Monday, May 20, 2019


In the conclusion of the dispute between my ancestor Roger Conant and his partners had with Francis Johnson, Roger presented a final argument to the court. Frederick Odell Conant reprinted that document in his book A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887:

"ffor awnswer to mr. Johnsons declaration we desire the court and Jury to have knowledge

"1 that as for the matter of these bills it was never denied, only on of them was lost 2 And as for the quantity of the bill lost none of vs can affirm, neither can mr. Johnson, but only by supposition, but whether the bills be or were more or less, we suppose it littell to the purpose or to what we looke after wch is our pts of that beaver and otter wch mr. Johnson hath received as witness his two letters dated long after the bills. ;3. As ftor the twenty three pounds wch we accounted due to each of vs, it was so much disbursed by each of our pticuler statements so must our disbursements even in the trad weh was long before the time that mr. Johnson received this forementioned beaver & otter, and for what might be further due by lulls if it came to hand to be equally divided among vs. 4 for the fowerth pticular there is no need of awnswer to it. 5 As for the arbitrators of Boston they did fully considder and debate of the bill lost, and of what mr. Johnson had rendered of our joynt debt, and of what mr. Johnson had pmised to mr. ffoxwell of land and house to be secured, proofs being produced to the arbitrators by ffoxwels agent.
Roger Conant
Peter Palfrey
Nathaniel Pickman"

The verdict was as follows:
"At a Court held in Salem ye 27th  9 mo 1655. Mr. Roger Conant Peter Palfrey and Nathaniel Pickman ptfs. against Mr. Francis Johnson defendt: in an action of the case for detaining a parcel of Beaver cont. 141 1/2 lbs and a parcel of otter nere as bigg in bulke, wch he received twenty yeers since wth due damages for forbearance. Jury finds for the plt's, in the hands of the defendt 141 lbs of Beaver vallued at 70 lbs 10s and 70 lbs of otter at 5s per lb: 17 lb 10 sh. three parts whereof we find for the pits, bothe of the beaver and the otter wch. 3/4 amounts to 66 pounds, and costs of Courts wch is 36s 2d"-pp112-113

A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887: Containing Also Some Genealogical Notes on the Connet, Connett and Connit Families, private printing, Portland, Maine 1887 

There was an image of the original handwritten document included in the book but unfortunately it didn't reproduce too well in the e-book version and the text has all faded away,

But at least we have the statements from the court record which shows how valuable the fur trade and beaver skins were to the colonists of  the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Depositions by two more witnesses in a court case involving my ancestor Roger Conan, the fur trade and payment of a debt:

"This I Tabitha Pittman doe testify that at my husband Dikes last going away from me when he was taken away att Cape Codd by the hard winter being the last words he ever spake to me, he said 'wife when thee hast paid Peter Palfrey such a sum (but att present I know not the amount) then there is due to thee from Richard Foxwell onn the bills, three and twenty pounds or thereabouts and all for each partner and that itt was due and oweing to them at the time of the date of the bills."
"Taken upon oath 30: 1: 1657 before me Edmond Batter."

Francis Johnson deposed "that about twenty-four or live years since Mr. Roger Conant, Peter Palfrey, Anthony Dike and myself formed a partnership for a trade to the eastward in which trade they left, the sole business of management unto me Francis Johnson. * * * At the end of three years or thereabouts I sold unto Mr. Richard Foxwell all the interest in the house with the Debts due from the Indians, household stuff and trading goods for all which I took t wo bills of debt under his hand payable at two set days one in December the other June after. As 1 do remember some time after I sold to said Foxwell a small parcel of goods and took his bill for that sum, so that there were three bills of debt made in my name and pertains to what sum I know not. Sometime after the sd. Foxwell sends some beaver and otter by a boat which I received debts to our selves and other men which the trade was indebted to, this beaver and otter was disposed of for that. Two or three or more years after seeing no more pay came from the said Foxwell the above said parton'rs came to account to see how they stood upon which we found Mr. Foxwell so much indebted to us as amounted to 23 lbs. or thereabouts to every partener. the bills which we accounted desperate were delivered into the hands of Peter Palfrey at that time (being in my hands before) by Mr. Conants desire and our consent. * * *"


 A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887: Containing Also Some Genealogical Notes on the Connet, Connett and Connit Families, private printing, Portland, Maine 1887

I'll conclude in the next post with a response to these depositions made by Roger Conant

To be continued...


Recently a pair of beavers has been spotted building a lodge in the state park here in town. This was exciting because there have been no beavers here in about a century. Now I knew that at one time the survival of the settlers of Massachusetts depended to some extent on the trade in beaver pelts, and I wondered how many of my colonial ancestors may have taken an interest in that trade. Because of my recent research of my Conant ancestors I knew of at least one who did, Roger Conant.

I found an account of a court case involving him and some partners in a court case involving beaver pelts, and a debt. It's from Frederick Odell Conant's  A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887... .

 At about this time he formed a partnership with Peter Palfrey, Anthony Dike and Frances Johnson, for trade with the Indians along the coast. They had a station or truck-house, as it was called, at Blue Point, near Saco, which was afterwards sold to Richard Foxwell, together with certain debts due from the Indians. Dike was lost in a storm off Cape Cod while on a trading trip. There was a disagreement among the partners in settling their affairs, as in 1655 Conant, Palfrey, and Nathaniel Pickman as successor to Dike, brought suit in the court at Salem against Francis Johnson to recover the value of a quantity of beaver and otter skins, sent by Foxwell to Johnson, and not accounted for by him. The following testimony is found on the Court files of Essex county. Johnson wrote Foxwell Feb. 12, 1635, acknowledging the receipt of the beaver, otter, etc "Geo. Taylor sworn June 18 1654 saith that about eighteen years since I dwelling with Mr. Cleeves in Casco bay. Mr. Richard Tucker and I was going to Boston ward, and at Sako, we met with Mr. Richard Foxwell, he desired me and Mr. Tucker to carry a great packet of beaver and otter for him to Mr. Francis Johnson, which we did deliver him in the bay."

Richard Tucker of Falmouth (now Portland) deposed July 1, 1654, that "about eighteen or twenty years since Mr. Richard Foxwell delivered me in my boat then bound for Massachusetts, a great fardel of beaver and another of otter, value to the best of my remembrance seventy or eighty pounds sterling."

"This deponent testifieth that about Seven veers since that going eastward I was desired to carry a letter by Nathaniel Pickman to Mr. Richard ffoxwell of blue point. This deponent testifleth that afors'd ffoxwell had read ye letter that was sent to him by Nathaniel Pickman and answered that he owed nothing to Nathaniel Pickman but what he owed to Mr. Johnson and to Anthony Dike and it was for goods he had of them at ye trading house.
By me Lot Conant.
Testified upon oath ye 14: 5 mo. 1654.
Before me John Endecott, Deputy Governor."

On 24: 1 mo: 1655-6 Lot Conant testified
"That he heard his father Mr. Roger Conant and Mr. Francis Johnson speaking about the business between Mr. Foxwell and them about putting it to arbitration, but they both declared not by any means to put bills of Debt to arbitration.

A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887: Containing Also Some Genealogical Notes on the Connet, Connett and Connit Families, private printing, Portland, Maine 1887

Two notes on the testimony:
John Endecott was my 10x gread grandfather.
A "fardel" is an old English word for a bundle of something.

There is more testimony which will be in the next post.

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


My ancestor William Walton served Marblehead, Ma. for thirty years as minister and according to the town histories was a leader and well respected. But there were a few of his fellow citizens who held a different opinion about that. Two of those people were John Legg and his wife Elizabeth. It should be noted that the Leggs seemed to be in some conflict or another with the other townsfolk and frequently were in the Essex Quarterly Court on charges. Such was the case in the court session held in Salem, Ma. on 6Jul 1647  which has this notation

Mr. Moses Maverick v. John Legg and wife Elizabeth. Defamation.
Mr. Wm. Walton v. John Legg and wife Elizabeth. Defamation.

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume1 1636-1656 Essex Institute, Salem, Ma 1911

There are no details given about the cases so I don't know if they were settled or dismissed. But apparently there was some ill will afterwards, because there was this seven years later at another Salem court session on 30Nov 1654

Elizabeth, wife of John Legg, to confess her sin of slighting and reproaching Mr. Walton and of disorderly carriage in the meeting house on the Lord's day, or to sit one hour in the stocks. Wit: Mr. Johnson, Will. Beale and Ric. Rouland, constable. The constable of Marblehead to see it performed. The confession was as follows : " I Elizabeth Legg doe acknowledg that I did euell & Sinfull in Speakeing Slitely and scornefull of Mr. Walton, & In perticuler In Saying I Could haue a boy from the Colledg that would preach better then Mr. Walton for half ye wages."- ibid p378

I found one more case involving a complaint against Rev. Walton in the court session of 26Nov 1667. This one seems to be more a matter of theology than preaching style: 

Henry Coomes, for abusing Mr. Walton, saying that he preached nothing but lies, was fined or to be whipped-p461

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 3 1662-1667  Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1913

But those who didn't care for Rev. Walton and wanted him replaced were about to get their wish either because of illness or old age, for in the same court session there is this entry:

Court considering the petition from several inhabitants of Marblehead, in reference to the calling and settling of a meet person to join with Mr. Walton for carrying on the work of the ministry among them, approved of the course and Mr. Walton also approving, court appointed Major Hathorne and Mr. Higgesson to •assist the people with their advice and counsel.- ibid.p462

William Walton died a year later on 6 Nov 1668.

Sunday, May 12, 2019


As I wrote earlier, Elizabeth (Walton)Conant was the daughter of William Walton, a leading citizen of Marblehead, Ma. He is my 9x great grandfather and I blogged about him four years ago because I am also descended from his son Samuel Walton on my grandmother Barker's side of the family.

Here's some of what I previously wrote about Reverend Walton:

1. Rev. William Walton was born in England about 1598. He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, England, February 18, 1G17 or '18, and took his degrees in 21 and '25. Became a clergyman; came to America before 35; stopped awhile at Hingham, Mass., and afterwards settled at Marblehead, Mass.


1. John, born 1627, in England.

2. Elizabeth, born 1629," Married Lot Conaut.

3. Martha, born 1632,"

4. Nathaniel, born 1636, in Hingham, Mass

5. Samuel 2, born 1639, in Marblehead. He married Sarah Maverick. In 1674, a householder.

6. Josiah, born 1640; killed by lightning at sea.

7. Mary, born 1644, in Marblehead. Married Robert Bartlett.


Walton Family Records, 1598-1898: With Its Intermarriages, the Oakes and Eatons, 1644-1898 and the Proctor Family, 1634-1898 (Google eBook)  Josiah Proctor Walton, Muscatine, Iowa, 1888 

I found out a bit more on Google ebooks. For instance, this from a history of Hingham, Ma, south of Boston, which includes a quote from a history of Marblehead:

William Walton [III. 274] came to Hingham in 1635, and had a grant of land in the first distribution of lots. He was educated at Emanuel College, Cambridge, England, where he took his degrees in 1621 and 1625. He remained but a short time in Hingham. "Mr. Walton" had a grant of land in Marblehead, Oct. 14, 1638. This was Rev. William Walton, who was then preaching there. This is the first mention of his name in the records, and it is probable that he began the work of his ministry there in that year. Through his endeavors, with the assistance of others, a meeting-house was erected, and regular Sunday services were established.

Mr. Roads, in his " History and Traditions of Marblehead," says:—

"In October, 1668, William Walton, the faithful and zealous missionary, died, after having served his Master and the poor people of Marblehead for a period of thirty years. Coming to them as a missionary to preach the gospel, he became, without ordination as a clergyman, a loving pastor, a faithful friend, and a wise and prudent counsellor. His advice was sought on all matters of public or private importance, and when obtained wag usually followed without question. That his loss was felt as a public bereavement by the entire community, there can be little doubt."
History of the town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Volume 1, Part 2 (Google eBook) published by the town, 1893

Most interesting was the fact he was present as an observer when Rev. John Eliot questioned eight Christian Indians about their catechism at Roxbury in 1654. William recorded the event and you can
read it in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 24 (Google eBook) Charles Folsom. Cambridge Ma, 1834 pp277-284.

While my ancestor was well respected by most of the citizens of Marblehead, that admiration was not universal. I'll discuss that in another post.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


In honor of Mother's Day, here are pictures of our Dad's female ancestors.

First, on his mother's side:

Amos H Barker & Betsey J (Moore) Barker

Our 2x great grandmother Betsey Jane Moore was born on 16 Aug 1842 at Waterford,
Oxford, Me. She married Amos Hastings Barker in 1856 and they raised a family of
12 children, 11 of whom survived to adulthood. Betsey died 12Mar 1924 at age 82.

My great grandmother Charlotte Lovenia Barker is the lady on the right.

 Our great grandmother Charlotte Lovenia Barker was youngest of  Amos & Betsey's
12 children. She was born on 3 Aug 1879 in Albany, Oxford, Maine and was known as
":Lottie". She married her first cousin Frank W. Barker on 16Oct 1898 and they had
4 children before Frank died in 1905 from pneumonia caused by "La Grippe" (the flu).
She was married three more times before her death on 3Jan 1944 at Bangor, Maine.   

Cora Berthella (Barker) West & her great granddaughter Mindy Sue West

Our grandmother Cora Berthella (Barker) West was born 27Oct 1899 and was the eldest
child of Frank and Charlotte. She preferred the name Bertha, although it was given as
Cora on her marriage certificate. Bertha married Floyd E.West Sr on 24Mar 1919 and
had 5 children, one of whom was our Dad.

 On his Dad's side of the family:

Arvilla (Ames)West

Our 3x great grandmother Arvilla Ames was born in Livermore, Androscoggin, Maine
on 25Jan 1810, one of 10 children. She married John Cutter West on 23Sep 1827
at Sumner, Maine, and five years later they moved to Letter B Plantation (later renamed
Upton), Oxford, Maine. She had 10 children, 3 of whom died in a diphtheria outbreak
in 1862. She died at age 97 at Hermon, Maine.

Louisa A.(Richardson) West
Louisa Richardson, our 2x great grandmother was born in Wilton, Maine on
23Jun 1837 at Wilton, Maine.  She was the second wife of Jonathan Phelps West,
whose first wife had died in the 1862 diphtheria outbreak. Louisa and Jonathan
married on 31Jan 1865 and had 4 sons. She died 4Oct 1925 at age 88.

Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood & Asa F Ellingwood

Our other paternal 2x great grandmother was Florilla Dunham who was born 29Aug
1832 at North Paris, Oxford, Maine. She married Asa F. Ellingwood on 10Aug 1850
at Woodstock, Oxford, Maine and 11 children.(She was one of 11 children herself.)
She died in Paris, Oxford, Maine on 21Feb 1917.

Clara (Ellingwood) West

Finally, our great grandmother  Clara Ellingwood was the 8th child and youngest
daughter of Florilla and Asa Ellingwood. She was born 6Mar 1865 in Dummer, Coos,
NH. Her first marriage with Charles Tidswell ended in divorce and she married our
great grandfather Philip J West on 25May 1894 at Shelburne, Coos, NH. She had
three children by her first marriage and two by her second, including our grandfather
Floyd E West, Sr. Sadly, Clara died young after an illness in Augusta, Maine on 10Apr
1901. She was only 36 years old.

And those are the pictures we have of the mothers in our family.

Happy Mother's Day! 


Once again for Mothers Day I'm posting photos of our family's mothers, starting with the maternal line of my family..

For our Mom's side we don't have very many since her grandparents immigrated
here from Ireland and Germany in the 19th century.

John McFarland & Annie (Kelley) McFarland
First there's Anna Kelley, born 1Oct 1858 in Kiltrustan, Roscommon, Ireland. She married
my great grandfather in Edinburgh Scotland on 16May1879 and shortly after they came
to America and settled in Boston. She had 17 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood.
Anna died 15Feb 1945 at Boston, Ma. at age 86.

Pauline (Offinger) White
Our other maternal great grandmother was Pauline Offinger, born 17Dec 1873
in Cambridge, Massachusetts to German immigrant parents. She married Edward J.
White on 27Nov 1895 in Boston, Ma. and had 9 children.          

Agnes (McFarland) White
Our grandmother Agnes (McFarland) White was born 7Oct 1898 in Boston, Ma, the
14th of John & Annie's 17 children. She was known as "Aggie" in the family.
She married Edward F.White, Sr. and had two children, our Uncle Ed and our Mom
Anne Marie. She died 12Feb 1957 in Malden Ma.

Anne M. (White) West

Finally, our Mom, Anne M. (White) West. She was born 7Jul 1927 at Boston, Ma and
married our Dad on 29Jun 1947, also at Boston. To her McFarland cousins she was
known as "Red White". She died on 28Jul 1999 at Weymouth, Ma and she is missed by
my brother, my sister, myself and the rest of the family.

Friday, May 10, 2019


I found an image and transcription of Lot Conant's will in Frederick Odell Conant's  A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887:

"I Lot Conant aged about tiftie years being sicke and weak, yet of p'fit understanding due hereby declare my last will and testament wherein in the first place I doe beipieth my soule unto god that gave it, and my body to the grave in hope of a blessed resurrection: and for my outward estate and goods I doe bequeath and give unto my five sonns to each of them tiftie pounds and unto my sonn nathaniel the shop and tools over & above the rest, and unto my five daughters twenty pounds to each of them and this estate I leave to be whole and unbroken till they come to full age or to marriage estate and in the meane time the whole to rest in the hands of my wife, and for the bringing up of the children and further more my will is that my wife be executrix and that the land be not at all disposed off from the children and that my wife have the dwelling house and orchard for her life time, and also that my kinswoman mari Leach have a cow or heifer at her being married or going from my wife. And for help unto my wife in this matter 1 doe instruct and designe mr. John Hale, Captaine Lathropand my brother Exercise Conant to be assisting, hereunto 1 have subscribed my hand this 24 of the 7 month 1674.

Witness (signed) Lot Conant

Roger Conant
Ex Erc'lse Conant 

Roger Conant and Exercise Conant sworn in Court at Salem the 26: 9 mo: 1674 that they were present as witnesses when Lott Conant signed and proclaimed the above written as his last will and testament and there is no later will they know of, the said Lott being of good understanding.

The original will is preserved in the Court Files of Essex county. A fac-simile of it is here presented.

Now here's the thing.

Lot Conant's Probate File Folder is empty. The file at only contains a small slip of paper with "No Paper Found" written on it. Since Frederick Odell Conant published his book in 1887, the probate papers must have disappeared sometime after that,

Monday, May 06, 2019


My 7x great grandfather Luke Perkins Jr.'s wife was  Martha Conant, grandaughter of Roger Conant. a founding father of Salem and Beverly, Ma,, and of William Walton, a leading citizen of Marblehead, Ma.

I have a double descent from Roger Conant.  On the Ellingwood side of the family I'm descended from Roger's daughter Sarah, who married John Leach. On the Dunham side I'm descended from Roger's son Lot Conant. This means my 2x great grandparents Asa Ellingwood and Florilla Dunham were 6th cousins.

I already discussed Roger Conant some time ago. Now it's time to look into 8x great grandfather Lot Conant. This  is from Frederick Odell Conant's  A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887: Containing Also Some Genealogical Notes on the Connet, Connett and Connit Families:

 Lot"2 {Roger), b. about 1624 at Nantasket or Cape Ann. He seems to have lived at Marblehead as early as 1657; was selectman in 1662; had one cow's commonage in 1667, and on May 25, 1674, is recorded as one of the 114 householders.* On Nov. 20, 1600, his father gave him the homestead at Beverly with 32 acres adjoining and 72 acres in other parts of the town (Essex Deeds, Vol. 3, I>. 28. For deed in full see p. 120 of this Genealogy). On the same day Lot leased the homestead with three acres adjoining, composing the southern part of the home farm, to his father and mother for an annual rent of "one Indian corn." About this time he probably moved to Beverly and built a house near his father's, for "a dwelling house and orchard containing about 4 acres, with an old house of his father" is mentioned in the inventory of his estate. On July 4, 1667, he was one of those dismissed from the First Church of Salem to form a church at Bass River, or Beverly.

In 1669-70, Mch. 10, with consent of his wife, Elizabeth, he sold to Vinson Stilson, of Marblehead, ''all that his messuage, tenement or dwelling house with the land on which it stands & land belonging being 4; acre in Marblehead bounding untohe lands of John Trebye and Richard Thisle." (Essex Deeds, Vol. 3, p. 181.)

On the 20 Mch., 1671, "Lott Conant of Beverly, yeoman, sells John Treby of Marblehead a dwelling house with land adjoining and orchard and garden (Petition, 28 May, 1671.)bounded by the highway or street westerly and some land of Vinson Stilson westerly and Richard Hanaver north-westerly, the marsh of Nathaniel Walton north-easterly and land of said Lott Conant south-easterly." Signed by Lot and Elizabeth Conant, and witnessed by Hilliard Veren and Francis Johnson. (Essex Deeds, Vol. 3, p. 140.)

On the 20 Mch., 1672, "Lot Connet attacting Matthew ffairfield and not p'secuting the Court allows the said ffairfield costs 4s." (County Court Records.)

A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520-1887: Containing Also Some Genealogical Notes on the Connet, Connett and Connit Families, private printing, Portland, Maine 1887

Next we'll look at his will and inventory.
To be continued