Friday, February 27, 2015


I've been a bit behind on the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge but this should
bring me up to date with a post about my 7th great grandfather Samuel Upton.

Again, much of what I know about the Uptons comes from John Adams Vinton's
The Upton Memorial. Most of the section devoted to Samuel is taken up with the
material I quoted in the previous blogpost about how close Samuel was with his
brother William, but there is some information:

Samuel Upton, brother of the preceding, and son of John and Eleanor Upton of Danvers and North Reading; born in Danvers, October, 1664; married Abigail Frost of Danvers. Jan. 14, 1702-3. She was baptized Aug 3, 1707, at Danvers, probably on "owning the covenant." as it was termed; for her name is not found among the members of the church in that place.-p34

 And Samuel carried on the family tradition of the entail started by his father and brother:

A few weeks after his brother William's death, Samuel Upton made a transfer of the property inherited from his father similar to the one made by William. In a deed dated March 26, 1740, he conveyed to his son Benjamin " all my lands, both upland and meadow, lying and being in Salem [i.e., Danvers], containing by estimation sixty acres, bounded south on land formerly in the possession of Capt. Samuel Gordon, deceased, west by land formerly in the possession of my brother William Upton, deceased, north and east by land formerly of Joseph Pope," &c. The consideration was nine hundred pounds in province bills. His daughter Anna was a witness.

This conveyance, in some measure, superseded the necessity of a will. The design was, to carry out his father's purpose of an entail. The property herein conveyed was kept together in the line of the grantor's descendants till 1849 certainly, if not to the present day.-pp37-38

I found a copy of the transaction at FamilySearch. For some reason Benjamin didn't file it
until 1746. Perhaps that was the year his mother Abigail (Frost) Upton died. 

 "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch (,361948401 : accessed 27 February 2015), Essex > Deeds 1748-1750 vol 93-94 > image 111 of 592; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

 And finally, the names of the children of Samuel and Abigail (Frost) Upton:

There is no will of Samuel Upton on record, nor any account of the administration of his estate, nor any means of knowing the time of his death, except as above mentioned. Nor is there any record of the births of his children, and we obtain their names from the church records, where their baptisms are registered. They were as follows:

Samuel, bom June 30, 1704 : baptized Aug. 3, 1707; married Ruth Whipple.

Abigail, born 1705; baptized Aug. 3, 1707.

Nathaniel,  twin, baptized   Mar. 27, 1709; married Mary Eaton.

Jemima, twin, baptized  Mar. 27, 1709; married Israel Eaton.

Anna, baptized April 6, 1712; living 1740.

Benjamin, baptized May 10, 1713; married Sarah Swinnerton.

Eunice, baptized April 24, 1715; married ___ Twist; living 1768.

Amos , baptized Oct. 20, 1717; married Sarah Bickford.

Lois, married ___Mclntire; living 1768.

Noah, baptized Sept. 17, 1721.

I am descended from their son Amos Upton.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Before I move on to Samuel Upton, I thought I'd share Vinton's description of the
close relationship between Samuel and his brother William:

The names of William and Samuel Upton often appear together, at least in the county and parish records. They were hut sixteen months apart in age. Their names are coupled together in their father's will; and what they inherited from him, they held and enjoyed together, as has been stated, till 1708, and notwithstanding the division made of their real estate at that time, they still lived together on Wood Hill, all their days. At least half a century they occupied the same house. They owned land together, not only in Danvers, but in North Reading and in Middleton. They were always taxed together and taxed alike in the town and parish books. They held their negro servant together; they together manumitted him in 1717; they sat together in the meeting-house, and their wives sat together. It is likely that their deaths were not far apart; that of William early in 1740; that of Samuel three or four years later.

The names of William Upton and Samuel Upton appear on the records of the parish of Salem Village in a list of persons taxed in 1689 for the support of Rev. Samuel Parris. then minister of that parish. Each of these brothers was to pay three shillings. The highest tax was one pound; the lowest. 2s. 6d In 1690, they were taxed 4s. each; in 1695. 9s each; in 1697. 12s. each. They continued to be taxed, year after year, till 1734, when the first volume of parish records ends. The second volume was destroyed by fire about 1867 ; so that it does not appear how much longer they were taxed, nor, by consequence, bow much longer they lived. We learn this, however, that they were both living in Danvers in 1734. It is also certain that Samuel Upton was living there in March, 1743. when a child of Samuel Upton. Junior, was baptized. He was then about 77 vears old. He doubtless died soon after.

It was the custom in those days, instead of our present practice of pews held as private property, to choose a committee annually to assign seats in the meeting-house to the individuals composing the parish, and to record the arrangement from year to year in the parish book. The men and the women sat apart. The chief seats were given to age; the next, to office; last of all, to " rates" or taxes paid, that is, to property. William and Samuel Upton, in 1702, sat "in the long fore seat below," and also in 1726. Their wives, in 1726, sat "in the second long seat below." When these brothers were older, they had the front seat.-pp35-37

The Upton Memorial: A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of John Upton, of North Reading, Mass. ... Printed for Private Use Bath, Me. 1874

Considering the twenty children in the two families, the Uptons must have taken up quite
a bit of space in those pews when attending church!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Continuing with John Adams Vinton's biography of my 7x great grandfather from
The Upton Memorial, he discusses William Upton's final days:

William Upton, for 140 pounds in province bills conveys to his son Paul, who seems to have been the most capable of his children, his dwelling-house with the land belonging thereunto, in Salem, containing sixty acres."bounded east on land of my brother Samuel Upton". -p32

I found an image of the sale to his son over at FamilySearch in the Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986 collection, Essex County, Deeds 1737-1739 vol 74-76 :
"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch (,361933001 : accessed 24 February 2015), Essex > Deeds 1737-1739 vol 74-76 > image 294 of 829; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts."

Vinton then gives an abstract of William's will:

We know not the date of William Upton's death, but it must have been early in 1740. His will is dated April 13, 1739 ; and was proved March 10. 1739-40. We find it in Essex Probate Records. 24: 97. He gives—" to each of my sons. William, James, Francis, Edward and Richard, five shillings. To my son Timothy, my half part of the house and land in the Middle precinct in Salem [now the town of Danvers], which I hold in common with my son James. To my son Caleb. five shillings. To my daughter Mary Rich, five shillings. To my daughter Dorcas, five shillings, and my household goods, &c. To my son Paul, my meadow in Reading, called Bear meadow, containing about four acres; all my stock of creatures, my wearing apparel, &c." His son Paul was executor and residuary legatee.
And here's an image of the actual document from Volume: Essex Cases 28000-29999, in the
Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881 at  AmericanAncestors:

Lastly, he gives a list on page 34 of the children of William Upton and Mary Maber who were all
born in Danvers (which was still part of Salem at that time):

William, born July 17, 1703: married, 1st Lydia Burnap, 2d Hannah Felton.
Mary, born Sept. 2S, 1705; married Thomas Kieh of Wilmington.
James, born Jan. 5, 1707-K: married Susanna Dagget.
Paul, born Feb. 20, 1709-10; married, 1st Susanna __ 2d Phebe Goodell.
Francis, born May 13, 1712; married, 1st Phebe Swallow, 2d Edith Herrick.
Edward, born April 10. 1714.
Richard, born May 20, 1716; married. 1st____ 2d Elizabeth Putnam, 3d Rachel ___
Dorcas, twin, born  Sept. 4, 1718
Timothy, twin, born  Sept. 4, 1718: married, 1st Hannah Stacy. 2d Ruth ____
Caleb, born Feb. 4. 1722: married ,____

Francis, the fifth child and fourth son,  was my 6x great grandfather.

While I'm moving on to Samuel Upton next, that entry will contain more information that
shows how inseparable my 7x great grandfathers were.

Monday, February 23, 2015


NERGC Early Bird Deadline Saturday, February 28th
The 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference Navigating the Past: Sailing into the Future will be held in Providence, Rhode Island on 15-18 April 2015. The conference will include more than 60 lectures by speakers including Judy G. Russell, Lisa Louise Cooke, and Genealogy Roadshow host Joshua Taylor, as well as Ancestors Roadshow, Special Interest Groups, workshops, and a bonus track of presentations in the exhibit hall. 

Early Bird registration ($120) ends 28 February 2015.
Registration after 28 February 2015 is $150.
Single day registration increases from $90 to $100 after 28 February 2015

For more information or to register visit


Starting with this post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, I turn to another
branch of my paternal grandmother Cora Barker's family tree, the Uptons. I wrote
 last year about immigrant ancestor John Upton. I'll now write about two of his sons,
my 7x great grandfathers William and Samuel Upton. Much of what I know about them
comes from John Adams Vinton's genealogy of the family, The Upton Memorial.

William and Samuel were born a year apart, William in 1663 and Samuel the next year.
They seemed to be inseparable and their life seems like something out of a novel by
Dickens or Austen.  They and their families shared the same house, which must have
been interesting since they both had ten children. (They even both had one set of twins
among their children). This week the subject will be William, the elder brother: 

"William Upton, brother of the preceding, and son of the first John Upton by his wife Eleanor; born in Danvers, June 10, 1663; married Mary Maber, May 27, 1701.

William Upton and his brother Samuel received by their father's will that portion of his real estate which lay in the south-west corner of what is now Danvers, near the line of Lynnfield. It was given to them together, and they continued to hold it together till 1708, when they made an amicable division. They divided the farm between them in equal parts of sixty acres each, running a line straight through the tract; the easterly part being assigned to Samuel, and the westerly part to William. Each brother, by a solemn and carefully worded compact, guaranteed to the other his share of the patrimony. They lived near together, apparently in the same house. They transacted their business together, as will appear from the deeds which follow. They seem to have entertained a strong affection for each other, and to have been men of good position. and of estimable character. Many of their neighbors were involved in the witchcraft delusion, but they kept clear of that terrible affair.

Their father, twelve or thirteen years before his death, bought one-half of a valuable tract of land in the east part of North Reading, commonly called the Gusset. Eight years later, these two sons of his purchased the other half.

1694, Dec. 25.—John Pool of Lynn, yeoman, and Mary his wife, for £19.10. sell to William Upton and Samuel Upton of Salem [of the part now Danvers], a piece of land in Reading, near Will's Hill, and commonly known by the name of the Gusset; that is to say. Pool and his wife convey to them one half of this Gusset, on the east end of Swan Pond, &c

John Pool lived, probably in what is now Lynntield, not far distant. Will's Hill was a part of the Bellingham farm, ahead) mentioned. In 1694, the date of this purchase, the Bellingham farm belonged to the Wilkins family, into which Jonathan Upton, nephew of these brothers, married in 1724. It is now in Middleton.

1696, June 23.—Samuel Wilkins. yeoman, and Sarah his wife, and Jane Wilkins. widow of Samuel Wilkins late of Salem deceased, for twelve pounds, convey to Samuel Upton and William Upton of Salem, yeomen, a parcel of meadow land, containing six or seven acres more or less, situate in Salem, lying and being in the meadow commonly called Gusset meadow, and is bounded south with the meadow of the said Uptons; easterly with the brook which runs out of a cedar swamp; north and west with the upland of Thomas and Henry Wilkins. These grantors all made their marks.

It seems that a part of the Gusset meadow was within the bounds of Salem, and in the county of Essex. This part belonged to the Wilkins family, of whom more in the sequel. It was quite valuable, and the Uptons desired to possess the whole.

1696-7, Feb. 24.—John Hill of Salem, planter, for L12 16s., "in current silver money," conveys to William Upton and Samuel Upton "of Salem Village" [Danvers], about four acres of meadow in the township of Salem. in a place commonly called the Pound meadow." -

The Upton Memorial: A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of John Upton, of North Reading, Mass. ... Printed for Private Use Bath, Me. 1874

To be continued.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


((I'm about to return to my Upton line for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks meme,
beginning with my ancestor Samuel Upton. While writing about James Carringbone,
the "negro servant' of John Wyman, I remembered this post I wrote in December 
2012 about the Uptons.))   

A few weeks back was the anniversary of my 7x great grandparents Samuel
Upton and Abigail Frost of Salem Massachusetts. I sometimes use family
events as inspirations for blogposts, so I checked my digital edition of John
Adams Vinton's The Upton Memorial and found this:

"The father of William and Samuel Upton by will gave them his negro. This negro,
whose name was Thomas. was in 1699, the date of the inventory, about thirteen
years old, and was valued at thirty pounds or one hundred dollars. This sum may
have been equivalent to ten times its amount now. if we may judge from the
valuation of the oxen and other live stock in the same inventory. This negro slave
faithfully served William and Samuel Upton eighteen years; and they then gave
him his liberty. The deed of manumission is dated Dec. 21, 1717. At the same time,
they gave security to the town treasurer of Salem. that they would meet all charges
 which might arise against the said black man."

-The Upton Memorial by John Adams
Vinton  (E. Upton & Son, Bath Me. 1874)p32

As a historian I was already aware of the fact that there had been slavery in
Massachusetts in the colonial period, but this was the first time I'd seen details
about one of my ancestors having a slave. Ironically, John Upton had been an
indentured servant himself, having been one of many Scottish prisoners sent to
Massachusetts by Oilver Cromwell. I wondered what the "security" was that
Samuel and William had to give to the town for Thomas' freedom was all about,
and whether there was any record of what became of him.  A Google search turned
up the following:

"1717, Dec. 21. William and Samuel Upton, of this town, liberate Thomas, 
who had faithfully served their father, John Upton, of Reading. They give 
security to the treasurer, that they will meet all charges, which may accrue 
against the said black man." -Annals of Salem Vol 2  by Joseph Barlow Felt
(W.& S. B. Ives, Salem, Ma 1849) p415

I found further explanation of the security in a third book:

"Humane masters who desired to emancipate their slaves were embarrassed by a
statute unfriendly to manumission. The Act of 1703 deterred many persons from
emancipating their slaves on account of its unjust and hard requirements. And under
it quite a deal of litigation arose. It required every master who desired to liberate
his slave, before doing so, to furnish a bond to the treasurer of the town or place in
which he resided, in a sum not less than fifty pounds. This was to indemnify the town
or place in case the Negro slave thus emancipated should, through lameness or 

sickness, become a charge. In case a master failed to furnish such security, his 
emancipated slaves were still contemplated by the law as in bondage 
notwithstanding any manumission or instrument of freedom to them made or 
given."-History of the Negro race in America from 1619 to 1880: Vol2  George
Washington Williams  (G.P Putnam & Sons 1882) pp206-207

I culdn't find any mention of the fate of Thomas the slave, so I went back to the Annals
of Salem to see what else I could find and got more, but not on the Uptons. Instead, it
was on another of my ancestral lines, the Mavericks:

"The first notice that we have of this disfranchised class, is in 1637, when Capt. 
Wm.Peirce was employed to carry out, to the West Indies, some Pequods, lately 
captured, and sell them there for slaves. On his return from Tortugas, Feb. 26, 
1638, he had, as part of his cargo, a number of negroes. These appear to have 
been purchased by Samuel Maverick,  of Noddle's Island, and others. Whether 
any of them were bought by inhabitants of Salem is not known."-Annals of 
Salem Vol2 p414

Elias and Moses Maverick are my 9x great grandfathers and Samuel was their older
brother.  Samuel was actually already livng on Nottle Island in Boston Harbor before
John Winthrop and the Puritans arrived to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony in
1630. Some accounts have him living there as early as 1624. So not only had some of
my ancestors been slave owners, one of them had actually been the first to own slaves
in Massachusetts.

That wasn't the only information I found on Samuel Maverick and his slaves.
George Washington Williams cites an incident recorded by John Josselyn in his book
Two Voyages To New England which was first printed in 1674:

"The Second of October,(1639) about 9 of the clock in the morning, Mr. Mavericks Negro woman came to my chamber window, and in her own Countrey language and tune sang very loud and shril, going out to her, she used a great deal of respect towards me, and willingly would have expressed her grief in English ; but I apprehended it by her countenance and deportment, whereupon I repaired to my host, to learn of him the cause, and resolved to intreat him in her behalf, for that I understood before, that she had been a Queen in her own Countrey, and observed a very humble and dutiful garb used towards her by another Negro who was her maid. Mr. Maverick was desirous to have a breed of Negroes, and therefore seeing she would not yield by perswasions to company with a Negro young man he had in his house; he commanded him will'd she nill'd she to go to bed to her, which was no sooner done but she kickt him out again, this she took in high disdain beyond her slavery, and this was the cause of her grief".
History of the Negro race in America from 1619 to 1880: Vol2 pp174-175

In other words, in the interests of breeding her Samuel Maverick had ordered his male
slave to force himself on the female slave.

 We often remind each other that when researching our family tree, we have to
expect to find the bad along with the good. The Maverick story is one of the bad.

I still haven't found any more mention of Thomas who had been the slave of John Upton.
I've no way of knowing how old he was when he first came into the Upton household.
I do know that John Upton was 77 years old when he died so perhaps serving an
elderly man wasn't too harsh a life for young Thomas.  Slavery in Massachusetts wasn't
abolished until 1783 so the Upton brothers didn't have to free him and pay the
equivalent of about $150 to the town to support him if he couldn't care for himself.
I hope they did so out of the conviction that slavery was wrong.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


So what do I know now about my ancestor John Wyman?
-He and his brother Francis were among the early settlers of Woburn, Ma.

-He married Sarah Nutt on 5Nov 1644

-He held several offices over the years in Woburn town government.

-He served in the militia during King Philip's War and was wounded before the
Great Swamp Fight. His oldest son died there.

 -He was a tanner by trade

-John had a Scottish indentured servant, Robert Simpson, who he bought to help him
in his tanning business. Simpson also served in the militia.

-He also had a "negro servant", James Carringbone.

-John, his daughter Bathsheba and James the servant were involved in a physical
altercation with John Seers over his horse being taken away for military use.    

-John Wyman died on 9May 1684

From the fact that he had at least two servants that are mentioned in documents, I've
concluded  that John must have been well off by the standards of 17th century Massachusetts
Bay Colony. He states in the document about Robert Simpson that he had bought the
Scotsman, who was one of the Scottish prisoners sent by Cromwell to the colony. While
James Carringbone was called a "negro servant" he was probably indentured if not actually
a slave.

I thought there would be some mention of what befell Carringbone in John Wyman's
will, part of which I'd seen quoted on the Burlington Historical Commission website. But
when I found the probate file over on the American Ancestors website in the Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871 database, all that was in it was a photo of a scrap of paper that said:

I hope someday those papers will be found.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Thanks to two books by William Richard Cutter I was able to find out more about the two
petitions I mentioned in the last blogpost. The first excerpt concerns John Wyman's request
that his servant be released from military service:

The records show that he had bought the time of one Simpson, a Scotchman, one of the soldiers of Charles II, captured by Cromwell and sold into servitude in New England. A petition of John Wyman to the governor and council gives an illuminating picture of life in 1676:

"Humbly Shcweth that yore Petitioner Haith beene often out in the service of ye Country against the Indians; his sone also was ont and slaine by the enemy; and his servants hath been long out in the warrs and now being reduced to greate wants for clotheing: desires liberty to come downe from Hadley where he now remains a garrison soldier; and he is a taner by traid and yore Petitioner bought him on purpose for the management of his tanyard: and himselfe being inexperienced in that calling doth humbly request that favore of your honors to consider the premisses and to grant his said servant Robert Simpson a dismission from this present service that so his lether now in vatts may not by spyled but yore Petitioner be ever engaged to pray, &c. JNO. WYMAN."

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 1 (Google eBook) Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, New York, 1915

The second one is about the complaint of John Seers against John Wyman and his daughter
Bathsheba Wyman over a horse:

In the case of John Seers versus Lieutenant John Wyman, before the council in 1676, Daniel
Baldwin, aged seventeen years, testified about the impressment of two horses, and that while pressing a horse belonging to John Wyman, who resisted the constable, said Wyman “suffered his negro servant to beat me with a great stick, and reproved him not.” In the same case, on the testimony of several witnesses, Daniel Baldwin is callet “grandchild to John Seers,” and came with him to Lieutenant Wman’s garrison. The witnesses say Daniel Baldwin abused James Carringbone, negro servant of said W yman, “both in words and deeds,” calling him “Black Roag,” and struck him with his gun across his back, and said he would “shute’ him. Seers stated that Baldwin was a “solger” who came to Wyman’s with him, and that one of Wyman’s household struck said Baldwin with a “great stick.” The particulars of this interesting case are published in “Woburn Men in the Indian and Other Wars,” pp. 11-14 (editions of 1897 and 1903).

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 1 (Google eBook) Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908 - Boston (Mass.)

That doesn't mention my 7x great grandmother Bathsheba's part in the scuffle. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a  free ebook edition of Woburn Men in the Indian and Other Wars online, but I did find an account on the website of the Burlington Historical Commission. My ancestress Bathsheba was
right in the thick of it, at one point tripping John Seers so that he fell. You can read the whole story
there at this link.

I'll have some thoughts about all this in the next post.

To be continuied