the Indians had called in "Nonametown". In 1656, along with John Jackson, he signed a petition which was sent to the General Court on behalf of the inhabitants of Cambridge village requesting a release from support of the ministry at Cambridge. He removed to Cambridge village in 1654. Thomas and Elizabeth made the following conveyance in May of 1657: "This writing witnesseth that I, Thomas Wiswall, of Cambridge, do promise in case of my son Enoch's marriage, that I will give him my aforesaid son Enoch, all my lands and houses in Dorchester, both unto him and his heirs forever, viz : the house that formerly belonged to Mr. Maverick, and the land properly pertaining thereunto: the land once belonging to Richard Williams, yea, all my land in Dorchester, more or less whether already enclosed or not and all my marsh thereunto belonging justly to me, the above said Thomas Wiswall.
Capt. Roger Clapp
Roger Clapp's Memoirs
Christopher Smith was a relatively late arrival to Providence, residing there by 1649. He would have been one of the wealthier man of the town since he paid one of the highest taxes of all the citizens of Providence. He was well thought of by his peers and served in small ways as juror and as constable for one term. He served as Sgt. and Deputy to the General Court of Massachusetts in 1655. He went to Newport at the time of King Phillip's War when so many other Providence people took refuge there. While he was at Newport in 1676, his house in Providence was burned by the Indians. He died shortly thereafter, as is recorded by Newport Friends records, which call him an "ancient Friend" of Providence, presumably meaning that he was a practicing Quaker. He died in Newport in June of 1676.
Christopher married Alice _______ about 1625. They had at leas four children, Susanna 1625-1692, Edward, 1630-1693, Benjamin 1631-1713 and Thomas, 1635-1670. Alice died before 1681.
Roger Braley and Alice Abbott
1672- After 1725
Roger Braley, according to early records in Portsmouth, RI , is believed to be the progenitor of the American family. His name was sometimes spelled Roger Brailey. He was born about 1672, the son of James Brayley. His mother is not known "Brailey."Tradition says that three Welshmen, who were brothers, were "pressed"
into service on a British vessel. These men were of the Quaker faith. The tenets of their religion forbade participation in war, and accordingly, they availed themselves of the first opportunity to escape.The legend relates that because of destitution, they ate the soles of their shoes for food, and to conceal their identity, they changed the spelling of their last name to Braley. Of the three brothers, one is thought to have returned to Wales. Nothing is known of the other two. Perhaps one of these three was an ancestor of Roger Braley.There is very little known of this first Roger , the exception being that on July 6, 1696, he was a witness in a drowning inquest. The Portsmouth Record about the drowning inquest reads: "Wee hose names whoe are under written being ingaged according to Law to Inquire into the death of A man found in Portsmouth We Think he may be Drouned. Portsmouth July 6th 1696 . Roger Brally (his mark)." Bruce Braley notes that all but Roger seemed to know how to sign their names. Bruce Braley found that Roger and Alice Abbot-Braley lived along the Sakonnet/Seaconnet/Seekonk River in the South Side Addition of Portsmouth, RI (laid out in 1693). The deed Roger executed for the sale of this land to Joanna Bennet (Portsmouth Town Deed Book 1, page 523) reads:
'One certain lott of land with a dwelling house thereon in number the 119th lott containing 56 Rods of ground lying and being at a place called the SouthSide in the Township of Portsmouth aforesaid amongst the small lotts contained in said South-side being butted and bounded as by a Plat of the said SouthSide may more at large appear lodged in the Town Clerk's office in said Town.'
When Bruce visited Portsmouth, he found that the original Plat for the South Side had been lost, but he did find a Plat Map that showed the land owned by Joanna Bennet. This Plat Map and the deed of sale, allowed Bruce to visit the area and geta photo of Brailey Beach.
Roger was described as a weaver in the above deed of sale to 'Widow Bennet' for "the sum of eighty four pounds in good Currant money of New England".
Roger and Alice's children are listed in Portsmouth Town birth records available in the Town Hall and in Rhode Island State Archives. He was recorded as being a weaver in a land sale. Roger married Alice, though to be Alice Abbot, born about 1670, in Portsmouth, RI about 1695.
Their children were:
Elizabeth, June 25, 1697, Roger, November 15, 1698, Alice, March 28, 1700,
Ambrose, December 4, 1701, John, March 26, 1703, Grace, February 22, 1704/05 and Sarah, March 25, 1707.
Roger and Alice removed to Rochester, MA after their children were born. His name appears on the records of that town under various spellings such as Bralea, Brailey, and Braley.