Friday, October 26, 2012


((I originally posted this series back in March 2007. Since
there was an echo of  the witchcraft hysteria in it, I thought
I'd revisit it for Halloween)) 

I was surfing through the US GenWeb’s Essex County site
the other night and came across a reference to a murder
in Boxford Ma. It happened in 1769 and involved a Jonathan
Ames who was accused of murdering his wife Ruth(Perley)
and involved testimony by a neighbor, a Mrs. Kimball.

This got my attention quickly. My 3x great grandmother was
Arvilla Ames and she was a descendant of Priscilla Kimball.
The Ames or Eames line is one of my favorites because the
family has been part of interesting events in New England
Colonial history. Robert (E)Ames, whose ancestry is unknown,
married Rebecca Blake who was one of those convicted of
witchcraft in the Salem witch hysteria. She later was given a
reprieve and the couple lived out their lives in the town of

Their son John married Priscilla Kimball, the daughter of
Thomas Kimball and Mary Smith The Kimball family was
living in Rowley Ma. when they were attacked by Indians on
May 2nd ,1676. Thomas was killed and Mary and their five
children, including Priscilla, were taken captive for forty-one
days before the chief of the Pennacook tribe persuaded the
raiding Indians to release their captives.

Priscilla grew to adulthood and married John Ames. They
hada farm in Boxford but they sold it in March of 1715 or 1716
and moved to Groton, Ma. John was standing one day at the
front door of what is referred to as “his garrison” (Was this
simply a fortified farmhouse or a trading post sort of building?)
when he was shot by an Indian on July 9th, 1724. He is said to
have been the last man slain by an Indian in Groton although
there appears to be some debate over that.

The Indian who was presumed to be the murderer was killed
in turn by Jacob Ames, John and Priscilla’s second oldest son.

So as you see, the Ames and Kimballs had gone through some
trying times already. When I ran across the reference of an
article in the Essex Antiquarian on a murder involving Jonathan
Ames and someone named Kimball, I had to look into it to see
how it related to my family genealogy.

Which I’ll go into next time!

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