Thursday, June 12, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every
week on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For
this prompt I've tried to concentrate on ancestors I haven't researched as much
as I have others in my family tree. For this post, I'm writing about my 8x great
John Upton and one of those "family traditions" common in some genealogies.

I recently found this in an edition of the Historical Collections of the Essex Institute:


The following traditions relating to the Upton* family of Danvers and Reading, were obtained by me, Jan. 18, 1849, from Eli Upton, who was born Oct. 7, 1759, and died Feb. 24, 1849; and, as some of the items here given are not recorded anywhere to my knowledge, they are offered for publication in the Collections.

"John Upton was born in Scotland, and, it is supposed, was one of the prisoners taken by Oliver Cromwell at the battle of Dunbar, in 1651, and sent by him to New England, as he was sold on his arrival here. He was bought by a woman, whose name is not remembered, but who lived in that part of Salem now called Danvers. She came from England. Some of the fruit trees on the place were brought out by her. She had been living there some time. 

The place above mentioned has been in the hands of the Uptons from the death of John to the present time (1849); and it is now owned by Mr. Eli Upton. Two houses have been built there.

John Upton aforesaid bought a large lot of land in Reading for a "piece-of eight" and a colt. On this land one of his sons settled, and there John himself died in 1699.
Historical Collections of the Essex Institute (Google eBook) Vol7 Number 6 Essex Institute.,  Salem Ma 1865

A nice story there about how John came to Massachusetts, but probably untrue. There's no
mention of a John Upton on the list of names of the Scottish prisoners sent to the colony. In
his Upton Memorial, John Adams Vinton discredits that story and another that claims the
lady was Upton's wife who somehow got to Massachusetts before the prison ship had
arrived so she could purchase her husband. He also questions the tradition that the wife
was named Elenor Stuart.

There's also this, which concerns some land purchased by John Upton:

1668. Feb. 1.—Jeremiah Swain of Reading, for 22s. 6d.. sells to John Upton half an acre and seven poles of meadow, lying on the north side of Ipseage River, also a quarter of an acre and twenty-eight poles of meadow on the north side of said river, all in Reading -p13
The Upton Memorial: A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of John Upton, of North Reading, Mass. ... Together with Short Genealogies of the Putnam, Stone and Bruce Families (Google eBook)  private use at the office of E. Upton & son,  Bath, Me 1874

It's significant to me because Jeremiah Swain is my 9x great grandfather and John Upton my 8x great grandfather. I always get a kick out of finding these sort of things involving ancestors from two different branches of my family tree!

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