Monday, July 27, 2015


My very first entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge about a year and a half ago
was a post about my 8x great grandfather Edward Colbourne/Coburn. At that time I hadn't
as yet hit on the method of concentrating on the ancestors of one of my grandparents and
I wasn't really happy with the post on Edward. So I'm doing a "do-over" for Edward as I start
my examination of his descendants among my grandmother Cora Bertha Barker's ancestors.

I've found some new sources of information since that earlier post: the entry for Edward in
The Great Migration book, his probate file at American, and several online
local histories and genealogies that include the Coburn family. Not surprisingly, two of
them were written by Coburn family members. One of them is a History of Dracut,
, written by Allen Rogers Coburn, which had this on Edward and his family:

"In the list of passengers who sailed from Liverpool in 1635 on the Ship Defence in command of Capt. Bostock, the name of Edward Colburn appears. His home was in Wilts County, England, and when, at the age of seventeen, he arrived in Boston, he went to Ipswich and was employed by Nathaniel Saltonstall, who owned a large estate in that town, and who later committed the management of the farm to him. The plan of the town of Ipswich does not include any farm belonging to Edward, although he owned some outlying land. He married Hannah, whose surname is not given in the records, but references in private letters lead to the conclusion that her name was Rolfe. His neighbor, Samuel Varnum, had purchased in 1668, a tract of land in what was known as "The Wilderness north of the Merrimac," which later became Dracut. Large tracts of land in this vicinity were for sale and probably influenced by his neighbor Varnum at Ipswich he purchased a tract as already described in a former chapter. As the Indians were troublesome, he occupied a garrison house near the river, and with his wife and children, who were born at Ipswich, he removed here in 1669. His children were Edward, John, Robert, Thomas, Daniel, Hannah, Ezra, Joseph, and Lydia. The greater part of the Coburns and Colburns in the United States descend from the six younger brothers, Edward2 being killed in King Philip's war in 1675, as already recorded. The descendants of Edward and Hannah had been prominent in public affairs in town and state. In the lists of those who served in the different wars which have occurred since the settlement of the town, the name of this family appears defending the rights and liberties of the country. On the Roll of Honor the names of 33 Coburns appear as serving in the War of the Revolution."

History of Dracut, Massachusetts: Called by the Indians Augumtoocooke and Before Incorporation, the Wildernesse North of the Merrimac. First Permanment Settlement in 1669 and Incorporated as a Town in 1701,  Press of the Courier-Citizen Company, 1922 - Dracut (Mass.)

I'll discuss Edward Colbourne's probate file and other matters in the next post.
To be continued

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Before I begin examining the Coburn/Colburn/Colbourne for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks
Challenge I thought I'd post a relationship chart between Edward Colbourne and my grandmother
Cora Bertha Barker. As you can see,there's some missing information: the surnames of the wives
of both Edward Colbourne and his son Joseph. the name of Caleb Colburn's wife, and Caleb's
death information.

Between the Coburns and the other associated families, I should have enough blogging material
to keep me going on the Challenge well into next year!


Friday, July 24, 2015


From this week's Findmypast Friday announcement of recently added records

"It's the fourth and final Findmypast Friday of Crime, Prisons and Punishment Month and we've added exciting convict records so you can find out what became of your wayward relatives after their sentence. You could also discover your military ancestors in our new British and Irish army collections...

This week, we've added over 149,000 new records including:

From convicts to colonels, uncover fascinating ancestors with Findmypast each and every week.
 The Findmypast team."
These should really be of interest to my Australian and Irish friends! 

You can see expanded descriptions of these records here at the FindMyPast website.
 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.


For Week 28 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, I come to the last post (for
now) on my paternal grandmother Cora Barker's ancestors on her mother's side of her
family tree. This concerns my 9x great grandfather John Wakefield, who married Elizabeth
Littlefield, sometime before 1663 when his daughter (and my 8x great grandmother)Mary
Wakefield was born.

Much of the records of Wells Maine were destroyed in several Indian attacks during the King Philip's War. There's not much online, either. I was able to find the following in Volume 1 of Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire:

(I) John Wakefield, the progenitor of the family which has been very numerously represented in Maine, was a native of England. The first record of him found in this country bears date January 1, I637, when at the town meeting held at Salem he was assessed fifteen shillings as an inhabitant of Marblehead in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. It is presumable that he came as early at least as the previous summer. On the fourteenth of the same month, among the several portions of land laid out at Marblehead. he received four acres "on the Neck." Prior to 1648. he lived in Salem, which then included the present town of Marblehead. He first appears on record in Maine in 1641, when he and his brother-in-law, John Littlefield, received a grant of what is known as the Great Hill Farm. The hill at that time extended much farther into the sea than it now does, and with the projecting land at the eastern end was called the Great Neck. This was in the ligonia patent, and neither of the grantees took possession probably on account of the uncertainty as to their title. John Wakefield settled in the town of Wells, where he attained considerable prominence. He served as commissioner and selectman in 1648-54-57. In each instance his father-in-law, Edmund Littlefield, served in the same capacity. In 1652 John Wakefield purchased Wakefield's island and removed to it in that year and there resided for a time. He subsequently purchased land in Scarboro and resided upon it several years. Thence he removed to that part of Biddeford which is now Saco, where he remained until his death. That he was a man of considerable substance, is evidenced by the fact of his buying and selling lands, and he was frequently called upon to witness deeds for others. In 1670, when he was probably incapacitated by illness or the infirmities of age, his wife acted as his attorney in selling parcels of land. He died February 15, 1674, and was buried at Biddeford. The destruction of the records of Wells, Maine, leaves us no accurate data as to the time of his marriage or his birth or the births of his children. His wife Elizabeth was a daughter of Edmund and Annis Littlefield, of Wells. Her death is not recorded. Their children included: John, James, Henry, William, Mary and Katherine.
Ezra S. Stearns, William Frederick Whitcher, Edward Everett Parker. editors, Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 1, Lewis Publishing Company, 1908

Now I'll be moving on to the Coburn family side of Grandmother Barker's family tree.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


For this installment of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I'm going back up the Upton branch
of my Barker line to the family of Abigail (Frost) Upton's mother, Mary (Wakefield) Frost.
She was the daughter of John Wakefield and Annis(Agnes) Littlefield, my 9x great
grandparents. This post will be about her father, my immigrant ancestor Edmund

I have found very little online about either the Littlefields or Wakefields other than a
few entries in family or regional genealogies. Here's what I found for Edmund in William
Richard Cutter's Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 4:

(1) The founder of the Maine branch of the family on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Edmund Littlefield, was born in England. 1591. He was knighted for bravery on the battle field, and given a coat-of-arms. He first appears in Boston, Massachusetts. 1635. He was a churchman and royalist, and on account of his political and religious opinions was refused permission to settle in any of the plantations of the Massachusetts colony, hence went to Maine and located in the colony at Wells, in that then sparsely settled region, where he, with John Wheelright, Edward Rishworth. Henry Boade and others, "entered on the land and began to make it subservient to the uses of man." His relations with Wheelright lead to the inference of a close friendship, and one authority says he was one of Wheelright's church in Exeter, and one of the combination to each of whom twenty-one acres of land was assigned under the Gorges proprietary. This church was founded by those whose theology was denounced by the dominant church in the Massachusetts colony, and as Littlefield's name does not appear in the list of those who were driven from the plantation at Boston, it is assumed that he left there before the actual expulsion took place. He built a saw and grist mill on the Webhannet river in 1641. He was one of the committee to settle boundary between Wells and Cape Porpoise, and a commission to try small causes, elected by the people for the years 1654-55-58-60-61. A family tradition is that he came over in a ship of his own building, bringing machinery for his mills. "The programme of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the town of Wells reads: Sir Edmund Littlefield, with Rev. John Wheelright, shares the honor of founding the early settlement in Wells." The baptismal name of his wife was Annis, but her family name is not known. She died in 1678, having survived her husband seventeen years, he having died in 1661. The children: Francis, Anthony, Elizabeth, John, Thomas, Mary, Hannah, Francis. Seventy-six of his descendants were in the revolution.-p 1244

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 4  Lewis historical Publishing Company, Boston, Ma. 1908

The Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Volume 1 gives more information about Edmund's involvement with Wheelwright. The town of Exeter that is mentioned is in New Hampshire:

 (I) Edmund Littlefield, born in Southampton, England, about 1600, married Annis. (The records give no family name.) He came to this country from Tichfield, England, probably at the same time as the Rev.John Wheelright, for he was one of his parishioners at Exeter in 1630, and was one of the combination to whom twenty-one acres of land was assigned. In 1638 he sent to England for his family, and on May 16 of that year his wife Annis and six children took passage for Boston in the "Bevis" of Hampton, Captain Townes. The Rev. John Wheelright, owing to a religious controversy precipitated by the teachings of Anne Hutchinson, left Exeter and later went to Wells, Maine, many of his parishioners going with him, and among them Edmund Littlefield, who in 1641, leaving Exeter, went to Wells, Maine, where he was one of the first settlers. He was supposed to have built the first house, a saw mill and grist mill. He was deeded a lot of land by Sir Ferdinand Gorges in 1643, and was a leading spirit in organizing the town and promoting its development. He was on the grand jury in 1645, and it is said was the richest man in Wells. He and his sons were millmen and farmers. He was of fearless enterprise and sound moral principle. On account of this firm, moral character, he was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts agent for the sale of liquors in Wells, it being then of the utmost importance that great discretion should be used in the distribution to the Indians. He was one of the committee to settle the boundary between Wells and Cape Porpoise, and was elected by the people for the years 1654, 1655, 1658, 1660 and 1661 to try small cases. He died in December, 1661. Children: Francis, born 1619; Anthony, Elizabeth, John, Thomas, Mary, Hannah, Francis Jr., born 1631.-page 101

 Henry Sweetser Burrage & Albert Roscoe Stubbs The Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Volume 1  Lewis Historical Publishing Company,  New York, 1909

My ancestor Edmund Littlefield led quite an impressive life, but I think I'm more impressed by his wife
Annis crossing over with those six children after Edmund had gone before them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


There  were two accusations against Thomas Tuxbury. The first, and more serious one was
the question of his wife in England: if she was still alive, he couldn't marry the widow Bartlett.
I've run across cases in the Essex County Court files where the some of the settlers had left
there families behind in England and rather than bring them over after them, had taken up
with other women. The problem with this in early colonial Massachusetts is that many of
the colonists came from specific areas in England and knew each others'  families back in
the mother country. Sooner or later  wayward husbands were found out and the Court
either ordered them to send for their families , or to go back to England and bring them

In this case, Thomas Tuxbury has a letter from home telling him his wife was dead. The fact
that there were "two different hands on it" made my ancestor Lt. Phillip Challis suspicious
that it might have been a ruse to fool Widow Bartlett, But Thomas Wells had seen the letter
and said while the letter was written by one person, it had been addressed to Henry Tuxbury
in the handwriting of another. In other words, the letter had been forwarded to Thomas
through his brother Henry who would be expected to know where Thomas was and give
him the letter. Other witnesses testified about what the Widow Bartlett had said about the
contents of the letter and of Thomas' plans for his children.

In the other instance, it seems strange that Richard and Mary Martin were summoned to
court because of Mary's "suspicious carriages" with Thomas, yet none of the depositions are
about her behavior. The statement of Richard Martin and his family give no actual incidents
of Thomas and Mary being together. Richard tells of a conversation where he says Thomas
talked about bigamy. There were no other witnesses to that statement. His mother Susannah
likewise had no evidence of wrongdoing except warnings from neighbors that he might
cause trouble with her daughter in law.

Indeed, if Mary Martin and Thomas had been involved with each other before her marriage,
Thomas didn't seem to desire her afterwards. The witnesses statements about his behavior
and how he spoke about Mary seem to paint a picture of an embittered rejected suitor who
had mentioned suicide rather than a determined lover.

And after all this, the complaint was dismissed by the Court for "lacking legal testimony".
Apparently the Court was satisfied about the authenticity of the letter from England, and there
was no evidence of improper behavior with or towards Mary Martin. Having some of
the more prominent townsfol vouch for his good behavior no doubt was helpful for
Thomas as well.

I've run into a bit of frustration in trying to find out what happened afterwards. There is no
record of Thomas marrying anyone in Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, or Ipswich. It's
possible he and Widow Bartlett married in Boston or another county. If so, I've found no
record of it as yet.

Monday, July 20, 2015


More statements about the charges against Thomas Tuxbury, followed by his rebuttal. Some of the men who vouched for his character are my ancestors: William Gerrish, Stephen Greenleaf, and Joseph Bailey.
This is a long post, so I'll save my observations for the last post in the series. 

William Saman, aged about thirty-eight years, deposed that about three years ago, Tuksbery being at Boston, he saw several letters that passed between him and the widow Bartlett, she being at Newbury. Deponent had seen them at Newbery kissing each other, etc. Sworn, Sept. 19, 1674, before Robt. Pike,* commissioner.

Mrs. Susana Goodin deposed that she rode to Newbery with the widow Bartlet when the rumor was that they were to marry and she told her that three of Tuksbery's children were to come over, one of whom was placed out and one his father was to keep. She further said that when her husband Bartlet was alive she thought it was impossible for her to have loved any other as she did him, but that she now loved this man better than she loved him.

Sworn, Sept. 18, 1674, before Rob. Pike,* commissioner. Wm. Gerrish,* Steven Grenlefe,* Richard Dole,* John Knight, sr.,* Thomas Hale, jr.,* Daniell Peirce,* Anthony Somerby,* Caleb Moody,* Joseph Bayley* and John Webster* certified, Sept. 14, 1674, that Thomas Tewxsbury had lived civilly and like a Christian. Nathanell Clarke* testified that the testimony against this man was of little consequence. "I have known the man euer sins he came to our town and neuer did know any euell of him."

Thomas Tewxbery's* petition: "lett me beseech your worshipe to consider this my poore condition which I am at this time forsed to lay open before your worshipe to my greife thus it was that I was forsed to fly my contry & to leave my family & kindred for surtyship & when it was soe with me I Could not be satisfied noe wheare in that land but I must com to this country in soe meane estate that I was forsd to bind my selfe for my pasage not longe after by the helpe of my brother got my selfe cleare & lived with him but very much troubled in the mean time my brothers neihbor died & the executor wild me to rent his tenament which after sum consideration I tooke it wiled by the advise of sum frends to send to my family which I have don to my best abelity whearupon I was willing to get if posible sum thing about me expecting every year their coming over & had noe encorigment from them that I might goe to them the times now being amended I have intended all this year to goe for them but god has ben pleasd to viset me with a great lamnes whearby I have ben much disinabled & now I be sech your worshipe consider & see how this people seek to undoe me in state & good name by raising of storys & scandalls about many things that have ben past to or three yeare since not that I have done them any wrong but in suspition that I have caused diferences to arise between their son and his wife because I went to her mother to have my hand cured thay then livinge in house whith her mother the partys them selvs noe ways acusing me

Charls Anes and Sarah Anes deposed that they had known Thomas Tewxbery ever since he came into the country, living close by him and had been in his company early and late, but never saw any uncivil carriage. They considered that he lived in the fear of God and carried himself well all the time he lived in the house with the widow Bartlet.

Johne Daves deposed that "I lived in one end of the house with Thomas Tewxbery most parte of the time he lived in house with the widow," etc.

John Stevens and Mary Stevens deposed that they were his next neighbors and he had milk of them and they never saw any uncivil carriages, but oftentimes gave them good instruction in the way of God to their comfort. John Bayley and his wife testified that when he was at their house, he carried himself well, etc

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 5
Massachusetts. County Court (Essex County), George Francis Dow
Essex Institute, 1916 - Essex County (Mass.)

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Continuing on with the testimony against Thomas Tuxbury, we get more "he said, she said",
including something Thomas said that may have led to the suspicions of bigamy, as well
as his opinion of Mary Martin's morals, which sound like sour grapes from a rejected suitor:

Richard Marten, aged about twenty-seven years, deposed that this summer when Thomas Tuksbury had a lame hand at deponent's father Hoyt's, he told deponent that if he were in his place, "the case being as it is with my wif he woold go away from her & Leave her and go into another Country & mary another wif To which I sayd if I shoold so do my concienc woold tell me yt I had a wif & it may be a child in another plac: his answer was ther wear good men in former tune yt had mor wives then on as namly daved which was a man after gods owne hart." Sworn, Sept. 16, 1674, before Robt. Pike,* commissioner. 

George Martinn deposed that in a short time after his son Richard was married to Sergt. Jeret Hoyt's daughter, deponent's brother Hoyt told him that Tukesbery said he was sorry that his daughter was married no better, for her husband was but a poor man and had suffered disgrace at Hampton, but Amesbery men would live well as long as they had any land and he told him that although he had suffered disgrace at Hampton, it was not for running away from his wife. Also that Tukesbery said to Mrs. Hoyt that he had murderous thoughts to kill himself because her daughter was married. Also that Tukesbery asked William Samon, the ferryman, to bring over Richard Martinn's wife, and he would pay him for it.

Mary, wife of Left. Chalic and Mary, wife of Henry Blazdal, deposed that last spring Goody Hoyt told Tuksbery at Blazdel's house that her daughter was to be married to Richard Martin and he said that she would never love any man more than a fortnight and he wished he had never seen her face. He also said that when she lived on Newbery side, she kept such company in the night and there was such swearing and tearing that it made his hair stand on end and upon being asked by Goodwife Chalic how he could bear it, he answered that he had been fain to rise in the night and bid them be gone and that her sister Naomy was as bad as she. Also that said widow Bartlet said that she must have one at every port, and that she wooed Richard and not he her. Sworn, Sept. 10, 1674, before Robt. Pike,* commissioner.

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 5
Massachusetts. County Court (Essex County), George Francis Dow
Essex Institute, 1916 - Essex County (Mass.)

To be continued...