Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Here's the second half of the document dividing John Moore Jr.'s estate. In this part the committee
dealt with the inheritances for his three daughters:

To Elizabeth Moore Alias Gibbs or her Assignes we set out one third part ye farme Purchased of Mr Richard West, viz that Hudred acres of upland that Lyeth in ye North side of the farme which 100 acres was Laid out  to ye Right of Jeremiah Rogers: excepting a saving out the same; ten acres thereof out of ye easterly end to be allowed & setoff out of sd land to those who shall & may enjoy the other two parts of said farme; towards Making up a Compensation for fourty acres of land assigned in the sale of said farme by Richard West to said ensigne John Moore: & no Mention Made where it Lyeth the said ten acres to be sett off when the owner of the said fourty acres of Land shall Lay  Claime & Make out a good title thereto: also to the said Elizabeth Moore Alias Gibbs, we set out the upper end of a Medow called Spring Medow, belonging to said farme: viz: ye North end thereof, till it Comes Downe to the Lower end of ye broad part of the Medow: to a point of upland that comes up into the Medow: also, one third part of the Towne Right Purchased with said farme, & the third part of the third Division upland:  & Medows & Right in Commonage thereto belonging: also sixteen acres by ye first Division Intervale Lott of ensigne John Moore: Lying in the North Intervale, & is that end of the Lott Next the upland: & also one third part of a parcel of Land allowed to said ensigne John Moore called the Convenience, Lying in the North end of it, the whole width thereof, & about fourty Rods Long: between some Second Division Land Set out to John Moore; & another part of said Convenience Set out to Lydia Moore: all which parcels of Lands Medows & Towne Right & Commonage as above we have Set out for the said Elizabeth Moores full share or portion.

To Lydia Moore, Alias Winch, we have set out about an Hundred & five acres of said farme purchased of Mr Richard West, & is ye Middle part of said farme: with about halfe of ye pond, or Something More Lying within it: which Share Lyeth about seventy six Rods wide at the easterly end upon Long hill ye Little black oak Marked in the Division at between it & the Southward part of Said farme:  & is about sixty six Rods wide on ye west Side of ye Pond, & Comes to a Stake & a heape of stones at the Southwest Corner, Near to a Little Medow Spot & is about twenty eight Rods short of ye west Line of ye farme at that Corner & twenty Rods Short of ye west Line by ye highway: & takes in ye greatest part of ye Medow Spot by ye pond:: Saving out of said share so much thereof as May be equal with ye Southward Share of said farme set out to Anne Moore, towards the Compensation for or allowance to the Said fourty acres of Land Reserved out of said farme in ye Sale thereof to ensigne John Moor: also to ye said Lydia Moore, we Sett out to her, the Remaining part of ye Spring Medow, & another  piece Called ye Little Medow & one piece Called pig Medow all belonging to said farme: also four acres of the first Division Intervale Lott of ensigne John Moore & is that end of it Next the River: & also all the Second Division Intervale of John Smith that Lyes at (...?), & also the Convenience belonging thereto, that Lyes on ye east side of the great Medow, without ye old fence & also one third partof ye Convenience belonging to John Moore; Viz ye Middle part thereof Lying fourty Rods long & the whole width  also one quarter of an acre of the upland House Lott of ensigne John Moore Reformed in ye sale of said Lott to Daniel Hudson: also one third part of the towne Rights in Third Division & Right in Commonage belonging thereto, that was purchased of Mr Richard West: all which parcels of Land Medow & Towne Right as abovesaid set out for Lydia Moore Alias Winch, or her Assignes: to be her full share of ye Real estate of said ensigne John Moore.

To Anne Moore the youngest Daughter we set out for her part, the Remaining part of said farme Purchased of Richard West being the South Side of it: & also ye west end of that part of it on ye South Side of the Highway: as it is Marked out, & Described to be set off from ye other Middle part thereof  as above said, to be twenty Rods wide upon the Highway: & so Ranging on a Straight Line through ye orchard, to a heape of Stones by us Laid & so to another heape of Stones & a Stake twenty eight Rods from the west Line of the farme: and then the Division Line Runs in the edge of ye Little Spot of Medow Ground & so cross ye Pond to ye foresaid Little black oak on the Long hill Marked between the two Shares: Saving out of the said Anne Moores Share: So much as May be equal with the Middle part towards the allowance for the said fourty acres of said farme Reserved in ye Sale thereof to ensigne John Moore as abovesaid also to ye said Anne Moore, that Medow Called pig Medow, & that piece that Lyes among the Medow at Nataquodock(?)  which is belonging to said farme; also all the Second Division Intervale that Lyes up the North River, which was the proper Lott of ensigne John Moore; & one third part of ye Convenience, on the west side of ye House plat, Viz ye south end of it: & Lyes fourty Rods Long: & ye whole width thereof: also thirteen acres & half of the First Division Intervale of John Smith Lying in ye North Intervale & also one third part of ye Towne Rights, third Division, & Rights of Commonage purchased with said farme: also said parcels of Lands & Rights as abovsaid is hereby set out for the said Anne Moore Alias Hildreth as her full share of the said Real estat: all which we Present to uour Hon Humbly Requesting your approbation & Settlement of ye same.

John Houghton
John Keyes
Jonas Houghton
Ephraim Wilder
David Whetcomb

(...?) July 6th 1714


I'll have some more to say about the probate file in in the next post,


As I said earlier, the division of John Moore's real estate took place ten years after his death. It's a long document so I decided to share it in two parts here, starting with the two sons, John Moore 3rd
and Jonathan Moore. Technically this is an abstraction because I couldn't read a small part added at the very bottom by one of the court officials. Words I couldn't decipher are represented by (...?) and words that I'm not sure the spelling is correct by (?).   


Pursuant to ye Within Written Commission, we the Subscribers Namely John Houghton Jonas Houghton John Keyes Ephraim Wilder & David Whitcomb, all free Holders of ye Towne of Lancaster are by ye Honrable Frances Foxcroft estate Judge of Probate: (...?): for ye County of Middlesex: appointed a Committee for Dividing of ye Real estate that formally belonged to ensigne John Moore; late of said Lancaster Deceased Intestate: & who are accordingly Sworn to Make Division of said estate: to & amongthe Children of the said Deceased John Moore: Wee have according to our best Judgement Indeavoured Impartialy to Divide Said Real Estate; in equal Proportion according to ye Directions of ye Lord; & the within written Commission, in Order thereto, as followeth

Imp Wee have Sett out unto John Moore the eldest Son for his two shares, or Double portion of Said Estate, all ye Dwelling Housing where ye Said ensign John Moore Last  Dwelt, together with ye Barn & about twenty acres of upland, part of it in tillage; with all the orcharding upon it, and about twenty Acres of Medow, & other Mowing Land Adjoining: all that is within that inclosure, and also all  that piece of the Second Division upland laid out to ye Said ensigne John Moores Estate; that lyeth upon ye Little Brook that is between the House plat(?) & Nataquodock(?) Hill: & that piece that Lyeth along by the West side of the House plat: & also about twenty three acres More of Said Second Division upland; that Lyes Adjoining on ye South side of the House plat & Lyeth ye whole width of that Division east & west & is about fourty Rods upon the east line; & about fifty four Rods on ye west Line & is bounded Southerly upon the Remaining part of that Division: Set out for Jonathan Moores part thereof: a Poplar tree Marked on the  Dividing Line between them; Neer to ye east side of ye Land, and a Little black oak Stand Marked Neer the west Line; also to ye said John Moore we have Sett out two third parts of one Hundred & thirty acres of third Division upland already Laid out to the Rights of Ensigne John Moore & John Smith: viz. all that part of land that Lyeth on ye west line of the Second Division, except a Little piece Set off to Jonathan Moore at the south end of eighteen Rods North & South, & about eighty Rods east & west: two Little Black oaks marked at or Neer the east & west sides in ye Division Line between them: saving out of the said Land away of two Rods wide to ly free to the said John Moore, Jonathan Moore & their Heirs & Assignes; through said Land & through some Land called the Convenience as it is now Marked out; by us the said Committee, till it comes to the Common Land at ye southerly end of their third Division upland; halfe one way of two Rods wide to be Laid out from the foresaid way to the Second Division upland Set out Jonathan Moore to be for his use & benifitt & for his Heires & Assignes in the Most Convenient place for Jonathan Moore & Least Damage or prejudice to John Moore: also to ye said John Moore, we appoint & sett out two third parts of ye Towne Right and Right in Commanage, & in the Remaining part of the third Division upland Not yet Laid out, that belongs to the Rights of ye said John Moore & John Smith, all which parcells of Lands Medows & Towne Right Housing & orcharding as above said; is hereby Sett out to ye Said John Moore, in full of his two single shares, or Double portion of the above mentioned Real Estate.

Nextly to Jonathan Moore we Sett out to him his Single Share of said Real Estate (that is to say) the thirty acres of land he Dwelleth upon with the House & orcharding & the Medow apprized with it, being about seven acres together with all theire Medow at ye Bare Hill & all theire third Division Medows; & a piece of Medow at Hogg Swamps about two acres & halfe Purchased of John Helver: & also one third part of the third Division upland already laid out (that is to say) the eighteen Rods wide set out of said land, at the southward end of John Moores land, as above said & rest of it Lyeth adjoining on ye South side of a piece of Second Division upland of twenty nine acres laid out to the Right of John Smith: which twenty Nine acres of Land is also set out to said Jonathan Moore and also a piece of Second Division upland Laid out to the Right of said ensigne John Moore, which Lyeth between ye said twenty Nine acres & some Land set out to John Moore, & divided from it by ye Poplar & Little black oak marked between them as abovesaid: the said Jonathan Moore poses (?) Last Mentioned is about eighty Rods on ye east Line & about one hundred & fourty Rods on ye west Line ye Dividing line between them Ranging by the said Poplar & black oak on a Straight Line from side to side the whole width of that Division: also to Jonathan Moore, one third part of the towne Right, & Right in Commonage; & one third part of ye third Division upland, not yet laid out which belongeth to the Right of ensign John Moore & John Smith all which parcels of Lands Medows & Towne Right & Right in Commonage as abovesaid, is set out to ye Said Jonathan Moore, to be his full single share in the Real estate of the said ensigne John Moore.

I'll post the part concerning the three daughters next.


Today is the 62nd anniversary of Hurricane Carol, a Category 3 hurricane that hit New England
on 31 Aug 1954. Of the three hurricanes that I remember from being a kid, it's this one I remember the best.

When  Hurricane Carol hit New England  we were living at 37 Beach St in Malden and the nearby Linden Creek overflowed and flooded the street. My Dad was working in Boston and made it home by driving through the water in his tsn Pontiac right behind someone driving a motorboat. I can remember Vincent Corielli, our next door neighbors' oldest son yelling “Here comes Mr West in his submarine!” That was the same storm where the cellar flooded and mice were floating around on top of cardboard down there. That startled my Aunt Emily until Dad went down and stood on the cellar stairs and calmly sank the mice as they floated by him. (I heard about that from my Mom.)

The other two hurricanes I remember from back then were Flossy and Hazel. Hazel came a few
months after Carol, in October 1954 but wasn't as bad (in Malden at least) and Flossy was two years later in 1956. I think we were living in Dorchester by then. The main reason I remember Hurricanes Hazel and Flossy is because those were the names of two of my Dad's sisters, although we spelled it Flossie.

 I’m not going to claim that we had bigger, badder storms when I was growing up in the 1950's but we did have more hurricanes hit New England back then!


The thing  that always surprises me about probate records is how long the process seems to drag
out sometimes. John Moore Jr.'s file is a case in point. The inventory and the list of  expenses
were submitted in Fall 1702/3, but the division of the land among the heirs didn't happen
until ten years later in April 1713/4.I have no idea why it took so long.

Here's the image of the estate inventory taken in October 1702/3 It's value was set at 352 pounds:

And most of that value was in the land John Moore Jr. owned, listed at the top of the page:

In November John Moore 3rd submitted his expenses administrating the estate. It looks like they
came to 46 pounds, including a payment of 30 pounds to "my mother Mary Moore".

I'll  discuss the division of the real estate next.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


((I first posted this back in March 2009. Today is the 262nd anniversary of this event.))

Six years after the capture and release of Enos Stevens, Fort No. 4 was still
subject to Indian attacks. On 30th Aug, 1754, during the height of the French
and Indian War, another raid was made on what was now called Charlestown,
N.H. and members of the Willard family once more found themselves
captives. Miriam Willard was visiting with her sister Susanna Willard Johnson's
family when the home was attacked. Everyone had been asleep so there was
no fighting and no blood shed. Taken in the raid were Susanna and James Johnson,
three of their children, Miriam Willard, and two men, Ebenezer Farnsworth and
Peter Laboree.

Susanna Johnson later wrote an account of her captivity and you can read it here
at Susan S. Martin's "Northeast Captivity Stories". For reason's that will become
clear later, I will focus on Miriam here.

The Indians forced the captured colonists into a grueling march north to Canada,
at one point stealing a horse belonging to Phineas Stevens for the pregnant Susanna
Johnson to ride. After she gave birth to her child and it became obvious the horse
was too weak for the trip it was slaughtered and fed the whole party. For the most part
they were well treated, and the only restraint on young Miriam at night was that the
Indians "...simply required her to lie upon the ground, while an Indian
lay upon either side of her, with cords passed over her body and under
theirs, so that the least stir on her part would arouse them. She testified,
however, to their modest and correct deportment during her continuance
with them, though entirely subjected to their control."
- ((Seth Chandler, History of the Town of Shirley, Massachusetts, self-published 1883
pp 716-717))

Then the party separated, with Miriam being taken on to Montreal where the
Indians sold her to the French. But while her ransom was paid, she had no way to
to return home, and somehow ended up living in the household of the Lieutenant
Governor and earned her keep for several years as a seamstress making dresses for
the ladies and uniforms for the men. When James Johnson failed to return in time
(through no fault of his own) with the money needed to free the rest of the family,
Miriam was reunited with her sister Susanna's family. Mr. Johnson and his son
Sylvanus were freed a year later, leaving the two women and the younger children
behind until they were set free in a few months later.

Unfortunately, they were forced to take the long way home. First they were shipped
to Plymouth, England, and then back across the Atlantic to land in New York in
December of 1757. When they returned home to Charlestown just after New Year's
Day, 1758, they learned that their father Moses Willard had been killed in an Indian
raid two years before in 1756. Miriam went on to marry the Rev. Phineas Whitney
in 1762 but died in 1769. They had no children.

Now if any of this story sounds familiar to you, it's perhaps because you already have
read it elsewhere. Writer Elizabeth George Speare based her novel Calico Captive
on Susanna Willard Johnson's account of her family's ordeal and tells the story
through Miriam's viewpoint.

And I as a bookseller had stocked and sold this book as part of school summer
reading lists, never realizing until recently that it was the story of my distant
cousin Miriam Willard!


I've been working off and on for the past week on John Moore Jr.'s probate file. It's taken me longer than I had expected because of several things:

First of all the writing was difficult to read. I use a program called Transcript now for doing transcriptions and had to fiddle around with brightness and magnification of the image, as well as viewing it as a negeative.

There was also the punctuation of the document which uses colons and semi-colons where today we would use commas and periods.

I also struggled with whether or not to use the capitalization of words that the writer of the documents had used.   

I was sidetracked a bit with looking for defintions of "Towne Rights" and the word "Convenience" as used in the documents.

I spent some time trying to decipher the spelling of the Indian names of some hills on the property.

Then there was the mystery of why my 7x great grandmother Lydia (Moore) Wetherbee as referred to as "Lydia Winch" in the division of the property.

Finally there is a mention of a "Mary Moore" as John Jr's widow, a person I've found no mention of anywhere until now. I still don't have an answer to that one yet.

But rather than delay any longer, I've decided to post what I have done, beginning with my next post in this series,

Friday, August 19, 2016


It's Findmypast Friday again, and this week they've added 1,591, 581 records, including:


Ireland, Outrage reports 1836-1840 [HO 100]
18,157 fascinating police reports released in association with the National Archives. Discover realities of life in historic Ireland and read descriptions of thefts, assaults, suicides, daring rescues, infanticide, arson, highway robbery, and much more.

Middlesex, London, Old Bailey Court records 1674-1913
Was your ancestor involved in a crime as either a perpetrator, victim or witness? Explore 239 of fascinating documents from the Central Criminal Court in London.


England & Wales Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms
Number of volumes added: 208,610
Total volumes: 1,564,672
Covering: Roman Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, members of the Society of Friends and other denominations
Discover: Baptism date, place, parents' names, godparents & denomination

England & Wales Non-Conformist Marriages
Number of records added: 3,108
Total records: 8,007
Covering: Roman Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, members of the Society of Friends and other denominations
Discover: Date of marriage, location, spouse's names, witnesses & denomination

England & Wales Non-Conformist Burials
Number of records added: 300,764
Total records: 888,641
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Discover: Birth year, death year, burial date, location, spouse's name, parents' names & denomination

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
complimentary one year world subscription to Findmypast and a Findmypast First membership.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Things get really interesting with my ancestor  John Moore Jr  I'm descended from him through
three of his children:

On my grandmother Barker's side of the family, he's my 8x great grandfather twice  through her Coburn & Moore ancestry.

On my grandfather West's side he's my 9x great grandfather through the Houghton family.

Here's what William Richard Cutter wrote about John Jr.:

(II) John (2), son of John (1) Moore, was born before his parents came to Sudbury. He settled in Lancaster, Massachusetts, becoming a proprietor of that town, March 11, 1653, but in the following year he returned to Sudbury. He married (first) November 16, 1654, Anne Smith, daughter of John and Sarah Smith, of Sudbury. She died in childbirth at Lancaster, March 10, 1670-71; he married (second) Judith . He became a prominent and wealthy man and held various town offices. In 1689 he was deputy to the general court. In 1700 he deeded his land, with the exception of his dwelling house, to his adopted son, Benjamin Bellows, in return for the support of himself and wife Judith for the remainder of their lives. The inventory of his estate as dated in 1702 and his nuncupative will was proved November 26, 1705. Children, born in Lancaster: Maria, December 4, 1655, died September 26, 1705; Elizabeth, December 27, 1657; Lydia, April 6, 1660; John, April 7, 1662; Joseph, 1664; Anne, July 17, 1666; Jonathan, mentioned below; Maria, March 10, 1670-71.-p1376

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 3 Lewis historical publishing Company, New York, 1914

It appears that John Jr. deeded his land in Sudbury to his adopted son Benjamin Bellows because his other sons, including my ancestors John 3rd and Jonathan Moore, were established already on land he owned in Lancaster.

John Moore Jr. died intestate. I'll discuss his probate file in Part 2.
To be continued...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I found my ancestor John Moore's probate file in the  Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871 collection over on the website. Unfortunately it's
one of the messier and harder to read type of documents so it's going to take me awhile to transcribe it.

Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)PAGE: 15362:2

Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)PAGE: 15362:4

The inventory of John's estate is slightly more readable. It shows that his land was valued at
567 pounds and 5 shillings, and the total estate was worth 804 pounds and 7 shillings. I found
it interesting that his weaponry was worth far less than many items such as John's beddery.

Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)PAGE: 15362:5

John Moore of Sudbury is the first of four consecutive ancestors with the name, starting with
his son, John Moore Jr. of Lancaster, Ma. my 8x great grandfather. I'll discuss him in the next
52 Ancestors post.

Monday, August 15, 2016


My Immigrant ancestor John Moore is one of those cases on my family tree where I am descended from him through both of my Dad's parents. On the West side, he's my 9X great grandfather. On the Barker side, he's my 11x great grandfather, and until recently I hadn't known about that connection.

Here's what William Richard Cutter has to say about John Moore the Immigrant:

John Moore, the immigrant ancestor, was born in England. After coming to this country he seems to have settled first at Sudbury, Massachusetts. He bought a house and land there in 1642 of Edmund Rice, from his farms in what is now Wayland. He took the oath of fidelity July 9, 1645. He married Elizabeth Whale, daughter of Philemon Whale, and she was executrix of his will. His estate was valued at eight hundred and four pounds, seven shillings. His will was dated August 25, 1668, and proved April 7, 1674. He died January 6, 1673-74. He mentioned his son, John Moore, of Lancaster, William, Jacob, Joseph, to whom he left the homestead, and Benjamin; daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Henry Rice; Mary, wife of Daniel Stone, and Lydia, wife of James Cutler. His wife died December 14, 1690. Children: Elizabeth, born perhaps in England; John, eldest son, mentioned below; William, born about 1640; Mary, born September 8, 1641; Lydia, born June 24, 1643 ; Jacob, born April 28. 1645 ; Joseph, born October 21, 1647; Benjamin, born December 13. 1648-p1376

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 3 Lewis historical publishing Company, New York, 1914

I found a copy of John's probate file over and I'll discuss that next.

To be continued,,,

Saturday, August 13, 2016


 The Findmypast Friday releases this week total 440,107, including  the 1891 Australian Census
for New South Wales, and new additions to  collections for Staffordshire, England and for


New South Wales 1891 Census
201,920 records - discover your ancestor in the only surviving records from New South Wales' 1891 census.


Staffordshire, Parish Registers Browse, 1538-1900
Number of volumes added: 99
Total volumes: 3,710
Covering: 370,000 full color images from churches across Staffordshire
Discover: Staffordshire baptisms, banns, marriages and burials page by page

Staffordshire Baptisms
Number of records added: 113,202
Total records: 1,934,225
Covering: 10 Staffordshire parishes between 1754 and 1900
Discover: Baptism date, baptism place, parents' names, father's occupation, residence

Staffordshire Banns
Number of records added: 4,500
Total records: 296,439
Covering: 10 Staffordshire parishes between 1754 and 1900
Discover: Bann date, marriage date, parish, residence, spouse's name & residence

Staffordshire Marriages
Number of records added: 51,996
Total records: 981,067
Covering: 10 Staffordshire parishes between 1754 and 1900
Discover: Age, marriage date, marriage place, residence, occupation, father's name and father's occupation for your ancestor and their spouse

Staffordshire Burials
Number of records added: 62,183
Total records: 1,238,437
Covering: 10 Staffordshire parishes between 1754 and 1900
Discover: Death date, burial date, burial place, residence, marital status and cause of death


Scotland, Registers & Records
Number of records added: 6 new titles, 79 volumes
Total records: 12,036
Covering: Dundee parishes, highland clans & regiments, social life in Scotland and clan histories
Discover: The realities of life in historic Scotland

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
complimentary one year world subscription to Findmypast and a Findmypast First membership.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Back in January, thanks to a tip from fellow genealogist Elizabeth Pyle Handler, I was able to fill in
the blanks in the Moore branch of my grandmother Barker's family tree. I will start exploring those
relatives in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, but before that here's another look at the
Moore line:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


My 9x great grandfather John Wiswall moved from Roxbury to Boston in 1660 where he becsme
the Ruling Elder of the First Church of Boston. From what I've read a "Ruling Elder" ranked above
a Deacon but below a Minister in church hierarchy, and as such John Wiswall's name appears in many letters sent to and from the Church. There's quite a bit of them online which should keep me busy when I have time to read them all. But document concerning real estate was the first to catch my attention recently. It concerns a piece of land across the Mystic River from Boston in Chelsea, Ma.

Sometime in 1663 John Wiswall became part owner of a farm at Rumney Marsh, which was what Chelsea was called at that time. Eleven years later,  he passed the land on to his son John Jr. which led to some lawsuits with the co-owners of the farm. I' ll explain why I've put some of the text
in boldface.:

 In 1674 Elder John Wiswall, one of the grantees of Edward Lane in 1663, conveyed to his son John Wiswall, a man about thirty-five years of age, his half of the Keayne farms at Rumney Marsh.18 At the April term of the Suffolk County Court in 1678 John Wiswall, Jr., brought suit against Elizabeth Cooke, widow of Richard Cooke, for a division of the farms, but the verdict was for the defendant.10 December 27, 1678, John Wiswall, Jr., conveyed title to one-fourth of the large farm, exclusive of buildings, for £250 to John Dowlittle, and in 1680 he conveyed to Elisha Cooke his half share in the small farm.20 At the December term of the Middlesex County Court in 1678, John Floyd, as assignee of John Wiswall, Jr., sought to collect £37 lOsh. from Cyprian Stevens and Henry Willard for one year's rent, in 1676, for half of a "farme Comonly called Cooke & Wisswells farme in Rumney Marsh," and for twelve and one half loads of hay. The writ was served upon Cyprian Stevens at Rumney Marsh. Simon Willard, aged 29, and Daniel Willard, aged 20, made oath that John Wiswell, Jr., had improved his part of the farm " commonly called Captn Keans farm" in 1676, and sold some of the stock. In the end John Floyd was nonsuited, as the farm did not lie in Middlesex County, and neither of the defendants lived there.21 Presumably Cyprian Stevens and Henry Willard rented Cooke's half of the farm in 1676, as the preceding February was the date of the Indian massacre at Lancaster, when the settlers withdrew, and did not return until 1679. Among these were Cyprian Stevens and Major Simon Willard and his sons. Major Willard died at Charlestown in April. Henry Willard, son of Major Simon, was born at Concord, June 4, 1655, and married Mary Lakin of Groton, July 18, 1674. He returned later to Lancaster. Simon and Daniel Willard, the witnesses in the case, were sons of Major Simon Willard. Cyprian Stevens, born about 1650, fourth and youngest son of Col. Thomas Stevens of Devonshire, England (later of London), was the son-in-law of Major Simon Willard. In a list of the children "born in Lancaster Families during Exile after the Massacre" are Simon Stevens, August 13, 1677, of "Cyprian and Mary, in Boston"; also Elizabeth, in 1681, and Joseph, in 1682/3. In 1682, Stevens was clerk of the writs at Lancaster, where he spent his later life.22 In 1680 the great Keayne farm was described as in the occupation of John Wiswall, Jr., Cyprian Stevens, and John Dowlittle; the little farm was leased to Thomas Brentnall

Elder John Wiswall died in 1687, and now his son John Wiswall Jr was now known as John Wiswall
Senior as he had a son also named John. To differentiate himself from his father and son, the second
John Wiswall placed his birthdate after his name.

Apparently Wiswall remained in Rumney Marsh after possession was given to Nicholas Paige in December, 1686, as his name appears on the tax lists of 1687 and 1688. A petition was presented at the April term of the Middlesex County Court in 1691 by "John Wiswall, Senr, 27:2: 39." 24 He wrote that John Wiswall, Jr., was arrested at the motion of Robert Muzzey on suspicion of stealing from him, that the petitioner gave bond for his son's appearance in court. But "my Said Son," he continued, "is departed & gon out of this Collony without yor petitioners knowledg or Consent." He asked to be freed from his bond in consideration for the " heartbreaking Sorrow & Impoverishing expences he hath bin at & is now vnder by means of my Said Sonns Enormities — And my Endeavoring to Save him from publick Shame." 25 John Wiswall's name did not appear in the Rumney Marsh list for 1692; in 1691 it was in the list for precinct number eight in Boston. According to the Rumney Marsh list for 1687 he was taxed for thirty acres of arable land and meadow, and one hundred twenty acres of pasture, twenty-two head of cattle, eight horses, thirty sheep, six swine, and housing of more than the average value.-pp666-667

A Documentary History of Chelsea: Including the Boston Precincts of Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh, and Pullen Point, 1624-1824, Volume 1   Massachusetts Historical Society, 1908 - Chelsea (Mass.)

Now, as to the boldfaced names and text: Major Simon Willard was my 8x great grandfather
and his son Henry Willard my 7x great grandfather on the West side of my Dad's family tree. I've
blogged about the Willards and the retreat from Lancaster to the Boston in the past, but other than
Simon Willard died in Charlestown I knew nothing else about their "exile". Now, while researching
the Barker side of Dad's family I've discovered that Henry was living on a farm across the river in

What a small world colonial New England was back then!

Monday, August 08, 2016


The latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver is entitled Male Ancestors Age at Death. Here's the challenge:

1) Review your Pedigree Chart (either on paper or in your genealogy management software program) and determine the age at death of your Male ancestors back at least five generations (and more if you want to).
2)  Tell us the lifespan years for each of these ancestors.  Which of your male ancestors in this group lived the longest?  Which lived the shortest? 
3)  Share your results in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or Google+.

Once again I have more information on my Dad's side of the family than from my Mom's side.
Her grandparents were all immigrants from Ireland and Germany and so far I've found very little
information about them before they came to America.

On my Barker side of the family two of my were brothers, both sons of Nathaniel Barker.

The two ancestors who died at the youngest ages died of  disease. On Mom's side, Charles Offinger died at 33 from consumption, and on Dad's side Frank Barker died from "pneumonia
after La Grippe"

The longest lived was my 2x great grandfather and Civil War veteran Asa F. Ellingwood who lived to be 93 years old.

Floyd E West Jr. (1924-1984) 60 years

Floyd E West Sr (1893-1970) 73 years
Edward F White Sr. (1899-1981) 82 years

Great Grandfathers
Philip J West (1868-1954) 86 years
Frank W Barker (1865-1905) 40 years
Edward J White (1873-1939) 66 years
John McFarland (1852-1924) 72 years

2x Great Grandfathers
Jonathan Phelps West (1834-1917) 83 years
Asa F Ellingwood (1828-1921)  93 years
Nathaniel S Barker (1830-1884) 54 years
Amos H Barker (1828-1907) 78 years
Patrick J White (1848-1902) 54 years
Charles J Offinger (1848-1881) 33 years
Michael McFarland (Dates Unknown)
Patrick Kelley (1829-1886)

3x great grandfathers
John Cutter West (1802-1862) 60 years
Philip Richardson (Death Date Unknown)
John Ellingwood (1798-1821) 33 years
James Thomas Dunham (1805-1888) 83 years
Nathaniel Barker (1794-1884) 90 years
Wesley Coburn (1802-1877) 75 years
Nathaniel Barker (1794-1884) 90 years
Cyrus Moore (Death Date Unknown)
Edward White (Dates Unknown)
Thomas Powers (Dates Unknown)
Jacob Offinger (Dates Unknown)
Christian Luick (Dates Unknown)
Unknown McFarland
Rodger Kelley (1795-1860) 65 years
James Byrne (Dates Unknown)

Friday, August 05, 2016


7, 047, 338 new records were added this week on Findmypast Friday:

United States, Canadian Border Crossings
6,078,005 new records – find out if your ancestors crossed over from Canada into the United States between 1895 and 1954. Uncover fascinating biographical details such as country of origin, occupation, education, physical condition, next of kin and much more.


Yorkshire Baptisms

Number of records added: 79,383

Total records: 4,443,252

Covering: Rotherham Church of England baptisms and five Roman Catholic parishes across Yorkshire

Discover: Parents' names, date and location of baptism

Yorkshire Banns

Number of records added: 6,978

Total records: 562,488

Covering: Roman Catholic parishes of Doncaster, St Peter in Chains, Knaresborough, St Mary, Rotherham, St Bede, Sheffield, St Marie Cathedral, Sheffield, St Vincent and Staveley and St Joseph

Discover: Date of banns, place, marriage year, residence, spouse's name and residence

Yorkshire Marriages

Number of records added: 28,335

Total records: 2,483,696

Covering: Roman Catholic parishes of Doncaster, St Peter in Chains, Knaresborough, St Mary, Rotherham, St Bede, Sheffield, St Marie Cathedral, Sheffield, St Vincent and Staveley and St Joseph

Discover: Birth year, residence, occupation, witnesses' names, father's name, date and location of marriage and much more.

Yorkshire Burials

Number of records added: 733,338

Total records: 3,998,948

Covering: Roman Catholic parishes of Doncaster, St Peter in Chains, Knaresborough, St Mary, Rotherham, St Bede, Sheffield, St Marie Cathedral, Sheffield, St Vincent and Staveley and St Joseph

Discover: Age at death, birth year, burial date and burial place.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
complimentary one year world subscription to Findmypast and a Findmypast First membership.


((Originally posted in Jan 2009 as "SIMON WILLARD PT2". Today is the 341th anniversary
of Simon's ride.He is my 9x great grandfather)).

In 1661 Massasoit,Sachem of the Pokanoket and the Wampanoag Confederacy
died. He'd had good relations for the most part with the settlers of Plymouth
Colony and a good case can be made that without his help, the settlement might
not have survived. But forty years of peace ended with his death. He was succeeded
first by his son Wamsutta, who felt his father had given the settlers too much
land and was seeking an alliance with the rival Connecticut colony when he died
under questionable circumstances in 1662. Massasoit's other son Metacom, now
became the grand sachem of the Wampanoags. He was better known to the
English as "King Philip."

Tensions mounted between the colony and the Indians as Philip sought to make
alliances with other tribes against the colonists and finally came to a head in1675.
John Sassamon, an Indian convert who'd gone to Harvard, warned the leaders
at Plymouth about Metacom's latest attempts to persuade the other tribes to
join in attacks on the settlers. A short while later Sassamon was murdered and
three Wampanoag Indians were arrested, tried, and convicted for the crime.
They were hung on 8 Jun 1675 . Two weeks later on 20 June, the town of Swansea
was attacked by Indians and destroyed five days later. The conflict that historians
call "King Philip's War" had begun.

Even though Simon Willard was now seventy years old, he was still in charge of
the defense of Middlesex County and despite his age went about it vigorously.
He led a small force of militiamen and friendly Indians and went from town to
town checking their fortifications and preparedness for attacks. At first these
were limited to the southern part of the colony but on 2 August a band of Nipmuc
Indians attacked the small town of Brookfield. The settlers took shelter in the
strongest building in town and held off the Indians for three days and made
attempts to send out messengers to find help.

Around noon on 5 August one found Simon Willard who was leading a mounted
force of 47 men from Lancaster to Groton. He immediately started out for
Brookfield which was about thirty miles from where the message had found him
and arrived at the besieged town shortly after dark. The Indians retreated at the
sudden arrival of Willard and his men and the Brookfield settlers were saved.

Four days later, the Indians attacked Lancaster, Simon Willard's previous place of
residence. Could it have been because of his rescue of Brookfield and his
prominence in the defence of the colony? Whether coincidental or deliberate,
the attack was one of many more to come.

It would be a busy fall and winter for Simon Willard.