Theodore Parker.

Genealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: Showing his earlier ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass., from 1635 to 1893 online

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Online LibraryTheodore ParkerGenealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: Showing his earlier ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass., from 1635 to 1893 → online text (page 3 of 47)
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distributed among the ever increasing number of descendants. Among the
number, however, are two ornamented jars and a hard wooden mortar still in


splendid preservation. One of the jars is in possession of Mrs. Rhody
Sj'monds of Wakefield, and the mortar is in possession of Mr. Henry Boynton
of Andover. It has long been stated that the jars or vases contained tea when
brought from England. They were made of earthenware and were selected
from the best quality the times afforded. The ornamentation is neat and
pretty. Further interest in this line ought to reveal many valuable heirlooms
now unknown to the writer.

Deacon of Redding." He was selectman in 1661, and con-
tinued irregularly for five years more. He with Deacons
Thomas Kendall and William Cowdrey was appointed com-
missioner for trying and defending "small causes." We find
his signature in several places among the archives of the
State attached to the petitions of the town to the General
Court. In the four divisions of land made by the town,
wherein all had a share, large tracts of land were added to
his estate, by one of which he" received over 200 acres on the
north side of Ipswich river, which land he mentioned in his
will. He was a gentleman of property, but had some diffi-
culty in establishing the bounds of his large tracts of land.

The following agreement well represents the mode of divis-
ion between the first settlers. Rev. Samuel Haugh, Read-
ing's talented minister, and whose land bordered Dea.
Parker's, died in 1662, which made the necessity of a definite
division :

Know all men by these Presents that whereas there hath
bene a division betwene the overseers of the estate of the late desesed
Mr Samuel Haugh of the one side and Thomas Parker of the other
side about a side and hedd line, both partis above mentioned have
therfoure chosen Lieut John Smith and Johnathan Poole to run and
stake the line and end the diferans between them, and gave them
power to choose a thurd man to them if they saw needed have

therfoure chosen Thomas Kendall to be the thurd man. Who

have therefore thus laid out a strait line for them both which we
have run and marked according to our best understanding: — rand
shown both parties together which line is to be the continuous and
stated line between them. And as for the fense, the said Thomas
Parker is to have one poale of the stone wall made by the afore^*^
desesed Mr. Samuel Haugh by the ould well and to have it next his
own land and he is also to have that poale of stone wall that was also
made by the abovesaid Mr. Haugh that now falls in his own grounds
at the lower end of the lot, and in consideration whereof the said


Thomas Parker is to mark out a half of such fense as he does reservee

for Mistris Brock betwene her pasture and her forest(?) at the west

end of the lot and the said Thomas Parker is to sett the fense into

the line between the pastures at the lower end of the lot and to give

to the said M'' Brock four shillings for what is run in this papur.

This is our agreement in wittness whereof we have hereunto set

our hands.

John Smith,

Airi — 2 — 1663. Thomas Kendall,

Jonathan Poole.

To ascertain the location of our ancestor's home has caused
much painstaking research. As a matter of ancestral respect
it is our duty to know as near as possible what part of the
town of Reading constituted his farm, his homestead and the
scenes with which he was most familiar. The historian of
Reading, Mr. Lilley Eaton, himself, seems to have been in
error in regard to the original homestead. Thomas Parker's
farm bordered a part of the east side of the Common and also
the north and east sides of the estate of Rev. Samuel Haugh.
Mr. Haugh was the second minister of Reading and his house
stood where now stands the Wakefield town hall. Our
ancestor being among the very first settlers secured good land
in the centre of the town, where it is now thickly settled.
Thus it is safe to estimate that the oldest Parker homestead
was inside of a radius of 30 rods north or east of the spot
where is now the Wakefield town hall. The location is a
pleasant one, and the choice made by our ancestor is credita-
ble to his judgment.

His intimate neighbors were men of sterling worth and all
whom, like him, had lived first in Lynn. The most friendly
and social relationship seems to have existed between them.
These were the men with whom Dea. Parker's name is found
almost invariably connected: Dea. Wm. Cowdrey, the most
prominent citizen of the town ; John Poole, the father of
Reading's manufacturing industries ; Nicholas Browne, a
native of Inkborrow, Eng., whose land was near Dea.
Parker's; Dea. Tho. Kendall and Dea. Zachary Fitch, whose
son Benjamin Mr. Parker called his "well beloved and trusty
friend." Each of these families intermarried with our ances-
tor's children, except that of Mr. Fitch. Other neighbors


were John Weston, "a man deeply interested in religious
matters"; Rev. Samuel Haugh, the first minister of the town,
a "very pious man," and Rev. John Brock, who succeeded
Mr. Haugh, and who, it is recorded, "dwelt as near Heaven
as any man on earth."

His will, made Aug. 3, 1683, preceded his death only nine
days. It seems that he was sick and called in his friend Wm.
Cowdrey, for it was made hastily and is in Dea. Cowdrey's
handwriting. Being too weak to write he made his mark to
the will. The original document is on file in Middlesex
Probate Records. His widow, Mrs. Amy Parker, died in
Reading, Jan. 15, 1690.


The Laste will & testament of Thomas Parker of Reddinge this
third of August 16S3 ; although weake in Bodey yet of Set in Minde
& Memorey

1 I give My Soule to God that gave it and My Bodey to be buried
by Christian frennds In hope of A Joyfull Resurextion at the last

2 I give unto My Dear wife Amy My house & homstead with
two Akers of Medow at the Mill two Akers in the Reedy Medow
And two Akers in the great Medow And three Akers in the saw
Mill Medow next to the Medow of Edward Taylors, And Also the
Improuvment of All my Cattell & houshold goods with the Im-
prouvment of All the Land And Medow during her natural life

3 I give unto My son John Parker all the Land he lives upon Be
it More or Less with five Akers of Medow In Bear Medow and two
Akers of Medow by Jonas Batons Medow And two Akers in Reedy
Medow, And also a quarter parte of My great Devidend,* And two
Akers of the wet Swamp.

4 I give unto My sonn Thomas Parker all the Land he now lives
upon & five Akers of Medow in bear Medow : & the Slodge of
Medow Leying near Bursham Medow

5 I give unto My sonn Nathaniel Parker all the Land he now
Lives upon and the Remainder of My Medow In Bear Medow And

♦"Bear" and "Reedy" Meadows are familiar terms in Wakefield at the
present time. They lie along the Saugus river between the old Parker farm
and the Great Pond. The " Wet Swamp " was divided among the early settlers
in 1666. His " Great Devidend " was his grant of 1658, about 200 acres on the
north side of Ipswich river.


the Round hole of Medow at Dustins Bridge, And tow akers of
Medovv in the great Medow he paying three pound within one yeare
after the Death of My wife Amy : unto his Brother Thomas Parker,
And I also give unto sonn Nathaniel Parker one halfe of My great
Devidend and Also My Ceador Swamp, and three Akers in the Saw
Mill Medow

6 Furthermore I give unto my sonn Thomas Parker two Akers
of the wet swamp, And the Reste of the wet swamp I give unto
my son Nathaniel Parker

7 Furthermore this is to be understod that the three Akers In the
Saw Mill Medow & the two Akers in the Reedy Medow & the two
Akers in the great Medow John & Nathaniel are not to have untill
the Death of their Mother

8 I give unto my two Daughters Maxey & Martha fortey shillings
a year to be payd them one yeare After the decease of ther mother

9 I give unto My grand children Samuel and Sarah Parker three
pound apease. Samuels at twenty one years old and Sarahs at her
day of Marrige provided they live with thear grandmother. Sarah
while she is eighteen year old : and Samuel while he is twenty one
year old provided that the over* seer doo see that he hath som Trade.

Furthermore the sayd Thomas Parker shall not sell Any of his
Land or Medow without the advise of his Brethren.

10 I give unto my grandchild Samuel Parker my gunn and my
Reste, but is to be parte of the three pound that is to be payd him

11 I give unto my Sonn John Parker A great Bible that Boniface
Burton gave to Me in Case It Com Into my hands

12 Lastly I make my Sonn Hannaniah Parker My full & sole
Executor of this My laste will & testament ; further More I Doo
Desier my well beloved and trusty freind Benjamin Fitch and my
sonn John Parker to bee the over seers of this My laste will & testa-

Witnes William Cowdrey The Marke of

Thomas Clarke Thomas -|- Parker

Decon William Cowdrey subscriber to this Instrument testifieth &
saith that the testator Being in perfect mind & memory maid the
within and above Ritten instrument as his Last will & tesament
Taken upon oath
Before us,

Jn" Brown [Brown] J

December i8 : 83 : Thomas Clark appearing in court made oath as
a witness to the above sd will Jonathan Remington Clerk.

William Hazy , >^ , r r> 1 r

Com s for Redding-.



An Inventory of the Estate of Thomas Parker Decon of Redding
this first of October 16S3.
First the house & homstead with tow Akors of Meddow

at the Mill
More for seventy five Akors of land and Medow
More for housing & 39 Akors of land & Medow^
More for 94 Akors of upland & Medow
More In Stock In Cattel & Swine
More In Land five Akors
More In husbandry Impliments
More one fetherbed & Boulster & bedsted
More one flock bed & bedding & bolster
For one bed more wth bedding thereto
For a Truckle bed & bedding
For eight paier of sheets & an od sheet
More for eight paier of pillow Beers
More for tabal Linnan
In puter in Brass and Iron
More for Chests Boxes and Chairs
More for Bibols and other Bokes
More for Barrels, Tubs, & other lumber
More for horse accoutrements
For his waring aparell, stockings & shoes
In Credit to the Estate
And no Debts

More in wolen & linnen & coton yarn & bages
Arms & Amonisshon

180 — 00 — 00
96 — 00 — 00
103 — 00 — 00
102 — 00 — 00
26 — 10 — 00
I o — 00 — 00
03 — 09 — 06
07 — 00 — 00
02 — 10 — 00
03 — 10 — 00
02 — 00 — 00
07 — 10 — 00
01 — 05 — 00
03 — 00 — 00
oS — 14 — 06
02 — 07 — 00
02 — 09 — 08
01 — 19 — 00
01 — 05 — 00
1 3 — 00 — 00
03 — 00 — 00

02 — 17 — 00
01 — 15 — 00

586 — 01 — 00

The total sum is
This Inventory Aprized by us —

William Cowdrey — Jn° Browne — Jeremiah S\vayne,

For the first half-century the burial-place of Reading was
on the east side of the Common which was, originally, of
larger area than at present. Here our ancestor was interred,
but in process of time the enclosure was allowed to go uncared
for and many of the old stones were broken or covered up.
Finally no trace of the old burial-ground remained, but in
1834, in building a town house which stood until recently, the
graves were broken into accidentally, and the stones thus
recovered have been preserved. They were removed to the
present cemetery where they stand in a row by the side of the
Great Pond. That of Deacon Thomas Parker is a worthy



memorial. It is of excellent stone, very thick and in perfect
preservation, notwithstanding its age. Upon this the follow-
ing inscriptions were well chiselled : —

xm: ixi . WA






had nine

Children : —
Thomas Parker, b. in Lynn, 1636 ; m. Deborah

children ; d. July 17, 1699. See Appendix.
Hananiah Parker (2), b. 1638; m. Sept. 30, 1663, Elizabeth

Browne of Reading.
John Parker, b. in Reading, 1640; m. Nov. 13, 1667, Hannah

Kendall ; was Sergeant ; had 13 children. See Appendix.
Joseph Parker, b. 1642 ; d. 1644.
Joseph Parker, b. 1645 ; d. 1646.
Mary Parker, b. Dec. 12, 1647; m. Samuel Dodge of Beverly,

son of Richard ; she had n children and d. 1705. See Appendix.
Martha Parker, b. March 14, 1649.
Nathaniel Parker, b. May 16, 1651 ; m. Sept. 24, 1677, Bethia

Polly ; removed to the West Parish, now Reading town, was

Ensign ; had 13 children, and was ancestor of illustrious and very

numerous descendants. See Appendix.


Sarah Parker, b. Sept. 30, 1653 ; d. Oct. 26, 1656.

Jonathan Parker, b. May 18, 1656; served in the Indian wars;

d. June 10, 1680.*
Sarah Parker, b. May 23, 1658.

* The military spirit was very strong among our ancestors when fighting
was the final cause of training. They always, from the time of landing, kept
a musket for the frontier, against Pequod, King Philip, French and Ojibways;
they never shrunk from pain nor fainted at the inevitable blood-lettings of
discomposed times, and always made a solemn business of military drill, as
old family almanacs and account books attest, in which the phrases of field
manoeuvres and words of command alternate with the price of hay and lum
bar and the settlement of a neighbor's bill. Jonathan had passed through
perils of the field in King Philip's War; perhaps he was one of the 150 volun-
teers under Turner, or one of Lathrop's picked company. This was in 1675-6,
but he was spared to die at home. The following seems to have been written
by his nephew John Parker, son of Hananiah, and who was in 16S0, at the age
of 16. A discolored sheet, which has long been treasured and preserved,
bearing the date of 16S0, is a most tender and God-fearing document : —

"There was heard to say that he desiered that if it wear the will of God,
that this cup might pass from him, but if not he did desier to submit, allso he
desiered that God would soport his parents and make them wiling to submit,
if he must dey, that God would be Pleased to make his pasedg easy into glory
& if that he did dey he hoopt to go to a heavenly Father. Lord let my
prayers com before Thee as ensence and lifting of his hands as erning sack-
erifice he did entreate his father and mother to forgive him all his ofencis
telling of them that he would entreate them to submit to the will of God in
parting with them saying that he had cometted his case to God : and if it may
make most for Gods glory and youer comfort I desier to live, if not I am
wiling to dey: he was ott whither or which; was wiling to doo what might
make most for God.

" My afflictions wer great yet the love of God was greater : for he would live
to sinne, that he did believe that God would provide for his parents so that
they should never want : he begd of his mother to be wiling to part with him
and his mother sayed that she would have something when he was gone; and

[he] said that he hopt he was going to Jesus Christ Beeing asked if he

were not afraid of death, he sayed noe, for Christ had taken awaj the sting of
death — the sathon had thrust at him to make him fall but sayed he had no
foothould and had not yet prevailed & he hopt that he never should for he was
a coward. Then his mother sayd that it was a great merci that God did coop
him in the sins of the wars and brought htm home to dey by his Parents. I
had but a litol grace then but I had so much that I didn't fear Evil or Death —
There was notice taken of him that he prayed for he had nothing els to doo :
— he did desier to be remembered to his two Sisters and tell them that if they
do see him no more they should not see him sinne — XhonX "

In the lower corner is written in the same hand : —

"Diference betwene kings of thrones then John Parker; his exampl to you


Of the II children of Dea. Thomas Parker we pass on now
to the second son* —

Lt. Hananiah Parker, b. in Lynn(?),t 1638, son of
Dea. Thomas and Amy. He m. Sept. 30, 1663, EHzabeth
Browne, who seems to have had a twin brother Joseph, and
born in Reading, Dec. 10, 1647, dau. of Nicholas and
Elizabeth. I The father, Nicholas, was a native of Inkberrow,
Worcestershire, England, the son of Edward Browne. He
was a man of property. He lived in Lynn ten years, during
which time he was her representative to the General Court
from that town. Hananiah Parker settled on land which
bordered his father's farm.§ The assessors' list of 1667 credits
him with a house and farm. He was made a freeVnan Oct.
15, 1679. He belonged to Reading's militar}- company, of
which he was chosen ensign in 1680, and lieutenant in 1684.
It is evident that his Puritan townsmen had confidence in his

* See Appendix for the history of the remaining children of Dea. Thomas

fit is uncertain whether he was born in Lynn, as the earliest records of
both Lynn and Reading are lost.

J Savage says she was a dau. of Jonathan Brown of Reading. His authority
is most excellent, but other records makes it more probable that she was dau.
of Nicholas. Savage describes this Jonathan Brown as " a man of substance."

§ This it seems was situated about a half-mile east of Dea. Thomas Parker's,
on the main road from Lynn to Lowell, now Lowell Street in Wakefield, and
upon which place Hananiah's descendants, through his son Ebenezer, occu-
pied and lived for five generations in the Parker name. The last one of these
was Thomas Parker, a namesake of the original ancestor, and a deacon also.
He is remembered by some of the old residents of Wakefield, formerly Read-
ing. From Thomas it passed into the hands of his niece, Mrs. Obed Symonds,
lately deceased. Since sold by her it has passed through many hands, and
the large house was destroyed by fire in 1880, while owned by a Mrs. Rogers.
Now only a cellar-hole and well remain, which is noticeable a short distance to
the east of Samuel Parker's on the north side of the road. This place is cred-
ited by Lille}' P^aton, historian of Reading, as the original homestead, that
of Dea. Thomas Parker. This is incorrect, howe\'er, as is proved by close
examination of the will of Lt. Hananiah Parker. Hananiah's three brothers
settled as follows: Thomas, Jr., succeeded upon his father's homestead in the
centre of the town; Sergt. John settled on Cowdrey's Hill; and Ensign
Nathaniel removed to the West Parish, now the centre of modern Reading.
This explains to us why Dea. Thomas Parker in his will, 1683, forbade his
son Thomas to sell any of his land or meadow without the consent of his



ability and character at an early date, for in 1679 he with two
others were given charge of building a new Meeting-house.
He was then chosen b}' the General Court one of the Com-
mittee to "rectifie and settle the highway between Woburn
and Reading." Consider the energy and industry of our
ancestor when w^e say that in addition to the great work of
changing the primeval forest to a fertile farm he performed
the duties of selectman, town clerk and representative, each
for a long period. The military affairs required much of his
time, if not active service at certain periods. Trainings were
frequent and an absence cost a heavy fine. Every Sunday
found him at church, to which he and wife connected them-
selves very soon after marriage. The Church records mention
his name with respect. As a representative of Reading to the
General Court at Boston he served seven ^^ears. He was a
typical Puritan yeoman, the father of a rugged, honorable
family of children. He gave thought to the education of the
young. In 1707 Lt. Hananiah Parker and Capt. John
Browne were appointed committee "to provide a Scool
Master for the towne school." They reported that John Webb
of Braintree "be chosen to teach reading, writing, casting
accounts and the Latin and Greek tongues" for the three
months next ensuing. His wife Elizabeth died Feb. 27,

He married 2nd, Dec. 12, 1700, Mrs. Mary (Bursham)
Bright, dau. of William Bursham and wadow of Dea. John
Bright of Watertown. She survived him. He died March
10, 1724, aged 86. She d. Jan. 4, 1736, aged 87. Thus she
was II years younger than he. Hananiah Parker had no
children from his second marriage.


Ifn the Stamc of 6ort g^mcn the 20* of May 1703 I Hananiah
Parker of Reading in the county of Middlesex in the province of the
Massachusetts Bay in New England ^'eoman being aged and weak
in body but of perfect mind and memory (thanks be unto God there-
for) calling to mind my own mortality as knowing that it is appointed
for all men once to dye do make and ordain this my Last Will and
Testament that is to say principally and first of all I Give and recom-



mend my Soul into the hands of God that gave it and my body to the
Earth from whence t'was taken to be decently buried in a Christian
manner by my Executour heafter named hopeing that at the
Resurrection of the Just I shall receive the Same again by the
mighty power of God. And as touching Such Worldly Estate as it
hath pleased God to endow me with — all I do bequeath and dispose
of the same as here followeth

I Will that all my Just Debts and funeral charges be duly dis-
charged in convenient time after my decease by my Exec^^ hereafter

I Give unto Mary my well beloved Wife the use of the west End
of my house from the top to the bottom with the back Lean to and
Cellar with the use of the Buttery and also a sufficient garden Spott
to be kept well fenced and in good manner for her use as she shall
see cause to improve it for planting of roots beans squashes and also
the keeping of one Cow Summer and Winter during her life or so
long as she shall remain my Widow, also an horse to Ride on when
she shall have occasion, also the going of one or two swine summer
and winter if she see cause and [also] a liberty keep fowls. And I
do give to my said wife firewood sufficient to be brought ready cut
for her use and laid conveniently near her door by my Executour
also I do give to her so many apples as she shall need to lay in for
Winter : also one Barrel of Cyder to be placed in her Cellar annually
by my Executour so long as she shall live and remain my widow —
My Will is that her garden and part of housing be kept in good
Repair for her and all taxes lawfully set thereon and demanded to be
paid by my s*^ Executour — Moreover I do give and bequeath unto
my s*^ Wife all such Provisions as I shall leave at my decease as also
such woolen and Linen Cloth that shall remain not made up into
garments — also I give to her fifty shilling to be paid her annually for
so long as she shall remain my Widow by my Executour herein-
after named

I do give and bequeath to my son John Parker and to his heirs
and assigns forever that house and land that was his Grandfather
Parker's which is that housing and Lands that he now occupieth
and liveth upon ; as also that three acres of Meadow which I bought
of Edw** Taylor and those Dividends which did of right belong to
the land abovesaid.

Moreover I give to my said son John that three acres of meadow
which was his Grandfather Brown's Gift to his Mother; also I give
unto him five pounds in passable money to be paid unto him by my
Execu'' afternamed within two years after my Decease



I give and bequeath unto my son Samuel Parker & to his heirs
and assigns all that Tenement that he now dwelleth on the which I
bought of Edward Taylor, all which I gave to my s*^ son Samuel
Parker by a Deed of Gift formerly and do now confirm the same to
him by this my Last Will and Testament which is the whole I intend
him as his Part and Portion of my Estate

I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Poole over & above
what she hath already had, one brass pan, and my best feather bed
with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging ; and also I will and
bequeath to her that six acres of meadow called Reedy meadow or
else thirty pounds in passable money to her by me Executour within
three years after mine and my wife's decease —

I Give and bequeath to each of my Grandchildren five shillings to
be paid unto them out of my Estate by my Executour when they

Online LibraryTheodore ParkerGenealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: Showing his earlier ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass., from 1635 to 1893 → online text (page 3 of 47)