THE SYMMES MEMORIAL

Second Generation

The Children of ZECHARIAH and SARAH

Born in London, England

Born in Dunstable, England

Born in Charlestown, New England

The baptisms of the children born in Dunstable appear in Mr. Savage's "Gleanings".
[3] SARAH SYMMES[2], daughter of Rev. Zechariah and Sarah Symmes - the eldest of their children except a son who died in infancy - was born in England about 1625; accompanied her father to America in 1634; admitted to the church in Charlestown, April 17, 1642; married first Rev. SAMUEL HAUGH [pronounced Hoff] in 1650. He was born in England, son of Atherton Haugh, who came in 1633 from Boston in Old England, where he had been a mayor, and settled in Boston, New England. He came in the ship Griffin, of three hundred tons, with Messrs. Hooker, Stone and Cotton, the last of whom was probably his pastor in England. He was an adherent of Mrs. Hutchinson in 1637, and representative from Boston with Vane and Coddington. Samuel, the son, was a member of the first class in Harvard College, though for some reason he did not graduate. He came to Reading, or what is now Wakefield, in 1648, and was ordained pastor of the church there, March 26, 1650. He was the second minister of the place, succeeding the Rev, Henry Green. He died at the house of his brother-in-law, Hezekiah Usher, in Boston, March 30, 1662. He left three daughters, and a son Samuel.

She married second, Rev. JOHN BROCK, of Reading, now Wakefield, November 14, 1662. He was born in Stradbrook, in Suffolk, England, 1620; came to this country in 1637; graduated at Harvard College 1646; began to preach, 1648, first at Rowley till 1650, then to the fishermen at the Isle of Shoals, where he labored twelve years. He was ordained at Reading [Wakefield] November 13, 1662, as successor to Mr. Haugh, and on the day following married his widow. He was eminently a devout and holy man, and was supposed to exercise what is called a "particular faith" in prayer, or an assurance that the very thing prayed for will be granted. He died June 18, 1688, aged 68.

[4] Captain WILLIAM SYMMES [2], the eldest son of Rev. Zechariah [1] and Sarah Symmes who came to maturity; born in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England; baptized January 10, 1626-7; came to New England with his parents at eight years of age; and was twice married. The name of his first wife is not known. As she had a daughter Sarah, this may have been her name. * The second wife was MARY --.
* We find on file in the Probate Office at East Cambridge, the will of "Sarah Simes, of Cambridge, Mass. Bay in New England", dated April 4, 1653. She makes bequests to her brother John Stedman, her dear pastor Mr. [Jonathan] Mitchell, Elder [Richard] Champney, Elder [Edmund] Frost, her brother William French, Deacon [Gregory] Stone, Deacon [John] Bridge. All of these were highly respectable Cambridge men, members of the church, and all were freemen of the colony as early as 1640. There is nothing further to indicate the condition of the testatrix; but we cannot avoid the conclusion that she was the first wife of Captain William Symmes. By the inventory it appears that she died June 11, 1653. Amount of inventory, 44 11s 9d, all personal estate.
Not much is known respecting him. He resided in Charlestown, in that part which lay north of Mystic Pond, and which is now included in Winchester; was chosen tything-man there in 1679.

The Indians gave a deed of the land afterwards known as Chelmsford, April 3, 1660. Of this deed William Symes was a subscribing witness. The others were Samuel Green and James Convers. [See Allen's History of Chelmsford, page 163]. "September 21, 1674. In behalf of the proprietors of the Land of Node, William Sims and Edward Wilson, both of Charlestown, received from the town of Woburn a quit-claim of that tract, being 3000 acres". [Sewall's Hist. of Woburn, p. 540]

He appears to have adhered to the royal government during the melancholy time from 1684 to 1689. The charter of Massachusetts, under which the colony had prospered for fifty-four years, was vacated in October, 1648, and the people now lay at the mercy of the king. In December, 1684, Sir Edmund Andros arrived in Boston as royal governor of all New England. His government was oppressive in the highest degree. He pronounced the titles under which the inhabitants held their land utterly worthless. Their land, he said, belonged to the king of England. If they would retain possession, they must take out new titles from him or his agents. In March, 1688, he and his council passed an act which struck at the root of that system of town government, which is the safeguard of our civil liberties. This act forbade that more than one town meeting should be held in a year, on any pretence whatever; and this only for the election of town officers; and this meeting must be called, not by the selectmen, but by certain justices of the peace within the county.

The town of Woburn met in March, as usual, and chose five worthy men for selectmen. But within a fortnight the election was declared null and void, and the inhabitants were directed to meet for a new choice, by a warrant issued by Jonathan Wade of Medford, John Brown of Reading, and William Symmes of Charlestown, three justices of the peace for the County of Middlesex. These justices had been appointed by the arbitrary royal Governor, and were expected to be subservient to his will. [Palfrey, Hist. of New England, vol. iii. p.550; Sewall's Hist. of Woburn, p. 129]

After his father's death, and probably before, he resided on the farm given to his father by the town of Charlestown, and which by will the father gave to him to be his after his mother's death, on condition that he pay to his brothers and sisters one hundred pounds in equal portions within two years. This condition was never performed, as we learn from a document dated 1692-3, which will now be quoted. It was signed by his brother Zechariah Symmes, of Bradford, and the other children then living. After speaking of themselves as the children of the Rev. Zechariah Symmes, late of Charlestown, deceased, and of his having made a will devising his property, they said that Mr. William Symmes, eldest son of the aforesaid Zechariah, having died in an untimely, aggravated and sudden manner" [He died, as per Inventory, September 22, 1691. We know not the manner of his death] "and his affairs having been left in a complicated and unsettled state", they have taken it upon them to look into and settle his affairs, or something to that amount.

The document proceeds as follows: "That whereas our brother William, deceased, being our father's eldest son, at our honored mother's death, concerning whom the will runs thus: 'Item. At my wife's death, I give my farm near Woburn and land at Menotomy to my eldest son provided that he bind it over to pay unto the rest of my children a hundred pounds in equal portions in two years time;' which condition as yet has not been performed: therefore we the subscribers of this instrument do resign up all our inheritance and claim to and interest in the aforementioned farm upon these provisos, viz. 1. That the debts due from the farm be first responded. 2. That his relict, as administratrix, and his heirs as they come of age, do subscribe with their hands and seals to this instrument of accommodation and concord. But if they refuse, this instrument is of no force to secure the farm to them." Signed by ZECHARIAH SYMMES and others.

INVENTORY of the Estate of Captain. William Symmes, Esq. [sic] of Charlestown, who deceased Sept. 22, 1691.

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This Inventory was exhibited in court, Jan. 3, 1693-4.
* James Convers, Senior, was son of Deacon Edward Convers, one of the founders of Woburn and father of Major James Convers, the third appraiser and the gallant defender of Storer's garrison in Wells, in June 1692.


As an index to the housekeeping in the XVII Century , even in good families, we introduce an example exactly copied from the original.

Captain Symmes received that title from being an officer in the train bands. He was a lieutenant in 1687. At the time of his death, September 22, 1691, he was in his 65th year.

There is a long interval between the birth of his daughter Sarah in 1652, and the birth of his next child Mary, which was in 1676. We know of no other child than Sarah by the first marriage. The conviction forces itself upon us that his first wife died in 1653, in Cambridge, while living apart from him, and that he lived in a widowed state till about 1675. Probably his second wife was considerable younger than himself. She had by him six children, and outlived him nearly thirty years.

Unfortunately, no record of Captain Symmes's family has been preserved. *
* [ There are many deficiencies in our early town records. There was no law then requiring the registration of families. One reason for the deficiency in this case may have been the fact that Captain Symmes lived seven or eight miles from the town clerk. ]
We derive our information from other but authentic sources, especially the court records and the will of Mrs. Mary Torrey, who had been the second wife of Captain Symmes.

Captain Symmes left no will. His widow Mary was appointed administratrix, and gave bonds in the sum of 1200, with Matthew Johnson, Sen., and John Carter, * both of Woburn, as sureties, to exhibit an inventory of the goods and chattels of the deceased in court on or before January 3, 1693-4. This inventory has already been quoted.
* [ Matthew Johnson was the son of Captain Edward Johnson, the author of the "Wonder-Working Providence". He was often employed in town business. John Carter was a son of Captain John Carter, one of the founders of Woburn. - Sewall's Hist. of Woburn.]
Commissioners were appointed to attend to the settlement of the estate of Captain Symmes. They reported that William, the eldest son, should have his share in upland.

	Mary, the old house, &c.
	Timothy, part of the new house, &c.
	Elizabeth and Zechariah, to have shares.
	Nathaniel, the old mill, &c.
	Mr. Fiske, a portion of the swamp.
	Mr. Fiske's wife Sarah, a portion.
Here we have the names of all the living children of Captain Symmes, none of whom, except Mrs. Fiske, were then of age.

This document was signed by the commissioners, Josiah Parker and others, March 10, 1693-4. This settlement of the estate was consented to by the widow of Captain Symmes, and by Rev. Moses Fiske, husband of the eldest daughter Sarah. But no division or appraisement was made at that time.

Mrs. Mary Symmes, the widow of Captain Symmes, was married to Rev. Samuel Torrey, of Weymouth, July 30,1695. He was born in England, 1632; was brought by his father to this country in 1640; was educated at Harvard College, but left that institution the year he was to have graduated; labored fifty years in the ministry, three years in Hull and forty-seven in Weymouth; and died April 21, 1707, aged 75. He was probably much older than his wife Mary; and his children, at least two of them, seem to have married hers. Contemporary writers represent him as possessing commanding mental abilities, richly ornamented with science, and as truly a great and good man. He was three times chosen by the legislature to preach the Election Sermon, in 1674, 1683, and 1693; and all three of the sermons were printed. He was chosen president of Harvard College, 1684, but declined the honor. [Am. Quar. Reg., viii. 57.]

No division of Captain Symmes's estate was made till July 31, 1705. At that date a survey of the farm was executed, and a plot of it made by Captain Joseph Burnap, of Reading, a noted surveyor. This plot may now be found among the papers on file in the probate office at East Cambridge. I have given it a careful examination, and an exact copy is now before me. The farm is to my eyes quite a familiar object. Indeed it came up within a few rods of the spot where I now write.

Captain William Symmes's Farm


* [Farmers in those days, and ever since, have thought it desirable to have a piece of salt marsh. This piece lay two or three miles south of the farm, on Mystic River, where the tide ebbs and flows.]
The whole making out the 300 acres granted by Charlestown to Rev. ZECHARIAH SYMMES. There was also a parcel of Swamp on Alewive Brook, at a little distance south-east, containing 7 acres and 41 poles.

East of the river were 111 acres 53 poles; west of the river were 126 acres 99 poles. All this lay in a compact body; besides which were several smaller detached parcels. [One piece, of twenty acres, lay near Spot Pond, at a distance of about two miles east, valued at 9 10s 0d]. The "old house, barn and die hous" were near the north end of the farm, near the river, and on its west side. A "new house" appears on the east side of the river, near the centre of the farm. It was a few rods east of where John Bacon and his sister Ann Bacon now live. That part of the farm which lay on the river was low and often overflowed. Indeed, several acres are now permanently flowed for the supply of the Charlestown waterworks.

The farm is of course very greatly altered since that time. Most of it has gone out of the family. Forty acres, however, remain in the present possession and occupancy of Marshall Symmes. Smaller portions are owned by Theodore Symmes, Hosea Dunbar whose wife was a daughter of Edmund Symmes, and other heirs.

One third of the farm, or 98 acres and 75 poles, were at this time, July 1705, set off to Mrs. Mary Torrey, the relict of the deceased Captain Symmes. This was the south and south-west part, near Mystic Pond. It contained the new house, barn, mill, mill-pond, and an orchard. It was appraised at 148 10s 0d. The remainder, 186 acres and 149 poles, could not be divided without spoiling the whole and was therefore assigned to William Symmes, clothier, of Charlestown, eldest son of the deceased, March 7, 1705-6, on his giving bond, in the sum of 566 5s 0d with Josiah Convers, of Woburn, maltster, as surety to pay the other heirs, the children of the deceased, their several shares of the estate. William Symmes [3rd generation] lived on the farm and was now 28 years of age. The final settlement was made April 4, 1709.

Mrs. Torrey had also, as a part of her dower, one third of Bare Meadow, 3 acres 147 poles, valued at 7 0s 0d; one-third of the salt marsh at Menotomy, 3 acres 5 poles, valued at 24 0s 0d; and one-third of a wood-lot near Bare Meadow, 13 acres 54 poles, valued at 5 15s - the aggregate value of her third part of the farm being estimated at 189 8s 4d.

The whole farm at this time lay in Charlestown. In 1753 it was annexed to Medford. Since 1850 it has been included in the town of Winchester. William Symmes, the clothier, afterwards bought his mother's third, and thus came into possession of the whole.

Mrs. Mary Torrey, in her will dated June 26, 1720, bequeaths: From all which we gather that the children of Captain William Symmes were - by his first wife: By second wife MARY, afterwards Mrs. Torrey: One of the above daughters was the wife of Joseph Torrey. This is certain, because Mrs. Torrey in her will says her oldest brass kettle was then lent to her son-in-law Joseph Torrey. He was probably the husband of Mary, but we do not know. Joseph and the other Torrey were probably sons of Rev. Samuel.

[5] MARY SYMMES [2], sister of the preceding and second daughter of Rev. Zechariah Symmes, of Charlestown; born in Dunstable in the County of Bedford, England, and baptized there April 16, 1828; was brought by her father to this country in 1634 when a little more than six years old; admitted to the church in Charlestown, July 9, 1648.

She married THOMAS SAVAGE of Boston, September 15, 1652.*
She and her sister Elizabeth were married by Increase Nowell, Esq., of Charlestown. It was customary then for justices and other magistrates to solemnize marriages - marriage being held to be a civil ordinance. I discover no foundation for the statement in Brooks's History of Medford, p. 542, that Mary Symmes married a second husband, Anthony Stoddard.
She was his second wife, and much younger than her husband. His first wife, to whom he was married about 1637, was Faith Hutchinson, born at Alford in Lincolnshire, England, and baptized there August 14, 1617 - the daughter of William and the famous Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson; came with her parents to this country in the Griffin, with the Symmes family. She died in Boston, February 20, 1651-2. By this his first wife Mr Savage had Habijah, born 1638; Thomas, 1640; Hannah, 1643; Ephraim, 1645; Mary, 1647; Dionysia, 1649; Perez, 1652.

Mr. Savage - admitted freeman, May 25, 1636 - was a successful merchant and eminent citizen of Boston, though for a time unhappily implicated in the Hutchinson controversy. He rose to wealth and high respectability; was deputy from Boston to the General Court, 1654-1676; was Speaker of the House of Deputies in 1660; Assistant, 1680-1; and rose through all the military grades from sergeant to be commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts forces in the early part of Philip's war. He died suddenly, but greatly respected, February 15, 1681-2.

The will of Major Thomas Savage was dated June 28, 1675, the very day he commenced his march against the Indian chieftain Philip; proved February 23, 1681-2; recorded Suff. Prob. vi. 370. He gives:- Total, 2830, besides the house, farm, &c.

The children of THOMAS and MARY (SYMMES) SAVAGE were: [6] ELIZABETH SYMMES [2], sister of the preceding; baptized at Dunstable, England, 1 January 1629-30; came with her parents to America in 1634; admitted to the church in Charlestown 23 September 1652; married HEZEKIAH USHER, 2 November 1652. She was his second wife. His first wife was Frances ..., who died 25 April 1652. By her he had Hezekiah, 1639; Elizabeth; John, born 27 April 1648; Hannah and Peter. His son Joshua was a printer and bookseller in Boston; was a Mandamus Councillor, 1686-1689, under Dudley and Andros, and Lieut.-Governor of New Hampshire. He liver in Boston, 1689, but afterwards moved to Medford, where he died 25 September 1726.

Hezekiah Usher was a prominent merchant of Boston; a man of decidedly religious character; one of the original members of the Old South Church, 1669, and ready to good works. He assisted in the redemption of Mrs. Rowlandson, wife of Rev. Joseph Rowlandson, from Indian captivity, in 1676. He died soon after. We know of but one child of Hezekiah and Elizabeth (Symmes) Usher, viz.: 26. ZECHARIAH (Usher), born 26 December 1654.

[7] HULDA SYMMES [2], sister of the preceding; baptized at Dunstable, England, 18 March 1630-1; was brought by her parents to America in 1634; admitted to the church in Charlestown 27 November 1652; married WILLIAM DAVIS.

He was an apothecary in Boston in 1647; freeman, May 1645; a prosperous merchant, 1655; chosen selectman, 1655, 1656; one of the original members of the Old South Church, 1669; and was often employed in public business.

His first wife was Margaret, daughter of William Pynchon, of Springfield. [Felt's Eccl. Hist. of New England, vol. ii. 65]

Thomas Davis, an inn holder of Boston, a son of William and Hulda (Symmes) Davis, married Hannah, daughter of Gov. John Leverett. [Geneal. Reg., iv. 134]

[11] Rev. ZECHARIAH SYMMES [2], second son of Rev. Zechariah Symmes [1] of Charlestown, was born in Charlestown, Mass., 9 January 1637-8; baptized three days after. He had two wives.

He married, first, SUSANNAH GRAVES 18 November 1669 (8, Old System). She was born 8 July 1643, daughter of Thomas Graves, of Charlestown, a prominent citizen of that place.*
* Thomas Graves was born in Ratcliffe, near London, in England 6 June 1605. He was a seafaring man, and a master of several ships, as the Whale, the Elizabeth Bonadventure, the James, the Trial, that made voyages from Old to New England. He came every year, from 1629 to 1635, inclusive. He at length settled in Charlestown, or between that place and Woburn, and married Catharine Coytmore, daughter of Thomas and Catharine Coytmore of Charlestown. He and his wife Catharine were admitted to the church in that place 7 October 1639. Some of his descendants are still living in Charlestown. He was one of those who undertook the settlement of Woburn, but became discouraged and returned to a seafaring life. For his good conduct in capturing, though in a merchant ship, a Dutch privateer in the English Channel, he was put in command of a ship of war and made a rear admiral by Cromwell. He died in Charlestown 31 July 1653. - Sewall's Hist. of Woburn, pp. 69, 70; Frothingham's Hist. of Charlestown, pp. 139, 140.
She died 23 July 1681 and he married, second, MEHITABLE (PALMER) DALTON, 26 November 1683. She was the daughter of Henry Palmer - one of the founders of Haverhill, and a distinguished citizen there - and widow of Hon. Samuel Dalton, of Hampton, N.H.

He was admitted to his father's church in Charlestown 22 August 1685 and graduated Harvard College 1657. He is the first named of his class in the catalogue, which indicates that he was the first scholar in rank. He became one of the fellows of the college. The Latin inscription on his tombstone says that he was distinguished for learning and piety. He went to Rehoboth (now Pawtucket, R.I.) to preach as early as 1661 - probably a year or two before. In September 1661 the church and town voted that he should receive 40 a year, "besides his diet at Mr. Newman's". This was Rev. Samuel Newman, who was pastor of the church there, and compiler of a valuable concordance; a very learned and excellent man. He died 5 July 1663, aged 63. He revised the concordance by the light of pine knots.

Mr. Symmes was admitted an inhabitant of Rehoboth 13 April 1666. About this time, or a little earlier, Rev. John Miles, who had been pastor of a Baptist church in Swansea, Wales, came to the place - or rather that part of it which is now Swanzey - and preached, and the people became divided in religious sentiment. A Baptist church was formed there in 1667. Mr. Symmes left Rehoboth that year and came to Bradford, a new town on the Merrimack, previously known as Rowley Village - incorporated as a town in 1675. There he became permanently established in 1668, and was the first minister of the town, although not ordained till 27 December 1682. The people built a house for him in 1668, which was standing in 1838. His salary was fifty pounds a year, besides which the people gave him forty acres of land, and chose a committee from year to year to provide for having his work done. The whole period of his ministry in Bradford was forty years. He died there 22 March 1707-8, aged 70 years. [Felt's Eccl. Hist. of New England, ii. 317, 387; Am. Quart. Reg., x. 245; Budington's Hist. of First Church in Charlestown, p. 210].

He was much beloved by his people, and respected in all the region around.

His children were all by his first wife, and all born in Bradford except Catharine who was born in Charlestown. The family record is copied here:-

[14] TIMOTHY SYMMES [2], youngest son of Rev. Zechariah Symmes [1] of Charlestown; probably born there in 1643; married first MARY NICHOLS, 10 December 1668. She probably died soon after the birth of her only child. He married, second, ELIZABETH NORTON, 21 September 1671.

He resided in Charlestown; and died of smallpox 4 July 1678. His widow probably married Captain Ephraim Savage, son of Major Thomas Savage, 12 May 1688.

His children were - by first wife:

34. TIMOTHY [3], born 6 September 1669; died in infancy.

By second wife: